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Justin Goodbread of Financially Simple: “You must know where you want to go”

This is about fulfilling my passion in life. If your sole motivation is to make money, you will end up being burned out. One of the most rewarding aspects of my career is having someone call me to tell me they’ve reached their goals. The coaching industry is now tremendous. It is a 15-billion-dollar industry. Many […]

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This is about fulfilling my passion in life. If your sole motivation is to make money, you will end up being burned out. One of the most rewarding aspects of my career is having someone call me to tell me they’ve reached their goals.


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 Justin Goodbread.

Justin Goodbread CFP®, CEPA®, CVGA® is an Investopedia Top-100 Advisor, Exit Planning Institute’s Leader of the Year Award recipient, business owner, author, keynote speaker, and host of The Financially Simple Podcast. He has dedicated his career to helping small business owners grow and improve their businesses to be what they always envisioned them to be. In his free time, Justin enjoys spending time with his family on their beautiful hobby farm.


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?

I grew up in Georgia, where I spent as much time as I could outdoors. I was homeschooled so I would typically get done with my entire curriculum as soon as possible so that I was free to do the things I really wanted to do. As a result, I was able to start a landscaping business when I was 16 years old. I grew that business until I was ready to sell it for a profit, just a few years later.

To be honest, I really thought that was going to be my home and my career until I met the love of my life, got married, and moved to Knoxville. Once we arrived in Knoxville, my career path took a turn when a friend offered me a signing bonus if I could pass three financial exams within 30 days. He didn’t think it could be done, but I put my nose in the books and passed all three exams. That’s how I got started in the financial industry.

However, as a business owner who has sold three businesses for profit, I found that my passion was for helping small business owners to succeed. That’s what drove me to create the Financially Simple blog and podcast. I wanted to use my unique expertise and skill set to help today’s business owner navigate through the complexities of money.

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?

First, you must know where you want to go. I made it a personal goal to become an Investopedia Top 100 Advisor. Knowing where I wanted to go with my career gave me a clear vision of how to achieve my goals.

Next, you’ve got to be tenacious. I saw several business owners close their doors for good during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, those who displayed tenacity were able to weather the storm, so to speak. If not for my own tenacious spirit, I might have thrown in the towel years ago. Instead, I pushed through adversity and found a way to succeed.

Finally, it can’t be about the money. If I just wanted to make money, there are much easier ways of doing so. This is about fulfilling my passion in life. If your sole motivation is to make money, you will end up being burned out. One of the most rewarding aspects of my career is having someone call me to tell me they’ve reached their goals.

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

One of my best habits is reading. I read up to ten books per week. The reason I read so much is that I believe the more you know, the more you’re equipped to deal with life. However, another crucial success habit that I have is simply being present wherever I am. I know, that sounds funny but if I’m at home with my wife and kids, they don’t need a business owner. They need a husband and a father. Likewise, if I’m at work, my team needs me to focus on the task at hand and to be a leader.

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?

Everything is a habit. Waking up early is a habit. Hitting the snooze button, exercising, or eating a whole bag of chips before bed are all habits. Some of them yield positive results while others have varying degrees of consequence.

I am notoriously bad at spelling. In fact, my college English teacher told me that I would never achieve anything in life because I struggled so much with spelling. That statement fueled several habits that have led me to where I am now. The guy who couldn’t spell is now a published author, using his platform to help others form a habit of success. All of it has stemmed from the habits I’ve chosen to nurture.

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

Once again, this stems from what you want out of life. Know where you want to be and set a course to arrive there. If you ever listen to a world class pianist, it sounds beautiful. It’s crisp and technical. However, it took that pianist years of practice to reach that level of skill. At some point, they made the decision that they would develop the habits necessary to reach their goal of becoming a world class pianist. So, the best way to develop a good habit is to know where you want to be and pursue it.

This also applies to stopping any bad habits you may have. When you know what you want, you can define which habits will help you achieve your goal, and those that will hinder you.

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

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford

This resonates with me because I have children. I want them to understand that nobody can prevent them from reaching their goals, except for themselves. The mind can be a powerful asset, or it can become your greatest liability. If you live in the “glass half full” mindset, then all you will see is what you’re looking for.

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

I’m working on my second book, Your Baby’s Ugly. I’m very excited about this book because I believe it will help a lot of business owners turn their companies into highly saleable organizations. It’s going to help a lot of business owners to reach their goals, something I am very passionate about.

Similarly, I’m outlining my third book which will be a bit of a financial outline, helping business owners achieve wealth, independent of their businesses.

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.

First, I believe success comes when a person has walked the path before. Recently, I took my family down to the Gulf of Mexico and we spent a couple of days fishing. We could have rented a boat and gone out on our own. However, we wouldn’t have known where to find the fish we were looking for. It made sense for us to charter a boat with a captain, someone who’s been there before and knows what they’re doing and where to go.

As a result, we were successful in our venture. We prospered because we had the captain’s experience on our side. Like our captain, successful coaches are the ones who have been there before. They know what it’s like to deal with the frustrations of employees, make a paycheck, or to face the regulations that might govern an industry.

Next, I think you need to have a wide breadth of knowledge. I often see business consultants speak on the vision, mission, and values of a business, and nothing more. Each of those things are important, but there’s so much more to a successful business than a vision or mission statement. As business owners, we must know a lot about a lot of things.

Then, you need to be empathetic. Business owners have an extraordinary amount of stress. To come alongside them as a coach, you must be empathetic to their situation. As a coach, it’s so important to be able to encourage and to inspire hope. If you don’t truly understand what it’s like to be in the business owner’s shoes, you’re going to struggle to really reach them.

The fourth thing is this… you’ve got to consider yourself a business. Just because you’re a coach and you’re producing revenue doesn’t mean you’re going to have a highly successful career. To have success, you’re going to have to operate as a business, paying yourself first, just as a business owner does.

Finally, you need to market yourself. You will need to invest in marketing which is something that so many business owners fail to do. Those are the five things that I believe are truly necessary to have a successful career.

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

They don’t start a business. Instead, they start a hobby. That’s the key. If they started a business, they would have a business plan, a marketing plan, and a target demographic. They would have all the things that a 7-step business plan outlines. Instead, they don’t. They just take it and run with it. As a result, they become a coach in one small area, working with anyone that can fog a mirror.

My challenge to anyone in this position is to create a business plan. Do what business owners do.

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.

It’s very difficult for a business coach to create a “wow,” experience. That moment doesn’t come until the client reaches some sort of milestone of success. In sports, the coach is recruiting the best players, creating a training and practice regimen, and helping the team win championships. On the other hand, a business coach is often trying to unravel a mess and attempting to steer the business owner to making the right decisions.

One of the things that you can do to create a “wow,” experience is to create stickability. This can be done through contracts that require a 6–9-month (or longer) commitment. I like to use the Karate Kid as an illustration here. When Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel “wax on, wax off,” Daniel feels like he’s just wasting time doing chores. However, he’s being taught the basic foundations to karate. However, his lessons required a time commitment. That’s what a coach must do. They can’t do any of the work for them. Instead, they just need to lead them to the point where they can do it on their own.

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?

I began a podcast and blog where I give away 99.99% of the information. In doing so, people come to realize that I don’t have an agenda. Through the Financially Simple blog, podcast, and books, people see that my team and I know what we’re talking about, and they hire us.

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?

Don’t work on weekends. Monday through Friday is your time to get work done. The weekends are for your family and friends. The more regimented your schedule is, the better you will be at avoiding burnout.

Another thing is just taking breaks. Business owners work very long hours but you’re no good to anyone if you don’t take care of yourself. It’s like the preflight instructions that tell you to put your own oxygen mask on before helping anyone else. If you’re not taken care of, you’re not going to be in a position to really help anyone else.

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. 🙂

Business owners don’t have to be broke when they retire. I would start a movement to make business owners realize that their business is, in fact, an asset that can be transferred to others, whether that be to their children, employees, or an outside buyer.

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 lunch with either Gary Vaynerchuk or Dave Ramsey. Gary Vaynerchuk is the reason I began my blog. His book, Crushing It, and his podcast made me realize that there’s a guy my age who understands business and who is talking about it. His book motivated me to reach further and do the things that I’m doing now. Because of his influence in the marketplace, I’ve seen unbelievable success in a short amount of time.

On the other hand, Dave Ramsey’s philosophy of living a simple and debt-free life is one that has resonated with me since I was a kid. I first learned of Dave Ramsey not long after the release of his first book, and I’ve been following his career ever since.

Because each of them has impacted my life, I would love to share a meal with them to thank them and to learn even more from their wisdom. I want to follow in their footsteps, so that the next “Justin Goodbread” can learn from and come along behind me to lead the way in the future.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

People can find my work at my website, FinanciallySimple.com. There you will find our entire catalogue of podcasts, blogs, and even links to our YouTube channel.

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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