E7: Sachi Ainge--Marketing and Healthy Business

Oct 28, 2019

Sachi Ainge is the Director of Marketing & Administration, part of the Easton Support Team. In this episode, Eliot talks to Sachi about her background, how she got involved with Easton and why her role evolved into the current position.

Listen:

Transcription: 

- Hi Sachi, how are you?

- Hey, I'm good. How are you?

- [Eliot] How's the coffee?

- It's great, thank you.

- Good, good. Everyone has to, I have to, I don't know why I still ask that question, but I do.

- It's nice to start with some coffee.

- Yeah, you're first, Sachi, my first Easton Online Podcast without Jordan.

- [Sachi] I know.

- He had to go away, but we have to do one, we get to do one.

- We'll miss him. Jordan, if you're listening, see you soon.

- While he's not here, I don't know if you've listened too much, but I call him Jamie.

- [Sachi] I've heard that, yeah.

- 'Cause I'm trying to be Joe Rogan, you know. So, can you sit up on the mic? Or we can push that a little

- Oh yeah.

- Farther too, there we go.

- That's great, thanks.

- Yes, thank you. You are also a first. You are the first female in our company that transcended like the front desk to a full time managerial type job. I think, right? I think Van was the first full time female employee, right? But Denver was a little slower on moving to different managerial positions. So, but you're the first, you were the first one, and now I think we have a couple. We have you, we have Sarah, we have Van. Who else do we have?

- Shalane.

- Shalane, yes, Shalane. So that's really cool for us. That's really cool for me, so.

- Cool for me, too.

- Good, good.

- It's great. It's been cool to grow up through this company, and with this company.

- So yeah, how did you, I know you were just talking to Erwin and Esther downstairs. My parents are in town.

- Yeah, it was nice to chat with them.

- I love my parents, you know. My parents is always a weird thing, right? 'Cause as you grow, you move out of their house, and then you have a kids and a family, and you don't do it necessarily like you guys did it, and it's different, so this dynamic can always be very weird, but we have come and found a good mutual agreement, like a good relationship.

- [Sachi] Yeah.

- So I like having my parents in town, the kids, fuck, we surprised the kids.

- [Sachi] That's so cute.

- Like they didn't know my parents were coming, and they were at football practice yesterday, and then they come in the door, and Kannen was like, "Oh my God!" He's going crazy, and Simon hates surprises. He was like, "Hi".

- I'm a little bit of a Simon. I like to plan things. I like to know what's happening. I like for things to go according to my plan.

- Renee was like this.

- But I feel like grandparents visiting, it's pretty much guaranteed gonna be a good surprise.

- Yeah, it's a good surprise. One time Simon, when I was in New York City for a fight for Corey, and they had a long weekend, and Renee wanted, Renee and the neighbor next door they were like, "Oh, let's surprise the kids, "let's go to New York."

- [Sachi] Oh, I kinda remember this, yeah.

- Right, and when Renee went and picked Simon up from school to like, they took them out of school early to go and like they were going with the neighbor kids, like everyone was all excited, and Simon started crying. Like he's like, "What? "I can't handle this!" Right, it was just too much for him.

- Yeah, it's like the routine is broken. Like, what's happening?

- Yeah, exactly. Alright, so let's get back to you. How did you get here, how did you get to Boulder?

- Like I was just telling your parents. I just kinda thought I would like it. I mean, I like came and looked at CU, when I was 17 with my mom.

- [Eliot] From where were you coming from? Hawaii, right?

- I'm from the big Island of Hawaii, yeah.

- [Eliot] Shared this love.

- Yeah, it's a good spot. So yeah, I don't know, I came and looked at some schools in Colorado and just decided that I wanted to go farther away. So I went to school in Virginia.

- [Eliot] Farther away.

- Yeah, like a lot of kids from my high school ended up going to school in like California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon. And I don't know, I just I wanted to do something like that was gonna be culturally more difficult, I guess. Okay and it was, yeah, it was pretty culturally difficult to go to Virginia, but, yeah, after doing that for several years, I was--

- [Eliot] Did you graduate? Yeah, what did you graduate with?

- Psychology, Bachelors in Psychology.

- [Eliot] You are using it very well.

- So, yeah, I feel like now some of my stuff has come more into play.

- [Eliot] Right.

- But yeah, for a long time I felt like I wasn't.

- I don't see it that way, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make fun of you. I guess I did a little bit, but I guess I did a lot actually. But, so for me, I don't use my math degree at all. Like, I do nothing with my math degree.

- But you're like running a business. I feel like that's math-y.

- Yeah, sure, but it's set up all this opportunity for me. Right, like the college experience.

- [Sachi] Totally.

- So I guess I was trying to say that like, a little bit in my facetious facetiousness. Like, yeah, okay. So what you don't use your Psych. So, but I think we get so hung up on this idea that we have to use the degree that we have, but you're succeeding and doing amazing.

- Yeah, it's more about like what you learned. The like, you learn to learn. You learned to manage your time more than you learn facts. Facts are cool.

- Facts are cool, but facts can only take you like so far. So, Virginia and then Boulder. What made you, did you choose Boulder, because you had visited Boulder before? Okay.

- Yeah. I thought I would like it. I was a nanny in Castle Rock one summer between my third and fourth year of school.

- Okay.

- Just to kind of check out the Colorado scene and make sure that I liked it.

- Okay.

- And decided that, I visited Boulder one time during that summer, and I was like, okay, yeah, I can do that.

- And you came with somebody or just by yourself?

- Just by myself.

- Cool.

- I knew a couple of people from home who lived here.

- Okay.

- Like people that I went to school with.

- And then you needed a job?

- Yeah. I was unemployed, spending a lot of time on my couch. No friends. And then, actually so one of my friends, who I grew up with was already training in Easton, and he was telling me how much he loved it, and he was like, "Yeah, we're moving "into this new space".

- Oh, so he was training at the old school Easton? Oh, yeah, yeah, yea.

- And so I was on Craigslist one day looking for jobs, and then he had told me about the new thing, and I was like, hey, I sent him a picture. I was like, "Is this the thing you're talking about?" He's like, "Oh, yeah, yeah, like I'll go introduce you." So, went in with him. Met Denise and Mike and--

- So this is not the OG Easton or the new Easton?

- [Sachi] Yeah, the old academy.

- Okay.

- This was like November, like right after the flood.

- So we, okay, so we were in construction, right? We were in construction at that point, okay.

- I did like a couple of training shifts at the old academy before moving into the new Boulder spot in January.

- [Eliot] I don't remember you at all.

- It was a couple of evening shifts which--

- So evening, that's why I don't remember you, because I didn't come in. I don't ever go to Boulder in the evenings. I guess I do now with my kids, but then I was strictly all with them.

- [Sachi] Yeah, they were a little and so.

- Yeah Kannen was just tiny, Kannen was 2014, he was like four or five. And Simon was like one or two, yeah. So then the first time I remember you was when we had the meeting in the office in the, not the--

- [Sachi] The tahuna one?

- The tahuna one, yeah.

- I was just thinking about that this morning, and like driving over here, and I was nervous and you were like, "Hi I'm Eliot." And I had brought my passport, because like to confirm my identity. You like reach out your hand, and I hand you my passport, and you were looking at my like, what? What are you doing?

- Oh shit, that's funny.

- Yeah, that was one of the Jake Bell sessions. It was all with the new front desks, learning, sales staff for the first time.

- Yeah, I don't remember the passport story. So.

- It was brief. I was like embarrassed, but it was whatever.

- Yeah, and I wear a different business I guess. We're a vet you know. So, yeah, I don't know. You probably have to show your ID at most places when you go.

- [Sachi] Yeah.

- So what was that like for you? What was the experience? So it was so new kinda for everyone at that point, because we were moving into this new space like. When Easton opened, when the Boulder location, the big school in Boulder opened, what was that like for you because I mean, super male dominated, super focused on Jujitsu. I wouldn't say we had a bad culture.

- No.

- No, right.

- Really tight knit.

- Really tight knit culture. Very male and very Jujitsu.

- Yeah, and definitely both of those things have changed a lot.

- Right, yeah.

- From the time, I've been around.

- You're neither male, and you don't do Jujitsu.

- No.

- Right.

- Yeah, it was like at that time, I feel like I was kind of one of the first new staff members to come on. To come into this small community of people that everyone knew each other, and so everyone was just like, "Oh, who's this new person?"

- We rarely hired, I mean, even for front desk, we just found a student. Plus you didn't need like front desk.

- Yeah, in the smaller school is was like, it was really just checking people in.

- Hold on, I wanna take that back. We didn't realize that you need dedicated front desk, because I believe you do.

- Totally.

- You know, I believe you do need dedicated front desk, and I think it's way better, but we didn't realize that until we had this bigger thing, and so for sure we were just like grabbing a student, "Hey, this is how you answer the phone," and dada dadada.

- And I think that's like a super common business model. You know, like that's what yoga studios do. That's what most small schools do.

- Right.

- But, yeah I think like, this plays into the little bit about me not doing Jujitsu. It's like, I had worked at the front desk at my mom's office. She's a dentist. Right before I moved to Colorado.

- Okay.

- For like six months, and so I don't know, yeah, I was kinda used to that, and like in that mindset of like, okay be organized, let's make appointments, let's make some notes about them. So like the front desk felt pretty natural to me. Those things anyway.

- [Eliot] Right.

- I was definitely more, it's funny like Ian talked about being introverted in his, right? And like, I'm definitely introverted, and in college I feel like that went up a bit you know.

- [Eliot] Your introversion?

- Yeah like, I think I got more like social anxiety when I was in college like maybe nine years ago. It was hard for me for a little bit.

- Okay, so how nervous is this for you right now? I mean how hard for you is this?

- I don't know, I mean, I was like, so, okay the social anxiety is mostly with like a bunch of people or with people that I don't know.

- Okay.

- Like you, we're here in this room alone, no Jordan, but it's fine.

- [Eliot] So that doesn't, okay.

- Yeah, it would be like going to a party, and I still don't like to go to a party where I don't know anyone. I only wanna go to a party at my own house.

- I don't think I like parties that much. I guess I do, they're okay, but they're so loud.

- Yeah, the loud is a thing that is hard, like when I was a little kid my mom tells this story about we were having this party at the house, and I was, "Come on, mom." Like, "Let's go in my room and read."

- Right.

- So, I think I'm still that a bit, but like I can get down with the party, if it's all my friends.

- I can get down to party when it's all my friends for sure. But for me, like the way I like to interact, like I don't dance well or any of that stuff. Like, so I have to be able to talk. So that is how I make my thing happen. So like, if I can't talk then I'm kinda fucked.

- [Sachi] Certain kind of party.

- Yeah, like a certain kind of party, like a night club. Oh god, my friends when I was younger when we would go to night clubs , and I was like, guys I can't pick up chicks this way. Because I can't dance. Right, I hate dancing. So what do you do at a night club? Like you're picking up girls and or you like to dance. And the only way you pick up the girls is by dancing really well, and I couldn't do that. So I was like a wallflower, because you can't talk to anybody, it's so loud. I'm like, "Guys, this sucks!"

- Yeah, it's a hard environment for someone who is not into the party scene.

- Dance, party scene, yeah.

- I like to dance, but--

- So but yeah. So, you like to dance. I couldn't, the first time Renee and I ever went to a dance club, she looked at me, she's like, "Can you go stand over on the wall?"

- [Sachi] I'll come back for you later.

- Yeah.

- That's funny.

- So how did you deal with your introversion because like the front desk at Easton is for sure not introversion?

- No, yeah. I kind of like, so my mom was like, I feel like kind of a classic extrovert. She's like so friendly. Everyone loves her. She's very comfortable talking to people. So I kind of turned it on on, to be like her sometimes.

- Okay.

- And it used to feel more like I was faking it, but I think through my experience at the front desk, especially like in those early years, it was like getting more comfortable in that. And yeah, it eventually just came more naturally.

- Okay.

- To just talk to all these people and I think it helped that the school was still smaller then too. So it's like, pretty quickly I knew like hundreds of people, and I'd be like, I'd see them out on Pearl Street. I was like, "Oh look my friends, I belong here!"

- Right, right.

- Which felt really good for me.

- Sure.

- It was a community right away for me, which was nice.

- Man, it's the same for me. Like, very quickly after getting the job at Jujitsu, after changing Jujitsu, maybe like a year or so, I mean, so I was in the Boulder scene, but I wasn't, I don't know. I don't know how to put it. I've been here for a while lets say, but very quickly after training Jujitsu, I started working at the Foundry, which was the Absent Palace. Right?

- And now something else.

- I don't know, yeah, but at the time, that was the place, right? So, all of a sudden, like boom, here I am, and I'm the dude that fights, and I didn't even fight yet, right? But I was the dude that fights, so that worked for me, and I mean I took that for, that I won't say it was a good identity for me, but I took that for a really long time and a long way, because I got to be that guy. I was the baddest dude at the biggest bar in town. So.

- So this was before and during when you were first training, right?

- I sucked, I was a blue belt. But blue belt to us back, so yeah, for us blue belt at the time was god, almost, like it was next to godm because Amal, no, okay hold on. No, okay so, a black belt was god. Amal was Jesus and he was a purple belt, right? And I was like a disciple. I was like one of the twelve. Because nobody was a blue belt, right? This was like, and now a blue belt for us is--

- [Sachi] We have a lot of blue belts.

- Yeah, we have a 1,000 throughout the whole company maybe? Something like that, let's 700 maybe? I don't know, we have a lot of blue belts.

- Yeah, it's crazy to see like how many get promoted. I'm gonna have, I'm sure a ton of promotion.

- A ton?

- In a couple of weeks.

- So, I mean we have a lot of blue belts. They're not the bad asses of the school, but for us, we were back then. So that was an interesting, so yeah, I had a very similar thing, like everyone would come to see, like everyone coming by and I'd say hello. Just like, you know.

- Yeah, it feels good.

- It's interesting how, it feels good. That's very interesting how like two opposite experiences like that, like mine in this one way, and yours in this one way are the same.

- Yeah.

- Yeah, I never thought about that, so--

- It's nice to belong to something like that. And I feel like for me Easton was the first time that I've felt that in a while since I was home.

- And what did that do for you? Is that part of what made you stay, you think?

- Oh yeah. Yeah, I love the friends that I've made through Easton, and it's really cool to work with people who I'm excited to see everyday. You know, like that's special. I don't think a lot of people have that.

- I agree. I only work with my friends, I love it.

- [Sachi] Can't beat it.

- I can't beat, yeah I get like, I get to go, I don't have to go to work, I get to hang out with my homies. This is what how I call it, so it's really fun. And I would say maybe one of the main reasons you stayed was Mike?

- Oh yeah, absolutely.

- [Eliot] Okay.

- Yeah, like.

- What did Mike do for you?

- Mike has always been like an advocate and a mentor for me. Like even from kind of early on in the front desk, we just, I don't know, got along really well. And so, Mike has always been pushing me to learn and grow. This entire time like six years, almost six years in.

- Have you been working here six years? God, that was six years ago.

- It'll be.

- Yeah right.

- January, huh? Dam, all right.

- Yeah so, having someone like Mike who like really cares, and was invested in me sticking around. Like, I don't know. It feels good to be valued, and it was nice to be in a work environment where I had that.

- So let's talk about that for a sec, because Mike's more like me, right? We're hot heads. You're not a hot head.

- No I'm pretty even keeled.

- You're pretty even keeled. Excuse me. Mike and I say shit, right? And you definitely are more aware of the words coming out of your mouth.

- I like words, I think words are important.

- Words are important, right? Where Mike and I will, "That mother fucker!" Right, and like, we'll say terrible shit sometimes when we're mad, and we don't necessarily mean it or. What was that like for you? Because, I don't want to say you're sensitive, right? You're not sensitive, but you're paying attention. Way more than Mike and I are. I would say.

- I don't know, I think you guys pay attention.

- Yeah we do--

- But--

- Go ahead, so you explain it.

- Honestly, I think that like the informal culture that we had and still have, but it's a little different now, but like--

- Yeah, I've gotten in trouble. Mike and I've gotten in trouble.

- But at the same time, like being in a workplace where people are dropping F-bombs, I'm like, I belong here.

- [Eliot] Right, okay.

- It's like certainly like you guys have gotten some maybe scoldings from me about things that like you know we, I'm like the PC principal of Easton, but--

- Which I think is amazing to have. Like sometimes you make me so mad with that. I'm like, "God dam it, Sachi!" Or like you know but, we need, like you can't just have a bunch of me and Mikes.

- I think like, yeah with what were trying to do, with like trying to open up something that is inherently kind of scary and intimidating, and maybe not always like historically in throughout other Jujitsu schools in the world, Muay Thai schools, it's like, you might not get the kind of community that we have, or you certainly wouldn't if you're like scaring people away.

- I feel like a different community, but not the one that we have.

- Yeah, like I think Easton is very beginner friendly. Not that I've trained anywhere else, but that's the impression that I get.

- The podcast didn't go away, hold on. I'm trying to think about, that's a very beginner, yes, we're very beginner friendly. I don't think that doesn't mean that we're not advanced friendly either.

- No, no, but it's a place where you can go from being a beginner to being advanced. Like, I was pretty unathletic as a kid. And like Muay Thai was the first thing that I like got into really. Like I don't know, I played softball.

- [Eliot] Sure.

- But, I don't know, and now I've been doing it for a while, and I don't know, I guess I'm advanced. I'm not certainly the best person by any means, or even close, but like it's a thing that I started from nothing, like I've never done martial arts before, and now it's like--

- You have a smoker match, right?

- Yeah, in December.

- In December, and you never probably would have thought, you would have done that.

- Definitely not, nope.

- That's what , excuse me. That's what I would say that we do well. Like as far as on the martial arts side, is we help someone find some potential that they didn't really quite realize that they had. You know, even when you took this job, I would probably say, you were like, okay I will go work the front desk, answer some phone calls.

- Yeah, I was like, I figured I'd be around for like a year.

- Yeah, lucky us , so.

- [Sachi] Thanks.

- So back to back to what that was like for you, like working, and Mike and just that whole shift that, I mean, you were probably the catalyst of it. Like, help pushing it that way. I would say. I don't know if you knew it, right? Like I think we were going that way. Like inevitable with this big model, this bigger model, and you were one of the first females, and one of the first people that didn't take part in the martial art whatsoever at first, and we had some growing pains and some shifts to make and all of these things. So back to that, what was that experience like more about that experience, what was going on there for you?

- It was a lot of learning. I was like, I don't know, so that meeting we talked about, where we first met with Jake Bell and learning about sales. Like that was difficult for me it was like, it felt uncomfortable at first. Like I'm not like, I've never done anything like that before.

- Because the front desk job, your mom's a dentist. You were like taking a credit card maybe.

- Yeah, I was like handling insurance claims, confirming appointments, which is the same as what we do. Yeah, I wasn't like selling people their fillings.

- Yeah, so like most front desk jobs when you go to the front desk, you know you're gonna pay. Like when you check out at the doctor's office. You're not like "Shit, let's see if I can get a better deal "on this, on my filling." Right, or "Am I paying for my filling?" Like that was a great experience, and am I gonna pay?

- Yeah, that's not really a question in most places.

- Right, you're paying. So that must have been difficult, like yeah. That was a different, were you ready for that? Did you know that's what you were getting into?

- Yeah, you know it was in the job description, and we talked about it like when I interviewed and stuff. You were like, we'll teach you. So I was like, okay, cool.

- [Eliot] So you were your game for it.

- Yeah, it was hard and honestly like I ended up not being amazing at sales. I think that actually the way that we're teaching people now is a lot more holistic and maybe like more effective at giving people the big picture.

- [Eliot] I think we were on contract still when you first started.

- Yeah! Well, yeah, yeah, it was like six months with like buy-out.

- Yeah, I'm holistically against, I'm whole heartedly against contracts now.

- Yeah and it's a big part of our--

- Culture.

- System and culture now, like, it changed a lot.

- I think that was a big change for us, because the whole martial arts world at the time, and I just had this discussion on somebody else's podcast who disagreed with me. The whole thing with martial arts is like you need to get the student to commit to you. Like when you go to college, you're committing, right? And fuck that, right? Fuck, what changed me was the Joe Rogan. Was Joe Rogan's podcast and not anything that was on the podcast other than the commercial in the beginning. Ting, there was a cellphone company called Ting.

- [Sachi] Indi uses that.

- Yeah, does he? And they were the first people to do no contract. And our email was to hate your cellphone company. We all do. Like we use them and we hate them, because you're stuck and this and that, and bla bla bla, right, like all this. $500 to get out, and you're like, "Dude, what if you suck?" Right, like what if you're awful? But that's what we were doing. I would like listen to the Joe Rogan on my way home every night and hear this thing, I'd be like, "Yeah, yeah, I'm an asshole."

- So it changed, yeah.

- It changed, yeah.

- And I think that it's definitely more like friendly to someone just starting out, I think. We do the trial month, it's like, check it out, we think you'll like it.

- Right, it's on us, right? It's on us to show you. Like there's no sale anymore really.

- Yeah, it's like most people were like, I'll try it.

- [Eliot] I'll try it, right?

- Yeah, because they came in 'cause they wanted to try it, so.

- Right, so you'll try anything for I don't know, is it 99 bucks or something, right? Right, like yeah sure I'll try it, oh and I get my money back too? Like if I hate it? Like so there's a zero risk here?

- [Sachi] Yeah, why wouldn't you?

- Why wouldn't you, right, why wouldn't you? And then it's on us to show them how great we are.

- Totally.

- It's not the person's commitment first.

- And it's nice because it's once you, I feel like once someone tries it, we're all confident that we can deliver a great product. It's like you're gonna have some fun in your classes. You're gonna sweat, smile, learn. You're gonna make some friends. You're gonna be excited to be here.

- You're gonna be pushed, you're gonna be challenged. You're gonna be all these things, right? I think there's something that you said with Mike. That he really was pushing you to learn.

- [Sachi] Totally.

- Right and I think that's such a important thing about that we need to keep doing as adults, right? Is, and we just halt it so much. And I think we were talking about it right beforehand that Mike was like hey, can you help Ian and Will with AOD? They started Art Of The Dog, shout out if you need, Dog training, go google Art Of The Dog here in Colorado, and they can help you out. So with Facebook Ads, and you were like, "I kinda suck at Facebook Ads, I'm not really that good."

- Yeah, I'm still learning.

- And you'll get better, right? But that's kind of the fun. I think that's the fun of our jobs, is every aspect has this learning aspect to it.

- Totally, yeah, like for me in the job or jobs that I've had in my time with Easton, it's been different like every year. There's always something new, there's always new responsibilities. I've done like really a wide variety of things like especially when I was, so we used to call it Assistant Manager. Now it's the Academy Operations Director in Boulder. Yeah, people be like, what's your job like? I'd be like, well, sometimes I make Facebook Ads, and sometimes I like stuff heavy bags, and sometimes write the newsletter, and sometimes I plunge toilets. All kinds of stuff.

- Me too, I had to clean the mats the other day, because like the pro-practice, the guy bled all over it. It was his foot, and normally when the pro's bleed, we make them clean it up but he couldn't clean it up, right? So I was like.

- Get more blood on the mat.

- Yeah, I was like, all right let's go. So, that's a big thing, we can't ever loose sight of that. I think you know how to do all of the jobs.

- I've never taught which is like, I was listening to your other episodes of this and everyone else came up through like the instructor role.

- Yeah, that's a very interesting point. You came up, I didn't even think about that. You came up a totally different way.

- But yeah, other than that I feel like I've done a lot of the things that one would do in Easton.

- I can't make Facebook Ads. I've never done that.

- So, I'm not very good at it either.

- [Eliot] We already talked about that. So yeah, you didn't move direct, like you're not at the front desk anymore, right? Like so you moved out of that.

- Yeah, I did front desk for like maybe a year, year and a half. And then was assistant manager.

- I remember when Mike sat down and talked that you we're gonna be assistant manager and we were gonna give you a salary. I was like, "Bro?" I was like, "What?" Because we hadn't done this before. Like the only salary people were managers. And I was like, salary?

- Yeah.

- Where's that money coming from? Right?

- It's a risk!

- [Eliot] Yeah.

- And also and you know we talked about this a lot. Now it's like, that's not always the right move. Like, if you you have someone that is doing a job that should be hourly like. Give them a salary, yeah.

- Yeah, we messed this up.

- It can be dangerous.

- At one of the academies, right? Like we moved someone to salary and yep, it went bad. But anyways, so yeah it happens, and I think it's a good thing to talk about. Like, we're doing this podcast, we're making these courses. Man, you guys gotta understand how much we blow it still.

- Yeah, it's iterative, we're always learning.

- Yeah, and that's the key, is that we are always going through this process of yep, messed that one up.

- As long as you learn from it, you know.

- Right, it's AB testing, right, with Facebook, isn't that what you do with like--

- Yeah, you--

- You just talk about, like, you talk about that in the Facebook Ad sense and then how we take that to like what it is what we do.

- So like, in Facebook Ads often you will test like, serving your ad to two different audiences, or using two different pictures or two different headlines, and you see which one performs better, or which one--

- So, the same ad you're saying, the same ad--

- Yeah, you only wanna vary one factor. So everything else about the ad is exactly the same, and then you have two different pictures. One is like, a little kid and one is an adult, and then you just see which one gets the most clicks, which one produces the most leads, and then you cut the other one.

- So you're hoping one of them fails.

- Yeah, one of them's got to, you gotta figure out which one is better.

- And you just keep marching through it, and I think the whole academy is like that.

- Yeah, totally, it's like we'll be like, okay, what's not working, what do we need to try? And hopefully we figure it out and move on from there.

- Right, right, you have to pay attention. I think sometimes people change too many things.

- Yeah, yeah, that's unscientific.

- Right, because you can't figure out, what was the delineator, right, of what made the difference. So, do I keep this, do I keep A or do I keep B? Because you don't know, because you'd like went all the way to G.

- Yeah, you gotta change slowly. I mean, usually in like the scientific method you have a hypothesis, and usually it's like pretty good, but yeah you should keep it gradual. Make sure that you're able to measure your results.

- Right, and the same with the academy, and the same with everything that you do, right? You wanna know why it is that things happen, not just have them happen, because you wanna be able to affect the change or create the change next time.

- Totally.

- So, when you were the assistant manager, that was the first thing? Mike was still here, Mike was still the manager.

- Yeah, so it was me and Mike sharing an office, and have like we sat like this on our desk, now that office there's like four desks in there and all, it's a different scene for sure, but it was cool to like work so closely with Mike. Boulder was growing a lot at the time. So, it was like suddenly he didn't have time for all the things that used to be his responsibility alone, and then we were also adding things that like we didn't use to do, so.

- [Eliot] Like what?

- I think like the newsletter, that was one of my first, it was when I was still front desk that I started doing the newsletter, and then that was like a big part of my responsibilities for several years. I actually just handed that project off.

- Oh, who does it now?

- Rox.

- In Littleton and Arvada, no shit, huh?

- [Sachi] She's a great writer.

- Really, oh, amazing.

- [Sachi] She has PhD, so.

- Okay.

- Yeah, she's crushing it, and it's a relief for me to not, like, I love that project. It was my baby for a long time, I like to write, but eventually I had a lot of other things that were pulling me in different directions, and it was taking me a long time to do, and so it just made sense to have someone else do it.

- And then this is such an important thing sometimes here as you grow with your school. I had no clue that Sachi wasn't doing the newsletter anymore. I'm the owner at work, and I wouldn't, I don't know, you can answer honestly if you would like, I don't believe I'm an absent owner?

- No.

- I believe I'm in the schools every day, so. Yeah, I'm not not there, but I can't handle the news, right?

- Yeah, I think that's like the point of when you get bigger like people have to specialize, so.

- Right, and now you just have to let Rox roll with the newsletter.

- She, yeah, she needs very little supervision. She's doing a great job.

- Right, she's doing a great job. Hopefully you hired someone better than you to do the job, whatever that job may be, so that you can now focus on this other thing and hopefully whatever the other thing that you're focusing on, someday you're gonna find somebody better than you to do that too. Like this is how growth happens, and then you just have to like manage and trust.

- Yeah, when we say delegate and elevate.

- Right, delegate, oh, I like it, delegate and elevate. Look at you, yeah, we have terms for it.

- [Sachi] I didn't come up with that, but--

- Who came up with it?

- It's from a book that Mike wrote.

- That Mike wrote? I like that, delegate and elevate, right?

- It's like yeah, you should always be teaching someone to do the things that you do to help them be better and to like, I don't know, make yourself outmoded.

- Yeah, yeah, for sure, you have to fire yourself, right? Everyone should be trying to fire themselves, and if we're doing that really, really well, then we just keep climbing, we just keep shooting up. Delegate and elevate, thanks Mike. That was a good one, yeah, I like that, so yeah, so Rox handles the newsletter. So what did you move into after all of that, after the front, like, so who's the AOD, I don't even know who's the AOD of Boulder?

- Sarah.

- Sarah? Okay.

- Yeah, Sarah is crushing it, and she does a lot of other stuff too. I think--

- And Andrew is the front desk person? What do we call that?

- The director of first impressions.

- Director of first impressions, okay. So we have AOD, we have Director of First Impressions, what else do we have?

- We have GM, we have First Impressions Specialist.

- That's the front desk.

- We have all of our instructors, various levels of instructors.

- [Eliot] How about on the managerial side? That's it though?

- Yeah, that's it. Since Boulder is a bigger school there's both, the AOD and DFI. At smaller schools usually it would just be the DFI.

- Okay, the DFI will be the AOD kind of.

- Yeah, it's like the GM and the DFI kind of both take the responsibilities that would be a whole job at a big school.

- [Eliot] Right, so what does Denver have, do you know?

- Denver has both.

- Both, okay.

- So Carlos is DFI and Van is AOD.

- And Van's AOD, okay, sounds good. So, again, I don't know any, I mean I know we have these positions, I don't know who's in those positions. You have to trust a little bit as you, you have to trust that you hired well in who you put in certain places that they're gonna do the job really well. So I know that Mike hires well. I know that we did a good job hiring Mike. That is the first thing. So, now Mike has to do with the job of hiring, and sometimes you have to do the job of firing, right? There's that old adage, hire slow, fire fast.

- Yeah, that's an important one. If you start feeling like you need to end it, you should.

- You should, you should. Luckily for us we hire well, because I think we go real slow, like you didn't move up very fast, I would say.

- Yeah, it took, I mean, I think faster than at a bigger company, like where we were at and where I came in, it was like, there was room for me to grow.

- A little luck in the game of where Easton was moving, right? Like we needed it, we needed the move.

- The timing was good.

- Yeah. So, after your experience of AOD, what do you do now?

- So now I am the Director of Marketing and Administration which sounds fancy, but I'm still learning.

- Right, you have a marketing degree?

- Nope.

- Do you have an administration degree?

- Nope. Is that a thing?

- [Eliot] I think it is.

- Okay, yeah, I don't have that.

- You see, you have none of that but you're doing it.

- Yeah, and it's interesting as I was like thinking about this conversation and like where I've gone through my Easton path, I realized that I've been doing marketing things kind of since early. Like I started doing the newsletter within the first year. I took over the marketing booth thing in Boulder.

- [Eliot] Oh for like when we go out? Okay.

- Yeah, so, like when we go on campuses CU and creekfast, yeah. I like reorganized the system of how we do that, and--

- It used to be mine, I think I was the first one. I was so bad at it.

- Well, this was back in the like try your luck for a buck days, right? Hey, you wanna fight?

- It worked.

- Like I was just talking to somebody yesterday on my podcast on the Gospel Fire, and we were talking about like what intro classes. Intro classes were a fight. Like we used to show them how to do a couple of things, then we were like, ready? And they were like, ready for what? We're gonna fight, ready? So.

- What did you learn?

- No, like that was the way jujitsu did it. Like that was the culture of jujitsu. You show people, you fuck them up, and don't you wanna learn this now?

- For me no, I'd be like bye, sure don't. Not ready for that.

- Right, so we moved from that, but anyway. So that's what you're doing. You started early in marketing, go ahead, say.

- Yeah, I guess I hadn't really thought about that, but that's been like part of what I've been doing for a long time, and now it's my bigger focus, and I'm doing it not just for Boulder, but for all the academies which is cool.

- [Eliot] You're part of the corporate team, right?

- Yes, we're called the support team.

- The support team.

- We're there to support.

- So who is it? You and Mike, Logan, that's it right now, right?

- Yeah, Sarah does some supporting stuff. Yeah, just like the things that are there to help all the academies and like take the stuff of their plate that's like getting in the way of their own specialties basically.

- So you handle like all of the academies' advertising and marketing, right, and things like that. So, who, I know we're really working hard on SOPs right now. Who's that, you or is that more Ian?

- That's kind of everyone is working on their own SOPs, so like Velora is doing stuff for the kids programs.

- Guys, SOPs, standard operating procedures, so.

- We love SOPs I'm like systems person. I like for things to be organized and I like for things to like--

- No surprises, you're like Simon's gonna be like you. He's gonna want SOPs, we talked about that.

- Yeah, it's on the person that's writing everyone these like really long emails with like exhaustive steps that like, I don't know, honestly I need to shorten those up, Mike told me. He's like, people aren't reading your emails. They're too long. So, but that's how I think, I'm like here, I wanna give you like a really exhaustive list of the ways to do this thing perfectly.

- When you send me, so that's probably not good for the company, but I like it when I ask you something personally, because I don't wanna have to google anymore. Right?

- I do that with Brian. Like if there's a question that I have about like the backend of our website or something that's going on in NBO, I'll be like, Brian!

- Dude, he is the best googler that I have ever met. Like and when I say googler, it's a skill to be able to type the right words into Google, immediately to get what you're trying to learn, and I was so awful at this. I used to text him or email him, yo bro, I'm trying to learn how to do this. How should I search for this? He's an amazing googler.

- Yeah, Brian finds all kinds of great stuff. Like he found this Google Chrome plugin to just like convert a spreadsheet into a drive document for me recently, I was like.

- Really?

- Yeah, I was asking him to build some code for me to do exactly that and he's like, look, somebody already invented it. I was like, oh, cool. The dashboard, oh my god, I'm so happy he built that dashboard, because he wouldn't do it at first, like we couldn't do it at first. Like I've been trying to get that dashboard for years. Like I don't think you probably had to do it for me. Were you the one who had to keep the attendants for Boulder?

- No, it probably was Mike.

- Oh my god, because it sucked, because, I mean I'm an, this is what led to part of my breakdown, but like I had to, I was like trying to get all, the whole dashboard, I was trying to do all of that manually. It was so fucking hard.

- [Sachi] That sounds terrible.

- Oh, it was terrible, and like if it didn't make sense, I'd be on the phone with NBO like every week, I'd be like, Amal, they're screwing us, man, they're screwing us. You find these five people, these five people dropped off and now they're back on, like who are they, where are, and it wasn't , it wasn't all of the stuff, but yeah, Brian I think figured out how to get into their API or they gave him the API and now we have this dashboard, it saved everything.

- It's been a game changer. And it's been a big part of like the transformation of the way that we're running things, like we started doing the dashboard after we had been doing the like Monday meetings for a while, and for a long time it was like you, me, Mike, Amal.

- Well, first it was me, Amal and Mike and that sucked.

- And we're doing this at like nine on Monday morning.

- Yeah, 9:30 on Monday morning and then Velora got added and Ian got added and that sucked more, because we were doing it virtually, and then you got added and then Mike's told me and Amal to get the fuck out.

- And now we do these meetings in the afternoon which is nice.

- [Eliot] Why is it nice?

- I'm not a morning person.

- Okay, oh, so this is not good for you, this 9 o'clock podcast.

- It's okay, you know, I got my coffee.

- [Eliot] All right.

- And yeah, we do it in the afternoon now. It's with all the GMs and their like head admin for all the academies and we go through the dashboard.

- So with all of the GMs and the DFIs or the AODs or whoever it is.

- Or both, yeah.

- Or both, okay.

- And we go over like it's kind of like, part of it is just us getting to interact, and I think that's been a big part of what has changed things at Easton in the last few years, is that we've all become, we're like working a lot more closely together. We've become better friends which helps the health of the business a lot, I think. Communication is easier, we're all on the same page. We're talking about the same stuff.

- I think this is an important thing, but I think it's an important thing like for me and Mike and Amal, because sometimes we don't talk and then Ian, like we don't talk as much, and Mike and I have just realized like we have to talk way more, because obviously I'm not gonna be absent, and we can't just talk about problems, right? Because then we'll get mad at each other.

- Yeah it's about like quality time.

- Quality time, yeah.

- That's my love language.

- Yeah, me too. I need to spend some fun time with you, and so, yeah, and so Mike and I figured that out, and it's really cool that you guys are doing the same thing, right? Like actually Ian figured that out for me and Mike, because we were like budding heads, and he's like, because all you guys do is talk about budding heads. Right? Like you call each other because something's going wrong, and it's not something, you know, like you're doing nothing that you like to do together, and the way the whole relationship, all of our relationships was built like, as far as me, Mike, Amal and Ian, things like that, that was on the mat. Where you'd beat each other up and then you'd like hang out.

- Yeah, friendship first.

- Friendship first. So, you guys are doing that in just a different way.

- Yeah, I think like staying connected, like talking with each other every week. Like it's a good health of the business check in. We go over a matrix, like how many members do we have this week? How are things looking? What was attendance like? But then also we're like talking to each other about what was hard for you this week? Sometimes it's business, a lot of times it is, but sometimes it's just like, I don't know, I'm struggling with my schedule, like it's hard to make time for my family or something like that, and I think it humanizes things. It makes us all more empathetic, more connected.

- For each other?

- Totally.

- And then for the customers, so the members.

- Yeah, it's like if we're talking vulnerably about the things that we're struggling with, and helping each other out and like getting through those things together, I think that that is what's making us a stronger team.

- Yeah, man, like together, right? Because I don't believe in the self-made man, like that concept, because nobody did anything by themselves, so why are we solving problems by ourselves, why are we trying to do anything by ourselves? The more people, and you can have too many, right? There's definitely a limit, like we've all been sitting with 30 people trying to figure out where to go to dinner, and that sucks, right? But so that's interesting, how do you guys do that? Because there's a lot of people in the room sometimes. Like how do you go through the 30 different opinions, and what we're gonna eat?

- So, Mike is pretty organized in the way that these meetings are run. He's been reading a lot of books about like the best way to go about it, how to run an efficient meeting, and so the structure is always the same. We do some like housekeeping stuff. We talk about like announcements of the projects that we're all working on together, deadlines, that kind of thing. We go into the numbers and then we start talking about like we have this spreadsheet, where you can put in the issues that you're dealing with, and then we'll just go through this spreadsheet, and talk about what we put on there.

- Got ya, I don't have that one. I just have dashboard. So, and then how do you not get 30 different, I mean, so it's how many people on the meeting now?

- Man, I don't even know. There's--

- At least 20.

- Probably, so there's some people who, it's not 20 people speaking. This is mostly a time for the GMs to discuss.

- [Eliot] Everyone else is just there? Got it, okay.

- Like sometimes admin and supporting folks will like chime in and stuff, but it's mostly a like boots on the ground meeting.

- Got it, okay. So that limits the speaking, okay.

- Yeah, it's not chaotic.

- Right, okay, got it, so. I love it, I love that you guys meet like that, and I love that I just get briefed, right? When you say boots on the ground, so, that's what it is and that's again, it's a decentralized command I believe is the term where yeah, you can't be part of everything and Mike can't be part of everything and so I know on Thursdays, I think every other Thursday in Denver, there's the front desk, the first impressions meeting. I always walk in on it, because I get done teaching at that time, and yeah, so they have their meeting, and then that person comes back to a bigger meeting, and it chains up the command. And now Mike and I and Amal have a meeting here in like 30 minutes, we only do like a quarterly meeting. Mike and I do more, but like the three of us do a quarterly, because it's too much.

- Yeah, I think that's an important part of our growth right now, is like you certainly can't be handling everything like if you were working on the newsletter, like if you were--

- Well, first of all you've seen my writing.

- No, you got better.

- I'm a terrible writer. Ann is handling my email now, like I was like, okay, you do that first one, I was like, but before you send it out, let me see it first. And then she sent it to me first, I was oh god, damn, you don't need to send it to me anymore. Just send it out.

- Yes, it's nice to have that.

- So, you were saying I can't handle the newsletter.

- Yeah like if you were trying to do every aspect of the business, which I think is so like in the "E-Myth", like if you're trying to be the person involved in every single thing and you can't relinquish control and give that responsibility to someone else, then you're gonna be overworked, and you're not gonna have time for, it's like the working in the business versus on the business thing.

- Yeah, that book is such an amazing book. Like I think if you're starting a business, that's the first book in my opinion, and I didn't read it til way later Amal kept yelling at me. He's like, bro, you haven't read the "E-Myth" yet? And I'm like, no man. He's like, read the fucking "E-Myth" and I was like, okay, fine, yeah, that thing working on the business versus working in the business and then when he talked about everyone thinks this entrepreneur life is amazing. Well, what you really do is you gave yourself two jobs, because in the beginning you do have to work on and in. So now you're not only, oh, you're a jujitsu teacher or a Muay Thai teacher, but you also now have to do business work, so that's a very hard thing, and you wanna be, how do you move away from that? And the way that you move away from working in the business is this decentralized command and actually trusting people, hiring well and really investing in the person, and I think that's what Mike did with you to make you love being here still.

- Yeah, totally, it was the amount of trust that has been placed in me, it's like empowering. It's like, oh, I feel great knowing that I'm so trusted and valued.

- And there's room for you to mess up. There's room for you to grow.

- I certainly messed up.

- Right, I mean we all, like, yeah, and hopefully you don't feel in a way like there are major repercussions. I don't know you tell me for your messing up.

- No, Mike has been very understanding of the mistakes that I've made and sometimes you get that like early morning text like, what is this? And I'm like, oh no, but those come more seldom now.

- Sure, sure. And we all mess up, like, and again that's people though, you have to be able to work with that person. Now, if the person keeps making the same mistake over and over again, we'll have to talk. Right, that might be the time to fire fast, right? But obviously, and I know we joked about that a little bit, but it's very rarely on the table for us, I would say, like with all this trust and all these, and I think sometimes people get really nervous, because they are like, oh, the person is blowing it, so I'm gonna have to get rid of them, and then what's gonna happen? And I don't really ever feel like getting rid of people is on the table too much at Easton, do you?

- There's a high cost for us to do something like that, because everything that we do takes a lot of time to get someone trained up and like proficient at their job. Even our entry level positions, like it's an investment that we can't really afford to just throw out.

- And then they get so in the community. Like there's a lot of emotional repercussions on the firing of someone.

- And that's the hard thing, I guess, about all of us being so close and like so socially connected. I think there's a lot of businesses where it's just like clock in, clock out, like see you later, but we all hang out. We're all like much more intertwined.

- And people just hang out in the school, and not just like hanging out and hammered together or drunk or like partying. It's real hangout, it's like real, like we've all had those friends, that are like your go out friends, and then you have like your real friends. I think what goes on at Easton is more like the real friends thing, it's not like, we're more than just co-workers. So, that's always a nice thing about it.

- Yeah, it's so special, it really is. I've never experienced something like that in the workplace before.

- Yeah, me neither, me neither. It's so hard to explain, right? I don't even know how to say it, because we can fight and we can argue too, but the friendship is never on the table, right? And that's such a interesting dynamic to have, because a lot of times when people get mad at each other, like everything's on the table, right? But it's never on the table for us. We know that we'll work through and then like go work out this business thing or the professional side of it.

- I think that might be like a martial arts thing too. It's like you've decided that jujitsu is your thing. Like, most of these people aren't like, I'm gonna just quit this and like coach, see how I do at something else.

- Yeah, if you, it's very rare. People quit in the beginning, right? Like between that, I think we're on that between that one and six months mark, right?

- Yeah, that's the danger zone.

- That's the danger zone, yeah. We have a danger zone, so I have a danger zone to working a lot, afterwards. So, yeah, so that's the danger zone, but once you get through that and you like drink the whole cup of Kool-Aid, not just like a sip of it, oh god, it's like a breakup if you quit. For you, like you feel awful.

- Yeah, it's like you've become so embedded, that you've lost more than just your hobby. And I think that's one of the things that we're trying to foster now in the danger zone, right? Is like helping people to find their community faster to become a part of it and feel like they belong, because that's what keeps you. Like that's what makes it worth staying.

- I think that's even what made it worth staying for me. I was going through a tough time in my life when, like it was when my second battles with anxiety started, and I found jujitsu, and so yeah, I think that's kind of what it was. Let's talk about, so you brought it up about fostering this beginning part, the enrichment program which I think Ian gives a lot of credit to you for really see--

- No, Ian has, like Ian and Chris have orchestrated that.

- Yeah, but he gives a lot of credit for you for like sparking a light, so explain the enrichment program.

- So the enrichment program is this new thing, that we're doing. We had the first round beta testing in Denver recently where we invite white belts, like one to four stripe white belts to hop in on this basically like a group private, and so they meet once a week with their small enrichment group and there's several groups going on at once, and they're all just having some extra time to get to know some people on the mat, and to sharpen their skills more at a time when you're at the high risk of loosing interest, or that's about when it starts to get hard.

- You're working past all these things, yeah.

- Yeah, so you need the support of, you need somebody to be like, oh yeah, you're gonna be in class tonight? And I think--

- Another student you're saying?

- Another student or an instructor.

- Or a teacher, right.

- Yeah, you need to have like some kind of relationship where someone knows who you are, and they're like invested in your progression.

- And this is easy in the beginning of small schools, because yeah the instructor only has a couple of students.

- You know everybody really well, but as you grow, I think that if you're not careful it can be easy to like loose people in the shuffle, and then you see like a high rate of churn which is not what you want.

- No, for sure, and that's what we're trying. Are we doing it at all the schools now or is it just Denver?

- Not yet. Arvada is starting and Denver is doing it, and so far it's just jujitsu but we're gonna expand it into the Muay Thai program.

- Right, I think we pay the instructor, right? The student doesn't pay the instructor, yeah, so we eat that cost.

- Yeah, and I think it's totally worth the investments. It's like not a whole lot more in payroll for us, but to--

- If two students stay.

- Yeah, if we can continue to change those people's lives, because they got over that like difficult hump, then absolutely worth it.

- I think sometimes with the business owner though, they go, I gotta eat that cost on the instructor end, right? So that can be a hard thing to do as from my point of view, right? Like take away the people's side for a second, just the money side of it, right? I'm like man, okay, so I got four instructors that I got to pay 100 more Dollars a week to, like in the beginning like, god damn, that sucks, $400 a month. If two students stay for two more months you're good, you're in the black.

- Yeah, I think I if we wanted to talk just about the money side of it, it's like you're making this investment, but it's way less expensive to keep people than it is to get new ones.

- [Eliot] Yeah, it's a great point.

- It's like we talk a lot about marketing Dollars, and to a lot of people that means like advertising, like how much am I gonna put into my Facebook Ad? Like how much am I gonna spend on this booth? But, I learned this from Seth Godin. I'm a Seth Godin fan.

- So you and Mike turned me onto him.

- [Sachi] He's great.

- You and Mike both sent me the podcast, whilst pretending you didn't really like that much, but--

- So I took his marketing seminar earlier this year, and he talks a lot about everything you do is marketing. Everything that is like client facing where you're having an impact on the experience of the people who are like keeping your business alive, that's marketing, so. The enrichment program is marketing.

- Marketing.

- Like our front desk, chatting with people, like having nice conversations, that's marketing.

- Yeah, it's a good point, and you've done a great job with that. So you know, I'm really getting us into, I mean Ian says you've been amazing for that, so.

- [Sachi] Thanks Ian.

- Yeah, thanks Ian. Anything else you'd like to add before we jump out?

- I'm excited to be in this company right now, and to like have seen where it's come from, and where we're going. It's a really cool time and yeah, thanks for having me.

- Thank you. It's one of those things, some things that are super important to me, because we were talking about it with my parents a little bit, like why sometimes I don't like things or people that like ideologically say that they think one way and then they go a whole heartedly interactions against that, right? Like because I have kids and I know what that looks like. I know what it looks like to tell the kids to do one thing, and then you're not doing that, and then watching your kids act like you and then you get mad at them. Right, so I feel a certain way. I feel like we have to have a very inclusive community, right? I believe that women and minorities and all of that should be brought up in a workplace. It should be a big demographic of people, and we were very male-dominated, and then some people sometimes go, yeah, well, what if they're the best? Fuck off, right? Like sure, if the cream rises to the top, then that's cool too, but sometimes the opportunity wasn't equal for the cream to rise to the top, so. I might think that's a very important thing. I don't believe in the equality of outcomes, I believe in equality of opportunity, and you are showing the equality of opportunity, right? Of when someone who had nothing to do with martial arts whatsoever, and nothing to do with Easton at all, came in, right? And now look at all this opportunity that you've had and that you've created for all these other people, so I can say nothing but thank you, and it's a pleasure. It's a pleasure to have all of you working for us, and doing it together, so, thanks Sach.

- Thank you, it's a pleasure to be in it.

- Yeah, all right guys. That's another episode of Easton Online. I hope everyone enjoyed. We are Jamie-less, but hi Jamie.

- We miss you, Jordan.

- We miss you, we miss you, all right, that's it.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates Easton.Online. Your information will not be shared.

Close

Subscribe to Easton.Online