Dr. Sean Pastuch, DC, grew up around the fitness, health, and wellness industry. And when he graduated Chiro school, he ended up opening a clinic and a CrossFit gym. He didn’t want to be that Chiro who tells you, “You need to this exercise and be on “X” program.” Then, pat you on the back and say see you next week.
He works with people and athletes, who don’t want to deal with pain and injury anymore. And at the same time, don’t want to stop their training or don’t want to keep modifying their workouts every time there’s a workout that has overhead movements.
With hands-on experience running a gym that does functional movements and treating people with injuries or previous injuries, which surface from having to move functionally, Sean started getting busier. And because of his unique approach he also started getting requests from clients that used to see him but moved to another city asking for workout programs.
"Working with spreadsheets, we really only had the confidence to take on about seven or eight patients. Now with TrueCoach, we are confident that fifty patients or more is a manageable population without losing any value to our clients. We also have seen an increased perceived value; our patients get to feel the professionalism through the screen."
Dr. Sean Pastuch
Founder of Active Life
So he saw a gap in the market that needed his skill set, and he started doing online programming (on a part-time basis) in 2015 to help these clients remotely with anything from prevention or help with bridging the gap from acute injury, to performance.
In business and the way he runs his service, Sean’s mindset was all about optimizing. If there’s one thing that he hates it is time wasted on nonsense tasks.
At least, during this time, treatment and figuring out the right exercise for someone was easy, but the delivery of starting a program from scratch to email, to communicating, recording results, correlating a movement done 3 months ago was a nightmare.
And to reiterate Sean was running a chiro clinic and a CrossFit gym while serving his online clients.
Like most high performers, Sean is Type-A and needs to control his environment. And if there is inefficiency twice in producing a deliverable (workout program, finding proper rehab exercises, etc.) he will stop doing it and find a better way.
So when he started using Google Spreadsheets to write the program and deliver it. The detail required for each client when moving someone from injury to performance was difficult and time-consuming. He could only handle 15 clients max.
There was no way to give the time and attention to create a program from scratch with specific rehab exercise and manage progress each week to each month for more than 15 clients.
- Run a gym business
- Run his clinic
- And now, his online business of serving remote clients
The monotony of this process was a drain on his energy:
- Find, copy, and paste YouTube videos of rehab exercises into Google Spreadsheets
- Cut, paste, and change workouts each week
- Give specific but insightful answers to clients questions via email
- Retyping the same sentences over and over again for common questions
- Retyping instructions on how to do an exercise if there was no video for it
Then, there are the challenges like:
- Clients would find it a hassle to open up their Google Drive and go through the spreadsheet
- No immediate response from clients if they had a problem
- Searching for scattered information because some clients would do the program and text him (Asking him about how their squat form is from the video they texted 2 months ago)
Because his programming process is more intricate, his clients would start with a 9-day assessment. Then, based on the assessment, he would build their first week from scratch.
Then, the second week would be based on the results from the first week, and so on.
Choosing between having a “life” and coaching
Because of the need for data, results, and feedback from the clients he worked with, he spent more time creating the program and searching for scattered information rather than spending time with the client and solving their problem.
Through this realization he asked himself an even bigger question, “if he were to take himself out of the business, what would he do?” And the answer was, there was no way to live the life he wanted to while doing it this way.
He struggled because of time spread across running 3 businesses as well as doing the work. He tried searching for a solution that would solve these problems, but it was a waste of time.. searching and going through the process of trialing these apps (sign-up, learn how to use it, move some clients over, etc.).
In fact, at one point, he was planning on creating a solution himself until he saw a post from Casey (TrueCoach CEO) in one of the Facebook groups for CrossFit owners about making programming for a coach's life easier.
Sean was one of the early adopters, and after he moved his 15 clients over, the first thing he noticed was how easy it was to put up exercise demo videos into TrueCoach. He loved the fact that clients would be able to see him demo the specific movements. He felt confident that they were doing it correctly versus having him waste time to curate YouTube videos and link it up for his clients or writing a lengthy description if there wasn’t a YouTube video good enough.
Extending his brand with TrueCoach
In fact, Sean is a smart man, he knew the potential of this type of branding. For example, he knew, if you show someone how to Deadlift and it increases their lift by 50%... who do you think they’re going to remember? (of course whoever helped them)
So he hired media staff to film him demo all the exercises he programs in his client’s workouts. And once the videos were uploaded into TrueCoach, when he starts typing an exercise in, the video is linked to the exercise he gives. His client’s know exactly what to do vs. having to type out a list of instructions on how to do it or what not to do when you have an “okay” YouTube video of it.
Another enhancement to the coaching experience he could provide was getting timely feedback when a client finished their workout and made a comment. Plus, all the data was kept to that specific workout.
Now writing an email (using text communication) sometimes things get lost, words might be interpreted wrong (what you think and what the client thinks can be completely different)... so if someone comments:
“Hey, I’m getting this funky tingling feeling down my arm when I do this.”
As a coach, you know how hard this is to find the specific problem, so you can ask them to send a video by uploading it to that workout and have them point to it. And ditch the 3 back-and-forth emails it would take to try and figure out where the pain is coming from.
Compliance numbers equalts to early indicators of workout boredom.
Another key component that allows Sean to easily see what’s happening is the compliance numbers on the Dashboard. He uses this to understand if people are getting bored with their workouts, and more importantly client retention.
He looks at the 90-day, 30-day, and 7-day numbers.
For example, if your client:
- Starts at an 87% completion rate at 90-days then...
- 30-days ago it’s 66% then...
- 7-days ago it’s 50%
Then, this is a sign that the client is losing interest in the program, and it’s time to reach out.
With these tools alone, new opportunities started arising for him in a sense where he had more emotional energy because things weren’t so monotonous and tedious. And the feeling of this admin work when you wake up in the morning and go “Argg” I have to do [insert the monotonous low-value task here].
He was able to coach the way he wanted to coach and control the flow from workout creation, video communication, and timed follow-ups before things got worse with specific clients.
And from this turning point, he felt like he could break the cap at 15 clients while maintaining a high standard of excellence in the delivery of his service. What used to take 1-hour for him to spend on a remote client, now he can do 12 clients in 1 hour, increasing his impact 12x!
With creating more value and impact for his clients, this arm of the business grew from $1,000 to $15,000 per month working with 50 remote clients, and he still felt like he could have taken about 100 clients. Instead, he wanted reach and impact. He hired staff to help with the growing demand, and no coach on his team takes less than 50 clients.
And as of January 2018, he went full time doing online coaching. And now, instead of being frustrated at inefficiencies of programming and client management, he has time to focus on bigger goals in his business. Such as a mission to help his staff of coaches provide value to their clients, so they make $100k and work 20 hours a week.
Most coaches and clinicians, who also program, are trapped in a thought cycle that there isn’t a better way or a way to stop the countless admin hours that they could be using for higher value service or reflection on how they can drive their business forward. But you don’t know what you don’t know until you experience a new way to do it.