We did an interview a while back with Jason Miller, a leadership coach who works primarily with self-described “tech geeks.” Most of his clients are far more comfortable with hardware, software, and technological infrastructure than they are with people. Jason works with them to help them learn to navigate relationships and to stand up for themselves in the conversations that matter most.
Although Jason is good at what he does, he had difficulty getting enough quality leads and hated the time-consuming process required to do direct selling: Send cold emails. Track emails. Respond to emails. Repeat again the next day. It felt like a lot of effort for very little return. “It's highly, highly inefficient,” he notes. “It doesn't pay, it's not profitable, and it takes up a lot of time. And that is completely unsustainable.”
Jason needed a more efficient, more effective means of generating leads. He found his solution in producing video content to attract clients. Through our program, he learned to create, manage, and leverage a YouTube channel and establish a step-by-step process for efficient and effective content execution. He no longer works overtime trying to find clients; instead, he creates content that allows clients to find him.
“Once You’ve Learned the System, It’s Done”
The beauty of this method for Jason is “the complete and all-encompassing system” that works over and over again. It takes time and effort to design and build the system—in his case, a video channel and a repeatable, step-by-step method for creating and leveraging content—but once it’s up and running and hitting the metrics, the hard work is done. He’ll tweak things here and there over time, but the system is self-sustaining. It continues to bring in leads, saving him the endless time, work, and frustration of cold-calling and freeing him up to do other things worthy of his time.
Jason notes that traditional marketing and sales approaches don’t take into account the pain points of “solopreneurs” who are working hard to run a business on their own. They are too manually intensive. There are still things he needs to do every day to keep the system going, but with a clear-cut, systemized process in place, he always knows what to do next—and that, he says, takes a big weight off his shoulders.
“Automation is a Big Deal”
Jason emphasizes the value of using existing platforms—software, social media, or both—and leveraging their capabilities to the fullest extent.
The program helped him choose the right platforms and follow a simple, daily process to create results quickly.
As part of a group coaching program, he learned how to create a YouTube channel from scratch, publish lead-generating content, and take maximum advantage of the tools and opportunity that YouTube offers.
As Jason understood the process better he layered in more automation.
Using platforms this way allows his business greater scalability with less effort on his part. “I have a community ... resembling the type of people I want to work with, more or less. And I've got to keep them engaged.” As this community grows it requires more management, but Jason is able to streamline his efforts by taking advantage of automation tools. At the same time, video content he created a month, six months, or two years ago continues to draw new prospective clients into that community.
Learning to automate requires time and effort, but because our program lays out the steps very clearly, Jason was able to see, digest, and make sense of the process as he learned. And his investment of time and effort has paid off.
“It's really intensive,” Jason notes, “but anything that you can get to the point [where you can automate it] is massive. It's a massive value. Automation's a big deal.”
“Different Skills at Different Points in Time"
Efficiently planning and producing videos requires following a process. Jason explains, “Video production … requires different types of skills at different points in time. You can't [just] plan a video, shoot it, edit it, release it, and then go back and do another, plan another video, shoot it, edit it and release it.”
Batching and Blocking
The key to efficiency, he learned, was “batching” his tasks to produce multiple videos at a time. Working in 90-minute blocks, he plans the videos one day, shoots them all on another day, edits on yet another day, and then publishes.
He notes that the approach we teach works for all sorts of productive activities, not just video production. The steps will be different for each type of endeavor, of course, but looking at Jason’s process can give us a good idea of how batching works:
- Planning: On his planning day, he begins with questions. “What are all the questions I want to answer? What is all the content I want to generate?” He creates a list, fills in information, and plans his videos. By the end of his session, he’s ready to shoot the next day.
- Shooting: “I've got three videos listed out here. I'm going to shoot them. Boom, shoot them one after the other. Don't try to edit them. You shoot, you make mistakes, you keep going. Shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot. Okay, great, I've cranked out three raw videos.”
- Editing: “Next day ... I'm going to edit them all. It's the same task. I don't need to change gears. … I [can just] crank it out.”
- Publishing: “The next day I'll say, ‘Okay, what are the outlets that these are going to go out to? Where am I going to publish these in addition to YouTube?’ Then I put them out in my email feed, my community feed, ... all the outlets.”
A Discipline Worth Developing
This approach “makes a ton of sense,” Jason says, but blocking off that time and sticking with it requires discipline and adopting new habits. That was a challenge for him. But he now considers the process a “requirement” because he has experienced the benefits:
- Efficiency: The mental effort of switching to a new task often cost Jason 30 to 45 minutes of lost time. Batching tasks into blocks of time eliminates the need to continually shift gears, making the process much more efficient.
- Productivity: Increased efficiency means increased productivity. By blocking out time each day for different video production tasks, Jason says, “we crank it all out in five or six hours during the week.”
- Motivation: This method of production “doesn't crush your will,” he says. “You can declare victory after every day. And that gives you the encouragement to knock it down the next day.”
- Sustainability: Using this stage-by-stage approach has helped Jason appreciate how the human mind and body work. We have to “respect that and work within the limits,” he says. “[Otherwise] you're going to burn out.”
At times Jason has resisted this method and tried going back to his old way of doing things. The result: “you run out of gas, you get frustrated, and then you end up procrastinating the rest of the week.” That doesn’t just affect productivity; it affects his viewers: if he’s shooting a video when he’s tired, frustrated, or angry, it’s going to show. Sticking with the process allows him to show up energized and focused so he can express himself like the expert he is.
“There’s Value in Clarity”
While Jason was building his system and learning about process, he was also gaining insights for working with his clients. As an experienced coach, he was already using some of the concepts we teach for responding to questions; going through the program helped him build on this knowledge to address his clients’ problems more effectively. Several things stand out to him:
- Every problem has a cost. One “interesting challenge” for Jason was learning to frame problems in terms of time and money. In the personal development space where he works, the cost of a problem isn’t usually obvious, so he needs to help his clients make that connection. For example, a client may be passing up promotions or job opportunities to avoid a difficult conversation. Jason explains, “we want to start with the problem as [the client] sees it, and then say, ‘Okay, but what is that problem actually costing?’”
- There is power in brevity. A key principle Jason learned for producing video content is the importance of getting to the point quickly. This carries over to his work with his clients, who tend to ramble and tell stories without really getting to the issue. “I literally coach them, ‘Okay, but what is the question you're trying to answer here? What is the problem you're trying to solve?’ Driving towards the question.” He notes, “There's power in that. You short-circuit a lot of overthinking and negative self-talk when you have the ability to get to the point.”
Jason also began applying this principle when responding to questions and soon discovered that “the sharper and quicker the answer, the more impact it has.” He explains: “When somebody hears a short answer and it just clicks, … they're like, ‘Wait a second. He's right. That's the short answer. Why am I overthinking this? Maybe I can relax now. Maybe I'm clear now.’”
- Brevity brings clarity. “Another thing you taught us is that there’s value in getting clear, even if they're not paying you,” Jason says. “So that crossed over into some of my introductory calls and sales conversations. ... The calls are shorter. We get clarity. We get to a decision point faster ... whether they sign up with me or not. So that’s been a really powerful experience.” He adds, “That all integrates into the system and into the program.”
“Trust the Process”
Jason has tried other marketing programs in the past and found them frustrating and lacking the details he needed. “They give you all the concepts and all the how-tos and [say], ‘Why can't you just do it?’” The problem with that, he notes, is that “a lot of us are not natural-born marketers.”
His experience with our program was much different. “Sometimes it's better to learn from somebody who had to overcome the challenge versus learning from somebody who's a natural,” he says. Two things stand out that made all the difference for him:
- The process is clearly defined. “What to do was never in doubt”—he knew exactly what to do and how to do it because the details were clearly laid out. The program content is also broken into “logical chunks,” which he found helpful. He explains, “There's a proven system here to learn. And ... I could see that it made sense right off the bat.”
- The process is realistic. Our model was created through trial and error over a long period of time, allowing users to benefit from our experience. “I think every step of the way in the program, you're like ... ‘I've been there, I've done all that, I made all those mistakes. ... I'm helping you make those shortcuts right now.’” Jason also appreciated the relatability, empathy, and “consideration for the challenge.”
As a result, he says, “I actually felt like I was learning something that I was going to be able to directly do. There was nothing in doubt.” He adds, “It was enjoyable to just sit back and learn and trust the process. ... I knew that I was on track, and then the challenge of learning it was fun.”
“It All Works Together”
While knowing what to do was “liberating” for Jason, it took time to learn new processes and establish new habits. “There were times when I felt like, ‘Shouldn't this be going faster?’ And part of the challenge was not fully understanding what I needed to learn and how long it was going to take and how much of a growth curve it is.”
He encourages others joining the program to be patient and trust the process. “We underestimate the difficulty of change,” he says. “Change is hard, creating new habits is hard.” He offers two pieces of advice:
- Be all in. Jason had to make a decision to trust what had been built rather than defaulting to what was comfortable and doing things his own way. “You’ve got to get those concepts. You’ve got to internalize them and practice them. Otherwise it's not going to work.” He adds, “There's no aspect of the program that's optional. … You have to do everything. It all works together.”
- Be patient and persistent. “You will be building multiple habits across multiple contexts, across multiple processes, and that's a big, giant learning curve,” he says. “[But] if you're willing to be patient with yourself, if you're willing to stick with it, then you will learn all this stuff and then you will be able to do it and you will fully understand what it takes to do it.”
He concludes, “If it makes sense to you, and you're willing to be patient with yourself, then it will work. You will get it done.”