Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs, mostly in the tech software space about how they built their businesses. And when I was told about today’s guest, I said, no, I don’t think it’s going to be a good fit.
And, uh, I went back and forth several times because I said coaching, which is what Nick Bolton today’s, uh, founder. Launched. It’s a transformational coaching school. Coaching schools seem a little bit outside of the focus of what I do on Mixergy. But as I found out about the, the entrepreneurial journey, I said, oh, this is very similar to what, what other businesses go through?
This is very interesting. I want to find out how he did this. And so I invited him on here to talk about how he built up his business. The, the thing that I’m most fascinated by is that first of all, how he got clients in. And Nick, you must know this, your space is it’s right. There’s been coaching life coaching now for years and years.
Um, full of brand names. I remember going to like a Tony Robbins coaching thing where one of their certified people was going to work with me. A lot of those brand names actually don’t deliver, which ruins the reputation of the whole space. And I, and I don’t yet see any new technology.
That’s going to make things any different and still, yeah. You went into the space you ended up doing well. I want to find out how you did this. I want to find out about some of the structural changes that you had to make in order to make the business grow and, and so much more. And we can do it. Thanks to two phenomenal sponsors.
The first, if you’re hosting website and you’re listening to me, you need to know, I host on host Gator that’s who host my website. I highly recommend them and you should go sign up at hostgator.com/mixergy. And the second, if you’re not yet charging for your content, and you’re just expecting advertising revenue to make you a fortune, I think it’s kind of late for that.
And it’s also not a great business model to be in. Exclusively, obviously I’m doing ads, right? I think it’s great. I don’t want anyone to depend exclusively on ads. I think it’s better to just sell directly to your audience. And so I’m going to suggest that you go sign up for membership at dot com slash Mixergy.
And I’ll talk about those later, but first Nick, good to have you here.
Nick: Thank you very much. We’re going to really get the behalf.
Andrew: I feel comfortable saying publicly what your revenue is. I’ve got it here on my screen and it’s strong.
Nick: So this year, I think we’re going to be heading to around three and a half million.
Andrew: What’d you do last year
Nick: I lost you. It did two points, 2.5 million.
Andrew: profitable. Okay.
Nick: Oh, very profitable. We did about 1.2 million profit last year.
Andrew: And is it just you now who’s owning.
Nick: Yes it is. Yeah.
Andrew: Okay. And you’re the guy also went out and you looked for coaches. You’re the person who went out and, and created the methodology and also are running a business. And I want to find out how you did it. It all started for you though, when you’re working as a bank manager and you hated it.
Right. And you said, I need something different. What did, can you give me an example, what you hated about being a bank manager that made you say I’ve got to jump into entrepreneur.
Nick: Well, maybe I’ll give you an example why I liked about it. That might be easier to fit into this podcast. Um, you know, I’m
Andrew: are you saying you’re going to hold back on some of the problems about being a bank manager?
Nick: Well, you know, I think, I think classic entrepreneur and you’ll be very familiar with this. Andrew is that most entrepreneurs just aren’t good employees. I was exceptionally good at being interviewed. Um, I used to turn up to an interview and people were thinking, ah, this is it. We’ve got like a genius on our hands at last.
We’re going to get somebody who’s gotta be absolutely brilliant in that job. And then I was just hopeless because I was just a bad employee. I just didn’t like what? For somebody, I didn’t like that feeling of being restricted. To, um, you know, when can I take a holiday or what my job was and all this kind of stuff.
However, however, what I would say is a little bit like Steve jobs, where he talks about looking at the breadcrumbs later in life. One of things I recognize is how valuable that experience was. To me, looking back as an entrepreneur, I learned about budgeting. I learned about sales. I learned about customer service, a lot about team management, all the, I mean, I studied philosophy.
It wasn’t like I did a business degree. I studied philosophy. Um, ended up being a bank manager?
by accident, but it taught me a lot of good foundational stuff that was really helpful later. Didn’t mean I enjoyed it at the time, but it was really, really useful.
Andrew: I always felt like I missed out a lot on my business education by not having a formal job with someone who I admired enough that I wanted to be like I did when I was in school, but not as an adult after school. Okay. And so. He didn’t like it. I understand why you then had a change in your marriage, which then changed what happened, which hadn’t changed your
Nick: Yeah. I mean, I, I didn’t think it began to this so soon. Um, so basically when I was 15 and I met my then girlfriend, we, I proposed when I was 17, we got married at 21. Um, and it was just the classic story of one earth. Did I do that for, and you know, I went through a lot of my twenties recognizing I’d made a mistake, but.
But I was a very different person. Then I didn’t have the personal strength to decide what I really wanted. So I kind of suffered it for quite a long time. And, you know, only once I decided enough was enough and I left in a pretty cowardly way at the time, um, all the hits, you know, did pretty well for it financially, but nonetheless, I had the way that it was pretty cowardly and was pretty, you know, it’s kind of the instrumental kind of moment for me.
Make me realize, hold on, Nick, you’ve got to wake up, but that was the catalyst that did making all the other changes, changing my career, changing everything I went, I mean, I left there with a four bedroom house and I moved into a flat what you might call an apartment or we call it a flat tail, then moved into a flat.
And this is absolutely true. Andrew. Every time the guy above took a shower, his dirty water would, it would leak through my ceiling. Uh, it would trip into a bucket, which I would have to then empty and eventually short fuse my electricity, but you know what? I was the happiest person in the world because I finally regained my freedom on my sense of control of my life.
And that was really, you know, I don’t think of anything before the age of 28 being the real me. I really don’t. It feels like that was some weird illusory character that lived a completely different life.
Andrew: just living the life that you had committed to by getting into a relationship by, by following through with what you were supposed to do. Got it. And then what was the thing that you did cowardly to get.
Nick: Well, I to say this is gonna get postal, but, uh, I, I, um, told her I didn’t love her at one point, she then kind of went very dramatic. So I said, okay, we’ll make it work. But I knew mentally it’s over. And so a month later, I, I, I dropped her off to work and I went home, packed the car, left the note on the mirror saying, one day you realize it’s for the best bear in mind.
I’m like a child, you know, I’ve gone from it, a child to be married. And of course that’s not how it ends. You’ve then got to go through a hideous divorce. But, but at that point I just needed to get out, mentally create a space and I just literally packed the car. That was it. And then of course, I went to my parents for two weeks and then I had to face the consequences.
Andrew: And then that’s what led you to start your very first business. You’re running conferences on social issues. Like what.
Nick: So what.
wasn’t quite that way, what happened was, um, so one of the, one of the things about me is I’ve realized I’m not particularly creative, but I’m very good at seeing what other people do and doing it better. So what happened after I left my wife, I got a job with one of my ex clients from being a bank manager and he asked me to go work for him.
And he ran a conference company and we would research conferences on social issues. It could be domestic violence, child protection And homelessness, you name it. We would put together a conference with, you know, various speakers from government and governmental bodies. And then we would market it to the public sector and they would pay for delicate places.
And he and I had a funny. Because he kind of got me on, on one basis and I ended up just doing invoices, hold on. How did that happen? I was meant to be mad and I was meant to be kind of doing this other thing. And so Indiana, when you know what I can do this, I’m doing better than he’s doing it. And so I just set up my own company.
I started started being a competitor.
Andrew: And the idea was that you would find a topic like maybe domestic violence, you’d bring the experts in, who could talk about it and train it. Then you would bring in say police and government officials and others who needed to learn about it. And that was the whole business. The speakers get paid, I guess the speakers got paid.
Right. And then you and you then, um, so you pay the speakers, you paid for the space and obviously you sold tickets. How did you sell tickets to bring in revenue?
Nick: Very, very easy. I mean, this was, you know, this is what took time. How was this too? 2001, it was very easy. I had a massive database of every police station in the UK, every health department, every social services department, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. On good old fashioned, X up, we would then do direct mail brochures.
It was literally, and it was literally hands. Paper mail hands, stuffing the brochure into an envelope, labeling with the sticker, rubber stamping it. And I would do two and a half thousand, 3000 of those for every conference I was doing that single-handed I mean, you know, it’s the classic story where you do every little job yourself.
At first, the bookkeeping, the mailshot thing. I was chairing the conference. I was doing everything. It was unbelievable, but it was brilliant. I loved it.
Andrew: did you feel any remorse or any issues with competing with your previous friend and boss?
Nick: Um, a little bit later, not straight away, but fully enough. A few years later I met him and in a shopping center and he was walking towards me and I was like, oh, this is going to be a bit embarrassing, but it was lovely. We sat down and we had a coffee and we just kind of laughed about the go times. And the conflicts are really, really nice and he’d moved on and I was still doing the conference business.
So that’s fine. You know, it was, it was kind of part of the, part of the journey. Isn’t it? Your, your, your employees becoming a competitor sometimes.
Andrew: What was it that helped you sell those tickets and spaces that you weren’t super familiar with? Was it an authoritative name for the conference? Was it having one headliner speaker?
Nick: It’s a great question. I would say two things. It was a story and I always look, every conference is a story. It had to tell a story from top down. So you needed the big picture, you know, what’s this novel about, and you needed moments of suspense and you needed moments of, you know, of, of relief and that’s what a conference should do.
And I would then find the names that would pull people in. But actually the best, because we’re the ones who nobody knew about who were doing the work. You know, the actual youth worker who was working with gangs in east London, not the government minister who was blabbing on about policy. He was, or she was the draw.
But the real person that was doing the work was, was that, was that youth worker or whoever.
Andrew: did, how did you know who would be a good speaker and who wouldn’t did you, did you listen to their tapes? Did you do something else? That’s one of the challenges.
Nick: It is one of the challenges now I didn’t, I mean, if I were to start all this again, those were lessons I would learn, but no, I didn’t. In fact, I remember doing something on victim support. Victim and witness protection. And I remember thinking this is the she, the best conference I could put together. It was all the biggest names from the crown prosecution service from the government, from the court service from witness protection.
My goodness. It was the worst conference I’d ever done. It was so boring. Nobody was willing to go out on a limb. Nobody said anything interesting. Protecting their professional reputations. it?
was so dull. I said, No.
I should have done more of that. But to be honest, you know, you kind of get good at sussing out and don’t forget one funny little story when it thinks I’m going to homelessness.
And I had the director of housing for a particular local authority, and I said, I’d like to welcome to the podium, blah, blah, blah. And she walked up to the podium. She took a breath and then just fainted bang
Nick: the ground, just, just fainted. It was unbelievable. And I had to get like one of her staff, it was just a junior member had never spoken in public before how to come up to the podium and deliver the presentation.
That was really that’s really quite amusing looking back.
Nick: She was fine.
Andrew: Mixergy started as, as an events, um, business. And my worst was we organizing this event and I was offered this incredible name football player, which I didn’t know anything about. I Googled him. It seemed, it seemed incredible. And so I said, okay, let’s let him speak. He gets up. And he starts doing this whole rant about God, nothing like interesting, no story.
Empty God over and over then he shifts to talking about the news. But again, no understanding of the news. Just talking about the news as a way of sounding or thinking that he sounds smart and I don’t know what he did after that. I couldn’t stomach it. I just walked, I walked out of the room subtly because people were watching.
And I paced. Cause I just, I just said, I’m never going to allow this to happen again. I have to listen to what people are saying. I have to guide them somehow. And then I became a bit of a control freak. I started to do interviews instead of letting people speak, because I knew that I could at least move things along.
If they, if they were off topic there.
Nick: It’s quite, it’s quite interesting. And you you’ve had a similar journey for me in that sense, because what happened for me was it was the conference business that led me to start my coaching school simply because I just thought my goodness, I run these conferences and nothing ever changes, same speakers, same statistics, same delegates, same moment.
Nothing’s happening. How do I actually create change? So it’s
Andrew: instead of letting the speakers teach, you said I’m going to find a way to teach an audience instead of counting on somebody who’s done something well, or who’s a big name to change people by speaking, um, you decided you were going to do better coaching. Is that it? Or
Nick: Yes, in a sense, but, but bearing in mind, coaching isn’t me being the expert. It’s making the expert, the person that wants to change. And so what I was thinking is in this room, let’s say it’s the mass device in this room. Everybody’s here because they work in domestic violence. They probably have much better idea of what the solution is than that government minister.
So what if I can find a space, a way to get them to do the work so that they are sharing that best practice and what they struggle with. And who’s got answers to their particular challenges. How do I create a space where they do the thinking rather than they get presented to? And that was the real clincher for me.
That’s when I started to think what’s this thing called coaching.
Andrew: And so when you said I’m interested in coaching, what’s the first step you took to become a coach and to know what the process is
Nick: Hmm. Interesting. You know, back then, this is still the early two thousands, um, coaching. Wasn’t a really well recognized. Professionalized industry. And so you could pretty much say I’m a coach, stuff like that, and you still can, but it’s becoming harder. I would say that’s how I, I read a lot of books on how to facilitate and how to, you know, draw people out to think for themselves and just started doing it.
And I remember doing my first one on domestic violence. It was, that’s the thing of why domestic violence always comes to me because that was one of my, kind of, not only was it a big seller and that’s the only, so it’s horrible to say it doesn’t it, but it always was commercially very good for me. Um, as, as a company.
But also, it was the first time I did coaching and I thought there must be a way we can make an impact on domestic violence where the actual people who do the service, do the thinking. And so that was a really critical moment later on like mid two thousands. I then fully trained as a coach. And that was where my proper journey to, to.
the coaching profession began.
Andrew: Yeah. You told her producer at one point you were living on a boat and you were on the verge of bankruptcy. Why? It seemed like this conference business was doing pretty well.
Nick: Let me come to my mind back to that. So that was 2000 and. Oh, yeah, of course. That’s why, so what happened is I got married a second time. I got married a second time and I got divorced a second time and I was been ludicrously, generous the people in my life, particularly Xs. And, um, and so I decided we were living in a really beautiful apartment and the toxins in Eastland.
Really gorgeous views over the OTU and, uh, over Canary Wharf. And it was, you know, I was kind of chained into a 10,000 pound net expenditure every month just to kind of maintain lifestyle. That’s why I divorced my wife. Then, um, I gave her a fair amount of money to kind of set herself up and with a business that she really wanted this, she was a fabric fabric kind of broker and at the same time, so I paid her rent for a year and a nice apartment.
And then I was like, oh my goodness, I’m completely broke. So I thought, let me. Let me like buy a really, really old boat. So my apartment in London, pretty much at breakeven, I move on to the boat and I did That for about a year and a half. And I’ve really, really loved that. But part of the problem manager was I kind of forgot to run my business.
I was so enamored with just cruising around the UK in a boat every day, just cruising from here to there, sleeping there, cruising the next day. And they kind of just fell out of love with my business. And then I realized that, wow, you’re going to, you’re going to go backwards.
Andrew: That sounds by the way, lovely. To be able to just get on a boat, there’ll be on your boat and then move at anywhere you want. It’s kind of like the RV life, except a lot more interesting. Can you just dock it wherever you, wherever you wanted.
Nick: Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, there’s a kind of, there’s about three mile, 3000 miles of canals and rivers that are interconnected through the UK. And you can basically just cruise in a cruise your life away.
Andrew: Wow. And then what would you do when you landed somewhere? Would you go out at night? Would you go explore.
Nick: Yeah, Sometimes it may, it depends. Sometimes you’re in the middle of the countryside in the middle of nowhere. and then sometimes you’re in the middle of London. Sometimes Birmingham, you could be, you know, anyway, but I’m gonna just come off on my second stint of doing that. My wife and I my, my third wife, my third wife, and I have just come off two years living on a brand new boat.
I mean, we’ve gone full circle and it’s it’s been, it’s been really
Andrew: and I think it’s interesting why you did it more recently. Um, but let’s continue then with the story. So you said, all right, I see this new approach. It’s going to be more coaching based. I now need money in order to shift to that. And how’d you get the money?
Nick: So what happened was I was going to do, I don’t know if you have something like this in the states, but we have some quote, individual voluntary arrangement. And this way you can make an arrangement with creditors and you only pay about 50% of the credit of, but you don’t go bankrupt. So I was going down that route and then they said to me, oh, by the way, you will lose your job.
And I was like, well, that’s kind of a bit pointless then, you know what I mean? I’ll have nothing to live in. So I thought, well, I might as well go bankrupt. I might as well just go bankrupt the whole hog, you know, instead of kind of slaving away, trying to pay off, it sounds really bad to say that, but that was how I felt back then.
Um, and then I realized, well, hold on. If I’m going to go bankrupt, why don’t have. One last push at making business work. Cause you know what I’ve said with you so far, it doesn’t really tell the whole story of my ups and downs with my conference business. You know, I went into solving twice with my conference business because I didn’t think about Corp tax and I spent too much on one of my girlfriends and you know, I mean stupid stuff.
I look back. But I was a young, silly entrepreneur, so it’s not like I was making loads of money and keeping those money. I was making less money, but wasted and so on. So anyway, point being, I realized, well, I really want to be a business person. I really want my own business. So let me have it one last shot.
So I sold my boat for 15,000 pounds. Um, and. All I had in the world. I had nowhere to live. I had 15,000 pounds, literally in a brown envelope, like some mafia bribe and my ex wife, my, my mate’s ex wife said, Nick, come on, live with me. You can Share my bedroom for
Andrew: your bedroom.
Nick: know, share the bedroom.
Andrew: Are you like, Hey, did you get it to date a lot? Is this, is this a fun dating life that you had that caused you trouble? Or is it lack of that that caused you trouble in this feeling that you’re always on the outside and you need to spend your way in. I’m trying to get a sense of you not,
Nick: I mean my early life, when I say early life, I mean, that, that sort of phase, I would say I was, you know, from the age of 15 to 28 with one person, I think it took me a long time to find my true identity. So I kept trying to find it in other people and getting more serious than I should have done it at the time with, with an individual.
Andrew: And I’m imagining then if you were with the same person, since you were 15, that you felt like you were missing out on the prime of your dating life, and this was you kind of catching up through the years, is that right?
Nick: Oh, yeah. But when I moved in with my, my, my ex ex wife, it wasn’t romantic. It was like, it was like, she wanted some rent and I needed a place to live and it was a really
Andrew: she, but she said, come stay in my bedroom and it wasn’t romantic. It was just stay in my bedroom, like two friends.
Nick: Yep. We had two single beds. I put my 15,000 pounds on the, under my bed and, and, uh, and she would go to bed early.
I would go to bed late. She’ll get up early, I’ll get up late. We just were like shit to the past. In the night. It was, it was a nice little phase. And then I started dating a Chinese girl. And, um, and when she learned that I was sleeping in a bedroom with, with this other person, she was like, Nick, it’s completely unacceptable to me that you’re saying a bedroom with another woman.
I was like, why. Funny phase of my life.
Andrew: Um, all right. Let me take a moment to talk about my, uh, first sponsor and then we’ll continue with this. Nick. I got to tell you that when I started Mixergy, I was dabbling with advertising and advertising did well. And then I started charging for my content. And at the time people, people gave me a real hard time about it.
How dare you charge for your content? It should be free. Why don’t you just make money from advertising? They didn’t realize advertising doesn’t make nearly enough. And when you charge for your product product, and in my case, I said, I don’t know what to sell. I’m going to start by selling older versions, older recordings of my interviews, and then I’ll add onto it.
The thing was when I started to charge, I got better feedback from my audience. I had people who could say, Andrew, this is good, but what would be even better is if, instead of the interviewees talking about how they did it, they could teach us how we do it. And so I started dabbling in different ways to do that.
And then we ended up with something we call masterclasses and then the business really started to take. We had an opportunity. I, and then a team afterwards, it came on to sell directly to the audience, which meant we had to listen to them more, which meant we had to create for them, which meant that we were self-sustaining.
And if an advertiser was upset or didn’t sign up, or the ad market did this or that, or Facebook came in and lowered their prices or whatever, we were still able to continue. And it held us going for a long time. Now, why do I say this in context of my first sponsor member? It’s because I had to create so much of our software for Mixergy, with a team of people who help patch together, bunch of random software that happened to be available when we launched it’s not necessary anymore.
Member full makes it super easy to sell content directly to your audience is called memorable because. Turn your audience into members. You get to make money on an ongoing basis. You get to build a self-sustaining business with your audience, for your audience. And if you’re doing it as a podcast or you get sell older episodes, if you’re doing it as a.
Community manager, you get to, uh, sell access to the community. If you’ve got other kinds of content, you could do it there too. This is the tool that will help you do it. I want everyone who’s out there listening to me to go and sign up for member full. Right now, if you go to dot com slash mixer, you could get started with them right now and they will make it super easy for you to do it.
And by the way, Nick, I know there’s a lot of software. Now that’s in a lot of companies that are starting to tell creators, we’ll help you sell. We’ll do this. What they do is they take a cut of your sales. They take. A role between you and your customer. You don’t need it. Member full. Is there it’s available for people to try?
They could try it right now. If they go to a member full.com/mixergy. And it’s a, it’s just a terrific service, I should say. Also. It’s so amazing. It was bought by Patrion, a name that most of us recognize if you’re a content creator, go to member full, forget all these other tools that are out there for selling your content.
Don’t let them get between you and your audience own that relationship. And member, will it make it easy member, full.com/mixergy. All right. You now had a little bit of money. You had a vision which was, and then we’ll talk about what the first step was. How would you describe that?
Nick: My vision was to be a better coach at school than the rest. And if I remember my tagline at the time was creating better coaches. The simplest app.
Andrew: is what you do. You’re it seems like your method of entrepreneurship is see what’s being done out there already that you could do too, and maybe improve. Right.
Andrew: Okay. And so what were you going to do that was going to make a coaching?
Nick: Do you know what I want to look back? Um, nothing specific. I mean, it’s funny, isn’t it? We, we often delude ourselves think we’ve got something really unique, but actually it’s more about the way we apply ourselves to our idea. That really makes the difference, not the actual idea itself. So I kind of diluted myself.
We’re going to do a better job, but you know, I don’t know whether it was better. I just believed I could do an amazing job. The best job I could do. And it would be amazing whether it’s better than the rest. I couldn’t really say so it was, you know, the main thing was, and I think a lot of new companies do this as you kind of go with that family felt this is personal, you know, we’re small.
So therefore we give you the personal service and that’s fine. But if that’s going to be your message for the rest of your life, you’re going to end up staying small. So it’s an interesting one because that that’s a typical kind of small company mentality, which is your differentiator is the fact. Great.
You have access to the founder. Great. But at What point, don’t you and how’d you then? How do you then transition? So that was an interesting challenge for me. It was all about it’s Nick Bolton. I’m going to train these people individually. I’m going to do everything I can to make them the best coaches they can be.
You know, it was like really going all in on the
Andrew: What was your methodology for coaching?
Nick: in the sense of like, what are we teaching?
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. If you had to sum up your methodology, your approach, what was it at the time?
Nick: So there’ve been two phases of coaching in terms of what I teach the first phase. My first school was what you might call classic performance coaching. It was recognizing that, um, most people have some idea of what they want, but they’re not super clear on it. Once they get clear, they can then start thinking, well, what’s the gap between where they are and where they want to be.
They can then start thinking, well, what are my options to move forward to? And they can start being held accountable to that. That Was my first framework that changed a lot later on, but I guess you’ll get to that slightly later. But yeah, that was my first one was really classic performance coaching.
Andrew: Was it, I think you called it the smart school. You were going to do that whole smart goal system, which right. Which, what does smart stand for? I think it was a GE approach, right?
Nick: There’s a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound.
Andrew: Uh, that’s what, that’s, what that framework is. You said I’m going to take this thing that already works. I’m going to teach it. And then as you taught it, you started adjusting it. Were you going to, you were going to turn people into coaches, right? And they were then going to implement this with their clients.
How did you get those early clients of yours who are going to be coaching?
Nick: Well, you remember that envelope of 15,000 pounds onto my belt and under my bed. Well, that this is funny looking back now. I, you know, it was old school. I would go to expos, you know, it was be like the mind body spirit show, the yoga show, the small business, uh, show, um, the one life show, all these kinds of shows that brought together.
People would stands and I would have a stand and I would stand there all day with one of those little nice pull-ups that said the smart school. And I’d be like, Hey, are you interested in becoming a coach? And that was it for the first few years.
Andrew: You know what? We keep talking about old school, old school, old school, we’re talking about 2008. It’s not that it’s that long ago, but the technology was except that the smartphone was not up to speed back then. It didn’t have a, I think absent a little bit after you started. It’s basically there.
The interesting thing for me. How many entrepreneurs that I interviewed got started in that 2008 period. I wonder if it’s because the world was in such Fiat financial chaos, that people were willing to look for options and is terrible and scary as it was. It might’ve been one of the best times for entrepreneurship, at least for our type of entrepreneurship.
Do you feel that impacted you that maybe people who are financially in trouble said maybe this is a good direction for them? Okay.
Nick: Um, it could have been, I don’t remember thinking that’s at the time. I thought I remember thinking, wow, that was bad timing, Nick you’ve just started a new company and the whole financial system collapses. But at the same time, I wasn’t worried because I’ve always had this strong belief that you just have to focus on your part of the pie.
You know, it doesn’t matter who else is eating the pie or who else is not eating the pie. Just focus on your parts of the pie that you’re trying to get. And so that was my kinematic dude was just like, you can make this work, you know, you just need 12 people in a room to teach, and then you need another 12 people in a room and you need another 12 people in a room and you just keep doing it.
Andrew: Got it. Even in a terrible economy, 12 people are hunting for a way to become coaches. You just need to hunt for them. All right. What was it that you said at these conferences at these expos that convince people? Give me, give me some of the magic that that helped lead to convert.
Nick: Well, I mean, I didn’t come by anyone at the expo. What we do is we offer a free seminar, um, classic free seminar funnel. So, you know, there’s the expo. People want to buy it. Oh, are you interested in coaching? Oh, well it’s coaching such, such and such that we’re offering a free evening where I. About what coaching is, how you can become a coach, yada, yada, yada, you got a room full of people could be as many as like, you know, the 20 maximum back in those days.
And you just hope some of them will be interested in convert and they did, you know what I mean? It was just, I was a really good presenter and a really good sales person back then. I don’t do any of that stuff anymore. But back then I used to, you know, I was really good at connecting with people and just presenting what my vision was and what I think coaching is.
Right. And people would really get excited to buy into. I remember doing one, there were 14 people in a room and one of them was a husband. Who’d come along to stop his wife buying. This is not, this is no joke, Andrew or 40 people in crew, including the husband joined that’s mind-blowing to me nowadays.
But back then, that was the, kind of the, the, you know, the, the, that kind of close connection I was having with the prospects.
Andrew: Did they also want you to teach them how to get clients themselves.
Nick: Yes. I mean, that’s an interesting one for us nowadays. Um, but back then, yeah, it was PA it was integral because I’m an entrepreneur. I felt, I felt able to do that. It’s harder to build the answer into a school when you’re no longer the one doing the teaching and your employees aren’t entrepreneurs. and so you’ve got to kind of find, figure other systems.
Andrew: and so how did you teach them to get clients back then? When it was just you
Nick: I used to do, I used to do mastermind thing. So we had our course, the course was separate. This was how do you coach? And then I would run a free I’m one of those people that wants somebody that comes to customer. I, I give them everything in a sense. That’s all I used to run this free mentoring group called smart money.
And, um, obviously playing on the smart school, but it was the idea of, Hey, come together as a group, I’ll bring in guest speakers or facilitate a space where again, you do the work, I’ll also teach you cut some concepts. Like I’ll teach you about copywriting or I’ll teach you about selling, but in the end, it’s also about what you guys do in this room.
to produce your vision, your strategy, your tactics, and that kind of stuff.
It was very much a classic mastermind, but it was all completely free because all I wanted was to make it work, you know, and the best way to make something work is to make your customers happy and to make them successful.
Andrew: Um, all right. I see how your PR you’re going on about this. You’re saying you’re teaching them how to get customers. Were you doing it like teaching them how to get customers online or were you, was it a different approach?
Nick: It was back then. it was a pretty different approach?
Bear in mind, I’m still getting customers expos. I often use the one day, if this thing would add words, whatever worked for us, you know, and could we ever get customers mad words? That’s what it was like back then. So, so we did talk about words and so on back then, Facebook was barely, you know, it was barely out of the nappy diapers, as you might say, you know, Facebook was still really new.
Um, so it was much. Physical networking. Where can you go to meet people? Why can you, how can you connect to people? So it was, it was again, use that term old school. It was old school connections.
Andrew: So where would you send them to go meet people?
Nick: Oh, wherever I used to work, there was a formal networking and informal networking. And so your formal networking is, is, you know, you’re, I dunno if you have BNI in America, but you know, something like BNI, um, which isn’t you got a five o’clock in the morning, you go networking and it was kind of like, That you’ve got your sort of formal networking, but then where’s the, where’s the informal networking taking place where you’re not just going to be a network, you’re going to be a human being.
And so I’d say, look, find a space where you can just be, who can you connect with as a potential client or a referral of clients? Just be amongst humans.
Andrew: Oh, you would send them to two networking events to places where they could go meet people. And then in those sessions, got it. In those meetings, they would, uh, connect with people and then sell to them. All right. I’m with you on this. Now the business is starting to take off, but your systems were not that great.
You told our producer? No. What do you know what I’m getting at?
Andrew: What would happen there? Yeah, what happened there?
Nick: Well, you know, I did tell you earlier that was the goal of the bookkeeping. Well, I’m still doing all the bookkeeping for my coach didn’t school. And, um, I’m a pretty rubbish bookkeeper. I’ve got a lot better than, than not that I’d do it, but at least I understand it really, really well. Um, but I just was really bad.
And then I remember an envelope turning up from my desk in my office and said, dear Nick, you never. The coaching calls. Here’s my check for two and a half thousand pounds. And I was like, oh my goodness, that woman could have gone through that whole course completely free. And I’ve never have known because my systems are so bad.
I mean, it was terrible.
Andrew: Why do you think your systems are so bad? Is it that your sales person? And so you focus a lot on a sales and relationships and less on process.
Nick: Yeah, I think so. I’m, I’m one of those, I think sales and entrepreneurship are very closely aligned in lots of ways because it’s making things happen is getting results. Is that, is That signing on the dotted line kind of mentality? And it’s almost like once that’s done, woo you’ve had your success. You know, and it’s also the other part that took my mind was the creativity.
How do I make this school? Great. How do I make the, You. know, how do I, how do I give my customers the best experience and how do I build relationships? That last, that was really where my mind was.
Andrew: I do admire people who are in partnerships. I mean like romantic partnerships with someone who is more of a COO type, loves to get into the systems and does, and doesn’t crave the attention. Doesn’t crave the sales doesn’t crave. The vision just wants to create a product. Yes. And bring order to chaos.
And I’ve gotten to know a few people like that, and it’s just wonderful to have them well. It’s wonderful to have them in their personal life, but in their business life. It’s just great. Um, I, personal life, I think I like to wing things a little bit more. All right. So now things are starting to come together.
You’re, um, you’re growing the business and then you end up having this other problem. And one of the problems is that you’re starting to take on everything. And as we talked about you, weren’t especially good at taking on everything. How did, how did you deal with it?
Nick: Well, the first thing I remember reading the E-Myth by Michael Gerber years ago, I mean, opposite classic book, isn’t that an underarm, but the concept from that book was about the org chart and you construct the org chart that would make your business run perfectly. And then you put your name in all the boxes, and then you slowly replace yourself in each of those boxes until you’re the, just the name of the top.
And so, in a sense, I did that but I did it where. But they will. I didn’t work from bottom up. I worked for where can I get the best bang for buck at this point? And the first place, like I felt I wanted to make the replacement was me as a trainer. I was training. Every weekend every weekend, two days a week, every weekend, train, train, train, train, train.
Because we’re, you know, we’ve been a B2C company. We were training weekends more, much more so than weekdays. And so I decided the first thing I was doing was get time. Trainers to start to replace some of that, because that would free me up mentally, um, and operationally to improve the business. So that was the first place. Um, and then from there, once I, once I did that, it was almost like the dam broke because I suddenly started to accept and actually enjoy the idea of people taking things off my hands. And at that point it was like, okay, what else can I, you, my hands, you know, where am I? Where am I strongest and where my weakest.
Andrew: seems like it curious place for you to get started. I mean, as a person who is not into doing the COO role of making sure that everything is flowing right, that the bills are paid and that the invoices get get handled, it seems like that should have been where you would have let go instead of the presentation where you’re so good.
You even close the person whose husband, the husband who came in to stop his wife from signing.
Nick: Well, it’s funny. I, I, I didn’t stop doing the presentation part of the sales presentation. I mean, we didn’t think of it as sales, but the, you know, and even somebody to come in to the school, I didn’t stop that until much, much later, but it was the training part, the delivery of the actual course that I wanted to stop, because it felt very repetitive to me after a while.
Nick: Um, that said you’re dead. Right? It was just, I didn’t really know how to replace myself because it’s almost like I had so little systems. I couldn’t plug somebody into, at least with the training. I knew how to plug somebody into that because that’s, you know, I’d processes, but the bookkeeping was like, I didn’t want to be that person in the email that just went, help me save me.
I didn’t want to be that person, you know, just give it to somebody. And I needed to at least have some level of control before I started a systemize it with other people.
Andrew: Ah, okay, got it. You want to have some process to hand over to somebody else who would run the process, instead of saying, now you go figure out how we should be invoicing people. Got it. And then they could improve it with you. Okay. All right. We’ll come back in a moment and talk about how that worked and how it didn’t work.
First. I should say really quickly. My site is hosted on HostGator. If you need a hosting company to host your website, I highly recommend HostGator. If you want a better deal than yeah. Offer for everyone else, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. They’ll make it super easy. hostgator.com/mixergy. All right.
Apparently this was working, but not so well. And then you had an idea of getting back on a boat to cure the not so well part, right? What happened?
Nick: That’s about shortcuts, an awful lot. And I, and I don’t want to take up time on necessarily, but
Andrew: No, no, go ahead. Go. If you want to give more depth than I just gave, I don’t want to just cut you to the end.
Nick: yeah, so.
Andrew: the problem. And then the solution.
Nick: So where we left off a second ago was like 2009. 2010, I moved on to a boat in 2018. So there wasn’t that there wasn’t like eight or nine years of solid business building that led up to me, being able to retire effectively, retired onto a boat, brand new built from scratch. It was a beautiful boat because I made the business work, but that took a long time loss, mistakes, uh, bringing people along, letting people go all that stuff. journey from starting with my first employee to the boat. That’s a nine year journey. And that’s kind of like the meat of the whole journey. You know, the meat of the whole school was that it was, it was, everything was putting the systems in place, getting salespeople, getting operational, people, getting many more trainers, getting finance people, just the whole kitten, caboodle, you know, building a team in the Philippines.
Just poof that that’s that’s, that’s the big journey there.
Andrew: How big is the team
Nick: No. Um, I, you know, I don’t fully know the exact number,
Andrew: we’re talking
Nick: like we’re talking 35 or so.
Andrew: So wait, what do you have in the Philippines?
Nick: What don’t we have in the Philippines, we have pretty much everything we have, you know, from customer service to finance, to SEO, to PPC, to, um, uh, operational training admin, um, does design some social, many things in the Philippines. Brilliant. I love the Philippines.
Andrew: And then outside there you have what, and you have your salespeople who are outside, who are, I guess, in the room. Yeah.
Nick: In the UK, we have predominantly the management team. We have the sales team because they went through the course. So they’re all coaches who’ve been through the course. And so they really understand what they’re selling. Um, and so, yeah, I would say it’s mainly split between management and sales is in the UK, a whole bunch of freelance trainers, uh, spread across the world now.
And then we’re talking like, no idea how many now? I mean, so many, um, A decent sized team in the Philippines.
Andrew: Wow. All right. That’s a pretty big team considering two or so million dollars in revenue, right? Two, three. What was it that you said last year?
Nick: Yeah. You know, I think it’s about Two and a half million
Andrew: Two and a half million last year. That’s a lot of people, but I guess it’s because there is a lot of admin people, right. And, um, and the freelancers are there to sell your course. Right.
Nick: The freelancers deliver the car.
Andrew: Deliver the course, your salespeople who are full-time with you, sell it. Got it. What’s your sales process now is trying to understand it.
I went to a SEMrush where I saw that it’s yeah, I was spying on you to get a sense of what was going on. The weird thing that I saw was SEMrush says you get more traffic from, from being there just about any of my other guests. What are you doing on Bing? I feel it felt like maybe that was the start of your funnel.
Nick: Well, you know what I mean? I haven’t been. Yeah, I have this thing I haven’t been involved. I I’m delighted you to say I can’t answer that question very well because you know, the whole point of me retiring three years ago was not to be in the weeds anymore. And so I have to leave that to them, to, to kind of manage, but the sales process is pretty straightforward. it’s organic. Yeah. Paid search social media, um, and paid social media, leading to predominantly, um, people.
can apply directly for the course, but predominantly they come through the free webinars, still doing a free webinar, but we don’t want zoom. They have a three hour experience. Yeah. Of Anna mass. And of course we talk about the course at the very, very end of that.
And they either buy or they don’t buy and it’s a really pretty straight forward. And then from that buying or dunk buying is all done through consultation. They can’t just buy it because we’ve got to check. There’s a good faith in it. And so on. So we have a consultation process and that’s where the salespeople come in.
Andrew: I did see that on some rush also that it’s, uh, the, the two top pages on the site are one for, uh, find out if coaching is right for you. And the other one is to, uh, get into. That training that you talked about a moment ago. All right. But from what I understand, this is the way it works now. But in order to get to this, you are systemizing systemizing.
You said I’m systemizing a lot. I’m delegating a lot and still it comes back to me. You were saying this to yourself. I need to find a way to make sure. People can work without me. And that’s when, from what I understand, you said I’m going to take off, I’m going to disappear for a bit, let the team run it on their own and then see what happens when I come back.
Is that right? Do I understand that? Right?
Nick: That’s pretty much Right?
Andrew: Okay. What did I get wrong? And then how did that work out?
Nick: As I could be. I was going to say like, like, like anything the devil is in the details. And so for the first six months, I didn’t, I hardly touched base at all with the team. I was like, guys, the philosophy is if there’s a problem that you think you need my support on you come to me.
If there’s not, and you’re quiet, I assume everything. And then after six months I checked something. I was like, that doesn’t look right. And as I started to dig deeper, I was realized, Hmm. Things aren’t, things are going backwards, things aren’t going as well as they should be from a commercial perspective.
And so I went back into the team, shook it up a little bit. I have to let a couple of people go changed a few things and reestablished the team with a bit more oversight. I realized that I went too far, too quickly. So I had to come back and ease my way out a little bit. And that was the thing the first year.
So this is 2019. That’s the first year and the whole journey of my school. They made less money than we’d ever done, but like, than we did the previous year
Andrew: this was, this was after you take it off and then you come back and you see the business actually went down annually from the previous year. All right. Do you feel though it was worth it to do it that way? I feel like sometimes it is right. It’s worth even losing the money to take that drastic action.
Otherwise you’re always going to, okay. So then now you’re basically stress testing it and seeing where the frailty is and coming back and addressing the frailty. And, and the fact that, that the sales dropped and maybe profitability dropped is maybe it’s painful, but it’s probably helpful in the long run.
Nick: Yeah, it is because, you know, I mean, you know, we’re not talking about coaching here, but at the same time, coaching, the coaching philosophy influences everything I do. And for me, the coaching philosophy. Decide what you want face the truth of where you’re at and figure out what you need to do to get where you want to be.
And, and so you can spend a whole life from your fear of what happens if I do this. But the fact is I didn’t want to be running that business at that level of detail, the rest of my life. If I didn’t do something that was going to change the pattern I was going to get stuck. Cause I had my way of changing the pattern.
I’ve sent myself, you know, not completely, uh, without any conversations, it was like, oh, where’s that gone? You know, we had a run-up to that happening, but at some point, guys, I’m not here. Let’s and I, I asked about, you know, in 2018 with about 750,000 profit and in 2019, the year I left, we did 550. So we lost about 200,000.
I came back, I shook things up and we did one point. 2 million and, and w we’re we’re back having another shakeup, you know, that’s just the nature of it. I don’t see this as being some sort of linear trajectory. I see this as a constant learning process where you’re going backwards and forwards, trying to figure out what what’s broken, what do I need to change?
And I don’t see that somehow I ever get fully away from it, but I have to move myself away enough that we see what’s got to change.
Andrew: I remember interviewing this one, entrepreneur, I forget, I forget his name, who started his business and told his people from the beginning. I’m going to make sure that I am not the person who has to that this business. Isn’t a job for me, but it’s a business that runs without me. Oldest people from the start that he was going to go take a trip.
I think it was around the world or something where he couldn’t be reached and everyone had to be prepared for that moment. And that helped create a sense of order. Um, I see the value of that. I see how that helped one of the other things that you did, but we’ve talked about systems. Uh, one of the other things you did was you started hiring, even though you hated hiring and I I’m with you, hiring is such a pain.
What was it that you learned about hiring and how did it help shape.
Nick: The biggest thing I’ve learned about hiring is that you don’t know ever how to hire really well. At least I don’t know how to hire. And I think you kind of have to accept that at some point. Like there’s no genius way. I mean, I remember reading a book called that as good, who, I don’t know if you’ve read that at all, but it’s, it’s all to
Andrew: most recommended book about hiring and all of my interviews who
Nick: Okay. So we tried that, did it work? Not particularly, I’m not saying it didn’t work, but we didn’t make it work. And so I’ve kind of just come to this point. I’m just going get people in and try them out and get rid of them quickly if they don’t work. And that’s, that’s kind of, my philosophy now is like, just, just, don’t be too fearful.
Um, do your best to hire. And then get rid of them if it doesn’t work out. But you know, on the whole, I tend to still hire on a sense of like connection and intuition in some ways far more than the more technical stuff that who talks about.
Andrew: All right. Now that you’ve got this in place, you’re in a good spot professionally after years of struggle, what are you getting to do that you, that your younger, you, the one who started out would have said, I can’t believe that this is going to be my.
Nick: Well, it’s a shame in a way that all of this happened at the start of coronavirus. Of course. Um, you know, it’s like I spent a beautiful year and a half cruises. The canals on the, on the rivers of the UK with my wife and it was brilliant. And we went to China, she’s Chinese. So we went to China and we were there when the coronavirus suddenly happened.
And we were there in January, 2019. And I said to her, we probably should fly back sooner because this is looking a bit dodgy. So we got back to London and I’m glad we escaped that. Of course nobody escaped it. And so this last year has been difficult. It has been not difficult business-wise but we’ve been living on a six foot wide.
Narrow boat. It’s quite a narrow boat for a reason. It’s six foot wide, a 60 foot long. And that’s kind of tough when you’re in lockdown. You know, you can’t, travel you And
Andrew: can’t you can’t boat around you. Can’t get out of your boat and go explore. You’re not allowed to do that. You have to stay on the.
Nick: You can get off the boat, but all the shops are closed. You know, you, you, you have to wear masks everywhere. So it wasn’t the man, it wasn’t the best year still w you know, it was still nice, but it wasn’t the best year. And so it kind of led to us to a point of saying, you know what? We feel like we’ve done this, let’s move back to let’s move back to land and sort of just.
Kind of there’s apartment in London, which is actually stunning right. By the times of beautiful terrorists. And so that is amazing. I mean, bear in mind that, that, that water dripping through the ceiling was the start of my journey. And now I’m living in this absolute gorgeous apartment by the. terrorists.
I’ve looking at the times and I love it. I mean, I feel now so full of opportunity. I wouldn’t say that I’m living the life that I meant to be living yet. Not because. It’s not there. It’s just that. I think you’re always moving towards something, not very existential stuff that the existential way you’re always moving towards rather than being in.
Andrew: What are you moving towards? What’s your ideal that you, they you’re trying to get to.
Nick: Nothing. There is no, there is no end point. What I’m moving towards is a constant movement through. I said to.
my wife recently, I love moving through life. That’s always been my
Andrew: does that mean? Moving through life?
Nick: What I mean is engaging and touching life as you go through it, rather than thinking, when I get somewhere, then I’ll engage and touch it. So, I enjoy making sure. That I’m engaged in the journey of my life, whatever that looks like. Even if it’s, even if it’s not ideal, I don’t see that. There’s a point actually, funny enough, my wife has got this. I don’t know if this is a Chinese saying or, or where it’s come from, but she says, I know that Milan Kundera wrote a book called life is elsewhere.
And my wife Daniel says, ah, she was lost and says, life is elsewhere. And I said, well, to me, life is everywhere. It’s a different philosophy.
Andrew: does that mean? How does that, how does that impact the way that you live day to day? Or give me an example of something that you do differently because of this.
Nick: I have, I have almost zero anxiety. I have not, not because I’ve set my life up to gangs, anxiety free, but because I don’t care if I fail I’m don’t care what people think of me, but because I don’t, I’m not judging myself by an end point, I measure myself against there’s no place where I’m saying when I get there.
That that’s what I’m going to call success. When I get there, I’ll be happy when I get that, I’ll find I’ll feel on fi financially free. Somebody recently asked me I was doing some business mentoring. I did a lot, quite a bit free business mentoring recently, and somebody said, Nick, how would I know this podcast?
I want to start as was worthwhile. And I said, it should be worthwhile the second you start doing it. And that’s what I mean by
Andrew: Uh, meaning
it’s not, it can’t, you can’t say it’s worthwhile. If I have a huge audience, it has to be worthwhile because I’m having an interesting conversation or even a step before, because I’ve learned how to set up a podcast. And if I’m not getting anything out of that, then it’s, that’s the problem.
Andrew: Yeah, I get that. I get that approach.
Nick: that the passion has got to be in the, in everything you’re doing as you’re doing it, even when you don’t like, it, because that’s your life. Now, it isn’t in the future is here and
Andrew: could you like something? How could you be enjoying something or getting value out of something, even if you don’t like it in the moment, but give
Nick: Because, you know what it’s contributing to, um,
Andrew: okay, got it. So if the hassle of setting up the podcast for this person is a hassle and he hates it and he’s not learning from it, he’s not growing from it.
Then the way to look at it is to say, this is a step towards this thing that I will enjoy, which is the conversation. And that’s why I’m going to enjoy doing it. Because it is a step in this delicious, whatever. Uh, I’ll look, I don’t know that I should call it a delicious, but I get it.
Andrew: I’ve called interviewing a lot of things.
Delicious is, is not one up until now. All right. I
Nick: I have, I have, I have no vision for my family. It sounds terrible to say this, but I have almost no vision for my future, by the way. I see, as I allow life to unfold around me, as I act into it, if that makes sense and then see what comes of that. And that’s really, that’s how I kind of live my life and my business.
And it’s been, you know, that’s been the joy of it really is that kind of allowing it.
to unfold through my actions.
Andrew: I started out prying into your personal life. Let me end with prying into your personal life a little bit. What are you investing your money in?
Nick: Well, that’s interesting. I, I got into big coin at the end of last year in November. I had a friend who was in Bitcoin years ago. And I just didn’t understand that I just kind of poo-pooed it. And then something, something touched me around it last year and I invested it and I put a lot in like 600 K and it did really, really well.
And I just kind of decided to cash it in when it was around about $55,000.
Andrew: And then we’re talking about, so at the end of last year, it was under 20,000, right. We’re talking about the end of
Nick: I went to him and it was about 15,000.
Andrew: and then you cash it out at. Wow. All right. So now what are you going to do? Real estate?
Nick: No, I don’t fancy real estate feels like too much responsibility. I really don’t like real estate at all. The idea of that. Now I’m buying, buying art recently. And it’s funny cause I did a block by, sorry. I did a post on Facebook recently, right? I don’t somebody said to me, you know, do you ever celebrate where you’ve got to?
I said, I don’t read. I don’t think of it in that way. But last year I invested in some art, some, uh, some various Banksy and so on. And I went to art school when I was 17. And I was broke from the age all the way through, you know, I mean, you know, my story now and I suddenly went, oh my goodness, I’ve invested in art.
How did that happen?
Nick: That I’m an art investor. that’s, weird. So, so that’s kind of like, it was that
Andrew: the beauty, the person who had someone else’s shower, water coming down into his apartment now, is that a place where he doesn’t have that? And instead he can invest in art and see this passion through. All right, congratulations on this, uh, on this success, it’s got to feel great to not just be there, but also to be there with this, without the sense of impending, doom and anxiety.
Um, So many of my friends have gone through, I didn’t realize just like panic attacks and shingles and stuff like that. That now I’m not, I’m not worried so much about stuff in life, but I’m worried. Will I have that? Because it always starts Nick with, I thought things were okay. I was just driving down the road and then suddenly my heart stopped.
Just had that from friends. They didn’t realize they were carrying a lot of stress. I’m trying to think. Do I have too much stress? Where is this going on? And I’m excited to see that you’re somebody who does not have it for anyone who wants to go check out your web site. It’s Unimog coaching.com a N I M a S coaching.com.
Andrew: All right. And for people who are listening to me who say, Hey, I like what Andrew is doing. I want to do my own thing like that. Well, I host on HostGator. You can quickly host a WordPress site in quickly meeting under 10 minutes, right? Uh, I have to do is go to hostgator.com/mixergy. And when you’re ready to sell your content to your audience, email newsletters, podcasts, content on your side community, whatever it is masterful has got you covered.
And it’s just inexpensive easy software to implement. All you have to do is go to dot com slash Mixergy to get started right now, Nick. Thanks so much.