Mid-Week Live Coaching: Alex
Defining success differs greatly on the individual involved, and one of the common indications of success would be income. Alex Campbell joins Adam Quiney in this episode to go under a coaching process that would bring out Alex’s perspective of the world. Join them as they talk about the practicality and reality of the coaching business from the viewpoint of someone aiming for the top. Alex shares his goals for improving himself and measuring his worth as Adam reinforces his mindset through in-depth guidance. Know all about Alex’s ideas on the importance of keeping your integrity in the coaching industry. Also, learn about the methods of how you can determine what to charge your clients and ultimately scale your rates to meet your desired income and the value you give to your clients.
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Mid-Week Live Coaching: Alex
We are coaching with Alex Campbell. Alex lives in my hometown, Victoria, British Columbia. It’s cool because he’s in the middle of his training with Accomplishment Coaching. That was the organization that I originally was trained by, and then stayed on and led their work in varying capacities for about five years towards the end of owning a coach training program, at least owning as far as the leader uses that word. One of the things I love about this conversation is it’s about money. Money is one of those topics I always love to dive into with people because everyone has a wacky relationship with money.
It’s one of those places where we learned something different from everyone whatever we put together, even if we’re making a lot of it. People that make the most money often have a disempowered relationship with it. What they’re trying to do is outrun that relationship with money by making a lot of it. If you’ve grown up with this idea that money is scarce, one of the things you’ll do is you’ll learn to create a ton of it to try to escape the scarcity. This is also why you’ll see people who often have the most money are often the ones most afraid and worried about it.
You can’t earn yourself out of a disempowered relationship. If you have a story that something is scarce, you can’t overcome that story by trying to create an abundance of it. The only way to create your freedom is by tackling it at its core and by tackling the story about it rather than the logistical circumstances around you. It’s a neat conversation because we’re looking at money, and then over time, this becomes a conversation about Alex’s rates and when he makes the mean. If you’re a leader, coach, service-based professional, or you lead those people that work in this area, it’s going to be a powerful conversation.
You’ll see we’re getting at exploring the boundaries of Alex’s story and seeing how it manifests itself in his life. We often have the story, and then we have the way that story makes itself known tangibly. The other thing that I’ll point to that you’ll notice is that there’s a point in this conversation where I check in with him and say, “Are we done? Are we good?” It’s not intended as manipulation to call him forward or make him see something or anything along those lines. I’m asking that question because I’m not clear that he wants something outside of his story.
As a coach, we’re never pushing someone anywhere. The metaphor for coaching is that you come up upon someone and you notice they’re in a hole. What the coach would do is like, “How do you want to get out of the hole?” “I don’t have an agenda.” What a coach just does is say, “I noticed you’re in a hole,” and leaves it at that and lets the client tell them what they want to do. How do we know that the person wants to be out of the hole? Maybe they want to be in the hole. We never know. That’s why I asked Alex, “Do you want to do something about this?” This is a cool conversation. Alex is a delightful, beautiful human being and a lot of fun to be in this conversation with. I hope you enjoyed this.
How is it hanging out in the green room?
A little lonely, but otherwise good.
What I’m aiming for is to create the loneliness, and then you come out here and you’re like, “I feel belonged now. This is super cool.”
Craving that connection.
Get them desperate and thirsty. I like your haircut by the way. That’s a sharp look.
Thank you. Victory Barber.
I’ve got a gift certificate that my wife gave me to Victory Barber & Brand. That speaks to how cool these guys are. I called them because she bought me a beard trim. This guy was going to teach me how to sculpt it and everything. I called them and I was like, “I’ve got this gift certificate. Could I have a beard trim?” They said, “It’s awesome that you’ve got it. It’s just that we’re not doing that now because of COVID and putting implements near people’s mouths.” I was like, “That makes complete sense.” I’m relieved because now I can trim this god-awful bush I’ve been growing on my face so that I could go in and they could work with something. I was like, “I don’t even care that I can’t come in. I’m just relieved I can trim my beard now.” That’s my Victory story.
I’m for the YouTube tutorials.
I’ve done them and I’ve managed to butcher them effectively. I’m somehow following them. It was clean, and then it looks like a Pharaoh’s beard. I did not like it. This feels better, more manageable. For Pharaoh, it’s a great look 3,000 years ago.
You bring it back. It’s the cycle that comes around.
This is a long cycle, but it is a cycle for sure. Alex, what do you want to dive in? What are we going to talk about?
I would love to take a look at the relationship I have between the helping professions, money and the income they get to make. With my background as a musician and now working as a life coach, I see this common thread of when I look at coaches, therapists, musicians, and shamans that I want them to have all the success and make money because the work they do is amazing. They put lots of time into the training, into the work, and themselves to do that work or into their artistry. At the same time, everybody should have access to those things for free. I don’t want people to not be able to access them because they don’t have the money. Those two things aren’t compatible. As a musician and as a life coach, of course, I want to make money, too. At the same time, I feel like I’m somehow being selfish or denying people access to the goodness of life because money is prohibitive.
Let me make sure I’ve got this. It sounds like you’re noticing there’s predominantly one way, which is that there are these helping professions, people investing heavily in their own work and at the same time, are not making a lot of money. I don’t know if you said that exactly, but it sounds like there’s a bit of a scarcity of money. You could charge a bunch, but then you’re not serving everyone. You’re taking away from certain people or whatever. It sounds like there are two ways. You can either charge little, live on little, but at least you get to serve everyone, or you can serve whoever and you can charge and make a lot of money, but then you’re being a little stingy with your gifts.
I’m aware that some people do make a lot of money in those professions and I don’t see that as wrong. It feels like if I were to do that, then I’m being selfish. I don’t necessarily think other coaches and musicians are bad for doing it, but if I do it, then I’m an asshole.
Some of them who we will name. Not everyone, just these particular people. It sounds like you want to excavate that a bit, get into it, and maybe create a shift in the way the world is. Is that fair?
I know you’d shared you come out on the other side of a weekend focused on money. That was part of the training you’ve been going through. What have you distinguished for yourself in that? What have you already encountered or pulled out?
A big one is that my stories and my ideas about money are mine and that whoever I work with may have completely different ideas about money. For example, setting your rate lower might have someone say no to you as opposed if you’re the same person that your rate is twice as high or whatever it might be. Getting separate between how I view my life and money is based on my experience, family, previous career.
It sounds like you’re clear, “There’s a way that money occurs for me and it’s not necessarily the same as how it occurs for everyone else, but it sounds like all the same.” You’re still inside your story about it. You’ve got a bit of freedom from like, “Not everyone has to have the same one, but I’m still cutting here.” Let’s draw out a little bit of that. Tell me more about the truths about the helping professions and money.
My story is that I see lots of people that would benefit from coaching or from therapy or want to see their favorite band. Maybe that’s a bit of a different category. I see lots of people who would benefit, who would put the work into themselves. If only they had the help or support from someone who was trained as a coach or therapist or whatever it is. They’d be able to work through their trauma, then they’d be able to create the life they want to create.
Is it fair for me to take the corollary of that, which would be if they had the support, they wouldn’t be where they are?
Yeah. They’d be able to get out of it and change it.
How does this tie in with money?
I see lots of examples of people who would take that help but can’t afford it. Part of this is coming from working as a musician for ten years, where most musicians I know live on a small budget and income. There’s a lot of payment in music that comes in paid travel, food, alcohol, gear, or whatever it is rather than actual money. That’s also part of where my story comes from. It’s weird to ask for lots of money or X amount.
What is the threshold? I get that it’s weird to ask for an X amount. Where does X become X as opposed to the acceptable amount?
With coaching, it’d be weird for me to ask for more than $600 a month.
$650, madness. $600, that’s the place?
Yeah, the limit.
I know I’m being a little silly, but it sounds like there is some degree of starkness. I get like we could play that game where we’re like, “What about $1 more?” That’s roughly where the line is. Is that right?
What’s magic about $600 a month?
It’s slightly more than the industry standard full pay example rate, which my impression is that is not the industry standard rate, but what they offer as the starting point.
It’s like, “Here’s what we’re being invited towards or here’s the industry standard.” Whether or not it’s true, there’s like, “This is what everyone’s doing. I can go a little bit above that.”
It’s magical because if I feel comfortable charging that, then I feel like I’ve made it or at least on to that first wrong or something.
What would be true about you if you were charging more than that?
I’m better than I am.
People charging more than that think they’re better than they are or is that specific to you?
It’s specific to me because working with other people, I’m like, “They have X number of years of experience,” or, “They’ve done this training and this training. Therefore, they’ve earned it.”
There’s some flavor of your rate must be earned on some level.
Is that the same for musicians?
Yeah. In music, I’m good at keeping myself in the proving-myself mode, which I’ve been for years. I always take on the biggest challenge so that I can improve the most rather than looking at where I’m strongest and pursuing that further or something. There’s maybe a simpler mentality here approving it or accepting the higher fee if someone has proven it. They’ve gotten more training, more experience, more years.
I’m going to speak to everyone reading and say that I don’t know where we’re going. If you’re like, “Adam is asking these great questions. I wonder where he’s going,” same here. We’re at this point exploring this with Alex, so there’s no agenda I have, which may be disappointing for him to know. There’s no place I’m trying to get him to. It’s more like, “Let’s start by getting a sense of the reality of money as it exists in Alex’s head.” You’ve got to earn and you’ve got to prove or some way of having earned the rate you’re charging. If you go beyond that, then it’s like, “You’re too big for your britches. Do you think you’re something you’re not?”
How does this tie in? There was this piece about, “If I charge a lot,” it almost sounds like you’re denying people something that is rightfully theirs or some flavor of that. Tell me about that.
It feels like this whole profession is about helping people. If you’re not interested in serving people, why would you get into it in the first place? It seems like a contradiction to be like, “I’m all about being a leader and helping people, but only the ones who can afford me. I’m only affordable to a select few.”
How do you feel about doctors that charge a lot of money for something like brain surgery?
They’ve got the expertise. The endless years of schooling and they’re literally taking someone’s life into their hands. From that point of view, I assume it’s justified.
The doctors take the Hippocratic Oath, “Do no harm and serve people.” Medicine is almost pure service in a way. You’re for that other person. It sounds like there’s this baseline rule, which is, “If you’re about serving people, then how could you possibly deny anyone anything?” There’s a way it can be justified that this rule is broken. If you were to formulate that into words, the rule you must serve everyone in less, and then what?
In Canada, because of our healthcare system, you still have access to that stuff, so it’s okay.
Not so much in the States.
In my mind, the system in the States is messed up.
What should the doctors be doing in the States according to your rules?
According to my rules, it is helping those who need it and offering medicine or healing to those who need it in a way that is accessible to ideally everyone, the poorest, the richest or wherever you fall in society.
There are some exceptions in the Canadian system because it’s subsidized by the government. We’ve set our system up this way. I can see with a profession like coaching, which is outside of the government, there’s not even a healthcare provision for it. There’s like, “You are here to serve people.” It sounds like maximally serve people. How does this play out with your time? You have a limited amount of time and if you were to give away coaching for free to everyone that wanted it, tell me how that would work for you.
I’m aware that holding space for other people takes a lot of energy and I love doing that and it feels good, but I also see that I have a tipping point. If I’m around too many people that I’m holding space for, my well-being has to be higher to not have that tip into me like taking on other people’s energy and getting drained by it. If I was coaching all the people all the time, I’m sure I would be a terrible coach. I wouldn’t have the energy or space.
There’s our justification in that regard being like, “There’s only so much I can give out before I’m not serving them anymore. Therefore, I can justify saying no to some people, be it 25 or 100 because that’s the limit at which I can serve.” Anything else showing up for you there?
There’s a similar relationship I had around music. I was always spreading myself thin. I played in thirteen different bands in one month, which means I’m learning music. It’s insane. The more stressed, tired and exhausted you are, the less you have to give to music. I’m stuck in that proving-it space instead of music being a conduit for me to give my gift and do my thing to be of service to people. The goal is damaging to what the actual goal and potential are.
I love that you talked about the goal and the potential. I get that there’s this way that money and it sounds to some extent, time and you’re filtering because in a way, money is where we say yes and no to you. It’s the same with our time. There’s an infinite number of people that you could serve in your life, but you are finite in your capacity and time on this planet, so there has to be someplace where you say no. It sounds like that’s dictated by the limits of your well-being and some rules about money. I get how it is. What do you want?
For myself, I want to give the full expression of my gift however that looks and has good well-being. I do want to make a good income from it too.
What is a good income for you?
That’s the question.
I get that there are these rules that are like, “It’s not okay for you to want this.” I’m not even going to make you do it, but if you give yourself permission to express what you want, what would it look like?
If I’m free of that stuff, I definitely like to make $115,000 a year or something.
How many clients would you want to work with based on the amount of time and the energy you were devoting to them let’s say in a given week?
Probably eight or so private clients. I want to work with bands and musicians, but I also want to try group coaching with a band that’s a cohesive unit themselves. Maybe a private or one-on-one client and a few bands or couples. Relationship coaching is also intriguing to me.
First of all, I love the idea of you coaching bands. I had a client who used to be an agent and he was constantly like, “Musicians are a nightmare.” There’s so much relational dynamics in a band and you’ve been through that with thirteen different bands in a month, so that’s amazing. We’re talking ten roughly, maybe two conversations. I’m putting numbers onto a map, but something along those lines. For everyone that’s reading, we started with what does it look like? We’ve looked at that first place. Where are we? Where does the world look like for Alex? Now we’re looking a little bit of, what does he want?
We could change any of this, but it’s all irrelevant if he’s not clear on wanting to move towards something. You could feel a little bit of his hesitance. There’s a part of you, “That’s what I want but is it okay for me to want this?” That’s totally human. Part of the reason that we don’t have the lives we want is because we have a resistance to asking for them. The easiest way to ask for something is to state it out loud. “I want this to ourselves.” It’s totally human. It’s beautiful. You’re modeling well, Alex. What’s the gap between where you are currently, which is charging $600 a month, and where you said you’d love to be?
The answer is time and experience. More training, more clients, more hours. It’ll get there, but I need to prove it. Same story.
How long do you reckon it’ll take knowing yourself and the rules of getting there?
To get to that $115,000 number, maybe a few years.
Has that been your experience with money and time in general?
I feel like I don’t have a good reference because of music and money, I’m holding it as a different world than the way money works in other professions. I feel like I don’t have a good past reference to ascertain how the future is going to go.
The way it went in the past is a function of something different as opposed to, “This is coaching. The story I have about money and coaching is different than the story I have about music and money.” That’s interesting because what you said is that there’s quite a similarity to them. What’s different about them?
The industry around it. What I’ve seen as examples of the coaches I know and my rough sense of what they make and what their careers are like, compared to all the musicians I know and my sense of what they make and what their life is like.
In music, it’s the industry. That’s the reason it is the way it is. In coaching, what is it that’s holding you a little bit stuck or in check with money and coaching?
In terms of not asking for more now is my story that I’m working towards certification and they’re on track to do that. I’m trying to do it congruent with graduation. That’s the goal. I haven’t done that yet, it’s the same story of I haven’t proved myself yet. That piece of paper will be the proof that lets me charge $700 or whatever the amount is.
I love that we’re talking about music and coaching as separate because my experience is that they’re incredibly similar. I don’t know about the stats that have been updated since the last time I looked at them, but for a long while, the statistics were about 80% of the coaching profession is made under $10,000 a year. That’s all the people that call themselves coaches. Eighty percent of those people, their reported earnings were $10,000 or below.
Probably, I would imagine quite a steep fall off. I’ve got to imagine there was some at $10,000, and then a lot more in the $5,000 and a lot more in maybe 1,000 or something like that. Before that mean anything negative, the first coach I’ve ever worked with told me, “Adam, you can use that to be like, ‘I’m going to fail 80% likelihood,’ or you can hold it like, ‘I only have to compete with 20% of the market. The other 80% just way off doing some.’” What do you reckon the numbers would be for the music profession?
There’s probably a similar 80% earning. They’re $20,000 or under $25,000 a year, so they’re around the poverty line.
The other thing that occurs to me similar in these two professions is that in the coaching profession, there’s a nice, thick, meaty bell curve part, and then there are the rock stars. Those are the coaches that are doing what they’re doing. They’re out there, they’re loud about it, and they’re making lots of money. They’re well compensated for their expression like the music industry. Were you trying to get whatever the accreditation was in the music industry before you were willing to charge whatever you were wanting to charge?
In a lot of gigs, you don’t get to ask if they offer the fee. You can say yes or no. A lot of gigs work that way, and then other gigs were getting to set my rate. I was able to charge a good rate, especially in a city the size of Victoria being a smaller city. It doesn’t have the huge studios with master budgets and stuff. I feel like I was able to do okay and I can justify that because of how much I was playing, how much work I was doing, how many different genres I’d worked in, and the different skillsets I had. That was the justification for it.
The thing that strikes me is that you’ve got this like, “In the music industry, it’s the industry. The coaching industry is different.” I noticed that you’re in the same calculus with yourself, which is like, “Can I justify what I’m asking for?” I remember once, my wife, Bay, and I were in a conversation with another coach and Bay was upset because a friend of ours who she’d trained as a coach was charging ridiculous fees. She was like, “I know I’ve got more depth. I’ve done way more work than him.” He said, “Bay, I want you to hear this and understand it. The amount of money you make as a coach has absolutely nothing to do with your skill level.” What do you get when I say that?
The question for me is integrity. For me, I want to be kick-ass at what I do and I want to be paid well for it, but I don’t want to be paid super well if I’m not good at what I do because it feels like out of integrity and dishonest. That’s the whole thing with the industry versus me or whatever. If there’s someone else that I rate, it’s not my responsibility then. It doesn’t matter if I’m being overpaid or underpaid. It’s just what they’ve said and I can say yes or no. If I’m being my own business and my own person, then I feel like my rates have to reflect my integrity and that’s where there’s this little piece that doesn’t fit.
I don’t mean this as a confronting question, although it may occur that way. It almost sounds like you’re like, “I don’t want to charge more than is commensurate with my level. I want to be in integrity around that,” which I honor you for. I get that. “I used to be an executive. I should be able to charge this much money,” and they do. You’re not necessarily creating that value. That’s not for me to say for their clients. I honor that integrity in you, and I’m hearing you say, “I want to charge this much money and it’s probably going to take me a couple of years to get there.” You seem okay with that. Is that true? Do I have that part right before I go further?
I have this suspicion that there’s a huge amount of growth for me in being willing and able to ask for more. I wonder if it in the long run would serve my clients, too. Me going through this process and going past my comfort zone is going to be part of what helps them do the same.
I’m sure it will. There’d be a huge amount of growth for me learning to like eggs, but I don’t want it. I’m not interested. Eggs are disgusting and people that eat them are monsters. If you tell people you don’t like eggs, you get the same, “You don’t like eggs?” I’m sure there’d be some growth available, but I’m not clear if you want that because what I’m hearing you say is, “I don’t want to progress any faster than I currently feel in integrity about.”
You have a story that $600 is the right amount of money to be charging for the amount of training you have, which if you’re empowered by that, there’s not much work for us to do. You’re earning what you are empowered by. If you were like, “I want to be charging $1,000,” and the story might be in the way of that, then we could create a different way of relating to this that would allow for all of that. Where we’re in a little bit is like, “I don’t want to expand beyond the rule that I currently have, but I’m okay with being in that rule,” which then, my job is easy.
If you’re like, “I’ve got a rule for how things can be and I’m going to get to where I want to get in a couple of years,” and I’m hearing you more or less say like, “I’m okay with that.” It’s like, “Here’s what I could have given my rules and I’m okay with it.” In which case, there’s not much for us to do. That makes my job easy. I’m curious, is there something you want that this rule is currently precluding, or is it like, “I’m okay waiting two years to get there and that’s the right way to do it.”
You reflecting that makes me realize that first of all, I have this thought that I should probably be more like, “If I’m more with my thought as a coach, I should be able to take the risk of asking for more money.” Part of me is I’m also competing with other people in the program. I can be a competitive person like, “Charging how much? Come on. Let’s go.” Other people are getting X amount or whatever, that’s a success.
They might be a cheap coach. Who knows? It’s because they did that, they’ve won. It’s like getting the A-plus on a test or something. It’s interesting to see that. Maybe it is okay that it takes a few years to build up, build the experience, and I feel integrity. I have this story that I would have to sacrifice integrity to charge more at least at this point, soon or whatever and that’s the part I would like to change. It’s important to stay in integrity and I want to lean into being willing to ask for more money.
That makes sense. It sounds like being in integrity means that whatever you’re charging is aligned with the rule of whatever you can justify which is a function of the accreditation and the training and the stuff you’ve done.
That’s the way I’ve looked at it and maybe there’s a better way to look at it but that’s what has been for sure.
There are millions of ways to look at it. I want to make sure we’re on the same page as far as how it is set up. This might sound like a weird question so I’ll try to get it right because I love doing that. We’ll work through it to make sure I’m asking the right question. The rate you charge people, what is the meaning of that rate?
It means what I’m responsible to help them produce.
It’s a lot about you.
Yes, if there’s that much value in it, which is such an abstract thing. How can you possibly put a dollar sign on the value?
You’ve managed to some extent. I get that it is nebulous, but still, that’s helpful. Your charge is always a function. It’s about you rather than anything else. Is it the value I can provide?
It’s how much value will be created in their life for them but through working with me. You’re totally right. It’s about what my skillset will allow for them and help them create it.
It’s how it’s about how much value can be created by them, which is a function of what?
Them and me together.
Would you adjust your rate based on, “This person is a lunkhead because we’re not going as far,” or is that the case?
No. I would like my rate to be my rate.
What determines how much value can be created? Which is what your rate is about.
Both my skillset, their desire and who they are as a person like the complete being and how the relationship goes between us.
You see this look on my face. Your answer makes my face do that. Why do you think that is?
Where’s the responsibility or where’s the weight of it?
Do you think that‘s what has my face doing that?
I’m wondering, what has your face doing that?
You said, “The rate is about me. What my rate means is how much value is going to get created.” I’m asking you, “What’s that a function of? My skillset and how they show up and be,” but I’m not learning that your rate is at all a function of how they be or anything like that. What you’re charging sounds more like it’s about your skillset and your story about what you can provide. How do you determine your skillset? What are the variables you look at to determine, “What’s my skillset therefore I know what is the rate I can charge?”
The place that most want to go is previous experience? In music, that’s what gives me more confidence to charge more. It’s like, “I’ve done this thing a dozen times or I’ve done similar things with other people and it went well.” I do have some of that in coaching. There’s a Rolodex behind me to draw from.
It’s a quantity thing, a little bit like some evidence, number of years and whatever.
I’m curious, if this is a line going up, does it drop down when things go bad? Does that degrade the amount you can charge for a temporary period and you’ve got to work your way back up?
I could definitely see that story playing out. I wouldn’t change the rate, but I could see after a failure, being uncomfortable charging, after success being totally comfortable charging.
It might not have dropped your rate, but it would slow down before you raise your rate. Would that be fair?
It would be a little bit longer. That was crappy. I’m going to wait a little while longer before it’s okay for me.
I need to fix that and sort that out.
Get a few more wins under my belt, then I can justify to myself the increased rate because then I can ensure that I’ll provide the value.
It’s like what you can earn is a function of proven results minus negative results over time. Would that be fair? Also, probably a few of the things we’d put in there.
As a sketch for sure.
Is there a limit on this?
In terms of how much to charge going up and up?
I’m present to that too. Your lifespan would be the main limit. Let me draw a little graph. It sounds like your earning is a function of money over time. You can earn more money as time goes on. Plus, how it goes during that time, if it goes good, then maybe this moves up a little bit and if it goes bad, it might go a little slower but by and large the trend. The nice thing about this is the potential is infinite. If you want to make more money, you’ve got to wait longer and after enough time, you’ll get there. On the one hand, you may be totally empowered by that and that’s totally fine. In which case, not much to do.
What I’m present to is that part of what makes coaching powerful is its capacity for exponential growth as opposed to linear growth. The thing is both linear and exponential growth, you put more time into the equation. I’ll draw an exponential growth curve. You’ll notice that for both of these if we increase time, you’re going up either way. The difference is your velocity as well as your acceleration. In exponential growth, you pick up tempo as you’re going forward. Whereas a linear you don’t. You’re at the same tempo and it’s a matter of time. Does that make sense so far? You see how I put in a musician term there.
I like that. Stick one in there.
Where does this leave you?
It makes me curious about exponential growth. I realized that there’s a bit of a should. If I’m practicing, I’m walking the talk or being a coach that I should be experiencing exponential growth in my life, which definitely I am. Money is an area that I have more resistance around to having exponential growth.
Let me look at it from a small place. What would be the next price increase that you will likely make?
Someone in the program had the suggestion of, “Get hired three times at X amount.”
Don’t tell me about those people. Screw them. Give me the number.
I’d probably be adding $50 or $100.
It’s going to be $650 and $700.
How many months, roughly will it take us to get there?
Two to four.
This isn’t something I’m telling you to do. It’s more of I’m curious what it would demand from you in 2 to 4 months to double your rates. What would that require from you?
Leaning into my own growth more intensely.
What does that mean? It sounds good. Nailing the right answers.
Having more drastic shifts in my own being, the breakdowns and breakthroughs, going through a new gradient and upping the gradient on my own processing.
I want to check. It sounds like, “I need to create more credibility or I need to breakthrough even more,” or do something like that. Is that right?
In order for you to double, you’d have to compress the time, correspondingly.
Can you see that you’re still in the linear game?
Yes. The relationship is totally there.
I want to honor a time because we’re starting to come to the end of this and I get it. Maybe you have this but this is a little bit like, “We haven’t solved it,” and that’s okay. We’re peeling back layers. A lot of this is an ongoing conversation rather than a one-and-done. First, I want to hear your context about your rates are, and I’m going to share mine not because they’re better, but because my context or rates provides me access to a different way for them to go. It’s not that my context is the one, it’s about you creating a context and the only reason you would do so is if you wanted to create something other than the increase in rates, you’re already reliable for. In 2 to 4 months, we’re going to see you charging more money. I remember because I was probably in a similar place that you are in the program doing the exact same thing. It’s zero judgment, on what you should or shouldn’t do or any of that.
Your context about rates and it’s a function of your experience, you’re learning, the breakthroughs you created, and ultimately a function of time. If there’s a rate at which they will increase and if you’re doing your work, you’re reliable for it, which is awesome, because a lot of coaches will stay where they are forever. The good news is you’re on a growth curve. Inside that context, the only way to do something like double your rates in the next 2 to 4 months, the only way that could be possible is to double your experience or put differently, compress the time. Do twice as much and half the time, double the rates. I will do that. That the limits of possibility inside this story about rates, what rates mean, etc. To be clear, we could broaden this out and talk about money as more of a general thing but we’ve zeroed in on rates as a specific place.
I noticed that the rates to charge are all about you but not a lot. You said that they’re a bit about how much value can be created by the client but it sounds much more it’s about what you, yourself can justify charging people to work with you. The way I relate to my rates are they’re a function or a measure of what the client is committed to in their life. They have nothing to do with my value. If the clients are like, “I’m going to get $50,000 talking to Adam. He is worth that much money,” I’m pretty quick to tell them, “I’m not.”
If you were thinking you’re going to have a $50,000 experience, from talking to me, you’re probably going to be disappointed. You’re going to start to attach every conversation, you’re going to be looking at the clock, “Three minutes passed and nothing profound happened. I’m wasting whatever the math is.” Convert my rates into minutes. When I’m in a conversation with a client, first of all, my rates are fluid. That rate calls me to draw out a vision from them. That is sufficient to have them committed to that level. As opposed to, “Do I need to go and do more or whatever?” None of me is a function of my rates. Can you hear that?
What do you hear in that distinction between those two? What do you notice or hear?
There’s that whole distinction of it’s not up to the coach to decide how much value there is in the conversation for the client. It’s up to them to decide. I’m also curious how fluid rates work for you. I don’t know if you want to share or not.
I’m happy to. I’ll share about that in a moment but anything else that you’re noticing in the distinction between those two ways of holding what our rates mean?
I don’t know if I’ve precise wording, but it feels quite a different way to hold the conversation. It’s quite a different context to sit in terms of how it feels to you or to me to be or to whoever to sit in either of those contexts.
What are you hoping that I’m going to tell you now that I started to speak about my rates being fluid?
I’m curious to see another model of how it can go and maybe either draw some inspiration or maybe model my practice after that. Who knows?
Let me provide a suggestion or an invitation first.
Especially because you’re up against this, I would invite you to not practice being fluid. I’m going to compare myself to Picasso now so get ready for that. This is going to be good. If we were to see a Picasso drawing, we’d notice that he doesn’t color outside the lines. He says, “Screw the lines.” He paints however he wants to paint and he doesn’t make a face look like a face. He makes it look like a weird thing. We’d be like, “Great, I’m going to start doing that.” As a novice painter what would serve me is first to learn to color inside the lines. I want to be clear, this is not that you don’t go towards an exponential goal if that is what your heart desires to create.
There’s no should in this. You can still go towards creating an exponential goal. The danger of starting to get into a fluid rate is it makes our commitment a little wobbly, especially early on. There’s real power if you’re like, “I want to create the breakthrough that’s going to allow me to go exponential.” One of the best ways to do that is, what would the goal be having to attain that? Would that goal inspire me? What do I have to do to do that instead of, “I charge $1 million but for you, it’s $100?” That’s not going to be much growth there.
That being said, when people want to work with me, it’s $50,000 for a year. That’s the baseline. That’s what I tell them. You probably had an experience, even as I mentioned that number. Would that be accurate?
What was the experience?
Part of me was like, “Holy shit.” It’s a year as a timeframe rather than 3 to 4 or 3 to 6 months.
Lots of people have that experience. It’s a common one. That’s the baseline but I am up to be enrolled in something and if people are like, “Adam, I want to partner with you. I want this support and $50,000 is way out of my ballpark. I don’t know how to make it work. Can we have a conversation? Can we find a way to make it work?” Yes, to them. Even in that fluidity where I’m looking is, does this amount of money that they’re investing in their own coaching in their lives, not in me, do we have a vision that is suitably inspiring and a call forward for them into possibility?
Is this amount of money something that’s an edge for them? Does it require them to step over a line or is this safe and comfortable? You can charge $50,000 to Warren Buffett and he’ll piss that away. That’s not an amount of money that’s going to have a difference for him. For you, in your context, you couldn’t. There’s no flexibility for this because you’d be like, “Even though what would serve Warren Buffett is to pay $1 trillion, I can’t do that.” My intention is to show a bit of the limitation in the context.
Where are we leaving you, Alex?
It’s interesting to think to frame it through the lens of what level of desire is around the transformation, around the change? Economic position aside, I would love to work with people who want to make huge shifts and do incredible things rather than tweak where their life’s that a little bit for a couple of months. That, independent of training, proof, and stuff creates a totally different conversation about, “Why get into this? Why bother? Why do I have these conversations every week? Why do I get uncomfortable and look at the place that you maybe don’t want to?”
Those are such beautiful questions to ask a client. They’re potent. What do you see might serve you to practice coming out of our conversation?
In the initial meeting with a client, a potential client of exploring what the big picture and drive are. “What are they yearning for? What’s the thing? Is it worth investing in? Whatever amount of money is it worth pushing into their edge?” That could change how the conversation goes
It’s exploring possibilities with them. Is that right?
Here’s one that might serve you. To be in a bit of a conversation with yourself, ask yourself, you’re a pretty smart guy, you’ve got a good a lot of brilliance, which I love. What brilliance tends to do is, “What’s the answer?” This is an exercise and coming into your heart which would be “What is the amount of money? If you think of money as a commitment this person is making, what’s the amount of money or the commitment that would call this person forward into their life?” You don’t have to charge that. You don’t have to say any number differently. I’m going to invite you to practice checking in with your heart and your heart, if you’re willing to quiet the mind will have an answer. You’ll be like, “Why is that? Is it really?” All of your head is going to grab it and try to fiddle with it. We’re having you practice hearing that part of you that is like, “I feel the call forward for this person is going to be $2,000, $600 or it’s $100 for this person.”
I’m sorry. I’m thinking about that, which I totally dig, and also you were saying that maybe, in the beginning, don’t have flex rates.
It’s a bit of a paradox. For $600 a month, you’re working with a three-month commitment. Is that right?
Preferably four, but three is the minimum.
Preferably seven years, but three months is the minimum commitment. We’re talking $2,000. I would say that almost anyone in North America and every rule falls apart. There are exceptions to everything, but by and large, people can create $2,000. If I told them, “You’re going to find the love of your life and you’re going to find that you love your job instead of hating your bosses. You’re going to discover that your earnings rise.” If they knew in their heart that that was possible and could be, they could find $2,000 for it. That’s why I’m suggesting for you not to get fluid for now, but instead to stand in the possibility that everyone can create $2,000. They might run to get resourceful but it’s possible.
My only hang up on those are promises because I don’t know what the results are going to be. I don’t know if you feel the same way that you don’t know what your clients’ results will be. You know what they’re looking at but there’s a hang up on making any guarantee.
It’s good that you’re cognizant of that because our job as coaches is not to make a guarantee for an outcome. We stand for the possibility of this person’s life if they were to commit to their life, the way that coaching has them commit. When I go to a gym, they’re not saying, “We promise you’re going to be jacked and have six pack abs.” They’re standing for the possibility that’s available if I take that on. That’s what we do as coaches. I would probably become incontinent if I was trying to guarantee $50,000 of results but I get if my clients show up and if they do this work and if they make that commitment, their lives are going to change dramatically. There is a degree of trusting that.
Do you get that practice, you can still check in with your heart and see what would serve this person while maintaining, holding? I understand that this is the commitment that it takes to work with me.
That’s a great way to phrase the question, because, on one hand, it’s causing me to look at the place that is the whole drive for this relationship, to begin with, and it too also lets me remove myself from it quite a bit which is nice and helpful in this dynamic?
This is where proposing becomes as much an expression and an experience of what you do when you’re coaching as anything else. I can see you feel it. That’s the promise of this work.
I was going to say that the way I was holding it before it felt like there’s a fee, but it’s devoid of meaning, or it feels empty. It’s like, “It’s X amount.” It sounds like woo-woo or whatever but what is the energy behind the money? What drives that money or energy flowing?
From the proposal becomes reverential. It becomes sacred, it’s like, “Here is where you’re first going to be confronted. You say you want this stuff in your life. Here is the first hurdle and I’m here to help you get over it.” I’m not going to convince you or make you but if you want my support to overcome this hurdle, we can do it now before you’ve hired me. You found this beautiful, sacred opportunity to support a clan before you’re even in the game with them, which is amazing.
The soul of money.
Is there anything else to have this conversation to be complete for you before we wind down?
It’s feeling good. I’ve got some places to look and report which is great. Thank you so much.
You’re welcome. I’d love to acknowledge you.
You have some practice being acknowledged to this point. Alex, I acknowledge your integrity. I want a better word than this one but I’m going to use it. You have like a straightness to your spine, which is a physical thing I’m reflecting but it’s also the energy you bring into space. It’s like, “This is a man who is aligned and cares about alignment.” It’s such a beautiful conversation that we’ve been in because it speaks to how we can stay in integrity, but in a way that keeps us stuck in a box. From inside the box, it’s like, “I’m not willing to be out of integrity so I have to be here.”
What coaching can allow it to be possible is how we can be in integrity with a different story, a different way of relating to what’s showing up? I acknowledge you for the integrity you are, for every space you’re in, and for how a place you might find yourself a little bit stuck is a reflection of more of the integrity you are which is such a cool thing. It’s so perfect to me in that regard that you are a drummer because rhythm is the backbone of music in so many ways. You missed the best part. I trust you heard most of that.
Rhythm is the background.
It’s the backbone. If the rhythm goes off, everything falls apart. It is crucial so there’s such an integrity to you being that. I also acknowledge you for the marriage of brilliance and self-expression, along the lines of integrity. It would be easy for someone whose integrity is like, “I wear the same shirt every day with some pants.” I can’t see you now but earlier, you had a mullet and there’s a Mandela in the background behind you. There’s a real beauty to who you are as a man with real cleanliness and purity with your energy. That’s a beautiful thing. It’s such a gift to your clients as a coach. Thanks for bringing all of that here with us and thanks for bringing that to the people you’re working with.
Thank you so much.
You’re welcome. Brief, debrief, then we’ll do a little plug, and we’ll wind down. Is there anything you were surprised by present to anything that showed up for you that is that bears mentioning?
It’s pretty cool to see where this ended up because it would have been easy where with through the conversation you’re like, “Maybe there’s nothing for us to do here. Maybe you’re in integrity.” That would have been a perfectly legit end point. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing to fix. To me, that’s what is so cool coaching. From curiosity, maybe you’re at the best place in your life and maybe you’re about to create something amazing. “What now from here?”
One of the places we get stuck is we relate to coaching like it’s a remedial thing, which would be funny. I’m not good at running, so I’m going to hire an Olympic gold medalist coach to help me get good at running. No, we hire the coach to win the thing to create the result. I love that you brought that forward because my job is to be unattached. If you were like, “I’m good.” I’d be like, “That’s great, I get an extra break.” Sometimes that happens. It’s one of the things that’s most fascinating in coaching especially from that context we started in about rates.
It’s my value, I got to bring the value. There’s not a lot of room for it to go that way. Sometimes I have clients that pay me a bunch of money, they show up, and they don’t do much and my job is to be like, “You’re not doing much. Do you want to do much?” “No.” “Great. Shall we end the call?” “I do.” That sounds easy and fun but that’s the biggest challenge for me and I suspect for you too, because I get you’re committed to excellence. I can get bent out of shape by that because I’m like, “I’m not creating the value and they’re not getting it.” My coach lovingly reminds me, “It’s none of your business, Adam.”
Alex, where can people find out about you? Whether it’s your coaching, your drumming, or anything else?
That’s your website too, right?
Are you working with any bands yet?
Not yet. I just launched that LA platform and I haven’t even posted about it on social media yet, so that’s coming up.
This is a good time for people to get into a partnership with you. I know that a lot of people used to tell me, “One day, I’m going to work with you, Adam.” They’d come back a year later, but I’m on an exponential growth curve. I’m like, “It’s four times the amount.” They’re like, “One day.” I’m like, “I get it.” What a perfect time to get into a relationship with you. Awesome work.
For anyone reading that’s like, “This whole conversation about our rates, creating clients and that idea of reverence with the process of the proposal and all of that stuff,” if you want a different way of experiencing that work. Also, if you want to create a transformation or want some result that seems outside of the linear growth, you should join our course, the Creating Clients Course. It’s for ten weeks. It’s a combination of videos and live calls. We haven’t even started yet and we’re blowing the roof off of that group. Everyone’s active and so am I. There’s a lot of content that gets created and all of this work becomes fun and beautiful as we create the transformation to allow it to be.
It doesn’t have to be creating funnels and finding some way to shove people through the door or I don’t know, whatever your experiences are. It’s all good. It came through. We’re switching format, so every second week, we’ll be having live coaching and I’ll be doing a live show once a month and there’s something else, I’m not sure yet that I’m going to bring in on that third week, so stay tuned. We’ve got some cool guests. Have a great one. Thanks for being with us, Alex.
Thank you so much. What a pleasure.
- Alex Campbell
- Accomplishment Coaching
- Victory Barber
- @AlexCampbellMusic – Instagram
- Creating Clients Course
About Alex Campbell
At Toronto’s prestigious Humber College, Alex had the privilege of studying with world class musicians. While there, he immersed himself in jazz, fusion, and myriad styles of world music. He has studied with the likes of Bob McLaren, Mark Kelso, Murray Creed, Steve Mancuso, Pat Kilbride, Ron Thaler, Andreas David (aka Ydna Murd), and currently continues his studies with jazz multi instrumentalist John Lee. After Alex’s time at Humber, he returned to his West Coast roots to deepen his love for music even further – and passion for all things percussion.
As a drummer, Alex is known, above all else, for his musicianship and musicality behind the kit. He’s worked in multiple genres and performed at events like Canadian Music Week, Rifflandia, Sunfest, Rockin’ River music Fest, Boonstock, Big Time Out, and many others.