A conversation with Dr. Keith Newton about his experience in the program.
Alzay Calhoun: I don't see your face, but I'd like to use our recorded audio. Oh, if you don't mind showing your face-
Dr. Keith Newton: There we go.
Alzay Calhoun: I'd like to capture this and use this footage. Is that okay with you? If not, just say so.
Dr. Keith Newton: You're using the footage in terms of later on within-
Alzay Calhoun: Of a case study, that's right.
Dr. Keith Newton: No, that's fine.
Alzay Calhoun: Okay, I much appreciate that-
Dr. Keith Newton: Otherwise because I've gotten value from your program. So, it's something that I feel like I'm not afraid to get on camera and say, "Okay, hey, you know what? I got value from what Alzay has provided."
Alzay Calhoun: Good. I really respect that. Thank you so much. So, lets start at the beginning here. Why don't you please tell us who you are? Please, your name and your company's name.
Dr. Keith Newton: Okay. I'm Dr. Keith Newton Newton. mY COMPANY'S NAME IS Mantiaba Interactive and what I do is that I help companies meet the legal requirements under 88 and digital accessibility.
Alzay Calhoun: Lets talk about the program. So, you've had the experience, you've seen all the modules, you've seen all the content. Lets talk about what you enjoyed most about your experience in the program.
Dr. Keith Newton: Probably by far the thing I enjoyed the most in the program were the group calls.
Alzay Calhoun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr. Keith Newton: That's where I got the most value, but I think that the value from those group calls also came from the structuring of the program to know that you were walking into a very organized and a very set time that you were going to get things accomplished. So, I think that structure helped to set up the success of those programs and then the fact that within the group calls, you're trying to do the exact same thing that you're teaching us to do in the program, which was to provide, is to help find a solution. Each of those group calls consisted of multiple problem calls from other people who were in the program and you just say, "Okay, what's the most important thing that's happening? How can we help? Okay," and then you would go back and then you'd try to go from, okay, take them from a frowny face to a smiley face, right? And help solve the issue.
Dr. Keith Newton: So, I think that's the thing that I got most value out of the program.
Alzay Calhoun: So, what I heard was a connection between the structure of the modules, the coaching program or the coaching calls as a dialogue experience, but then also the relationship between. So, inside our conversations, you saw the relationship between here's what the modules ask you to do and here's what it looks like live when you do it either with yourself or with other people?
Dr. Keith Newton: Yeah. I mean, you walk your walk. Meaning if I'm going to be paraphrasing you as a cliché-
Alzay Calhoun: Yeah-
Dr. Keith Newton: Which I do, but in this case, it's really apt. It's like okay, you know what? We're going to do the exact same things I encourage you to do in the program. We're just going to do them right now in this problem call or in this coaching call.
Alzay Calhoun: Mm-hmm (affirmative), excellent. Okay. So, now, lets talk about what you enjoyed the least. What did you enjoy the least about being in the program?
Dr. Keith Newton: The homework activities. I must say, I did not and I'm going to put a disclaimer here, I realized that they were necessary even though I still didn't like them. I think it's perhaps the portion of me which really doesn't like all of the independent learning and then waiting for the feedback to find out whether I got something right, but you clearly, in those areas in which I was really weak, which was inclined to acquisition and then even before that, in terms of making sure that I had clarity in terms of the structure and offering.
Alzay Calhoun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr. Keith Newton: I think that I would have benefited from being able to do that for example in a one on one with you as part of the process to work that out before trying to do the written exercise independently, but that's not to say that the program as it was structured was ineffective. I just think that piece will help to make it stronger.
Alzay Calhoun: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Got it. I heard that. I heard that loud and clear. So, now that you are where you are in your business, I'm sorry. Let me as that question again. Now that you are where you are in this program where it's taken you, what is your number one takeaway from the experience? So, as a program, you take away blank from the experience.
Dr. Keith Newton: Yeah. The thing that I thought was the initial thing and it's changed since I wrote down this answer. My initial thought was that okay, I really need to spend a lot more time being very serious and being very organized and being very disciplined about how I'm paying attention to the growth of the business and in particular client acquisition and client service and client retention, but I think that, as I've been examining that, that has actually, ironically enough, turned out to just be a symptom of my larger issue, which is that I don't want to do all of this by myself and we've had the back and forth conversations in terms of okay, look, I want the big money that the big organizations are getting and they're leveraging me to get it, they're charging and even me, as a consultant and I charge pretty significant price, they're still putting a way more significant price on top of me and they're earning those dollars. I'm like okay, no, I want those dollars going in, but to your point as you point out, there's a lot of infrastructure there that occurs and as I had gone through the program and looked at the very strategic ways that you were looking at client acquisition, in particular and the daily operations that it takes just to maintain a presence, which will allow for attracting the type of client that I want to serve.
Dr. Keith Newton: It has just become a reality. It's like, "Look, I don't want to do all of this by myself. This is hard. I'm looking for hairs to pull out." So, you know, I mean, the conversations that I've been having, which started off as a side effect of changing the information on LinkedIn as part of the sixth module and re-organizing [inaudible 00:07:08] as part of the earlier modules [inaudible 00:07:11] four, has led me to have conversations with people who are looking for partnerships in my area, which are in digital accessibility and they've been looking for, I've been approached by a couple of folks who have been looking for, they want to get into accessibility, they need somebody who has credibility in order to sell their services. So, they've already done a portion of the client acquisition and they need me to be able to provide the credibility to be able to complete that process. So, that's where my problem calls have been ironically, as of late, most of them. I still have some of them independently.
Dr. Keith Newton: I'll have one with a client coming up here for a major health organization here in a few hours where it's just me and it's like, "Okay, well, you know what? I've worked with this person before and we have this relationship and I can work that," but in terms of going out and searching some of these other things and setting up all of the contracts and the relationships and maintaining those relationships through daily activities, I'm like, "You know what? I need help. I just need help to do that," and that wasn't the reason I got into the program, but it's a good result of learning from the experience of being through the program, what I want to do and what I need to do next.
Alzay Calhoun: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That is really well said. I'm going to put a pin in that because I want to come back and ask a bit more about that in just a minute-
Dr. Keith Newton: Okay.
Alzay Calhoun: How you're now thinking with that insight. So, we'll come back to that in just a moment. Okay. You may have just said it, but let me just ask you the direct question anyway. So, now in your business, so, now that you've had the insight, you've had this ah-ha moment, what do you know you need to do next? What is that next step that you know you need to move into, execute on, do, etc.?
Dr. Keith Newton: Next step I need to do is that I got to firm up some partnerships with some organizations and I got to firm them up with some companies with people who are either in my scene, well, in a couple of different areas. One, either in my same zone currently as an independent and they're out working and trying to play in this space and they need somebody to help them establish credibility in their space or the other [inaudible 00:09:54] avatar is of course been a mid-size organization, slightly larger, who may already have infrastructure and they already have services like building entire websites or mediating entire websites where they may need part of that service done or companies who are also doing the work in the same thing that I do as a productized service, which is doing the website analysis and doing the discovery and so we can find out what's wrong.
Dr. Keith Newton: So, for example, I had a conversation yesterday with a company called Applause, formally U-Test, which is a crowd sourcing test platform where they need somebody to lead their accessibility practice doing discovery and also doing integration into businesses within the business of software development life cycle and now that I've been through the program, I can have the conversations with them. It's so ironic. I feel like your ghost is channeling me in the calls because I'm talking to them, this is literally what I said to Applause the other day. I said, "Look, if 80% of your work is going to be in the analysis and the discovery websites, okay, lets focus on that as a deliverable product, right? Lets focus on that in terms of setting the expectations of a timeframe that it's going to take to do the product and the skillsets to get everybody consistent in the same process so that we can duplicate it and expand it so we know how much time it's going to take across every engagement. The conversation I had with another company where they wanted to utilize my services and he started, as the accessibility, as okay yeah, I'm again, I'm the accessibility person when they want to talk to me and get the confidence like this company's going to be able to do the work, you know?
Dr. Keith Newton: The very first thing was, "How do we work together?" And I said, "Well, I'm at the point in my career in which I sell productized services. Here are the products. The products are the delivery of a..." why can't I remember the thing that I worked on today? You know, of the analysis of the website, you know, there's a services for workshops and for training and then there's a service for integration and then these are the price points for that and so, those are the conversations that I have now whereas before, I was spending more time trying to haggle out an hourly price and I just don't want to do that. In this rare instance that I have to do that, I just don't have that, but primarily, I am gaging, I'm trying to get everybody on this whole productized delivery system so that I can predict, "Okay, hey, you know what, you want me to do this work? This is what it's going to cost. Okay. Do you want to move forward with the program? Yes? No? Okay, great. Fine. Don't want to move on, fine. Okay, want to move on? Here's what you go, here's your guaranteed delivery. All right, what do you want to do next?"
Alzay Calhoun: And you said it really quickly. So, I want to make sure it's highlighted. What you said was this way is a structured way of having the conversation. I'm having more of those, I want to have even more of those.
Dr. Keith Newton: Yes.
Alzay Calhoun: Versus having to haggle about how long something will take per hour and how much I should bill per hour.
Dr. Keith Newton: Correct.
Alzay Calhoun: What I just wanted to highlight is we're talking about having conversations in such a way A, where you have control because you're the expert. You know how it works. So, you actually have control of the conversation. B, you aren't, you don't have to haggle about pricing. So, while you were describing everything you were describing, no where in that description did you get to and I got to figure out how to do it for $25 an hour or I gotta figure out how to do it for $75 an hour. That's not even the converse, we're not even talking about that. We're talking about what's needed to solve the problem they're trying to solve and that is just, it's just, let me ask you. How does it feel Dr. Keith Newton to be able to have conversations like that versus the hourly haggle?
Dr. Keith Newton: It feels so much better. I mean, it's not even close. It's night and day and it's very frustrating when I have to go back and have the hourly conversations with companies who are focused on that particular point because one is based on value and service and the other was based on I am deciding what you're worth based on how much I'm willing to spend.
Alzay Calhoun: Right.
Dr. Keith Newton: Yeah. You know and I was already done, I already thought I was done having those conversations before I started this program. This program gave me a way to more effectively have those conversations.
Alzay Calhoun: Right.
Dr. Keith Newton: And now it's also provided me a way to more effectively search for those people with whom I can have those conversations.
Alzay Calhoun: Yes sir.
Dr. Keith Newton: I'm not there yet. I'm very early into this and I realize I have a tremendous amount of work to do after this and I may even be coming back to you to go through and cycle through this again at some point, six months or 12 months down the road just so I continue into this process. Not just like, "Hey, I exercised for eight weeks and I just lost 20 pounds. I'm happy!" And then six weeks later, what happened? I got sad again.
Alzay Calhoun: Right.
Dr. Keith Newton: You know?
Alzay Calhoun: Right.
Dr. Keith Newton: I'm not trying to do that. I'm not trying to do that with this, but it's a challenge to do all the stuff every day and that's why like, "Okay." That's why I'm at the point where I'm like, "Okay, I gotta partner with somebody," because that's going to help keep me accountable, it's going to help keep me focused and it's going to help keep me on the path to say, "Hey, you know what? I want a product because I know this product's going to take me 10 hours to do and I will be done and if you want to sell it and put your additional costs on top of it, I'm going to try not to think about how much money you're making on top of me not working, but I'll have my product at my price and I'll move on."
Alzay Calhoun: That's awesome. You know what? Lets go ahead and dig into that now because you brought it back up. So, there's this concept of and on my end, as the business coach, I encourage this. There's this concept of I want to be focused on solving the biggest problem. So, that's my encouragement to you Dr. Keith Newton is focus on solving the biggest problem, your energy, your time, your daily rhythm. All these activities, all that insight is focused on solving the biggest problem. What you've learned as a relation to your business is that there's some infrastructure you have to have to allow you to focus on that.
Dr. Keith Newton: Yeah.
Alzay Calhoun: If not, you'll be all over the place. Focusing on 100 things, but in order for you to be able to focus on that big problem, to really be lasered in on that, there's some other infrastructure you have to have, there's a lot of ways you can build infrastructure and get infrastructure. There's some artistic element you can add there, but you've decided to focus on strategic partnerships. That's what I'm hearing from you and I know some background on that as well. So, if that allows you to leverage their infrastructure so you can focus on the highest order task-
Dr. Keith Newton: Right.
Alzay Calhoun: And that can be invisible to people upfront because we want all the money. We want to take all the riches. We want all the attention, but if you can't handle that because you don't have the infrastructure, you gotta steer step your way into all the money, all the riches, all the glory, etc. So, what's of most value is that the first thing you do is focus on the problem, make sure you hear the problem, see the problem, you've got full command of the problem and once you know that, then you can decide where in this infrastructure you want to or what kind of infrastructure, what style of infrastructure you want to include. Am I capturing that well, Dr. Keith Newton? If I'm not, please refine my thought.
Dr. Keith Newton: No, you're capturing that well. You've said it more eloquently than I have, but that is yeah, but this is why I hired you because this is what you do.
Alzay Calhoun: What you're discussing and that's why I'm highlighting it now, it can be invisible to people. It's the kind of thing where I just want to do my thing, I want to do what I do because I'm really highly valued and no one's challenging your value, no one's challenging your intelligence, but if you're going to be of greatest, you can be a Brad Pitt, the actor. You can be Will Smith the actor, you can be whoever you respect as an actor or an actress, there's an entire, folks behind the cameras, there are folks directing, there are folks producing, there are folks doing sound editing, there's an infrastructure that allows that superstar to be a superstar. That's my point and respecting that balance makes you more profitable with your time, your energy and your money. So, thank you Dr. Keith Newton for allowing us to dig into that for a minute because that can be invisible to other folks. That can be something folks don't fully understand.
Dr. Keith Newton: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Alzay Calhoun: Okay, what else here? I've got for you, I want to ask you, Dr. Keith Newton, what would you tell someone if they're considering being part of this program? It sounds clever, it sounds cool, it sounds interesting, what warning would you offer, what encouragement would you offer, what would you tell someone before joining this program?
Dr. Keith Newton: Well, I wouldn't necessarily be of a warning. I mean, the thing I would say is I would start by saying that Alzay is genuinely interested in helping you solve your problems and your focused on then, you've got a structure in place to be able to help do that and take somebody from where they are with their business into the structure that they may want to have and I'm not may they want to have, that's a poor way of saying it. Into a more organized manner or operation so that at the end of the program, that you have in place structures for client acquisition for client service and for client retention, right? Those are the things which were constantly talked about and drilled into me throughout the entire program, but also there's a lot of authenticity in what you do in terms of wanting to make sure that this is not a one sided conversation or one sided service, right? It's making sure that you are in the best position to serve your clients because being able to serve your clients at the highest level are the things which will make client retention so much more easier, right?
Dr. Keith Newton: And those are the things, you have this stuff in your free training, but the free training is the high level setup for the process work, which is what's done in this program. So, you can get the higher level understanding from the free training, but you don't really get the process intensive work until you actually do the program.
Alzay Calhoun: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Thank you for the honesty of that because that is true. That's by design.
Dr. Keith Newton: Right.
Alzay Calhoun: The free stuff is for concept so you just know what you're getting yourself into, but at some point, you gotta decide that you want to do it and that's a decision you gotta make and it's a personal one and a professional one. "Hey, I'm going to do it now," and Dr. Keith Newton, much credit to you because I remember our very first conversation was you were coming into the program-
Dr. Keith Newton: I'm so sorry-
Alzay Calhoun: And I was warning you, there's some stuff that you can't see yet that when you start to do, when you start to actually do this work, you're going to go, "Oh, it works like that," and some of that stuff just doesn't make sense, it's just not appropriate until you decide to do it, until you decide to build it and as you've already expressed, there's some frustration and some friction that can come with that as you appreciate a new way of thinking through things, but you fought the fight. That's what I'm saying. You opted in. You said, "I'm going to give it a shot," and you really worked on every exercise and you iterated as you needed to and what I'm hearing from you and hope others can hear as they're listening to you is a much different perspective about how you see your business and what I'm also hearing is efficiency. I'm hearing it's not as heavy today as it was yesterday and efficiency is profit. Please, go ahead. I think you had a thought.
Dr. Keith Newton: Well, I wouldn't necessarily phrase it that way because like I said, again, coming out of this, one of the things that I said is that there's a lot of work that I have to do and I don't want to do all of that work alone, right? So, all of those things are still there to tackle, but what comes out of the program is a recognition that those things are there and that there's a daily process to be successful in order to get to where I want to be and then at this point too, to your point, I can decide whether or not I want to do these things, but now I have the process and the clarity to know that if I decide to follow this path that I have my prediction of success following Alzay's program is much more clear and there's a flow there much more than my own independent thinking of, "Well, I'll just put out my stuff and I'll get clients and I'll just get on the phone and I'll send out my LinkedIn and I'll try every which way under the sun," you know? I can't do all that. All of that is exhausting.
Dr. Keith Newton: You're smiling because you already know because that's why you made the program.
Alzay Calhoun: Right.
Dr. Keith Newton: Right? So, your program gave me a more organized way to approach things. It didn't change the amount of work that I have to do.
Alzay Calhoun: Right.
Dr. Keith Newton: It just gave me a way to focus.
Alzay Calhoun: Right. Thank you. Thank you for the reframe. What makes me most excited as the business coach in this engagement here is you said I've got a list and I can decide between A and B and C and that's the passion place for me when things become less scrambled mentally and literally as you go, "No, I have an order and I'm going to do this first and that second and that third. I know what I'm doing." Right?
Dr. Keith Newton: Right.
Alzay Calhoun: Getting to that sensibility. I know what I'm doing. I'm doing this, I'm doing that, I'm doing this. It's hard. It takes some time to get some momentum with it, but now I know what I'm doing. I'm not guessing and flailing and hoping and wishing and all the other stuff that pure fled out hustle sometimes can send you. You're hustling like crazy, but it's all in big mashup. So, thank you sir. Thank you sir for the clarity on that. What, okay, now, I'm reading a note here, from you. I'm reading a note from you. So, my next question here is what's next for you? And there's a first line that I'm reading and I hope that you will repeat it and say it out loud.
Dr. Keith Newton: Yeah.
Alzay Calhoun: What's next for you Dr. Keith Newton?
Dr. Keith Newton: Okay. I'm going to read it verbatim because I have to remind myself of this every, I've been reminding myself of this all week. I'm in the process of organizing my life. I am currently unsubscribing to censored [inaudible 00:26:02], reducing clutter, entertaining focus on my key activities. So, the very last week has been unsubscribing to everything that's been coming into my email box. I can't get rid of it all at one time. So, I'm just having to take it as it comes in and as it's popping into the inbox. It's like, "Okay, unsubscribe," and then like, "Oh, I might want to, no. I'm just going to do unsubscribe. Oh, that job program. No. Unsubscribe," because all of this information has been getting, not all this information, all of this clutter has been getting in the way and so, once I clean out a closet there, you know? Then that's going to put me in a better position to organize this piece so that I can make sure that as part of the client acquisition and client service and retention is going to be that much clearer, right? I can't set up my email tools right now with all of this stuff coming in because it's just too much.
Dr. Keith Newton: So, I gotta get rid of it. I'm going through my materials and I'm looking at, oh, that's the other piece. I'm going through my materials that I've written before and I'm looking at the things that I'm writing now to support clients and trying to find ways that I can deliver that more effectively, particularly 500 words or less in short little stints because I know that even though I write incredibly detailed and might I say, magnanimous pieces of content. If I am the only one reading them, what's the point?
Alzay Calhoun: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr. Keith Newton: So, I mean, I'll write the super detailed stuff just so I don't have to remember a process.
Alzay Calhoun: Right, sure.
Dr. Keith Newton: And I'll go into 300 to 400 pages of that stuff just so I have that. So, when I walk in and somebody says, "What's the process to do this?" Here we go.
Alzay Calhoun: Absolutely.
Dr. Keith Newton: And then when they don't read it, they'll just hire me to do it, but the other piece is to be able to attract people and start to get them to recognize me as an expert without requiring them to be an expert when reading the stuff. That's a part that I want to work on and not in my senses in a preposition, that's one of the things in which I want to work to be able to welcome people in and then be able to have better conversations.
Alzay Calhoun: Mm-hmm (affirmative). We even talked about some short form strategies to do that where-
Dr. Keith Newton: Right.
Alzay Calhoun: If you've got because sometimes already in your vault, you have these correct, helpful, very well structured documents, information, process, etc., but if you show your client that big thing, no dice. You lose them instantly. So, what is the translation between big huge document to bite sized element that they go, "Oh, okay, I see, tell me more?" What is that translation? And that's not, I wish there was magic for that, there's no magic for that, but there is intentionality behind that and if you have a clear intention, like you described, you'll find that folks respond better to your content, which means the other stuff that you want can happen. So, strong sir. Strong. Dr. Keith Newton, is there anything else that should be said at this time? Did we do it all? What's missing?
Dr. Keith Newton: You've been reminding me that there's no magic throughout this entire program. That it's going to take, that some of the things that I'm doing will take some time. Some of it may even take years and I appreciate that authenticity, I appreciate the very direct and just saying, "Hey, look, this is a process. You know, you're starting this thing. You're going to have some early wins, but a lot of this work as you're doing, you've grown overtime."
Alzay Calhoun: Yeah.
Dr. Keith Newton: So, I say that in part to ras you, but also to say that I really appreciate the authenticity that you bring to the program and the directness and the clarity that you try to help me achieve.
Alzay Calhoun: Yes sir. It's an honor, it's an honor to have you as a client sir. We're going to close down the formal part of this conversation now. I'll ask you a few questions offline. Thanks so much for you time today, I appreciate it.
Dr. Keith Newton: Cool, all right. Thank you.