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Steve Mastroianni of Rockstar Mind: “Frame the client relationship just like you would a romantic relationship”

Frame the client relationship just like you would a romantic relationship. Be on time, take a genuine interest in their past, present, and future, and be communicative with them. This person just invested in you, so it’s your responsibility to invest in them and get them results. The coaching industry is now tremendous. It is a […]

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Frame the client relationship just like you would a romantic relationship. Be on time, take a genuine interest in their past, present, and future, and be communicative with them. This person just invested in you, so it’s your responsibility to invest in them and get them results.


The coaching industry is now tremendous. It is a 15 billion dollar industry. Many professionals have left their office jobs to become highly successful coaches. At the same time, not everyone who starts a coaching business sees success. What does someone starting a career as a life coach, wellness coach, or business coach need to know to turn it into a very successful and rewarding career?

In this interview series, called “Five Things You Need To Create a Highly Successful Career As a Life or Business Coach” we are interviewing experienced and successful life coaches, wellness coaches, fitness coaches, business and executive coaches and other forms of coaches who share the strategies you need to create a successful career as a life or business coach.

In this particular interview, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Steve Mastroianni.

Steve Mastroianni is based in Toronto, Canada, and has helped hundreds of people achieve their ideal outcome in a wide variety of fields, including music, multimedia, and business. A dedicated father, husband, author, coach, and philanthropist, Steve is an expert at simplifying complex topics so his students are inspired to take action and get the results they want.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and what brought you to this particular career path?

Thanks for having me!

My background is in music and I’ve been a professional musician for over 15 years. One of the highlights of my career was getting signed to a record deal by Gene Simmons and touring all over North America opening for KISS. Even though I wasn’t really a huge fan of KISS, that experience was like a masterclass in marketing as well as nurturing an army of fans.

While making plans for our next album, I got a phone call from my father on April 9th, 2013 telling me that he’s just been diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer. To say that rocked my world would be a huge understatement.

I instantly shifted from Rockstar to Caregiver and put my budding music career on hold to look after my father. Waking up in a new city every day as “VØID” (my stage name) to waking up in my childhood bed every day as “Steve” was a major identity shift that caused a lot of stress for me.

While I was taking care of my father, I needed to find a creative outlet that enabled me to work from anywhere, pay my rent, and still be as present as possible for my father. That’s when I started my online coaching company Rockstar Mind where I would help people play their favorite songs on guitar using everything I’ve learned up until that point.

Over the course of the next several years I would experience many ups and downs in both my business and in my personal life such as incurring tens of thousands of dollars in debt, losing my father to cancer, becoming a father myself, writing two best selling books, and generating a multiple six figure income from Rockstar Mind.

My new book Hobby Boss is all about how I achieved the latter.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Resilience

Resilience is a must for any entrepreneur. You have to expect chaos. You have to be ok with failing multiple times per day in order to succeed. A big part of winning the game of business is bouncing back after each loss and trying a different approach until it finally works.

I think I developed my resilience from being in the music business for so long and having to deal with hearing “No” multiple times per day. It’s helped me stay focused after having a sales less day, maintain a positive outlook after receiving a rude comment from a client/site visitor, and even keep the lights on in my business when my home life was in shambles. The best part about resilience is it’s a rare quality, so as long as you can keep playing the game until you win the game, you will most likely outlast many other entrepreneurs in your market who just can’t cope.

Resourcefulness

Resourcefulness is a close second to resilience. When you’re just starting out, you’re likely going to have to do everything yourself, so finding ways to create solutions, promote your solutions, and deliver results to your clients will require creativity and working with what’s within your current budget and center of influence.

Maybe you can call in a few favors, use your phone to record videos until you can afford a DSLR camera, or give away a few solutions for free in exchange for a review. For example, I’ve been using two $100 Logitech webcams to do 95% of my video content for the past 7 years because it’s fast and easy. I do have a Canon DSLR camera, but I use it sparingly because it requires more set up. It’s all about getting the job done without investing a ton of time, money, and/or energy.

Risk-taking

Last but definitely not least is the willingness to take on risk on a daily basis. There’s an agreement you’re making with yourself when you start your own business that your time, money, and energy are not related to each other in the same way they would be when you work a conventional job. You can work 24 hours per day and make $0 or you can take a few days off and make more money than you used to make in an entire month. That’s one of the most exhilarating prospects of owning your own business. That being said, if you want the second scenario, then you must be willing to endure the risks of the first. With a family of 3 kids 3 and under, I am risking everything every day I decide to run my own coaching business, however I am comfortable with that since the upside is I get to provide for the people I love while I am doing the work that I love. Sweet deal!

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

In my opinion, habits are everything in business and it’s actually the area I invest the majority of my time and energy. Because habits are basically systems, when you have productive habits established, you can let them do some of the heavy lifting for you.

For example, one of my favorite habits is to set a timer to block out tasks. I decide how much time I need per task and set it before I start performing the task (i.e. 30 minutes). Sometimes, I “gamify” the process and see if I can complete the task in a certain amount of time (i.e. 5 minutes).

How do I know what tasks to prioritize? That’s where another habit called my Top Priority Task comes into play. Each day, I know what the most important and most impactful task will be for the day because I set it the day before along with two other tasks I need to complete.

This is called organizing tomorrow today, which I learned from the fantastic book called Organize Tomorrow Today, and it’s one of the most productive habits you can adopt. Now you don’t have to waste any energy deciding what to work on because it’s all predetermined for you, by you. And as long as you complete your Top Priority Task (or TPT as I like to call it), then your head can hit the pillow at night and you can feel satisfied with your progress for the day.

This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

My friend and mentor Richard Cussons says making money is boring and making a lot of money is very boring. That’s because in business, repetitive actions are often what create the best and most predictable results. This is why the biggest companies in the world often have the best systems and processes, which is just another way of saying “habits”.

Obviously, when you’re just starting out, your habits and systems won’t need to be as complex as a company like McDonald’s, however, the same systematic approach of doing the same activities in the same way at a smaller scale is a very good way to grow.

Many entrepreneurs are always after that next new and exciting thing when all they really have to do is look at what’s already working in their business and simply do more of it.

I know that might not be the most popular answer, however, if you want to chase shiny objects and constantly start new projects, then running a profitable business might not be the best way to scratch that itch.

Repetition is key for success.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

Programming new habits is one of my favorite things to do. I recommend starting with the simplest and smallest version of the task (minimum effective dose) and aim to complete the task every day for 14 days without any attachment to the result. It’s more important that you show up than it is to do anything of quality (that would just be a bonus at this point).

This initial stage is all about exposing your brain to the task in question and getting it used to performing the intended action. For example, whenever I want to get in better shape, I start with a daily habit of 12 pushups before breakfast for 14 days straight before I even touch a dumbbell. I frame it like a game. I do 12 pushups and then the prize is eating breakfast. This approach is incredibly effective at forming the basis for a new habit.

Don’t be a perfectionist. Don’t expect any results from this first phase other than being en route to forming a new habit.

Make sure to complete your minimum effective dose at any time that’s convenient for you and cross out a box on a calendar you hang on your wall.

It’s important to see daily progress (or your “Winning Streak” as I like to call it). You can always do more than your minimum effective dose, but as long as you do your minimum, you are done for the day.

After 14 days, you can increase the amount of time or energy or reps you put into it for another 7–14 days. After about a month, it will start to feel weird if you don’t perform the activity. That’s when you know your habit is pretty much ready to go. In my experience, stopping a bad habit and starting a new one, use the same process I outlined above.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Show up and do the work.”

My quote comes from two sources — Woody Allen and Steven Pressfield.

In my experience when you show up consistently and do the highest value work, you will almost always achieve what you want to achieve (or achieve something unexpected that is equally as great) as a natural side effect.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I always have my hands in multiple projects — sometimes to the point of distraction. But I’ve gotten a lot better at prioritizing.

On my guitar coaching side, I’ve created a new membership program where I help guitar players sound like the most iconic guitar players in history.

I’m also developing a web app that will help guitar players play along with their favorite albums a lot faster.

On the songwriting side, I’m finishing a new EP with my songwriting partner.

On the business coaching side, I’m launching a group program based on my new book Hobby Boss where I help people start and grow their own hobby business.

These projects serve various markets, however I think the main benefit people who work with me get is the inspiration that anything is possible — if a father of 3 kids 3 and under can be highly productive and profitable, then they can be too.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Many coaches are successful, but some are not very successful. From your experience or perspective, what are the main factors that distinguish successful coaches from unsuccessful ones? What are your “Five Things You Need To Create a Highly Successful Career As a Life or Business Coach”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Have a clear understanding of WHO you’re helping

My best results in my business came from following the principles of direct response marketing. Direct response states that 60% of your success will come from promoting to the right list of people. As my friend and mentor Travis Sago likes to say, “You can try selling a pork sandwich to a Jewish vegetarian, but you won’t have much luck.”

Think about who has a pressing need that you’d like to help fix and go from there. The beauty of running your own business is you get to decide who you work with and when you do it right, you’ll not only be profitable, but you will also have a client base you love working with.

2. Get a clear understanding of WHAT challenge(s) you’re helping your client solve (and/or goals you’re helping them achieve)

Once you know who you want to work with, it’s crucial you know what pressing issue(s) they’re having and the ideal outcome they’d like to achieve. Your job is to help remove any obstacles that they’re currently facing as well as the ones they’ll face in the future, so they can ultimately achieve their ideal outcome with you in their corner.

The best way to find out what challenges your ideal client is facing and what they would ultimately like to achieve is to simply ask them via text, phone call, or video chat. Notice the words they’re using to describe their challenges and their ideal outcome. You can use these answers for two purposes: 1) To decide if this is an area you’d like to focus your coaching on and 2) To echo the exact language they use in your future promotions.

3. Create an irresistible offer to help your ideal client solve their most pressing issue or achieve their ideal outcome

Now that you know who you’re serving and the ideal outcome you’re helping them achieve, you need to create an irresistible offer for them to say “Yes!” to. The simplest way to do this is to show them you understand their situation by speaking directly to the challenges and ideal outcomes you learned about in your conversations and then offer your first session for free to prove you can help them by actually helping them.

Typically, these sessions will lay out the entire plan for them to get from their current situation to their ideal outcome in the least amount of time possible. From there, you can tell them they can follow the plan on their own or you can help walk them through everything so they get your guidance, support, and feedback for a much faster result.

Even the pricing for your program should be irresistible where you have a flexible payment plan and a discount if they choose to pay in full.

4. A simple way to deliver your coaching — for both you and your client

The delivery of your services should be as simple as possible for both you and your client. Technically, you and your program are another obstacle between your client and their ideal outcome (a necessary obstacle, but an obstacle nonetheless). If it were up to your client, they would skip your program and just get the result. So that’s why your program should be easy to access and shouldn’t add any friction to their experience.

Zoom and Skype are reliable options for video calls and can easily be recorded. Your program itself should also be as easy to follow and take action on as possible. The best programs feel like the program is doing the work for you and your clients. This is achieved through easy-to-remember frameworks, helpful resources, and a simple way to support your clients in between sessions (i.e. via email, Slack, instant chat, etc.)

5. A focus on your client’s results

Your success is going to come from your client’s success. As the late Zig Ziglar once said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” By making your client’s results your top priority, you will greatly enhance their chances of success in your program, the likelihood of repeat purchases, and the likelihood of referrals.

I like to say that results reinforce routines and you want your coaching relationship to become an indispensable part of their life for them — just like a routine.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen coaches make when they start their business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

One of the most common mistakes I see coaches make (and have even been guilty of doing this in the early days) is charging too little for their services or giving away too much for free (hoping somehow it will one day turn into a windfall of cash).

That’s why I prefer charging premium prices and coaching less people so I can go deeper with them and help them achieve their ideal outcome as quickly as possible. They achieve their goal faster and I hit my revenue targets faster. Win-win!

Another common mistake is trying to run too many programs at once. Splitting your attention will give you subpar solutions.

I recommend focusing on promoting/delivering one solution at a time for at least 90–180 days and once it’s generating revenue and client success stories, you can start research and development on a new solution (although, it’s probably smarter to just keep selling more of the same solution and scaling up).

Finally, another big mistake is spending too much time in the planning phase or the consumption phase (i.e. taking courses) and not enough time being out there actually doing business. This can be rectified by committing to taking more fast action and learning what works and doesn’t work by letting your market tell you.

Based on your experience and success, what are a few of the most important things a coach should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience? Please share a story or an example for each.

Frame the client relationship just like you would a romantic relationship. Be on time, take a genuine interest in their past, present, and future, and be communicative with them. This person just invested in you, so it’s your responsibility to invest in them and get them results.

Focus on giving your client a quick win within the first 7 days of purchasing. And then another within 7 days after that. This will give them a taste of success and will make them more likely to keep consuming your solution on route to achieving their ideal outcome.

Nothing will wow a client like experiencing results, so as long as you keep delivering results top of mind, they will almost always stick around (and continue to buy more solutions from you). I once had a client go from buying a $5 book from me to buying my $2,000 coaching program two days later because of the light bulbs that I helped to activate for him. Since I continue to focus on helping him achieve result after result, I’m not only his trusted source, but now he’s also a raving fan.

Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business, and particularly in coaching. What are the best ways for a coach to find customers? Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?

When I was first starting out, the most effective way I attracted potential clients to my business was by helping them solve a specific problem for free in exchange for their contact info. I either advertised to my ideal clients on Facebook or I contacted other companies who had email lists my potential clients were probably already subscribed to and I made a deal with them to split any revenue 50/50 that came in from their contacts. That’s how I built my first email list of a few thousand people and started making sales.

There are many ways to deliver this freebie (i.e. PDF, webinar, group call, FB group, forum, etc.). Fast forward to today, where I have two best selling books under my belt and all of my subscribers have purchased my book.

This list is much higher quality than someone looking for a freebie since our relationship begins with a financial transaction and as many savvy entrepreneurs know, once you make the first sale, the second sale is often much easier to make.

Coaches are similar to startup founders who often work extremely long hours and it’s easy to end up burning the candle at both ends. What would you recommend to your fellow coaches about how to best take care of their physical and mental wellness when starting their business?

The most effective tool I’ve found to take care of physical and mental wellness is what I call the “F.F.O. Barometer”: It involves working in a way that protects your focus, removes friction, and prevents overwhelm, which helps you conserve your energy and get more high quality work done in less time.

You can protect your focus by setting timers while you work, using noise cancelling headphones, and turning off any push notifications or alerts on your phone/computer. You can remove friction by getting everything you need to complete your daily tasks ready the day before (i.e. opening software/documents you need, organizing equipment, etc.). And finally, you can prevent overwhelm by pacing yourself and simplifying tasks by completing them in smaller chunks.

This will help reduce the risk of getting overwhelmed and eventually burning out. Take it from someone who has burned out multiple times. It’s one of the worst things you can do to yourself and your business.

In order to create the momentum you need to thrive physically, mentally, and financially, you must realize that more doesn’t always equal more. As the famous Morgenstern saying goes, “Work smarter, not harder.”

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Thanks for the compliment. I think the most impactful movement I could start would be to have as many people as possible start their own hobby business where they coach other people on the topics that light them up.

Not only will it have a compound effect on the business owner (generating a new stream of revenue that’s in their control), but it will also inspire others to amplify their passion and share it with other people. And that’s a beautiful thing.

We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I would love to have a private breakfast/lunch with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson because he has done it all — from sports, to movies, to even music. His personal branding is off the charts and he seems like a great guy in general. I feel like he has an endless amount of insights to share. Also, my daughter loved him as Maui in Disney’s Moana, so he kind of owes me one after having his song “You’re Welcome” stuck in my head for weeks. 😉

How can our readers further follow your work online?

If you want to see what I’m working on, you can visit stevemastroianni.com and that will take you to the main project(s) I’m focusing on at the moment.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!

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