James Malinchak is a successful motivational speaker, business coach, and author, and was featured on the ABC reality TV show, Secret Millionaire. The “Big Money Speaker,” was featured in a previous issue of The Edge, and this is an excerpt from that interview.
Did you have a vision for this success from the start?
I would say a little bit of each. When I started out, as when we all start out, I don’t think we really know what we’re doing. Take speaking, for example. Once I learned how big people did it and made a difference, I said, “I understand that this is a business and I have to figure out how to do this.” I found a picture of Zig Ziglar on stage in front of 20,000 people and I took a picture of myself with a Polaroid camera, cut my head off, and pasted it on top of Zig Ziglar’s body as if I were on stage in front of the audience of 20,000 people. And I made copies and taped it everywhere; I taped it to the dashboard of my car, to the bathroom mirror, to my computer desk. It reminded me, “I may be where I am at right now: broke, starting out, not doing what I want to be doing. This is where I am, but this is temporary. I am going to be that person on stage impacting 20,000 people.”
It’s important to have a goal, a vision. So, I always tell folks, you don’t focus on the how. You focus on the end result of where you’re going. The how works itself out. You get opportunities that come to you. You take advantage of them.
What are some of the best strategies that an entrepreneur can use to grow their practice and to keep their clients interested?
I think creating, developing, and maintaining relationships is the most important success trait for anybody to learn to master, yet so few people focus on this. I’m giving a seminar called Big Money Speaker Bootcamp, or BMS, and it’s all about how to monetize your message. “B” stands for Buyer, the person you want to get in with, the prospect. The “M” stands for Match. Think about the Buyer’s challenge and how your service can match it. “S” stands for Solution.
What makes your coaching business unique?
I’ve probably now done at least a thousand one-on-one private consultations with people. We have one of the most successful business coaching programs out there. We cut away all the fluff; we’re about how are we going to take your passion, your desire, your mission, and make money.
Most companies are out of business within 12 to 18 months of starting because they don’t realize that they have to get and keep customers. There’s a sign in my office that says, “What’s the quickest way to the cash?”, which is a nice way of saying that you need to stay focused on generating revenue for your business. One of the things that makes me different is that I focus on so many different ways to make my clients profit.
When people ask me about my business plan I say, “Look, I don’t have a 30-page business plan, with pie charts and graphs and all that. I have two simple sentences: Number one is get and keep customers. Number two is get more net income in my pocket than going out.” Net income, not sales or revenue. When it comes to being an entrepreneur, I always say you’re in business to create freedom for yourself.
In your opinion, is it important to have a good coach?
Absolutely! I played college basketball; I’ve been around some top athletes and they all have coaches. In the Olympics all the athletes have coaches. They’re not the top of the top and the best of the best because they did it all on their own. Legendary actor Anthony Hopkins was at one of my events and this man has been acting for 40, 45 years; he’s an Academy Award-winning star, he’s knighted. I asked him if he had a coach, and without a doubt he said he had coaches. He had tonality coaches and different coaches for theatre and for movies. This is one of the greatest actors alive telling us he had coaches. I can’t imagine someone starting out in any business whatsoever not having a coach their whole career if the best of the best do it. A lot of people think, “When I get to be better, then I’ll hire a coach.” No, no, no! You must hire a coach to be better.
How has helping people as you did on Secret Millionaire influenced your involvement with philanthropy?
Philanthropy was always important to me, but after being on the show I started making it a priority. I’m proud to say that through my programs we’ve raised close to $700,000 to donate to other folks. So, it became a part of what we do with our training and I’m very active with helping kids’ groups. Another cause that’s close to my heart is children with cancer. I saw what it did to my sister and it breaks my heart to see sick children. All they want to do is go play, have fun, they just want to get better. They don’t know why they’re sick and that just breaks my heart.
As a coach, what would you say are the most significant barriers preventing people from achieving their goals?
The hindrance, I think, is when people have a mindset that doesn’t match their goals. You have to shift the way you think. I always say, if you shift the way you think, you shift the way you act. If you shift the way you act, you shift your habits; and when you shift your habits, you shift your results. Let’s pretend as an entrepreneur you want to make half a million dollars and now you make $50,000. Well, you can’t do that until you change the way you think. Because you’re going to think differently as a $500,000 entrepreneur than as a $50,000 entrepreneur. So would a half million-dollar entrepreneur be putting stamps on envelopes to mail off? You have to change the way you think. You have to “act as if.” You have to think on a higher level.
Jennifer M. Williams | Editor-in-Chief