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SPI 549: Meet Eric, Who’s Building His Business As We Speak

On today’s show we’re speaking with somebody who is right in the middle of building his business. We’re talking with Eric Wooten, from AltaredMarriage.com. He’s fairly new to the entrepreneurial space, and he’s a member of SPI Pro

Eric has a great business helping couples with their marriages. We talk about some really interesting topics, including managing a business where you have to get people comfortable with being vulnerable. These endeavors can be challenging, but oftentimes become the most life-changing kinds of businesses.

We also talk about what it’s like to be right in the middle of starting a business and not knowing what your next steps might be. I do a little bit of coaching here as well, but Eric’s been doing fantastic. So fantastic, in fact, that as a member of SPI Pro he recently won a challenge that we had!

The challenge involved creating a 60-second video telling a story about somebody in your audience. It’s a little meta today because right now we’re telling Eric’s story, and he’s a member of our audience!

Eric told a great story about a couple that he helped and transformed. It meant a lot to those who were watching, and it’s one of the best ways to promote and sell your business: tell stories that matter, stories that relate, stories that can be remembered, and stories that can be passed on. Eric did that, and it was really special.

We’re going to talk about that today and more, like what it’s like to be in the middle of building a business post-pandemic, what some of Eric’s plans are coming out of the pandemic, and Eric’s plans to spice up his business even further.

Today’s Guest

Eric Wooten

Eric is a dynamic speaker, author, and relationship expert. He holds a Master’s of Marriage & Family Counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a Licensed Professional Counselor.

Eric is passionate about relationships and has been working with couples for more than a decade. He is the author of The Magnetic Marriage: 8 Characteristics of Irresistible Marriages, and is committed to creating resources that will help couples prepare for and strengthen their marriages.

Eric formerly served as the Pastor of Couples & Counseling at One Community Church in Plano, Texas, before launching Altared Marriage. He and his wife Jill have been married for twenty-five years and have three daughters. They live outside Dallas, Texas and are always half-packed to sneak away to a beach at a moment’s notice.

You’ll Learn

Resources

SPI 549: Meet Eric, Who’s Building His Business As We Speak

[00:00:00] Eric:
Honestly, a lot of these topics, I’ll go teach in a leadership capacity. How do you build high-trust teams? With some of the same concepts that you need to build a good marriage. That’s been hard for me, this idea of how do you niche down? I may be hindering or slowing my growth, ultimately.

That’s stuff I’m still the process of figuring out, but I was like, “Well, I kind of like at all. So, let me speak to it all.”

[00:00:44] Pat:
Hey, it’s Pat Flynn here, and welcome to session 549 of the Smart Passive Income podcast. I’m really excited to chat with you today, because we’re speaking with somebody who is right in the middle of building his business. In fact, he is fairly new to the space. He’s a member of SPI Pro. We’re speaking with Eric Wooten, from AltaredMarriage.com.

He’s got a really interesting business helping people—couples specifically—with their marriage. We talk about some really interesting topics today about not just how to manage a business where you have to get people to be vulnerable a little bit, which can be very difficult, but often become the most life-changing kinds of businesses. We also talk about what it’s like to be right in the middle of this, and not really know necessarily what the next steps might be.

I do a little bit of coaching in here as well, but Eric’s been doing fantastic. So fantastic, in fact, that as a member of SPI Pro he recently won a challenge that we have at SPI Pro. Every once in a while we do these challenges where we reward the top performing member a spot on the SPI podcast because of something really interesting.

This challenge, that happened in SPI Pro in late 2021, involved creating a 60 second video telling a story about somebody in your audience. It’s a little meta today, because right now we’re telling Eric’s story and he’s a member of our audience here.

He told a great story about a couple that he helped and transformed. That meant a lot to those who are watching, and it’s one of the best ways to promote and sell your businesses; to not necessarily sell, sell, sell, but tell, tell, tell. Tell stories that matter. Stories that relate. Stories that can be remembered, and stories that can be passed on. Eric did that, and it was really special.

So, we’re going to talk about that today, and more, and what it’s like to be in the middle of building a business—especially post pandemic—and what some of the plans might be coming out of the pandemic, and things that he’s going to do to spice it up even more.

So, here he is, Eric Wooten, from AltaredMarriage.com.

It’s A L T A R E D marriage.com.

Eric, welcome to the Smart Passive Income podcast. Thanks for being here today.

[00:02:38] Eric:
Thank you for having me here.

[00:02:41] Pat:
Congrats to you and your win inside of SPI Pro. The challenge that we had at the end of last year, that was super fun. I loved your video, loved your story that you told.

Why don’t you tell everybody real quick, who is here and didn’t know, what you do.

What do you do? What’s your brand?

[00:02:55] Eric:
I launched an organization called Altared Marriage, right in time for the pandemic. So, March 1st, 2020. Basically what we do is connect couples to resources and community, to help strengthen relationships.

[00:03:10] Pat:
So, what inspired you to get into that realm?

[00:03:14] Eric:
Yeah, I think it’s one of those things, you know, you look back on life and it’s always kinda been there. And, so was, was kind of the eventual, always kinda been involved with couples, had couples in our lives. we’ve been through difficulties in our marriage, infidelity and fertility, a number of different things.

And so, you know, those pains produce passion at times. And, so it’s just been this journey to kind of figure out, Hey, you know, what, what does this look like? Ultimately in that process got licensed as a counselor, a marriage and family therapist. And so it’s just been kind of a building towards this moment and felt like, yeah, March of last year was a great time to, or 2020 was a great time to pull that off.

[00:03:56] Pat:
Yeah. So how did the business start off? Like, what were the first steps? I mean, you built a website and you kind of put yourself out there, but what were you trying to do? What were you trying to attract?

[00:04:05] Eric:
I didn’t really know to be honest. so the previous 15 years had been involved in mostly church ministry. I done some, some nonprofit organizations around marriage, but had really been involved in church ministry and done counseling and couples events and all kinds of stuff. And so said, I want to do this myself and kind of had a vision for what I thought am I

Look like. but really my goal launching was I was just going to go try to get on stages. That’s what I knew. Having spoken, you know, hundreds of times over the past decade on stages, like, listen, I’m gonna call all the church buddies. I know, start doing marriage conferences, get on stages. And that shut down pretty quick.

So, so, it was, it wasn’t about face and, re really, I think. And that you didn’t tell me to do this, and this is not a plug and I was not paid for this, but the, the three books that, that I really dug into leading end of 2019, started 2020. Will it fly list? Listen to that on audible at the gym was great.

Just to kind of evaluate what I’m doing. Ryan Levesque’s book choose was helpful. And then soon. I literally, I could send you my Evernote notebook of my super fans rollout. It really gave me like a game plan of here’s the things I need to do. And I literally went, each chapter, created a bullet list, said, okay, create a gig.

What does that look like? give them a name. What does that look like? Learn their language. What does that look like? So that really did help me say, okay. I got to start getting in some Facebook groups and learn and what they’re talking about, what a couple of. How do I start creating that? And then when the world shut down, it kind of forced me more digital than I probably would have gone early on.

So start a YouTube channel, Sadam start cranking out content. Every week I had been doing a podcast with, two other individuals, just kind of, for fun on the side, not really thinking about it on relationship stuff. So continue to do that week after week, and then just start building content. So started trying out an online six week online marriage class that I’ve run numbers of times now.

And really, I was just kind of throwing stuff against the wall, trying to figure out what might work.

[00:06:19] Pat:
Yeah. Thank you for those plugs. I appreciate that a lot. I’m really curious. I think there’s a lot of people listening who may be wanting to start a business and it may be in a realm similar to where it’s okay. Personal experiences—things that maybe are often hard to talk about and have to force people to open up a little bit.

How do you, how do you balance that? And create a business out of getting people to open up and talk about things that maybe are scary to talk about. and, and, you know, they have to be vulnerable. How do you, how do you position yourself to make that person feel safe? as you serve them

[00:06:51] Eric:
Yeah, I think I would say do it yourself. you know, I think if you normalize something and you’re leading at some level, you, you know, you have to use wisdom on, on self-disclosure. Right. I don’t want to uncover. my Wife unnecessarily or myself, but I think leading with some level of authenticity and self-disclosure lets other people go, oh, oh, we can, we can say that we can talk about that.

Or, or, you know, you’re the expert and you struggle with that. Oh, maybe it’s not so bad, that I can talk about it because yeah, culturally, a lot of people grew up in homes where the mentality was, what happens in here, stays in here. Don’t don’t talk about your business. I just fight against that. I think, you know, one, one of my biggest, I just believe community is important across the board.

I know you do. That’s why I was in SPI pro, but I think even with marriage, I think it should be normal for us to be talking about our struggles with each other and, and encouraging that. So I think I just try to normalize it and lead the way and hopefully people will go, oh, I guess we can.

Do this

[00:07:56] Pat:
I like that. It reminds me of a scene or scenario in a show called Ted lasso. That’s on the apple network

[00:08:03] Eric:
Yeah. Once.

[00:08:04] Pat:
Yeah. And, and, and, and he’s going through some stuff in his brain and it’s kind of closed in, but it took somebody else sharing their own experiences first, before he was able to open up and share what he was experiencing.

And so I think that’s very true and I think that’s a good lesson for everybody. No matter what you’re doing, that’s what put SPI on the map. Back in the day, it was about entrepreneurial lessons But instead of just talking the talk and telling people what to do, I just kind of just showed people first and made a bunch of mistakes and showed all those faults and

People followed along because they, they appreciate authenticity and they want to see somebody else you know, who has gone through those things first, before, before they do. so I really love that when it came to the research that you were doing with the niche that you were getting into, you know, what did you discover about them? That was really interesting in your findings and your conversations. How did that. Determine what your business is going to be.

[00:08:54] Eric:
Yeah, I think, I mean, I don’t feel like I discovered a ton of new stuff because I’ve been working with couples, for more than a decade already. So I, so I kinda knew, I think probably was most surprising to me is. How complex people are trying to make issues in

Relationship. That to me are so simple and I’m just pretty simple and logical, and I love learning and digging deep, but then trying to figure out how do I take a concept that that is 10 levels deep and too much for most people, but it has some real practical application.

So I think that probably what surprised me most is, is. Thinking something is one thing. And I’m kinda like, Hey, no, no, no, no, no, slow down. It’s not all that, that hard. It’s just this. So why don’t, why don’t we talk about this? And I think that that was probably most surprising to me that we’re over-complicating relationship.

I would say.

[00:09:46] Pat:
I would say that’s very true for sure. who is your target audience? Is it the husband? Is it the wife or like how, who, who initiates the conversation with you normally?

[00:09:56] Eric:
Yeah, that, that was always my struggle too, is as I went in this process, you know, everyone talks about niche down and go smaller. And who’s your target audience? And I was kind of like, everybody in relationship, that’s my target audience. And everyone’s like, well, that doesn’t work. And I’m like, why? No, but it’s sorta true.

The reality is most of the time it’s the women. Reaching out for women are just more in touch relationally and emotionally, and more willing to ask for help. So, yes, the reality is like the YouTube channel, majority women are watching that and responding people who reach out for counseling majority of the times is women, which is, is a sad state.

The guys got to step up here, but you know, it’s, it’s how we’re raised and how we’re wired. So I would say yes, married women, probably the 25. 45 range are probably. The ones I’m talking to the most. but again, it’s, it’s some of it’s kind of universal you’re you’re dating and marriage concepts and relationship concepts apply to the dating process.

They apply. If you’re 30, they applied for your 70, is relationship. And honestly, a lot of these topics, I I’ll go teach in a leadership capacity. Right? How do you build high trust teams, less some of the same concepts that you need to build a good man. And so, yeah, that’s been hard for me, this, this idea of how do you niche down and do like, I could go, let me just focus on the, on a fair recovery.

That’s my audience, people who have been in affairs, but I just didn’t want to. And so that may, I may be hindering or slowing my growth ultimately. And, you know, that stuff, I’m still the process of figuring out, but I was like, well, I’d kind of like it all. So let me speak to it.

[00:11:41] Pat:
Yeah. I mean, it’s okay to experiment and talk to different people and see what. I see what you don’t like. And I know you’re still in the middle of the process of building this thing. I mean, this is only a year and a half, two years old. Your YouTube channel just started, which by the way, is a closing in on 10,000 subscribers.

[00:11:55] Eric:
Yeah. We’re, we’re getting there So.

[00:11:57] Pat:
Congrats on that. Is that how most people are finding you as the YouTube channel. How are people discovering your work?

[00:12:02] Eric:
Yeah. I honestly don’t know a whole lot of, you know, I’ve got, I’ve got kind of stuff out everywhere. I think a lot of the People it started with. Audiences I had built in the church world. And so the church I left was 10,000 person church multi-campus. So there was a pretty good audience there that at least kind of knew what I did and, came in and tried to find me.

But yeah, like even this morning, someone made a comment on the YouTube channel. Hey, this is so-and-so from Namibia watching. And I’m like, what? In the world? People in Africa tuning into my, my insights, which is a little overwhelming.

[00:12:37] Pat:
That is pretty cool. Tell me about your spouse and how she, and you sort of work together here on, on this business. If at all.

[00:12:44] Eric:
Yeah, that could, that could actually turn into a whole separate conversation. We’re still trying to figure it out. And so for a lot of years, because she was kind of home raising our three girls and especially through the teenage years, there wasn’t a whole lot of involvement in what I was doing couples-wise and marriage-wise So when I launched this. My thought was, oh, we’re going to be side by side. We’re going to do everything together. We’ll shoot videos together. I had all these ideas and never asked her. And so I launched and tried dragging her into anything and everything I was doing, I made her, we started a membership community.

And so I made her shoot a, but this has got to be me and you together. The YouTube channels was me. I got her involved a little in YouTube channel with some Q and A’s to get her comfortable. backstory is she hates being in front of. people She doesn’t want to be on camera. She loves behind-the-scenes She doesn’t like anything in front of people.

And I drug her into all that made her shoot a bunch of videos with me. And probably over the last four months we’ve been having the number of come to Jesus meetings, where she’s finally, like, I don’t want to do this next. to you I want to be part of it. I want to help you in some capacity but I don’t want to be on video.

I don’t want to do this side by side. And, and, so we’re still trying to figure it out Pat it we’re we’re having the good news is we’re having conversations about it. I’ve backed off of some of that stuff and of. I’ll kind of continue to communicate about you about the different things I’m trying and where I think I’m going.

And you can kind of let me know which you want to be a part of. She loves when we do one-on-one with couples, we’ve mentored couples for years, formally and informally. She loves doing that. She doesn’t mind doing Q and a. When you try to have her learn a script or kind of be a little more, mechanical, uh she’s out every time.

So we’re still trying to figure it out. She she’s all for it. She loves the mission. we’re just trying to figure out what does that mix look like

[00:14:44] Pat:
Yeah, well, that’s great. I mean, it’s a learning process and you know, if you could go back, I’m sure you potentially would ask how she might feel about it before diving in

[00:14:53] Eric:
Yeah. That might be from the relationship guy that might make sense to first ask your wife, what would you like to do? Right. So, you know, it’s, it’s one of those I gotta, I gotta drink what I’m selling and, sometimes. I don’t

[00:15:06] Pat:
Well, and I discovered that about my wife as well. She’s very similar to your wife. It seems as far as not wanting to be in front of a lot of people, would rather stay behind the scenes and, and, you know, doesn’t really want to get talked about much in that kind of thing. And it’s hard because, you know, as an entrepreneur who speaks a lot about family, you know, people get curious and they want to know what’s going on and how she’s doing.

And, you know, she stepped up At FlynnCon a couple of years ago, she got on stage and she chatted and she did absolutely fine. She was great. and I was like, wow, you’re a natural. And she’s like, I never want to do that again.

Like, okay, just like I did it for you once don’t ask me to anymore. but yeah, it’s, it’s conversation.

We’re always learning where we have this come to Jesus moments, as well as we, just both know that, you know, those moments strengthened our relationship as I’m sure, you

[00:15:53] Eric:
For sure. People love hearing my wife and it’s the same thing. I’m like, everybody loves you And she’s like, never again. So we’ve, we’ve had those same moments.

[00:16:02] Pat:
So tell me what’s on your mind now with the business. How are you considering going into 22.

[00:16:07] Eric:
I feel, I feel like I’ve got. A little bit is the wrong word, because to me momentum means like we’re doing well. And I feel like we’re still, we’re still, we’re still in the ground phases. I mean, I’m a year and a half in, but I feel like I’ve learned some things that are working. And so now with kind of the combination of.

Some, you know, virtual counseling, doing this, these virtual six week classes, which I really love, created this membership. And so I think for me, the membership allows me to create the community I want while resourcing them while connecting them. a lot of. BI pro has done for me that man, just the masterminds and some of the info you get from other people as amazing.

So creating that same kind of thing for a couple of them, excited about the membership and, and maybe, you know, that kind of being the foundation for, I just got done recording, my first online course. And so I want to try that. I don’t know if people be out for that, but, you know, I’ve been listening to a guy.

Smart passive income for a few years now. So I think an online course would be passive income and trying to figure out what is the, for me, the combination of the, the online. the passive income and then some, you know, in October of 2022, I’m doing what I plan will be planned to do maybe quarterly, but, but a four day intensive on location, the resort in Mexico.

So, more of an intimate, you know, six to eight couples. I love doing those kinds of things. And so I’ve kind of put that off and so. Figure out the combination for me of, of those, which I really enjoy, but then also some, some passive income ideas and, and building membership. And so I feel like I finally kind of know what I’m trying to do.

The first year and a half has been an uphill every day. Struggle. Really everything, everything I’m doing is new. I’ve been in a box called kind of church world for the last 15 years. And you kind of walk into that box and everything you do is in the walls of that box and you leave the box and then this is wide open.

And instead of leading big teams and speaking and doing all these things, I walk into an office by myself every day, stare at myself and, try to figure out what am I going to learn today? Right. I mean, YouTube, I don’t even know how to upload a video. I don’t know how to start a YouTube channel. I don’t know what camera to buy.

I don’t know how to edit a video. So everything I’ve done over the last year and a half has been new and learning. And it just, it just kind of feels like you’re walking through deep snow. Day after day after day. And so I feel like maybe, maybe I got some, at least some cross country skis, which is a little harder than downhill skiing, but better than, better than snowshoe.

And so I feel like I kind of know where I’m going and, and can I now start to build some momentum

[00:19:03] Pat:
Yeah, no, I love that. And thank you for that honesty. You know, I think a lot of people love to hear that. Well, you know, things don’t always happen overnight for people, but you make progress. You move forward. You know, you have to build that momentum, like you said, and an object at rest tends to stay at rest until it’s acted on by an outside force.

And that outside force will sometimes take a lot of time and in a lot of effort and energy. So I, I appreciate that. And you know, to appreciate the small wins along the way. I mean, you’re already helping people. You’re already serving people and now you’re creating other ways to do that. And now the online course is coming.

Tell me about the online course. What is it about and what was your approach to.

[00:19:40] Eric:
Yeah. I just took the topic that every couple says is their issue. So when couples come to counseling, the 1 presenting problem of all couples is we can’t communicate. And again, for me, I’m like most of the time it’s not even a communication issue. It’s it’s other stuff because you communicate fine. You’re yelling at each other.

You’re articulate. in what you say, like it’s not, you can’t commute. It’s other underlying stuff going on. And, and so I said, you know, if I was struggling in communication, what would help me? And I tried to create a it’s kind of four modules, 19 videos it’s got 12 different exercises. So again, I don’t, that may be overkill.

I’m about to find out and I may go, I need to tone it down. Or I need to turn this into two different courses or maybe it’s not enough, but really just walking couples through. What are some of the key issues in communication? what are some of our misses? what are some of the, I have some characters of conflict that show up and help identifying that.

And then really trying to help couples create a communication rhythm that, that works for them. I think with intentionality, you can avoid a lot of the stuff that, is tripping you up. And I think that’s generally. A lot of couples problems is just a lack of intentionality that we, we bought into this.

I think dating causes you to buy into a myth that that everything kind of organically happens and then you get married and and you have kids and you have real life and you have jobs and the stuff that used to just happen, isn’t happening. And now we’re not in love anymore. And it’s like, that’s not it.

You’re just not intentional with doing the right things on a regular basis. You know, it’s a lot like business. I mean, there’s a, there’s a business side to marriage. Maybe we don’t want to talk about it, but we all get married for the fun relational side of business of marriage, but there’s a business side.

And if we manage it well, I think we can, we can help out the relational side. So yeah, it’s just around trying to help couples understand why they’re not communicating well and how to step into a rhythm that, that will really help.them

[00:21:46] Pat:
Nice. So what’s the, what’s the real promise or transformation there you could talk about what’s inside, but. That’s not what they’re buying, they’re buying the results. What’s the end result of of what is your offering?

[00:21:57] Eric:
Yeah. The end result is better communication with which leads to greater connection intimacy in your relationship.

[00:22:03] Pat:
Yeah, there it is. So when is it launching?

[00:22:07] Eric:
Not exactly sure when, when it’s done. So whenever I decided to launch it and that that’s been one of my other, since we’re talking about entrepreneurial struggles is with, with these multiple kind of offerings now, trying to figure out when do I push And you know, I’ve been following, I think I came onto Shane Sams through you and the flip lifestyle, but really kind of following some of his membership marketing calendar.

Did that the end of 2021. That’s been helpful, but it’s like, okay, well, if I, push membership, then should I not push the course? Or should I not push my upcoming class? And, then I got to get people signed up for this retreat in October. So, my answer is I don’t really know when or how I’m gonna push it.

[00:22:57] Pat:
So, what do you think your next. Our then

[00:23:01] Eric:
I think my next steps are to decide just when, when I, when I want to launch it. And, I don’t really know to be honest with you. I don’t, I don’t have a good answer and, maybe you can.

[00:23:15] Pat:
No, that’s okay. I mean, I’m, I’m, I’m putting my coaching hat a little bit on for you to, you know, hopefully help you pick a date at some point. This year to, choose and just kind of work toward knowing that okay, like you launch and you’ll get some sales most likely, and then you’ll be, you’ll have a group of people in there going through and helping you validate what’s working and what’s not, which should inspire you and help you fine-tune it before an even bigger launch with now testimonials behind it.

Or maybe, maybe it doesn’t make any sales in which case. Okay. Well, you know, this is what people need The messaging or the positioning was maybe incorrect, and then you can have conversations with your audience about, okay, well, where did I miss the marker now? What do you really want? And what is missing? So, you know, the truth is if you just let it linger, you know, you’ll make the same mistake that I did.

Quick story. When I sold my architecture exam guide back in 2008—which was very successful, it was a PDF file. I sold it for $19. It did extremely well. there were no. course Creation tools back then necessarily you had to kind of code your own thing So I actually hired a company with some of that income to build out a WordPress-based course platform.

And I had set it up and I had my PDF file essentially transformed into this online course. And I filmed the videos for it and everything. And I never launched it. I never launched it because I was too afraid of whether or not it was actually going to be helpful. I was too afraid of what people are going to say.

I didn’t like the fact that I was voicing it and my face was on camera and I just kinda let it sit there. So when I consider now looking back the value that I didn’t offer my audience, because I was. just Satisfied with a book versus something that would have helped much more. I, I lost out on potentially, you know, 10x earnings as a result.

Like it could have been a few million dollars that I left behind as a result of just waiting. a little bit of perfectionism got in the way.

I don’t know if you fall into that trap, but I definitely do.

[00:25:23] Eric:
Luckily, I don’t, I probably need more perfectionism. Yeah. I’m kinda like, well, let’s just, let’s just wing it and see what happens. So I’m just trying to figure out timing to maximize it. So I may do I, I’m launching a, an upcoming six week class and so. Once I feel that class up, maybe I’ll turn right back around and, and kind of, you know, try to communicate and launch that.

[00:25:47] Pat:
How, how much has the classical.

[00:25:50] Eric:
The glass is 2 99, a couple. So for it’s an hour and a half, once a week for six weeks.

[00:25:55] Pat:
Okay. What’s cool. Is that online course, it would be positioned as a little bit lower costs, right? Typically. And so your in-person stuff or your virtual stuff, anchors that price and allows you to go, okay, well, you can’t afford that. That’s okay. We got this thing over here that will help you and it’s cheaper and it will serve those who.Are not going to get into your virtual, events or your or your in-person events. So I think it’s a perfect offering. You now have like a middle offering for people who can’t work with you or just aren’t able to, or maybe are too afraid to. Right. And now you have sort of a at your own pace kind of thing going on.

How do you manage the six week program? I’m curious to see how that is actually, you know, what’s that experience? Like what tools are you using to, to make that.

[00:26:41] Eric:
Yeah. So really just, just using zoom on it. And, so we do, like I said, an hour and a half class, on a given night, you know, run it Mondays or Wednesdays for six weeks straight. And so we, I limited to 20 couples. I want the experience to be somewhat intimate. And so we’ll do. Kind of an opening icebreaker, some stuff like that.

I’ll do a teaching portion, which is usually 20 to 30 minutes on kind of the topic for that night. And then we break into small zoom groups of five couples each led and facilitated by a couple that, you know, I’ve been working with that knows what to do. And, and then we come back together at the end of each time for any Q and A’s and kind of, the challenge for the week I give them and they’re often running, we circle back next week and do it again.

So,

[00:27:30] Pat:
Nice. How do you encourage people to share. During those moments. Because with, especially the virtual stuff, I mean, a lot of the value comes with particiPation in those things. I could watch a virtual conference and just be bored as heck, but I’ve done virtual things where it feels like I’m almost in the same room.

What do you do? Tactfully tactic fully to make that happen and make them feel like, you know, it’s a place to that. They feel safe, engaging, and being.a part of

[00:28:01] Eric:
Yeah. So we got some of the ground rules, you set up at the beginning. So going back to what I said before I lead the way on that. And so me being transparent and I’ll find opportune times to share aspects of our relationship that obviously. I Talk to my wife ahead of time that we are comfortable sharing.

So I’ll lead the way with that. I’ll set some ground rules, which is, this is a place to share. The expectation is that we would share to the level of comfort we have. And also the expectation is what we talk about here stays here. We want to guard and protect each other to create a safe space. And then the facilitators that are facilitating the, when we break into those small groups, they get that.

They’ve known me for a while. They know what the goal is. And so they’ll do a little bit of self-disclosure and also you can just, part of it is, is, you know, learning the skills of leading a small group. Right? And there’s some things you, you do, you can call people out and ask people, you know, if they’re not talking, Hey, Hey, you know, Johnsons would you guys like to share on this one?

Are you comfortable Stepping into this, or even giving people time, Hey, I’m coming to you next Smiths So if you want to start thinking about what you might have around that, if you want to mute yourselves and talk and make sure you guys are both on the same page about what you want to share. So just, just some little techniques to, to create that environment.

But I think when you set the tone, you explain, this is what we’re here for. This is what we’re doing. You lead the way, people, people tend to, and we’ve had people, you know, so those are some of the testimonials I’ll get, especially from wives which are I know my husband didn’t really want to take this class and he doesn’t really open up to anybody.

And I was real surprised that he started talking and felt comfortable. It’s amazing when you’re sitting in a group of four to five couples, and even if you have no intention on sharing, when you start to sit here and somebody else shares something and you can relate to that and you start getting those head nods, you almost just kind of find yourself, sucked into the conversation.

Not knowing I didn’t plan on talking, but man, I just kind of got involved and forgot where I was and started sharing. So we’ve just seen that over and over again, that tends to be the case. And if people aren’t comfortable sharing, they don’t have to. and, and we’re okay with that. too

[00:30:10] Pat:
Where did you find your facilitators? That seems to be a important piece of this puzzle.

[00:30:15] Eric:
Yeah. A lot of them are couples I’ve known for years, that, that some of them serve with me when, when I led couples ministry and church others, that we’ve been, so that, you know, I say, I believe in community and I do. And all 27 years of our marriage, we’ve been involved in small groups of some kind, no matter where we’ve lived and, you know, either beaten weekly or every other week.

The mastermind idea for business, but, but for marriage. And so a lot of these couples I’ve been doing kind of life like that with, and so I know their stories, they know my stories, they know my heart, they know my approach. And then of course we talked and done some training on here’s the expectations around what small group looks like.

So yeah. Feel 100% comfortable with who they are and their attitude. And it’s like building a team, you know, I’m sure the people you continue to bring into SPI have the same heart you have, which is to serve and, and do that kind of stuff.

[00:31:12] Pat:
Do you, do you compensate them for that work inside the group?

[00:31:15] Eric:
I do I do a little bit. you know, and I think a lot of them are, are gracious with where I’m at right now and, and have a heart to, Hey, we want to support your organization in any way we can. So honestly, I didn’t promise any of them, anything upfront, none of them asked for anything. but I gave them all, some Amazon gift cards and afterwards the thing for their time and effort, but they love doing it because they love couples and they believe in what we’re doing.

And they’d obviously do it for free, but yeah, I want to want to compensate them.

[00:31:44] Pat:
That’s great. And so I can imagine once the world opens back up that a lot of the in-person stuff that you want to do, like in October, Feeling that you might offer virtual, but now in person in a destination area, you can see each other. You can, you can touch, you can feel, you can be emotional with others.

I think that’s going to be really cool. Have you run one of those before? Like those retreat type things?

[00:32:08] Eric:
Yeah. Yeah, we’ve done in the past. I’ve done everything from three to four day intensive experiences to overnighters, just, even, even a 24 hour, Friday, five to Saturday at three at a hotel stay just kind of getting away and focusing in. And so, yeah, I’ve done a lot of that stuff in the past and,

[00:32:28] Pat:
What’s a typical day schedule or agenda for like a day during one of those in-person events.

[00:32:33] Eric:
For like a retreat like that.

Yeah, I think on the, like, just an overnight or one, you gotta get people showing up after work around dinner time. Usually. Do some icebreaker stuff, a little social have, have dinner, and then start with a session that night. I usually like that first night session because people are coming in distracted, whether they’re flying somewhere or driving in they’re tired.

They’re distracted. We’re not going to go super deep and heavy, cause it’s going to be overwhelming. So we’ll usually do a lighter topic, maybe something around personalities, assessments or temperaments or something that you know is kind of fun and a little more lighthearted, but helps understanding, you know, sleep on it.

Give him something to do at night and then jump back in the next morning. Do some breakfast, usually a session, maybe a little break, another session. And so try to get on just a 24 hour one. Three to maybe four sessions, depending on how in-depth they are. and then, you know, on a four day one, it’s a, you know, we’re going to go on a lot heavier.

So the opening night, like a Thursday night, it may be lighter, but then, you know, we’re going to hit a couple hard sessions, Friday, a couple hard sessions, Saturday and Sunday, with, with a roadmap and game plan for where do we go from here? I’m kind of a reluctant counselor.

One of my frustrations with counseling has always been, not a whole lot of progress in meeting with somebody you don’t know for 50 minutes once a week with no other. Relationship with them. The community aspect is so powerful and that’s why I love like an intensive weekend. Mainly six to eight couples, you know, become friends for life a lot of time.

And you’ve now built community and we’re going to walk with you when you leave here. And so here’s what the next three, six months look like. Because otherwise you make some progress and then you follow up with a couple, three months later and they’re right back in the same place, because, and so that’s why I love the membership.

Just all, anything you can do with community is going to serve couples better than, Hey, we’re going to a random counselor who helps us out and has no other impact in our life other than 50 minutes, once a week.

[00:34:34] Pat:
And that’s where I think the future of businesses headed it’s with membership it’s with community it’s with experience and. You know, you have your tight little group and you’re able to do things together versus, you know, these bigger brands and these bigger things. So I love that. And I think that you have all the things that you need necessary to do that you have the experience, obviously, but now you’re online.

You know, it’s one of those things it’s like, oh, the pandemic was terrible, but it also forced you to make certain decisions to be in place. You know, it’s like so many great things have come out of, of that forcing and. In addition to that. Now you have all these different levels of offerings. You have the high level of retreats, you have the mid-level virtuals, and then now you have the course that’s coming and some other sort of, even smaller than that kind of things.

So I think you’re close to that point, Eric. You won’t have to trudge through the wonders of snow anymore. You’ll be able to sort of stake your ground in and go, okay, this is where I’m building my home. This is what’s here. And then you’ll be able to kind of invite other people into it without having to explore any more.

Because you’ll have, you’ll have nailed it. And it, it, it does take a couple of years, typically, as I find, when I work with people to find their voice, to find themselves and to find their rhythm and cadence. So you’re, you’re pretty much, if not very close to being.there

[00:35:44] Eric:
No, I, I appreciate that Pat and that, and that’s really one of the, when I started you start, there’s so much information out there.

Right. And there’s so many people quote, killing.

That are like, come with me cause I’m killing it and I’ll help you kill it. And so I found myself, you know, you name it. I’ve, I’ve taken, somebody’s free webinar on, on membership or sales funnels.

Or maybe we can say our name, all the big names. I’ve, I’ve watched them all. but sometimes it causes more confusion and overwhelming. And so I think that that’s why I connected with you and SPI Pat is because. you’re not trying to run out here with a gigantic personality and, and be overly energetic and get everybody in your You’re just matter of fact, this is what I’ve done.

This is what works This is. What’s not to work. And, and for me, that’s applicable, That Superfans book literally. What if someone said, Hey, what’s your business plan? I don’t know how to do a business plan. I’ve never done one before. I’m a first time entrepreneur, solopreneur whatever you want to call me. I have no idea.

I don’t even know what a business plan looks like, but when I read Superfans I said, I’ve got a business plan. that was my business plan outline. And so I think the, the community that you provided, just being an SPI Pro I mean, the conversations I get to listen in on, I mean, there’s some people in there doing some big stuff and I just get to be a fly on the wall and listen to it.

And then the masterminds being a part of that. so I think, yeah, the only reason. I feel a little good about where I am a year and a half in is because I feel like I’ve had tons of great mentors. And that’s the great thing about the online space on books, right? this is the first time we’ve ever talked, but you’re a mentor through all your content, whether we ever talked and, and have been instrumental in me, in me making this progress and getting there.

And so, yeah, man, it’s been, been amazing too. And I think that’s for anybody trying to start out, it’s like find your people. And, and there’s lots of different memberships I could have joined, that I looked at. but for whatever reason, some of them didn’t resonate with me. It didn’t click with me.

That’s not my personality. I can maybe take some of your tools and ideas. but I think for me, you and SPI and SPI pro was like, oh, here’s, here’s my tribe. I can grow with this tribe. And, I think we are.

[00:38:07] Pat:
Thank you, Eric. I appreciate that. I promise I did not pay you say that.

[00:38:12] Eric:
No. That’s why he asked what I say. You had no idea that, that I’ve read those books and that we’ve never talked about.

[00:38:18] Pat:
No, it’s a perfect lesson to end on. It’s this idea of, you know, whether it’s SPI or another group or another community, you got to find your place where you can go and listen in and get inspired and get motivated and also serve. And when you serve those communities yourself, you’re going to get served back. And it’s just a, it’s just a, pass back and forth, for the

[00:38:35] Eric:
Yeah, this is, I mean, our conversation right now is a perfect example of, of what you say you do, right? This is part of the super fans to make them shine. I’m someone who’s part of your community who did not earn this platform that we’re on right now, who doesn’t deserve this platform based on performance.

But because your heart is to serve and make it shine here, we are having a conversation, where I’m learning and getting access to a bigger platform than I would have. and I think that just continues to, again, this is not a pump Pat up day, but, but this is why I connected with you SPI and, and the whole team is because you guys mean what you say and, and your heart first is to serve and help other people give they’re trying to go.

And, For any entrepreneurs who are where I am, or, you know, a half a year behind me, or two years ahead of me, those that’s who you got to find people that really want to see you succeed that are not just here to sell you the next program. Cause you got to sell stuff because you have to make a living.

And that’s been a whole nother mindset shift for me coming out of church world, where you just do everything. you already got a paycheck, just do everything out of the goodness of your heart to now. Oh, I got to charge people for stuff. So I’m sure, you know, when you asked me the price of my class, I hesitated for a second.

Cause I’m like, my price is probably wrong. Pat’s going to tell me I’m undercharging or something, but just trying to change that mentality. So you need, you gotta need people. You can lock arms with that will help you get where you’re going. And then, you know, my heart is. This organization builds helping couples that I’m going to be bringing people in, who, who have a heart to do the same thing I do.

But, but not the time or the risk or whatever it took for me to try to build it. So how do I create a platform that now other people can come under? and so, yeah, I’ve been been grateful for the community. I’ve been able to find out.

[00:40:30] Pat:
Thank you, man. And the fact that you’re creating community, you’re going to hear feedback very similar from your people if you haven’t already. and that’s, that’s what it’s about. So thank you, Eric, for coming on. one more time. Where can people go to get access to your grades?

[00:40:43] Eric:
Yeah, I think that the easiest place is probably our website, AltaredMarriage.com. That’s spelled A L T A R E D marriage.com.

I appreciate all you’ve done. Go to AltaredMarriage.com/SPI. If anybody wants to relationship stuff, I’ll have some free guides on there. For daters, I’ll give you the Modern Dater’s Manifesto: What To Watch Out for, What To Look for, and What Are You Here For.

For married couples, again, I think intentionality is key. So, I’ve got a little guide for developing your relationship rhythm that I think will go a long way in helping couples get where they want to go. That’s usually reserved for our members, but now it’s for any SPI fans.

[00:41:27] Pat:
Awesome, Eric.

AltaredMarriage.com/SPI. We’ll have links in the show notes.

Eric, awesome job. Have a great year. I appreciate you, and I look forward to seeing you inside of Pro!

[00:41:36] Eric:
Thanks. Great talking to you.

[00:41:38] Pat:
You too.

Alright. I hope you enjoyed that interview with Eric, from AltaredMarriage.com. You can find some of his freebies and things if that is something that you’d be interested in. You can find it at AltaredMarriage.com/SPI.

Now, again, this episode was episode 549, and you can of course get the show notes, all the links to the resources that we talked about today at SmartPassiveIncome.com/session549.

If you’ve listened to this and you’re like, “Wow, I’m really interested in joining Pro. It seemed like it did lot for Eric.” It’s done a lot for many hundreds of other members. If you’d like to apply to become a part of our next cohort, all you have to do is go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/pro. That’s it. SmartPassiveIncome.com/pro.

You can check it out and fill out the application. We’ll see if it’s a good fit on both sides. If not, then we’ll tell you some next steps to help you get to that level where you can join SPI Pro in the future. So again, SmartPassiveIncome.com/pro.

Thanks so much. I appreciate you. Make sure you hit subscribe, because we have some amazing content coming your way. Some more interviews, some other fun shows.

I look forward to serving you in the near future. Peace out, take care, and as always, team Flynn for the win.


Smart Passive Income Podcast

with Pat Flynn

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