Shoulders Of Titans Interview with Bedros Keuilian:
Dan: Welcome to another episode of Shoulders of Titans, this is Dan Lok and today I have the privilege of bringing you another super successful entrepreneur. A titan in the fitness industry, a professional speaker, a high-performance coach and C.E.O of two times Inc five thousand businesses. Bedros, welcome to the show.
Bedros: Dan, thank you so much for having me, man. I really appreciate this opportunity.
Dan: I think we’re going to have a great time today, I could tell already. So maybe give us a little bit about your background, we know where you are today but take us back. How did you get into what you do today?
Bedros: Sure, so you know to really go back we have to go back to my immigrant story, and very much like you I’m an immigrant to the United States and we escaped communist Soviet Union in 1980. I was 6 years old when we came to the United States and we were broke, we were poor, my dad only had 185 dollars and it was a family of 5 of us. I was the child, I was 6 years old. Everyone else my brother was you know 14 years older than me, my sister was 16 years older. So as you can imagine we didn’t speak English, we didn’t even know the culture and very much the next day my parents were already delivering newspapers, pumping gas, working at a pizzeria, washing dishes because they had to make the money so that we could have a roof over our head. In fact for that first month in the United States, a friend of a friend of my dad’s agreed to let us stay in his one-bedroom apartment. So the 5 of us stayed in a one bedroom of his apartment and so he said after one month you have to go because this is my apartment, I need to stay here, I’m doing my friend a favor.
So man I got to tell you growing up I’ve eaten out of garbage cans and I’m not just talking about once or twice like it was standard practice for my dad to come after his third job in the evening, take me to the back of the grocery stores and these stores, they throw away foods that are expired or foods that have gone bad but they’re not completely rotten and my mom and dad would have me fish out that food out of the dumpsters and they would pick off the mold and we would eat it and this is how we had to get by. Just to give you an idea, Dan, in the first two years in the United States I lived in 14 different apartments. We got evicted and kicked out regularly and one apartment was worse than the next. In fact one was so bad that I had lice, I’d gotten lice and we were so broke that we couldn’t afford lice treatment from the drugstore so my mom had my dad siphon gasoline from a nearby car that was parked and she washed my hair with gasoline to kill the lice and I say this to draw the picture for you and your audience that, you know, people who think that they have it tough today, that they’re in a place of adversity and challenges, what we really need to do is open our eyes and go, “Man I’m so grateful that I can turn on the switch and light goes on, I can turn the faucet and water comes out, that I can open the door of the refrigerator and there’s food inside and I don’t have scabs on my head because I have so much lice eating away at me.”
So now fast forward, you know, 37 years in this great country, in the United States, you know, throughout that time of course I was a fat kid who ate a lot of junk food and a lot of government assisted food and in high school, Dan, is really where I decided that I was going to get in shape so that I can go to prom. Man, I had my eyes set on this girl her name was- I knew that if I could just lose 30 or 40 pounds and get in shape that by the time prom came around I could ask her out and I was convinced that she was going to say yes. Well I did lose the weight that the summer before senior year and I read every muscle magazine I could get my hands on and I ate as clean as I could, I worked out like a machine but unfortunately I still didn’t have the confidence to ask Laquaia to the prom so I never went. However that was the biggest change maker of my life because not only did I physically change Dan, I started to gain confidence and self-worth and self-esteem and I started looking my friends in the eyes instead of just looking over their shoulders.
I didn’t even have enough confidence man to look at you in your eye when we’re talking, that’s how stunted my self-esteem was. So I decided man when I leave high school I had no idea what I wanted to do I mean I thought I wanted to work with cars, be a mechanic, a smog technician for a car but now I was convinced that I was going to be a personal trainer and that I was going to help people in my community lose weight so that not only can they be healthy, so that they can experience this life changing, confidence building thing that I did. And that’s really where the journey into you know now being somebody pretty big and well known and an authority in the fitness industry over the last fifteen years has brought me. Now of course I own different coaching programs for fitness business owners and multiple live events and seminars and of course our biggest animal is the fit body boot camp international franchise.
Dan: That’s awesome. So from there, so that has helped you too because what you did for yourself, you can see the changes, the confidence, the transformation basically and you want to kind of spread the knowledge and the insight and just that transformation with people. So from there, how did you transition as a personal trainer into like a real business?
Bedros: Oh man, so here’s kind of the embarrassing part, Dan, but since again we’re both foreigners, I feel confident that I could share this with you. I was a personal trainer, I got out of high school and of course listen I was reading those muscle magazines and in the back of those magazines there’s the direct response ads that say, you know, like tiny little fractional ads that says, you know, “Call this 800 number, pay us 250 dollars, you get certified as a personal trainer because the average personal trainer makes 100 dollars an hour.” Well I guess that was true in the mid ninety’s, the average personal trainer did make 100 dollars an hour but the average trainer who was a personal trainer to the celebrities and the stars, you know. I got certified and all I had was one client and it was like my neighbor’s mom and she was paying me 11 dollars an hour and I would show up with dumbbells and exercise bands to her house three days a week and I realized I’m a certified trainer, I have what people want and need but no one’s buying it from me, no one is kicking down my door to get it.
So I ended up working as a fry cook and as a bouncer at a bar on the weekends just to make ends meet and it was the most embarrassing thing because I remember thinking, Dan, dude there is no doctor who has a side job trying to make ends meet, there’s no nurse, there’s no chiropractor, there’s no architect, lawyer that has a side job yet as a personal trainer I have two side jobs and I knew other personal trainers who had two side jobs, three side jobs just to make ends meet. And that’s when a client of mine, by this point I had three clients now about a year after being certified as a trainer I had three one on one personal training clients and I was now working at a Big Box gym.
Very similar to the ones you guys have, Good Life Fitness and out here it was called L.A. Fitness and man I’m working there and my client one day he just stops halfway through his workout, his name is Jim Franco, and he goes, he always called me kid. He goes, “Kid, you have a problem,” I go, “Jim, what’s my problem? I think we’re having a great workout. Did I screw something up with your workout?” He says, “No, no, you have a problem. You’re an order taker, you’re not a closer.” And I said, “Can you explain more?” And he said, “Yeah you’re like a waitress at a restaurant where I came to and I said I want to buy six months of personal training, three times a week and you simply took my order but every day that I see you when I come in here and I’m warming up to work out with you, I see you letting people walk that you could be selling thousands of dollars of personal training.” And I got to tell you that was like being punched in the nuts. In that moment I was obviously depressed, I was in a funk, truly I was offended because he likened to me to a waitress, he says I’m an order taker and again this guy he was my first mentor and he’s in his 80’s now, he was in his 60’s then but it was the best lesson he gave me. The next day, Dan, he showed up with a Tom Hopkins sales tape.
Dan: Oh, awesome. Cassette tapes you’re talking about, right?
Bedros: Oh you know what I’m talking about! Like, good sh*t. And he goes, “This guy, Tom Hopkins, is going to help you sell,” and I go, “Yeah but it says selling for real estate agents,” he goes, “Anytime he says real estate agent, you just mentally pretend that he’s saying personal trainer.” I go, “Okay.” You know, all I knew was this client of mine is a millionaire, he drives up to the gym in four, five different cars every week, he works out 2 in the afternoon when everyone else is working so obviously he knows something that I don’t. So anyway, Tom Hopkins’ tape leads me to Brian Tracy, Brian Tracy tapes lead me to Dan Kennedy, Dan Kennedy leads me to Zig Ziglar and before I know it I’m listening to Tony Robbin’s cassette tapes and by this point now I’m burning D.V.D.’s from e-bay, you know, I’m buying like burnt D.V.D.’s from e-bay and just engulfed in sales, direct response, influence, persuasion, marketing and before you know it over the next three years I had five of my own personal training gyms that I was running in San Diego.
Dan: That’s amazing. Now as I always say, there’s no relationship between being good at what you do and getting paid but there’s a huge relationship between being good at what you do and being able to close and getting paid. So doing that three years, what do you think are some of the things that you did or you’ve learned? Maybe share 2 or 3 top lessons that you think propel you to that success.
Bedros: Yes, yeah one of the biggest lessons was for me is that there’s people’s ability to buy and then there’s their desire to buy. And as a personal trainer and, you know, you can just now, I’ll say like Jim did, you can just replace everything I’m saying about personal trainer and say accountant, real estate agent, lawyer but as a service professional, we often think that well because they have the ability to buy they’re going to buy our services or they have the need, like in my case the person is fifty pounds overweight, they have high blood pressure, you know, they have diabetes Dan yet they would give me an objection like, “I need to think about it, I need to go talk to my spouse.” And I realize your ability to buy does not make you a client, your desire, your willingness to buy makes you a client and my job is to sell you the vision, the experience to overcome those objections before you ever give them to me so that when it’s time for me to ask for the sale the only answer you can give me is, “Yes, I’ll take the three or the four times a week,” and either one you buy, I win and you win. I win your money and you win your life and your health back.
And so that was the ability to sell based on people’s desire to buy by making them want to buy instead of just going, “Oh she drove up in a B.M.W, of course she has money,” and therefore I expected them to buy but I never really stirred their emotions, their desire to buy. So that was thing number 1. Thing number 2 was, and again this goes for so many different industries and I know many people listening might say, “Ah, but my industry is different.” Listen, in the mid 90’s, personal training was sold like this. You would come up and you say, “Hey I think I’m interested in personal training,” I would put you through one free workout and I would say, “Alright Dan, do you want to buy five sessions, ten sessions or a twenty-session block?” and whether you bought five, ten, twenty it didn’t matter. When those sessions were done, I would have to take off my personal trainer hat, put on my sales hat and go, “Alright Dan, so, do you want to buy five more, ten more, twenty more?” and it’s always this uncomfortable situation. There’s so many, right?
There’s so many weird businesses out there right now that should have their clients on a recurring income, recurring revenue. And so I remember, you know, Jim Franco again my mentor telling me, “Listen, how come I’m paying 40 dollars a month to this gym and they just take it out of my credit card yet you keep selling me blocks of sessions when my blocks run out?” I said, “I don’t know, that’s how we do it in the industry,” he goes, “Well, f**k what the industry does. What’s best for you and the client?” I go, “Well what’s best for me is to sell you once and then train you. I don’t want to be a salesperson, I want to be a trainer and what’s best for the client is to stay with me for the long haul so that I can only not help you lose weight but really teach you a lifestyle so you can maintain your weight loss,” he goes, “Well then why aren’t you selling me a six, seven, eight hundred dollar a month program?” I go, “I don’t know, sounds like it’s a lot of money,” he goes, “For me it’s not.” I go, “Holy sh*t.” So I was transferring my feelings down because I was a broke trainer and because my industry, that wasn’t an industry standard for me. I just assumed that nobody would pay five, six, seven, eight hundred, twelve hundred dollars a month which is ironic because today there’s 1800 of my clients, my coaching clients, paying me $2500 dollars a month on a recurring basis and that my coaching business came from the twenty years ago a lesson that I learned from Jim Franco about my personal training business.
So when I opened up my personal training studios, all of my clients were on recurring income. Interestingly, the big third lesson he taught me was to always build my businesses with legs meaning build your business with the assumption that if somebody wants to buy it, it is a desirable business to be bought. I said, “Jim, I want my five personal training studios and I’m going to have them forever,” he says, “You don’t know that,” and he was absolutely right because just then a big brand of personal training studios was coming through San Diego and that’s where I lived at the time and the only reason, Dan, the only reason they bought my gyms was because I had over 600 clients on a recurring revenue for a 12 month commitment. And so they were buying my receivables. I had built a business with legs because Jim forced that upon me and it was because of that that I had my first multiple six figure buyout in my late twenty’s which to me was, it seemed liked, you know, a million dollars at the time.
Dan: That’s amazing, Bedros. You won’t believe this, so I have five salons and spots, right? I was the first guy who introduced the membership concept into the industry. I also sold it for multiple six figures. I’m telling you man it’s like I’m listening to this I’m getting goosebumps like there’s no way in hell! That’s amazing, and then I started a coaching business in the salon, spa industry.
Bedros: That’s exactly right.
Dan: That’s amazing. So from there, so you sold the business. Of course now you accumulate a lot of knowledge and experience in the industry. So how do you transition there to like kind of a retail business to being a thought leader, a coach in the fitness industry?
Bedros: Yeah, well for me you know the timing was just right. It was 2002 that I sold, you know, the Internet bubble had burst in 2000 and I had this money in hand and because the Internet was starting to pick up again, I remember thinking well I could either open up more gyms or I can start helping the industry and the reason I even thought of helping the industry is when I had my five personal training studios and they were pretty small, probably the size of your salons. I don’t know, probably about 3000 square feet was my biggest one but trainers would call me, personal trains would call me from all over the country and they would say, “Hey man, I heard you have five personal training studios. I’m trying to open up one, can you give me some tips?” I go, “Dude, are you located in San Diego?” If their answer was no and they weren’t located in San Diego meaning they weren’t competitive with me.
Bedros: I would help them, I would follow up with them, I’d go, “Hey, these are the lead boxes I’m putting in now and by the way don’t put your lead boxes in health food stores, it doesn’t work. Instead put them in and places like taco restaurants, burger joints, pizza parlors because that’s where people feel guilty about eating all that sh*t.”
Dan: I love that.
Bedros: Yeah, everything I would learn I would teach like these five or six guys who are like from different parts of the country and then they would follow up with me and they go, “Oh my gosh, it worked, I made the money, I’m opening up my gym, I’m signing up new clients,” and I did all this for free because what the hell? Why not? I enjoyed it. And so when I sold my gyms in 2002 and I’m thinking you know, I already had a fiancée who’s now my wife, we were going to get married in 2003, I said maybe I want to coach and consult personal trainers. And so I just went all in, I parlayed that money and I didn’t even know how to build a list so here’s a funny part. Man, in late 2002, I had my fiancé who’s my wife now, I said, “Hey I want you to google personal trainer Los Angeles, personal trainer Seattle, personal trainer Vancouver, just personal trainer all over big cities, find their website and scrape their e-mail address and put it on the spreadsheet,” and I don’t know what an opt in was Dan, I didn’t know there was a platform like at the time I think I was using constant contact to send out mass e-mails. So I got 1400 e-mail addresses scraped off of a website which I’m not proud of but I didn’t even realize, well back then there was no CAN SPAM law or anything anyway.
Bedros: And I started emailing them like individually and saying, “Hey look, you know, I’m creating this digital course called the P.T. business course, I’m the guy that started 5 personal training gyms and sold it for multiple six figures and, you know, this this might be a good program for you if you’re struggling to open up your personal training studio,” and sure as shit people were paying me 99 dollars and buying it off my website. So that kind of parlayed into sales tools and so I created close clients and then System nine, marketing tools and then of course you know Facebook stuff came in and before you know it they’re asking if I do coaching. I go, “I guess, yeah. I’ve done coaching before for free and you want to pay me.” So I charged 5000 dollars for a year of coaching. Yeah, I didn’t even know how to price myself, right?
But I just enjoyed the experience so much that it just started to compound on top of itself and in 2007, I decided you know what? I want to get in front of a big audience of personal trainers and really teach them the business of fitness because I’m tired of still hearing from trainers who have side jobs and so I literally put on my own live event, only got 118 people to come to it for 110 or 120 dollars a seat. Since then now, you know, we’re in our eleventh year. The next one is in March here and we have over 1000 people come, we have some of the best presenters from the fitness industry and from the marketing industry like Frank Kern and Dan Kennedy. I mean, you name the person, Lewis House and they spoke at the fitness business summit and that’s what I use to fill up my coaching consulting business, that’s the event that I use to move people into Fit Body boot camp, our international franchise, and man I’m just blessed and lucky that I get to serve the industry that I love so much.
Dan: I’m also curious, so from that point on because there’s so many people who do coaching but I know you are kind of the behind the scenes genius that helps entrepreneurs and thought leaders how to scale and structure the coaching programs. So walk me through that, I’m curious in your insights. What do you do differently versus like how do you structure yours and what advice do you give to them?
Bedros: Yeah, yeah, good question. So I did this for Jason Capital, I did this for Craig Valentine, Lewis House, I taught him how to structure a coaching mastermind program. Actually Chris and Laurie Harder are going to be here in just a few minutes or in about 42 minutes and I’m going to work with them. But literally the way I look at it is one on one coaching is dead and it’s a waste of your time and the reason it is because it’s not a scalable thing. You can’t expect to get on the phone with coaching clients if you have more than 40 or 50 of them and right now, I got 1800 coaching clients amongst my 4 different mastermind groups. I have to have them in a room so what I did is I created the mastermind environment where we meet up 3 times a year and each time we meet, we meet for two days.
Day one of the mastermind meeting is the teaching day. So I teach what’s working in my business, our top clients in that group teach what’s working in their business and then of course I’ll bring in a industry thought leader, a marketer, a salesperson, someone who’s a Facebook traffic buyer and they’ll teach. So we do a lot of teaching on day one. On day two, we have the individualized hot seats and at that point we go through with every single person, we’re all sitting in a room. Alright, what’s your biggest opportunity that you have in your business? What is the biggest bottleneck you have in your business? And what answers do you need from this hot seat group to take advantage of the opportunity and to clear the bottleneck? So the reason I have the hot seats on day two is because usually they’ve gotten most of their questions answered on day one from the teaching day and if I do my job right as a coach, I’ve given them newer, better, more sophisticated problems for day two and so this is what I want. I want my clients, I want to be able to stir up the most sophisticated problems, I call it third world problems, first world problems. A third world problem is, “Oh my God, Bedros, I have a personal training studio, it’s struggling, I signed a lease for three years and I’m already two months behind,” like that’s a third world problem like you don’t get clients, you’re behind on your lease, your wife’s about to leave you, right?
A first world problem is now you’re on location three and you’re realizing that location one and two are kicking butt, but the location three is struggling. You have a leadership problem there, you don’t know how to fire the person because you’ve never been put in a position to fire a person. See that’s a first world problem, you want that problem, that’s a moneymaking problem. So my job as a coach is to answer most of their third world problems in the first day so that on day two we can go to their first world problems or answer the third world problems so that we can answer their first world problems on day two. And so now, we also put them in a private Facebook group and I do a weekly Facebook live and a follow up with Q and A but everything I do is in a scalable fashion so if I have the ability, I can scale my masterminds to 5000, 10000, 20000 people. Now people ask me, “Well, wait a minute. How do you do the hot seats on day two?” And this is what I taught Lewis and Jason Capital because once you get over about 25 clients, you can’t do the hot seats anymore by yourself and so usually by the time you’ve got to 20, 30 mastermind clients you’ve probably been doing this for 6 months to a year which means you probably have a client or two who’s already starting to think like you, operate like you, they’re almost like a mini Dan Lok and the first sign of this for me was one of my clients, his name is Cable, he came up to me and he goes, and this was during the break, he goes “Dude, you know what’s great? When some of these new guys ask questions,” he goes, “in my head, I answer the question and then when you answer it it’s the same answer 99 percent of the time.”
Dan: Yes, true. Very true.
Bedros: Yeah and I realize that that’s a byproduct of environmental exposure, right? If I’m around you a lot I start thinking like Dan Lok. Well this is a good thing. I go, “Listen I’m having a problem trying to figure out how to create a second hot seat day. Do I run six masterminds a year instead of three?” I go, “What if we have one teaching day but then on the second day I run a hot seat day with 25 people, you run a hot seat day. Do you feel comfortable?” “Yes.” I go, “Great I’ll pay two grand a month for the months that we do that.” So three times a year I paid him two grand, my coaches, and so now I have all these coaches who run a hot seat like my next master my for my seven-figure formula group, because I have 4 groups is in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood. Dude we pretty much buy up their entire meeting centers and we have ten rooms running with ten coaches, 25 people per room.
I’ve got my hot seat room and the other nine have theirs and of course on day one it’s like a giant seminar where we teach and help solve problems. On day 2, a big hot seat, we take them out to dinner that night and everybody flies off to their own part of the world to dominate. Of course, you know, the selling system that I use I teach them is a live event which is why I had Lewis House start his summit of greatness program live event and phone closing. So I have phone closers who work for me here at the headquarters and the prospects go to an application page, they fill out the application, they click the button that says, “yes, I agree that I can afford $2500 dollars a month if this is the right mastermind for me,” then they get on the phone with my closers and so I have really three days to fill my master minds for anyone in your group who runs a coaching program, one of them is the big live event fitness business summit, you know, three day seminar where then I have a offer from the stage, the other one is an ongoing process which is the phone closing that happens every day they’re talking to people and moving them into the mastermind and of course the third one is three times you’re going to have the mastermind, I open up six seats. So we have six extra seats where they can actually, you can pay 2500 dollars to come and sit in on a mastermind.
Dan: Oh that’s interesting.
Bedros: Yes, so I have a sit in day. So you sit in, you’re with the mastermind group, you break bread with us, you learn with us and then at lunch time on day two, you have lunch with me, those six people have lunch with me and I make them the offer and pass out the application and typically it’s about a 60 to 65 percent close rate.
Dan: I see, I see. Brilliant, because I can see a lot of mastermind groups, even I have a mastermind group but I keep it relatively small but I didn’t think of this model. This is brilliant, because now you can scale it to over 100, 200 people guests. Because in my mind I’m like okay, now I have like 30 something people. That’s already taking a lot of my time besides running all my other companies, right? But this way I can see the teaching, you have different rooms, of course the hotel would love you because you just bring them so much business, right?
Dan: Yeah, and do you do it in always the three events a year at different locations? The mastermind groups?
Bedros: Yeah, I found that when you have them at destination locations, there is this other fanciness about it. So we do Las Vegas, San Diego, Miami and we found that they like that. Now having said that, I’ve also run some here in Chino Hills which is, you know, we’re just outside of Orange County California.
Bedros: It’s nothing fancy but once they trust you, once you’re an authority, they’ll go anywhere but someone starting out a mastermind I always tell them have them in destination spots. Santa Monica, Las Vegas, San Diego so that people have just yet another reason to go, “Hey, I can stay a couple days and enjoy a holiday out of it,” like give them a reason to want to buy.
Dan: And then all of the four groups that you have, do you charge the same 2500 dollars or they have different tiers, different price points?
Bedros: Different price points. Well one of them is the 50,000 a year period paid in full, the other two are 2500 a month and then I have one for our Fit Body boot camp franchise owners and so you know any franchise owner listening to this, you know, look if you have a franchise is doesn’t matter if it’s a sandwich franchise or yogurt franchise or fitness franchise, some of your clients at least the about 15 to 20 percent your clients want higher level access to coaching, mentoring access and so we charge them 1000 dollars a month, more on top of their franchise royalty fees.
Dan: Ah, so they want a little bit more personal access, they just pay a little bit more. That’s awesome, that’s good.
Dan: So out of the 1800 mastermind members you have, how many days all together in terms of besides running a business but just running the mastermind groups do you devote to the business?
Bedros: So for mastermind’s each one meets three times a year so, what is that? 12?
Dan: 12, yeah.
Bedros: 12 and, you know, there’s usually travel on either side of that. I travel a day before and I usually travel the day after the mastermind and never come home that night because I’m just tired, right? So you figure, I don’t know, under 20? Under 20 totals.
Dan: And then three-day events to fill those, right?
Bedros: Yeah, and then the three-day event and that’s really it. So total, maybe 20, 25 days total. Of course, you know, the weekly Facebook lives in their respective Facebook groups but those are about 15 minutes that I do off my iPhone and then I don’t even take questions on the spot, I know exactly what I’m going to teach that week if it’s leadership, if it’s sales, if it’s funnels, if it’s referral generation and then I go, “Listen, if you guys have any questions about this or anything else about your business leave the questions down below in the comment box and I’ll come back 24 hours from now and answer all your questions so that your peers can have those questions answered as well.”
Dan: That’s awesome.
Bedros: So I do it in my convenience and so when you structure it this way, it becomes infinitely scalable as long as you have coaches in the pipeline.
Dan: Talking about the other people supporting you.
Bedros: Yes, you have to be able to breed coaches who you’re going to trust, who are going to be noncompetitive, right?
Dan: Do you find that you get the best coaches? This is a bit of my experience, from my own students.
Bedros: Absolutely, and the reason is and, you know this is a funny little story. So there’s a gentleman named Michael Perella, he’s another coaching client of mine, he owns a kickboxing franchise called I Love Kickboxing, I helped him start that. But he came from the martial arts world and I went to New York because he’s based out of New York and I speak at his event every year and I noticed that a lot of these martial arts school owners are kind of older white dudes and they got pretty smoking hot younger wives and girlfriends. I notice this like two years in a row so on the third year I said, “Michael, what is going on? These guys look like toads and they’re old but their f**king wives are hot. Explain this to me.”
Dan: Something is going on here, right?
Bedros: Yeah, and it made total sense. He goes, “Look, these guys were like in their 20’s, in their 30’s when those students were in their, you know, whatever 9, 10, 11, 12, in their teens. They went from white belt to black belt over a 8, 10, 12-year period. By the time, you know, now the instructor’s in his late 40’s these girls and are in their late 20’s and they look up to the instructor, it’s almost like hero worship. It’s the only way he described it. And I go, “Holy smokes, I can see how that happens.” You know these guys help them build their confidence, their self-esteem, kind of saw them grow up into women.
So the same thing in a non-creepy way happens in the mastermind group where, you know, a struggling business owner comes to you and says, “Look, my marriage is on the rocks, my business is on the rocks, I’m in debt whatever 50,000, 100,000 dollars and I’m ready to just stop and go work at a big box gym, work for someone else, this is a last ditch attempt,” and then you help them turn their mindset, their business, the impact and significance that they have, you reignite that. Dude, they are forever loyal and in debt to you and as long as you maintain a good relation. So I stopped charging them so they no longer pay 2500 dollars a month. I pay them 2000 dollars for the three masterminds for them to run the hot seats, 2000 dollars each time and then I fly them out and pay for their hotel and then on the first night, remember the second night I have a big, giant dinner with all the mastermind members.
Bedros: Like in Vegas we buy out the Strips Steak restaurant and we just, you know, load it up with 250 clients and all the coaches.
Bedros: And so on day one I take the coaches out. I take the coaches out, show them a good time, show my appreciation and as long as their gyms and boot camps are growing and as long as they’re having a fun time coaching and they feel part of my mission which my personal mission is to impact 100,000 or 100 million lives worldwide through all the different personal trainers that I help. Well they’re part of my mission, they would never leave.
Dan: And also I think what they facilitate and what they teach also reinforces what they learn from you, right? Because sometimes the best way to learn is to teach. So they feel like not only they are growing and they’re learning, they’re facilitating and at the same time they’re also giving back and they feel good about that because what you’ve helped them dude, now they can help other people as well.
Bedros: Dude, that’s exactly right. And you know what’s funny, Dan, and I know you probably experienced this too. I always tell my wife I say, you know, running masterminds, coaching clients is the most selfish thing I can do because I absolutely end up somehow coming up with a strategy that I gave them and I go, “Oh my gosh, I stopped running that strategy and it worked,” and so I always end up getting some value after a mastermind weekend for my own businesses.
Dan: Yes, yes, very true. So what are some of the things that, because you’re running a mastermind group, you’re working with a lot of people, entrepreneurs, smart people, sometimes the type A personalities, how do you sometimes handle that? Like what are some of the issues that you face that you’ve overcome.
Bedros: Oh man, I mean I face issues of you know people coming in and before you know it they go, “Hey, you know, I can be a coach too,” and they start poaching and so you have to, you know, part ways with those people and it happens, right? But if you think about all the “what ifs,” hey what if someone starts poaching clients? Well, what if, and it’s going to happen. Grow any business big enough and something like that will happen. I look at that as a first world problem. When I didn’t have any coaching clients and I was broke, that was a third world problem. Another thing is when you have type A clients who believe that their way is the best way, you’re kind of butting heads with them. So I sometimes have to let them not drown, but take on a little water and then save them and I’m sure you’ve seen this too where you go, “Hey, do it this way”
Dan: Oh my God, I thought I was the only one that does that. That’s awesome.
Bedros: And again, I know you’re going to appreciate this because I’m sure this happens to you. They think they were drowning and they saved themselves, you just let them drown a little and you pull them up right when they need it, I never let them go fully under water but they have to taste the salt water and they have to have feel the difficulty of breathing a little bit so that they can go, “You know what, I tried that and it didn’t work,” because sometimes they get too smart for their own good and I’ve been this way. Listen, I’m in Joe Polish’s genius mastermind group, in the first two years I took every f**king marching order he gave me. You’re number three, I became, “Oh, you know what? I think I know more than him.” So he told me something or Dean Grass, the COC. Dean Grass COC told me to do something, he goes, “Hey this is how we do it,” I go, “Oh, I’m going to do it a little differently,” and I went to do it a little differently, I f**king lost 300,000 dollars in a four-month period in ad campaigns. Guess what? I went right back to doing it the way Dean said and so that was a great drowning lesson for me. I drowned just enough to go, “Holy smokes, I better just do what he says,” because sometimes you forget that there’s guys who have been down that road before and you just need to model their success.
Dan: That’s awesome. So what about for someone let’s say listening to this day, they are not in the fitness industry and say, “Hey Bedros, I need some help,” like what would you recommend them? Like what programs that you have you would recommend them to start?
Bedros: So I’ve got really one coaching program for anyone not in the fitness industry and that is the Empire mastermind that Craig Valentine and I run.
Dan: Oh, interesting.
Bedros: Yeah, yeah and the Empire mastermind is for all businesses. So we’ve got Super Bowl N.F.L. champion Steve Wetherford in that group, we’ve got Avance Del Monte a fitness guy in that group, a supplement guy in that group, a guy that owns a 10-million-dollar brand like a clothing brand line in that group, a guy that owns, what do you call it, the hot tubs for like old folks’ homes.
Bedros: Yeah, so if someone’s got a company that’s doing a million to 5 million, we’ll help them scale that to you know 10, 15, 20 million and that’s to build an empire out of that. I don’t really have any courses or any educational things for non-fitness people. The first thing that I’m making and it’s because Lewis House said, “Look dude, you taught me how to run masterminds, I keep sending people over to you, you keep charging them an arm and a leg,” because like today Laurie and Chris Hart are coming and well they have their, you know, they’re taking up my time, right? So I want to help them but that is my time they got to pay for. So what I did is I’m creating a course called the mastermind mastery course and it really teaches anyone who’s a thought leader or is a business expert in any space to run, structure, sell their own masterminds and that’ll be out around February but that’ll be the first product I have outside of the fitness industry.
Dan: That’s awesome, man. Sign me up! Here’s my credit card, Bedros. Now concerning also my audience, of course, you know I work with online coaches, consultants so I think that’s a good program, great program that they could benefit from because I think you’re one of the very few people that I’ve talked to that could run the mastermind group that way and I can just from hearing from you the two, three golden nuggets I could see this. I want to emphasize something, it’s not just all I’m running a mastermind group or I’m running a coaching group, it’s not just the money aspect, it’s you can impact so many more people and it’s no longer just about you, it is about the group always. So, you know, people by, they join my group because of me but stay with me because of the group, right? And my mastermind members have been with me 2, 3 like 3 and a half years. Well, after a while it’s not just because of me it’s because of the community I call it the kind of business family that they have, right? Would you agree with that?
Bedros: Oh dude, absolutely. I mean think about the family that you’ve created where it’s almost like a brain trust.
Bedros: Where someone new says, “Hey, I have this question,” and you go, “Alright, well have you considered doing this?” But then you might go, “You know what, hey Bob, hey Sally, hey Joe, you guys have encountered that, how did you fix that problem?” and you can literally tap into other people’s brains who have been down that road and they’re in your group and that brain trust brings everybody up higher and faster.
Dan: Including yourself.
Dan: Including yourself. I also want to quickly ask you something about personal branding because I can see what you did with the fitness industry and what you did with your own personal brand and how you kind of have two brands going on, right? One is fitness industry, one is your business empire building brand. What’s your take on personal branding and maybe share a couple secrets with us?
Bedros: Man, my take on personal branding is this. To be as authentic and transparent as possible and to push the free line. Give your best stuff away for free and this, by the way, isn’t anything groundbreaking. Eben Pagan was saying this in 2007, 2008.
Bedros: The only difference is we used to just give a little bit, today give a lot. I tell people who are trying to get into the coaching consulting space and they go, “Hey, should I create some info products first?” I go, “No.” Today when I’m helping people become gurus and I’ve helped a guy, Mark Costas in the dental space and Peter Osborne in the chiropractic space and Jason Silverman in the gymnastics space become business coaches. None of them have info products because if you just give all that information that you’re going to put on your information products away for free on social media, through e-mail, through YouTube because people forget now YouTube, Instagram and Facebook as well as your e-mail list those are like networks on television. It’s like A.B.C, N.B.C, C.B.S and I say, “Well how much money would you pay to be guaranteed an hour a week on A.B.C or N.B.C?” They go, “Oh man, I’d pay so much money,” I go, “How come?” Exposure, access. I go, “Well, what if I said there’s three networks that have the exact avatar that you’re looking for and you can get access to them for free and then you can buy even more access to them if you want?” They go, “There is?” Oh yes, f**king social media.
I started looking at social media as networks and you are the full-time show. You put all your best content out there that was going to be an info product first and be authentic and transparent because look, Dan, there’s probably other guys who do what you do. I know there’s at least nine guys in the fitness industry who do what I do but I charge the most but I’m also very polarizing and I’m also very entertaining because I teach f**king boring stuff. Marketing. The only time you come looking for me, a personal trainer comes looking for me, is when your ideas, your certifications, your equipment, your mentality, what a personal training studio should be didn’t work. That’s the only time they come looking for me with their tail tucked between their legs. They Google fitness marketing coach and they reluctantly give me money. No one’s looking to get fitness marketing certified, they just want different certification, same in your industry. So the way I look at it is, dude, when you find me I’m going to entertain you, educate you and make sure you fall in love with me so that you actually take the stuff I give you and apply it. So branding is just that, making people fall in love with you by being authentic, transparent, give your best stuff, give people a peak into your life and then they go, “You know what? I like what he stands for and I’d rather give him my money even if he charges more because I connect with him.”
Dan: Very, very true. I just got off a coaching call and the same thing I said to my mentee that you go to view yourself not as just an educator or I’m the guru in this, you’re basically your own media powerhouse, right? You’re cranking out content in your own reality show, you got to do whatever it takes to get people’s attention because when people look at your stuff they go to YouTube. Well they investigate and check you out anyway. YouTube, Instagram, Facebook all these things and Jason Kaplan, you know, we’re mutual friends, we talk about this and Jason and I always say YouTube, man, YouTube is huge. I never expected that. I started my YouTube channel about 3 years ago and it was just putting out, putting and uploading like conference footage that I had like kind of recycle the content and never expected it would grow to this point, right? And now we have almost 65,000 subscribers it’s growing by like 5, 6 hundred a day. I never expected that and what’s very interesting. You’ll like this, it’s interesting like something to share with you is I started uploading about two months ago because I’m a martial artist, you know, uploading martial arts content. Every single YouTube expert told me, “Don’t do it.” Every single one of them. Always the valid proposition is confusing, it’s a different type of audience they won’t like it, they subscribe for business stuff not martial arts stuff what the hell is this, all this B.S, right? I didn’t listen to them. I uploaded that and I launched a program just a couple months ago, here’s what’s amazing. 30 percent of the clients come from one of martial art videos.
Dan: It’s that interesting?
Bedros: Dude, good for you for using your instincts and trusting your gut, man.
Dan: Yeah, right? So totally in alignment we’re just talking about give people a glimpse of your life and who you are, what you stand for not just so one dimensional. Oh, he’s a business guy or he’s a coach or he’s a speaker. No, show them your life. Show them what you’re about and they resonate with that, right?
Bedros: You nailed it, man, that’s it. Like I want to know more about you like the picture I see right now on Skype is in you in this fancy red suit with a bright white shirt and my dad was a tailor and I have a lot of custom suits and so instantly there’s another point of connection, you know. When we meet and we have beers I’m going to ask you about this suit, man. Is it custom made? How many more do you have? What colors? Like you’re a brilliant marketer but this is another point of connection and the more points of connection we have, the more affinity we have and more trust and likeability.
Dan: Very, very true. Now before we go quickly share with us maybe one of your biggest failures and what have you learned from that?
Bedros: Alright, well one of my biggest failures was I started a software company called High Tech Trainer and, you know, before we started this we talked about the debt we were in so I borrowed 126,000 dollars over time, over a 15-month period, I borrowed 126,000 dollars and I go okay, this next 10,000 dollars I know it’s going to make us profitable, I know we’re going to start getting it. Man I can get this, it was an online personal training software and Dan this is again embarrassing my biggest failure was it was an online personal training software. Let me just emphasize the word online because like an idiot I kept going to live events and sponsoring in a booth and so I would go places where personal trainers were and I go, “Hey look, it’s an online personal training software.” They go, “What does it do?” It helps you create online workouts for clients who are outside of your region so you can charge more clients’ money who are far away from you. And I would go to, you know, industry events and expos and stuff and I’d buy a booth and I realized after 126,000 dollars, although some of that money was in program development just programming it, that you know what am I doing? I’m in one aisle inside this giant convention center and I have a ten by ten booth and unless a person walks by me in my aisle I can’t access them. What the f**k is that? And so this is an online platform. So I finally decided to do online marketing
Dan: Like duh, right?
Bedros: So sometimes common sense is not too common and I got to tell you, it wasn’t too common for me and so after 126,000 dollars later I decided to go all in and start doing online marketing, you know, grow that email list, start making the YouTube videos about how personal trainers, speaking of YouTube right? How personal trainers can use online technology to create workouts for clients who are outside of their reach and boom the business took off.
Dan: See even sometimes we have blind spots ourselves too. And I think I want to emphasize, I think Bedros and myself same thing, if you look at the successes that we have. I can pretty much any time go into the room and say, “You know what? Maybe I’m successful, I probably have failed than most people in this room,” right? I think same thing with you, right?
Bedros: Same here, man. I got a bigger list of failures than wins.
Dan: Yeah it’s just the good thing my memory, I don’t remember too many of those bad things otherwise I’ll probably get depressed. So only I can actually remember the good things. I did this and I did that, right?
Bedros: That’s exactly right man. Oh my god.
Dan: Bedros, maybe share with us any final thoughts and maybe your contact information if our listeners want to find out more about your upcoming program or even your mastermind group.
Bedros: Yeah, yeah so the final thoughts I want to share with anyone is this thing. So I recently wrote a book
Dan: Man Up, right?
Bedros: Yeah Man Up, exactly and it gets published and comes out July of 2018.
Bedros: You know, people always ask me, “Man Up, what does that mean?” And I said, “It pretty much means stop being a p***y, take control of your situation and rise to your potential,” and if I’m speaking to other coaches, entrepreneurs, thought leaders here I want to let them know that you and I both know there’s way more potential in your business, in your market than you’re tapping into right now and they might be blaming it on circumstances, on the market, on the economy, on their bad employees. They might be blaming it on competition, the reality is it all starts with them and Man Up is about you becoming an effective leader, a great communicator, having vision for your business, building a strong team of high performers and not just a group of employees but a strong team of high performers and then dominating that path and more entrepreneurs need to start embracing leadership. I know it’s not as sexy as marketing and retargeting and upsells and all that s**t but leadership is what got me from a 5-million-dollar company to now a company that’s almost valuated at 100 million dollars.
Dan: Very, very true. And the website to go to get the book maybe when it’s ready.
Bedros: Yeah, so we’ve got an interest list we’re building right now and we’ve got a lot of great content on there and the website is Man Up dot com.
Dan: Great domain name and definitely check out your YouTube channel because you’ve got a lot of great videos, you’ve got like 200 somewhat videos on there. I’ve watched quite a lot of them, great stuff there. Exactly walk the talk, a lot of great information, a lot of those videos I mean they could be courses on its own also amazing value.
Bedros: Thank you, sir. Hey listen man, I’m a big fan Dan so I really appreciate the opportunity to get on this interview with you.
Dan: And I appreciate that and thank you so much for inspiring us today with just great ideas, this is a great conversation. We could go on hours for this and I can’t wait to meet you in person and my audience, my listener, you’ve been listening to Shoulders of Titans. Stay tuned and listen to the next show.