Michael Duivis: Hey everybody. This is Michael Duivis and today, I will be doing a guest interview with Chris McCombs. I’m really looking forward to doing this. Me myself, I’ve been a customer for many of Chris’ services. Chris, thanks for being on the call today.
Chris McCombs: Hey, Michael. Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.
Michael Duivis: All right. Cool. Now for those of you who don’t know who Chris McCombs is or you’ve never been to any of his websites, Chris, before we get into what you do right now and the wide array of services that you offer, can you tell a little bit about how you started out in this business, like how you became a personal trainer?
Chris McCombs: Oh, how I – OK, if you want me to go way back, actually …
Michael Duivis: Yes, just maybe the short version because I know it’s kind of …
Chris McCombs: Yes. OK. Yes, I actually used to have a big marijuana trafficking business in my late teens and up until my mid-20s. I got busted, lost everything, ended up homeless. At age 30, I said, “Fuck this. I’m going to start doing it another way.”
I was really fat at the time. I actually got into great shape and people left and right were telling me that I should be a personal trainer and I looked into it, did it, started a corporate gym, could not stand it. I mean just even standing in that corporate gym trying to sell personal training, to me, gave me a panic attack in my soul, man. It just was not my thing.
So I went off and did it my own way and I built my business on the front end by – I took on about 30 people who I trained for free and I just asked them to pay me with referrals. A few months later, my little business was doing six figures, all from starting out with like training 30 people for free. It just exploded.
But pretty soon, I was – I trained groups of like six people at a time pretty soon. I was super busy and I wanted more freedom in my life so I – this was a few years ago. I discovered like Craigslist and MySpace and half the time, there were some really killer things I could do to get clients on Craigslist and MySpace.
I did them. It worked phenomenally and what’s great is it was bringing me clients without me having to go out and get them so I actually hired another trainer to help me out and I said, “Hey, there’s something with this internet marketing thing.” So I dug real deep into it and I just got great at it. I just kind of conquered it one thing at a time.
First I got good at sales copywriting and search engine optimization and pay per click advertising. I just kind of knocked down the big pillars of internet marketing one thing at a time and pretty soon, the next thing I knew, like a year later, I have 15 personal trainers working for me and all kinds of freedom and the business just basically runs by itself.
I don’t actually really do much in that business at all. If I told you how little I did, you wouldn’t believe it. It’s only a few hours a month. The reason being is because I have 15 personal trainers do all the training. I have professional sales girls take the calls. The websites get the leads. My personal assistant does the administrative work and manages the trainers and my wife manages customer service. I started other businesses and ride my Harley and hang out with my kids and go to the movies and study info products and do other stuff that’s fun for me. That’s kind of the long and the short of my story.
Michael Duivis: Yes, and that story right there is insane to me because it’s kind of funny how personal training always seems to save people’s lives or something because for me, myself, I know through Kaiser too that personal training was just a job that they jumped into and it just brought them really good things. For me, myself, I used to work at a gym, a health club and I was working 80 hours a week, 100 hours a week, whatever and it’s just – you’re like the role example of what can happen if you really go for it. Now you work only a couple of hours a day, you say.
Chris McCombs: Yes. You know what’s cool? I think that a lot of people just don’t know that that is possible. I’m one of those guys who – I read The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. I read The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss, man, and I took that shit to heart. I said, “Hey, man. There’s something really to this stuff, to creating systems that bring me money instead of me out breaking my back to bring in money.”
I think a lot of people don’t know there’s another way. I think there are a lot of trainers in gyms working their ass off to make the gym rich, making $10 or $20 or $30 an hour, whatever it is they’re making, and they don’t know that it doesn’t have to be like that. Now I’m not saying stop training or anything like that at all but I think when you have a personal training business, when you look at it as a business and look at it as a system making money instead of you going out and trading an hour to make a dollar, I think it has to be looked at from a systematic approach and a good starting place is The E-Myth. I mean that’s just a phenomenal book. So you kind of open up the mind.
Michael Duivis: Right. Yes, I think a lot of trainers are in that situation right now. Me, myself, is that when you start to go independent, you just have so many things you have to attack and I heard you say you just took it step by step, right? Like first you got good in copywriting and then in websites. Is that the way to go, would you say?
Chris McCombs: Well, there is a lot to internet marketing. It’s not just like you’re going to throw up a website and the whole world is going to come to it and think you’re amazing and your phones are going to start ringing off the hook. There’s a lot more to it than that and I have found for local-based personal training business, there are some really key elements to get really good at and I personally learned stuff better one thing at a time. So before I even jumped in to search engine optimization, I went and learned copywriting.
Now I still learn copywriting all the time. A matter of fact, I’m in the middle of a neurolinguistic programming copywriting course on how to apply NLP to copywriting. But I had to learn the basics of copywriting before I felt comfortable to move on to search engine optimization and now I’m a non-technical dude. Like, I don’t know how to change the oil on my car. Man, if something breaks in the house, I call someone to come fix it. I don’t know how to do this stuff, man.
But I did make myself learn SEO and amazingly enough, it’s not all that technical. So I just kind of conquered one thing at a time instead of trying to tackle 16 things at once. Got good at one thing. Didn’t become a super master expert, I would say, at any of them. Like any of the things that I’m really good at, there are people who blow me away. However I’m good at enough different areas just to be real dangerous.
I figured you just need to know enough about this to be good enough to make a lot of money from it. You don’t have to be the best guy in the world because there are always people who are going to be way better than you but if you’re really good at six or seven things, man, you can just kill it.
Michael Duivis: Yes, yes. And now with let’s say for the newer trainer, there’s a lot of services out there right now among others from you, the Market Annihilator Program that you have and the personal coaching. I mean you’ve pretty much been through the trenches of internet marketing and I believe – I read in your story you spent like 15,000 on coaching, how to write sales copy, how to get your website on Google, all that stuff.
Right now, it’s pretty convenient for the trainers because they have those services available from you or people like Bedros Keuilian or – like what would you recommend those trainers to do just – what would be the first step to take?
Chris McCombs: You know what? Here’s a good free one. Definitely checking out Kaiser’s blog. Kaiser’s blog is a killer especially for the trainer who wants to get out and do his own thing and Kaiser has an awesome blog, man. I have a blog too, KickBackLife.com. It’s great where I give a lot of really good free information and then I have other products or services on there like the coaching and the Lifestyle Club or the Market Annihilator which is the real in-depth internet marketing one for trainers.
But yes, I would start out. Like let’s say Kaiser’s blog is a great one. My blog is pretty damn good, KickBackLife.com. Bedros Keuilian’s blog PT Power is a damn good blog and start looking around at that stuff and start with the – maybe with some of the free content.
Now keep in mind with the free content, it’s only going to get so in-depth, right? Most of these guys – well yes, I’m one of them and I’m going to be honest here. I have – I only go so step by step and in-depth and how-to in a blog post because at the end of the day, I want people to buy my shit. I mean that’s …
Michael Duivis: Yes.
Chris McCombs: I mean just like you’re a personal trainer, if you have a blog. You don’t want the world to just come to your blog and get all the answers and never call you about training, right? The idea of having the blog is to get people to buy your shit, which is buy your personal training, buy whatever it is you’re selling, man.
So yes, honesty, brutal honesty, man. The whole reason that damn blog is there is to funnel people into my higher end step-by-step products. I mean you look at all of us. I mean I know Kaiser has a product that’s doing really well right now. Bedros has a line. I’ve got the Market Annihilator and the coaching. But getting into the blogs is a great place to kind of get a feel for whose kind of stuff you want to follow and things like that and then you can go, “Oh, he’s offering this and that.”
But usually the real secrets, the real nuggets are going to come in the paid services but I look at it like this, man. Like I …