Robert Plank

Episode Description

Being a business owner has never been easy. It can be exhausting and stressful. It can even cause stomach aches and sleepless nights. But that’s not all! It can also be the most exhilarating experience we can have. All it takes is for us to change our thinking a little bit!

Today I am more than excited to introduce to you my guest. His name is Robert Plank, host of the Marketer of the Day podcast, and author of the book WWHW. Robert joins today's show to talk about the way he’s struggling with stress and his business.

So Robert is dreading some aspects of his business and that’s causing him to experience pain, because there are things that are not aligned with his vision. But little does he know that there are many factors at play here.

Right now, Robert is trying to get more traffic and get the results he’s expecting in order for him to move forward. But by trying everything, he’s forgetting some important things. For example, he has stopped having fun and enjoying his business. And what I encourage him to do is to actually do less, get some time back, do only what’s effective, and identify what exactly is causing that feeling of discomfort.

That being said, we focus on the issue of feeling stuck. So I suggest to Robert that in order for him to move forward and to have a clear vision, he needs to look back. Why? So he can study what has worked before and what didn’t. That way his actions will be completely deliberate and aligned with what he wants to achieve.

Are you dreading some aspects of your life as well? Maybe you tend to feel stuck too? Or do you have anything else you want to discuss? Let’s talk! If there's a challenge you'd like to talk about on the podcast or privately, please reach out to me at:

kim@frameofmindcoaching.com

Episode Transcript

[00:00:05] Kim Ades:
Hello, hello! This is Kim Ades, I'm the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching™ and you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast, where we invite leaders from all over the world to get coached live and in person, right on the podcast.  


Today I am honestly so excited to have this guest on my show. I've been a guest on his show, I think more than once, probably twice, and for a change, he gets to be a guest on my show. His name is Robert Plank, and I'd like to introduce him.  


Robert, welcome!  


[00:00:35] Robert Plank:
Glad to be here.  


[00:00:37] Kim Ades:
So Robert, tell us a little bit about you. Give the audience a little bit of a bio, a briefing. You're a host of a podcast. Tell everybody about your podcast and tell us what else you do.  


[00:00:50] Robert Plank:
I am a former computer programmer. It's like, I make plugins software, things like that. And like so many other things, it grew into a bigger beast. And from that I began doing podcasting, webinars, courses. I have a podcast called The Marketer of the Day, I have a book called "WWHW"...  


[00:01:14] Kim Ades:
What does WWHW stand for?  


[00:01:18] Robert Plank:
Yes. It stands for "Why, What, How to, What if". 


[00:01:23] Kim Ades:
Okay. 


[00:01:24] Robert Plank:
And the idea is that so many people start from scratch every time when they want to do something, and, as you know, there's formulas and systems that show up all over the place. And this WWHW formula I use it for everything. I use it for... if I need to write a chapter for a book, if I'm doing a podcast interview like this one, there's like a sequence that makes sense.  


And that kind of demonstrates what I mean, how like, I started at one place and then I kind of saw certain patterns or certain like, checklists, systems that needed to be in place. And so I have a course on how to make a podcast, course on how to make a membership site, a book.  


My latest couple of projects is I'm working on a compilation book, I have a monthly done-for-you podcast service. So as you can tell, there's just like, there's so much going on and somehow I keep it all rolling the last year or so I've finally embraced the idea of having virtual assistants and multiple employees and things like that. 


But then my kind of hangups these days are... I wish I was on more podcasts as a guest. Well, good thing I'm doing that right now. That's a start, I guess. And then there's also the issue of I've gotten away from the programming sort of aside, which kind of feels like... it feels more like fun.  


Like my wife said the other day "you work so much, you don't have a hobby". And I was like, well, you know, programming kind of was my hobby, which sounds weird, but it's like an itch that used to be scratched and kind of now isn't, because so many other things just took up all the time. 


And then there's also kind of this weird regret of old projects and old websites and old things that used to sell and gone by the wayside and... There's just all these old websites in mind that I'm thinking, well, should I fix this up or should I try to sell that? Or should I shut this down? So there's just so much chaos happening right now. And always.  


[00:03:25] Kim Ades:
Okay. So let me see if I get it. You're a guy who used to be a programmer, you ended up morphing that into not only a podcast of your own, but now basically you're a thought leader and you have a book and you have a set of courses and those courses are selling and they're active. Is that accurate?  


[00:03:43] Robert Plank:
Yes.  


[00:03:44] Kim Ades:
Okay. So people like your content, people are following you.  


[00:03:48] Robert Plank:
But the traffic could always be more, the list could always be more, and so many times I feel like I'm scrambling in, like, figuring out like, okay, you need to send a bunch more emails or need to make a bunch more products, just because the list is not as big as it can be or should be. 


[00:04:07] Kim Ades:
Okay. And do you feel like the "well, I should do this or I should do that" is a little bit haphazard?  


[00:04:15] Robert Plank:
What do you mean by that?  


[00:04:19] Kim Ades:
You wake up in the morning, you're like, "man, I'm looking at my list. I'm looking at my numbers. Okay, I'll send out an email" or "I'm looking at my list. I'm looking at my numbers. Okay, I should create a new product".  


[00:04:29] Robert Plank:
I feel like maybe a year ago it was that haphazard, but now it's turned into more like these things that have to do are set and the things maybe that are more fun or just like, unreachable.  


[00:04:42] Kim Ades:
Okay.  


[00:04:42] Robert Plank:
If that makes sense.  


[00:04:43] Kim Ades:
I'm really trying to understand the challenge. I'm trying to kind of encapsulate exactly what's going on. Are you saying "I have a process for doing everything. I have my yearly goals set out, I have my KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), my OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) that I'm hitting on a regular basis"? Is that accurate?  


[00:05:03] Robert Plank:
No, I don't think further than maybe two months in the future and every time I've done that, I end up, I don't know, it feels inaccurate. It feels like if I'm deciding like, what do I want this time next year? I just feel like that's so far into the future that I'm like, I don't even know how I would get there.  


And then even if I went back and said, well, here's 12 months from now. Here's what I want. And if I backtracked all these months, it feels like over-planning, and then I'm making like assumption after assumption. And I feel like thinking further than 60 days, I feel like it just... I can't even imagine past 60 days.  


[00:05:44] Kim Ades:
Okay. So I'll tell you what I think is going on. Okay? I think you're thinking like a practitioner. You're not thinking like a business owner. Okay? So, every time somebody comes to me and says "here's my problem" and I'm hearing multiple problems, right? In one case, you're saying "I'm not having a lot of fun. All the fun stuff, I don't have time for anymore". Did I get that right?  


[00:06:07] Robert Plank:
Yes.  


[00:06:07] Kim Ades:
Okay. So that's problem number one. Problem number two is "I don't really have a strategy for my business. I don't really have an outlook for my business. I don't have a vision for my business. Because I'm only working two months at a time".  


And so what we want to do is do two things: we want to give you a little bit more time back in order to start having some fun. And we also want you to have a clear vision for your business. So now you're thinking like a business owner and not just as a practitioner who makes things happen for the next month or two. 


[00:06:41] Robert Plank:
Okay, that sounds great.  


[00:06:42] Kim Ades:
Okay. So, what's required then is not just like, "here are the things you need to do differently", but here's how you need to think differently. This is a thinking issue more than anything. Right?  


And so step number one is think of yourself as a business owner. I own a business and as a business owner, as opposed to the hustler who gets things done, right? As a business owner, I need to think out, what do I want my business to look like in a year from now, from a revenue standpoint?  


How many new products do I want to build? You know, who are the people I'm working with that helped me make this happen? And then you do want to break it down to say "if my goal is X at the end of 12 months, what needs to happen from now until then?" 


So one of the things I heard you say is "I want to be on more podcasts". What does being on more podcasts do for you? Be clear about its intention, be clear about the goal it is supposed to achieve for you, not just "I want to be on podcasts". The question is why? What does it do for you?  


[00:07:50] Robert Plank:
I want to be on podcasts to get traffic back to my site and build my list bigger. 


[00:07:55] Kim Ades:
Okay. And do you know historically if that works?

[00:08:01] Robert Plank:
Historically, as far as me appearing on podcasts? 


[00:08:04] Kim Ades:
Yeah. 


[00:08:06] Robert Plank:
I don't know. I haven't been-- I've been on maybe like, one every few months. So not with enough, I dunno, sample size to even know.  


[00:08:13] Kim Ades:
Okay. But usually when you're on a podcast, do you see a spike?  


[00:08:18] Robert Plank:
Yeah.  


[00:08:19] Kim Ades:
Okay. So the other thing you want to do is start tracking what you're doing, because here's what I'm hearing and seeing. Right? You're doing a lot of stuff and you're not sure about the relationship between the stuff you're doing and the results you're getting.  


[00:08:34] Robert Plank:
Yes.  


[00:08:34] Kim Ades:
And so you're just saying "okay, I just got to do more stuff, so I get more results". And I encourage you actually to do less stuff because I want you to do only the stuff that is effective. Only the stuff that creates results instead of just all the stuff.  


So, you know what? If you were to take notes, I'd say a few things. Number one, I want you to start tracking your activities. So track every time you're on a podcast and that podcast goes live, see if there's a spike in your list. See if there's a spike in traffic to your website. 


[00:09:14] Robert Plank:
Okay. 


[00:09:15] Kim Ades:
Because if you're not really tracking it, then maybe being on podcasts is a complete waste of time.  


[00:09:23] Robert Plank:
Yeah. And even if it did work out, then there'd be no payoff, there'd be no reward if I didn't know if it was having results, the habit wouldn't stick.  


[00:09:35] Kim Ades:
Well, the habit wouldn't stick, but also you're putting a huge amount of time and effort and worry and thought to this activity. And you don't even know if that activity is helping you lead to your goals.  


[00:09:51] Robert Plank:
Right.  


[00:09:51] Kim Ades:
So we need a lot more knowledge, we need much more clarity about if "I do this, if I do X, I will get Y". Right? And right now you don't have that information.  


[00:10:05] Robert Plank:
Right.

[00:10:06] Kim Ades:
And so, when we lack information, what happens? We live in a bit of a chaotic state because we just keep on doing all these things, hoping for an outcome eventually. But then there's not a strategy in place. So number one: track what you're doing and the results of what you do.  


Number two is yes, sit down and think about "what outcome do I want in a year from now? What do I want it to look like? And if I break it down into quarters, what needs to happen this quarter in order for me to reach my goals?"  


So if you discover, for example, that podcasts do increase your list by, I'm going to make up a number, a hundred... Making up a number, right? And I want to increase my list by a thousand or 1,200 by the end of the year, then I know that I need to be on at least one podcast a month. Again, I'm just doing the numbers, doing the math. And if I know I need to be on one podcast a month, then I read to reach out to five different podcast hosts so that I can get on that one podcast.

So now, you know, the activity that needs to happen in that three months. Again, I'm making up numbers. These might not be-- they are probably not accurate. But I'm giving you a sense--  

[00:11:21] Robert Plank:
But yeah, it gives me an idea of break it down and then know the predictable result and then multiply it.  


[00:11:26] Kim Ades:
Exactly. So if you know "Hey, when I reach out to five podcasts hosts, I'm going to get one", so on a regular basis, you're going to reach out to 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, you're going to look at your results, you're going to say "okay, I'm getting 1, 1, 1, 1. If I want to be on two podcasts a month, guess what? I need to reach out to ten".  


[00:11:46] Robert Plank:
Well, do you have any trouble also, as far as like, when you, like, you reach out the podcast, you get booked and then you have the calendar full of all these appearances to make. Like, I feel like I dread that, and for some reason that's kind of blocking me from even really taking this seriously.  


Because I have this picture of this calendar of, you know, Sunday morning and Tuesday evening and just all this... All hours of all kinds of weeks and just feeling like having to psych myself up every single day, just to be at some weird podcast. I mean, does that make sense or do you, have you dealt with that kind of mental frustration?  


[00:12:26] Kim Ades:
I'll tell you. Like, for me, I'm on a lot of podcasts. I've been on a lot of podcasts over the course of my life, but I control my calendar. Me. There's nobody else who controls it. Right? So if I'm busy on Tuesday night, I say I'm not available, sorry, that date and time won't work for me. And just 'cause they want me at some ungodly hour doesn't mean I have to say yes. Right?  


So it's got to work for me. I have to live my life so that I'm excited to show up, so that I'm excited to be there. And if I look at my calendar and I feel "uuughh", that doesn't feel good, right? If I feel a bad feeling, then I want to look at what is creating a bad feeling for me and identify specifically, is it the time of the day that's causing me to not be happy about this? Or is it the activity? 


Because if in your mind, in your head, you're like "well, I need to be on, you know, 10 podcasts a month, but I hate podcasts", it's not going to be your formula for success. Think of a different formula.  


[00:13:26] Robert Plank:
Well, I hate podcasting before, up until about three minutes before. And then once I'm in it's like this, it's fine, it's fun. And then afterwards I'm so tired and I just feel like I just... I can't even describe it. And it's like... my podcast, I have over 800 episodes and I've kinda justifying that by being like, well, I only do it Thursday, Friday, so like I set the time slot and then the rest of the week I don't even have to think about it and they just show up then.  


But then if even if I said, like, I can't do it this or that day, I feel like all these appearances would be like spread throughout the week and it would just be a whole week long of dreading this upcoming appointment, psyching myself up, doing it, being tired again...  


[00:14:08] Kim Ades:
Do you hate your own podcast? By "hate" I mean, do you dread it?  


[00:14:15] Robert Plank:
I dread it up until right before.  


[00:14:17] Kim Ades:
Really?  


[00:14:19] Robert Plank:
Yeah, probably like 24 hours before an upcoming appointment and then right up until it happens and then I'm okay. 


[00:14:27] Kim Ades:
Are there other things you dread? Like, do you dread a sales conversation?  


[00:14:32] Robert Plank:
Yeah. It's something else that does not come naturally, I have to psych myself up, but then I get through it and then it's okay.  


[00:14:39] Kim Ades:
So are you dreading the people aspect of your business?  


[00:14:43] Robert Plank:
Maybe, but then I also don't like the results of being like too scared and not social enough. And that's what led to doing podcasts and webinars, 'cause I didn't want to get left behind by not being, you know, like, marketing myself. So it's the weirdest paradox.  


[00:15:02] Kim Ades:
Okay. So I'm gonna kind of talk about two things. Okay? Number one is you're this programmer. That's your nature, that's what you love, that's what you do. And you've forced yourself into this other zone of being a much more public figure. And so there's a part of your natural character personality that you're trying to fit into this place that isn't always the smoothest fit for you.  


And so whenever I force myself to do something that's not an actual fit, there's going to be discomfort. Right? There's going to be that thing. But then when you're doing it for too long, it creates stress. And that's what you're describing. "I feel stressed before I start a podcast, because over time I've been trying to force myself, contort myself to be something that is not my natural self".  


So you have two options is to say, "who is my natural self and how do I leverage my natural strengths? How do I build my business without this icky feeling inside of me every Thursday and Friday, and every time I have to get onto a podcast?" Because that's not a great way of life, right? You don't want to live your life that way.  


[00:16:21] Robert Plank:
Right.  


[00:16:23] Kim Ades:
Okay. So, that's question number one is how do we really understand who Robert plank is? What his strengths are? How do we leverage his strengths? How do we build a company around his strengths instead of building a company around the stuff that gives them a stomach ache? Right? So that's question number one.

Question number two is how do we reduce the stress that you feel before you go into a podcast? And so there's a process that I use to really explore the stress, to understand what is the stress about. Usually stress is related to a belief that you have about this podcast, a set of expectations you have about the podcast that are leading you to feel like something bad's about to happen. 


[00:17:16] Robert Plank:
Yeah. I mean, I feel like maybe 10 or 20% less stress than I used to be about the podcast, just because the technology's easier. Now it's just Zoom, show up, video, click record. There used to be all kinds of connecting audio stuff and clicking Camtasia, so at least there's that.  


I think maybe I sort of feel like, maybe there's two things. There's I feel like I wish I had more, more traffic to get, like, we were talking earlier about the traffic spike, right? Show up on Robert Plank's podcast. I wish that when every single person showed up on my podcast, they'd see all this traffic, they get what they get.  


I know that some guests have like, sold books, some guests that made sales, but I know that it's not always a huge flood. And then I also... The second half of that is I'm a little bit down on myself as far as like, the follow-up and, like, you know, when the show's live or when the show is about to be live, say, "Hey, the podcast is live and here's a graphic you can share, and here's an email". And like I'm slowly getting better at that, a little bit with having a team of employees, but it's still not really dialed in. 


And it's one of those things too, where like, it just, I don't know. I think it comes down, like you said, like it's the traffic isn't being measured. So I feel like this-- even having the podcast feels like a thing that I just fell into and feel like I have to do, and I'm not really seeing the real... 


Well, I know that there's some results from the podcast. I know that because, like I said, I got this compilation book going right now from all these guests on the podcast, so I know it's making money. Just I don't know how much, I don't know how consistently, I don't know doing one podcast, I don't know, like the dollar value-- the average dollar reward from one podcast, I have no idea.  


[00:19:04] Kim Ades:
So look back. I'd like for you to look back and say "where does my revenue come from?" So if I look back at my past 100 clients, for example, which clients represented the largest revenue amount? And let me characterize them, let me understand who they are, what they're about and why they represent the greatest-- like, what happened with these clients that was different from every other client? 


So you kind of have to look back and say "what worked? What did I do that work?" And so for you right now, the biggest problem is not about being on more podcasts, it's really understanding your business and understanding if "I press this button, what's the outcome?" Right now, you have no idea. So you're just pressing a whole bunch of buttons. 


[00:19:56] Robert Plank:
I don't think I've ever had any idea. It's always been like, try out this product, try out this email sequence, and then sometimes flop, sometimes works, I have no idea why, there's no time. Got to move on to the next thing and just try the next guest".  


[00:20:11] Kim Ades:
So this is part of what I see with entrepreneurs is they don't spend time reflecting. And reflecting in two ways: reflecting on "what worked in my business. Let's look back. What works, what didn't work, what made it work? What made it flop". Really studying your business and understanding, so that your future actions aren't haphazard, but they're really deliberate.  


But there's a second part in reflecting that's very, very important, that I think is super important specifically for you, is to reflect on yourself as a leader, as an individual and notice "am I living the life that makes me thrive? Do I feel good, doing what I'm doing day in and day out?" And right now, what I'm hearing is "not really".  


[00:20:54] Robert Plank:
Right.  


[00:20:55] Kim Ades:
And so there's a bigger question at play, which is "is this what I want to do for the next 40 years of my life?"  


[00:21:03] Robert Plank:
And I've always had this weird identity crisis of being like, well, do I want to be a programmer that's never out there, doesn't network. Or do I want to be someone that is out there and getting all this traffic? And like, I have no idea. And like, I feel like I love and hate both things equally.  


[00:21:24] Kim Ades:
But you just created an all or nothing scenario. And why does it have to be either one?  


[00:21:29] Robert Plank:
That's a good point. It should be both, probably.  


[00:21:32] Kim Ades:
Well, it's not about should or shouldn't. It needs to be what you wanted to be in right now it's not.  


[00:21:38] Robert Plank:
Right.  


[00:21:39] Kim Ades:
You're like "well, I'm this guy who's out there and I'm not having any fun doing my hobby, which is programming". And so like, what you're doing is you've created a life that is not on purpose. What I mean by "on purpose" is you haven't created it according to the life that you want that will allow you to thrive and feel amazing in it. 


[00:22:06] Robert Plank:
And I've been maybe incorrectly thinking in terms of like, products or projects and thinking about like, well, there's these kind of old, tired, worn out products that I had that maybe need fixing up, or maybe should have thrown that out and go do some brand new stuff, but maybe that's like completely the wrong angle. 


[00:22:24] Kim Ades:
Well, it is the wrong angle because what you need to do is say "where do I want to be in a year from now? And do these products help me get there?" If yes, great. If no, goodbye.  


[00:22:35] Robert Plank:
Yeah.  


[00:22:36] Kim Ades:
Right?  


[00:22:36] Robert Plank:
I mean, that makes the decision easier, right?  


[00:22:38] Kim Ades:
Way easier. But you know, for people who are listening right now, I think it's very, very important for you to know that as a business owner, your business is not separate from your life. Your business is your life. And so if your business isn't allowing you to enjoy it, isn't allowing you to thrive, is causing you to feel stress and stomach aches, you've got to reconsider what you're doing. You've got to reinvent yourself. You've got to look at it and say "something's got to shift". And so for you, Robert, it's the same thing. 


You know, this is not a strategy question per se, in terms of "what's the next step for me?" It's really about looking back and saying "what have I done that works? Let me track my activities. Where do I want to be in a year from now? And you know, what do I need to have in place to get there?"  


[00:23:31] Robert Plank:
That's all a lot of deep stuff to think about.

[00:23:33] Kim Ades:
It is a lot of deep stuff. That's the kind of coaching we do. We do the deep stuff coaching.  


[00:23:38] Robert Plank:
Okay.  


[00:23:40] Kim Ades:
Robert, thank you so much for being on the podcast. I hope you got some things to think about as a result of this conversation.  


[00:23:47] Robert Plank:
I feel kind of angry and relieved at the same time.  


[00:23:53] Kim Ades:
Angry?! Why angry? 


[00:23:54] Robert Plank:
Just angry at myself and like, just a weird mix of emotions. You know how it is when you get your medicine and someone tells you things that are like, true and you kinda like, have thought of it, and let's kind of put into words, like, there's a lot to digest.  


[00:24:10] Kim Ades:
Okay, well, if you want to talk later, we can talk later. I certainly don't want you to leave angry. For those of you who are listening, again, think about your career, think about what you're doing with your life, and is it consistent with where you want to be in a year from now? Do you wake up and have stomach aches thinking about your agenda ahead of you? If that's the case, perhaps it's time to look at a different way or even consider some coaching.  


Robert, thank you for being on the podcast with me. And if any of you are interested in sharing a challenge on the podcast, please reach out to me.  


My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com.  


And if you have a challenge that you're not so willing to share on the podcast, please reach out to me as well. 


Again, my email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com.

See you later!