New Interviews Straight To Your Inbox...
Enter Your Email To Subscribe To The EJ Podcast
By Yaro Starak
Get ready to be inspired…
Tom Menditto is one highly passionate fellow!
Tom rose from a previous life suffering from the mental illness ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). He mastered his own condition and today helps other people do the same through his coaching practice based in Pittsburgh.
Tom’s business has grown significantly in recent years primarily thanks to online marketing. Here’s a segment of the email he sent me –
I had bought your program during a really rough time in my career. I learned a lot, but did not apply it immediately. Things got worse. I was nearly broke….had poor health…very few clients…and less than a few hundred to my name. I was so broke…I couldn’t afford to go to my the funeral of my half-sister’s mom. It was a pathetic low point in my life.
During that time I began to apply the techniques you taught about building an online business, and applied it to my local business and blog, and within 3 months I was making enough to live, 6 months I had extra, and within 12 months I was doing 6 figures.
Last month was my best month ever at 30K. Literally I went from 300 bucks to 30K/month in less than a few years by applying the core principles of how you build an online business.
Needless to say, I had to invite Tom on to my podcast to explain his story and learn what he did to grow his business.
What I love about Tom’s story is how he took what he learned in my Membership Site Mastermind program and applied it to create an automated online marketing system for his offline coaching practice.
Tom built a blog and email list that are designed to introduce his concepts to potential clients. This education and relationship building process happens automatically, so when a person gets in touch for coaching they already know him and what he stands for. This makes the “selling” aspect of his business almost effortless.
Prior to setting up his online system Tom was experiencing poor results using traditional forms of offline marketing like attending networking events. As you hear in the interview, things really changed once Tom created his online sales funnel.
If you’re a coach or a local business owner who feels they don’t leverage the internet enough for marketing, this is an interview you have to listen to. The same goes if you suffer from a mental illness and have aspirations to leverage your “unusualness” to create something amazing.
Tom will leave you feeling inspired, that is for sure!
If you want help setting up a sales funnel to automatically market your digital products or services, you can take the same course Tom did – my Membership Site Mastermind program.
Please share this interview with anyone you think will benefit.
Talk to you soon,
Sign up for the EJ Podcast Newsletter and I’ll send you new
episode notices and the best interviews from my archives.
Hello, this is Yaro and welcome to the Entrepreneurs’ Journey podcast. Todayís guest is Tom Menditto.
YARO: Today on the line, I have Mr. Tom Menditto who is a professional ADHD coach and has a practice doing that locally in Pittsburgh. Heís also a previous member of my Blog Mastermind Program or Membership Site Mastermind Program. Tom, was it both? I canít remember.
TOM: it was the Membership Mastermind.
YARO: Membership Site Mastermind, okay. Tomís got a big six-figure business. Heís emailed me with some pretty cool story actually from going pretty much being broke to having a $30,000 month last month and well, and truly doing six-figures a year now with his business.
Weíre going to learn about what he does and how he does it and hear the story from start to finish. So Tom, thanks for coming on the call with me.
TOM: Thank you for having me. This is an honor and a privilege, man, to be honest with you. I guess before I even get into business, I think it’s important for your listeners to know about my background because it was quite a journey and an amazing place to be here. I feel very lucky.
I was the kid that everybody made fun of in school. I was the kid that had focus issues. I was the kid that was laughed at and was put on tons of medication and had a lot of issues behaviorally growing up. I was labelled with five different things and was told that I wasnít even going to be functional, was massively depressed, even suicidal before the age of 10, and just had a really tough time growing up and sort of adjusting.
I was fortunate to have people in my life that believed in me, and saw something in me, and taught me techniques and mentored me in my life to get to a place of mastery and itís been a rock and roll, itís been a lot of bumps but always in the background of that has been entrepreneurship. I’ve been doing entrepreneurial things since I was 14 and just trying to do this and trying to do that thing and was hoping people write papers which Yaro, I know you had did that at one point, editing services.
I was trying all these things, and during the same time trying to master myself but a lot of it didnít really work and I had struggled. My main struggle was myself and I had come through that journey as someone that has given those techniques being today well, in June, June 28 is my birthday, it will be 16 years completely symptom- and medication- free from all that stuff.
So, it has been a pretty wild journey and getting into entrepreneurship you know growing up with those kinds of things. People call you weird and strange but then when you become an entrepreneur and you say, “Hey I want to do this business,” people look at you even more funny, and they call you … even more strange and would say you don’t have a degree how are you going to do this … just get a job, go back to school,î maybe you can relate, Yaro, I mean I don’t know I feel like most entrepreneurs encounter that at some point.
YARO: Well, I was thinking you might have been more accepted to be weird as an entrepreneur. They’re just like, “Yes, you just love the word entrepreneur where, if you’re not, then you are you’re just weird.
TOM: It’s like I feel like entrepreneurship is the only place I could go. Where does someone like myself who thinks so different go? Who like we get into arguments with their teachers about Catcher in the Rye. I mean that was just when you don’t fit then you have to find the place that you’re celebrated not tolerated and entrepreneurship is that space.
YARO: Okay, before we dive into this story and some more, can you just give us a very brief overview of what exactly is your business right now, what you do and how you do it. And what are you doing, how you are doing?
TOM: Well basically, going from what I went through, I figured out a code, a system, a path of how one goes from that deep place of misery and suffering and then know how was that to mastering themselves and not just managing it, not just living day to day but actually getting to the core issue of what is going on and I use a rare technique to do that.
And so, what I do is I coach people one on one, and in groups, through that process so people come to me, struggling with ADD and ADHD and also an entrepreneurship business ideas because they go hand in hand and I walk them through the system and at the end of it they emerge pretty much a master. I mean they’re not even really diagnosable anymore and I then help them to take their dreams and their creativity and their wants to business and make some money and help people do what they want to do.
YARO: So they come to you possibly with diagnosed ADHD or ADD and no doubt had ramifications throughout their life prior to that because of this, what is it, a lack of the ability to focus, that might be too simple of a way of describing it and then you go and help to find the root cause of what’s going on and overcome this I don’t want to say counselling though. It sounds like a very therapeutic kind of process, am I right?
TOM: Here is what it is. The core of it, and there are studies coming out, I think it is Harvard or Princeton, where they have been analyzing tens of thousands of MRI studies of people with ADD, bipolar anxiety, all these different things and they’re finding a common cause, a common link. What is it, it is the cerebellum. The cerebellum, which controls sensory gating, which is your ability to process information, and with these people, that aspect of the cerebellum is not functioning the way at least they “should and shouldn’t be” and it is flooding the brain with all kinds of sensory stimulation all at once which is kind of like you have a machine and it’s like sending thousands of jolts of electricity through without a grounding wire.
So, it is very difficult to concentrate. It doesn’t mean that they can’t concentrate. It just means that everything is coming at them really fast which is the same reason why they have a lot of ideas. We’re talking about the people that were the visionaries, the innovators, the creators. The people that think different so it’s very much like the entrepreneurs. I don’t know if you know this, man, but did you know that Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Mobile? Did you know that he was… he is diagnosed ADD?
YARO: I think I’ve actually heard that and you’re quite right. I have heard a lot of entrepreneurs. Rich Schefren, he’s a coach I followed for a while. He’s openly said many times that he’s got ADD. And that is why he has had to partner with people because he needs someone to have the follow through because he just keeps changing his focus all the time.
TOM: Yes exactly. And it’s on that side there is the struggle, but on the other side, there is genius, there is creativity, and it’s just amazing to sit in a space of watching people master themselves and then unwrap that. It’s honestly a privilege everyday to just be in that space with people who are transforming.
YARO: Okay, so you figured this out for yourself first and it sounds like that was a long going process. Then you were obviously in a much better place to help other people do this.
So today, your actual practice, can you, rather than what you teach, can you just give us the structure? So, you do one-on-one coaching. Do you have an office in Pittsburgh somewhere where you sit down or is there a long chair where you talk to the people like a therapist? How does this work?
TOM: Yes, so what’s really interesting is, yes. I have an office. I also have a space where I do groups at which is where I just got on the night, which is where I am at now and I also travel to people, too, especially families because it’s good to see the kids in the home.
And then I work with people over on Skype. I work with people in Cayman Islands, people in Sweden, people in Ireland, and all over the place. Itís pretty cool because I can go around my city and see people or I can have people come to me or I can just do it at the convenience of my own home. It is basically the structure of how it works.
YARO: How does the internet factor in to all of these?
YARO: Did you just discover it along the way? Were you using it for another project? Where did it all begin in your life basically?
TOM: The irony is I’m the dude that didn’t even have a smart phone like three years ago. I’m the guy that hated the internet, that thought that Facebook was ridiculous and just didn’t want anything to do with it, to be honest with you.
What had happened is well I sort of realized that if I kept that mentality that I would totally just fall into the past and you would forget about me. They didn’t go, “That Tom dude was cool,” but I don’t think I would have reached the impact of trying to help people.
So sort of a lot of what I do is I do a lot of mindfulness stuff which is really the core of how I help people. It is helping people to reprogram their physiology.
So, I teach a lot of Tai chi and mindfulness, and meditation and stuff like that and I was looking to teach that in a bigger way because I kind of go around in one-on-one coaching and teaching similar things to people. And I was like there has to be a way of giving this in a bigger way to people, helping people in a much bigger way.
So I had, this was years ago we’re talking. I forget whether it was 2011 or 2010. But I was going around networking and doing everything they say you should. Go to every networking meeting you can, okay, and I was doing that, and I don’t know what that does. I had some clients and I was making some money off and on but it was just wasn’t bringing what I needed and so I felt like there had to be another way.
I took a speaker training and I was going to become a speaker and then you know speakers, all they do is get on a plane and that’s all they do, is they travel all around the world on a plane and they make that money and that’s great but the speaker that I trained from, he is away from his family a lot and that just didn’t seem to be the lifestyle I wanted.
And so, I was like there has to be another way, there has to be another way. And I kept searching on the internet for a different business model and then, what ended up happening is the idea of a membership came up and then as soon as that came up, you came up. And, that’s how I found you man.
YARO: Okay, so now Iím curious then. Right now you have a website, obviously, what does the internet now do for you? You took my membership site training program. I know youíve got a membership site that’s about to launch and hasn’t launched yet.
YARO: How are you currently using the internet and may be take us forward from that point. I know we’re kind of jumping around with your story a bit here but I’m assuming once you reached recovery and self-mastered that, you said that you mastered your own condition, you must have realized that you want to actually spend time helping other people.
So maybe what we can do is can we go back to the point where you decide to start this company? I don’t realize there’s probably many, many years in your life where you were dealing with the problem and doing all kinds of different things and being affected by it but, I’d really love to look at the part where the internet sort of comes in and you started using that to grow your business so maybe where you started the company and you said speaking wasn’t your thing, networking events wasn’t bringing you clients. How did you get clients? You did say in your email that you were basically broke. So was that prior to running this business or how did these fit together?
TOM: Yes, sure. I’ll lay it down. So basically, as I said I was doing entrepreneurships since I was really young. Like you, you did the helping people, write papers in college. I was working at Rite Aid and helping college kids write papers and I was making more doing that than just working at Rite Aid at 14.
I had sold things on eBay for a while and made actually a good decent income off eBay until, you know, it’s very unreliable and then I was writing things like articles for blogs. It’s not that I wasn’t aware of the internet all along. It’s just that it was the things would come and go. It wasn’t something where I could say I have a system that brings me money. It was sort of very opportunistically focused.
None of those things and I did some consulting for businesses, for the coal industry and for legal firms. I’ve had my hands on a lot of things but none of those things were my true calling. My true calling was to help the people that I feel for, that in my heart which were just like me, the kids and the adults that has struggled like I struggled. And, it really took a long time for me to get the courage to do that and a coach friend of mine kind of gave me the kick in the butt to say you know, “You have a life experience, you just got to do it. So what happenedó
YARO: When was that?
TOM: What did you say?
YARO: When was that? Do you remember the moment you said I am now going to commit to doing this business?
TOM: Yes, it was basically, I don’t know, if it’s international but there was a whole food, this was like a natural business, a natural foods business. It’s a grocery store and I just randomly met this, my mentor. His name is Coach Freddy and we just had a round of conversation. I said I’m doing a million things and I am sort of doing all these different things not really making any money and he said what do you want to do? I said, “This is really what I want to doÖ” He’s like, “Well, you just need to go do it. If you don’t do it you’re not going to live your dream, you’re not going to actually live life. End of story.”
And so that was the moment. It was like I have to do this, like I can’t live the rest of my life thinking in going through not doing this. That’s just not acceptable. So what happened, here is the story.
I was making money and I had some money saved up and very unfortunately my father had passed away when I was very young, I was 17. He had a massive heart attack which was a real blow because I just had got off the medication at that point. I had a few years being like pure off the medication. I was doing well and your father dies. It was just very tragic.
He had left me and my sisters some money, okay, and this was 2003.The money grew but then in 2007 happened. I lost 70% of it, okay, with the crash in the United States, the stock market crash. And I still had some left and so I was using that to sort of fund the business. You know I wasn’t too concerned about things. But what happened was basically I think it was 2011. I think I took your program in 2010. I think you had a Christmas special or something like that. If I remember and I bought the program and I learned it on and I thought it was really great material and I was like, “I need to create a membership site, I need to have a whole video series and everything like you have,” but, I didn’t have that stuff, and I really needed to make money now but I had built my business up 30K, 40K and then, clients would leave or something would happen or whatever.
What happened this time was that I ran into a huge health problem. I had just, from theÖ as a teenager but, I had some major dental issues. I don’t know if you’ve had any dental issues yourself but I had to have five root canals done. It was very, very painful and I was in pain for a long time. I was pretty much living on pain killers and I was out of work because the thing is, with coaching you have to talk. And when your mouth is in agonizing pain you can’t talk so I was out of work for a good 8 months and I was paying thousands of dollars to get these root canals done and so my money very quickly went, and it was gone. And I had already borrowed money from family.
So, at that time I hit a real low which is what you were alluding to. Basically, I was in a space where I only had $300 in my bank account. I was driving this beat up car, it was a Saturn, it was a red car. And I had it like attached, like the muffler was falling off, so I had to like wire the muffler on. I mean it was so terrible. And, I was in massive pain and had no real way to figure it out like I didn’t know what I was going to do. Rent was due and all these things and the tragic thing that happened was my sister’s mother passed away. We have different moms. She passed away and they had a funeral and it was in Philly and I am in Pittsburgh and I had I mean there was just noÖ I couldn’t afford to rent a car. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t afford to get there for the funeral and Yaro, man, I mean that was just the lowest point and I literally just cried, I just bawled like a baby, oh just how pathetic and how like just messed up this poverty space was. I swore to myself and I was like, I was never going back to this space. Like I’ll do whatever it takes because I’m never going to be like this ever again because it was horrible.
And so what happened is I had two clients that I was with for a while. And I went to them and I explained the situation and they agreed to give me a couple of monthsí worth of coaching fees, and that really helped. And then, I took the time because I wasn’t doing much because I was in pain most of the time, I took the time to really go back to your program and I sat there and I said I need to take this and use it and maybe I don’t have all the videos maybe I don’t have all the whole program done book but, what I do have is my coaching and I need to apply these things in order to get myself out of this situation and that’s pretty much what I did is I applied a lot of those tactics and techniques that you put forth in that program and ended up saving my behind. I mean within three months I made enough to live, in six months there was extra, and by twelve months I was pouring over six figures.
YARO: What did you do?
TOM: Yes, right.
YARO: What is it you applied?
TOM: I did what you just taught.
YARO: I got to know. That’s faster zone, too.
TOM: Yes, well. And I wondered even if, because I know what you teach and I wonder how many people apply it to a local business because I know it’s really unique. I’m just now going to be applying it to the membership site.
But basically, long story short, is that a lot of people have a website and for local stuff their website doesn’t do anything for them. It just is a glorified flyer I guess, I don’t know. And, you have to understand Yaro, I didn’t know anything until I took your program. I was ignorant. I didnít understand anything about SEO, anything about the opt-in idea, or the squeeze pages or landing pages, or the sales funnel or re-occurring income. I was really, really ignorant to all that stuff. So, you really opened my eyes.
So, what happened is, the idea of, okay, first off and probably now I know I am like I’m really the only ADHD coach in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is a cool city but it’s also a small city. So there’s like other coaches that do organizing and things like that.
But I get to the core of it. I help people master their stuff and like in studies, the stuff that I do just pretty much reduce these ADHD symptoms by 50% within a few weeks. It’s amazing. I knew that I was unique. So, I just thought that if I put myself on the internet and start writing content that was optimized for people in Pittsburgh, I’m going to be hitting up every single Google search when people type anything related in ADHD and the first domain I got was PittsburghADHDcoach.com because people are going to be typing that in. Anything ADHD and then I submitted it to the directories.
Then, the idea was people have to get on an email list and they need to get, you know, I needed an offer. That was when I was out of work and on pain killers. This was really funny because that book that I wrote was written basically on painkillers but I needed something to give them which you taught, the idea of giving them an ebook. Okay, and so I laid down in that book my journey, my story in overcoming ADHD, and how in the first steps people could do and I put that up there.
And then, everything from that space was about driving people, just like you teach, to the site and then, to the list and building the list and then promoting that list. And when I came to the coaching part of it, I needed to automate everything. One of the things that, I guess, I did not mention but I’d like to back up and say is before I did any of this stuff, I realized something about my business that was totally different than your business and why you were very successful which was amazing to speak with you on your calls and just be with someone that was really successful. You have a system. You have all those modules. Everything is systematized. It’s organized. You’re not selling your coaching. You’re selling the Membership Mastermind. Do you know what I am saying?
YARO: I do. I should. I teach it.
TOM: Yes, exactly, because you do it. So it’s like that was sort of a major change in the way I was thinking, by realizing that because in coaching, people don’t buy life coaching or coaching, they buy the results of coaching, so theyíre going to buy the system and you had that and I knew I needed to have that. That’s why I made the ADHD Mastery
System and I created 7 modules and all the different parts that go into that.
That changed everything too because people started to see that differently. And then, I automated. I used a lot of your ideas about automation. And I automated almost everything from the point of when someone’s on the site that if they contact me, I have a form to send them to apply and they’d get information about how it all works, like a contract and the fees and everything.
So basically, by the time I get a hold of this person, they’re pretty much ready to pay me and start coaching. I mean there’s very little that happens from that space and so, that’s basically it, man. I was able to create a machine through many of the techniques that you taught but apply it to a local business so that people will come to me, money would come to me, clients would come to me, rather than me going out there and saying please buy my services. Because it’s that lack mentality doesn’t work and that’s your pattern, what you put me on opened up a whole new world.
YARO: So when you say people came to you, do you mean they Google searched for ADHD coach and your website came up, they went through some of your materials like your ebook and so forth and then called you up to book a coaching call, is that sort of how it happened?
TOM: Yes. I even have automated systems before they call me. But yes, they just find me on the internet through all those different things, get to know me and get on the top of the sales funnel and I start sending them content on the email list, and then if they want they can apply into the program and the links are all there and then I get back. And that’s the point when I would reach out to them and say, “Hey let’s have a little consult and let’s see where we go from here,” It just works so well because I don’t really have to do much. Clients just come to me. I barely network now. I really don’t even know. I just don’t have the time. I’m coaching all the time.
YARO: I know. Good reason. Okay so, I’m sort of curious with the difference from nothing, that’s $300 in your bank to $30,000 in one month which you said was your most recent result. How do you reach that point, especially as a coach because it’s a bit difficult to do that many hours for example of coaching? So what does your business look like today in terms of how you make your living?
TOM: Yes, so.
YARO: Or maybe you want to progress us through the story. So the people, they’re coming to you now from the website, was there any hiccups instead or it was just a case of just booking all these sessions? Is that all it is? “Yes, I got time. Let’s do it.”
TOM: Yes, I mean what it is, there’s a psychology that a lot of coaches have to go through, a lot of coaches like I said, they get into selling their coaching rather than selling the results of their coaching. So that in of itself is I think a lot of coaches need to understand that but from that space yes. I mean basically, people just kept coming and I would say to myself all I need is one person a month because if I got one person a month, and for twelve months, that is twelve people, that time, I guess, I was charging $600 bucks a month so $600 x 12 is like $7,200. It’s good money, and that’s all I needed is just one person. I think that’s what helped me because I ended up getting more than that, and you just keep following up with people and I got really good at the conversation with people when it comes to when they apply to getting them to see the value because one of the things, really and that’s the thing about my industry and niche. It is a lot easier because believe it or not, the average person with ADHD loses, on average, about $20,000 a year due to lost income and accidents and medical expenses and getting fired from their job and stuff and same thing with kids because they kind of fell out of school a lot unfortunately.
So it’s kind of an easy conversation to say, “Hey look, this is an investment and there is a great return on this investment.” And so, you kind of create that conversation and you kind of help people see and feel the power of what their life could be like once they master it and then, they basically see it and then, they want it.
I don’t sell coaching. I don’t sell anything. You know what, I sell people back on themselves, man. I sell people back on their potential on their power that’s within them, their mastery and I just be in that space with them and just help them to unleash.
I’m not going to say you know that it wasn’t like, okay you take 3 steps forward, 2 steps back, certain things came up but it happened very quickly.
I laugh about it. I don’t understand it’s kind of such a strange place just in a few years to have $300 in a bank account and then $30,000 in one month. It just seems sort of ridiculous.
YARO: Yes. It does change your life significantly when that’s the kind of money where you start to not think about money when you make decisions, so it’s a big difference.
YARO: You sound very passionate about what you do. I hope people listening who are also passionate about whatever aspect they do to help people because most people, they want to run a business to help people in some way. Especially the coaches out there, whether it’s depression, or losing weight or anxiety or even career coaching, I think the way you describe it, it’s about your delivering a value proposition that makes complete sense to people. You’re going to get so much more back in benefits in your own life than the cost of working with me so, it’s a no-brainer decision and then you’ve got this amazing automated internet presence that prequalifies people and they learn about you so you don’t have to worry about doing that sort of convincing.
They’re already convinced enough to make a phone call or book the initial consultation. You just have to show them that you are the real deal and get them going with the next step. And that’s a lovely combination, isn’t it, that web presence with your own expertise and it seems almost effortless once that’s set up, isn’t it? It’s like you getting the right people coming to you. You can help them because they’re committed and they’re ready for it and it just flows.
TOM: It does, it does and so it’s a combination of setting up the system and then being in a certain what I call mental space. I wasn’t in the mental space and I didn’t have the systems set up. But that’s the key to the combination is.
Most people, unfortunately Yaro, they don’t actually believe in what they do. They don’t believe they’re the best. They don’t believe that people are really going to get transformed by it. They sit in a space of a lack of feeling in the exchange of money and services not realizing that the value they’re giving people is priceless.
There is no price you can put on changing someone’s life. I even forget what your program cost but I know I remember relating it because it was the equivalent to one credit at the University of Pittsburgh which is where I went to school and also have to tell you, man, like you’re course was worth more than my entire $60K grand college education and it changed my life and it opened up a whole new way of doing business and what’s the price on that? There is no price on that and when you actually sit in the space of feeling good about the fact that you help people and transform people and actually just believe in people and that passion that you have, it’s something that whether it’s like what you’re saying like weight loss or whatever that niche is, it’s got to be something that you cannot live the rest of your life without doing that thing. It’s got to be that thing that will get you up in the morning, that will force you to do things that maybe you don’t want to do. It’s got to be a driving force in your life and for me, I think about all the kids out there that are being unfortunately, may be over-medicated or being told like they can’t do this or they can’t do that because that’s what had happened to me.
A lot of this is also the entrepreneurs. I have a lot of clients, younger kids that are young entrepreneurs and the overwhelming judgments and criticisms that people get. It makes me sad because when you look at it, at the core of it, everybody just wants to be themselves, they just want to be in a place where they can be truly and authentically themselves and to celebrate themselves and I feel like when we can all just do that like some really powerful stuff happens, that’s where people’s most, best work and peak performance happens when they can just be authentically themselves.
YARO: I could see why you’re a good coach on this subject, Tom, you’re very passionate. Now to take this in a slightly dry direction but, I am curiousÖ
TOM: Go for it.
YARO: In terms of what you actually do on the internet today with your website, are you writing blog posts once a week? Are you doing a podcast? Are you doing videos? How does the machine keep running today?
TOM: Yes, so basically with my local business, yes, I write articles. I do videos and things like that but really I have a whole bunch of content that I am going to be saved up and ready to go for the membership site overcomeADHD.org which is where the whole space is headed and you’re talking about podcasting. Yes, I have actually just signed a radio DO with this company that has always connections to radio channels. That’s pretty neat to actually do a podcast on this topic of ADHD and they’re sort of like the underdogs, people that have been labelled with things but overcome it and transformed.
My goal is to just continue to create good content, to continue to be a servant, to continue to inspire people because the economy is an inspiration economy. Itís people’s beliefs that we’re riding on not currency and to just keep believing and keep being a leader but not in the way of, “Hey, come follow me. Do what I do, be like me,” but giving people the platform to lead. Giving people the space to say this is me, this is who I am, and so I’m just in a space of continuing to create content that matches that energy. Does that make sense to you?
YARO: It does, and I could see you’re a very aspirational speaker so obviously, that comes through, I’m sure, in your writings and your videos as well and I guess I have to highlight the fact that being a local business, there’s no one else writing about these subjects the level that you are, are there?
TOM: Yes, honestly, I mean there’s very few people not even just locally, but very few people in the spaceÖ
Okay, let me break this down. I know some people, I know a good hand of people who have overcome the mental issues that I have. I wasn’t just ADD. ADHD was the lightest one, I mean bipolar, OCD, Tourette, are you familiar what Tourette is?
TOM: Okay, I had verbal ticks, facial ticks, all kinds of stuff, and I haven’t ticked at 17, 18 years, you know what I mean? So there’s very few people in the space where they have overcome that.
Now see I know a lot of people who have overcome it Yaro, but because of the stigma, because of the fear, they don’t want to talk about it. They work for this company, they work for that company. They don’t want it out there. They don’t want it, you know what I mean?
TOM: And so, there are very few people in the internet space who are talking about these things and there are definitely a lot of ADHD coaches out there and the market is sort of getting I feel like filled up and there’s a lot of people writing about it but, I keep seeing the same thing. No one is talking about the core aspect. No one is talking about the fact that you look at a list of some of the most successful people out there. I mean I’m talking about like the Einsteins, the Teslas, the Da Vincis, people like Will Smith or Robin Williams, all these people, and I mean they share a common bond and that common bond is that in today’s world, the psychologists they would have labelled them a lot of these peopleó
YARO: And, medicated them.
TOM: And, medicated them which is so sad because they wouldnít have been able to probably reach the level that they were at. I don’t know if you ever heard of Sir Ken Robinson speak and he did a Ted Talk but he talked about this little girl who she was found out in school and all these things and the principal had a meeting with the mother and said, “You know she is not a fit here but I want to show you something before you leave,” and they leave the room and puts on some music, and they just watched her and after a couple of minutes, when she rises they’re gone. She gets up and she starts dancing and not just normally, like all kinds of really cool dancing and they said “The thing is, your daughter is a dancer. You got to take her to a dance school.”
And so, she did. And she just flourished as soon as she got there. She said, “This is where I fit. This is where people are just like me.” And she became a great dancer, graduated, got hired by the same dance school, went up to New York and trained as a dancer and became a teacher, had her own company, and at around the same time, the dude that was starting and producing Cats was looking for a choreographer and she made a name for herself in New York. They teamed up and she ended up choreographing the entire play Cats and became a multimillionaire.
None of that would have happened, unfortunately, if she was told just to fill in this question, just do this, or if she was labelled and said I have a deficit because I grew up thinking like I was a mess up, like I was a screw up and I feel like a lot of entrepreneurs, there’s a huge overlap but I feel like a lot of entrepreneurs, after they fell a bunch of times you start feeling like I am a screw up, Iím a mess up, but it’s just not true, it’s just you have genius within you. You just have to keep believing and keep going.
YARO: I could imagine a lot of your content will be a counterpoint to potentially the traditional, medical and psychological advice thatís on the internet. So when a person comes across it, hears your story after downloading your free ebook, you are a strong counterpoint and potentially one that resonates with them more than giving their kid a pill or something like that and that’s a powerful form of marketing. I donít want to make it sound cheap, but that is. It’s a great way to build rapport so I think your message is just fantastic for any person out there who does have a different way of solving a problem that might be found upon in traditional methods using a bookó
TOM: Well, here’só
YARO: Go ahead.
TOM: Yes, well here’s the thing, and this has evolved over the past ten or twenty years because basically when I was growing up, none of the stuff that I teach was actually even heard of and the doctor said to me, “You somehow figured out how to reprogram your brain, we don’t know how but you did it and congratulations. Okay, now there’s no point to seeing me anymore.”
So, it’s called neuroplasticity. It has been researched for a long time and there’s like a PBS Special here in the States about it, about the brain that changes itself.
Here is the amazing thing though is that I’m not against meds. I was on meds and you know everything is a tool and that’s all that is. You use it for what it’s used for, and then you move on.
But, the thing is, is that what’s happening in this space right now is something very unique in the world globally which is the fact that people are really recognizing that the brain can change. It’s not just staying the way it is all the time. It’s called neuroplasticity. It can change and there’s ways of doing that and so here is something that might interest you. What does Apple, Google, Microsoft, Target, General Mills, Zappos, what do all these corporations have in common? What do you think?
YARO: Based on what you just said, I’m going to guess that they do some sort of neurological testing before they hire people.
TOM: Google does this weird thing. They ask people really strange questions like how many marbles are in a marble can or whatever. They do all kinds of funny things but what all they have in common is they all have comprehensive mindfulness programsÖ
TOM: Because they know thatÖ Are you familiar with what mindfulness is before IÖ?
YARO: Well, maybe from a sort of an esoteric personal development angle? Maybe not the structured kind of way though.
TOM: It’s just simply being and living right here in the present moment, being right here right now. And it’s something that most people arenít. Most people are in the future, they are in the past and they’re not right here right now.
Bridgewater, which is the largest hedge fund, $150 billion with assets in the United States, their President uses mindfulness for his employees because in business as you know things get emotional. There’s always things going on so, you need to stay focused. You need to stay grounded. And, they know that it helps. It increases productivity.
A lot of the studies that I use in the techniques, (it’s really wow where they do brain scans) actually show the parts of the brain governing focus attention, emotional regulation, actually are bigger and larger and more active when people do this kind of practice.
I’m actually a part of something kind of cool in Pittsburgh, the University of Pittsburgh. There is a mindfulness collaborative between all the departments and interdisciplinary and we actually are forming a mindfulness research center to study mindfulness and its effects in mental health and different things.
I guess, what I am saying and to comment to what you’re saying is it’s actually hitting mainstream right now so, I don’t see it as an opposition. I see it as a complement, but I think what I am saying that’s different in people is that you’re not broken. You’re just different and you’re difference is awesome and just be yourself because you join the ranks of some amazing people.
If you think different, that’s awesome because I have never heard of a normal, of a mundane person doing anything in this world. It’s only the weird, the coops, the nut jobs that seems to actually change things if you know what I am saying.
YARO: Yes, definitely.
So let’s say there’s some coops and nut jobs listening in to this podcast right now, Tom, who are also thinking practically they do want to get their client base up or sell products and services on the internet and they’ve heard your story and they’re thinking, well, I want to put my story out there the way Tom has and maybe use a blog and use some videos or whatever platforms they choose to use.
If you were speaking to them, what would you say they start with, like what is the most important parts of the puzzle that you’ve opened up in terms of your internet business that they should do first and make sure that they do the best job at?
TOM: Sure. The best thing I think people need to do is they need to go back to their story and they need to go and search. I want to help people. I want to offer people. Why do I want to do this? What’s my passion and my drive? And they need to get in touch with that part of themselves that I was speaking about earlier. And then, they need to share that.
It’s infectious when you speak from a place of your power and with sincerity and honesty in your heart just resonates like that’s what I knew about you. When I was watching your videos I knew you just really want to help people. You really like you discovered something and you saw people suffering and not making it with blogging and you really genuinely wanted to help people. It was palatable and it was sincere and that energy is what attracted me to your program.
And so, I think people need to get into that space and then they need to learn about basically all the things that you’re doing. Take your program whenever you re-launch, learn about those key elements and then start to understand that you need a system for how the business runs and you need a system for what you actually are doing so that people buy that not just your hourly rate or whatever it is and try to set up all these automated systems so that you’re not running chasing people.
Know that and you have to have a place like what amazed me about you Yaro is that I don’t know how old you are but I know you’re not that much older than me and I heard you years ago, and you were incredibly successful. I mean I don’t know, I forget how much you wereÖ but, you were incredibly successful and when I was on that coaching call with you, it was just being in the space of this is possible like here is a person that is doing it, I can do it too, and I think that people, unfortunately, people don’t have faith like you have to have faith. You have to actually believe that what you are going to do is actually going to happen and you need to act from that space that as if it has already occurred and you need to present yourself from that space and trust that once you set up these things like that you teach, Yaro, that it’s going to come, and it’s going to flow from your energy, from your belief. And to make sure that everything that you’re putting out there, all your content is not reflecting, “Give me, give me, I need, I need, I need money,” or all that stuff now.
You don’t need money. Money needs you. The world needs your passion. The world needs your service. The world needs your love. Just come from that space in your writing, your articles, your blogs, your videos and you’ll be amazed at what happens. That’s the best advice I have honestly.
YARO: A very appropriate advice coming from you, Tom, I think. One last question then, Tom, before we wrap up. What’s next for you? You obviously reached a pretty amazing point in this that I can tell you’re motivated to explore mindfulness and obviously, help more people with this problem. Do you have a grander vision what are you doing also with your business? What’s coming up?
TOM: The next is changing the world, man. Yes that’s it. Nothing short of that.
YARO: Can you make this practical are youÖ?
TOM: Where I would like to go obviously, okay, so I would like to complete the vision I had when I took your program which was The Membership, and so I have that whole say overcomeADHD.org. It’s all done, it’s ready for me to fill it with content. I have already been sort of recording some back material as far as having months of Membership material.
And so, I’m in a space right now where I’m going to be hiring a team to help me with all the different things and to basically, fill that set up with content and generate traffic and to launch the membership.
But, I feel like it’s important for me to recognize how to take the short cuts and so I am looking for joint venture partner, and what you suggested in your program. And so, I have a one lined up that I think that could really be a good match and , I am sort of just open to more people and it’s often the entrepreneur niche is a good niche for me because there’s a huge overlap.
I’ll go to an entrepreneur networking meeting, and 70% of the people say I think I’ve got ADD. We’re living in like an ADD society. Everyone is hyper-stimulated and we run all over the place and on the internet that’s easy to get hyper-stimulated and that’s, I think, Rich Schefren’s whole thing about thinking strategically versus opportunistically.
But, I see myself moving into a space of having this membership, helping more and more people and really the bigger vision is to grow it, and you don’t grow a movement, but attract a movement.
I will get AA for instance, Alcoholics Anonymous, and you have a space where people got together and got sober and said, “Hey, this was possible.” Why the heck doesnít that exist for mental illness? Why does not that exist? It is possible to overcome these things. I’ve done it, other people have done it. What we need is a community of people that can do it together and to build that sort of empowerment community.
I could see it going into a global membership but, also having little local chapters of people getting together doing the practices, going through the programs together, and really one day, I would like to expand it to education, to taking the money that I am making and pouring it into schools because that is where itís got to start because man, if I were in a different school that taught these things and that many of these kids, if you start on that young and you said “No,” you don’t have to take multiple choice tests. You can try to create your own business, you know what I mean. You can try to build things. I just think that the world would change if we really poured our heart and soul into the kids. So that’s the sort of vision, if you will.
YARO: I can see the process as you move towards that goal. I can see it all connecting. So, fantastic Tom. Websites, where can we find everything you do?
TOM: Sure, so obviously my local one is PittsburghADHDcoach.com. You know, that’s from our local business. There’s a lot of good information up there with different things but the global one is www.overcomeADHD.org.
YARO: Okay, Tom, thank you for coming on this call and sharing your very inspirational and motivational story, and also for being such a fine example of a graduate from my programs. I love hearing results. Thank you for sharing them on the internet and good luck with everything you’re doing. I think you’re making a big difference and will continue to do so. And yes, thanks for laying it all out there for us.
TOM: Well, Yaro, a big thank you, man. Whether we did this or not, the opportunity to say thank you in person is just amazing because what you teach people opened my eyes, you and Gideon, to a whole new world and really saved me from a really dark space and so, whenever you guys are going to do a re-launch, I’m sure to your listeners it’s worth every single penny, and it’s life changing and it’s beyond whatever I paid you. So, thank you thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
YARO: You’re welcome, Tom and thank you. And, thank you to everyone who has been listening in. This has been the entrepreneur’s journey podcast. You know where to go. You can find my site as well as all the other podcasts by just Googling my name. This is Yaro. And I’ll speak to you again on another podcast.
Thanks everyone. Talk to you soon. Bye.
About Yaro Starak
Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
New Interviews Sent Right To Your Inbox ...
Enter Your Email To Subscribe To The EJ Podcast