I did things the ‘wrong’ way around and it worked
Former PE teacher Dave Macdonald landed a six-figure consultancy fee before he started at TCI so his journey to his own successful business hasn't been stereotypical.
Growing up in Scotland, Dave Macdonald’s dream was to become a PE teacher. He figured it was “a cool job” he could do anywhere in the world, he could wear shorts to work and he’d have a stack of holidays.
Twenty years on, Dave’s four ideal job boxes are ticked—and indeed while he did work as a PE teacher around the globe, he’s found all he wanted as a Gold Coast-based behavioural sales coach.
Two and a half years after he did his FOCS in February 2018, Dave’s business The Sales Network (it promises to help small businesses double their sales in 90 days without spending more on marketing) is “flying” and he’s “enjoyed every minute” of his TCI experience: “And I continue to. I haven’t reached any destination yet, it’s a journey you continue on.”
To rewind a little, Dave found The Coaching Institute when he was running a small business and wanted to get more consultancy skills. But he also found that the journey was for him first, and “the better I took care of me, the better I could take care of others.”
Says Dave, who moved to Australia in 2007, “I thought I wanted to be in culture and recruitment and leadership. It wasn’t until I listened and did more work on myself that it was unveiled to me where I could help other people. It’s all externalised, but in fact we realise it’s all about us.”
For the dad of two, 36, one thing Remi Pearson said in an Ultimate Influence training still resonates: “She said, ‘It’s about doing business all day every day with your ideal client and nobody else.’ It was just boom! I know use that lens for everything.”
“Just take the decision to invest in yourself and who you can be. This is the pathway to do it, and the door is there. Open the door, there’s a wonderful opportunity right in front of you. It’s a great investment and you’ll thank yourself."
What were you looking for when you joined TCI?
At the time it was more expertise. I made the decision to transition into business consultancy. I ran a small business on my own for around ten years, and I was phasing out of that and started consulting to others in the industry. I wanted to get more experience and accreditation. A lot of people do it the other way around, they become a coach to build a business from scratch, whereas I did, ‘I’m going to become a consultant, go to the paid work, I got the big retainer, how do I do this?’
It’s so interesting, people go to prospect events at TCI and and start enrolling at level one then eventually update. I called up at Christmas and went ‘hi, I’m Dave, there’s this thing called Pro Coach, I’ll have that please, do you want my card?’ I didn’t need convincing, so I wasn’t nurtured the traditional way that 90 per cent of people would be.
What does a typical day look like?
I’ll set it up first: My first year I did 83K, 216K in second year, last year 126. The reason for the drop is simply because I went into large consultancy fees, people wanted a lot of my time. Financially it was great but time and freedom not so great. I felt I capped out—I became like an employee, they felt they owned me. I knew while I might lose out financially. When COVID hit I thought, ‘I’m going to do it again on my terms.’
So I have the belief that COVID happened for me, not to me. I get to work from home, I have a whole bottom side of my house as a little working space. I get up, work from 6 to 7, do my own stuff until 7.30, do the whole kids’ breakfast and drop them off at school. I go straight to the gym to see my PT, do an hour and a half, have lunch, then get into my day, do my work from midday until about 3 or 4. Mondays and Fridays I take off I do 25 hours a week by choice with my 12 clients.
Your biggest milestone?
I was always proud of the fact I landed a six-figure consultancy before l got started. The reason I say that is I didn’t give myself credit for it at the time but when I went back months later, I said that was probably a bigger deal than I made it out to be. So I think it’s about self worth and acknowledging myself. I also gave myself permission to go and get healthy again, for two I’ve been working out five days a week and it’s huge.
"For someone who is seriously considering improving where they are to where they want to be … there’s no better course in terms of benchmarking and modelling success than TCI. Sharon Pearson, Matt Lavars, the TCI marketing team give you the permission to model the principles, the mechanics, the strategy.”
Most successful marketing strategy?
I spoke on stage at an event and made a poster with a QR code with a link to a workbook and at a relevant point asked people to put the code on their phones. Out of the 140 people I had 115 opt in with their email, so I captured that without pitching. I posted a follow up asking if anyone would like to do a group coaching thing with me and 14 opted in. 12 said yes, and eight completed it. Four went on to being additional paying clients.
What are you loving most about your coaching journey?
That it’s me first, before others. The more you take care of you, the more you upskill and deal with your own stuff the more you can bridge the gap between you in and out of your business. The fact that the more selfish you are, the more selfless you are.
What do you know about yourself that you didn’t before TCI?
It’s about owning my own stuff and being proud of what I do, having awareness and behavioural flexibility.
Advice for other TCI coaches?
Let the guard down to let themselves be coached and do the work for themselves first. A lot go through the initial stages with their walls up and externalising, thinking ‘I need to do this for others’ but the earlier the person is able to let their guard drop, give themselves the gift of vulnerability, that’s what it’s about. The earlier a new coach is willing to take responsibility, the quicker their coaching will improve.
How did TCI exceed your expectations?
It continues to exceed. They are really at the top of the game. TCI is constantly doing two things, constantly evolving in thew ay they bring themselves to the market which is cutting edge, and continuing to maintain the magic of the community which is what is important.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’ll be on the national circuit, owning my space in the hybrid direct response marketing and behavioural sales space and touring nationally.
Dave lives in paradise—Surfers Paradise, in Queensland—with his wife Alison and children Joshua, 5, and Zara-Bella, 3. A lover of coffee, golf and fine wine, he gets up all hours of the night to watch his beloved Rangers play in Scotland and is “massively into personal development, constantly watching webinars and seminars about business. That’s so ingrained in my life.” One thing he will never do again is “let myself be put in a position where I can’t decide my worth. I will never feel owned again.”