What are the reasons you choose to make certain decisions in business? What are the traits of some of the most successful people? How do you take a story of struggle and suffering and turn it into a success?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Tom Libelt about his escape from communist Poland and how he started his journey in entrepreneurship.
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Meet Tom Libelt
Seeing all this as a young man motivated him never ever to want a job and to keep moving forward as an entrepreneur, publisher, salesman and one of the top Polish hip hop artists.
Tom Libelt’s Story
While in high school Tom wanted to make some money as his parents never got into a habit of giving him an allowance. Tom ran a record store with two older friends and became a DJ and played at colleges, bars, radio stations, clubs and raves in the local area. He has three degrees, two associates and one bachelor. Marketing – Business to Business & Sound Engineer.
In This Podcast
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Tom Libelt about his escape from communist Poland and how he started his journey in entrepreneurship.
Which Business Ideas are Good
There are 3 reasons Tom does something:
If you see a good moment you just have to get in, if it doesn’t make money then kill it very quickly.
- Being super interested in it
- When an opportunity arises
What To Do When Your Online Course is Not Selling
The thing that works best with online courses is think of it as a school schedule.
Setting up a schedule fixes everything. You don’t have to do launches, you know exactly when your class is going to be, the urgency is there, you’re not lying to people. This class runs from March till April. If they don’t take it this year, they’ll take it next year, because it doesn’t run otherwise.
In that way, you can focus on one class at a time and then you don’t worry about launches. You have a schedule, it’s like a school and people join a school, they know what’s offered and you know when it’s offered.
Essential Building Blocks For A Succesful Business
How you do the little things, is how you do everything
- Always show up on time
- When starting out you have to hustle and grind
- When you get to that higher point, the focus has to change because instead of grinding, and working in the business, you’ve got to grow the business and set up the systems
- Be comfortable with delegating
- The Five Numbers You Have to Know in Private Practice | PoP 389
- Free resources to help you start, grow and scale
- Join Next Level Practice
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
Thanks For Listening!
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This is The Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 390.
I’m Joe Sanok, your host, and welcome to The Practice of the Practice podcast. If you are new, I’m so glad you’re here. We’ve had a bunch of people doing some ratings and reviews recently, we just really appreciate that on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcast. It’s one of the ways that you see that podcast you might like and you discover new podcasts, which I always love doing. The podcasts that are getting ratings and reviews, putting out regular content and having people download them on iTunes and other platforms, they really look at the reviews, the downloads, all those things to recommend this podcast to other people. And we continue to grow, we continue to expand and to me, it’s not just about expanding but expanding to the right people. We know that there are plenty of people that have private practices out there that are starting, growing and scaling that need help. And maybe that’s been helpful for you. So, thank you so much for sharing this podcast and for connecting this work with other people. We get emails a few times a week from people saying the impact of the podcast, it’s really awesome to see those.
Well, today, we have Tom Libelt who I’m going to tell you a little bit about in just a minute. But he’s been through some stuff, and he’s going to share his entrepreneurial journey. And next week, we have Megan Chapa, we have two people that are really pretty far outside of the private practice space, that have followed their passions in some really unique ways. And I specifically wanted to have these two next to each other because so often we lock ourselves in, and I was guilty of this, right after college, you work at a non-profit, then you maybe work at another non-profit, then you work as a supervisor, then you might get a job at community mental health or a community college. And then you wonder is that it? What do you do from there?
For me, I always thought that I had to have a job, that I had to have someone else saying, yeah, you can do this job and have that ‘security’. But over time, I really had to deconstruct that. And a lot of that comes from my family of origin. Both my parents worked for the schools, my dad was a school psychologist, my mom was a nurse practitioner in the school system as well. And my in-laws, they both worked for the schools. You kind of think there’s certain just things that you hold as true. And more and more, I’m realizing that the life you design is your life. You can live in your hometown as I do now, or you can pick up and buy a camper and travel the US, like my wife and I are exploring doing. We don’t know if we’re going to do that, we don’t know if we’re going to pull our kids out of school for a year. But if we do, I’ll tell you, and we’ll meet up as we travel the nation. And so, the way we make money, the way we impact the world, the way we choose to spend our time, it’s really up to us. We need things to do that, we need resources, we need guides, we need mentors, community, all these things that we hold dear with Practice of the Practice and even in the Sanok family. But you can do it. I love when we have these people that are on the surface, they don’t connect with Practice of the practice, but then when you start talking, you realize there are so many nuggets from outside of the private practice world. That’s something that if you haven’t picked up on yet, I really value getting truth wherever it is, whether that’s within our field, and most likely outside of our field, that helps us think differently. Because the way the business world thinks, the things that they have as assumptions, they are often so far down the line from where we’re at. We’re struggling with even having a good-looking website. When I look at any town in the USA and type in that town plus counseling, most of the websites are terrible, in the business world that just wouldn’t fly. But then there are areas that we are so far ahead, whether it’s listening and empathy, reflective, understanding. These things that we just take for granted that the business world has no idea how to do, even just de-escalation. You know, we know how to do that! I worked with kids that were in residential facilities, I know how to de-escalate a situation. The business world doesn’t know that second nature. And so, all of these different industries have so much to offer. And I love when we can balance outside of just our kind of typical way of thinking about things. So, without any further ado, let me give you Tom
But these things just happened organically. If you see a good moment you just got to get in. If it doesn’t make money, then kill it very quickly. But if it starts making money and gets momentum, then you come to these crossroads, you’ve got to figure out like am I ready to put 5-6 years into this? Can I make this work without me putting in a lot of time into it? Because then you’re kind of an hourly person again. There are these questions you’ve got to ask yourself, and they’ll let you know if that’s the right business for you.
But opportunities come all the time, every 2-3 years you’re going to get something. You might not get a huge win; these will maybe happen 2-3 times in your lifetime. Like Bitcoin was one, right? Some people had got in and just got rich for no reason. But yeah, there are these crossroads you’re going to get. Always think about it like stops on the bus. When you get to the next stop, you have more questions you have to ask yourself, do I continue, do I get off, do I get on a different bus. The thing I always say too is sometimes when you’re on the bus and you’re on the third or fourth stuff, you will look at a different bus and it looks much greener. And it was better, more money being made people you know, happier on that bus. But when you get off, eventually you’re going to get to that same stop again, right? Because it’s not like you’re going to continue on another bus, you start from the first stop all the time.
What I find is that often people don’t have like 20- or 30-year experience and don’t get through all these different problems, they have 10 times three-year experience. They’re stuck in the same loop and they always get off at the same time. I mean, like with your business, you’ve seen it, you know, the first 2-3 years is beautiful, but 5-6 years, now you’re starting to really get momentum, work less, make more. But there’s a lot of challenges. Every year, every stop, there’s different things, either it’s either going to make or break you.
Like with me, when I try to get clients, once every couple of months, we go on a little rampage, my rampage is like two posts on Facebook, and then maybe an email list blast, like, once. That’s really it. I put out content that matters, right? I know who my clients are, I know what they want to know. So, I might just go into something like ‘The five things that we do in my business when an online course is not selling’. This is exactly what we do, this is what to look for, this is why we do it. And people would be like, thank you. Because that’s usually the problem their course is not selling, but I know the problems. My last one with you having a couple of clients was like just ‘How to sell multiple online courses at the same time’. But it’s another problem that people have, they’ll have 10 and they’re sick of having launches and one’s not selling, they got to focus on the next one, this one’s losing money. So, when I just give them that piece of advice, they’ll be like, ‘Oh, my God, this is great’. [JOE SANOK] What is the advice there, because we have lots of online courses? What’s the paragraph answer to that question? [TOM LIBELT] The thing that works best with online courses is think of it as a school schedule, right? And your school is sort of limited because it’s only you and maybe a couple of people. So, if you think of a year, you have 12 months, and you have, let’s say six courses, and just offer one course every two months. Let people know that this course cannot be taken again until next year, that’s in January, February. And you stay in front of them for years, the email list has to keep getting emails all the time because some people will not take your course until they hear from you. Because it’s that consistency they trust. But just setting up that schedule, it fixes everything. You don’t have to do launches, you know exactly when your class is going to be, the urgency is there, you’re not lying to people. This class runs from March till April. If you don’t take it this year, well, you’ll take it next year, because it doesn’t run otherwise. And that’s so we can focus on one class at a time. And then you don’t worry about launches and all this stuff. You have a schedule, it’s like a school and people join a school, they know what’s offered, you know when it’s offered. And they realize very quickly ‘If I don’t take this now, I have to wait’. It solves a lot of these problems people are trying to solve with timers, and webinars and these other things, because it’s like, well, the trust is there, because you’re always in front of them. People have the schedule, you’re like a school, so that’s worked the best for us when we think of multiple online courses, we just put a schedule out, which is very similar to a school. [JOE SANOK] That’s awesome! When you when you work with people or when you are speaking or on podcasts, you’ve seen a lot of people that are successful, you’ve seen a lot of people that are not successful, what are some of the things that you see that really differentiate those that have success or even massive success from those that have just kind of adequate or even failing success? [TOM LIBELT] The one thing that I noticed and we now have a list of people we never speak to, again, is people who show up on time. The busiest people usually show up on time and they’re ready. It’s the slackers, the wannabes, they always have some problem that pops up. We both were both busy, with a lot of these podcast guys I’m definitely busier and making much more. So, if I’m on time, why aren’t you on time? It’s one of those things where I’ve just seen how you do the little things is how you do everything? [JOE SANOK] Yeah, it’s such a good piece of advice! Even 10 minutes before this call, I looked at my calendar and we have a new assistant taking over and improving some of our systems. And I saw that it had your name, it didn’t have your bio, it didn’t have anything. And I’m like, this cannot happen. So, in the five minutes before I’m texting the assistant say, we need to improve the system because I can’t show up for a podcast and you know, not have Tom’s bio. That’s just ridiculous, you know? [TOM LIBELT] You cared, right? [JOE SANOK] I cared enough to do that. [TOM LIBELT] Yeah, you didn’t show up and be like, hey, by the way, where’s your bio? Or, hey, I haven’t looked at your stuff. Let me just read it now. Like you didn’t do that. [JOE SANOK] Yeah, I love that. Especially because it reinforces that I show up on time. So, I feel like I’m going to continue to be successful in Tom’s eyes [TOM LIBELT] Yeah, but that’s the main thing I’ve noticed. If you want to get something done, ask the busiest person, you know, not the one that doesn’t do anything? Because there’s a reason for that. [JOE SANOK] So when people start showing up on time, you use the term wannabes when you’re talking about content. And I see that a lot, even just since I started this podcast a number of years ago, to see how many podcasts there are now aimed at counselors in private practice. It’s just crazy. And I know a lot of these people’s numbers. And I know how bad they are, how good they are. For people that really want to grow and succeed in their business, whether that’s a private practice, or consulting or online work, what else beyond showing up on time, would you say are essential building blocks to building a successful business? [TOM LIBELT] What I find in any business, that to get to your first five or six figures you can hustle your way to it. You just need to keep working, grinding it out. It’s at that moment where things switch. I used to be a serial entrepreneur, which is not a great thing in my opinion because if you see a serial entrepreneur on someone’s LinkedIn profile, that means one of two things. Either he/she can exit really well, or they’re just really crappy at building businesses so they’ve got to keep starting new ones over and over again. When you get to that higher point, the focus has to change because instead of grinding, and working in the business, you’ve got to grow on the business, setting up the systems. You’re going to have a lot of different problems you’ve got to handle and building systems is a big problem of its own because you’ve got to build a team, you’ve got to get managers, you have to get the processes in place. You find a lot of people who get to that point that have no processes, have no SOPS, have no idea how to offload the work. And you need to, you can’t scale past a certain point by yourself. So, everyone’s going to hit that, at some point, if they keep grinding out long enough in the right business. But then it’s going to get really hard, especially if you’re scared of delegating or if you’re scared of selling, because you know, you have to give those to someone to do and it’s really hard, right? If you think that you don’t want to be salesy then hire a salesperson. [JOE SANOK] I think one of the things that I often say is an assistant that’s going to take your intake phone calls, check your email, do your scheduling, almost always, they are not an expense that they’re a multiplier. Especially in the world of counseling private practices. If you’re in a counseling session charging $150 per session and paying someone 15 bucks an hour to be answering your phones and checking your email, the amount of times that a call is going to come when you’re in session, and then they’re going to book another intake for you. They’re going to be a multiplier that’s going to more than pay for their own time. And I think that people often don’t even know those basic numbers of like, what’s my ROI on my time? What’s my ROI on when I put money into things. They often have that bootstrapping mentality in you’re right just to hustle your way to six figures, especially in the field of counseling or in private practices, you can do that through hustle. But to really scale and to really grow, that’s where you’ve got to start looking outside of your own time and saying is this the very best use of my time? [TOM LIBELT] You definitely to have an hourly rate you set for yourself, and that means anything, right? I’m pretty extreme. So, even when it comes to watching a movie, that movie is costing me, right, so I make sure that fee is pretty good. The girlfriend doesn’t usually like that, I’ll be like, what do you want to watch The Bumblebee? It’s going to cost me 200 bucks. I get extreme with that. But I will not do a task which is worth less than that unless I am learning something new. But even then, I’m definitely very conscious of my time and the money spent. If I’m buying an online course, and you should think about that, too, if you or one of the listeners are selling a premium one because other people do look at it from the same way as me. If you’re selling a $500 online course, for example, the first thing I will look at is how many hours will it take for me to get from A to B, right? What’s the transformation that takes? And if it’s six hours, I’m like ‘Okay, so this is now over $2200 – $2300’. That’s the cost, that’s my cost. I will add that in, right? So sometimes if you can get me from this to that in an hour, and even hike the price up to $1000, I’ll take it, because the other course is going to cost me six or seven hours of my time. When it comes to premium stuff the time saving is a huge, huge deal because when you go on the low end with Udemy and Skillshare, those people are Walmart shoppers, right, they just want to get 30 hours’ worth of content, some toilet paper and whatever else for 10 bucks. It’s a different type of buyer. But the premium stuff, you have to think a little differently because we have hourly wages that we set for ourselves, and we look at everything through that lens. [JOE SANOK] I know, as we’ve launched Next Level Practice, which we go beyond just the e-course model, we view it like the Netflix of private practice resources where people pay a monthly subscription. And then we’re creating ongoing new content and have live events and live support. When you think about how much time that saves people when they can show up to a Q&A and say ‘Hey, I’m stuck in this area Joe, what should I do?’ In five minutes we say you should do this. How many hours did that save you for that monthly cost? I think that often when you’re first starting a business, you underestimate just how long things are going to take when you don’t have some good coaching, you don’t have some people that can walk you through it yet. [TOM LIBELT] And that’s the best advice, you can listen to someone that actually went through it in front of you. The problem with internet marketing is that you just don’t know. Like, for the most part, you just don’t know, because so many people are faking it till they make it and shouting things. I see so many Facebook advertisers posting on Facebook, that just makes zero sense. I’ll charge you 500 bucks and you will spend 500 bucks, and then I’ll make you money. I’m like ‘No, you won’t, there’s no way, on cold traffic, there is no way in the world you’re going to make the money, don’t get a one x return at the most on 500 so going with you just cost me 500. It doesn’t make any sense if someone said you’ve got to pay 4000 and ad spend and I charge 500. And then this is what I typically get from the cold traffic. This is what I get from the remarketing and they calculate it. I’m like, okay, but most of them don’t, they’ll just like say ‘I charge 250 or 300 and to spend is about that too’. And I just I call bullshit on it all the time, it’s not possible, you are ripping people off. Your whole business model is to just churn people in and out because everyone’s going to leave. So, it’s just I have to get 10 more customers because 10 are leaving, you know, it’s that type of model. It’s horrible. But I see so much of that. And then other people are desperate like ‘Oh my god, I need some traffic or I need to get some sales and I’ll go with these people’. And it just ruins everything, I’m like ‘Oh my god, I don’t trust anyone anymore’. It’s hard, it’s really hard to know who you should be listening to. [JOE SANOK] I have found that a lot of people will listen to multiple podcasters, listen to multiple Facebook groups, rather than just say ‘Okay, I connect with this one person, I’m going to follow them for a while’. So, when I was working with Jaime Masters from Eventual Millionaire, I just followed her work. And I listened to what she said, and I didn’t try to fill my brain with anything else. If I’m paying this lady, thousands of dollars a month for consulting, then I need to just do what she says and make sure she’s the one that’s teaching me and that I’m not challenging that or making her justify what she said if she’s genuinely the expert that I trust, I just need to listen to her and try it out. And then if it fails, then I know that it was completely just listening to her. It wasn’t my own error that was mixed in there. I think people have a hard time doing that, to just give themselves over to someone they trust and say, just teach me what I need to do. I’m going to try it. [TOM LIBELT] Well, it’s hard, but it’s usually the best option. And with Jaime, I met Jaime a couple of times. And the first time I was like, huh, yeah, I don’t know’. But then, my friend Natalie Sisson, and this is a friend introduced me again to Jaime because you know before it was just like ‘Hey Jaime’. Then I was like ‘Okay, well, if they hang out, and I trust Natalie because she’s successful and Jaime….’ You know it what was one of these things? And I know, that’s how people look at me too. So, a lot of it is social proof too. If you come on the website, you’ve seen I interviewed all these people, I was doing all this stuff. And I’ve been speaking and having these meetups and all this, you know, people think it kind of makes sense. But if you just go on someone’s website and only hear them screaming, and there’s no social proof, you know, it’s hard. It’s hard, it’s really hard. But it’s better to listen to one person than get like five different people giving you advice. That’s the worst. [JOE SANOK] The last question I always ask is if every private practice owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know? [TOM LIBELT] You know, the one thing that helped me a lot is once I understood about anchors. You sort of anchor yourself to the income that you expect, right? So, for a long time, when I was first starting out, I said I just want to make like $3000 – $4000 a month. And every time I made more, it only happened for a month or two, then I went back down. Well, it kept on happening all the time, until I finally realized that like I’ve got to move my anchor first and then I’ll just keep making it. And it’s funny too because if each one of you listening, you have that anchor in the back of your head. And you will notice that whatever that is, even if you make less in a month or two, you’ll get back to it. If you make more than that, you’ll usually come back down to it. That’s what you’re comfortable with. And without moving that, you just you can’t go from 5k a month to 20k without moving that anchor, it’s going to take some struggle. Because it’s like am I worth 20k now, how do I make myself feel like I’m worth it? I deserve it. But once you move that anchor, you’ll realize ‘Hi, I’m just making 20k now.’ Right? [JOE SANOK] Oh, that’s so good. So, Tom, if people want to connect with your work, they want to hear more I know you also have a podcast, tell them where they can connect with you more. [TOM LIBELT] The easiest way is to come to www.smartbrandmarketing.com. Or if you have a course that’s not selling, just go to www.wemarketonlinecourses.com. I’m super easy to get hold of. [JOE SANOKE] Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on The Practice of the Practice Podcast. [TOM LIBELT] Yeah, thanks for having me. [JOE SANOK] My big takeaway from that interview was when Tom talked about anchors and that we anchor what our income should be. I think that’s such an important thing to think about. I know that for me, I thought there’s no way I can ever make more than $100,000. That’s for the President of the college or big CEOs or, you know, people that really know what they’re doing. But in reality, when I started to really get some traction with Practice of the Practice, and evaluated my systems and kept asking myself what does the audience want, it was so much easier to say ‘Well, here are things that genuinely help people, help them save time and they’re willing to pay for it’. It helped me increase my income. And that’s true in your private practice and being able to offer services beyond just your own, through extra clinicians, through e-courses, through podcasts, through keynotes, through books, through all sorts of different ways that you can increase your income streams, and help other people – they don’t stand in contrast with each other so I just love that idea. I’d love to know what you found valuable from this, whether it’s dropping me an email, tagging me on social media, writing a review, I would love to know. Also, thank you so much to Therapy Notes who is an ongoing sponsor that has committed to this podcast and has committed to helping you as therapists. Therapy Notes is the best electronic health records out there. Use promo code ‘Joe’ at checkout for two months, totally free for you to check it out, see if it’s a good fit for you. And we just so appreciate all that you’re doing for the world.
A couple of other things that we have going on as you know is Killin’It Camp that’s right around the corner. The regular price tickets just stopped and now we’re in the night owl tickets. So, if you’ve kind of dilly dally, and you know you want to come heading over to www.killinitcamp.com and you can pick up your ticket there.
If you don’t know that we have all these resources over at www.practiceofthepractice.com/resources. We have over 30, e-books, checklists, different things are going to help you at any stage of practice. We’d love for you to head on over there too. So, thanks so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day and I’ll talk to you soon.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It’s given with the understanding that neither the hosts, the publisher or the guests are entering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you need a professional you should find one. Thanks to the band Silence Is Sexy for your intro music. We love it.