In 2009, Anthony John Amyx, Business Coach, put down his guitar to stop touring as a professional musician and decided to build a personal brand known as the #TwitterRockstar, where he trained over 10,000 people on how to use Twitter to generate leads and sales.
Along the way, he has been featured on CNN, BusinessInsider, CreativeLive and is a mentor to several of Forbes Top Social Media Influencers.
Today, AJ teaches entrepreneurs in the creative industries there is a way of living that defies the status quo and mediocrity. He wants them to know it is possible to thrive in the modern-day marketplace.
I started my business because . . . I wanted freedom, and to be able to work from anywhere in the world using a laptop and internet connection.
The thing I enjoy most about my business is . . . seeing the positive impact it has on humanity. I see the impact it has on my clients and their families.
The biggest surprise for me as a business owner is . . . my results are not solely driven by the things I do. I am learning the more I do the deep inner work of who I am being in the midst of my doing of marketing and sales tasks, I make more money while working less hours. This is very counterintuitive to my East Texan upbringing.
My advice to people considering starting a business is . . . do the deep work. Take radical responsibility for ALL of you. Every thought, every emotion. Every result. It’s all feedback trying to guide you to living in your greatest potential.
My older self would coach my younger self to . . . have unwavering confidence in myself and never look externally for validation or approval. But rather to source it internally, within myself.
Catherine Miller: Welcome to LIFT Speaks. Today I’m meeting with AJ Amyx. AJ has been a social media marketer and creative entrepreneur for many, many years. He was named in 2018 at HubSpot, one of the top business coaches of the year. I personally met AJ about three years ago, right after our ribbon cutting here at the LIFT Office. AJ helped us immensely. He set us on a path to becoming known online through marketing. He’s helped us think through questions that people would ask. He helped us develop our video marketing, Facebook ads, and increase our SEO. You really launched us into being discovered online.
Anthony John Amyx: Awesome.
Catherine Miller: In the process of the last three years, AJ not only works in the social media, marketing, and creative space, he is also a business and life coach. He helps people develop and move their business and their life into the space that they want to be.
Anthony John Amyx: That’s true.
Catherine Miller: Yeah. So. I’m so pleased to have you here today because we’ve grown a lot thanks to AJ, and I want others to glean from you as well. AJ has written a book. He is a former rock star. He had offers for record deals. We have a real creative guru sitting with us here today.
Anthony John Amyx: Awesome. Thanks for having me.
Catherine Miller: Yeah. I’m so glad to have you. So, AJ, tell us what you do that HubSpot would recognize you as a top business coach.
Anthony John Amyx: Yeah. Essentially at the root, it’s being able to help people make more money while being able to work less and being able to live their version of freedom. Freedom is this thing that everybody wants. Most people think we have to make money to have freedom and money does help us have freedom. But a lot of people continue to make money, make money, make money thinking one day they will have freedom and it kind of defies them easily. It’s the deeper life stuff that actually keeps them from having the freedom.
Catherine Miller: Right. Yeah. One of the things I would say that I’ve discovered in life is that you better live it while you’re working. It’s all one life. If you try to segregate and have – I’m going to work today and then tomorrow I’m going to go do what I feel called to do, then you may miss is.
Anthony John Amyx: True.
Catherine Miller: There’s no guarantee. Every day better be a mix of living it well, right?
Anthony John Amyx: Yeah. And if it doesn’t meet your expectations of living it well, it’s cool. Just align with the truth. If you are not doing what you would like and then just recommit tomorrow.
Catherine Miller: One of the reasons I really enjoyed working with you is because I believe that as an entrepreneur, you understand the struggles of an entrepreneur. You understand the weightiness of it, and understand what it takes to make money, to support a family, to move forward in that and I think one of your superpowers is that you listen, and listen really well to people. You connect with them and you try to help them get to where they’re going, not to where you think they need to go.
Anthony John Amyx: What I’ve learned from my journey is a lot of coaches, a lot of strategists come in, trying to fix people, and at the end of the day, you my friend probably don’t want to be fixed. You probably just want to be understood because at the end of the day, all humans just want to be understood. It’s very powerful. We can be with somebody and figure out where are they at and oftentimes – here’s an example. I had this conversation with a person on the summit yesterday. She’s from Alaska and she had this crazy blow-up with a client.
So, the client said, “I wanted to move from Colorado to Alaska,” right? So, she’s like, “I will consult you on going from Colorado to Alaska.” Well, they got to Alaska and then they figured out they’re pregnant and they went back home.
But what she didn’t do was sit down with her and be with them and start asking them questions like, “Why do you really want to go to Alaska?” because I bet she would have found out they just wanted freedom. They end up running a business that was a plumbing business in Colorado and they probably just burned out. So they thought, “Well, Alaska would be the escape,” which the truth is that sedation – you know, lots of people use alcohol or drugs or porn or whatever. But we can sedate with meditation, with scripture, with moving to Alaska, right?
All of these things are potentialities of us not aligning with we just want to be free. So then it’s like well, how could you just recreate the business or how could she have referred them to somebody, like a leadership coach, to help him lead his business and he could have freedom in Colorado and then he wouldn’t have to waste all the time, all the money to go to Alaska, come back, right?
The whole point of this whole thing is if we just take time to seek to understand people, we usually can circumvent a lot of Snafus.
Catherine Miller: Really what you’re helping people do, if I understand, I mean you go deep, so will at the end make sure that people know how to connect with you too, to go deep with you. But really what you’re helping people do is understand what they’re trying to do in their life and you’re helping them find the work-life balance that they desire.
Anthony John Amyx: Exactly.
Catherine Miller: You use great words like “financial freedom” and all this kind of stuff. But really, it’s to take a look at what really matters.
Anthony John Amyx: Yeah.
Catherine Miller: So, for you, what was the “ah-ha” moment for you? Because I know that in your writings, you’ve gone through some of those struggles and trying to continue this churn of striving and you’ve discovered a way to not feel like you’re always in this push, right? That you’re pushing a big boulder up a hill.
Anthony John Amyx: Yeah, thanks for using those words.
Anthony John Amyx: Yeah. So pretty much the thing that I learned is I went from growing up in East Texas to being in a band, to then that burning to the ground and then I had a choice. Do I create another group of people or do I do something different? Well, at that time, this was 2008 – no, it was not. It was 2009, 2010.
I loved marketing. So, at that time, I saw this potentiality for social media. You know, 2010, 2011, it was the Wild, Wild West. Nobody knew social media for business and so I bought a course from Mike Koenigs. He ran a course called “Social Media Marketing Machines”. It was like six-grand, I believe, and I didn’t have six grand. I was 24 years old or something.
But they did do six payments of $500 or whatever it was or maybe it was only 3000. I don’t remember what it was. It was $500 a month for six months. I guess that’s actually $3000.
Catherine Miller: A lot of money.
Anthony John Amyx: Right? So, I told myself, “Well, I have $500 and if I can’t figure this out, then I should probably just die or something.” I bought the course and I learned it, went through it. I implemented that information because again, nobody was in Texas doing social media for businesses and I joined the Chamber of Commerce and I got my first client for $2400 and never looked back, right?
So, then that took me from a place of going from a rock star into the game of social media and then I burnt out making I think $5300 a month. I had about 23 clients, but I didn’t know how to scale, leverage, all of that thing.
So, then I hired a mentor in 2012, hired Garrett J. White and he was like, “Why don’t you teach?” and I’m like, “That’s a great idea.” So, then I started teaching all of the stuff that I had learned from the trenches to people. As I taught marketing to these different business people, I would see one group of people get results and another group of people not get results, yet they both had access to the same information.
I was like, “Well, why does this group of people have access to the skill sets, this group of people has access to the skill sets, but this person has results, this person doesn’t?” What I learned was it was the life piece really. So that was a big piece for me.
So, as I started leveling up in my ability to process the deep life stuff, but I kept thinking that well, it’s the more tactics, more tactics, more tools, more tools, more marketing. That’s going to get me to $100,000 a year and what I found is it wasn’t because I found that if I don’t have trust, respect for myself, like at a deep – not just a cognitive level, but at a deep core level, I call this like the body set, how you feel about yourself.
Well, if I’m like, I got to go out of here and prove to the marketplace that I’m worthy or that I have to – that I can produce these results. Well then every opportunity the world gave me was more opportunities to prove, more opportunities to strive, and more opportunities to struggle. The breakthrough was when I had a mentor come in and say, “If you didn’t trust and respect yourself, then the world won’t trust and respect you.” That was an introspective moment. You and I were talking about this prior where I was like, “Oh man, I don’t trust and respect myself and if I don’t, then I’m going to cap out in my earning potential. Life is going to become ridiculously hard. So, I guess I better figure out how to trust and respect myself.”
Catherine Miller: So, this trust that you’re talking about, it’s kind of like that deep knowing. It’s like really believing that what you do matters.
Anthony John Amyx: And not just like knowing but feeling. Like you can feel at your soul of souls, your core of cores that you can produce that result, that you are valued, that you are worthy and then taking action, do the things, because we do have to do stuff. This isn’t like some positive philosophy of like let’s sit here and meditate and let’s sit here and pray and God is going to come down from the sky and the heavens. They’re going to open up and he’s going to grant me all my wishes. He wants me to go do some work, right?
So, it’s the intersection of those two. But it can’t just be a cognitive piece. We’ve got to feel that gift of God within ourselves and that value of God within ourselves to then go and do and create from that place.
Catherine Miller: For you personally, once you felt like you understood what you were – you were trusting yourself to do the work that you’re created to do.
Anthony John Amyx: Yeah.
Catherine Miller: What happened to you? How did that impact you?
Anthony John Amyx: Yeah. So, I ended up having immediately more sales calls, closing more sales calls, closing those for more money. The quality of the clients, they were just higher caliber people. They were people like you, right? They were people like Jay Croft over here. They’re higher caliber people rather than people who were just like me. I mean the world will give us exactly that which we are believing. There are laws of vibration here on the planet. You guys operating at a high frequency. If I’m over here, there’s no way even if know I could help you, that I can because I’m not at your like frequency level. I’m not here.
But if I can rise to meet you, well bam, we’re like intersecting here. So as a result, I just made more money by working less even though I was doing the same number of things.
Catherine Miller: Cool. I think that sounds great. Give me an example of one person that you’ve worked with, that you’ve started from the start, helping them with their social media marketing, with their – with getting the word out about who they are, and then going through to …
Anthony John Amyx: Yeah. So, there’s this one guy, he lived up in Toronto. He was referred to me and he wanted social media. So, he hired me as a strategist. There’s a lot of stuff that we did for him, the Facebook ad strategy, the social media strategy, content strategy and they had a big team. They have a team of like 40, 50 people and they develop $30 million a year in business.
They just needed somebody to say, “Hey, do A, do B, do C,” and they would go do it, right? So, they were doing that, doing that, doing that and they weren’t getting – they were getting results, but not a lot. It was just more struggle, more struggle, more struggle. So, part of me is like I like results, you know. So, I’m like, “What’s really going on?” Well, what was really going on is one of the owners and one of the other partners I guess you would say, they were not on the same wavelength I guess you would say, right?
This guy wanted to save this guy and they had built a huge company together. But this guy and the truth was is he always felt like he had to save his other partner and so we had a hard conversation one day. I was like, yo man – because he was complaining. He was like, “Man, I just feel like I’m having to take arrows in the back. Every day I’m taking arrows in the back, taking arrows in the back and I take them, I pull them out and then the next day, more arrows in the back, more arrows in the back.”
I was like, “Well, you have a choice. Number one, stop taking the arrows and let your friend die.” Not literally, right? It was just like in metaphor and sell the company if you don’t want to do it anymore or stop complaining and just take the arrows. Those are your two options and I got deeper and deeper and I was like, “Look man, you value loyalty like over everything, don’t you?” and he was like, “Yeah, man. Loyalty is huge. You should be loyal.” I’m like, “OK. That served you to build a company that generated $30 million a year in revenue. But it’s not bringing you happiness, is it?” and he’s like, “No.”
I was like, “So, now it’s time to create a new value,” which is like love and sometimes love is not conditional. It’s unconditional and the most loving thing that you could do for your partner is let them take the arrows. You could have an agreement with your partner and say, “Hey, here’s the situation of what’s going on. I’m taking the arrows and you can specifically outline those arrows. So, can you uphold these tasks?” and if he agrees to it, let them be in that spot and if the arrows come and he gets shot with arrows, then he dies. But that’s the agreement.
That was a huge like mind-blowing moment for this man. So, six months later, he decides to have that hard conversation because by the way, transformation my friend is not convenient. Like it’s never convenient. This was a hard conversation that had to take place. But otherwise, it was hitting the ceiling. Same thing, same thing all over again.
So, we finally have the conversation and he chose to let the friend die. As a result, the friend went out, raised funds and bought the business and now he has a lot more money than he knows what to do with and he’s traveling in Europe and then he called me. He’s over in La Jolla and he’s just kind of doing his thing, having a lot more fun. He has plenty of money to continue investing and doing what he does.
But that’s one example of hey, here’s one thing of tactic, tactic, tactic. But there was this underlying piece of aligning with that ultimately opened up the floodgates for him specifically because he’s the guy that hired me for this company to be able to break through that earning cap, that ceiling and get a very large payout. I mean you would imagine what it would cost for somebody to buy a $30 million company, right? It’s quite a bit of money and now he’s able to have more money, work less and be happy.
Catherine Miller: So, this whole process came about for you though by looking at two groups of people that you worked with, with social media, with all the different aspects of marketing. But most of your marketing is online and doing the strategies for online marketing.
Anthony John Amyx: Yeah, all of it. We do webinars and social media. But yeah, for sure.
Catherine Miller: When you would see these different companies and you saw – because you didn’t always go as deep as you do with this company, right? But the question was why this one company thrived doing the same strategy as another company who doesn’t thrive. And the bottom line is – just across the board, the bottom line …
Anthony John Amyx: It’s the intersection of the tactics with the synergy of the entire business unit. Those two coming together creates magic.
Catherine Miller: Right. I agree because if you don’t have the viable business market, if you don’t have the viable – if your work isn’t – there’s a lot of questions we could go down for that process even beyond personalities. In this specific case, there was a personality issue that needed to be resolved. But there’s – it could be something else. So, in order for marketing to work, the underlying – what you’re saying is the underlying business has to really hold up on its own.
Anthony John Amyx: Yeah. To me, it’s the foundation.
Catherine Miller: That’s right.
Anthony John Amyx: The foundation. Oftentimes, I believe – and this is what – I made this mistake myself is I thought well, the tactics and tools were the things that gets the result. Like that in and of itself is the thing that saves a business and takes it wherever it’s going, right?
Catherine Miller: Right.
Anthony John Amyx: And it will take you to a point. But if the foundation of the business or the foundation of the human being is built on sinking sand so to speak rather than solid rock, then you get results, you hit a ceiling and you either stall out or it collapses.
Catherine Miller: Right.
Anthony John Amyx: So, the crazy thing is, is you can still keep all of this marketing and sales going because I think there’s a misconception that well, if I pull out the foundation, the whole thing is going to collapse. So, then people continue just kind of maintaining whatever they have and maybe it’s even slowly dying and you can actually just reinstall a foundation and not have everything collapse because this was all internal human work essentially that’s allowing you to put in the right one and skyrocket.
Catherine Miller: If someone is sitting there going, “OK, I’m tired of pushing the boulder. I’m tired of striving. I’m tired of carrying the weight,” or maybe they’re not even tired of it but they’re like, “Where’s my breakthrough?” It could be that they’re really happy with their business, and they’re happy with where things are going. But they’re ready for that moment of breakthrough where it gets beyond just that churn where they feel like, OK, we’re in full stride now. What are some questions that someone could ask themselves? One or two questions that they could ask themselves that would help them evaluate where they need to attack the issue to get past that point of striving.
Anthony John Amyx: We didn’t prepare for this. We’re going to get down this rabbit hole and see where it takes us.
Catherine Miller: Oh, no.
Anthony John Amyx: Which is what core relationship in your life are you out of integrity with?
Catherine Miller: Define that for me. Define ‘relationship’ for me.
Anthony John Amyx: So, ‘relationship’ could be a relationship with yourself or it could be a relationship with another person. So oftentimes, let’s say for instance if I tell myself I’m going to work out and I don’t go work out. There’s a little piece of me that has guilt and shame and I carry that guilt and shame with me throughout the day, right? And at the deeper root, that means that I’m not honoring my word. So, if I’m in a sales call and a client says, “Yeah, I will pay you on Tuesday,” and they don’t, and then I’m getting angry at them for not honoring the word, their word, I’m also not honoring my word.
So, there’s a piece of that where if I start honoring my word, I can then hold my clients to a new standard and it’s crazy. The world will show up. Like I promise you time and time and time again, the world will show up and your clients will start paying on time.
Catherine Miller: I’m going to speak that back to you my understanding. So, what you’re saying to me is if I will operate my life and make the commitments – true to my commitments, the timeframe, the values, true to my commitments and if I do that for myself, other people will read that in me and show up in the same way in working with me.
Anthony John Amyx: Yeah. And as you’re going about implementing the tactics and the tools of marketing, the level of clients that you’re able to attract in your business will be higher caliber. The amount of money that you can charge will be higher caliber because these are higher caliber people.
Now that doesn’t mean that – let’s do a clarifying thing on this because some people are like, “Oh, so just because I trust and respect myself, that means I can charge more money.”
The value of the marketplace is the value of the marketplace. You know what I mean? I can’t just be like I have the most integrity, so therefore my prices are million times more than the marketplace just because. I could do that if I wanted and we will see who would buy. It would probably go very well, right? So, the value of the marketplace is the value of the marketplace, right?
Once you understand the value of the marketplace, all you’re doing is you’re overlaying integrity from yourself and you’re holding others to that level of integrity and as a result – you know, they have that saying that a rising tide rises all ships. That’s essentially what’s happening.
Catherine Miller: When you begin to self-evaluate, what kind of core habit? Because really a lot of it goes to habits, right? It’s like saying I am going to work out five days a week and holding yourself to that, right? So, what core habits did you see in your life that you thought, “I’ve got to shift these core habits? I got to create some habits in these places where I’ve been weak?”
Anthony John Amyx: I look at it across five things. I call it “thrive five” which is faith, family, fitness, finance and fun, in that order. Oftentimes we’re focused on this fourth one, which is like a game of finance. But if we can start looking at faith and that’s different things for different people. I mean that could be a bible study daily. That could be meditating dail, or praying daily. That could be going to church weekly. It’s whatever it is for you. You get to set a goal of what expands your capacity, your connection to self and to whatever you call god, right?
Whatever that is for you, honor that. Then you’re like, “Well, what would expand my capacity with my family?” Maybe that’s being home at a certain time. So if you tell your wife you will be home at 5:30, be home at 5:30. If you’re not going to be home at 5:30 because life happens, then send her a text message or call her and be like, “Hey, I told you it was going to be 5:30. It’s going to be 5:45. Is that going to be cool?” Yeah, cool.
So, you’re still honoring your word, right? Maybe it’s weekly date night. Maybe it’s a vacation. I don’t know what it is. Whatever expands your capacity, your connection with your family, do it. Maybe it’s a hard conversation. That’s OK. Then we look at the game of fitness. I have learned the more fit I am, the fatter my wallet usually is. There just seems to be a correlation between if I’m fit, my wallet is kind of fat. This kind of a crazy correlation.
Catherine Miller: And if you’re not fit, you might be a little fat.
Anthony John Amyx: Maybe so, maybe so. There are rules. I mean there are exceptions to the rules. Like I’ve met other people who aren’t fit and that do well in the game of the business, but there’s usually – in their family or in their faith capacity, they’re usually dropping the ball. Usually. I can’t even say there’s an exception to that one. Maybe you will find it, you know. Somebody who’s watching this, you’re going to hate me. That’s OK.
So, you got the fitness piece, whatever that is. If it’s five days a week, great. Three days a week, great. If it’s one day a week, great. Or if it’s just a walk, great. Whatever that is for you, honor your word and then when you are doing these three things, you show up in power in the game of business and as a result, again, everything rises and you’re able to have more fun because you have the …
Catherine Miller: In the process. Right. And things are better structured and you’re not feeling – structured in the way that you’re not feeling pressure because typically if you’re not balanced in those things, you’re feeling a pressure point at one of those things.
Anthony John Amyx: No, I mean fun like – so before the game of entrepreneurship Catherine, we had fun. That had nothing to do with business by the way. But yet when we come into the game of entrepreneurship, so many entrepreneurs think their fun is in their business. Why can’t they go hunt or go fish? Why can’t they go go-kart racing or to the movies? What’s one thing you like to do for fun? It’s purely fun. What have you got?
Catherine Miller: Oh, a lot of things.
Anthony John Amyx: What’s one of them?
Catherine Miller: Skiing. Probably this time of year would be skiing.
Anthony John Amyx: Skiing, awesome. What’s something you like to do here in Grapevine?
Catherine Miller: Friends.
Anthony John Amyx: Friends. Awesome. See what I’m saying? If we’re proactive and setting targets for these on a monthly basis, it forces us to tap into abundance because oftentimes, we’re like, “Oh, I will have fun when I do X.” But if you set a monthly target of hey, these are my targets for fun that are completely outside the game of business, it forces you to tap into resources and abundance and as a result, you will make more money and you will have more fun.
Catherine Miller: Right. I know for you personally, you came up with some very specific things. Like there was a turning point for you when you evaluated these things. So, was there a specific – did you just try to line up and create habits in all five of those areas?
Anthony John Amyx: I did, yeah.
Catherine Miller: So, you defined for yourself in each of those five areas how you wanted to change.
Anthony John Amyx: Yeah. I aligned with where am I at, where I want to go and again, I’m not looking for massive changes. I’m not looking to drop 800 pounds in 30 days. I’m looking at very incremental things. If I have not been working out, then maybe it’s just go to the gym. I don’t have to lift anything but just walk through the door three days a week. That could be a huge win for somebody. You know what I mean?
Catherine Miller: Absolutely.
Anthony John Amyx: I’ve been part of programs that are a part – I believe are so much forced. Like here’s the structure, do the work. If you don’t do the work, you’re a failure. Most high performers, they’re already beating themselves up all the time. They don’t need somebody cracking them. They need some love, right? So why not just give them a framework? We’ve talked about this. Thrive five. Whatever that is for you to expand your capacity, do it. It doesn’t have to be huge things. It can be small, incremental changes and you’re just changing – these are my targets for 30 days. Honor your word.
The next 30 days, reassess. Where am I at? What would expand my capacity by a little bit? Do those things and over the course of time, you will start seeing radical results very quickly because you’re the ones taking responsibility for your life and leveling it up and doing what’s required.
Catherine Miller: Yeah. I agree with that. I would say from my life experience, when I’ve wanted to – I call them creating new habits and I find all those areas are important in life and I find that if I just take a step and usually for me – so this is different for my husband and I. For Tom, he has got to dive in and he has got to go for it head in. We probably get in the pool different, right? He probably dives in the pool. I eek into the pool, and that’s OK. It works for me and that’s my process of creating habits. Yeah.
Anthony John Amyx: I’m more like Tom. I’m just like in the water.
Catherine Miller: That’s right. Yeah. He’s just in there. He’s cold but he’s alive and going for it and I’m like, “Oh, I’m just going to take a walk today. I will stick a toe in tomorrow.”
Anthony John Amyx: That’s how my wife is.
Catherine Miller: Yeah. But that’s OK. It all works. Yeah. So, if someone wants to get in contact with you and talk to you more about what you do, how can they connect with you?
Anthony John Amyx: Yeah. Just go to www.ajamyx.com. If you want a free resource, you can go to www.ajamyx.com/audiobook and there’s a free audiobook that’s called Mindset is Not Enough. It’s all about how high achievers are generating more revenue while working less and having fun again. It has been an hour and a half long listen and if you don’t like to listen, then there’s like a digital version of it that you can actually just download and read as well, so yeah.
Catherine Miller: Thank you for coming.
Anthony John Amyx: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Catherine Miller: I think that you do incredible work. You’re a great creative, and you’re always fun. It’s always fun to see you. So, thank you.
Anthony John Amyx: Thanks. OK.
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