Three, two, one. Hey everyone, Harry Whelchel here. Today, I have Marek R. from marekrudak.com and we're gonna be talking about how Marek got his first five strategy sessions in 30 days, all right? Now, before we get into that, I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself. Marek, why don't I turn it over to you. Could you just introduce yourself real quick and tell a little bit about your business and what you do?
Sure, so my name is Marek R. I have a coaching business, marekrudak.com and what I do is I focus on Christian men, specifically help Christian men grow from divorce and start their next chapter. I just found that this is part of my story. When I went through divorce, it nearly killed me, nearly crushed me but there's definitely an opportunity to take all these hurts and suffering and turn it into something tremendous and so that's what I focus in my coaching practice to help men in that difficult moment learn whatever they need to learn and help them to make the transformations because if properly dealt with it could be a big help and a big platform to be able to turn your life around.
That's amazing. Okay, very cool and how did you, what do you think makes you guys particularly unique about helping these men recover from divorce?
Well, there's a lot of factors. I think the biggest one is stigma. Whenever you fail at anything, you'll, I mean, obviously it's not something you really want to brag about, especially something so personal as a marriage, I mean, you invest so much time, energy and focus. I mean, nobody gets married to get divorced and so you hear the statistics but you never think it's you and so when it happens to you, it's very shattering, it's very shattering and I think that another reason why it's unique for Christian men is that there tends to be a stigma. You are part of some kind of community and now all of a sudden, you're not really sure what to do because if you go there, you just feel like people might be judging you or maybe you're not a fit and it's just a very difficult time to really figure out what to do and what your identity is now that your spouse is no longer with you.
Totally, and so I imagine a lot of this you've experienced personally, right?
Oh, yeah, it's very personal and I think that's also another thing that really helps me in my coaching practices is understanding the pain because it's not something that you truly understand until you go through. I mean, obviously everybody knows that divorce is no fun but you don't really understand the depth of the pain until you go through it yourself.
Absolutely, yeah. So, got it, okay and tell us a little bit more about your story? So you, take us back a little bit and then kind of take us through like how you recovered from that at a high level, kind of what are the some of the practices you've put in place in your own life that you now help other men with?
Sure, so obviously there's a lot of components to it but the biggest one is to really understand who you are because what tends to happen, we as men, we tend to follow the checklist, you know, go to college, get a job, get married but in that process, we rarely have an opportunity to really understand who we are and so what happens is that we don't really develop our identity and then we get married and then our identity gets a mesh with our wife and so when the divorce happens, it's very hard to pick up the pieces and so like one of the main things I do, one of the first things that I do with my clients is to help them really get clear on their values and help them figure out who they are because now all of a sudden once you get a taste of that you have a path forward to be able to establish that independent identity and be able to grow from there.
Totally. Okay, very cool. That makes sense. Kind of like, yeah, I think it's, it's easy, a lot of people probably are like on autopilot, they're doing what they think they're supposed to be doing and then I can totally see, I'm not married, I've never been married but I could see how, if you're not really grounded in your own values and what you're about, when you get married or you get in a committed relationship of any sort, your identity can get really wrapped up in that other person. Is that kinda what you're saying?
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Got it. Okay, cool. Well, let's go back to the beginning. Like when we started working together before we were working together, what were you doing? What was the current focus of the business at that time?
Right, before I met you, I was doing more general coaching. I was focusing on men and their relationships and I've got some great clients. I had some success but it just wasn't very consistent and, you know, one of the things that I kind of got myself caught into, I was kind of always looking for that next thing to get me clients, you know, for example, I'll read a book, I did some speaking and then of course I've got some clients but it was just never a steady flow and, you know, one of the things that I really realized is that I was too general. I wasn't specific enough in my clients and so, even when I told people what to do, they weren't quite sure how to package that and how to refer somebody and so when I met you is one of the main benefits of working with you is making that realization that, hey, what I'm doing is too general. It's, you know, to keep doing what I'm doing, it's very ineffective and there's a lot of benefit to niching down because not only do you get new clients but it also helped me to provide better service for the folks because now I can give them a more individuals program rather than just the bits and pieces of general advice.
Absolutely, yeah. So like going back then, what do you think, you know, what was the temptation behind going after, just helping men with all their relationships? Why do you think you had that kind of positioning before?
You know, there's a lot of different things to it but I think the main one is the fear of turning people away. I mean, I really, I mean, I think that to become a coach, you're really passionate about what you're doing and so you wanna help everyone and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that but the kind of the disadvantage of that is if you're trying to target everyone, you're not targeting anyone. I think like one analogy that was very powerful for me is, I'm not sure if I heard from you, but it's like, you know, like, let's say you're calling a person in the middle of a train station, you know, hello, hello, like nobody's gonna pay attention but if you say John, John is gonna turn around and look at you and so that was that was really the main realization is that I had the right heart, I had the right skills, but the fear of turning people away actually got in the way of me getting the results for the people that I care about the most.
Yeah, it's like, yeah, I love that analogy. It's like, if you're yelling, hey you, hey you, you come across as kind of crazy in a train station but if you call out someone's name, that person who has that name will come and turn to you and maybe other people will like look and they don't think you're crazy, they just think that you're, something's important and you're trying to help get in touch with some specific person. So, yeah. No, that's great. And it's so interesting. I just see that again and again, where it's like, yeah, people have the temptation, the desire. Do you think it really is rooted in like a desire to help all people? Or is it that like deep down you think like, well, if someone comes and I can help them, I want to feel like I can help them? Like it's part of my mission or it's part of the scope of my services and so that way, like you can catch anybody that comes your way.
Yeah, I mean, it's, how can I say, I think that a lot of it is also not understanding business in general.
I think, like, for example with me, I was in the army. I was in corporate America. So on the surface level I knew business but it's a lot different when you're trying to market to people and so to me, like, I, you know, it's kind of like laughable when I think about it but I felt like if I'm not trying to help everybody out then somehow I'm not doing what my calling is to do, you know? In other words, it felt like if I can have everybody at any given moment then I'm not really doing the best job I can as a coach.
I see. So what you're saying is like, you feel like you have the potential to help men in a lot of different types of relationships and different relationship problems and so if you don't reflect that in your message, then you're doing something wrong. I see, okay. Interesting. Yeah, that's really cool. I haven't thought about it like that but I could see how someone could think about that and use that logic. Okay, so yeah. So what do you think, like going back, with that positioning, where you were at, trying to help men with relationships, what problems were you trying to tackle? Like what was the biggest thing that you were struggling with in the business at that time?
Well the biggest problem I had is I just didn't have a clear way of getting clients. I mean, I would get clients but it was never really a result of some kind of system. It was always just trying different things and really kind of hoping that clients show up and again, they did-
Yeah, exactly, you know, it's kind of funny when you look back at it but it just felt like that's the way to go, kind of like fake it until you make it if you will.
Or like, I'll talk about, I talk about hope marketing and spaghetti marketing. Spaghetti marketing being like, you just are throwing stuff at the wall and if it sticks, you're like, all right, it's stuck this time, great.
Yeah, yeah, yeah and it's like, kind of the vicious cycle is like you always kind of look to the next method but then eventually, and so it's kind of like hard to be honest with yourself 'cause I was like, okay, it's not working, but now I've got the speaking engagement, well, that's kind of working, I have the booking, just kind of keep jumping, jumping up and down and it feels like you're doing actually, you're doing a lot of stuff. I mean, it was a lot of stuff, but it's just not yielding the sustainable results.
Yeah. So was there any insights about like when we started working together, it's like, oh, like, I'm doing all this activity, but what is the one thing I need to be generating more of? Or what's the one activity that I need to be doing to grow the business?
Yeah, I mean the biggest realization is that you, I need to start having quick chats, quick conversations, you know, because, and another problem that I had is I just didn't understand the pipeline. To me it was just like prospect and discovery call and send somebody up and I didn't realize that, you know, it's a pyramid and the best thing to do is to have a high volume feeding into that pyramid and then with the proper system, you can troubleshoot, understand what's resonating, what's not resonating but unless you're putting those folks into the pipeline and you have a system to be able to properly assess them, then you're just shooting blanks and it's not really something you can adjust of.
Absolutely, yeah. So it sounds like what you're saying is like, basically you realize you need to focus on generating conversations, having conversations with the market and introducing a system into how you're doing that so that you can be scientific and diagnose, okay, if something's breaking down, why is it breaking down and then making changes to it, rather than jumping from strategy A to strategy B to strategy C.
At the first sign that it's not working. Cool. So like, tell me a little bit more about that. Like before you had that in place, like try to remember a month or two ago, like, was it frustrating? What was going on in your head like emotionally at that time?
Yeah, I mean it was definitely frustrating because, you know, again, I did a lot of stuff, I did blogs, I did videos, I did speaking engagements and again, I would get some traction, but it never seemed like it picked up momentum and it's definitely frustrating because you feel like you're putting in your best work. You definitely get the results to the clients and you just don't know what to do next, What else that you can try to be able to bend the curve upwards.
Yeah, it's like, there's so many people out there that they really know their craft, they know what to do to help a client, but they just, if they struggle to get that message in front of people to peak their interest and kind of bring them down and build that relationship and get them to buy. So, yeah, I can totally see that being frustrating. What other things have you tried? Have you tried anything else or like working with anybody else in the past? Anything like that?
No, no, not directly. I mean, I've come across some programs but it just never seemed like it was something for me, it seemed like they had some good stuff in there, but it didn't feel like that particular approach was something that would address my unique needs. It just feels like a bits and pieces but it just didn't feel like it was unique enough to my situation.
Yeah and like, what about, so you said you were in the army and corporate America. Do you feel like any of that, like one, did any of that help you as you started this business journey in your business?
Oh yeah, it definitely helped me a lot in different ways. You know, things like persistence, things like setting up processes and things like developing the plans, you know, I mean all connections, there's a lot of that but it's just the sales piece, it's something that's totally new to me because I've never done that. I was always on the product sales, I was never on the sales side.
Yeah, exactly. Okay, cool. So then, like then my follow-up question would be, do you feel like there's anything from your, like your corporate life or your army life that almost like you had to like unlearn or unwind in your head to be more successful?
Oh, well actually the biggest one that was like, you know, kind of like the first punches in the face is to realize that when you have like US army behind your name or ExxonMobil, you know, people, you know, if you build it, people will come but if you're just marekrudak.com, it doesn't mean anything to you. So you could have the best character, the best intentions but unless you figure out how to connect to the person and meet them where they are, it almost doesn't matter, you know? And actually it's kind of the reverse. Some people actually, they know how to do them and have the best service, but, you know, they'll still get customer and so it's almost like, it's almost more important to understand how you get the customers than the actual skills themselves, because you can always improve the skills but if you don't have the customers, then you don't have the lifeblood to sustain the business.
Yup. Yeah. Correct me if I'm wrong, I hear what you're saying is maybe like, you know, if you wanna go get another job or if you wanna get like a speaking engagement, like having worked at ExxonMobil and be in the army, like that helps a lot. But if you're like trying to talk to one prospect about their divorce or like their recent divorce, they don't really care that you were in the army. They don't really care that you worked at ExxonMobil. They just want to know, like, can you help them solve their problem? Is that what you're saying?
Yeah, I mean, it helps to have, you know, like army and ExxonMobil, I think it helps but the most important thing is is that, you know, that's kind of like a little add-ons but the most important thing is to be able to understand where the person is, you know, understand the situation, also understand where they are in the buying journey, because if you don't understand those two things, it doesn't matter if you are a, you know, whatever you did in the army or at ExxonMobil 'cause that the person is buying stuff for themselves and so if they don't feel like you hear them, then you know, why would they buy from you?
Yep. So how did we first get connected to each other?
Yeah. It's kind of interesting story. It was actually through one of my clients and he mentioned you and he said that you gave him some great success and he recommended me to link up with you and then that's what we did.
Yeah. And so, okay. So we got connected through a mutual colleague. What kind of peaked your interest when we were first talking at the very beginning?
Well, I think that the biggest thing is, you know, you asked me some tough questions, you know? And those are very uncomfortable questions, things about like my systems, about my results and it was very uncomfortable, it really was. I mean, cause it's, you know, it forced me to be real and honest and obviously I didn't enjoy it, but it was exactly what I needed to look at.
I remember, I think like maybe the, one of the first calls we had, like, there was like a lot of silence, not because it was bad but because you were just like digesting a lot of like tough, tough information, kind of tough love and then you like slept on it and thought about it and then we talked again, you're like, all right, yeah I think you might be right.
Okay, and so we got started together. What do you feel like have been the things that have impacted your progress the most so far that you've done?
So there's a number, but I think that the kind of the biggest one that stand out to me is the Facebook farming methodology-
It's before that's not something that really was on my radar. Part of it is because my niche was too broad to even, you know, what group do I target if I target men in general? There's a ton of them.
So yeah. I mean, we really got together, we decided to like get clear on that divorced men positioning, right? That was the first step.
Oh yeah, actually yeah, my apologies. That was that, yeah, that's the first thing we did before that.
And then, because we did that, sorry to cut you off and then, because we did that, then you were able to leverage Facebook organically, more effectively. Tell me more about that, tell us more about that.
Yeah, yeah. So, you know, obviously there's a lot of groups for many interests and there was a number of them for divorced men and so that helped me to actually find the groups where my niche was and so, you know, even right now in this COVID environment, you know, before I used to like really rely on more like speaking engagements and so that gave me the ability to still reach out to clients even from my home in spite of the fact that everybody's on a lock down and quarantine.
Yup, yup. So tell us more, how has that process been? I mean, it hasn't been just like totally smooth sailing, it wasn't just like working instantly for you, right?
Yeah, I mean, it's definitely, definitely, there's a bit of awkwardness to it, no doubt about it. I mean, at first I thought that, you know, maybe this is not for me, but I was willing to try and-
Why do you think that you were resisting? Just self reflect on yourself. Why do you think there was that like, temptation to be like, yeah, this isn't for me?
Well, 'cause there's this kind of doubt, whether you just, are you being a creep? Or are you being that sales-y guy that's trying to sell you stuff you don't need? You know, I think everybody's experienced that at some level in their lives and at the same time I also recognize that, hey, you know, people who are in those groups, they were hurting and so I was trying to figure out like, what's the right way to inject myself in that conversation without violating trust and making the situation worse.
Yep and like, I mean, didn't you, you got kicked out of a group right at the beginning.
Yeah, I mean, it's kind of funny because the things that I've done on that group, I see people doing in other groups as well. I mean, I think hindsight 2020, I think there are a couple of things that I'd change but that kind of goes back to the group. Each group has its different culture. I think in that group eventually if I would have gotten kicked out anyway 'cause I think these guys are just very sensitive about particular things but-
Like, you know, we've had a number of calls about this strategy and how to do it well and I've been watching you get better and better and each time we talk like I, do you think that what you know now, you might not have gotten kicked out or like you would've been able to like better handle being a contributor in that community?
Yeah, yeah. I mean there's definitely a good possibly that, you know, 'cause that was one of my first groups, so maybe I was overeager. You know, I don't remember exactly what I did-
I think you said like send me a DM or something like that.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but it wasn't like right it was like after a series of steps, but yeah, having said that, now that I've my lesson, I'm not doing that in the other groups, so definitely keep me out of trouble.
So yeah. So now, okay, where you're at, like, what else? Anything else you feel like has been like really impactful that like opened your eyes or just gotten some really good insight in what to do next?
Another big one was the sales group, that was very helpful because before, I mean, I've done some sales but it was kind of more binary it's just to understand the person, their fit and then, you know, make the sales.
What type of setting was that? Was that like when you were doing more broadly relationship coaching or something?
Yeah, exactly. So I would basically have this, you know, what I call the relationship audit for like half an hour conversation and my whole idea there was to just understand the person, give them some value and then offer them, if it's a fit, offer them the coaching package at the end. But the problem with that approach was that it was very binary. It was like a yes or no and so the benefit of the script, it pretty methodically helped me to really understand the person's situation. We'll walk them through and then, you know, one of the things we talked about is recording that call and so later on, afterwards, I could go back in and understand better what the client really wants and so even if it wasn't a successful call or not, it didn't matter, what mattered was is that we understanding like what the client wants and how the client responds to my question because that allows me to have a feedback loop so I can adjust my offer. So, whereas before I had an offer and it was like, basically take it or leave it and now with the sales script, I'm in a much better position to understand exactly what that client wants and that I can make adjustments to whether it's my content or my messaging to make sure that the offer is a better fit for my niche.
I love it. And do you feel like, like when you were doing the relationship coaching more broadly, was your pricing lower by chance?
I guess if you do it, you know, yeah, I mean, it's kind of hard to say because there was different tiers and, you know, right now I have this different systems but it was probably a little bit lower, a little bit lower.
But I just bring it up because I think that like, when your ticket price is lower and maybe if that person came in as a referral, like they're a friend from church or something like that, it's a lot easier to make the sale because it's just less risk and it's like, once we start thinking about higher price points, that's when that consultative sale, like really understanding where they are, where they're going, it just, it's necessary. You need it to be able to make the sale happen. You know what I mean? So I'm excited for you because it just means the more you get practice and are systematic with your sales calls, the more comfortable you'll get charging higher prices and your close rates gonna go up as well. So that's great. So let me ask you this, what areas do you think of your business or life have improved, and by how much?
I think definitely the client acquisition part improved a lot. It gave me ownership because before the way I did things, it was basically like yes or no and when it was a no then it was disappointing. Whereas now, even if it's a no, I have a way to understand what I can do better next time and so that's a very empowering because it's one thing to fail and don't know why but it's a totally different story, when you fail you understand what you did wrong, so you can come back again and come back stronger. So that definitely gave me a lot of power back and a lot more ownership in the sense that I can actually go back, tweak my systems and be able to come back stronger each time even if I get a rejection.
I love it. Yeah, so it's like, you've booked five sales calls, right? Five strategy sessions so far, like, in the next week, two weeks, like, do you feel like you could predictably generate those strategy sessions? It's not just like a fluke, it's like, you can keep doing that which then powers that feedback loop that you're talking about.
Yes, definitely, yeah, I mean, it's definitely, like in the number of quick calls and the sales calls is accelerating. So I definitely feel very comfortable about the quick calls and I'm better at picking the right people and having the right conversations. So, yeah, I feel very confident about the fact that it's just gonna keep going up as I go.
Me too. I'm excited for you. What do you think, why did you decide to do business with me?
So two reasons, I mean, the first one was that I got a referral from a former client of mine, I have a lot of respect for him. So that was very big and I think that, you know, kind of the second thing that really comes to my mind is that you really have good systems. You know, the systems that you have are very solid and, you know, that's something that I really missed in my business. I mean, I kind of got bits and pieces there and I was getting by but there was not enough depth in those systems to be able to take it to the next level. I mean, I think I would just keep going the pace I'm going and it basically be, you know, an act of God for me to take it to the next level. Whereas now, you know, with your systems, I can surgically understand, hey, this is working, this is not working and that gives tremendous power and helps me see more opportunities as I keep working in this niche.
Nice. I like it. That makes sense. So it's like, yeah, just a lot more predictability, a lot more feeling of control that you can, like again, gotta be scientific and test and iterate what you're doing and keep growing from that process. Cool. So what do you think, like at the end of all of our conversations, in the decision making process when we first connected, the sales process, what do you think kicked you over the fence?
What kicked me over the fence? You know, it's kinda hard to kind of pick the one thing, but like the first thing that comes to my mind is your ability to clarify things. I think that it's very helpful because it's, you know, there's a lot of noise out there and, you know, typically what happens is that, you know, we each have skillsets but, you know, even if you're good at something, you know, there's other parts that we're not so good at and I think that particularly when it comes to cultures we're very good at what we do in terms of results, but, you know, typically that doesn't coincide with the business skills and the business systems and our ability to see things clearly, you know, some people have it, but, you know, typically, you know, you're not gifted in all areas and so that was very helpful to have an honest, and, you know, at times, you know, rough but that's what I needed, like an honest conversation and clarity to kind of get to the point and be honest and be able to adjust rather than just kind of, you know, run around and go and hope that things turn around.
I love it, I love it. Okay, cool. So would you recommend others work with me?
Yes, definitely, definitely. I mean, it's particularly for the folks who are in the coaching niche, who are, you know, want to change the world but don't know how to get sustainable clients, how to fill up that pipeline of clients, you know, the stuff that I learned from you, I mean, there's some things that I've heard before but there's a lot of stuff that I haven't heard from anybody else and especially in this COVID-19 environment and the fact that, a lot of things changed as far as, you know, speaking engagements and social settings. I think the things that you teach are very sustainable, regardless of what happens with this COVID-19 going forward and it gives you flexibility to get more and more clients into your pipeline.
Awesome, man. Thank you. So if someone is listening right now in the audience and they're on the fence, why should they take action right now?
Because unless you take action, you know, there's a saying that, you know, by what's his name? I guess they're saying it was Einstein, but it's actually somebody else, you know, insane is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. So if you've been doing something and it's not getting the results that you want, it's time to be honest and get the help that you need.
Yeah, it's funny, I remember earlier in my journey, like, I think this is really common with men, I can't speak about women cause I'm not a woman but like, we take a lot of comfort in like knowing what we're doing and like not asking for help and it's like, I wish I had asked for help earlier in my journey, like a lot earlier. There are so many years and months I spent just trying to like figure it out on my own and I think you're right. It's like, if you keep doing things that's not working, like, it's good to be persistent, it's good to have grit, but it's also okay to like raise your hand and get help you know? It's a balance. It's not like the one excludes the other, so really cool. Anything else that you wanna share? Did we miss anything?
No, no and also like another thing that I'd like to point out that I was very impressed with is that you're very available because I think that, you know, at least the cultures that I've come across and understand how they work, they work on certain schedule and hours but, you know, especially for somebody who's making a big pivot in their business or, you know, it was very helpful for you to be ready, available to have those conversations because, you know, if I was to wait for like my weekly session then a lot of time would have went by. So the fact that you have a calendar, you know, fairly open and people can book a call whenever they need to is very helpful to keep that momentum going faster instead of just getting caught up or getting potentially turned off because you're not sure how to do a certain thing or you're stuck at something in your business.
Yeah, I appreciate that. I mean, it's really important to me. I'm sure I stressed this when we were talking early on, but like, I really don't wanna be a blocker for my clients and so anything I can do to like, like you said, like help them maintain their momentum, it's really a win for me because like, I want you to be as successful as possible as quickly as possible because then I can, you know, talk about the wins, the results and it really, I try to align myself with my clients as much as possible and I think as long as like anything I can do to set up my business to not block them, I think is what I'm gonna try to do going forward as best as I can. So, well, cool. Well, if people wanna learn more about you, your business, your story, where can they find you online?
Yeah, so the best thing is my website.
Perfect and great, so people can go check out your website and find you there. All right. Thanks so much, Marek, Really appreciate it.
Awesome, my pleasure.
Have a good day.
From blog videos to productivity tools, student interviews and livestream Q&A's. Here you'll find resources that help you start and grow a wildly profitable art practice.