The Lead Generation features conversations with today’s entrepreneurs willing to tell the truth about what it takes to be your own boss and the transformative impact you can have on your audience.
In this episode, we’re bringing you Phil Adair to discover the lessons he’s learned building his entrepreneurship coaching business.
Phil is the founder of PhilAdairTraining.com, an online resource for aspiring entrepreneurs and digital marketers. Originally from New Zealand, Phil now calls Sydney, Australia home.
In this episode, Phil shares a mental trick for overcoming self-doubt, how he persevered imperfectly through an unimaginable tragedy, and the tools he uses to create and market his content.
Transcripts, resources, and top-takeaways are below.
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If you’re short on time, here are a few golden nuggets from our conversation and the resources mentioned.
- There’s no such thing as overnight success. Attaining success doesn’t appear overnight, it makes many years and hard work to achieve.
- Transitions are never timely. When tragedy or hard times strike will you take a step back or dive into your work? It's your choice.
- Never stop learning. Take advantage of as many tools, podcasts, books, etc., as possible. The more you learn the more you’ll understand about where you want to go and what you want to do in your business.
- Don't sit on the sidelines. Be a professional. Dive in. Do it!
- Phil Adair Training
- WTF Podcast by Mark Maron
- The Jim Fortin Podcast
- Rick Mulready Podcast
- Amy Porterfield Podcast
- Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield
- Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
- Fire Nation Podcast by John Lee Dumas
- Smart Passive Income Podcast by Pat Flynn
Continue the Conversation
After enjoying this episode, what are your top takeaways from Phil?
And what's one lesson you learned in this episode that you'll take action on over the next week?
Get to Know Phil
Bob: Hey Phil – a warm Minnesota "G'day" to you from across the world. Thanks so much for joining me for this week's episode.
Phil: Thank you Bob. Really looking forward to chatting with you today. I've been thinking about it for the last few days now.
Bob: I know what we're going to have a really great conversation. I've been looking forward to this and before we get into that though, I would love to know if you can share with us very simple example or explanation of how are the lives of your customers transformed by what your company does?
Phil: Okay that's an easy one to answer Bob, and I think its stems from my own learning abilities and I guess I am a learner, but I think at times if you're going back to that kid in the classroom who's sat there at school and the teacher said does everyone understand and everyone's hands have shot up and you put your hand up too but you really didn't understand it, and I had a bit of that I think when I was younger. One of the things I learned is the way that I teach is very much step by step.
A lot of my students I hear this a lot that I have a very good way of unpacking things so that they're easily digestible for my students. I don't baffle them with science. I treat my students as if I were teaching myself and I do everything step by step. I think if you have that attitude and imagine yourself as the student and say to yourself would I get that if it were me. That's the question you have to keep asking yourself.
There's no sense in just rattling on and going over someone's head with technology and buzzwords. It's useless if they can't understand it so that would be the main thing.
Bob: Phil, how did you get started doing the kind of work that you do?
Phil: I started off way back in 2007. My wife and I we had a children's hair salon where kids sat and pedal cars and watched TV and got their hair cut, and it was called Kid's Lids and that stage when we first started, it was word of mouth marketing, and I decided to dive into Google AdWords. Being a sort of fairly impatient person I pulled all of the wrong labels and paid what they often call the Google stupidity tax. I didn't really understand it and got very frustrated. Then I got angry with myself.
I started devouring everything I could on Google AdWords. I read all the books, Perry Marshall, and I was just obsessed. I started to get results then we had customers coming to the salon saying that they had seen our ads online, and they clicked on the ad and made the appointment, and they said who does your marketing. I would be in the cell on the cashout, and I know the guy who's really good. They'd say who? And I'd say it's me.
I started to get people asking if I can help them with their own businesses. I guess you guys call it a side hustle there in the US where I had people that I had as Adwords clients, and it was really interesting to me to do that and just got fascinated by being able to use or harness the power of the internet to create leads and drive traffic to a business, and I guess that's when the penny dropped and became very interested in every aspect of it.
I love trying to write ad copy because you know with Google ads you're limited space per line, so you had to really be careful about which words you use, and punctuation and just every aspect of it and then connecting those ads to specific landing pages or pages that weren't optimized well on the website.
In a sense that was the start of it, and from there I was able to sort of springboard into a big client that’s a security company here in Australia and our sales were falling away with their equipment, and they hired me. I went in there and managed to, well we did a full website redevelopment and then applied Google ads to the new website. They started to make a lot more sales. I would say that was a transformation not just for the clients but for myself because it just got me excited about online marketing.
Play the Mental Game to Win
Bob: I know that everyone listening here has probably introduced to three to 300 different online marketing teachers at some point so being able to break that down into its simplest format I know has to be appreciated by your students. You weren't always a successful online trainer for marketing and business. When you look back at the growth of your business and company what sticks out to you as a major obstacle or frustration towards your success that you had to overcome?
Phil: I think the major one for me Bob would be getting out of my own way and understanding that I would say 90 percent of it would be mental and it's those voices inside your head going who do you think you are to be teaching people online? What are your credentials? I think that this is exceptionally common in many people. It's one of those things where you have to say to yourself those are just thoughts, it's not reality, they're all thought patterns and understand that you do have something to offer. By teaching people certain things in the way that I do I am helping people, I am providing people with steps they need to go to the next level.
Self doubt has always been something that I've had throughout my whole life but now I am at a stage in my life where that self doubt has dissipated greatly and I really believe in what I do. I know I am good at it and I think, the mental struggle is probably the biggest thing but that's not just me that's for everyone, the voices in your head. Just ignore them and keep going.
Bob: Is there anything that you say to yourself when that thought starts popping up? Sort of like, kick the butt of the voice and hear the other voice that wins out with confidence.
Phil: That's a great question Bob and I absolutely do and this is like a ninja mind trick that I learned quite a few years ago now. It's a really good thing to say to yourself. So for instance if you're a person and you are maybe fussing over something or you can't get it and you get those thoughts. Just say to yourself, “I am having that thought again.” Now what that does is that literally isolates what you're thinking is doing so if you can say to yourself, I'm just having that thought again, you immediately identify the thought and that allows you to move on.
The thought actually weakens because you've identified it. These recurring thought patterns that go around in our head are really there to protect us but sometimes they suffer from over-protection and that stops us from moving forward. If you're in a doomed spiral or if you're feeling insecure, or you're feeling like you can't do something just stop and say to yourself, “Aha I'm having that thought again.”
Even jot it down on a piece of paper and that will allow you to realize that it is just a thought and move on. Go and do something that inspires you like get up go for walk down to the local café grab a coffee, if you’re near the ocean, go for walk the beach. Just change your scenery for a bit and get back into it. If you keep doing that eventually you will leave negative thoughts so the mindset will just give up. You can't win with that guy/girl so that's why I am having that thought again. Identify the thought.
Bob: I love it and this idea of awareness is always a big key for mindset training, so I really appreciate that you brought that in. The next thing I would love to know from you Phil is if along the way of your entrepreneurial journey you picked up some advice about entrepreneurship that really stuck with you and you continue to live by it to this day.
Phil: Absolutely, so about three years ago I traveled to San Diego and I did a 3 day Brendon Burchard seminar and I found that really inspiring. Not just the speakers and Brendon on stage, but also all the people that you meet during the event and during lunch and coffee breaks. I think being an online entrepreneur it can be very isolating. Also, your friends say to you what do you do? You kind of go oh you know it's difficult sometimes to tell them what you do and they look and you and they think you are half baked and they roll their eyes. To be surrounded by other like minded people at an event like that. To me, was a very powerful experience and made me feel that I am not alone.
I like this community of like-minded individuals and I’m constantly listening to all of these people on podcasts and just learning as much as I can and I think that's the key.
Bob: Yeah that's good I think surrounding yourself with great people that can lift you up and inspire you whether direct or indirect is fantastic.
Quit Kidding Yourself – This Takes Effort
Bob: So you work a lot with people who are just starting with their entrepreneurial journey, getting online, what kind of misconception do they come to you with that is a red flag that has to be beaten down for them to be successful with their business?
Phil: The biggest one, Bob, is that they're not prepared to do the work they are seduced by what they see online and they think there is some amazing shortcut to online richness or wealth. It's that shiny object syndrome that we hear about so much where people will like to randomly pick exactly what they may think is going to work for them and you really have to say to them what is the price on this first of all you got to be in love and the other thing you got to do the work. You can't just accept it to fall in your lap and if you think like that, then you'll probably give up very, very easily.
That's the misconception people expect overnight success and there is no such thing. It doesn't exist.
Bob: Yeah it's pretty rare that you find anyone who has not put in at least a year in a half to two years of under the radar work to become an overnight success right?
“Everything is learnable – you've got to be prepared to do the work.”
Bob: In a matter of product launch of some kind.
Phil: Totally it's that graphic that we see all the time with the iceberg, there is so much more going on in the background. Where as people often say, how did you did that, well it comes from hard work. I said this to my 13 year old son all the time. I am teaching him to surf at the moment we just had the bells surfing contest here in Victoria and all of the professionals from all over the world were surfing. I was saying to him, these guys don't just get good just from surfing a few times. This is from years and years of practice.
Everything is learnable, but you've got to be prepared to do the work.
When Tragedy Strikes
Bob: That's so true. You mentioned your family how do you balance your business with your family time?
Phil: Well that's way easier now because when I was in the corporate world working for another company I found that super stressful because you know you drop the kids off to school in the morning at a certain time and I have to be crisscrossing busy city traffic to get to another meeting. Often you’re having to reach a client, saying, hey look I'm caught in traffic or I'm running a bit late. I found that really stressful, but now I get up a couple of hours in the morning before my kids. I love the early mornings and I get to drop my kids off at school and I get to walk my five year old daughter into school and I can even have a chat with a few other the other parents if I want. I wear shorts and a tee shirt and I've got a coffee in my hand. It's far more relaxing than sitting up and being stuck in traffic let me tell you.
Bob: So your family life is pretty awesome right now, and it's gone through some hard times. I know that for people who bring up a business and they're growing a business sometimes things happen in their life that they can't control and that’s certainly happened for you. What can you share with us about what's happened in your past that you needed to overcome and make sure that you're in remembrance of, but also using it as full for the success in your own life.
Phil: Yeah, sure Bob. Back in 2011 my wife fell pregnant with our second child and throughout the pregnancy everything was fine like any pregnant lady she had all the tests every few months at the hospital and sadly when our son was delivered I was in the delivery suite and I remember the midwife standing next to her and she uttered these words I had never heard before. She said he's not pinking up properly and I remember that phrase thinking what does that mean. Next thing you know, that little boy was gone from the delivery suite into intensive care at the hospital. This was completely undetected in all the scans throughout the pregnancy but he has what's known as transposition of the great artery or heart valves are going the wrong way.
My wife was still in theater (operating room) you know obviously the moms get to hold their baby as soon as the baby is born and she was like where is he and it was just a shocking time. He was in a hospital for six months and throughout that six months it was just a rollercoaster of good news and not so good news. He underwent numerous operations and he was kind of on a waitlist to have this major heart operation at the children's hospital. I was driving back home one morning after being at the hospital and I got a phone call from the doctor saying, quick, come back up here, so I raced back to the hospital and he had a major seizure. He jumped the list and he had this open heart surgery where it was just, oh my god, it was so traumatic to see him post-surgery.
We always had hope, we were always hoping that he was going to pull through and that's what you think as a parent don't you? Not to think of the alternatives. It just was on going. There were more and more surgeries and we would have these meetings every Monday morning, with the group of all the doctors. It just went on and on and then it reached the stage where he had all these different leads in him that was keeping him alive. They said that he had staff where all the needles were infected and he needed to be changed and if he changed them then that means he's going to stop breathing. We had to make a decision and unfortunately the percentage of him surviving was like five percent and it was heartbreaking.
It was so surreal to be standing there in the church doing the eulogy and then looking over and seeing the little white coffin covered in flowers. All our friends in the church just watching this happen. It was something that, I mean I used to not drive past that hospital for two years I couldn't do it, because it would just give me so many bad feelings and bad memories. Like anything in life it takes time and that old cliche that time heals all wounds it really is true. You know I still think about him every day. My wife and I are no longer together. Apparently the statistics of a couple making it through when you lose a child, I think the failure rate of that marriage surviving is about 80-85 percent here in this country.
Yeah it was a traumatic time but I look at it philosophically and just think that everything in life is on a timeline and you never know the person your sitting next to on the plane or on the train that they could be going through something just as traumatic as what you’d been through like losing a loved one, losing a parent, losing a child, you just don't know.
Up until that stage my people used to call me lucky Phil, because I had such a charmed life and then to lose a child was just a terrible time. It is what it is.
I've got two gorgeous kids now. There's not a day that goes by where I don't think about young Taj, and my other children they mention it as well. Yeah, that's what happened but were all good now. It just one of those things that still feels weird talking about it, but sometimes when my kids are out with me and someone asks, how many children do you have, if I say just two meaning them, They'll admonish me because I am not recognizing Taj. That's something that I always do now. So yeah, I don't know where to finish on this, but it wasn't a good time.
Finding Your Way Afterwards
Bob: Yeah I can only imagine the devastation that that must have felt like for you. I appreciate you sharing that. I know that there are people listening that may have already gone through something similar or they are going through something similar now. How did you transition, if you can recall, going through that devastation to getting back on your feet again, even if you weren't quite ready to do so.
Phil: I think I possibly sort of held it together because I felt like I had to during that period. I didn't really grieve until about six months later which I understand is not uncommon with men. I think women tend to grieve pretty much straight away where as we try to be all stoic and tough when we're not really. I think after that I just got busy throwing myself into work and getting more involved in online marketing and that's what I think kept me going. Finding something to get stuck into.
Bob: Now you mention that your son is 13 and learning to surf.
Bob: Is he also learning anything about entrepreneurship from you?
Phil: Well he seems to be spending a lot of time at the computer, but I'll be honest he's 13 so apart from surfing, he's one of these kids, and it's trying to keep him off of the devices. He's into all these different games like FortNite and Rainbow 6. He's a pretty serious gamer at the moment. He's a bright kid. I'm hoping this gaming thing is going to pass. At the moment all his friends, I think it's just an age thing, they are seriously into gaming. But I'm hoping that some form of entrepreneurship is going to rub off on him and I would like to think that that might happen because I think in this world that we live in now, in the last 20 to 30 years of the internet that the whole playing field has changed dramatically. I think a lot of us know what our parents grew up with, retiring after 50 years and getting the gold watch, I think there's a lot more opportunity out there now depending on what you want to do with it.
Bob: That's true. Maybe he'll pick up a Twitch channel and game professionally if he's really good at it.
Phil: Yeah. We'll see about that, I don't know if I'll encourage that, Bob.
Bob: But hopefully he's not listening to this podcast with one of his devices then. Don't want to give him any nefarious ideas.
Get a Proper Marketing Toolkit
Bob: Now I'd love to just switch gears a little bit towards the types of tools that you're using in your business. I know that you're using Leadpages and maybe some other things. What is high on your list of types of marketing tools that you're geeking out on that you think the listeners of our Lead Generation should take a look at?
Phil: Absolutely. I'll start off here. I've used Leadpages for many years now and I just find it very easy to use. I was guilty of over-complicating things with my landing pages a few years ago and then I started to simplify my landing pages and started writing copy and now my landing pages convert really well. So, Leadpages is a big one.
I am also a fan of Evernote. I can't live without Evernote. I'm constantly using it, in fact I'm using it right now.
I also like to use Screenflow for creating videos on Mac. I find that it took me a little while to get my head around Screenflow, but now I actually, I really enjoy creating and I think that's part of online marketing that appeals to me.
Like you have to wear so many different hats. I'm not a coder, I don't have that type of brain, but I certainly enjoy creating videos.
I love graphics. I use Canva a heck of a lot. I just think it's a fantastic piece of software. I look at some of my older I guess attempts at creating thumbnails for YouTube inside Canva and they're actually hilariously bad, but I like to think that now I have gotten a little bit better at it. Canva I would say is a fantastic tool. If you're not using Canva or even Picmonkey then I think you need to definitely investigate those two.
Bob: I love it. You're absolutely right, tools like Canva make people look really good really quickly with those templates and how fast it is to make something presentable and beautiful. I think we do a pretty good job with that here at Leadpages as well. And as far as Screenflow goes, I use that all the time too and one of the things that switched me into a Screenflow fan was the keyboard shortcuts. So, if you're frustrated by Screenflow, hit the "I" key and the "O" key where you want to remove something on the scrubber and "Command+Delete" and everything squishes back together for your editing and makes trimming your videos much faster.
Phil: Yeah, I must say Bob that that's not one that I'm using, but I always love a good tip and I'm going to try that. I'm always looking at ways to simplify what I do online. So, yeah it's interesting how you can use a piece of software for ages and someone can tell you something and you go, "I never thought of that." So I'll give that a go.
Who's Feeding Your Brain?
Bob: Excellent. Now speaking of resources and tools I imagine you might be listening or reading to some smart people. Are there any books or podcasts that you're enjoying that you'd love to share with our audience?
Phil: Absolutely. So, I always listen to Amy Porterfield every week. I really like Rick Mulready, he's an expert on Facebook ads and Instagram.
John Lee Dumas. Listen to him, his Fire Nation. He's quite entertaining and he is serious podcaster. I think he's done over 2300 podcasts. I don't know when he sleeps, but yeah I have about 50 podcasts inside my phone and if I'm doing a coastal walk or if I'm in the car I just use it. I just go right to my home office. I haven't listened to local radio stations here in Sydney for I reckon 5 or 6 years and I love music. I have thousands of albums and I choose podcasts. I just can't handle all the ads and I love podcasts because I can just use the jump button and fast forward 30 seconds or whatever it is, but yeah I probably listen to at least a podcast every day and they're all on marketing.
I'm listening to Jim Fortin at the moment. He's fantastic, he's all about subconscious transformation. If you don't know about Jim, he's exceptionally good to listen to.
Pat Flynn I occasionally listen to. Marc Maron because he's a great interviewer. If you want to get good at interviewing people on a podcast, listen to someone that's really good. And I think Marc Maron is fantastic at it.
So, I do listen to him probably a couple of episodes a week and just anything that has to do with online marketing.
Bob: I love that. And for many of the people that you just mentioned I've listened to their podcasts as well and had the opportunity to get to know Marc Maron a little bit. He spoke at our Leadpages conference a couple of years back. What I think is consistent about all the people you just shared is, a, they're very giving of their knowledge, and b, they have personality that they wear on their sleeve. They're not afraid of being themselves amplified through the airwaves of the podcasts which I think is a beautiful thing.
Phil: You just touched on something so important there. One of the things I used to struggle with now is when I'd do my own podcasts or when I'd listen to people. If you can be authentic and real and divulge something about yourself and be the real you, that's what people resonate with. And I think that's why people like Marc Maron have such a mass audience because he is slightly neurotic and he does these rants inside of his podcasts, but they are funny and they're heartwarming and he just has that ability to transcend all that stiffness. It's like Richard Branson did a seminar here in Sydney a couple of years ago and the guy that was emceeing was wearing a tie so Richard Branson appeared on stage with a large pair of scissors and cut his tie off and that symbolism of it's the 1950s anymore, you don't need to be so stiff. Loosen up, be yourself, be the real you and that's how you connect with people. All this bullshit about people being all robotic it just doesn't get you anywhere. Be yourself, it's so much easier.
Bob: It certainly is.
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Bob: As we wrap up this conversation Phil, I'd love to make sure that people listening can connect with you, whether they're at the starting point of getting online or they simply want to see the kind of business model you have, where can people best connect with you to learn more about your products and services?
Phil: Okay, you can find me over at PhilAdairTraining.com. That's the best way to connect with me because all the links that are on my site to my social media. That's where I am. That's where I hang out. That's the best place to find me.
Bob: Excellent. And one last parting thought for you. What kind of key success idea or thought do you tell people is the key to starting and growing a business?
“Don't just sit on the sidelines and do a bit of this and a bit of that. Be a professional. Boots and all. Burn your boats. Dive in. Do it.”
Phil: The first thing is, don't just dive into something. Sit down with a pen and paper, go old school and really think about what you want. Think about what kind of lifestyle do you want.
Imagine your perfect life working in your own business and then reverse engineer it from there.
Bob, there's something I forgot to mention and it's an author who really changed the way I look at my business and I strongly recommend him. His name is Steven Pressfield. He has a bunch of books on Amazon, but there's a trilogy of them. I can't think of the third one, but the first one is "Do the Work." Essentially that book about actually does the work to get the results. Don't try and take shortcuts. The other book is called, "Turning Pro." This is a real call out to all of you online entrepreneurs out there, are you treating this professionally. Is it just your side gig, your side hustle?
Once you decide to turn pro it changes every single thing about the way you think about your business. Are you a professional? If you are, read the book. Read Turning Pro and it's a metaphorical kick in the backside that will ask you and tell you how to be a true professional in your online marketing, in your business, and in your attitude to life.
Don't just sit on the sidelines and do a bit of this and a bit of that. Be a professional. Boots and all. Burn your boats. Dive in. Do it.
Bob: Love it.
Phil: Yeah. That's it, Bob.
Bob: Absolutely love it. Well, thank you so much, Phil, for joining us for this week's episode. It was a really great conversation and I thank you for sharing so much of your story with us.
Phil: Thank you, Bob. I really enjoyed it. Thank you so much.
Ready to take action?
What are your top takeaways from Phil?
And what's one lesson you learned in this episode that you'll take action on over the next week?
Tell us in the comments section below!