Austin McCulloh is a 23-year-old entrepreneur who, by the age of 20, had already begun his executive career. He is the Principal Consultant & Founder of Austin McCulloh Advising, which is a human capital consulting firm that is on a mission to help sales professionals, such as entry-level financial advisors & insurance agents, grow their business. As Austin always says, “Life is much more fulfilling when you begin to realize what you’re capable of.” He therefore wants everyone to see this for themselves. Austin’s high energy, strong discipline, and intense drive make him the perfect fit for entry-level financial advisors looking to take their career to the next level and increase their income.
KNOWLEDGE ACQUISITION VS ACCESIBILITY
The Mastermind Effect: The availability to learn and have access to different people has really changed over the last 5-10 years. When we were younger, it was text books and the teachers around us. Eventually, it became your friends that you’ve worked with but that only gave us a sliver of what’s really possible. How has your learning changed from your early years vs today?
Austin: To really summarize it, what I’ve realized is that we’re in a world not of knowledge acquisition but more of accessibility. So now, you’re able to easily find information that you’re looking for and I think a lot of that goes back to having a reliable trustable source where you can actually find that information. Because even though you can Google anything, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to find that right information that you actually need to be using.
The Mastermind Effect: Yeah and we talked about that before we even hopped on. It’s being able to separate the crème of the crop. How are you changing how you’re learning now versus just a few years ago?
Austin: Well it’s actually ironic because while I really enjoy books, I noticed that me, personally, I did not grow up reading a ton and so I’m not the fastest reader. I actually prefer not to read but I make sure that I do to practice. My focus muscle helps me a lot in making sure that I’m focusing more and be just more present.
I actually like to take in my information from other people so I like to network with people who are actually making moves and are actually doing big things and are actually successful in their career field. Often, that will give you that personalized tailored information that you want. Now like I said, you can go Google something but have you ever tried to Google something before? We could google but you still don’t find the actual answer that you’re looking for. But if I were to go and ask Warren Buffett about investing, personally, he’d be able to give me a pretty solid personalized answer based on the question. Many can ask follow up questions as well so I think it’s actually a lot more valuable to have that strong network that masterminds can give you.
The Mastermind Effect: So today, we have more ways to take in information than there ever was before, and it can be confusing. Some people look for a mentor, others look for accountability buddies or masterminds. Other people take on-line courses, there’s a lot of ways to learn. Who are you currently learning from and how did you find them?
Austin: The influencer that I listen to the most is Ed Mylett. He has a very successful career and the reason why I like listening to him is he’s very vulnerable. For example I was actually just talking on a client call right before this podcast and I was being very transparent about some of my recent failures to one of my clients because that’s the right way to get other people to open up to you. That’s why I like Ed is because he talks about his struggles and so this allows me to buy into him more.
Of course the success that he’s had allows me to see that he has the credibility. Listening to Ed is great because he talks about all different facets of self-improvement, not just business growth, but also emotional, family connections, and everything.
Also, because we have podcasting nowadays, we’re able to take in all this information. And so rather than learning from somebody who just went to school, we can also learn from people who are building millions, hundreds of millions of dollars businesses for free. If you think about that, that’s really crazy so I mean, as long as you’re coachable, you’re receptive, you’re willing to take in information, the sky is your limit.
The Mastermind Effect: I feel that a lot of times we get stuck in our own heads we don’t know how to execute what’s in our head. We’ve recently gone through or we’re still in a pandemic and to me I feel that this is causing or creating a reset in and how things can be accomplished. How have masterminds or coaching helped you when you’re looking to reset yourself on how you do things and how do you accomplish them?
Austin: It’s really simple but if you ever thought that’s holding you back, simply tell it to another person– somebody who you trust, somebody who you know cares about you– can honestly remove that barrier. I mean have you ever had one of those socks, Brandon, where you know it’s stupid? You know that intuitively but until you say it out loud, you’re not actually changing it?
The Mastermind Effect: The company that is being built right now, once I started talking about it, forced me to create it so I would be I didn’t become a poser a faker so yeah I know what you’re talking about.
Austin: I love that and then also it’s another thing that I think a lot of people recognize is the need to have the humility to say what our problems are. Because if people don’t know what your problems are, they’re not able to help you. So if you just voice your concerns and voice your problems, you let down your ego and your pride, people would say: “Oh I know that person I can connect you to.” And sometimes it’s just that tiny little detail which can re-frame your entire mindset.
Masterminding, coaching, and education have been around since the apostles, and then Benjamin Franklin created the “Leather Apron Club” and then eventually, it’s talked about in Napoleon Hill’s book. So education, masterminds, and coaching has been around forever. Why do you feel that there’s been a larger boom in self-education moving away from traditional education over the last few years and where do you see it going?
Austin: I really think this is because we all have tremendous potential. It doesn’t matter who it is and one of one thing that I encourage everybody to look into I believe it’s called Gardner intelligence. It talks about the different types of intelligence so like one I think is called naturalistic. Another one is related to maps, another one is interpersonal, and another one is intrapersonal. So it talks about these different types of intelligences that if you’re in school, might not be displayed quite as well. So yes, I mean there’s math or science or history. They’re different types but I don’t think a lot of people are able to tap into their greatness to the school system.
Like for example, for me, I’ve always been able to communicate with other people well. I’ve always understood myself really well but that wasn’t always reflected in my classes. Part of that was also just the fact that I did not see that connection, right? So I wasn’t motivated because I don’t see the connection with what I was doing to where I wanted to be.
I think why a lot more people are becoming attracted to masterminds, to self-education is because they’re recognizing that they’re not stupid. They’re recognizing that they do have potential that a lot of bosses, a lot of teachers, were pushing them down in their youth growing up. So they’re saying that they can change their life trajectory and have more control over their life. What they previously recognized I think is just the fact that there’s much more information out there, so much more accessibility, and so they’re able to retain that information. You know, take it and actually start putting it to use with something that they are interested in.
AUSTIN AS A MASTERMIND
The Mastermind Effect: Typically when someone invests in their future they have a better than vague idea of what they’re going to get. They have an expectation of like here’s what I want, here’s what the results can be if I follow this, and what the outcome is going to be. What should people expect when they enter your reality?
Austin: Consistently moving forward. What I mean by that for anybody who doesn’t know much about my business (of course you can check out my website) is I help financial advisers and insurance agents grow their business. To summarize, a lot of people just get in their own way. Our biggest problem, I’m sure you’ve experienced this as well, Brandon, is just getting on our own way. We overthink. We don’t think we’re good enough. We did not grow up in the right environment coming from millionaires, billionaires, and people guiding us forward. So when I work with people of course I always do the free consultation upfront. I get a good picture of what they’re struggling with.
A lot of advisers it’s just simply about doing the outreach. A lot of the time it’s closing, a lot of the time it’s just simply doing their consistent action on a daily basis because of a wide variety of factors. But I do that consultation and get a good picture of what they’re struggling with. So for example, you know not everybody likes reaching out to local market but when you really dumb it down, it is very very simple. Not necessarily easy but simple.
I firmly believe you can create any habit if you truly want to. But for example, when working with a client, I’m not going to go tell them to do 100 contacts today because is that possible? Absolutely. But in their realm of consciousness, is it possible? Probably not if they haven’t been doing that previously. So start at something, even if it’s just one each day.
I then tell my client, let’s do it every single day. I then make sure that they do it Monday through Sunday because that’s how you build a habit. Doing that consistent outreach will allow you to build a stronger pipeline. It will also allow you not to rely on just a small select group of people to get results from.
Also, I can’t remember the author but if you Google the Four Agreements book, you’ll be able to find it that’s not even a sales book. I recommend it to everybody to go read if they want to get to the sales game because of 2 main reasons: don’t take anything personally and don’t make assumptions. In particular, that second one “don’t make assumptions,” people do that all the time in sales. I don’t want to say this because they’re going to think that. Well, just test it and see if it works or not. Test it with a large enough group to see if it’s effective. For example, I was just talking to a client. They said they tried out a new script with 3 people. I’m like you know that that’s not enough to actually see if it’s working or not. Try 30. Try 300 and if it’s not working, then adjust.
The Mastermind Effect: Absolutely and I’ve done a previous podcast on one of the solo shows were we talked about partnerships and how finding that right partnership helps you get out of your own way. It helps you get over that hurdle, whether it’s you surrounding yourself with the people that can do it or you having that right partnership. It makes a world of difference because we can’t get out of our own, way too often.
Austin: Yeah. You don’t know what you don’t know. And so having that other person to shine the light on your blind spots helps a lot because I think it brings it into your consciousness.
The Mastermind Effect: I feel that people have a way of surprising us due to their drive & willingness to learn. The rooms that you have put together are hand selected. Has anyone that has been through one of your major coaching programs, whatever we call it, has surprised you with what they were able to accomplish? And what was the final outcome?
Austin: Absolutely. I had one financial adviser who is extremely coachable. She’s extremely coachable because she was transitioning from one job to another. She had a fairly low income and so we essentially 10X her income over a span of 3 months because she was willing to do what I told her to do. Does this mean I have all the answers in the world? No but a lot of the times especially when you’re getting into the financial planning, financial advising space, it’s pretty clear. But like I said, you get in your own way. You don’t reach out to this person because you’re afraid of what they’re going to think of you. You don’t reach out to them because you’re afraid that you’re not competent enough, or you’re not skilled enough that you don’t have enough information.
And so, helping guide her forward and her doing every single thing that I told her to do, her income has grown and so she’s seen the benefits. Her confidence has grown and of course this is just the beginning this is just a few months and we’re going to continue working together and so it’s really exciting seeing that. Like I said, there are a lot of bosses in the world who push other people down. So me, I pride myself on being a good leader. Although I have so much room to grow, it’s really cool to see that because I push other people up, they push other people up too.
The Mastermind Effect: So let’s talk about success a little bit. I was working with a coach the other day and we were talking about ideas on what it takes to create success: mentorship, willingness to fail, experimentation, partnerships. But I think where I got stuck was actually the beginning of the question which was people being afraid of talking about their success. What do you think it takes them to get over that fear of talking about their success and being successful?
Austin: What I would say is first off, take some time on yourself to reflect on what you really want and why. So a lot of people talk about wanting to have money because they want to have a nice cars but is it actually what you want? If that is the case, that’s fine. If you want to have an extravagant lifestyle, that’s fine. But then you need to be completely real with yourself.
You really need to get around people who had at least some level of success for themselves so they can tell you what it’s actually going to be like. Whenever I’m working with clients, I never tell them it’s going to be easy. I know you’re going to have to make a lot of sacrifices. You’re going to have a lot of days we’re you’re going to feel like shit. But I mean if you do it the right way, you’re consistent with your action, that’s going to be worth it.
In my senior year, I was only out in social settings I think 5 times. That’s a period of 12 months because I was a full time college student, I was running my first business, and I was also a part time financial adviser. I was also a member of multiple student organizations with executive boards and so you just have to make a lot of sacrifices. Surely I don’t believe in work-life balance if you want to be one of those top achievers, top leaders. But like I said if you put in action consistently, the results are going to manifest and that’s going to make it worth it.
The Mastermind Effect: There’s always new ideas brewing in times of prosperity, but I really think innovation and ingenuity comes out of times when we feel the squeeze. What are you working on right now that will take place over the next 12mos that excites you?
Austin: So I would say that I’ve run a human capital consulting firm because I’m passionate that I’ve mentioned previously talked about helping people achieve their full potential. What I’m wanting to do is scale up my business because I started business late in 2019 and I’m very blessed with where the business is at currently. But I actually want to have 2 consultants, coaches, whatever you want to call them on board this year. But I slowed down that process so I figure out my process first. What I want to do within the next 12 months is have at least one, if not two or three consultants that are on board to also grow the business as well because I can only have so much outreach myself versus if I’m replicating myself for my brand, similar to what Tony Robbins does.
The Mastermind Effect: What can you leave the listeners? A tip, a method, something that if they implemented over the next 30 to 90 days can make a big impact going forward in their personal or business life?
Austin: I know this is very simple but it’s very profound. Take at least 5 minutes maybe 10 or 15. Put your phone away. Shut the door. Make sure you’re by yourself. Shut the computer. Basically, close yourself off from any distractions. Just sit and think. Slow down. Right now I’m on my third 30 day social media detox, except for LinkedIn for business purposes, but no Instagram no Facebook no Snapchat, nothing, and that’s a lot more free time just to think. I think I actually know people are often pretty creative but they’re constantly distracted.
When you’re constantly distracted, you’re also not able to slow down, get your own mental health in check. Just take some time to have no distractions. Just think about what your thoughts are, get to know yourself a little bit better. Because when you know yourself, that’s when you can actually live a life that you want to live.
Lastly, before we finish up, I have on more tip now. I think a lot of people get caught up and they get frustrated because they don’t have passion, right? I think that’s kind of a myth that you’re going to love every single aspect of what you do. And I think this is making a lot of people unhappy because I struggled with this as well. There are a lot of aspects that I love to do for my job. I love being able to help my clients. I love the personal relationships that we have. But I don’t love all the note taking all the time. Don’t stress yourself about the thought that you need to be loving every single second of the day, it’s okay that you dislike something because that’s what work is.
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