Uncover Your Psychological Roadblocks and Launch Your Ideas - with Peter Shallard
How does a business therapist, who trades time for money, go from having zero customers in the first week of business to building a six figure income helping entrepreneurs uncover the psychological roadblocks that keep them from being successful? And how does he do it working only 15 hours each week?
Peter Shallard is the “Shrink for Entrepreneurs” and he’s our guest today on the Foundation podcast. He is a psychotherapist gone renegade and one of the most sought after business therapists in the world.
BUT it wasn’t that long ago that he couldn’t find any customers.
The first week Peter started his business as a therapist, he opened the doors to his practice and no one came. No one. I want you to listen how Peter describes what that felt like and how he used that experience to crack the code on turning strangers into customers.
In This Episode You'll Learn...
- How to uncover the deep psychological roadblocks that keep you from delivering your greatest value to the world
- How to shorten the gap between having an idea and taking massive action
- Why most entrepreneurs give up during the first two years and what you can do to push through
- Why so many cold calls fail and the one tactic Peter used while on the phone with secretaries to set up meetings with CEO’s he’d never met
- How to double your customers by leveraging existing customers
- PeterShallard.com - The Shrink for Entrepreneurs
- Forbes article by Michael Ellsburg
- Dr. Cory Annis – Unorthodoc
- Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
- Life Coach, Tony Robbions
- Chris Guillebeau – The Art of Non-Conformity
- James Chartrand – Men with Pens
Andy: Welcome everyone to The Foundation podcast, this is
Andy, and today we have Peter Shallard The Shrink for Entrepreneurs
with us. Peter is a renowned business psychology expert and
psychotherapist gone renegade. He works with all types of entrepreneurs
around the globe as these people try to strive to reach greater goals of
wealth, freedom and social impact and his shtick is simple. The
psychology of entrepreneurship of an entrepreneur dictates the bottom
line result of their business. Peter works his magic with business owners
and their organizations at that sweet spot where deep, meaningful
psychology and hard core business strategy intersect. Peter, welcome to
the show man.
Peter: It’s good to be here. I’m excited.
Andy: Thanks for coming on. I’m super excited for this interview for a couple
of reasons. One, Peter runs a very healthy six figure business working
roughly 15 hours a week or so with just a very small handful of pretty
powerful, awesome clients. Peter, I saw the article Michael Ellsberg
wrote about you in Forbes. Michael Ellsberg is the author of The
Education of Millionaires and he just raved about you. Can you tell us a
little bit about the clients that you work with and what you’re doing for
Peter: Yeah. The thing that I have in common is that they have
nothing in common other than that they are all entrepreneurs. This is
what I love the most about my job is that I’ve got this crazy insight and
experience into so many industries that I’ve stumbled across. I was
never really able to give people a true feel for this because most of my
clients take privacy really seriously and it’s something that I’m
obviously really cautious about due to the nature of the work that we do
but recently we had Ellsberg whose being one of my clients for the last
two years which has been amazing, come out and do this expose on
Forbes all about our work together. He’s an author and has his finger on
a whole bunch of pies. Is always up to really interesting stuff.
After that we had … five of my clients actually came forward and
participated in this interview. A really great filmmaker and great friend
of mine went and shot interviews with five of them. Those people … I
think it’s a great collection of the types of industries so we’ve got
medicine and technology, the intersection of the two. Dr. Cory Annis
has been one of my long term client. She’s an MD and is building an
amazing online platform for delivering primary care to entrepreneurs on
business executives who are always on the move globally. That type of
project is just like it’s been phenomenal to see develop and work with
her is the founder of the last couple of years.
I’ve got clients in private aviation, investment banking, what else? A
quite well-known radio personality, somebody who’s a big person
actually in the podcasting space; was one who was in the video. Yeah.
It’s just kind of all over the place. Like I said it’s just too many
industries to kind of name.
Andy: What’s really cool is … Peter, you tend to keep clients for a
really, really long time. That’s one thing I’ve noticed with you is that
your retention is just off the chart and … I want to talk about that with
you and I want to talk about how you got to a point where you’re
targeting such high-end individuals; high net worth, high impact, just
like the total package. We’ll talk about all that in a little bit but first I just
want to go back to … when you got started what was your first business
that you … what was the first time you made money not getting paid for
somebody … by somebody like a corporation or company?
Peter: Yeah, it’s a good question. It’s been a real crazy journey for
me so rewind the clock back I … my first business started … I started
seven years ago and it was a private therapy practice. I had completed
my training and was sort of a newly mentored psychotherapist and I
wanted to … I was really passionate about my field and I just wanted to
begin my clinical [hours 00:05:06] and get started doing that. I just
dedicated years to studying that and becoming the very best, at least at
the time I thought like the best possible therapist that I could be. I went
and rented an office and printed out some business cards and sat in it
until clients showed up which is like a hilariously dubious strategy.
I figured some stuff out and had quite a bit of success early on. The first
real homerun was when I really got the idea that I needed to kind of have
a niche. I wasn’t familiar with this, I knew nothing about business and I
just wanted to work with everybody for everything because I felt like I
had this deep set of skills and I hated the idea of advertising and
focusing on one particular problem and I got so much advice, something
I’ll never forget how many people told me to do that and how much I
was able to convince myself that they were wrong all [these experience
and smart people 00:06:01] and I was right. Of course they were right
and I was wrong. It didn’t work out.
Eventually I was smart enough to advertise. I do a campaign in the local
geographic area that I was on to help people quit smoking because I was
pretty experienced with working with the dictions and that really gave
me this huge influx of clients at the beginning and was what I really built
my practice on which was … yeah, putting fliers in people’s mailboxes
essentially. That was what really worked.
Andy: Let’s go back. Tell me you finish school or you finish your
education and you decide you’re going to strike out on your own, do
your own thing. You rent a place, print up business cards, probably with
a pretty fancy logo and …
Peter: It was kind of average actually. But yeah.
Andy: But sit there and what happened?
Peter: What happened was I guess the biggest, the most
disillusioned kind of moment that I’ve ever had when I realize that I had
invested thousands and thousands of dollars in years of my life
developing my … I guess my psychological therapeutic education, my
skill set and that none of that mattered. That was never so clear to me is
that moment when I went in on Monday morning and sat in my office
and I’m sure a whole week went by at least, it’s not multiple weeks
where I just spent Monday to Friday sitting at this empty office trying to
figure out what to do. Those experiences will definitely check your ego
and I just realize that being the best possible therapist I could be means
nothing if I don’t know how to find strangers and turn them into
Andy: Awesome. After you had that realization what did you do?
Peter: I was terrified of it but that was when I tried to think of the
highest leverage, fastest and cheapest way I could reach people and I had
no real idea of what kind of converted or what didn’t but I had had a
couple of referrals. The tiny bit of business I did have was like the
family and friends referral sort of thing so I did have a couple of people
come in and one of the things I noticed was that I would get referrals
from people from the other side of town and they would never come.
Very early I went this crazy thing, I’m not sure how relevant this is to
anyone or now or whatever but I learn that people … even if it’s like
therapy, like it’s quitting smoking or working on a depression or
something major, they want it to be local. People didn’t want to travel
and so this was a big … I was kind of pissed off about learning this but I
decided to embrace it and that’s how I got the letterbox idea. I just
thought if I go print out … like I’m essentially doing nothing with my
time so if I go get a whole bunch of fliers like printed cheap, advertising
this. I put together this quit smoking package and it was a money back
guarantee of it because I was pretty confident of my skills, I’ve got some
really cool stuff I do with the dictions or did do and I knew that it
worked. I made this killer offer and I guess I stumbled upon some fairly
effective copywriting because I think it converted at about like three
percent, you know?
Andy: Just direct mail that you were putting in people’s
Peter: Right, right. I intuitively understood that I needed to make it
stick out. It didn’t look at all like a flier from the other type like pizza
coupons and stuff that go in to people’s mailboxes, it was very different
to that. I just kind of intuitively understood that concept and then just
spent afternoons walking around, dropping them in letterboxes myself
like I did the hard yards and it just freaking works. I was living in fear
that one of the people like I would see one of the people whose home I
was putting in the letterbox and that they would end up calling me and
then come in and be like, “Wait! The kid who is dropping the flier off is
the actual guy doing the therapy.” I don’t think it ever happens. It was a
crazy, it was a very like harrowing experience and I remember just being
in a state of constant fear that this was wouldn’t work out and someone
would think I was stupid or whatever but it turned out that people called
the number and booked in the appointments and then from that the work
I was doing was good then that’s where the investment in my education
did payoff because I was able to help this people and I started getting
referrals and I built up the practice from them.
Andy: Do you remember what you put on the fire?
Peter: Oh man.
Andy: Like what was the …
Peter: Freaky questions.
Andy: What was the offer that like … because three percent
response rate on direct mail stuff is ridiculous. Do you remember like
what the offer was?
Peter: It was guaranteed. That was the big thing. The price point
was 4.97 … sorry, 4.75, I’m pretty sure. Yeah. 4.75 … no, maybe 3.75.
You’re really taking me back here. It was very focused on the guarantee.
It was like quit smoking or your money back and then … Oh yeah, and
the copy was, the copy was something about no pills, no patches, no
prescriptions and then like a new type of talk therapy has massive results
for smoking session like some do it. It kind of hit like … I think the
[inaudible 00:11:35] the advertising people have experienced like that
and I actually saw some on the subway in New York just yesterday was
like something advertising a new study. It was probably NYU or one of
the schools and it was 300 smoking men wanted for this breakthrough
new treatment. We’re just really … you knew that it was going to be like
a patch or a pill or something like that, you know?
Peter: A lot of people are kind of turned off by that.
Unintentionally I’m sort of analyzing what the gift of hindsight.
[Inaudible 00:12:08] really attracted people but I guess what turned off
by those more medical base treatments and what into the idea of like a
holistic talk therapy. I naturally got clients who were already open to the
idea that just having a conversation and some mental shifts could make a
Andy: Got it. Got it. You drop all these letters, three percent
response rate. What happened … say the first time you did the drop did
you just go back to your office and sit and wait for the phone to ring and
like what happened when the first person called? What were you think,
what were you feeling?
Peter: Oh man. [Inaudible 00:12:49] no one has ever asked me this
before. What actually happened, I remember the first guy, and by the
way I’m still in touch with them every now and then like years and years
later just to kind of check and he still doesn’t smoke.
Andy: No way.
Peter: Yeah. What happened was that when the first call came in I
had them routed through to my cell at great expense back in those days
and I was with a bunch of friends of mine and I think we were having
some beers or something and I was kind of … it’s almost like when
you’re a teenager drinking when you shouldn’t be and your mom called
and to be like shh-shh-shh everyone. I kind of did that and then I picked
up the phone and just realize the guy said something to me where he was
like … I don’t know. He was really [inaudible 00:13:40]. He was like, “I
don’t know how quickly you can see me.” Those were more or else the
words that came out of his mouth and right then I realized that this guy
was a [inaudible 00:13:49]. He had called, man, he was really nervous
and he was really nervous that he might not be able to get in on the …
like somehow he was experiencing the scarcity and just in that moment,
in a split second I was like I need to run with this. I booked him in for
the next week like ten days away.
Andy: Oh really? Did you have any appointments over those ten
Peter: No, no. My schedule was totally empty but I was just like,
yeah, got a lot going on. I didn’t tell a lie. It was a white bending of a
truth I had of you, social plans, whatever. I’ve got a lot going on but
let’s do like Thursday next week and this is all my [inaudible 00:14:25].
Peter: He was like, “Oh my god! Yeah. Great, great, great.” When
he came along I had already setup the psychological conditions that was
so [inaudible 00:14:36] to kind of his success as a client. His perception
was he had stumbled upon this amazing author and come to work with
this guy who is obviously doing this crazy back to back appointments
[inaudible 00:14:47] people’s minds. That’s exactly what happened you
Andy: You wanted to set that construct up before he even walked
in the door?
Peter: Yeah. I mean, let me be clear though. I made this up on the
spot. It was just the realization that my client was more affirming that I
was. It was the realization that … I guess I had been buried in the whole
ego trip of … realizing that I had to do this unfamiliar sales and
marketing shtick. I had been really focused on me and when I first heard
… it’s just a profound moment to have a stranger phone you up
essentially saying, “I need you [inaudible 00:15:31].” Yeah, something
just clicked. I just realized that I’m the expert here. He’s waiting for me
to dictate to him when I can fit him into my schedule. It just kind of gave
me a boost of confidence and coincidentally used really smart kind of
tactic that just took advantage of a kind of slightly [sleazy 00:15:54]
scarcity kind of phenomenon.
I’m not a hundred percent proud of it but the crazy thing is just that it
was kind of acting as if because a couple of months later my schedule
was full and I would have to book people a couple of weeks [inaudible
00:16:10] in advance.
Andy: Yeah. What a great lesson to learn early on though. It totally
makes sense to me now hearing that that was one of the first lessons you
learned because I think you’ve done a incredible job of positioning
yourself as this really cream of the crop like … position yourself in a
position of like status among your prospects that come to you.
Andy: Even now.
Peter: Yeah. It’s definitely something that I do have some
consciousness of. It’s also just the kind of aesthetic that I really believe
in. I don’t know. I’ve got a healthy sense of confidence and I know that
the work that I do is really awesome and I’m happy with my business
model and it’s not a scalable thing so there is a natural scarcity to what I
do. I think that you said in your introduction that I do 15 hours a week
and what that means is I do 15 consulting hours a week which means I
usually only carry 15 clients maybe; 15 to 20 clients.
Peter: Some people don’t do a session every week but it’s not that
many people. There is some natural scarcity about being able to work
with me if you’re an entrepreneur. You know that’s cool because it’s a
very [inaudible 00:17:36] human and personal service. I’m not offering
like join my course or read my e-book or anything like that. Yeah.
Andy: I want you to put like the psychology head on for a moment.
We’ll kind of transition to this because I talk with a lot of entrepreneurs
and there’s a big fear around positioning themselves in that way. They
feel like I think a lot of times if they start working with clients or they
start getting their first people paying the money to do something that
they have to like bow down to the clients every demand and wish. What
do you think keeps people from positioning themselves to the way you
Peter: Fundamentally like not … let’s go crazy, deep and
meaningful. It’s really a disconnect with your sense of self I think. You
want to position as an entrepreneur and you’re offering services which is
I think what you’re talking about and you’re willing to let the client
dictate to you what those services should be and how they should be
delivered and how they should be packaged. If you’re not just willing
but kind of anticipating that and looking forward to it I think it reflects.
Yeah, it just reflects an uncertainty, a fundamental failure to have kind
of knowing yourself and knowing what it is that you offer. That was one
thing that I guess my background and all of the time like the years I
spent like reading way outside of my field and trying to just get vast
understanding of this. The type of psychological work that I do it really
helps because it gave me this healthy sense of kind of knowing my craft.
Like it never cross my mind that I should let a client come in and then
tell me how many sessions he thought he should come for or how we
should go about this. You know what I mean? It just never happened.
Yeah, I think that it’s fundamentally just a self-confidence issue that
comes from really knowing yourself and knowing what your … It
doesn’t really do justice to say know your value proposition because it’s
a very recycled business term. It’s more knowing what capability you
have and what value it creates in the world because when you’re certain
about that it’s very easy to communicate with a lot of sincerity, it’s very
easy to make that [inaudible 00:20:02] to other people and also make it
obvious when you’re doing something, when someone asked you
something you can kind of say no with a lot of integrity because you’ve
kind of advertise this is who I am and this is what I do.
Andy: If you’re working with the client who’s struggling with this
what would you have them do?
Peter: One of the techniques that I’ve actually kind of pioneered in
the last couple of years which is weird. It’s like the ultimate synergy of
kind of business strategy and psychology is that I actually set clients in
this position; the exercise of doing copywriting. I think copywriting is
… and I never knew that copywriting when I first started out by the way
but now that I do copywriting is a phenomenal exercise and personal
development because if you’re writing copy about yourself you have to
sell yourself. For an individual who wants to have like a consulting or
coaching career or some kind, to sit down and write like a page that
convinces people that you’re worth it is really an exercise in convincing
yourself that you’re worth it. If you’re unable to write good copy about
yourself then that to me is like the … you’ve gotten to the heart of the
problem because assuming you’ve got a good command of the English
language you should be able to do that. That’s what I get people to do is
I have them like work on the copy and apply like … increasingly more
and more dangerous and exciting adjectives to themselves you know?
Andy: So true. Any time we’re looking at launching a product of
any sort the first thing I always do is write the sales page because after I
write the sales page I have this renewed sense of what it is that I’m
offering and why it’s like a great offer for the world and then going out
to people makes it so much easier to talk about.
Peter: Right. It’s that level of certainty. Like I’ve definitely done
that exercise for myself as well and it becomes so personal when you’re
doing it about consulting or like the type of business model like mine
where it’s really you where you are the commodity that’s for sale. That’s
where it’s really … not every entrepreneur has that as a business model
but it is a cool exercise for kind of anyone to do because you really have
to confront yourself and us like what is it that I really do, what is it that
I’m good at. Yeah. Certainly these days I’ve definitely been able to
come to a place of total certainty myself around like what it is I do. I’ve
got a great tagline that I’m super proud of and yeah. That’s literally what
I do is I set people copywriting exercises and kind of supervise it and it
brings up all sorts of interesting psychological stuff.
Andy: Okay. Now let’s go back to story. Get your first client, a few
months later … how long did you drop these in people’s mailboxes for?
Peter: You know what? I actually didn’t probably do as many of
them as I should. I probably did five or six different drops of like … I
see thousands of them over the … over like a year or two. It really works
well like the referrals and stuff came in and I started to get pretty busy so
it was hard to kind of convince myself to get out there and do it again.
I’m not sure. Your question was how often did I do it? It was only a
handful more times and then I just kind of rolled with the business that I
had and kind of let things chug along. Yeah.
Andy: Let’s say you do the smoking thing for a while and then you
had a pretty big transition, right? At what point did you move to the
states? Because you were in New Zealand at the time all these was
Peter: Yeah. The timeline points around … here’s what happened.
I was working in New Zealand [inaudible 00:23:56] and I built my
practice in Auckland, New Zealand. I started doing a bit of corporate
consulting on the side while I was building my practice. I guess that
that’s a big piece of the puzzle because that took up a lot of time. It was
also very, very lucrative. I had some phenomenal opportunities that
came about through networking to do a lot of really exciting work.
Initially doing really therapy like stuff and it slowly … I slowly started
working with sales people kind of almost by accident to help them with
this like any kind of psychological obstacles that prevented them from
contributing to a company’s bottom line and the crazy thing about that is
that in the corporate consulting world if you’re able to walk in to a
business and demonstrate a capacity to add like a … to increase the sales
departments performance you’re basically worth anything to that
company so long as your fear is slightly less than the percentage
increase you create. I kind of got into this crazy career.
That was really the second phase of my business or the second business
that I created I ended up moving to Australia where I had a lot of clients.
New Zealand is a very small country and there’s a lot of bigger
businesses in Australia. I work for some of the largest banks in the
world, investment banking, insurance underwriters. The types of
industries where they have sales people who are responsible for
enormous chunk of revenue where if the top guy kind of has a mid-life
crisis and a meltdown it’s going to cost the company serious, serious
money. There was this real opportunity there to go and then do this very
personal, very intense work with these people and also do trainings and
workshops and kind of keynotes and stuff like that. I started to become
the sales psychology expert in the corporate space which was the big …
I guess that was the big phase two in my life and business.
Andy: What did you charge when you were doing that?
Peter: What did I charge?
Andy: Yeah and how did you decide what to charge there.
Peter: Well I decided the way that all B to B sales are really done.
You basically pick a price point that you think that they’ll go for and
then you go and [put 00:26:05] it in a meeting. It was all boardroom
sales. I was usually selling to the CEO if not the Board of Directors of
these companies. They would say yes and if they said yes right away I
would like fist pump and like walk out of the … you know shake their
hand or whatever and walk out of the meeting and immediately be like
damn! And I should have asked for more. That’s really what happens.
There was no kind of price point limit. Because of the nature of the work
I was doing it was just so worth it to them but in terms of my hourly rate
I went from … like when I was started my practice I think I was
probably earning 50 bucks an hour or something like that and I was …
with the corporate consulting it was usually beginning at about three or
four hundred and going upwards from there for the actually time that I
would spend implementing the work.
Andy: Awesome. Went from doing your own thing to doing
corporate consulting and then what was the next step for you?
Peter: Yeah, so the next step was the formation of The Shrink for
Entrepreneurs business and brand and the way of that happened is that I
had this sales strategy and I love it when I get clients here in the B to B
consulting world in the industry because I have such great ideas around
how to build a business. I was very successful with the business that I
built and my strategy was to network with the CEOs of these huge
companies. I basically made myself known to them and spent my entire
time having lunches and coffee and stuff like that with these CEOs and
learning about their problems and concerns with their senior staff and
their senior sales people. I would just be very close with those people
and in some ways do a lot of free consulting, like a lot of sort of over
lunch like deep and meaningful conversations with them. I would be
fishing for opportunities where there were problems that they didn’t
know how to solve and then I would basically just ask for commission to
come in and pitch them a solution I had in mind. They would usually
pull a bunch of people into the room and be like, “Here’s this guy I
know. He’s got some ideas to solve …” like so and so problem,
whatever, and that’s how I would create business.
What happened is I actually have all these relationships with the CEOs
who were founders of these companies who are very entrepreneurial
people and I started doing a little bit of work with some of them and
realize that this was massively fulfilling for me, that I really enjoyed
working with those people. Like a lot of things and business all roads led
to Seth Godin who has been a massive influence in my life. I picked up a
copy of his book, Permission Marketing, in a second-hand bookstore in
Sydney. [Inaudible 00:28:50] read it was just consumed by like the
potential … I was a guy who just didn’t spend any time on the internet
before those. I was building a very old school business done by inperson.
It was all in-person networking …
Andy: What year was this?
Peter: Let me think. What year are we now? It must have been
2006, ‘07. Yeah. That sounds about right. ‘07, ‘08 maybe.
Andy: Before we go on the second round … going back to how …
how did you get meetings with all these CEOs? Because we’ve got a lot
of people in the Foundation, they’re cold calling, they’re sending out
emails, they’re trying to get in touch with people but one thing really
hard is to get powerful people to sit down and just give you the time of
day. What was your strategy there?
Peter: Not to digress too much but there is an importance … [I
don’t feel 00:29:50] like breaking down the whole story here. There’s a
really important point that I kind of crossed over before. When I was
building my practice, when I had the epiphany that I needed to learn
how to sell as well as going and dropping off the leaflets I was also
worried about revenue because I wasn’t making any money at that point
so I went and got a part time job as a telemarketer for really big
technology company that sells to other businesses. I would spend a
couple of hours a week on the phones for them, trying to set
appointments for their sales reps to go out to these big companies and
sell them. They sell bridging services which is a fancy way of saying
like teleconferencing, webinar software. I don’t know what they do now
now that all that stuff is cheaper, that used to be really high-end
technology that only big businesses could have.
We would sell that stuff and I actually learned … I got that job because I
wanted to learn how to sell and I just wanted to cultivate fearlessness
around pitching people and it was a great company and the offer was
actually really good so I was able to do it with a lot of integrity and …
yeah. I just developed the ability to kind of pick up the phone and set
appointments with people and that’s pretty much what I learn to do.
There’s no real secret to it. I’m very comfortable speaking to the CEOs
of multinational corporations with hundreds of millions of dollars in
revenue. I just pick up the phone and talk to them like normal humans
and yeah. That’s really what it is.
Andy: I agree with that piece of being able to sit down across from
anyone and have a conversation but there’s something that’s really hard
about getting your foot in the door and just getting the permission to
have that conversation with them or to have that first interaction with
them. How did you do that?
Peter: You know what I did? This is a fascinating interview
because I haven’t thought about this for awhile. The first corporate client
that I had was by accident. I met the guy at a workshop that I was
attending who … he had come there to learn about this particular field in
NLP. That’s like the first piece of advices. Go to a lot of conferences
because you never know who you’ll meet. I ended up sitting next to him.
It was an NLP course actually where I was learning Neuro-Linguistic
Programming and I ended up sitting to this guy and he turned out to be a
very senior executive at the world’s largest … sorry. No, back then it
was Australia’s largest insurance underwriter. They are massive,
massive insurance company and he really liked my whole vibe. We were
talking and I was very experienced in the field and we were chatting a
whole bunch and he actually pitched me. He was like I’d love for you to
come in like potentially work with a couple of our people because he
just … it was just networking. I wasn’t aggressively pitching him at any
way at all. He came to me with that idea.
The very next step like where I became proactive was I kind of realize
after putting together a deal with him and working with … I worked
with a bunch of his team, it was great, I realize that I could get into that
particular industry. What I did is I called the executive assistant because
you can never speak to a CEO directly at a bunch of other insurance
companies and I basically introduced myself and said that I was doing
some work with this particular company that I won’t name and I’d love
to come in and talk to them about what they’re doing with their … I
think it was sales stuff with their sales people and just name dropping
that business was enough to get the appointment usually or get a phone
call to speak to the CEO themselves. Then I would say I’ve been doing
this stuff with this company, they’re loving it, I wanted to come in and
talk. I just want to come in and talk about what you guys are doing in
that space as well and that’s how I would begin the relationship. I didn’t
go and then make a sale necessarily on the spot but that’s how I started a
relationship with the CEOs.
Andy: Average basically the work you are doing with one
company to do it with. Was it their competitors you’re reaching out to or
people in the same space or …
Peter: Their competitors, yeah. I didn’t have a non-compete with
any of the businesses that I had worked with or with that particular first
company that I worked with and I basically used that strategy. I just
rinsed and repeated that every time I found someone in the new industry
or anything like that I would just go and do that. I would even ask them
like who do you know in your space once I got a little bit more familiar
and I would actually ask for referrals or asked to be introduced to
This tactic was something that I learned at that part time job that I had.
Like this company that I was working for selling these
telecommunications products, that was one of the tactics that was
commonly use would be if you could get in to another organization they
would do all kinds of sneaky stuff like phone up all of that company’s
competitors and basically just name drop and say, “Oh yeah, we’re
working with these guys. We’d love to come and talk to you about what
we’re doing there and how we might be able to help you.” Usually most
kind of decision makers and companies will actually respond to that
because there’s a certain covering of one’s ass that needs to happen. If
you know, if you get information that one of your key competitors is
using a particular service it’s kind of your job as an executive to find out
Andy: And people are so curious about that too especially in the
Peter: Right, right. Yeah, exactly. They want to have something to
discuss. It’s important information and there’s nothing illegal about it.
You can totally tell people who you’re working with as your clients;
unless they’ve specifically asked you not to. It’s a great sale, direct sales
tactic in the B to B, yeah, business to business world.
Andy: Totally. So that really started the corporate consulting stuff
was meeting this guy at this conference and leveraging that into a
handful of other relationships.
Peter: Yeah. I collected about four or five insurance companies and
then transition into banking because those industries are very connected
from that. I made a couple of like really key movers and shakers in those
industries who knew a lot of people and suddenly just built out this thing
and one day woke up and found myself working on a core sales
development pro. I basically design like [inaudible 00:36:28] and
delivered a sales training program for the biggest bank in New Zealand
and Australia which was to this day the biggest, scariest project I’ve ever
worked on. It was crazy.
Andy: Oh wow.
Andy: I’m loving this because I’m seeing exactly where you got
started and how the transition every step of the way and there’s no glam
or sexiness or this one big thing happened and it changed my life, it’s
just like a lot of little things where you’re consistently hustling all the
way through up.
Peter: Yeah. There’s no magic bullet and it’s worth mentioning
that in between all of the stuff was like countless, sleepless nights and
insecurities and you know. The process of bidding for this huge banking
deal that we did that was … I’m pretty sure I started losing hair. It was
really full on.
Andy: Oh, can we talk about that?
Peter: A little bit but I actually do … I do have non-disclosure stuff
with those people so yeah a little bit.
Andy: Got it.
Peter: We can talk about some stuff.
Andy: Okay. You’re bidding on a contract to come up with the
sales curriculum, is that right?
Peter: Mm-hmm. Basically what we did is most banks have a …
this is like a consumer bank as well like mum’s and dad savings account
type of thing. One of their biggest areas where they have direct sales is
in mortgages. People who actively working for the bank and actively
selling mortgages to people so that’s really where the big capability
[gapers 00:38:08]. If you can help those people be more effective the
bank is going to make a shitload more money if their sales stuff are
really on it. That was the need that we were trying to fulfill and working
against … hitting up against issues like massive geographic spread. They
had offices in two countries with like Australia or as big as [inaudible
00:38:29] US. We couldn’t exactly go on a road show and deliver
training workshops without incurring massive expenses. We had to
figure out a way to use technology to do that.
We ended up pitching a recording, like a radio program kind of like.
Almost like one of the Tony Robbins’ CDs that people could buy. These
mortgage guys could kind of listen to it on the way to work and there
was workbooks and there was some actual training as well so it was just
this like multi-tiered, very fully formed training program.
Andy: How did you know … well, let me ask you this. You’d
never done anything like this before?
Peter: I had delivered training programs on to … that filled the
similar need like in similar organizations but nothing on the scale.
Andy: The scale in terms of the amount of people, the size of
Peter: Right. The amount of people and the sheer amount of money
that they are paying us as well. It was a big one.
Andy: Can you tell us how much?
Peter: I’d rather not to be honest.
Peter: Yeah. But it was big. It was a six-figure contract.
Andy: Got it. Do you have any insecurities around your ability to
deliver on it?
Peter: Yeah. One of the biggest things that was … I’m very
confident of my ability to do my work. Like I said I’ve got this like, it’s
like forged in steel my sense of certainty that my skill set is … I can help
people; that I can really make a big difference. The problem is that I
wasn’t working in my preferred space of doing the whole one-on-one
work with people. That was a big letting go for me. Was kind of
thinking, well, how do we actually really get through to these people and
make a really huge impact?
One of the things … and this is why I don’t really want to talk about
specifically who it was or anything like that. One of the problems is that
when you do a contract this big you do run into the corporate,
bureaucratic nightmare of working with such a large organization. What
actually ended up happening is that they had such a clear idea of what
they wanted that in the end my insecurities didn’t really mattered too
much because I ultimately just work to the aspect of their requirements
and gave them what they ask for even if I didn’t necessarily believe that
it was the best possible solution. Does that make sense? It sounds a bit
weird but that’s kind of how these really big contracts work.
Once they agreed to do it and get started working together I did find
myself in a position where they were dictating to me what it was that
they wanted created. It was cool and it was fine, they were paying me a
lot of money and I did it and what they ended up with was a great
solution but I would have done things differently if I had had free reign
over the project and because of that working environment I kind of
vowed to never work for one of those companies again. That was
actually the end of my corporate consulting career. Not to put it to …
yeah, to put it lightly I was just like … that was fun and never again.
Peter: Here’s one fact that I often tell people. For those project we
were given a … because we had to produce these documents to support
our training which I had always done with all of the corporate consulting
I’ve done before. I’ve got a whole archive, it was like amazing resources
that I put together for people like printed stuff. We had to do this for
them but they gave us … when we started they were like here’s the style
guide that you need to follow so that these resources fit with like all of
the rest of the stuff that we train our people with so the style and
formatting guide was a 189 pages.
Andy: I used to work in Corporate America and they had … their
brand guide was like equivalent to The Bible at some level within the
company. You had to know it in and out and everything had to be
Peter: Right. Exactly. That was kind of like when I realize that the
corporate consulting thing was lucrative but that I was selling my soul to
some extent. I’ve never made more money like … for years I wasn’t
able to kind of … I’m definitely then now but I was … that was super
lucrative for me, those years were like very exciting, very sexy, lots of
revenue coming in but at the cost of 60 hours a week dealing with this
type of stuff of never being able to slow down and then in the endless
networking with the CEOs and high leverage people in the spaces. Then
I kind of hit like the pinnacle of what I was sort of … I thought I was
capable of working with one of the biggest companies in that part of the
world and really a place where I should have felt like I had completely
arrived and like so many of these things and life and business I was very
underwhelmed with what I had achieved.
Andy: Really. You get there and then it’s like, “Oh, this wasn’t
nearly as exciting as I thought it would be.”
Andy: Okay. Corporate stuff ends and then move to the states and
Peter: Yeah. There was a bit of a transition between the two I was
working on. Yeah. What happened is I picked up permission marketing
[inaudible 00:44:03] … it blew my mind. I ended up subscribing to Seth
Godin’s blog and I think then Chris Guillebeau’s blog which Seth
actually wrote a post about him and linked to him and I found his and
those were the first two blogs I ever subscribed to and I kind of had my
mind blown by what Chris had achieved and by the things that Seth
I actually found out that Seth was doing a webinar with the Australian
businesswoman’s network and I was like, man, I want to be on this. One
of my friends, female friends who is a member I just got had to give me
her access codes and I like sneakily joined the Australian
businesswoman’s networks webinar which is the first webinar I had ever
been on and it ended up that Seth ended up … Seth did a Q&A for the
whole second half of the webinar and I was sitting there listening
patiently and then I was like I’ve got to ask him a question and I just
asked it in the webinar software but I had registered under my real name.
I should have called myself like … I don’t know, Sarah or something but
he was reading all these questions. He’s like, “Hold on a second. We’ve
got one from a guy called Peter here. I don’t know what’s up with that.”
But he ended up … it was great because he actually ended up answering
What I asked him … he was talking about this concept of like you’ve
got to know what your super power is if you really want to be successful
in business you have to be clear on what your super power is. This
comes back to what we’re talking about like that certainty in terms of
your sense of self. Knowing what you have to offer the world and you
have to offer your clients and customers and I had always struggled with
those four years. When he articulated it I was like, “Yeah, super power.
That’s exactly what I need to find out.” I said to him, I asked Seth,
“What advice do you have for someone who’s always struggled to find
their super power?” His response was, “Go and ask the clients who
adore you the most. They already know.”
I actually quit the webinar right then and there. I was like, “Thank you.”
I didn’t listen to the rest of the webinar. I picked up the phone and called
this guy who I’ve done a lot of work with, who absolutely love me, he’s
one of my favorite clients and I was like, “Okay, random question but
just bare with me. What’s my super power? If I had to have a super
power in business what would it be?” The guy response, he’s like, “It’s
like you’re some kind of crazy shrink for entrepreneurs.”
Andy: No way.
Peter: I was just like, boom! That for me was like a pivotal, life
Andy: Did you know right when he said that like, boom! This is it!
Peter: Yeah, was like … it was like a shiver down my spine and I
just saw this timeline unfold in front of me. I was like this is fucking it.
It was a really powerful moment. I can remember it like it was yesterday
like where I was sitting, what I was doing. It was crazy. That was a big
To fast forward through the story because I know I’ve got to finish what
we’ve started here. I went and changed my Twitter profile to … which I
had recently setup. I had no idea what I was doing and I put that in my
bio, the shrink for entrepreneur is my job. I had built this shitty little
website, it was horrible and ugly and I put that in the banner and I
actually … I started tweeting with a bunch of people and got attention
from a very prominent web kind of guru, like web marketing guru who
is like shrink for entrepreneurs. That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard.
It was actually James Chartrand from Men with Pens who’s a really
good friend of mine now and James kind of spotted me and was like,
“This is awesome,” and actually wanted to hire me to do some work
with her. There’s a long a story why James is a woman. I won’t go into
it here. People can Google that.
James wanted to do some work with me and was like … but I’m in
Canada and I was like … we can’t do that then. James wanted to work
by email and was like just entertain this idea like humor me, try and do
your consulting with me by email which was her preferred … she’s a
writer and is really big on typed [inaudible 00:48:19] communication I
guess. I was like, whatever. What have I got to lose? She was going to
pay me so it was great. I started working with her by email and that
kicked off an entire year’s experiment where I did nothing but … I was
still doing a little corporate consulting in the background but online I did
nothing but do email consulting with people. I attracted a whole bunch
of clients who thought it was a really nifty idea including Michael
Ellsberg. I started blogging, I started guest posting around the web,
building traffic, and I had this one reasonably high profile client with
James and I started attracting a whole bunch more. Ellsberg showed up
and it just … [inaudible 00:49:00] and got bigger and bigger and after a
year I started developing carpal tunnel-like symptoms from typing too
much so I thought why don’t I do this on the phone and since then I’ve
been rocking … yeah, 15 consulting hours a week earning a killer six
figure salary that pays for like my lifestyle in Manhattan and I get to
travel all over the world whenever I feel like it. I just got back from New
Zealand and Switzerland and then you and I were hanging in [inaudible
00:49:27]. Stuff is awesome. That’s the story.
Andy: Okay. This sound at some level similar to the consulting gig
where you met one person whose … It seems like … so the theme that
I’m seeing is that you’re meeting one person of significant power and
influence and either doing work for them for free, to get your foot in the
door or just getting that relationship clear and established and then
leveraging that relationship to meet other people of similar status and
Peter: Absolutely. Yeah. To be clear I actually didn’t do work for
free. It’s another thing that I’ve been really strict about is that I’m a big
believer in knowing your worth and the only time I’ve even done a
service for clients was with a client of mine who’s in private aviation
and I have the opportunity to come in and help him with a very specific
little project and he often frequent fly miles in his fleet of private aircraft
and I was like hell yeah, you know?
Peter: Yeah. But no. I always charge money but yeah that’s exactly
it. It’s not that I would just kind of gravitate. I was never hunting for just
one person who was very high leverage and very powerful. But you do
tend to met one person at a time. While this was going on I met and
befriended and networked with a whole bunch of people. I’ve just told
you about the people who happened to stand out and become like really
amazing friends and really amazing contacts.
Andy: Peter, I’m really glad you’re saying that because I think it
would be easy for some people to get the idea that if you go around
searching for that one awesome person then everything will change but
the truth is that one awesome person tends to come from living in a
place where you just enjoy meeting people and enjoy giving.
Peter: Right. Right. Without naming names like even the most
recent one where my memory is still the strongest like with James I
actually was introduced to James by someone who she really trusts who
I had kind of befriended and was hanging out with and chatting with
online and that kind of stuff. That person has … I’m actually no longer
really in contact with but it just goes to show that there’s like this whole
breadcrumb trail of this networking that kind of happens which my
entire life and business has been built on. Yeah, my philosophy has
always been to just help as many people as I can. The more people that
you can elevate the faster you’ll elevate yourself.
Andy: This has been awesome. I really enjoyed this. I want to ask
a few questions around what are the common struggles that you see with
entrepreneurs. Where do they come and pitfalls that your clients tend to
run into. Anyone listening to the show they might be struggling with.
Yeah, what do you normal see and what can we do about it?
Peter: Okay, so there’s two things. Well there’s one thing that I
need to be real clear about first. My clients are very specific
demographic and that I don’t work with people who have just started out
in business. I believe and there’s a lot of evidence to indicate that there’s
a learning curve that new entrepreneurs hit that takes about two years to
get through, that’s extremely steep and difficult and slippery and painful
and all are miserable. I work with people who have gotten beyond that
and are dealing with the problems that they face. It’s not like you get
through those two years and then you’re on [inaudible 00:53:06] so I
work with the people who have kind of gotten pass that initial learning
My advice for the people who are just starting out is that … the biggest
thing that they face is the fear of that learning curve and going through it
themselves. My advice is to always create the conditions in your life
where you can afford to learn for two years.
I once wrote a post on my blog that got a lot of attention because it was
kind of controversial saying sometimes you need to quit. You don’t need
to quit, sorry, your business but sometimes you need to quit your
expectations and go and get a part time job. I had to do it, I was telling
you about my sales job that I got very, very early on when I was just
starting. I think that you’ve got to create the environment where you’ve
got that timeframe where you’re free to be able to make mistakes, to fail
and pick yourself up again. The thing I hate hearing from people who
like write in, to talk to me or whatever is that they have gotten zero
experience, they’re just starting their very first business and they’re like
financing it by mortgaging their house and putting everything on the
line. They sold their kidney to get going.
Andy: Yeah, totally.
Peter: I’m just like, no, that’s not … the first thing isn’t going to be
the best thing. I’ve been through, as we’ve just discussed, I’ve been
through three iterations of business before I’ve arrived at something that
has been like … that I’m really happy with. You can definitely
accelerate those two years and there’s a lot of people who are offering
solutions on how to do that and some of them are totally right and the
smart ways of approaching it but there’s don’t … don’t underestimate
the fact that that learning has to occur.
Then to really answer your question what happens with people I work
with is that they’re ultimately resting with indecision. As an
entrepreneur once you deal with the fear and procrastination and you
overcome those basic issues of knowing exactly what you should be
doing, just making yourself doing it which is like kind of big enough
stuff I think. You get to a place where you’ve got something going on
and it’s now about where do you take it and you’re kind of in this
infinite realm of possibilities.
I was having a conversation yesterday actually with a good friend of
mine about how an entrepreneur is someone who sits down at their desk
on Monday morning and could do anything. There’s no boss telling you
like here’s what you have to have done by Friday; you have infinite
possibility. What tends to happen is that people then drown under the
weight of all of the things that they tell themselves they should do
because they know that they could do absolutely anything.
Indecision is the big thing that I help my clients wrestle with. They don’t
really have anything in common in the sense that they all have very
different lives and very different obstacles they’re facing but if you
chunk it up and really try to just still [liaisons 00:55:54] of what folks
struggle with it’s that indecision.
Andy: I totally relate to that. Feeling overwhelmed with possibility
of … the idea of having too many options is almost as stressful as
having no options or only one option at some level.
Peter: Right. This is why people who have been running businesses
for five years and they are involved in really cool stuff, you’ll hear them
joking about like, “Oh man, sometimes I wish I could just go get a job.”
The reason that they say that is because when you have a job you don’t
have that infinite plan of possibilities. That’s where the source of that,
“Haha! I’m just kidding,” joke comes from.
Andy: In grade school if you had to write a story or do like an
artistic thing and they’re like, “All right, I need you to write a story,”
and they just left at that open, it was so much harder than if they said,
“You need to write a story about something specific,” because you have
Peter: Yeah. Right, right. Exactly.
Andy: Last question for you. For the people who were in the twoyear
learning curve what should they focus on the most during those two
years? To speed the curve up or to get clash [inaudible 00:57:15] stable
or to just get through that as quickly as possible?
Peter: Good question. What I believe they should focus on is
relentlessly trying to shorten the gap between having an idea and acting
on it. The big thing that people face in those two years is that you have
all of the stuff that you have to learn. That’s accepted, right? There’s
certain things in business that school, high school and your parents just
won’t prepare you for. And college won’t prepare you for. Nothing will
prepare you for other than doing it. The biggest problem I see is that
people have these ideas. They’re like, “Oh, I should try this,” like X, Y,
Z marketing tactic or “I should build a website or whatever,” and then
they think about it and trying to decide whether or not it’s right; whether
or not the strategy is correct.
What they’re doing is trying to think like someone, like one of my
clients who’s running this epic business and has a lot on the line and has
to pick the right strategy, you know? They really are thinking about
strategy very, very carefully. But when you’re just starting out I think
that you should road test everything. Any idea that you have should be
implemented as quickly as possible and then you make your deductions
based on real world results. Experiential data rather than kind of sitting
there brainstorming and doing planning. In a way what I’m saying is
kind of to over exaggerate it. Don’t plan anything, just do a bunch of
Andy: Implement, implement, implement and see what works.
Peter: Right. And then at the end of two years or if you do those it
could be like a year, it could be six months if you learn really fast. At the
end of that period you’ll have learn so much that then you’ll be able to
make very, very, very qualified decisions that are going to serve you
really, really well.
Andy: Well, and you probably have cash coming in the door and
clients and a track record. All of those things that you need to have to
take it to the next level.
Peter: Right. Exactly. That’s the thing is that … the story of me
kind of putting out those fliers I did procrastinate on that for a little
while. As soon as I did it and that first call came in I realize that I
shouldn’t have burn those days or those weeks or whatever it was. There
was absolutely no reason that I needed to sit and think about that for
longer. There was no reason to meditate that on that at all but it was no
value that I created meditating on it. All it did was slow me down.
Peter: Yeah, that’s my advice. It’s just a relentless commitment to
shortening the gap, closing the gap between idea and action.
Andy: Awesome man. This has been such a fun interview. Thanks
for coming today man.
Peter: Yeah, you’re telling me. No worries, it’s cool. I’m real glad
we got to do this.
Andy: Yeah, me too. Where can people find out about you, learn
more, check out some of your stuff?
Peter: Best thing to do is just go to Pete … my name,
petershallard.com or if you want just Google search Shrink for
Entrepreneurs and yes subscribe to my blog. I publish really cool stuff
from time to time and yeah that’s the best place to do it. [Inaudible
01:00:33] and check things out. Petershallard.com
Andy: Awesome. Thanks brother.
Andy: Catch you later.
Peter: Catch you later. Bye.
Andy: Well, thanks again to Peter Shallard and thank you for
listening. We covered a lot of topics today and I hope that something
Peter said inspired you to take action. You can find more info including
show notes for this episode at thefoundation.io.
Now if you want to know what we think you should do after listening to
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