Highlights of the episode:

  • His strategy from a brand awareness point of view
  • Why delegating the backend side of the business helps with time management and getting organized
  • Who advised him about delegating his work

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Interview Transcript

Jack: Next up, we have Christian Woodford, the owner and founder of Woodford Sports Science Consulting in Melbourne. His topic is brand awareness and how to stand out coaching athletes in a crowded industry. Woody, how are you doing, mate? 

Christian: Thanks for having me on. I appreciate that. Now, before I start, for those who don’t know, the person next to me is Chris Chronis*, coach de Cronis*. The reason why I bring him on is he’s actually just got given an internship at Iowa in the football department. Do you want to explain to them? Just quickly tell them what you’ve got.

Chris: Yeah. So, Woody pretty much said to me that I only needed to take that next step. I was just too comfortable in the gym. Obviously, he’d been to America. So, I applied and went through the stages and now I got an internship at Iowa university. And, thankfully, he allowed me to come on. I just want to listen to you all and keep learning.

Christian: I just thought I’ll bring him on to help him keep developing, keep improving his communication skill set. Hopefully, that’s okay, Jack? I didn’t ask you beforehand…

Jack: You can tune him with the rest of the listeners.

Christian: I’ve got him sitting next to me. That’s the main thing.

Jack: That’s fine, mate. We’re all friendly here. Let’s dive into your first question, mate. What is your strategy and philosophy? And how has it evolved over the years from a brand awareness point of view?

Christian: Listen, I’ll be completely honest with you. I’ve really never had a strategy behind Woodford.

The main thing has always been being authentic. And I think a lot of kids who come at a uni, anyone in general, you’re always going to have someone who’d yell at us. And for me, that was DeFranco*. He was the man. When I started Woodford in 2012, there was really no one out there, but Durham, who was doing his thing at correct me if  I’m wrong Bodyworld, I’m pretty sure. But in terms of heavy promotion, I mean, before I started Woodford, I was just doing it on Facebook. And I think the big thing that I wanted to get across was what I could offer athletes and non-athletes, so they would want to train with me.

I kind of wanted to give as much education, as much free information as possible, so they could actually use that and apply within their own training. And that comes back to just being as authentic as possible. Because people would look towards somebody and say, ‘This is the coach.’ He could be a leg coach. It doesn’t really matter what you are. Just being yourself. That’s the most important thing. I think a lot of people, especially when we have interns come to Woodford, a lot of the times they think that they have to be loud, they’re going to be like me where that’s definitely not the case. I don’t want another me.

I just want people to be themselves. That’s the most important thing, because people gravitate towards that. And I think that was my big thing. When I started Woodford, I was going to be myself. That was the first thing, regardless of what anyone said. I mean, so many people said, ‘You can’t act that way, you can’t swear that way.’ I didn’t mind fucking way. And I think that’s the one thing I’m very proud of, especially my self-worth in the brand. We’ve done it. I’ve done it my way. And that’s the most important thing. For everyone watching out there now, always be yourself. Don’t try and be someone that you’re not, because you will get found out.

I think that’s the biggest thing and that’s what I built the Woodford brand off. It’s authenticity and giving as much usable, applied information as possible. Because if people can relate to that and people can understand that, they’re going to come towards you. And I’ve even had athletes, Jack, who applied to Woodford for… They’ve even said 6, 7, 8 years. And they’ve been on their 8th year when they’ve actually decided to call me up or call Kerryn up and said, ‘Look, I want to come try to Woodford. How do we go from here?’ It’s taken eight years, but after that eighth year that finally happened. So, you got to stay consistent with your message and you’ve got to have, in my opinion, high-level training content.

Social media is such an important tool to use for your advantage. 

Jack: That ties in well, mate. It makes a lot of sense. You mentioned how important it is to be authentic from the start.

Christian: Yeah.

Jack: And I can imagine if you’re authentic, it’s a lot easier to do that on a daily basis, which is what your last comment was about, the impact of being persistent and consistency.

Christian: Yeah. I mean, for me, you can look at videos from when I first started to now, it’s pretty much the same person. People always say to my mates, ‘What’s he like? Is he like that in real life?’ I’m exactly the same person. You know, you can ask him that, you can ask TV that, you can ask Jared that, I’m the same person in real life, regardless.

And I think that’s the most important thing. Even for me, when I met DeFranco, he’s exactly the same person in real life. And that’s what you want. You don’t want to be meeting someone you taught for eight to nine to 10 years and they’re being completely different.

So, it’s important. That authenticity and you being yourself. 

Jack: And I think we were talking that you were going to follow a script, which doesn’t look like you are, but…

Christian: No, I’m not going to. I thought I should, but now I’m not going to.

Jack: No scripts. No scripts.

So, in terms of script-scheduling organization, things like that, how much of your week is planned and how much of it is off the cuff? On the fly? 

Christian: Yeah, I’ve actually got my operations manager next to me. Listen, my personal opinion for everyone out there is to get someone who’s going to run the backend.

If you’re lucky enough to have enough money in your business, or find someone who cares about you so much that they’re willing to put their life on hold for you, definitely give that side of your business to that person, unless you’d love that backend and you’d love that side of the business. For me, I don’t like that.

I’m not the best at organization. I’m pretty much off the cuff with everything I do. I mean, I’ve done many presentations in front of what? 50 to 60, 70 people. And I haven’t planned anything. It’s come off the top of my head. I’m not saying that’s the best way to do it. I don’t think anyone should do it the way I do it. But that’s just what works for me. I’ve just come from the heart. So, in terms of planning, Kerryn* will plan my week for me. She’ll get in contact with my athletes. We’ll put up in terms of planning the whole week out. I’ve got podcasts. I’ve got other things I have to structure up. But for everyone out there listening, my suggestion is: if you don’t like that side of it, find someone who you can trust, who can structure your time. And that’s very important to understand, because time management is such a big thing.

I think I’ve wasted so many hours before I met Kerryn, just wasting it, just planning things. If you can get someone to do that side and you can pay them, definitely do that, Jack, because it saves a lot of time and you’re a lot more organized as well. Because Kerryn will just call me or message me and say, ‘You’ve got this show at 12, you’ve got these four athletes at this time, you’ve got these podcasts at this time.’ And it’s really good to structure my week.

Jack: Yeah, I can imagine. And it’s great advice. Like you mentioned, you’ve got to know your strengths and then know areas that you need assistance with. And we all have a team that helps us out to allow us to do what we do best.

How did you come to that? Was that DeFranco* that recommended that, like in terms of systems and delegating and building a team around you, or is that something that just built naturally?

Christian: I think that obviously I’ve had many conversations with Joe about backend and my business. He’s helped me a lot with it.

But I think Kerryn with a background, I’ve got to give her respect. And she’s right here. So, I should always give her respect anyway. But she has changed my life in terms of always being there for me, always structuring up and that’s her strength. I think what you were saying was that everyone’s going to have their strengths and weaknesses. That’s the same with my staff.

Me sending young Dereck out to go to Iowa and the football department is huge because when he comes back, I’m looking at kind of changing up a bit and him taking my position and me moving back a little bit more, which he does anyway. Because he’s so good at his job. I’m just going to help him grow and help get more strengths within the business.

Then you’ve got Jeremy who looks after all the members we’ve got. In terms of staff, we’ve got different strengths, different weaknesses, but everyone’s going to have a strength, everyone’s going to have a weakness.

It’s important that you fill the weaknesses that you have with strengths around you. So that’s one good thing that I think we’re building within Woodford. And I’ve got to thank Lock&Cow* as well. And I’ve always got to thank Lock&Cow*, because they helped when Pier and I went there, they opened their arms to us as well.

And Lock&Cow* are being brute towards us. We really do appreciate them and Athletes Authority, because they opened up and talked about how they struck sharp. And without plugging them too much, Jack, but Kerryn and I would do the immersion program, which, I think, every coach should do in terms of the backend.

Yeah. You can pay me later, Lock*, but I think it was brilliant, because we came back from it even more passionate, even more driven. It was fantastic. I don’t want to pump them up too much because they get enough. But they know how much I respect them.

Jack: Nah. And it’s awesome for guys like yourself later in the industry to go out and self-develop and do courses like that, which is at leadership, mate.

Christian: It was brilliant. They are just great people more than anything. Honestly, just good people. I had to put up with you for three days. That’s payment. That’s probably true. I can’t talk about them enough, how much I respect them. And we’ve got like kind of odd now, all of us, especially all these guys here. I spend time with Timmy as well.

Helping each other out, which is the important thing in this industry we should do, because when I started in 2012, I kind of felt a bit alone. I know, I had Durham as well, but now it’s kind of grown into this high-performance sector. I’ve talked a lot about this as well. It’s going to keep growing and growing, and growing. So, I’m very excited to see what’s going to happen to the private sector over the next, I’d say, five to 10 years. 

Jack: Yep. And then the other part of your topic is standing out in a crowded industry. What are your top tips for coaches? 

Christian: Listen, verse one, I can’t say this enough, is using social media as a means to get what you believe in out.

I think so many people don’t use social media enough. Let’s forget about the algorithm, all that stuff. Look at my good mate, Jamie Smith from Melbourne Street Culture. They’ve started a new podcast on YouTube and it’s been fantastic. That’s another area where we’re going to pick up again.

We’re going to start my Sargun. It’s that YouTube area, which so many people watch. It has so much reach within involved, because if you’re going to watch a long video, you’re going to go to YouTube. That’s why all these other social media means, like Instagram and Facebook, they’re chasing YouTube.

So, I think YouTube is a big one. Getting content out on YouTube is a big one. But it just pushes across a message. What do you believe in? Show you athletes training, show your passion, show what you believe in, show your knowledge. Don’t be afraid about giving away free information.

I’m bringing back 2012, when I first started, people used to say to me, ‘Don’t give away! You can’t give away free content. You don’t want to do that. People aren’t going to pay.’ I saw it differently that way. I was showing people my passion. I was showing people my knowledge.

If you train with me, this is what you’re going to get. These are the results you’re going to get. This is the focus in, this is how much I care. I think that that’s the first thing, showing through social media what you believe in. But I think the biggest thing is, and Chris and I, coach de Cronis* and I talked about this before, is showing that you care. I think that’s a big one in the industry, it’s showing that you actually do care and you do want to get the best results for your client athlete. That’s a very important thing. Showing you care. Cause there are a lot of people out there who don’t care about results.

They’re kind of just doing it for the money. All these guys here, for everyone out there, they actually do care. That’s why they’re at the pinnacle at the moment. And I think that you’ve got to really care about your clients and athletes, because they will pick up if you don’t. So, there are my two biggest tips. Show via social media in terms of what you stand for, what you believe in, your passion. And the second thing is that you actually really do care. That’s a big one. 

Jack: Ah, fantastic, mate. Thanks so much for jumping on and sharing. And Chris as well, mate. Good luck at your internship. No doubt, you’ll get big things. And it sounds like you’ve got a step-up for him when he comes back. Is that right? There’s a development plan in place?

Christian: A big one, a full-time. When he comes back, he’ll be full-time at Woodford. So, hopefully, he can just take my role. I can just go into the sunset and do what I really want to do, which is go to America and just keep going with those big guys in America.

That’s where I believe I want to go. I know I’m going to get there. I just got to keep moving forward. So, I’ve got to find someone to take over my role and he’s the man. Thanks, guys. Thank you. 

Jack: Awesome. Chris Woody.

Christian: Thank you.

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