In the Mind of a Mentor: Conversations with Robin Waite the Fearless Business Coach

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In this podcast, Robin and Mark discuss strategies for entrepreneurial success, emphasizing quick iteration and testing new ideas. Robin suggests launching a minimum viable product within 48 hours. Mark highlights Robin's background as a business coach, ex-website designer, and author. 

Robin shares his journey from systems analyst to founding a web design business in 2004, which he sold to focus on family, leading to his coaching career with Fearless Business. He discusses his book “Take Your Shot,” about a golf pro overcoming business challenges with coaching.

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Timestamps (audio)


A quick peek

[00:00:00] Robin: One of the things is just being prepared to sort of, well it's the cliched one isn't it, fail fast, fail forward. So if you're thinking about doing something, there's no point in just being sat on that for three months or six months. Just go and give it a go. Typically there's like a There's what they call a minimum viable version of that idea that you can launch, and you can launch it within 48 hours and try it and see whether it makes a difference.

[00:00:24] Mark: Having a blast, gonna get it on the Boostly podcast. Boostly like Bruce Lee, cause it's so hard and the T is loose leaf. Making up those rhymes, don't write it, just do it loosely. If you want my respect, you better put it directly. Mmm, here are the words in the podcast, that's what comes next.

In today's podcast

[00:00:40] From time to time, in the podcast, we like to go, Out of the world of hospitality and drag an expert in to share their knowledge, because it's always good to dip out because when you dip out is when you learn some cool stuff and you can bring it back.

[00:00:54] Today is no different. So I've, I've known this chap for quite a while. We've been in Facebook groups together. Um, he's a business coach. He is an ex, uh, website designer, had an agency, sold it, took a chill out. And now he's coaching, but he's a, he's a published author. He did a video last year with, um, Ali Abdaal, who is a fantastic YouTuber that went just bananas.

[00:01:17] It had over 200, 000 views. And that's why I rekindled and just sort of restarted chatting to him after Vaxxer, I said, Oh, you're on Ali's channel. I love Ali. Yada, yada, yada. And then he told me about the book and the speaking events. And I was just like, Hey, do you want to come on the podcast? Cause this would be cool.

[00:01:32] And, uh, I focused on three important questions, uh, about hospitality, about productivity and everything else in, in, in between, um, He did also give me a link to a free book, but you have to watch the full duration of this to find out the link for that free book.

[00:01:50] Robin: Yeah. So I've always had an interest in business, right from the early years.

[00:01:54] Um, but I won't bore everybody by going sort of way all the way back. But, um, to the short version of it is, um, I was a systems analyst for several years at Learn everything about that. I liked about business, but also learned everything about how not to run a business and did that stupid thing that you do as a sort of naive 21-year-old thinking, well, I can do it better.

[00:02:14] So set up my first business in 2004, which was doing, um, marketing primarily. So we did a web design and branding and we heavily product ties those towards the latter end of the 12 years of running that business. Um, and then in between children. So my wife was quite heavily pregnant with the second. Our second daughter, Sophie, um, I decided that was a great time to sell my business.

[00:02:36] So, uh, I just reached a point where, uh, you know, and you've got sort of, we probably kind of get this, you know, 200 plus clients, which means you've got 200 bosses that you're, that you're at the beck and call of, um, had a small, slightly dysfunctional team of, um, you know, four people working for me.

[00:02:52] Probably. Dysfunctional because they were working for me, but, um, it just became a bit too much as my response, like, personal, you know, family responsibilities were starting to, um, grow, um, so decided to, to sell the agent. Well, I didn't initially go to sell it. I, I initially, I just went to, um, I was going to close it down and then.

[00:03:10] I was very fortunate. I had somebody come in and heard about it and made me an offer. Um, and then kind of went on a bit of a hiatus. I had several people who heard that I'd sold a business and were curious. They were like, Oh, you sold a business. Could you help us with that? And I was like, yeah, probably.

[00:03:24] So just did a bit of informal mentoring over coffee. And then it just reached a point where. I was having so many conversations, I had to formalize it and, um, uh, sort of figure out how to weed out the tyre kickers and the time wasters from the ones who saw the serious business owners. So founded Fearless Business, the coaching program eight years ago and yeah, haven't looked back.

[00:03:43] Mark: Can you just a little blurb, a little, like a little synopsis of that book, if you don't mind?

[00:03:47] Robin: Yeah, sure. So, I, uh, uh, very early on in, in my, um, coaching days, I did a webinar that was. Well, it was for web designers. That's what I'd done previously. So we had about 50 people on it and about five minutes after the end of this webinar, I got this call from this excitable young man.

[00:04:04] Robert, that's brilliant. Like, you know, I'd love to know more about it. And I was like, Oh, cool. So tell me about your web design business. He's like web design. I'm a golf pro. Okay. Right. Interesting. How did you get onto the webinar then? And he, he said, Oh, well, a good friend of mine knows you and recommended that.

[00:04:18] He said, you're great at business. I should jump onto this webinar. Anyway, Russ. Became my first official coaching client, um, off the back of that webinar and that conversation. And so the story of take your shot and it's told as a parable, a story, it's only a short book as well, but we, we go on Russ's journey effectively, um, uh, through sort of the, the challenges and troubles he has in his business.

[00:04:41] And then he meets a business coach, and the business coach gives him five great pieces of advice, which he rolls out into his business. And then. The rest then is sort of history beyond that.

Overcoming fear

[00:04:52] Mark: So let's get into the questions. I've got three questions that I've put down. Um, one, the first one is a fearless-based question or fear-based question.

[00:05:01] I tried to do a little bit of pun on that one. Um, so you've discussed how fear can be a significant obstacle for entrepreneurs. Can you share a story about someone you've coached who overcame their fear and achieved something great in their business and maybe try and tie it in with an old, uh, Rustler golf coach?

[00:05:16] Robin: Yeah, of course. So, I mean, what one of one of the biggest fears which Russ had so Russ shared a very similar sort of background to me. I don't want to do too many spoiler alerts for the book, actually, but, um, it's it's very relevant. Russ's biggest fear was around because he knew that he wasn't charging enough.

[00:05:33] You kind of had to have all of the, you know, as working, like, You know, 12 clients a day with his golf lessons and 6 days a week and run down and exhausted and he was just, um, afraid to put his prices up because ultimately, that's what it came down to. We had to increase his prices to be able to buy back the time to be able to then spend with his family and put into holidays and things like that.

[00:05:56] And, um, the, the, the real. version of the story is, that Russ was resistant. He had a, um, very deep sort of, um, every, well, everybody does money mindset, money story that had been given to him, you know, unfortunately by his parents and 99 per cent of human beings experienced this. So. We grow up with those stories that our parents, you know, their arguments rather than stories.

[00:06:21] Oh, we can't go on holiday this year because we can't afford it. You can't have those new trainers robbing because we don't have the money or, you know, uh, we, we can't, we can't help you out with your car. You've got to go out and get a job so you can buy the car yourself. So like everything's very like scarcity mindset driven.

[00:06:34] Um, and Russ shared this and many of my clients share this. The, uh, and what it comes down to is that when they. Ask for more money. Their greatest fear is rejection. We're tribe animals at the end of the day. We, don't like people to not like us. We like to be liked. It's why, you know, for the parents amongst us, when you stood at the school gates and you're the one in the, in the, you know, waiting to pick your kids up and you stood in the, um, um, waiting outside the school for your kids and you stood on your own.

[00:07:01] Like, we don't like that. We want the other dads to come up and accept us into their pack and, you know, have a bit of banter and a bit of fun and things like that. We want to, we want people to like us. And pricing, unfortunately, is very much attached to that. Well, one, we've got that story of scarcity, which has been given to us.

[00:07:18] So that's the only blueprint we know. But secondly, when, when we give our prices to somebody and then they say no to us, it's like, Massive rejection. How dare they, why don't they understand how great I am and how much money, you know, what I'm, what I'm worth and what value I can bring to their business?

[00:07:35] But the reality is like, and how much you want to dig into this Mark, but like in business, um, you know, and I'm, I'm in business day in and day out. So it's the simplest example. So we have yourself, you know, Robin with his money and issues and mindset issues and fears and things like that going off over here, but a business is like, it's not.

[00:07:55] Entity. It's not, it's not like a human. It's not a living thing. Right? So, the business, what it needs is strong, stable foundations to be profitable and sustainable and things like that. So, Robin comes into his business and he's got this all his crazy shit going on. And then we do that. Well, the business is naturally on rocky foundations all of a sudden.

[00:08:14] So, Where I, what I try and help, um, uh, say business owners to see, and this is true in life as well, that when somebody rejects you and they're not necessarily rejecting you directly, what, what they're rejecting is the idea or the concept or the thoughts that they have about the thing, um, and they may not align and it's just, it's okay to be okay about that.

Joy is critical to productivity

[00:08:35] Mark: I want to talk about productivity. So productivity is one, but I know a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners or just people they struggle with. I was intrigued by your mention that joy, not discipline is a critical key to productivity. How have you seen this play out in real life with clients or even like your own work habits, have you got any stories around that?

[00:08:59] Robin: Well, you know, let's talk about discipline first, right? If, if you're David Goggins, and you're like, you've, you know, ex-Navy SEAL and all of that, like, your whole mindset is predicated around discipline, like doing the hard stuff. Uh, unfortunately, I think a majority of human beings are like that. We shift towards comfort, so discipline and comfort don't tend to go together.

[00:09:21] Like, discipline means getting out there, it is a painful, uncomfortable journey. And yes, there is growth through that. And I, I think there are times when you've got to push yourself into that. You know, be disciplined and push yourself through that discomfort. Um, and I, I remember like, you know, just a really simple example of this.

[00:09:38] I, I, I'm a keen cyclist and, um, near us, there's this categorized, it's the only local categorized climb in Gloucestershire called Froster Hill. And my brother had bought me this when I first started cycling, he'd gone, bought it, built me this like steel framed bike that was too small for me and triple speed gear on it and try and get, trying to get up this hill was nigh on impossible.

[00:09:57] I stopped the first one up it, I stopped three times, you know, to catch my breath. So, and I. One of the times I'm going up this hill, I'm just thinking, how the fuck am I doing this? Like, this is just so hard. I might, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to swear, but, um, why am I doing this? And this guy comes past me in the, you know, the Lycra kit that all, you know, everything, all singing, all dancing carbon bike.

[00:10:17] And I shouted at him that just out of frustration and, Oh God, you're making this look uneasy. And, um, I didn't hear what he shouted back cause he was so far gone at that point. Anyway, top of the hill. Cause there's a great community in cycling. Top of the hill. And he starts talking to me and he's like that thing you said about, you know, um, I'm making it look easy.

[00:10:36] He said, it never gets any easier. You just move faster. And that has been such a great mantra for me through, um, uh, through life and business as well. Um, It wasn't until I started going faster than I did because I was fitter and had practised it more. So a bit of discipline at the start to get started, but then when I got better at it, I started to enjoy it more.

[00:10:59] And you can, I can cruise around the countryside now doing 20 plus miles an hour on my push bike, you know, on the flat 52 miles and a half, 52 and a half miles an hour down the hill. It's on the hills cause I like, like going downhill fast. Um, but cruise around the countryside and you can start to like, Take notice of the scenery around you.

[00:11:16] And I think so many people are so they take on too much stuff. So imagine if you took on another three activities like cycling to do them all at the same time, you're constantly having to dip into the discipline reserves because you're so busy. It's so frenetic all the time. And business owners, entrepreneurs, I'd say are probably the worst at this.

[00:11:36] Cause it's like, Ooh, shiny every five minutes trying to bring new stuff in. But every time you dip into new, It requires more discipline. You've got to learn how to do it. And before you get to the fun part of it, and I think if you can just choose far fewer things to do, but do them well, you can have a lot more fun.

[00:11:54] Um, and, and especially I've, I've discovered this in business, you know, I'm quite a capable guy, Mark, and I said this to my wife, like, you know, and my therapist as well. , it feels like a curse sometimes because not only can I coach business owners, but I can run successful businesses myself. I, I'm, it just so happens I have the brain that can fix cars and bikes.

[00:12:17] I can, the studio I'm in, I managed to build this myself. So I'm pretty handy when it comes to DIY. I know how to work a washing machine. I can cook good food. I, you know, I can do so many things well. Everybody leans on me to do it. So I have to be quite conscious about the sorts of things to which I say yes and no.

[00:12:35] And where I start to have more fun in my daily life is predicated around what I'm saying no to, not what I'm saying yes to, because I have more time to focus on the stuff that I enjoy and therefore it comes more easily and more naturally.

Strategy recommendations for hospitality  

[00:12:49] Mark: I wanted to finish with a hospitality-ish-related question because obviously, this is a hospitality podcast.

[00:12:56] So, uh, as an entrepreneur in hospitality, embracing change and innovation is critical. What strategy would you recommend for our hospitality entrepreneurs, our hospitality hosts looking to refresh or expand their business model in today's market?

[00:13:12] Robin: Yeah, I mean, so I'm, I'm going to be like, I mentioned all the things that I'm good at.

[00:13:17] Hospitality is not something I've invested huge amounts of time into my learning, but I think, um, one of the things is just being prepared to sort of, well, it's the cliche one, isn't it? Fail fast, fail forward. So if there's something you're thinking about. Doing there's no point in just being sat on that for like 3 months or 6 months.

[00:13:35] Just go and give it a go. And typically there's like a, there's what they call like a minimum viable version of that idea that you can launch and you can launch it within like 48 hours and try it and see whether it makes a difference. So, for example, if the way you were talking Mark about adding an extra value, you know, and maybe starting to look at the cleaning side of it, and this is where people kind of have to push through the discomfort a little bit.

[00:14:01] My view is rather than go out and set up a cleaning business, for example, to work alongside your hospitality business, your, your, um, you, you, it might be that for the first two weeks, the next two stays, rather than pay a cleaning company, you go in and clean it yourself. And probably a lot, I know a lot of people may have started out doing that, for example, with Airbnb and things like that, um, just to see whether the model works and whether there's a way to draw some profitability out of it.

[00:14:27] And part of that is about being able to I see too many business owners who delegate responsibility rather than delegate responsibly. So what I mean by that is that to understand what it takes to bolt a cleaning business onto your existing property business, for example, you've got to understand the inner workings of how to clean your property.

[00:14:49] Houses, otherwise, it's just not going to work because you're not going to be able to tell other people how to do it. So there's a, uh, a slightly clunky version, which is, which is imperfect that you just go out and give it a shot yourself. 1st, learn about it, all of the ins and outs, and then you can go away and then build a business model around it.

[00:15:06] Um, and the faster you do that, the better, cause you might give it a go and go, do not know the company we're using. They were doing it much better. I can understand why we were paying them that much in the first place. Let's focus on, you know, fixing a different part of our business.

About the book

[00:15:20] Mark: All right. We cheesed the book earlier.

[00:15:23] Now, can you please just tell us a little bit more about it and where can people go and grab a free copy, please?

[00:15:28] Robin: Yeah, of course. So, it's only a short read as well because sometimes people are like, oh, not another book. After all, there are tons out there, but I designed it to be a very an hour and a half like 2-hour short flight read basically.

[00:15:40] And within it, there are 5 very simple business models around sort of pricing a goal setting, which again, it's. Remarkable how many business owners skip over the goal-setting piece. And like, that's, that's the bit, the bit, which is like business by design, which I think, you know, it's probably something for another episode altogether, I would imagine.

[00:15:55] Um, so we go into goal-setting pricing, packaging up your offer and things like that, and just understanding your numbers a bit better. Uh, but yeah, I, I've got some, a stack of copies ready to be signed and sent out. Um, uh, and the place to get them is fearless. biz forward slash T Y S for taking your shot.

[00:16:11] Mark: Which is your best social media to, sort of get in touch with you and like sort of follow your journey, if there is one?

[00:16:16] Robin: Yeah. LinkedIn is probably the best bet. If you've got any questions off the back of this, you want to fire across to me by all means. And I always accept connection requests and answer questions.

[00:16:24] I know there are lots of people out there who are like Johnny big bollocks, who don't bother replying to anything, but I'm like, no, I like to reply to people when they've got, um, got an interesting question. Um, and I've got a newsletter on LinkedIn as well, which is worth subscribing to where all of the concepts that we've talked about today, you know, I post a newsletter up there as well.

[00:16:42] Mark: So without further ado, we'll be back very soon with another edition of the Boostly podcast. Make sure that wherever you are tuning in from you like you subscribe, you share, you download and tell loads of people about it, uh, we are on a mission this year to get past 1. 5 million downloads, see if we can beat 2023.

[00:16:58] And the only way we'll do that is through your help. So thank you very much. We're back again very soon. Having a blast. Gonna get it on the Bruce Lee podcast. Bruce Lee. Let Bruce Lee 'cause it's so hard on the tees. Loosely. Lick up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely.