Many people talk about creating a ‘lifestyle business’ but few set out to find a business that meets that goal.
Today on the podcast we're talking with Alexander Tsymarkin from St. Petersburg in Russia.
We had a great conversation. Alex has a very simple business teaching ladies, mothers, who have children how to swim, and it's a really great story because of the way that he intentionally chose the business. How he started by going through the process from a lifestyle perspective, what would be the perfect business for him, and finding the model that met his criteria.
We had a great conversation about the choices he made, and then we came up with some really elegant, simple, repeatable ways to grow his business.
This is a really interesting episode because he really did start with his end in mind.
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Transcript - More Cheese Less Whiskers 095
Dean: Alexander Tsymarkin
Alex: Hello, Dean.
Dean: How are you?
Alex: I am wonderful. How are you?
Dean: Alex, how do I pronounce you're last name?
Alex: In English, it's like T-S-C-T-C-Marking, something like that.
Dean: Well, how about I just call you Alexander? How's that?
Alex: Yes, fine. You can call me Alex.
Dean: Okay. Perfect. So, where are you calling from right now?
Alex: I'm calling from St. Petersburg, Russia.
Dean: Wow. And what time is it there right now?
Alex: It's 7:00PM.
Dean: Okay. Perfect.
Dean: We've got a lot to talk about. I'm excited to hear what you got going on, and see where we can take the conversation. Why don't you tell me the whole story, here?
Alex: Sure. I'm excited, as well. Basically, I have a small swimming school here in St. Petersburg, Russia. It's called Mama Swim, and I teach young mothers how to swim easily, gracefully, and mindfully.
Alex: I started this school, like, three years ago, when I returned back to swimming, and I started as a normal fitness instructor in the swimming pool. Then I listening to you a lot, so after I did my "I know when I'm successful. I know when I'm happy when...", exercise, I realize that I need to start something my own.
Dean: That's so great.
Alex: Yes. I look at my target market, and I was thinking like, "Okay, who I want to be hero to? Who are my clients right now? Who will give me more referrals than the others? To whom I have access to?" I realize that a lot of women are working with me, and then slowly, slowly I realize that was mothers with two children, usually, and they have freelance, or some kind of a business, so they have time freedom to work with me some type of ... And I started to work with the mothers one-on-one, and this other thing I realized, that they don't have time at all.
Dean: And you're thinking, "Oh, what could be better? Mothers. They've got nothing better to do. They've got lots of free time."
Dean: Yes. Yes. Okay. Now they built your turnout. They don't have any free time, just like everybody else in the world. Right.
Alex: Yes, so I started to work with them one-on-one, and I started to offer them the program like, "You work with me once a week for one hour for six months, at least. Because you can spare one hour a week for yourself. You can allow it to yourself." That was pretty successful.
Since that, they're mothers and they talk to each other. I get a lot of recommendations and referrals. So, I fill up my school-
Dean: That's so good.
Alex: Yes. I've filled up my school pretty fast, and I was like, "Okay, I have clients, and I don't need any more." As I'm kind of bored. So, I started thinking: what can I do more? Now, I start to combine this. Mothers in small groups, like two, three peoples at a time. Now I tripled my capacity.
Dean: That's awesome. Yes. That, I was going to say, so your ... If I take it all the way back to that you started with the end in mind, of thinking through, "I know I'm being successful when ... " what were some of the things, and ways that you answered that question? That swimming was the conclusion that you came to. How would you finish your, "I know I'm being successful when" that led you to this?
Alex: Okay. I was sitting in a meditation and I was thinking, "Okay, I'm pretty tired to work for somebody." I was thinking, "What do I love to do completely that I can spend all day long doing that?"
Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Alex: I remembered the time when I used to work as a scuba diving instructor, and I realized I really, really, really love teaching. Then I realized that I used to swim when I was young. If I combined these two, that's probably could be a really, really nice thing.
Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Alex: So, that was the start. But then, I started to work with everybody for 11 hours a day, six, seven days a week, and I was burned out.
Alex: I need to stop here, and I need to think, "How can I make my perfect day?"
Alex: Again, you swim?
Dean: I do. I do. I love to hear this. Yes.
Alex: Yes, and I'm sitting there, and I am like, "Okay, what do I want to do completely? If no boundaries, no anything." And I said, "I want to work only in the mornings, but all my clients usually can come in the evening, so I need to change my clientele. Okay, what else? I don't want to work 11 hours a day, because I'm tired and I start to hate my people. I don't want to do that, so what can I do?" I can work, for example, five hours a day. Five clients a day. And I said, "Okay, let's do that. I lost some money. How can I fix that? Raise my prices."
Dean: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Alex: Then, I realized that my clients are so nice and so interesting, so I want to spend some time with them. I decided I need to work with one client, and then I have half an hour break. Either I can talk to my clients, or I can have a break and drink some tea and relax.
Alex: So then I don't want-
Dean: Spread them out so you got one client, and then a half hour break, and then another client, and a half hour, and another client...
Dean: That's so great. That's exactly how I do these podcasts, you know?
Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Alex: Yes, I'm listening to you a lot, and so you're so influential in my life. Thank you so much.
Dean: This is great. I love the ... I love hearing the stories of how it all comes together, because a lot of times I never get to hear these stories, but hearing you go through the process of beginning with yourself. What do you really want? I really am such a firm believer that the purpose of a business is to really support you in the life that you really want to have. That's really the thing, and I think the most successful thing about life is really having a life that makes you happy, not what society tells you you should aspire to.
Dean: And that's the other ... There's something to that, so congratulations on all of that. The good news is, it sounds like every time you came to that understanding, you got clearer on what you really want, that your business got ... It accommodated it, right? Because you're the one that's making the rules, you can set it up any way you want.
Alex: Yes, and I experimented all the ways I want. Because if I want this, I try it. If I like it, don't like it. I like it, I keep it. If I don't like it, I change it.
Alex: It's really, really amazing for me right now.
Dean: How are you liking this idea of working with small groups? How is that fitting for you?
Alex: I like it all, because the certain thing that was happening is I realize that some mothers don't want to work with me for the longtime. They need some kind of workshop just to give them what them want, and they can work on their self. So, we start to make this two-day workshop, and then I talked to them and it was clear that it's much too much. It's way lot of information. Way lot of waters. And I now I spreading this like we make four two-hour sessions within two weeks, and I give them enough information, enough skills to go back to their pool and to work on their selves.
Dean: Got you.
Alex: But the funny things is, some of my mothers, or some of my clients, they ask me if they could become coaches. The same as I did.
Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Alex: And I was like, "Okay. That was interesting request, so let me think about it." I took your Profit Activator and understood that I don't have any systems anywhere. I do everything on my gut, for example, almost all my clients came from recommendations and if you know what baby swimming is?
Dean: I've just heard those words, but I know that that's kind of a thing that's becoming very popular, to swim with your infant child, right?
Alex: Exactly. When you have an infant, and you go to the warm pool, and you're in a group with other parents, and you're singing songs, and you swim with your child, basically for half an hour, 45 minutes.
Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Alex: A lot of these instructors who teach these classes, they are the mothers themselves who participated in this program. They realized, "Okay, I like it." They go to the school, and now they teach people how to swim with their infant, but they cannot swim themselves. I teach a lot of these instructors how to swim. They work with my audience all the time, and they give me glowing recommendations all the time. So, I have a steady stream of clients from these recommendations.
Dean: Nice. So, you're teaching people...? I just want to get clear on what you're doing. You're teaching people who don't know how to swim how to swim? Or are you teaching people some special method of swimming? Or something else to do with swimming? Or is it literally them how to swim?
Alex: This is literally teaching them how to swim.
Alex: If you know what the total immersion is?
Dean: Total immersion?
Dean: I know conceptually what that is. What do you mean in swimming?
Alex: Okay, let me tell it this way: I blame Tim Ferriss for changing my life, because in his book Four Hour Chef, he says about that he lives in Long Island and he couldn't swim for the long time. Then Chris Sacca says try total immersion, or TI, and that will solve this problem. So, he tried and now he can swim miles and miles and miles. This is just the method of explaining, or teaching where you don't need to work so hard. You work mostly with your brain, and using the gravity and buoyancy of the water and you're just enjoying every step of the way.
Dean: I got you. That's great. So, you're getting results for people, and they're thrilled, and they now have this wonderful, new thing in their life: swimming.
Alex: Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
Dean: Okay. That's fantastic, and most of your business has grown through referral.
Alex: But the problem is, if I'm now looking at my business as a scale-ready algorithm, it's not ready. Listening to you, I started to write a book to make people to raise their hands.
Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Alex: I realized that if I will record and transcribe everything I talk on my sessions, because I tell a lot of stories, I give some fundamentals about dynamics, and history of swimming, and everything. If I will transcribe it, I can use it in emails later on. Plus, I can start, for example, free video analysis. Like you do here on the podcast, I can do that with swimming, for example.
Dean: Mm-hmm , that's great, so-
Alex: And then aft... Yes.
Dean: When you look at it, do you have a particular method of teaching swimming that is proprietary, or is there something special about the way you do it that you would train other people in? What's unique about your business that would be the foundation of your scale-ready algorithm?
Alex: Basically, this is the idea. I tried to combine my meditation experience and mindfulness with swimming.
Alex: When you can swim for the long time, and you enjoy your swimming, and you start listening to your body, you came to this moment right now. People feel more relaxed and ... How to explain it in English? They learn faster, and they enjoy it more in the process. So basically, what I am talking mostly, it's about joy and mindfulness. Not about working harder, and the results like you need to swim 25 meters, all the way, as fast as possible.
Dean: So, it's really about, yes, just really ... So they're not doing this to be competitive swimmers, or they're not doing it for the exercise benefit of it. It's something else. The meditation of it. The active kind of relaxation method. That makes sense. Because for a mother, it's very rare to be fully immersed in something that is truly present-minded.
Dean: It seems like a lot of things. You would always, even if they go to do other things, reading a book, or doing something else, they would always have kind of one eye, or one ear open, it seems like for being on-call.
Dean: It seems like swimming feels like it truly is a full-immersion experience where you're completely in it for 30 or 40 minutes, and it's your time. That makes total sense, because you're immersed, both in the mindfulness of it, but you're also in the water, which is kind of an insulating thing, as well. It kind of creates an environment.
Alex: Plus you get some exercise. Exactly.
Dean: Lots of really great benefits for that. Okay. I can see that.
Alex: One of the last testimonials, which I get, the woman says, "I came here, did not know what to expect, and then I totally forget everything about, even about my two children. I feel that I allow myself to take care of myself." That was a really nice testimonial that shows me that first of all, they need to allow themselves to thinking that they can give the time and the money to themselves. I used to say all the time that, if the mother is happy, if the mother relaxed and happy, the child is happy. If she is happy, she will give some food for the husband, so it's like points of influence for the whole family.
Dean: Yes. I like it. Part of the thing that would be the core, if you look at how you want to scale this, part of it is that you're solving the immediate thing is creating some kind of balance of the group versus the one-on-ones. That would be the nice thing for you. Then the other thing is that in order for you to really help somebody else start a business like this, you really have to address the, not only the during unit, operational stuff of how to actually do it, but the before unit, how to actually find people.
Dean: Have you gone down that path at all trying to create a duplicable before unit model?
Alex: I'm going there right now.
Alex: I'm starting to put some ads to run, some ads. But now it's going just for the free session. The offer is nice, but I want to finish the book and to start to run ads for this book, as you teach us.
Dean: Yes. What are you teaching? What are you titling the book?
Alex: That's a really good question. I have no idea yet.
Dean: Okay, well let's back up for a second, and look at the ... I mean, ideally, sometimes we just want to get in front of the people who already know about swimming. They already know they want to learn how to swim. Do you work with people who already sort of know how to swim, but to help them with their technique? Or is it always people who don't have any idea how to swim?
Alex: Most of them. Most of them.
Alex: But most of them who came to me, they usually can swim somehow.
Dean: They can. Yes.
Alex: Usually this is, yes. Somehow they can be in the water.
Dean: Yes, they can tread water, and do whatever is...
Dean: Just to stay afloat, and doggy paddle-
Dean: ... kind of around. Yes, exactly. Okay. So for them, for some group of the mothers that they, just knowing that this is an option, or that it's available for them, is sometimes the best place to start. If you were just to say that if they knew that there was private swimming lessons available, or learn to swim, that that would be ... and if it's on their bucket list. They probably know that if they have a new child, that probably deep down, they probably know that they're going to, at some point, have to learn how to swim just to be fully in their motherly duties, to be able to protect their child even if anything were to happen. It's almost like a liability, as a parent, to not know how to swim.
Dean: If you have a child, right? Because kids are going to want to swim, and they're going to be in situations where that's going to happen, so there's certainly that momentum going along with it, in that the tide is kind of moving in that favor, that they're already thinking this. We're not trying to convince them to do something they don't ultimately want to do, or aren't already thinking about. When we think about that as their, what Eugene Schwartz would call these, the levels of awareness, and this, at the highest level, sometimes being in front of the people who know what swimming is, they know what swimming lessons are, and they want them, that all we often need to say in something like that is, "free swimming lessons," as a way to start the ball rolling there. Just to get engaged with somebody who could be an ideal client.
Dean: Have you done any sort of Facebook advertising, or tried anything like that? What's the environment in St. Petersburg? What would be the kinds of things that you might think about trying if you were going to do some advertising?
Alex: Can you say it again?
Dean: Is Facebook a popular thing in St. Petersburg?
Alex: Yes. Facebook, Instagram, and we have the copy of Facebook which is called VK.com.
Dean: Okay, and do they offer advertising the same way?
Alex: Of course. Of course. It's the same way all the way.
Dean: Okay, and do you always do your lessons in the same location? The same pool?
Alex: Yes, I do.
Dean: So, if you were able to run ads to mothers within a two mile, three mile, how far a radius would you go? Would your audience be? How far would people come to swim with you?
Alex: Right now, if I look at my audience, they come all the way to the entire city, because I am kind of unique in the city, and nobody offers-
Dean: Okay. Perfect. Got it. To start with, I would take a band, a five mile band just to see that it's a reasonable distance for people, and offer what would be the kind of thing that, if it just showed up in their newsfeed, would feel serendipitous. In a way, that it would feel like, "Oh, I was just thinking about that." If you were to say, even if it just came across and had a picture of a mother just like them, with you, in the pool, and it said, "free swimming lesson," and that was your offer, where you just expanded on that just a little bit, and allowed people to get more information by email, does Facebook offer what they call lead ads in St. Petersburg? I know here you can run ads that all people have to do is push a button, and it automatically sends their name and their email address to you, without them having to fill out the form. It pre-loads the form with their info. They don't have to go to a landing page. They don't have to leave Facebook in order for them to respond.
Alex: Yes, I think this is the same. I never tried it yet.
Dean: Okay, and I would test something like that just to start, because you've got a way of targeting that audience. You've got women between 20 and 35, or 25 and 35, or whatever you set as the right age group; presence of children that you can target that they're moms; and have that message, "free swimming lesson." I think that's a really good thing. You could even do that kind of thing as a group, where you could invite four mothers to one thing where you kind of explain the process, you go through the things, and then offer them to continue on with you.
Alex: Wow, yes. That sounds easy.
Dean: Well, it is easy, right? And that's the thing, because you have to imagine that there are people right now who, they're already thinking that. That they would ... It's in their mind, "Oh, yeah." Or they might be thinking, "I used to swim as a child. I remember I used to love ... I would go with my mother to go swimming. Or in the summer we would swim." And now that they're activating this motherly mode, that that would be on their minds. That they might want that.
Alex: So, do I say just, "free swimming lessons?" Do I need to mention that this is a school for the young mothers, at all? What are you thinking here?
Dean: I think, where you're looking at it right now, that this is a profit activator thing. We're just looking for somebody to download a gift card that they can redeem for a free swimming lesson. So you don't need to say "lessons" even. Free swimming lesson. Then I would put in ... what are the factual details of this? What would be some amplifiers like this? I would look at creating the word palette that I would use here, so "free swimming lesson" is a powerful thing that somebody would be crystal clear on what this is about, and then download gift card with an arrow pointing to the button on the ad. I would have, in the picture, the picture of you in the water with the three ladies, or even have the one-on-one. I would test different images, but an action kind of shot of being in the pool.
Dean: Then I would offer some kind of details about what it is. What's the name of the swimming pool?
Alex: The class called the Fitness Family.
Dean: Okay, so I'm not even going to try to pronounce that. Whatever you call-
Alex: The Fitness Family.
Dean: What is it called? Sorry.
Alex: Fitness. Family.
Dean: Oh, Fitness Family. Right, right.
Dean: Okay. At Fitness Family, and when would they ... What other kind of amplifiers, or filters would we want to use here to get the right person? So if you say ... So are you going to switch completely to small group lessons?
Dean: Small groups. Small group swimming lessons.
Alex: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dean: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Alex: Now I need, basically, time that this is morning, or mid-day, no evenings, no weekends.
Dean: Right. Exactly. At Fitness Family. Small group swimming lessons at Fitness Family, Monday ... weekday mornings? Does that make sense?
Alex: Yes, it's fine. Monday to Friday.
Dean: Weekday mornings. What time would be the range?
Alex: I'm making it from 7:00AM til 3:00PM.
Dean: 7:00AM to 3:00PM. Yes. Join us for a free lesson.
Alex: Join us ... Okay.
Dean: Join us for a free swimming lesson.
Dean: This is kind of like the, as I mentioned, like the top level of awareness that people have. I think that's the thing when you're saying, "Small group swimming lessons at Fitness Family. Weekday mornings. 7:00AM to 3:00PM. Join us for a free swimming lesson. Click below."
Alex: Click to download.
Dean: Yes. "Click below for gift card."
Alex: Click below for gift card.
Dean: Great. That would be ... For somebody who sees that picture. They see the location. They see everything ... That's your ideal thing that within the radius of your facility there, there are probably women who, if they knew about it, would love to join you.
Dean: And that would be a really good start. Now, imagine that if this is something that you ... if this model works, that that would be the beginning of a scale-ready algorithm that somebody might be able to take and do that in Moscow, or in another city, or that they can do that same thing. The free swimming lesson, and instead of at Fitness Family, it's at whatever their facility is called. That if somebody had that way of getting somebody to raise their hand, which is exactly what that would be, now as soon as a mother downloads that gift card, you've got their email address, and you know that they're interested in swimming. Now you've turned an invisible prospect into a visible prospect.
Alex: So, I don't need to complicate it with a book, or with video course, so I just-
Dean: I don't think for this you really-
Alex: ... to show-
Dean: I think in the beginning, this is really where you got the opportunity to just gather the audience of people who really want to swim.
Alex: Sure, sure. Wow.
Dean: I think that's really the simplest thing. So you imagine now, that somebody sees that ad. They click to download. You get a notice that they have downloaded it, and now you can engage by email with them.
Alex: Right. Right.
Dean: Now you get to think, how would you dialogue with them if that was a magic teleportation button? They click the download button, and all of a sudden, they're transported to your swimming pool, they see you coming out of the water, and they say, "Hi, I'd like to get information about your swimming lessons." How would you engage with that person? Now you've got somebody who's expressing interest in it, what's the next step here? You want to connect with them.
Alex: The first question, probably, what I usually ask if they ever take any classes, or know how to swim, or this is the first time for them.
Dean: Yes, exactly. Okay.
Alex: If they say, "Yes, I used to swim at school" for example, then I know procedures, what is next. If they say, "No, I don't know" then the next question: do you have any fears?
Dean: Ah, yes. This is good. So now we need to replicate this by email now. We need to replicate idea of, that they've downloaded the gift card and we immediately send that to them. Then we want to engage, by email, with them and say, "Hi Alex, I sent your gift card. Do you know how to swim, or are you just beginning?" And we can experiment with a couple of different ways to say it, but what would be ... How would you say that the most conversationally? Do you know how to swim? Or, have you taken lessons before? This is exactly how I go through the process here, thinking it conversationally. Thinking it through what is it.
Alex: Usually, I just ask, "Did you take any lessons?"
Dean: Okay. That might be the perfect thing. That's good. So, I always like to ... When I think about this, I'm looking for either a direct way to ask the question, or a sorting question where I'm giving them an option. Like I might ask, in a real estate situation, "Hi, Alex. Welcome aboard. Are you an investor, or are you looking for a house to live in?" So, I might say that in the way of saying, "Have you taken lessons before, or are you a beginner?"
Alex: Yes. Yes.
Dean: Now that's going to engage you in the dialogue with someone, and then if they say, "No," then you know, just like you said, "Do you have any fears?" And if they said, "Yes," what would you say?
Alex: If they're in the water with me, the next question is ... Let me think.
Dean: How do you treat it any differently?
Alex: If they say, "Yes," usually I want to know what the goal, because some of them came to me that they want, as you said, they want to learn how to swim so they could teach their children how to do it. Some of them want to just enjoy the water, and swimming, and their body, and treat themselves to the water.
Alex: And some of them want to improve some results, for example, "I want to swim two channels, or something. Blah blah blah."
Dean: Okay. Okay. So that's all good to know.
Alex: So this is ... Yes.
Dean: Okay. Then, what's going to be your prescription then? So, if they're saying, "I've never taken lessons; I'm not afraid," what's your perfect invitation? When you're now inviting them to take one of the classes here?
Alex: This is my perfect people, by the way. My perfect person you described: they never took any lessons, they have no idea about water, and they don't have any fears. Basically, I tell them come, and I'll show you how you can glide through the water. You'll swim much longer, much faster, and you will spend no ... It will be effortlessly completely. You will go a mile in the water with me, and it's completely ... You will be blown away.
Dean: Okay. Hey Alex, I'm getting a lot of feedback from your phone, your headset, or your microphone is a lot of-
Alex: Change it?
Dean: No, I think it's just right up by your mouth maybe, was the problem. There was a lot of wind noise.
Alex: Okay. I don't know what was up.
Dean: Okay. Yes, I don't know. I think it was too close, or something.
But that all sounds perfect. You got the ideal person there, and what we're kind of describing about the ways these campaigns are going, is this is what you've just described swimming-wise, this is what we're trying to do before unit-wise for you. Effortless. That this is the thing that, I think, if you were to ... Do people put up, in cafes, or grocery stores or any places, do they put up, what we call, flyers? Have you ever seen anything like that? Do you know what a flyer is? When I say that word?
Alex: Yes, of course. Of course. Of course, I know. Of course, I know. No, I did not see it as a flyer. I did not see it. Usually it's-
Dean: I was just wondering. Like to put up a notice? If you were to put up a, at the pool, or at Fitness Family, or at the grocery store, the café, or wherever people go, that they could see that one sheet of paper with the picture of the ladies in the pool with you with a big headline, "Free swimming lesson," and then the same kind of language that we said, with a tear off tab that people could take to call this number, or go to this website.
Dean: I'm just thinking about really low-cost, stealth ways to get a message out, you know?
Alex: Yes, I never thought about it. I never thought about offline.
Dean: Yes, because it's so inexpensive.
Alex: Easy. Yes. It's simple, and it's inexpensive. It's nice. I like it. I like it a lot.
Dean: I do, too. I do, too.
Alex: Yes, plus we have here a lot of entertainment parks for children, let's say this way. So, I can put the flyer there, so this is parents with children. Basically my target audience.
Dean: I like that. See? That's the perfect kind of thing. Now, this may be interesting, because if it's not a customary thing, like if you're not used to seeing posters, or flyers, or things on bulletins boards, or anything that you may have, you may have an advantage in that it'll be sort of ... have some novelty to it.
Alex: Yes. Yes. Well, yes. I saw a lot of parks like that. Wow, yes. My mind is just running.
Dean: Good. Because wherever they are, it's right. You want to think about how to get right in front of your audience in the easiest way.
Alex: The funny part that I don't need too much.
Dean: No, and there's the thing, right? You're looking at it that ... And that model now, if you figure that out, and prove that model, that that becomes an easy way for someone to duplicate what you've done.
Alex: Yes. Nice. Nice. This is so good. Wow.
Dean: Because I think that's something ... Have you read "The E-Myth?"
Alex: Of course. Many times.
Dean: Okay, so that's what we're talking about. You're doing ... Everything that we've been talking about is something that you're doing with eye to duplicating it 5,000 times. That somebody could do exactly what you're doing.
Alex: Yes. Nice. How would you look at the referrals? How to orchestrate it?
Dean: I was just going to say that. That's interesting. Okay. Do you have all of the names, and emails, and addresses of all of your clients?
Alex: Everything but addresses. Physical addresses.
Alex: But I can get them easily.
Dean: Sure. How many clients do you have?
Alex: Active, or just total?
Dean: Total, and active. So you look at what is somebody trying to build here? How many people have gone through your program here?
Alex: About 200 total, and now I have about 25 active clients.
Dean: Okay, perfect. That's kind of a full practice for you right now, right? Like 25, or so...?
Dean: Yes, and that's what you're looking for, and maybe you're going to increase that if you start doing groups of three or four ladies. You could-
Alex: Yes, now I have 10 more spaces open, but that's it. 25 is my maximum.
Dean: Perfect. So, there you go. I think that that approach now, of you know what you're looking for. You know kind of what a full practice looks like. Now, it really becomes helping those ladies when they hear people talking about swimming, that they think about you, and that they've got some way to do it. Now, one of the things might be an easy thing for them to make it easy to refer is for them to distribute a free swimming lesson. If you said to these ladies, if you sent them a postcard, or an email, and you said, "Just a quick note in case you hear someone talking about swimming," or however that might come up, what the conversation would be around that, "then give me a call, or email me, or text me, and I'll get you a gift card for a free swimming lesson to give them."
Dean: Now, they get to be the bearer of good news. They get to get the glory of giving somebody a gift card, not a coupon, not $10 off, or 20% off, or something that has an inherent and complete value. That it's one swimming lesson. How much do you charge for the swimming lesson?
Alex: Let me say it in dollars. From $30 to $50 is the price.
Dean: Okay, so whatever that is, that's the value of it. Especially in a situation where you're putting them in with a group of other ladies, your hard costs are virtually zero. Your time is what the thing is. So by having them in with three other ladies, or two or three other ladies, the odds of them, at least one of them continuing is going to be high. That way, you've got there. What we always run into in a situation where you have the combination of a low-cost product, or service initially, but you have a long-term relationship with them, where they can come week after week after week, that one of the assets that you have is excess capacity. Like today, did you do swimming lessons today?
Alex: Of course.
Dean: You did.
Alex: Yes, I did.
Dean: So you've already had your full day. Did you have any open spots today in your groups?
Alex: Yes, one.
Dean: Right. So, that group, that's already gone. That's a perishable opportunity.
Dean: You had that. You could have put somebody into that spot, right?
Alex: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dean: And it wouldn't have cost you anything to do that, because you're already there. You already have the stuff. You just didn't have somebody to take that spot. We want to use and deploy those assets in a strategic way. When you look at, you've got 10 open slots right now in your schedule that ultimately, you're just looking to fill those. This falls into the category of, where I say that sometimes it's less expensive to get somebody the result than it is to convince them to give you money to get the result.
Dean: It's easier for you to get somebody to try this for free, than it would be to convince them to give you $30 or $50 to do it.
Alex: Yes, and it's usually after they try it once, they want to stick around.
Dean: That's exactly it. You've got an advantage there, because now you know that somebody with an experience is much more likely to continue on.
Dean: So, it's really effortless and friction-free.
Alex: Okay. Yes, it's nice. It's nice.
Dean: I think those three strategies ... If you had some gift certificates made up, and you just, for the next week, when you have your lessons with the ladies that you already have, if you were to give them an envelope with a little note that said, "If you hear someone, or know someone who would appreciate a swimming lesson, here's a gift card that you can give them for a free swimming lesson."
Alex: Nice. I like the wording of that.
Dean: Right. If you just said that to your existing people, you may have the 10 already filled up. They may ... If you give them two or three gift cards each...
Alex: Okay. Wow. Yes. That's so simple.
Dean: It's very simple. Yes. Elegant, right?
Alex: Nice. Nice. I like it. Yes.
Dean: So, that's the first thing I would start. Start with that, with the people you already know. Then I would go, the next level out would be these, I call them public notice flyers, but they're ... On yellow paper with the picture, "Free swimming lesson," big headline, just the words that we talked about on the Facebook ad, with the tear-off tab along the bottom, so you have eight or ten tear-off tabs along the bottom with your phone number, or email address, and say, "Free swimming lesson. Call this number, or email here." Or gift card. I would look for places to put those up, whether it's at the grocery store, at the café, at the play areas that you were talking about, or wherever you can get that in front of people. Or you could do that same thing as little ... a lead-generation business card that you could leave all over.
Alex: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dean: These kind of like stealth things are really ... They're fun to do on that kind of level.
Alex: Yes, they are. Okay.
Dean: And then the Facebook ad itself. The Facebook lead ad.
Dean: And that's something that ... You could test that for $20. You could test a Facebook ad with that offer, "Free swimming lesson." Those are all power words. It's all good.
Alex: Okay. Nice. Thank you so much. May I ask you one more question?
Dean: Of course.
Alex: Since I have mothers, they have children. Usually they ask me if I could do something with them. Up to this time, I used to work with children, until New Year. After New Year, I stopped and just focused on the mothers.
Alex: Do you have any idea how can I play with that? Because I'm really good with children-
Dean: Listen to your opportunity. This would be your opportunity to hire a swim instructor who can work with children, and you coordinate the classes, and have them work for you.
Alex: Okay. So, I need to start thinking "Who," not "How."
Dean: Yes, that's exactly right. You need a who.
Alex: Thank you, sir. That's amazing.
Dean: You're going to build a swimming empire.
Alex: Yes. A huge one.
Dean: You're going to build the biggest swimming empire, The Swimming King of St. Petersburg.
Alex: Nice. I like the sounds of that.
Dean: That's what they're going to say. That's going to be you’re ... You're going to get a Rolls Royce with a license plate, "Swimming King."
Dean: That's funny, isn't it?
Alex: It is. It is funny.
Dean: All right, so recap for me then, Alex, what we came up with here.
Alex: So, the three things I need to do is gift cards and give it to my existing clients, but if I will give it to my perfect clients, so they will give me the perfect prospects.
Dean: That's exactly right.
Alex: And I give it in envelopes, like two, three for each person. With wording that, "If you hear someone that you can appreciate, give it to."
Alex: That's the first thing, and then I give this flyer, yellow paper with "Free swim lesson" with address at Fitness Family, and I place it in grocery stores, or cafes, or these playgrounds, or whatever. And a cheap way to test is Facebook ads with all the wording you gave me.
Alex: And that's the last step.
Dean: I like it. All three of those. You only have 10 spots to fill. I think we'll get them all filled next week.
Alex: Yes, and once I did it, I can document everything and then it will be pretty much ready. Nice. I like it a lot. Thank you so much, Dean. I appreciate your time.
Dean: I do, too. That was fun. Thank you for calling in. Keep me posted, because I want to hear about the results.
Alex: Sure. I will. Thank you so much. Thank you.
Dean: Okay. Bye bye.
And there we have it. Another great conversation. I just love talking to ... I'd say this is the ideal small business. This is the kind of thing that I have such a passion for people who are starting businesses that match their lifestyle desires. I just think about being an entrepreneur as the greatest gift that you can imagine. That it allows you to define, for yourself, what your life really is, what you want for your life, and build a business around supporting that for yourself. I love getting really into the lowest cost, easiest ways to grow a business like that. I hope you enjoyed that episode.
If you want to see, and keep this conversation going, you can go to morecheeselesswhiskers.com. You can download a copy of the More Cheese, Less Whiskers book, and try out our Profit Activator scorecard at profitactivatorscore.com to see where the opportunities are in your business. Get insight just by going through the scorecard process. That's at profitactivatorscore.com.
That's it for this week. Have a great week, and I will talk to you next time.