The Unconventionalists Mark Leruste

In this episode of the Midlife Entrepreneurs podcast, we meet Mark Leruste, life coach and founder of The Unconventionalists podcast and a movement to help a new wave of entrepreneurs turn their message into a movement. Mark is an author, TEDx speaker and all-round disruptor in the world of business development. 

In this episode, we discuss everything from the power of coaching, to how the most critical indicator of success in business is your ability to focus in on doing just one thing, very well. I learned a lot from talking to Mark, and I hope you do too.

Full-length interview with Mark Leruste - 45 mins

Highlights of the interview with Mark Leruste - 7 mins

Resources

BBC Podcast about the 1969 moon landings

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Full Transcript

Kevin H. Boyd:
Midlife Entrepreneurs Podcast Number 13.

Mark Leruste: (00:05)
People are so reluctant, so reluctant to what we would call niche, right? Niching down or being narrow focused, and that’s what’s costing them.

Kevin Boyd: (00:18)
Today’s show is brought to you by audible. Audible is offering you, dear listener, a free audiobook with a 30 day trial membership. Just go to audible trial.com forward slash mid life. The link is in the show notes so you can get started listening today to an audio book that will help you turn your entrepreneurial ideas into reality.

Kevin Boyd: (00:46)
Hello, fellow midlife entrepreneurs. This is Kevin Boyd, business coach, entrepreneur, and all-round psychology nerd bringing you interviews with people on the same entrepreneurial journey as yourself, hoping to inspire you to change your thinking, take action, and bring your vision to the world. In this episode of the Midlife entrepreneurs podcast, we meet Mark Leruste, life coach and founder of The Unconventionalists podcast and also a movement to help a new wave of entrepreneurs turn their message into a movement. Mark is an author, TedX speaker, and all around disruptor in the world of business development. In this episode, we discuss everything from the power of coaching to how the most critical indicator of success in business is your ability to focus in on doing just one thing. Very well. I learned a lot from talking to mark and I hope you do too.

Kevin Boyd: (01:42)
I want to welcome Mark Leruste, the unconventionalist. I’ve been practicing that all day actually. Uh, and life coach extraordinary. Um, we, we met back in 2012. Was it on the uh,

Mark Leruste: (01:56)
yeah, it was, we met in February, I believe it was February, end of January, but I think it’s a very early February. Almost bet put my hand up, uh, in London 2012 during the, uh, co-active training institute. Fundamental weekend. Wow. Yeah. Settled. Yeah. Seven years ago. And then, and then you, and I’ll add some interesting adventures. You came to Morocco when, you know, to cover the event with me when we went over to do that retreat and um,

Kevin Boyd: (02:27)
yes, I always described it to people. I said, I’ve just been on a Yoga, surfing and life coaching retreat and they were like, what? I’ve never had those three together. No, you were a pioneer. Will that retreat happen again? It was about three years, I think at some form it will,

Mark Leruste: (02:44)
yeah, I loved it. It was one of my favorite things. I’ve done nothing to date for sure. Like I still one of my peak experiences to go back to that moment when we were on the terrorists and everybody’s kind of doing group activities and it’s sunny and there’s a buzz in the air and I’m looking out and I can see the waves coming in, uh, knowing that we’re going to go out and do some surfing at some point and do some yoga. And actually I can, I can see the surf behind you, which reminds me of the first book you wrote.

Kevin Boyd: (03:11)
Yeah. So I’ll take you back to 2012 then. So what, what made you turn up in that room in Clerkenwell in February, 2012 and think, yeah, I’m want to train to be a coach.

Mark Leruste: (03:23)
Well, I mean, depending how long you have, but I’m trying to make this as short and as, as, as concise as possible. But, you know, I did the whole typical thing. Um, you know, went to school was told if you behave and you get good grades and you go to university, if you get your university and you get a good grade, you get a good job. If you do that for the next 40 years, you can hope to climb up the ladder and hopefully by then becoming a partner director or whatever it is, and then retire when you’re 70 or 65, get the gold watch and then enjoy life. That was the plan. I mean everybody, you know, as you know, that that’s kind of what everyone was, was selling. And um, and I think my first job, Australia university was a corporate gig. I traveled around the world. I was living in emerging economies like Kazakhstan you know, The Gambia, Peru and all that kind of stuff and uh, delivering these kinds of reports and countries. And it was amazing. I discovered some really great stuff, but it wasn’t really aligned with what I now know called values back then. I didn’t know what the hell that meant. It was kind of like, well, it just doesn’t feel right that, that’s kind of how I described it as something not quite right.

Kevin Boyd: (04:28)
Yeah. I’m glad you said that. Because often people come to coaching, don’t they, with that sort of a feeling, it’s just a feeling. Something’s not quite right.

Mark Leruste: (04:37)
Yeah. Well, yeah, that’s right. It’s easy. Usually I find it usually comes from something not quite right. There’s something more that, that, that I’m not, you know, expressing or there’s more that I have to gain, but there’s more that I have to experience, you know, something like that. And, and uh, yeah. And so I kind of quit that job, went through, well, you know, every self proclaimed millennial, um, would, would, would say I’m in for a quarter-life crisis, you know, at the ripe age of 25 and I didn’t know what I wanted to do or, you know, it was really lost. And it was very confusing because I had this very kind of high profile job and from the outside it looked super successful and great. And I was hobnobbing with ministers and presidents and celebrities and I just wasn’t that happy. So I came back and, um, to loop it back to your question, I think around 2009 is when I quit.

Mark Leruste: (05:30)
Um, the job eventually and I, we went through a bit of a dog time, like a bit like, you know what, I would probably recognize some form of depression or some form of just, you know, mental breakdown. Would not even call it, was just really low. I was just feeling like absolute crap. I didn’t recognize myself. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I was, you know, over eating, not exercising, not wanting to socialize. I mean all, all the constantly tired, um, troubles sleeping, all this stuff. And my mom basically invited me for dinner. And on that dinner there was some, uh, friends of my parents who have known me when I was really, really young kid from when I was like three or four. We used to live in a neighborhood who were Americans and they live in America. And my mom goes, oh, Roya, Mark’s depressed.

Mark Leruste: (06:12)
Can you fix him? And Mark Roy as a coach or something, she’ll fix you. We kind of both laughed and it turns out that Roy was a life coach. I didn’t know what a life coach was, but she was a life coach and she was trained with CTI as well. And so we sat down and she kind of laughs, what’s going on? How are you doing? And that conversation basically led her to say, look, I’ll, oh no, that was it. If you ever opened to coaching, reach out to me. And then I continued I did some stuff. And then I, I remember I injured myself. I did an amateur mixed martial arts tournament, the charity from November, which is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done because it’s still separate to this day from a knee injury. But I, I went through enough second low phase, I was doing quite well, but then I went through another second level stage and I reached out to her, I said, hey, um, and it’s in the book I wrote, actually back in 2013 I wrote actually verbatim posted letter.

Mark Leruste: (07:00)
And then, and that’s it. And so she took me on as a client and it’s really cliche and really cheesy and really kind of, it sounds very self fulfilling in that sense. But um, it was, yeah, it was life changing. It really was to change my life in a sense that for the first time I had a space where I could open up, explore, dream, discuss without having any sense of judgment, without having any sense of possibility and not possibility. It was just more of a space to explore, just like, ah, cool. So what’s that about? You know, and I loved it so much that I thought because it helped me so much and I ended up doing a video CV and that went viral and then, and ended my dream job at the Movember Foundation where I became country manager. You know, spent four years there raising 2.8 million euros for men’s health, got 110,000 people to sign up with a bunch of awards.

Mark Leruste: (07:52)
I don’t really feel the pack. It started off on my journey of, um, and actually if I’m really honest, before the conversation I had with Roya, I discovered like online kind of motivational stuff. You know, Tony Robbins is one of the first guys I came across and it was a bit for me, a little bit OTT, he was a bit, Aye, you got to believe in changing your state. It was all this kind of stuff. And I was like, whoa. Well a lot of the stuff that he was saying made sense to me. It was basically, he was the first one I think, who, who gave me the concept of you’re at choice, like, you know, you have choice with, with and the questions you asked the dependency on one of the stuff. And there was also one of my mom’s friends called Pamela MacNeil, which I get, I’ve got to give credit her because she was the very, very first coach ever.

Mark Leruste: (08:33)
Well I met him even before Roya and she was very passionate about helping students. She worked in this MBA and she was like helping students with their careers and she said, look, we’re gonna have a chat. And maybe I can help you out. What’d you want to able to do? And she introduced this concept of like, again, about maybe job titles and, and areas of industry, but like, what is it that it makes you come alive and this kind of weird stuff. And so eventually in 2012, when I did land my dream job, oh no, that was before, sorry. Uh, when I was still in my old job, I said to my coach, I said, I’d love to become a coach one day. And she challenged me. He said, well, get yourself a client. And I hadn’t done any training. I hadn’t even gone to this whole CTI route.

Mark Leruste: (09:12)
And I felt terrified. And so he used to train in this mixed martial arts gym next to my parent’s hometown. And, uh, I still remember this guy, I asked him, I said, look, I’m doing this with this crazy idea. I want to have a client. Would you be my client? I took him on, I had no idea what to do. And um, and he was really powerful, equipped. Like he really an all I had was just a conversation with him. I just asked him questions. That’s it. And then that’s what I thought, okay, that’s um, that’s, I want to do this. I’m really excited and I’ve had like multiple, you know, passion hats and every time I finally my brother be like, okay, here we go. What’s the next thing? Um, and it was coaching 2012 and I came back from the fundamental weekend when I met you. Um, and uh, and I was like, this is it. I want to do this, this is, this is special. It’s like I really found my tribe, I found a way of being if I found a way like that. And that’s so we met and the rest is, you know, history.

Kevin Boyd: (10:05)
I think what I love about what you’ve just said there is that thing of identifying the feeling, which often we call it depression, but depression is just telling you you’re stuck. You know, it’s your body and mind’s way of saying this just isn’t working anymore. You know, we need to stop doing this. But it’s like we have to go through the long, long night of darkness to come out the other side. Cause that thing of you’ve got to, maybe not always, but often you have to hit some kind of bottom, some kind of where we’re, all your strategies just stopped working.

Mark Leruste: (10:34)
Yeah. You and anyone’s interesting listening to this. Um, you know, there’s some this and what you can explore further up with Joseph Campbell around the hero’s journey and especially the book that the hero with a thousand faces. Well, he exposed this concept where we continuously go through this pattern of calling forth. And what’s interesting is that if you, if you, if you look into the hero’s journey and you know, people can go and dive into it, but it’s basically it’s sports, you know, [inaudible] all the Hollywood movies that we know or the stories that we know, you know, from the Harry Potter to the, um, Little Mermaid, to Star Wars to uh, yeah, Cinderella and all that stuff. And, and the idea is, is that sometimes we’re going to have a call too adventure and, and if we don’t take it, something’s going to happen. Some stuff happens.

Mark Leruste: (11:20)
And they usually call it like, you know, the death, divorce, disease. Um, you know, whether you get fired, you lose your house, you lose someone, you get an ill, like whatever it is, we’ll throw you and we’ll force you out and take that action. And I think we all go through that in some stages and some of us resist it longer than others. Um, but you know, what’s really interesting is that, especially for your audience, I ran a 12 week, this is 2016 I ran a 12 week, uh, career change, um, kind of accelerator with a colleague whose amazing, called. Sophie Miller and there was probably the youngest were around 25 and then, you know, on the, on all the spectrum, it’s probably like 55. So that the plus, and what we found is that it w it wasn’t a generational thing. It was a human thing.

Mark Leruste: (12:11)
It was like people wanted to feel like what they did made a difference. People wanted to feel like they were respected and appreciated and all this stuff. And so it was really interesting actually to see that this happens at any point in life. They don’t, the only difference is that you’d have someone in that fifties the biggest question they’d have when the forties even, they’d be like, is it too late? Is it, is it, is it too late for me too? Do this thing. Whether that’s a career change or starting a business or whatever it is. And it’s fascinating. It’s fascinating to me because it’s, it’s [inaudible]. It’s only too late the day you die. I think that’s when it’s too late. You know, the moment you’ve gone [inaudible] yeah, there’s nothing you can do then.

Kevin Boyd: (12:51)
I think I’ve just got my new strap line for my, uh, my website. Yeah. The midlife entrepreneur and, and that side. See, I love the fact you said that, cause that’s exactly why I set this up as they, I meet so many people in the middle of their lives and they just got all this incredible experience and they think, well, I’ve missed the boat. It’s too late. You know, I’m not 25 anymore, I’m 45. And I go, wow, you’ve got 20, 25 years of experience. That’s incredible. You know, like what could you do with that?

Mark Leruste: (13:16)
Yeah. And the challenge you have with that is you have to help them unlearn a lot because when you’ve got 25 years of working in an organisation, you’ve got excessive amount of experience, which is brilliant. You’ve also been, um, formatted a certain way for 25 years. And so you have to, one of the courageous things that people do when they work with you when they come across you is to be willing to take off some of those kind of conformities and boxes and having to operate out of that, which is scary for people. Listen to this. It’s totally, I totally get it. It is, the longer you are in it, the scary it is for sure. You know, it’s interesting. Again, I interviewed Danielle Laporte on my podcasts on the unconventionalist then, and she never went to university and she actually thinks it’s one of the best things he’s done because she’s never had to unlearn.

Mark Leruste: (13:59)
She’s never had to get out of a box, you know. Um, I’m not saying people should or shouldn’t go to university. That’s not what I’m saying, but it’s to normalize that people listen to, this can feel scary, but I’ve seen it over and over and over again. You know, people changing careers, people starting later in life and as you said, you’ve got all this depth of experience. Hopefully, uh, you’re a little bit more financially secure perhaps. And even if you’re not, you know, still ways around it. Um, and there’s something beautiful about when people, just decide too follow their curiosity.

Kevin Boyd: (14:33)
You know, I a bit like yourself, I’ve, I’ve done a lot of pivots in my life or you call them passion hats. And I made a list the other day, a since the age of 16 and I’m now 53 I’ve activities, the ones I can remember about 22 times

Mark Leruste: (14:50)
you millennial you?

Kevin Boyd: (14:52)
Yeah, so I was millennial before there was a millennium, you know? Yeah.

Mark Leruste: (14:55)
Hey, by the way, do you know, do you want to hear something crazy? I’d be listening to it. I’m just going to geek out for a second. I’d be listening to 13 minutes to the moon. Yeah, BBC, isn’t it crazy? The average age of the entire operation, which was 27 yeah. So millennials, basically today’s millennial, today’s millennials put the first woman or man on Mars or something. Anyway,

Kevin Boyd: (15:18)
just really, I think what, you know, it’s that thing. There’s nothing more dangerous or powerful in this world than an idea. And once you get an idea and people get behind it, they say 400,000 people who are behind the idea to get into the moon. And in seven years they took it from like nothing and put a man on the moon, which was so complicated with computers. You know, from 60, 50, 60 years ago, there’s no time to do anything. So yeah.

Mark Leruste: (15:43)
Well they say that the, uh, uh, you know, not, not even an ounce of the technology that we hold on our phones is what they had back then. You know, it’s crazy.

Kevin Boyd: (15:51)
I bet the episode on the computer fascinated me because I’m an ex programmer and only had four k of working memory, 4K , which I don’t even know how to explain that to a millennial as a number. So small. Your pocket calculator probably has about that memory.

Mark Leruste: (16:07)
Yeah. Isn’t that crazy? It’s just, it’s amazing. Anyway,

Kevin Boyd: (16:11)
let’s see, where were we before we get it out there?

Mark Leruste: (16:14)
Uh, we talked about, uh, what, what, why people come to you and this question about it’s too late and then,

Kevin Boyd: (16:20)
yeah, it’s too late. Yeah. No, and I love what you said. It’s only too late. Well, on your, on your deathbed.

Mark Leruste: (16:26)
Yeah. You should have a thing. This might be taken already, but you might have a tag line, which is, we know, we believe in life before death.

Kevin Boyd: (16:31)
Yeah, I like it. I like it. Um, so, you know, I’ve met a lot of coaches over the last sort of seven or eight years, and I’m always fascinated by, you know, that concept of the wounded healer. Like, why did we become a coach? We all became coaches because we needed it ourselves. You know? You’ve said that very clearly as well. So over those seven years being a coach, what do you think is the biggest thing you’ve got from, from coaching yourself?

Mark Leruste: (16:58)
Oh, oh my God. Where do I even begin? What is the biggest thing I got? I think, I think a clients often a reflection of your own stuff. I think you can only take the client as far as you’ve been. I didn’t really use to believe that, but I do believe that now that it’s hard as a coach to take your client to places that you haven’t dared to go or that you haven’t been willing, you know? So I think it’s been an opportunity for me to, to grow. Definitely. I can, from a selfish perspective, coaching is, you know, again, it was interesting. I was interviewing someone the other day. I had a runner. Oh Rona, I never know how to pronounce the name. Ronan Steinberg, who just wrote a book called, uh, live out loud. Um, you might’ve met up to the whole CTI thing, but we’re having this interview and at one point the middle, she just kind of gets a bit.

Mark Leruste: (17:52)
So she goes, I can do, you’re really intense. And I would never describe myself as intense. That’s not the word I would describe myself. Right. And on what, what I was, and I think what she meant is that because of, I’ve done quite a lot of work on myself because I’ve been quite low work with people. I’m quite comfortable being present with someone and just stare at them in the eye and not loose eye contact. Ask them some deep and meaningful questions and shut up and be with it and stay with it. And that for people can feel intimidating or intense or whatever you want to fill in, fill up the gap. Um, so I think definitely it’s made me a, a more rounded a human. So I think it makes me a better, a better father, a better partner, uh, a better kid, a better sibling, a better, you know, leader, better manager, all these things, better a coach for sure.

Mark Leruste: (18:49)
Um, and then when I’ve learned about people, you know, it’s really interesting. I think it’s interesting because it reflects the experience. I’ve spoken to other people. There’s, there’s a guy in America, he has interviewed four hundred people, on his podcast, one of the top podcasts in the world. Now, he’s interviewed a lot of celebrities, all this stuff. And I asked him, what is the one thing you found in common through all your guests? And he says, we’re all fragile. That we’re all fragile. And as I, what what’d you mean by that? It’s like we all have something that is getting in our way. You know, whether that’s insecurity, that little voice, that unwanted guest, that saboteur, that Gremlin, that, what do we want to call it? Um, that it lives inside of us that is really our own worst enemies. And that we are more afraid than we let the world know that we have more insecurities than people know about.

Mark Leruste: (19:43)
And I think that’s interesting because I think I’ve had now, what is it, seven years, I’ve had iterations of my coaching practice, right? And now to this day, my, my, my actually my primary Gig is I’m a speaker. That’s, that’s where I make, you know, my, my, my biggest living. I have still one-to-one clients and I still have some, you know, some coaching clients who I, you know, I love working with [inaudible] primarily. I’m a, I’m a, I’m a speaker and trainer now. Um, and I went through different iterations of coaching. And the reason why I mentioned this is I started off with people, who wanted to change careers. I then what with people want to start businesses. I then worked for a while. We have life coaches and wanting to build businesses. Um, that had been mixed. Now I’m working with CEOs and executives, you know, managing huge companies and P and L’s and all this stuff.

Mark Leruste: (20:32)
And what you find is that actually across all of them, um, it always comes down to the same thing. Am I enough? Do I love myself? I mean really that that’s, that’s all it, it is. Everything else is just noise. I find, I mean, that’s what I found it, we always at some point in that dynamic and that conversation, we will always come across that boy that says, what are your child wounds? And you know, are these like, do you think you’re enough? Do you think you deserve this or you love him? Do you think you still lovable even, you know, all this stuff that I find is, is the human normally it, like we all have this, we all have that.

Kevin Boyd: (21:14)
You know what I mean? The, they do say that the deepest, darkest fear that we all have underneath everything, when you strip it all away, if am I lovable?

Mark Leruste: (21:25)
Yeah.

Kevin Boyd: (21:25)
You know, cause that is our foundation experience as children. We’re trying to work out with our parents love us or know some parents shouldn’t really well and you get that message very clear like, yeah, I am lovable. I’m fine. So you grew up quite secure. But most of us didn’t get enough of that feedback. Um, particularly my generation parents back then. It just wasn’t that how you did it, you know, that wasn’t the norm. I think it is much more than norm now. Parents are much better at, uh, giving their children positive feedback. You could almost argue maybe too much. So some kids are growing up.

Mark Leruste: (21:57)
That whole conversation for me kind of, I have an opinion about that. I don’t even think it’s about positive feedback. I think it’s just about having a conversation. I think the biggest change is just talking and, and, and, and actually being able to talk about feelings and stuff like that.

Mark Leruste: (22:13)
And I mean, I look at my dad’s Dad, right? So my Granddad and my dad. How does such a strange dynamic for me when I think about it, cause I only realized becoming a dad myself and seeing other men and seeing other men with their dads. How lucky I was that my dad was very physical in a sense that, you know, he hugged me. It still to this day, like he, he came up with my parents, my parents had the 42 year wedding anniversary on Tuesday and he was at home. We were having dinner at one point I was holding and I found myself. I was just holding hand my dad and I’m just holding my dad’s hand and I’m thinking, wow, how lucky am I that, that I can have that, that my dad taught me that it’s okay to show emotions and feelings and love to your kids, you know, as, as a male figure.

Mark Leruste: (22:57)
And I think a lot of my friends, a lot of people I know have never had that. You know, I had a story of a friend who told me that when his dad left the home for, for, for women that he, he’d met and that you want to leave his family before he left to live in a different country and basically leave the kids behind in the wife and all this stuff. He shook his hand. Like he shook his hand saying, all right, be a good boy and yeah, take care of your mom. And that was, that was the last thing before he got left shaking his hand. And that, you know, it moves me as a dad cause I’m thinking, wow, how, you know, that is such a strange, but then you got to go and lay as maybe his dad. That’s how his dad was with him.

Mark Leruste: (23:33)
And so when I asked my dad, I was like, why were you able to be physical and expressive and emotive with me when your dad wasn’t? And you said, well, it just, it just felt natural to me. I could just see, you know, and I’m so grateful for that. [inaudible] and I think, um, and I think it’s, it’s this, there’s a shift in generation. Even if you look at millennial dads, there’s a study from the dad index I think is called. Um, I interviewed the guy who was behind it, really interesting. And then go down to the most involved dads in any generation when it comes down to, um, taking care of the kids and changing nappies, buying stuff, cooking, all this stuff, anything. So having a shift, we’re having a shift in dynamic around that, which I think is interesting. Um, and I think the whole conversation about there’s too much positive feedback. Yeah. I mean, I’m sure there are people who kind of think the sunshine’s the kids oss and there’s no wrong doing. Um,

Kevin Boyd: (24:28)
it’s getting the balance right, isn’t it? I mean, if you tell your child constantly they’re amazing, they can do anything and everything they do is wonderful, that’s not very helpful to them. They need to also know whether where their limits are as well. It’s like, well, you know, is this how you praise the effort? Not necessarily the result. So it was like, see, you tried really hard

Mark Leruste: (24:47)
exactly. Like, you know, I saw that you were really committed and you really, you know, you gave it all and I don’t care what the final thing, and I don’t think you should be giving gold medals to people for participating. I don’t, you know, I don’t believe in all that. I think that’s just silly. Uh, but I do believe that we ha we are changing. Like those conversations are changing, you know, and as you said, generations, generations are changing. And yet, you know, there’s as um, uh, Adam Grant, he did some studies at Facebook around the intergenerational wants and needs around purpose and meaning and um, he actually found that it, whether they were 20 or 50 or 60, um, actually it will most became more prolific in the, in the older, older ages around wanting to give back and make a difference because they felt like they had more to give back at the time was running out and that they actually have an urge to, to do meaningful work. So it’s universal. Yeah, I think, I think a lot of stuff. Yeah. So seven years of coaching has taught me that there’s a lot of universal truths. We’re all very different. We’re all very unique. We’ve got like, we been this, so we have so much in common, I think more than we have. Uh, that separates us.

Kevin Boyd: (25:57)
Yes. We tend to focus on our differences more than our similarities, which are much, much greater our similarities.

Mark Leruste: (26:04)
Yeah. And it’s funny, I’m wearing a tee shirt today. Everyone’s been giving me the looks, but it basically says not left, not right forward. And I think it’s because there’s this, um, especially now, right? With the politics happening and Brexit and Donald Trump and Boris Johnson and all this of whatever your positions are on all those conversations, I think we can become so siloed in all interviews. And this goes back again to people wanting to start businesses and later stage of their life. If you’re too anchored in your way of thinking, if you’re too fixed and too rigid, you’re going against the grain of being an entrepreneur and starting a business. You have to have a flexible and growth mindset and all this stuff. It’s otherwise it gets harder

Kevin Boyd: (26:45)
because that was one of my questions was what, you know, when you were starting out your business, you know, the unconventionalist um, well, what was the key kind of skill or mindset that you found that helped you the most? Because when you begin, it’s like everything has to be done. You know, you’ve just got an idea in your mind and it’s so easy to put that mind out, that idea out of your mind. So what are you aware of now all these years later? Like,

Mark Leruste: (27:09)
Oh, I’m still, I, I, well, to be honest with you, I think I’m still still going through it. I’m still discovering every time I’m like, you know, now I’ve got a team. Like I’m going to team a two and so now you’ll, you now you kind of, now I’m learning wow. Like managing a team and you know, it’s, it adds another layer to your, to your, to your work, which is really interesting and I’m very grateful for um, on the team members I having stuff I guess. Oh Gosh, the first, the f the first thing I’d say is the biggest lesson I’ve learned is focus, um, focus. Because I think the biggest pitfall, 95% of all the biggest problems I see, especially in the [inaudible] coaching world and service business world consulting World [inaudible] oh, people are so reluctant, so reluctant to what we would call niche, right? Niching down or being narrow focused.

Mark Leruste: (28:06)
And that’s what’s costing them. That’s what’s costing them success. 100. I, I know now that to be true on 99% of each case, you’ll find a 1% that defies that odd. But 99% of the time everyone I’ve met, we’ve been very successful at what they do. We made a name for themselves and that business had done well. They’ve gone all in on one. I’ll give you an example. I visited Innocent, uh, the smoothie company, you know, the other day, the h go up to 15 years of really dreaming of wanting to go and visit them. I was invited and they’ve got this beautiful section in the building, uh, between each floor they have these different kind of like, um, museum’s almost a sections. What do we will call them? And one of them is called innocent heaven. And so the products that either had a short term life or just didn’t work out and they wanted to thank them.

Mark Leruste: (28:53)
And so they have all these kinds of little bottles of wings on. It’s very funny. It’s very cool. And then I sold veggie pots. That would be veggie pots. And I don’t know if you remember, but at one point Innocent where doing veggie pots. They were selling food, but they stopped the discontinued it because it just wasn’t working. So they went back to their, and I think that’s what happens a lot. I think a lot of people will start off by going, I want to be a listed company. So I’m going to do smoothies, I’m going to do protein shakes, I’m going to do coconut water, I’m going to do veggie ports. I’m going to do a protein bowl. I’m going to do, you said, I’m saying they’re going to go for that. That’s the metaphor for what everyone starts off with. I’m going to do all these things.

Mark Leruste: (29:25)
Whereas take another example, like Sanctus, right? I talk about them a lot in my work because I think they’re great. Um, they can have their, their mental health startup that are trying to change the taboo around mental health and they provide a mental health coaches within companies because their goal is to create the first mental health, uh, gym on the High Street. So until then they’re doing mental health gyms in companies, but they went all then that’s all they do. All they do are, they put a coach in a company and people can go in and have a conversation for 45 minutes or whatever they, they, they were told you could do leadership training, you could do HR consultant, you could do all these things, and I said no to all those things and they just went all in on that. The result in three years they grew from one to 13 with 35 associate coaches and they’ve made their seven figure year this year.

Mark Leruste: (30:14)
So [inaudible] it’s just an, I see this, I can give you a thousand examples like that, over and over and over again. So if I could go back that it would be too to fight the resistance to, to, to, to be afraid of narrowing down and niching onto something and to go all in on that. I think that’s the number one.

Kevin Boyd: (30:33)
The number two I would say is it’s so easy to get excited by all the stuff that doesn’t matter. Okay. Things like websites, business cards, logos, names, titles, blog posts, all this stuff. Doesn’t matter. That is the exciting stuff because your behind a laptop behind the screen or you’re talking to someone you’re hiring. So it’s a super safe space. Hmm. Like one of my favorites? Um, examples for, this is Noah Kagan. I think he’s, I think he’s really, I think he’s really switched on.

Mark Leruste: (31:08)
The guy who founded Appsumo now called Suma, um, who’s friends with Tim Ferriss, who I know, you know. Um, and there’s a brilliant video. You can check it out. You can put it in the show notes. It’s basically if you type in Noah Kagan and Tim Ferris Creative Live on YouTube, but it’ll come up. It’s an episode where, um, it really is the definition of what I think is the biggest tip full of all businesses is that sometimes as entrepreneurs we’re so attached to our idea that we’re not listening to what the market wants. Okay. We’re not listening to what the market needs. So we have this idea, like I’ve got an example, years ago I used to have ideas all the time and years ago I had this idea of doing a water bottle for men with the milestones that you had to reach when you drank. Okay. So you would be like, you know, it would appear like you legend or you’re getting hot and you know, to just to get people to hydrate more because hydration was such an important part of all this stuff.

Mark Leruste: (32:00)
Anyway, so what did I do? Did I go through the manufacturing process of looking for company bottles and heat warming systems and blah, blah, blah, blah, Blah and spending thousands of pounds on patents and no, I didn’t. I took an old pasta jar of sauce, cleaned it, I took a black felt-pen, put a few markers on it, like well done, Ryan Gosling, whatever. You know, like some few jokes. I took my phone recording myself saying, hey guys, I’m going to make man, you make five of these. They’re going to cost five pounds. If you want one of them, PayPal me five pounds to this email address and I’ll shoot them over. Put that on Facebook. I know. Got a lot of people taking the piss. Are you? Did you, did you just, did you just try to resell it? A pasta jar, but three people bought it, you know, um, that is, that is what people don’t do.

Mark Leruste: (32:50)
We don’t have how today or ideas quick enough because we’re afraid we’re scared. That’s when the, that’s, you know, that’s when you hit the road. So, so like if you, if you’re listening to this, we’ve got a bit of sign they take, I think this would be a great idea, right? Take my challenge. Okay. If you only had seven days and you only had a hundred pounds to validate your idea, would it work? If it doesn’t and you, you’ve over over-complicating it or you, I did, just isn’t going to stick. It’s just as simple as that. You know? That’s when I wanted to launch a plant based protein company. I gave myself seven days in a hundred pounds. Let’s have the seven day startup challenge does it. Um, and I went to the festival, I had 42 shakes that I built recipes for, and it’s a long story and I sold out made nine pounds.

Mark Leruste: (33:35)
It was the best profit I’ve ever made in my life. I was so excited. But it worked. And everybody and you and you and you and you, it’s really pretty interesting when you see good ideas they take and people get excited about it. And, and they’re very, they usually very simple. You know, Movember when I used to be the country manager of a member, it’s a simple idea, grow a mustache for 30 days, raise awareness about prostate cancer, men, men’s mental health, [inaudible], et Cetera, et cetera. And raise some money to stop men dying so young. It’s so easy. Like just grow a moustache and do some good. That’s it. As soon as you start complicating it, as soon as they add layers, it’s difficult.

Mark Leruste: (34:11)
And then the third would be educate yourself, you know, read some stuff, uh, which, which is contradictory to my fourth point, which would be create, stop consuming.

Mark Leruste: (34:23)
That’s the other thing, like I think it’s very easy as entrepreneurs or one of the printers or starting off that we just consume, oh one more course. I think it’s cool, you know, then it can become self development porn. Well it’s just kind of like you’re just addicted to it and you just want to do the next workshop and the next workshop in the next workshop in the neck because you get addicted to the high, you get addicted to the possibility, you get addicted to the learning, but it’s, the implementation is the hardest. The people who do the best are people who understand the executions. Everything I did, as you said are great, but then nothing without execution, without execution. I really, really believe that, you know, I’ve had a bunch of ideas that people have then started off businesses and I was like, Oh God, I had that idea. Yeah. But I didn’t execute.

Kevin Boyd: (35:01)
Yeah. I, that’s what I love about what you’re saying is like, it’s great to have that inspiration and then just take immediate action within seven days. You know? Uh, I, in fact, I’ve been using that discipline, setting up my midlife entrepreneur. I decided I didn’t want to spend more than 100 pounds setting it up. I’m so far at 70 pounds, I’ve got 30 pounds left to blow on something. But yeah, it was like, there were so many online courses I could have taken for hundreds and hundreds of dollars. And it was like, well, I’m sure I can figure that out by just putting a bit of effort in. And uh, actually Pat Flynn of smart passive income, who I follow a lot, he, he’s got a great book called will it fly, which is that thing of like how to take that initial idea and test it and see whether it’s got any validity and it’s a great book. I can really recommend that. So yeah. So I think that just sort of taking action, iterative steps so that everyday do one little thing, which means your idea is becoming real. It’s so powerful. Yeah.

Mark Leruste: (35:54)
Well, I, I’d recommend a second book to, to back that one up called Lean Startup by Eric Ries. And, and, and it’s all about stop having assumptions and just test them out, you know, then it can, the, the, the, the dogs that of lean startup is that it gets rid of any instinct, any, any gut feeding instinct gets eradicated by data-driven results. It’s like, okay, that’s, you think that’s what people want, but is it what they really want?

Mark Leruste: (36:17)
And, and just to, just to loop, I forgot to loop the, finish the loop with, with the Noah Kagan and Tim Ferris interview. The reason why I mentioned that is that there’s an entrepreneur was on the show and is there to sell these, um, toothbrushes that if you sell a toothbrush, a kid in need gets what and you’ve got a prototype. It’s not the final product cause there’ll be the made of plastic or something.

Mark Leruste: (36:37)
But this one’s, the prototype has, his mold is in bamboo and he’s talking about this, no one’s really getting excited and so Kagan steps in. At one point he goes, do you mind? And he goes, yeah, he goes, cause you heard Tim Ferriss say basically I think it’s pretty cool. The bamboo one. And so now we’re getting in. It’s a beautiful piece. You should really check it out. Noah Kagan. Literally goes, so Tim, you like this? He goes, yeah, like would you buy this? He’s like, yeah, like how much would you pay for this? He’s like, I don’t know, like 20 20 bucks. And he’s like, cool, have you got your wallet on you. No, no, it’s in the back. Because go and get it. Go and get like, but it’s so, and everyone’s laughing, but no, no. Okay. He was like, why am I doing this?

Mark Leruste: (37:13)
I should, you know, you should be doing this. And then the guys resist basically what happens, which is a brilliant, because you really have to see this to understand. It’s a typical example of when people are not listening, this guy is going to know, but I’m not making bamboo toothbrushes. I’m making this plastic one and Noah Kagan goes, all right, people are the audience. Raise your hand if you’d be interested in buying a bamboo toothbrushes. And then all these hands go up and he goes, who wants to buy a plastic toothbrush, no one, you know, and, and the guy is still resisting and no one’s Kagan’s going to look, this is what’s going on here. You know, listening, you know, paying attention to what people are telling you. And at one point literally Noah Kagan, goes. Anyone watching online, if you, if you want this to brush Paypal, 20 bucks, what’s your email? And the guy says, email this address. I think yet he got like a thousand orders something like that.

Kevin Boyd: (37:59)
yeah. So yeah, listen to your audience.

Mark Leruste: (38:02)
Yeah. Listen, because you might, you might, you might start going, okay, you might start getting human. You might start going like, okay, I’m doing mid, you know, midlife or I forgot that the term you’re using midlife entrepreneurs, right? That’s it. Yeah. And that you might go, okay my, then you might have an idea of what the product or solution you’re sending them, right. That you provided the helping people going, hey, I’ve got a six step process to help you go from idea to launch, you know, with, with, with, without having to put your house on them. You know, without having to remortgage your house will sell your kids off to, you know, whatever. And, and that, that might be a, but actually what, you know, and then you go off and you test this out and what you’re over and over and over again is I just don’t think I can do it. So then you go, Hey, I’ve got a confidence session. It’s 90 minutes. And in 90 minutes you walk out of there knowing that you have absolutely what it takes to start a business, no matter how old you are. Would that be of interest? Yes. And so then you, then you start realize that that’s the product. That’s what people want. I mean, I just, that’s just a really quick example, but you’ll, you’ll notice very quickly if you pay attention.

Kevin Boyd: (38:58)
No, I, I’ve been finding a, you know, Facebook, uh, surveys that you can do. Just a quick question on Facebook, ask people to respond to some of your ideas. And then the, the powerful bit is, is the bit underneath that says, what do you think? And then they can put it in their ideas, which is how my Middle Age entrepreneur website went to mid life entrepreneur because I kept having people in their sort of early thirties going, hey, I want to join. I was like, Oh, you’re too young. You know, I have this line in my head of 40 plus. It doesn’t matter as you say, it’s a state of mind. It’s not an age.

Mark Leruste: (39:29)
I love Ma. Did you get midlife entrepreneur.com

Kevin Boyd: (39:32)
a.net? Yeah. Someone had.com and wanted lots of money for it, which I haven’t got. But maybe one day if it takes off.

Mark Leruste: (39:39)
It is, here’s a thing, here’s something just perspective. Noah Kagan I think paid three or $4 million for his website. sumo.com.

Kevin Boyd: (39:47)
Wow. Well when I get three or four million dollars,

Mark Leruste: (39:49)
yeah. Anything, any things, it was bargain. Wow. So, so just, you know, um, depending on how much we can talk about this offline, but depending on how much they ask, sometimes it’s worth, if you think it’s going to be something that’s going to stick the URL can, it’s like real estate.

Kevin Boyd: (40:04)
[inaudible] dot com, well look, I know we’re getting near the end of our time, so I’m just going to ask you one more question. So what’s next for you on your entrepreneurial journey?

Mark Leruste: (40:14)
Well, it’s interesting because I’ve just gone through a process where I’ve now really separated myself from the business in the sense that, so the unconventionals.com is now going its own I kind of website, it’s, it’s a podcast, it’s online courses, it’s in person workshops, accelerators. It’s like this whole kind of ecosystem to help entrepreneurs who want to make a difference, right? And get all the tools and mindsets and all this stuff. And then there’s the markleruste.com which is now going to be separate website, which I’ll be launching at the end of the month. And that really is positioning me more as a speaker and as a trainer and to go and do the circuits around conferences and companies. And I love doing that. So I get to do that too. Two big things that have in life interviewing people and talking on stage. So that’s what I’m doing and I, you know, yeah. I mean, it’s pretty crazy, but that’s what I do and I get paid for it

Kevin Boyd: (41:08)
even better.

Mark Leruste: (41:10)
Yeah. Yeah. And I’d add a fifth for six points of the last thing is just people need to really quickly fall in love with money. So fast. Fix Your, fix your story with money. Like one of the deep work that you need to do really quickly as an entrepreneur is figuring out what your relationship is to money. If you want to figure out what your relationship to money is, do this exercise. It was Daniel Priestley who taught me this. Um, get a thousand pounds, right? Get a thousand pounds out in cash, put it in your wallet and walk around with it for a week. Notice everything that comes up for you. Even as I say these words, notice what comes up for you and feelings. Write that down. It’s going to give you straight away. You don’t need to do six years of therapy to figure out where your money relationship is. That exercise alone will trigger so much inside of you. You’ll find out a lot about what your relationship to money is, and once you heal that, once you fixed that, once you work with it, it’s just so much easier to kind of make money as, as, as an entrepreneur. That’s what I think.

Kevin Boyd: (42:03)
Yeah, and I think also that thing of, you know, when you’re figuring out how much to charge, figuring out, well, how much do you need to live every week, every day? You know, what is that amount? Is that a hundred pounds a day you need? Well, then that becomes your rate. If you’re only gonna have one, one client or one sale a day, then it’s a hundred pounds. That’s, that’s how you work working out. It’s not like what everybody else is charging or how much do you think it’s worth? It’s like, well,

Mark Leruste: (42:27)
yeah, it’s totally abstract. Especially if you’re in the coach and consulting world, you just need to get away from like, I could no charge this, it was today isn’t, there’s no too little or too much. Well it feels right. It’s like, I think Corina Golden Barns told me this one was like the hat, your happy price. I have a friend brainstorm, like let’s say say, okay, let’s say you are, you’re listening to this new consultant and you want to help, I don’t know, businesses with systems on that and you’re like, I don’t know how much to charge. And you go, okay. Um, so for like a night, like, like an hour, if I gave you two pounds, would you be happy? No. And you do this incrementally, right? 10, 15, 20 to 30 a, I mean, 30 is cool. 40 school, 50. Yeah, 60 ,70 too much.

Mark Leruste: (43:06)
Like you’ll, you’ll feel it straight away and then you start with that and then that’s one way of doing it. I think you should definitely do the way that you just said, logical way, which is how much you need. Um, but I think it’s so interesting that people, I’ll give an example cause I know we go to unfortunately to wrap it up, but um, I spent 10 years pretty much in sales in some shape or form in sales, right? And I’ve raised, well I’ve raised or sold, but the comment of about 10 million new euro’s. Okay. Across that, that decade, well, companies and charities and all this stuff. When I started off I school, I was squeamish at the idea of charging 20 pounds for an hour. Okay. Yeah, it’s different story. I can just want to say this to people listening to this, working for a company, selling a product for someone else is one thing. Setting your own service and product, all sorts of stuff is going to come up and that’s why you need someone like Kevin to walk you through it.

Kevin Boyd: (43:58)
Thanks Mark. I appreciate that. And thanks for your time today and it’s been really inspiring hearing your journey, you know, these last seven years or your your whole life really to get to this point. And I hope we can both inspire people to, you know, take that and nebulous idea and, and step out into the world with it and just start making it happen because you know, somebody somewhere in the world wants the thing that you’re thinking is worthwhile. You know, there’s a, there’s an audience out there somewhere. You’ve just got to find it

Mark Leruste: (44:26)
thanks for, your friendship over the years and, and it’s been great that we kept in touch and I’m glad we both stepped into that room seven years ago.

Kevin Boyd: (44:33)
Wow. Yeah. Yes. If any, we could go, go back to, so yeah, this is great question turned on. If you could go back to that moment in the room when we did fundamentals in February, 2012, what would you whisper in your ear? What piece of advice?

Mark Leruste: (44:49)
I don’t know if I would because everything just turned out exactly. Yeah. I would say enjoy the ride.

Kevin Boyd: (44:54)
Enjoy the ride.

Mark Leruste: (44:55)
Yeah. I would say I would say enjoy the ride and uh, don’t, don’t, don’t overthink it.

Kevin Boyd: (45:01)
Don’t over think it and enjoy the ride. Yeah. Excellent piece of advice. Well, have a good day, mark. Thanks for your time.

Mark Leruste: (45:06)
Thank you very much.

Kevin Boyd: (45:09)
Today’s show was brought to you by audible.

Kevin Boyd: (45:13)
Audible. Is offering you, dear listener, a free audiobook with a 30 day trial membership. Just go to audible trial.com forward slash mid life. The link is in the show notes, so you can get started listening today to an audio book that will help you turn your entrepreneurial ideas into reality. Thank you for listening to this episode of the Midlife entrepreneurs podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, then please do subscribe to my podcast and leave a review as that helps other people discover the podcast and it helps me to keep doing this work. So until the next time, stay inspired about your vision. Take Action and bring your vision to the world.