There are a lot of businesses you might like to go into, but coaching consultant Extus Justin says the one that you should go into is the one that is solving pain problems for other people. Offering coaching and advice and going out and saying, “Here’s what I want to help someone with,” is a route that can lead to failure. Instead, you should try to find what people are struggling with and figure out how you can make them realize their problem and want to solve it. Extus says your job is to take away the pain and replace it with success, and that’s when you start to see results because that’s what people want.
Solving Pain Problems: Replacing Pain With Success with Extus Justin
Our guest is a former US Marine and spent eight years protecting our country. He helps coaches and consultants scale their business. Even if you’re not a coaching consultant, you’re going to want to pay attention because what my guest is talking about is leverage. Who couldn’t use more leverage? Welcome, Extus Justin to the show.
Mitch, great being here. Thank you so much for having me on your show.
My pleasure, Extus. It’s great to have you too. We talked a little bit about your time in the Marines and it sounded pretty exciting. Why don’t we start with a little bit about that because I want to know how you got into the place that you’re in today? Give us a little bit of your history.
In terms of my history, before I started my business, I was a US Marine. I spent eight years in there. One of the things I realized was that life is constantly flowing. You can never get stuck in one place for too long. You always have to seek out what’s the next level for you. I believe everyone knows where they want to be in life. For me, the military, being in the Marines, it was a great experience. One of the things I knew, in terms of my next level, was to ultimately start a business. That’s when I decided to let me take the leap, let me put myself out there and take action on ultimately getting out and starting my own business.
You had this desire to get out of the Marines and start a business, but I’m sure you did some preparation work before leaving. Tell me what you did.
One of the things you learned in the military, it’s always about preparation. That’s one of the key aspects of success with what we do with our training. One of the things you do and it doesn’t happen to everyone, but the majority of people who are in the Marines, they end up going to combat. Before you ever go to combat, one of the things you want to ensure that you do is you want to make sure that you’re prepared. For myself and my wanting to start my own business, I knew that if I wanted to start this business, I couldn’t just say, “I’m going to leave the Marines,” and then then it goes on. I had to take some time to study and that’s when I invested. I began investing in myself and my personal development, personal growth and finding different people who had the types of businesses I wanted to create, invest in their programs and learning what they taught and how they saw the world so I could apply to my own journey.
When you decided to start a business, did you know what kind of business or did you start multiple businesses? How did that unfold for you?
I did know what type of business and I looked at the changes that were happening through life and stuff. One of the things I noticed was that everything was shifting online. The people I was following, it was always people who gave me advice in some type of online format and I saw how these individuals are using the online world to create businesses. When I saw that, I was like, “I have to figure out how to do something similar,” because they had so much leverage when they create a sub they could offer it. They now were exposed to the entire world versus being stuck in a community, a town or a city. When they created some, they could offer it to the world. That’s when I said, “Whatever business I create, it has to be something that’s online.”
Give me an idea of some of the things you considered and rejected and tell us about those and why you rejected them? Ideas about different markets to serve or different products or services to deliver?
I guess one of the models I rejected because as with online, there are a ton of different businesses you could, and you can get into. One of the first ones I was exposed to was network marketing. I didn’t like that one too much because from my experience of it, it was mostly going out and selling some type of other person’s product, creating credence or selling some type of product for another person versus selling your own. I didn’t like the network marketing model. The one that appealed to me was seeing that I could take my advice and studying something that I enjoyed. I could take that and ultimately go out and help and teach others about that specific topic.
When it comes to network marketing, I know many of us, our audience on this show, has tried various network marketing. I’ll use the word ‘schemes’, but I don’t mean to be derogatory because some network marketing companies have done great for the people that are involved. I got involved with network marketing and I was very good at selling the product but very bad at enrolling other people to go and sell it too. While I was out there making money, I was being basically being penalized because I could not build my down line successfully. I rejected that business model as well. What about other types of service businesses? Did you consider anything along those lines?
In terms of service businesses, the one that did work for me because before I got into coaching and consulting others, one of the things I realized was online marketing businesses needed some type of way to get clients. I wanted to offer a coaching and coach other individuals. For a while, I struggled with trying to sell that. When I learned a bit more about how marketing works, how you build a business, I realized what I needed to do was to find people who had problems they were trying to get solved. Show them how, with my help, they could get those problems solved instantly or I could take away that problem for them. I’ll take away the pain of that problem while they keep doing what they do. That’s when I got into the done-for-you type of services, we started offering done-for-you marketing.
That did not work out?
That’s when it did work out because my journey is pretty interesting. When the first one I tried to make work was going out and trying to coach other people, I saw how Brian Tracy and Les Brown in these different individuals, from my perspective at least, it wasn’t more in that the tactics are how specifically to do it. It was the inner game of it as far as the motivation and that type of stuff. For me, in my experience, that’s what I thought. I need to go out and sell that and gotten to motivate people and that’s the one that didn’t work that well for me.
What did work was when I said, “I tried this and didn’t give me the results that I wanted. Let me try to find what people are struggling with,” and that’s when I got into the done-for-you. That’s when I said, “That will work,” and that’s how I got onto my path of wanting to help others showing up as well. Instead of trying to offer a coaching or advice and stuff, figure out how can you, if you’re going to help businesses or whatever, try to figure out how you could take the problems that they have a way based on them knowing that they have a problem and them wanting to solve it rather than them going out and saying, “Here’s what I want to help someone with,” because that’s the route that lead to failure, for me at least.
The most important thing that you said to me and that I understood you saying is that when you understood that your job was to take away the pain and replace it with success, that you started to see results because that’s what people wanted. In effect, there are lots of businesses you might like to go into, but the one that you should go into is the one that solves the pain problem for other people. That’s what you did. Here you are at this point, you’re getting started. You did the done for you service, you saw that it works. How did you evolve into your current business model?
In terms of getting to that next level, what I found is that although it’s great and it pays pretty well, the only issue you start running into with that model is that you run out of time. If you’re doing the work for someone when you take on clients, that means that the time you had to put in to doing the work or his time you’ll never get back, it’s gone. I realized that in that model, what it did for me, although it got me going and had me bringing in income, I couldn’t figure out how to break past a certain level.
We got up to about $80,000 per month in the done-for-you model, but it became stressful as I couldn’t do it anymore. That’s when I saw the different model, which was the consultant model. Now I’m seeing well instead of me going out and doing the work for someone, what I could possibly do is create a program and teach others how to do the work. Some people might say, “$80,000 a month, that’s awesome.” The thing is when you get to that level here, what you’ll start to realize is that it’s one thing to make that but it’s another thing to also have a life as well too. If you put in all that effort, time, and energy and you’re just doing it, you don’t really have a life, then it defeats the purpose.
Why didn’t you bring on a team to help you do the work in a done-for-you fashion so that you become more of the CEO than the implementer?
It goes back into mentors because I saw how one of my mentors was doing what he did. By me seeking, I’m interested in a topic I love trying to find who are the best guys out there at that specific topic and learn directly from them. At first, that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to build a team around me but then I saw how other people are doing, which is the business model was lean and they didn’t have to deal with running a business as far as physical offices and stuff. Although, not saying it’s a bad thing, but for me, I realized I like freedom.
With the internet, I figured out, “How do I duplicate myself? How do I create a business model that doesn’t keep me trapped in any way? If I wanted to get up and leave and go somewhere else and not have to worry about having a massive team. Following up and making sure all that type of stuff is taken care of. How do I build that business around that?” That’s when I found a model of, “If I package up my knowledge, that’ll be a lot simpler.” I could get paid a lot more for it versus me trying to go out and build the company.”
I want to make sure that the audience understands that there’s a series of steps here. The first step that you took was to go out and do it. It was in that time that you generated up to $80,000 a month that you had learned exactly how to do it. You didn’t assume what needed to be done and teach that. You didn’t move directly to the teaching model. You first started doing, then you evolved that to teaching because now you had the skills, you knew the secrets, you knew what worked and you built programs to teach others that as well. Who was your mentor or your mentors?
Frank Kern, Eben Pagan, Jeff Walker were my mentors. What I’ve seen from these individuals is that they’ve paved the way for me. When I first got into the whole online marketing world, I saw how they were doing what they’ve been doing. They were the ones who helped me get a grasp of the mindset shifts I needed to have to make this work. While a large point in my journey, I was stuck in the thinking of this stuff. The first set of mentors I had, they’re more in the motivation like, “You’ve got to be inspired, you’ve got to do this,” and I was wanting to be inspired, but at the end of the month, not having any money in your account and not having any food in your refrigerator is wanting to be inspired that way. It’s a totally different thing to be inspired, but also, you know specifically what to do. You know what actions to take to get the results that you want.
The three people you mentioned, Frank, Eben, and Jeff are all doers, big time. They’re very successful. Did you ever get a chance to work one-on-one or directly with them in any way?
I did not because most of my studying from them came of their programs. I invested a lot in their programs because I, in the military, spent a lot of time overseas. My eight years in the military, I probably spent one year in the US, but the majority of overseas, I invested in their programs.
You had the motivation. You had the isolation, the time. You had the correct people to help you and take you through the process. You learned from these guys while you were still in the military and then you came out and you started deploying, you started working, you started helping. I’d like to literally talk about the exact things that you teach. I want this to turn into a masterclass for coaches and consultants so that we can extract from you some of the wisdom that you’ve evolved and developed over the course of the last eight to ten years. Where would you like to start?
The perfect place to start is, as far as what I help my clients and what I help individuals do to create success for themselves, is ultimately, it’s the secret. If someone could get that one thing based on starting off, they’d make it a lot further than a lot of people I’ve run into. The biggest thing is the niche and finding that niche for yourself. In the niche, there are two sides of niches. A niche of the want and aspirations and then there’s a niche of the pains and frustrations. For me, what I try to get all of my clients, all my successful students, what I try to get them to see is that if they want to build a business, they have to give up what they want to do.
They have to focus on let me go out and identify problems. Let me go out and identify not just any type of problem, I call them problems in the sense of a level ten. There’s level one problem and level ten. Level of one is where you could say, “I noticed you have this problem, are you willing to do something about it?” The person’s like, “It’s a problem, but I don’t care about it,” versus a level ten problem, which is that problem that keeps them up at 3:00 AM and they’re staring at the ceiling, not knowing what to do and wrecking their brains trying to figure it out. I would say that’s the first part of creating success. In any type of business. You had to figure out, “What’s the level ten problem?” If you don’t figure that out and you try to go at it, there’s a high likelihood that it’ll take you too long to figure out and you most likely will run out of time or money. Once you’ve got that thing figured out, the next thing is you want to start building systems around the specific challenge, a specific issue.
What do you mean by systems?
When I first sold my business, that was something I did not understand. I didn’t understand how systems work and when I started, going back into studying some of my mentors, Eben, Frank Kern, Jeff Walker, I noticed that for the success that they were having, it had to be something that worked outside of them. That doesn’t matter if they feel good today or if they don’t feel good today. There has to be something that could still do the work and it shows up and does the work for you 24/7 with very little input from you. When I described systems, it’s all about figuring out what the niche is, what the problem is, and how can you create some type of process that could have them come to you and seek you out instead of you having to go out and constantly try to find them.
Would you say that a system, in this case that you’re referring to, is more of a marketing automation system or a learning management system? What exactly do you mean by that?
It could be on both sides as well too. Some of my challenges in business have always come when I try to focus on one too much and not focus on the other one. For example, let’s say with the marketing automations. I would say marketing automation is definitely a system you need to have in your business. It’s a way to capture leads and a way to convert leads without you having to manually always have to be there in the process as far as going out and having to talk to people one-on-one. With my business, when I first saw it off, I knew what to do in my head logically, but I didn’t have any system to do it. I started building the systems and I took an action, but I forgot what to do.
What you’re saying basically is that you’ve got the experience of knowing what to do and it became somewhat intuitive for you. Now you needed to unpack all of that and find a way to teach others what you did so that they can duplicate that. In my world, we would think of using something like a learning management system as a way of cataloging all that knowledge and then spooling it out in bite sized chunks and making sure that people receive it and even test them on it if necessary. What did you do? Is that similar to what you did?
I did it for me too. We’ll go back to the online system. A lot of people when they ask me, “How does my business look like? What exactly is the system that you have in place?” In terms of that system-wise, the way it always starts off is knowing that with your business, you have to get new leads in the door. You have to figure out, “What can you do to get new leads?” With that system, all of this is a simple little page where you give something away for free. The second part is when someone comes to you. When you have a lead, what do you do to nurture them and to get them to the point where they make a sale? In my process, all of this is a training video. Depending on what type of training, it’s twenty minutes to 45 minutes and then it has an application process for someone to apply to work with you. That first process forces the external systems wise. How did you refer to that as, Mitch? The internal management system?
Learning management system like Kajabi or any of the other types of training systems like Thinkific, these are all learning management systems. Do you employ that in your work today?
Yes, that’s ultimately how we work with our clients to get them access to the information they need and the specific system we use for ourselves is called OptimizePress.
OptimizePress, if I’m not mistaken, would be more of a page-building system for bringing pages to the web and then showing them to potential clients. Is that what OptimizePress is?
That’s one part of it. There’s also a membership portal. If you create an online training course or something you could upload your trainings in there, have it locked behind a membership site where someone has to access it through a password and a login info.
That’s the automation part. If you’re not feeling well today and you still want to make money, you don’t have to show up. You basically let the automation tool spool out this knowledge and information teaching your students exactly what you want them to know. Let’s talk about the other systems that you require or that you instruct your clients to build.
The other system and this system has more to do the inner game of business. One of the things I found is that you always have to balance the two. You can’t be too hardcore on the external, tangible and technical. You have to balance that with what’s going on inside of you. When I work with my clients, the biggest issues I see and even with myself as well too, is we always get caught up in who we are and who we think we are, how we think the world is. It’s hard for us to pray once we’ve have our mind made up. It’s hard for us to pry ourselves from thinking the way we do, which is what’s given us the results we’re getting in the first place.
Another system I have for the internal process, some people could refer to it as a vision board or something. I like to see mine as more like a modified board. One of the things I found with myself is that I’m conditioned to think in a way I’ve always thought is high. I always needed a way to, “How can you start thinking at the next level?” You being here today is you’re just you. You need to figure out, “How do you get to the next level?” We’re caught up in this cage of you’re just you. I have this vision board as far as something I stare at throughout my day where it lets me know, “Here’s specifically the next level for me.”
It’s totally different from where I am today, but it’s I get myself used to that feeling. The best way I can explain it is that with my clients. When they come, and they join my programs, I work with them trying to help them get results. One of the things I find is that I’m doing a call them and I’d say, “Here’s what you need to do.” Logically, they could say, “I see what you’re saying here,” but I know within a couple of hours or within a couple of days they’ll go revert back into doing the same thing that wasn’t working and they can’t break that cycle. The only way have I found that I could help them break the cycle is to say, “You understand what to do.”
This rewires you to feel good about doing that thing because if you don’t feel good about it, you’ll keep doing what you want to do. The only way I’ve found to do that is to help them with that, create that document for themselves where we figure out, “Here’s what we need to do.” They have some type of visual of it and as they go through their days, they could stare at it. Let their mind go on autopilot to them knowing what they need to do, them feeling good about it, and letting the mind bring it out into the real world for them. I know it sounds a little bit of woo-woo here, but that’s one of my secret tips I could say out there.
It’s logical and it makes sense. You’re right, we all do get caught up in our own self talk and some of it is not good sometimes. We need a way to pull us out of that and to keep us focused on the future. You used the term vision board. It sounds like what you’re helping your clients do is to create a future for themselves in terms of goals and objectives. Once they’ve established what these goals and objectives are, I bet you pretty much have to get them to believe that too, and say, “Yes, I do know that it’s possible for me to have a Maserati in three years or something,” whatever their goal or objective might be. Is that the vision board you refer to? Is that the same thing?
It is. One of the things I find about most people is that we’re always being sold, especially when you realize when you spend time on the internet and watching different people’s videos, reading different blog posts and that type of stuff. I noticed it within myself where I could be totally against a specific topic, but then I would read an article and all of a sudden, I’m swayed to believe in like “I believe that now.” Then I read another thing and all of a sudden, I take on a totally different view. One of the things I’ve found is that we’re always being sold from all different angles and we’re not even aware of it. The thing we don’t do is to sell ourselves.
We don’t proactively take a stand to say, “Let me sell myself on something.” The best way I’ve always heard it said is when I was reading this book and it started off saying, “Here’s how you get the most value out of a book.” First of all, you have to know your outcome. What exactly do you want? When you know what you want, then you have to figure out, “What can I do to help me get that result?” Let’s say, it’s to read this book. When it comes to taking the action and reading the book, what most people do is they might say to themselves, “I’m going to read this book and at the end of the book, I’m going to see whether it’s going to get me the results. I’ll see whether it works.”
The book I read, it said, “Once you know what you want, you have to change your view into before you ever. Read the book, you have to sell yourself on, this is the solution.” When you look at it from that lens, when you start going through the book, you look in it for the answer, you’re looking for what can I apply to get the result versus what can I read about and start making judgments about? With the document, what I found is that with most of my students, my clients, they know what they have to do, but they haven’t sold themselves on doing it. The document is something to say, “Let’s sell you on this. Let’s keep bringing you up against this to let you know that this is what you need to do,” versus, “Let me see if this is what I need to do.”
Is that document what the future looks like? Their goals and objectives?
Yes, you’re right. I believe there are laws in life, there are some principles and we always want to build our businesses based on principles. Typically with principals, they’re long-term thinking. They’re not the instant gratification wise. In life we always get caught in the instant gratification trap. We always want to do the thing that’s, “What’s going to give me the result now,” versus, “Just following the principle and it might take a little bit longer, but if you follow the principle, you’ll eventually get there.”
What you’re basically saying is stop focusing on the short-term, chasing the shiny object, the one that scoots by you with a little bit of potential. Instead set up a vision for the future and create a direction that you will travel in no matter what little scurrying, shiny objects go by that might or might not excite you for a moment or two. I love the way you say it too. Sell yourself on doing this before you even try to sell anybody else. If you do that, then you will be able to withstand the ups and downs of selling anything, which there always are ups and downs.
I have a question for you and it’s a question I like to ask all my guests and I ask it because it helps us understand more about you and more about what you care about. Here’s the question. Who in all of space and time would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?
I would say Steve Jobs. He is definitely one of my favorites. The reason being is that he takes the most complex stuff and he simplifies it. When I listen to them, I get a totally different view of any type of complex problem. The best example I could give of this is his commencement speech when he started off, “I’m going to start off and give you three stories. Nothing great, nothing complex, but three stories,” and he told the stories. The first one was connecting the dots, knowing that you can connect it looking forward, but you could always look back and connect them.
He told the second story about love and loss as far as getting fired from Apple and then his journey to going to create NeXT and Pixar. The third story about death and the way he said it is like, “The best way to get more perspective on life is to realize that you’re going to die soon.” When you start reflecting on that, you start seeing all the challenges I’m thinking that I’m facing, all of the issues I have, “I’m going to be dead and does it even matter?” It gives you a totally different perspective. If I could rewind time and go back, that’s who I’d love to have a conversation with.
I love the quotes you’re talking about, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down and it has made all the difference in my life.” I know why you remembered it, it’s so memorable. It’s revealing too, because what Steve was saying here is the fundamental law of nature, which is once you begin something and once you start heading in a particular direction, allow the universe to conspire, stand next to you and help you get to where you want to go. It’s a great quote and Steve is a great choice. Thanks for bringing him up. I have a second question for you and this is the grand finale, the change the world question. What is it that you are doing or would like to do, that truly has the potential to literally change the world?
What I’m doing is ultimately being okay with sharing my message with the world because for a long time in my own life, I sat back and I was a consumer. I’m seeing all of these great individuals out there. They are putting themselves out there, they’re sharing the message, they’re impacting the world, they could see how other people, whether it’s through their YouTube channels or whatever. People are getting value, people who are miles in different countries, different continents, and getting value from these individuals. For long time I said, “Maybe that’s what other people, I can do that.” As far as what I’m doing to change the world is literally developing myself to the best I could be to ultimately go out and give back to the world in terms of information, in terms of advice, things that worked for me in my own life and helping others implement that in their own lives as well.
Everybody needs a little bit more of that in their life and if we all had that attitude, this would be a different world that we live in. Thank you, Extus, for being on the journey that you are, the journey of helping others, the journey of helping people really grow their businesses and improve their lives and give them freedom. It’s a great journey to be on and it was great having you on the show, Extus. I hope we get a chance to talk again soon.
It was a pleasure being here, Mitch. I’m definitely looking forward to keeping in touch.
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