From Agency Owner to AI Entrepreneur: Jodie Cook’s Journey

  • Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • Podcast
  • /
  • From Agency Owner to AI Entrepreneur: Jodie Cook’s Journey

The Unintended Start: Freelancing to Agency Ownership

Like many entrepreneurs, Jodie Cook began her journey almost by accident. Starting as a freelancer, she soon found that the demand for her services exceeded what she could provide alone. This led to the inception of her social media agency, a venture that she grew significantly before successfully exiting. Her story is a classic example of beginning with basic offerings and scaling up significantly—an overarching theme for many digital agency owners pondering how to start their own digital marketing agency.

Perfecting the Art of Remote Management

Managing a growing agency presents numerous challenges, especially when operating remotely. Cook tackled this by creating thorough manuals and processes, drawing inspiration from notable works like "The 4-Hour Work Week" and "The E-Myth". Her proactive approach allowed her not only to manage the agency effectively but also to maintain a lifestyle that afforded her extended travel, a testament to the robustness of her operational model.

Get your free guide on email marketing

Strategic Email Marketing

The Exit Strategy: A Lesson in Preparation and Precision

When it came time to sell her agency, Cook's methodical nature shone brightly. She visualised her end goal by writing a pretend check to herself from the perfect buyer, a strategy that kept her focused on achieving her desired sale price. Consultations with a business broker and other sold-agency owners helped her understand the nuances of preparing an agency for sale, including ensuring the agency could operate without her direct involvement—a crucial step in enhancing the agency's marketability.

A New Venture in AI: The Birth of CoachBox

When it came time to sell her agency, Cook's methodical nature shone brightly. She visualised her end goal by writing a pretend check to herself from the perfect buyer, a strategy that kept her focused on achieving her desired sale price. Consultations with a business broker and other sold-agency owners helped her understand the nuances of preparing an agency for sale, including ensuring the agency could operate without her direct involvement—a crucial step in enhancing the agency's marketability.

The Role of AI in Modern Coaching

In discussing the evolving landscape of digital coaching, Cook highlights the supplementary role of AI in enhancing the capabilities of human coaches rather than replacing them. Through CoachBox, she envisions a system where experienced professionals can scale their influence and maintain personal brands without the risk of burnout—addressing a common occurrence often referred to as the 'busy fool' syndrome in the agency world.

Achieving Maximum Productivity: The '30 Minute Hour'

Cook and her interviewers discussed productivity strategies, including the concept of the '30 minute hour'—a focused, undistracted period that maximizes output. This principle is crucial, especially in agencies where the feast and famine cycle can lead to erratic work patterns and stress.

Lessons Learned and Future Aspirations

Reflecting on her path from freelancer to AI entrepreneur, Cook advises budding agency owners to think expansively and not limit their ambitions geographically or conceptually. Her journey underscores the importance of strategic planning, from choosing marketing agency niches to understanding agency pricing models, which are vital for anyone looking to start a digital marketing agency.

Personal Branding and Scaling with AI

As digital landscapes evolve, the ability to maintain a strong personal brand while efficiently managing client load becomes increasingly important. Cook's venture into AI coaching tools through CoachBox suggests a way forward for professionals seeking to expand their reach without diluting the quality of their engagement.

Conclusion

Jodie Cook’s journey from agency owner to AI entrepreneur encapsulates a myriad of lessons for digital marketers and agency owners. Her strategic approach to business development, commitment to operational efficiencies, and innovative application of technology provide valuable insights for anyone looking to start or scale their digital marketing agency.

Questions and Answers

Q: What inspired Jodie Cook to start her agency?
A: Jodie started as a freelancer and gradually built her agency to meet increasing demand for her services.

Q: How did she manage the agency remotely?
A: YShe established comprehensive manuals and processes that allowed the business to function efficiently without her constant input.

Q: What strategy did Jodie Cook use for selling her agency?
A: She visualized her goals by writing a pretend check and consulted with a broker to understand the selling process, ensuring her agency could operate independently of her.

Q: What is CoachBox, and how does it utilize AI?
A: CoachBox is an AI platform founded by Jodie Cook that allows experienced professionals to create scalable coaching services using AI technologies.

Q: How does Jodie view the role of AI in coaching?
A: Jodie believes that AI should supplement the efforts of human coaches, enhancing their capabilities without replacing them.

If you want to listen to this episode as a podcast, click below:

Links to the tools I mentioned in this episode: 

 Full Episode Transcription

Rob Da Costa:
I'm Rob Costa, and this is the Agency Accelerator podcast. As someone who has stood in your shoes, having started, grown, and sold my own agency. I know just how it feels in the ups and downs of agency life. So this podcast aims to ease your journey just a little by sharing mine and my guests' experiences and advice as you navigate your way to growing a profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable business. Hey, everybody, and welcome to this week's Agency Accelerator podcast. I'm excited to have someone with me today that I really admire, someone who is living the digital nomad dream and living her best life, and that is Jodie Cook. Jodie is an entrepreneur and an author known for her insightful perspectives on entrepreneurship and on AI. She's the founder of Coachvox AI, a platform where people such as myself can create their own AI coach.

Rob Da Costa:
Jodie's also a regular contributor to Forbes and has penned several books, including the 10 year career. And prior to starting Coach Vox AI, Jodie successfully built and sold a social media agency. So we are gonna dig into all of that, and welcome to the show, Jodie.

Jodie Cook:
Hey. Thank you. We have so much to talk about.

Rob Da Costa:
Yeah. We were just saying off air that, Jodie, although I'm a lot older than Jodie, Jodie's career and my career have followed very, similar paths. So why don't we start at the beginning and tell us a bit about your journey in the agency world? Like, what got you started? Why did you start your own agency? And, you know, tell us how it grew and why you decided to sell it. Now let me just put a pause on here and jump in quickly to introduce you to our free bimonthly 45 minute agency workshops. These sessions are packed with value, focusing on the critical challenges you, as an agency owner, might face. From defining a clear niche to setting the right pricing, from preventing feast or famine to team building, we've got you covered. Each workshop includes an in-depth exploration of the week's topic along with a q and a session to address your pressing concerns. And remember, these are providing you value with no sales pitches.

Rob Da Costa:
So head over to dacostacoaching.co.uk/agency-accelerator-live-events. That's agency accelerator live events and save your seat. Okay. Back to today's topic.

Jodie Cook:
Sure. So in 2011, I was 22, fresh out of university, fresh out of a graduate scheme, and I decided to start an agency, but I didn't know it was an agency. I probably hadn't even heard the word agency at the time. I was just rocking up to networking events, standing up on standing up and introducing myself as a social media manager, And then anyone who wanted to talk to me about this new age, what the hell is this thing that was social media in 2011? Anyone that said they wanted to talk to me about it, I would get their business card and I would call them, and then I would carry on calling them until they agreed to meet with me and then work with me. So I very much I'd say I started an agency by accident because I started out as a freelancer, kept getting clients, and then found myself about 8 months in with 40 hours a week of client work. So I'd essentially created myself a job. And that's where I was at a crossroads where I thought I could just keep doing this forever, and that would be fine. Or I could start hiring people.

Jodie Cook:
And I took the route of hiring people. So, hired my first employee and pretty much tried to replace myself on the client work side and then kept hiring people, kept giving them my clients, and then focused more on the sales side of things, which is what I really enjoyed doing. So I don't know at what point I considered it an agency, but it was not straight away for sure.

Rob Da Costa:
Yeah. And you know what? I think almost everybody would relate to that story. I mean, as you say, it's exactly the same story that I had that I started out on my own, got too busy, and then kind of I don't know whether it was true for you, but I think my naive youth was on my side in a way because I didn't know what I didn't know. So I did all these things, and whether I do them now, I don't know. But I did all of these things, took the risk of hiring people, and then before you know it, you're responsible for feeding lots of people every month, and the stress has changed from one thing to another. Now I've Costa keep bringing the business in to to feed these people. So I think a lot of people would absolutely relate to that journey, and I think a lot of people start out just as a freelancer and then get too busy and, you know, decide that actually, I need to move it into a, into a full blown agency. What would you say some of the biggest challenges that you faced while you were scaling the agency? And and what did you do about overcoming them?

Jodie Cook:
So I would say, at first, it was very simple because I had one client type that I was going after, and that was marketing managers. And one offer, which was I'll run all your social media for you. And one channel, which was networking, it was just going to events, chatting to everyone, and and then putting people onto my spreadsheet and and following them up. So that that was, like, the very simple early days where it was just it all kind of beautifully worked and built up from there. I think when I started hiring people, it definitely brought more challenges. And one of the challenges, the biggest challenge probably was about 3 years in where I realized that I created this business so that I could travel and I could work from my laptop anywhere in the world. And, actually, I hadn't left the United Kingdom in all of those 3 years because I created this, like, prison. I kind of called it.

Jodie Cook:
I affectionately refer to it as the Jodie show because it was I was doing the sales. I was doing the accounts, marketing, like, admin. And even though I had this team of really amazing people, clients would still expect me in the calls, and they would expect that I was just there all the time and even kind of get getting me to send tweets and stuff like that. And it was it was it was a real challenge being the person who sold the work and then didn't deliver the work. And so that was probably the first time that I figured out I needed to make a change. And so the way I solved that was I threw myself massively in at the deep end, and I booked a 5 week trip to Australia that was 3 months in the future. And I gave myself a deadline to, like, really sort this out because I was like, it's not gonna happen otherwise. I'm not just gonna fall into this self sufficient agency.

Jodie Cook:
I have to do something to make this happen. So, but, yeah, we booked the trip, and then I set about creating a manual, like a company manual and and trying to turn everything into a process. So I think I was inspired. Firstly, I was inspired by the 4 hour work week, then I was inspired by the eLift. And just this idea that my agency wasn't this complicated thing. It was just a series of processes, and there was a table with 4 columns that was the name of the process. Who did it now? That was pretty much me. There was another column that said who should do it in the future.

Jodie Cook:
So I I created this dream scenario of who would look after every single thing. And then column d was the plan. So it was either train someone or hire someone or outsource someone. Outsource, like, find a supplier. Or it was just stop doing it because it was a process that just didn't need to happen at all. And so that column d was then sorted into most important thing first. And I just spent 3 months working through that list, turning every single process into an SOP, training people, hiring people, doing what I needed to do to mean that I could get on the plane and be on a 11 hour time difference from our UK based agency, and said that that could work. So I got on the plane, had the trip, nothing burned down.

Jodie Cook:
Everything was fine. There were probably some fires that other people had to put out, but then they learned how to put out their fires. So that was fine. And then that actually started 5 years of being away for 1 month in every 3. So me and my husband pretty much did that on repeat. We'd go set up in a new city, and then we'd come for 2 months and then and repeat, repeat, repeat up until COVID.

Rob Da Costa:
Wow. Love it. And isn't it interesting that if you hadn't have had that hard deadline, you probably wouldn't have done what you said. I think again a lot of people will relate to your story because, you know, we all start our agency because we want control. We want freedom, but we don't end up getting freedom because we desperately want control. We all we as entrepreneurs are control freaks, aren't we really? We will we believe that we can do it better, faster, quicker than anybody else. And in the end, that gets in our way, and we have to learn that actually well, no. Other people can do it.

Rob Da Costa:
I always say to people they're asking the wrong question instead of will someone do it as well as me. They just need to say, will they do it well enough to keep client happy to deliver the project, whatever it is? So I think having that absolute hard deadline and that thing that you really wanted to do was probably such a great catalyst that everybody needs to create for themselves. Not necessarily traveling, but just something that says, I want to change the way I run my agency, and and something's gotta give. Otherwise, it won't just naturally happen on its own.

Jodie Cook:
I've definitely did the I've definitely done the thing before where I've put something vague in my calendar, and it's been like, oh, maybe I'll do this trip then, or maybe I'll do that amazing thing I really want to do then. And then if it's not booked, you just don't do it. You find another thing to Da. Other stuff takes over. And then you could go your whole career never really doing the stuff you want to do. But I find that once you book it, things just magically fall into play. So you just you have no choice but to make them happen.

Rob Da Costa:
Yeah. It's interesting. I did an interview with somebody who talked about the, I kind of well, the 30 minute hour, I think he calls it. And he said to me, when is the time that you are most ever productive? And I just guessed this right. I said the day before you go on holiday.

Jodie Cook:
Oh, yeah. You're

Rob Da Costa:
absolutely right. And if you can run your business like it's the day you're gonna before you can go on holiday, then you can achieve the 30 minute hour, which is a really, like your tick talking it in a kind of a big level, but in, micro level, that's sort of true, isn't it as well? Otherwise, we just pontificate and let things just slide.

Jodie Cook:
Yeah. I like that. The 30 minute hour, the day before you go on holiday. Replicate that all the time. Yeah. Because you kind of need to because I think to get right where you really wanna go, you have to run every day with that sense of urgency. It's like this beautiful balance between ambition and contentment, where you're you're grateful for what you have. You're happy.

Jodie Cook:
You're enjoying the journey. But you're also like, okay, go, go, go. How can we do more?

Rob Da Costa:
Yeah. Absolutely. At some point at some point, we need to stop and smell the roses, don't we, and realize? Yeah. I mean, so many people start their own businesses, and they're focused on growth. And then they wake up one day, and they realize they're working from a much tougher boss than they ever used to have before. And they they're the last person in the queue to get paid, the last person in the queue to go on holiday, and all those other things. And then they fall out of love with their business. And you know, oftentimes, that's when people contact me because, you know, they need to take control of the journey, but they don't really know what that journey is besides kind of existing day to day and getting 20% bigger year on year and all those other crazy things that we tell ourselves that is a definition of success.

Rob Da Costa:
And I say, no. That isn't a definition of success at all. Is it?

Jodie Cook:
No. Exactly.

Rob Da Costa:
Tell me so the agency grew. You managed to take a month off every 3 months, I think you said. Did you say that? Or Yeah. Yes. What what led you to the point of deciding to sell the agency? Was that a deliberate plan, or did it just kind of come along as an opportunity?

Jodie Cook:
So about I think it was about 7 years in we got approached by a company that wanted to buy us. They they flew over to the UK actually from India to talk to us about buying us. And I hadn't really considered it before. And that's when I was like, maybe maybe maybe I could sell. I don't know. And that didn't happen for whatever reason, but I think the seed was planted in my head. But I just kind of put it to one side because I was quite enjoying running it. It was, had a really great team, really great clients.

Jodie Cook:
Didn't like, it didn't need me for a lot of the time. So it was, I would say, a true lifestyle business, and I very much set it up to become a lifestyle business even though we have, like, 20 people. And then in March 2020, COVID hit. So in I just come back from a really amazing trip to Miami and Hawaii. I was feeling really like, really quite like smug about the year because I was like, we know what we're doing. We're gonna grow. We've got all these travel plans, all this amazing stuff is gonna happen. And then at the start of March, well, the middle of March 2020, we lost 20% of our client base in 1 week.

Jodie Cook:
And it was like, what? And so it doesn't matter how many processes you've got written up. It doesn't matter how many SOPs you've got. You can't, like, SOP COVID. It was just there was no there was no, like, this is that the way we deal with this. So what I did was got so back involved, to the point where I was just I was I was there all the time. I was present. We got all the got all the team, kind of rounded the troops, and almost, like, presented them with the problem and just listened to all their solutions. And then we implemented every single one of their solutions.

Jodie Cook:
So we did things like, because we couldn't go networking, and that was our main like, the main way we met people and got new clients. We were just like, how do we just meet people? How do we get clients back? And the main thing was to save jobs. It was to keep people employed. Because think at the time that we'd lost those clients, they hadn't announced the furlough scheme, like, we didn't know what was gonna happen. So it was all like we wanna we wanna keep everyone. And so we went from emailing our mailing list, like, maybe once a year when we had, like, a year birthday party. But to email emailing them every single day, running webinars every single day, teaching people all aspects of all the social media stuff that we were doing. And between the whole team over the next 5 months, we managed to basically outwork COVID.

Jodie Cook:
We grew the agency back to normal size, and we grew another 20%. And so and we also had all those clients that had dropped off that were still we were still in touch with, who we were still talking to, and they were about to come back on board as well. So it was like such a period of growth. And in August 2020, it was it felt like another crossroads similar to the one at the start where I was like, do I hire or do I be a freelancer? And this time, the crossroads was, do I want to go back to having a lifestyle business and just do what we were doing before? Or is this now a performance business and I'm gonna take what we've done and what we've proven we can do and take it to the next level? Or do I wanna, like, do something else? And I think what I realized then was my ambition for the company was lower than where I felt the people in the company could take it. Like, I felt like my ambition was below their potential. And so that was the that made the decision to sell really easy. And I followed a process that I pretty much follow for everything, which is set the intention. Like, okay.

Jodie Cook:
We're gonna sell. I actually wrote a little pretend check from the perfect buyer with the amount I wanted to sell for with, like, the date and signed it the perfect buyer. So that was the intention. Okay. This is gonna happen. And then I spoke to as many people as I could who had done this. So there was a friend who'd sold her agency. There's a guy I knew who friend of a friend who had.

Jodie Cook:
And I just got them on the phone or went to see them and said, how do I do this? And then one of those people put me in touch with a consultant who prepares agencies for sale. And I had a chat with him, and he told me all this stuff they did. He was like, right. You need processes. You need a you need a management team in place. You need it to be self sufficient running without you. And I was like, hang on. I've done all this.

Jodie Cook:
And he's like, oh, well, you can speak straight to the broker. And so then I got put in touch with the broker who outlined the whole process for me. And he he just said, okay. It's gonna take 6 months. We're gonna do a one pager. You're gonna meet buyers and have chemistry meetings. You're gonna have 2nd meetings. You're gonna negotiate, and then we're gonna complete.

Jodie Cook:
And he said it would take 6 months. It actually took 6 months and 2 days. And the pairs that we sold for the exact amount on the that I wrote on my pretend check, and we met the buyer within 2 weeks of the date that I put on the check as well. So Wow. It happened pretty beautifully. And I think but I think it was because there was kind of a higher purpose and, like, a mission there because I was super excited about our team going to join a bigger team and and being able to use their powers as some for something bigger than my lifestyle business. And then I guess I'd started to think a little bit about the next steps and what I could possibly do without having an agency. Because even though it didn't take loads of my time, it's still that you could get tapped on the shoulder at any point.

Jodie Cook:
Like, I know the COVID could happen or anything could happen where there's a bigger fire that no one knows how to put out. So So I think I was excited about the freedom. Although while the sale is going through, you just never want to you never want to think that it's done. You always want to think, no. No. It's okay. It could fall through. But I think it was that energy of I don't need to sell.

Jodie Cook:
I really like enjoying it. That meant that the buyer pushed it through faster because they were keener to they were keener to get it. So, yeah, it worked out in

Rob Da Costa:
its own way. I mean, they always sorry to interrupt you. They always say, you know, never sell a business when you're feeling down about the business because the buyer will sense that. So, and you know, you've Costa you've gotta think that there's something in laws of attraction as well. Haven't you? If you you visualise that check-in that sale? Now were you tied into an earn out period? I like, I when I told my youngest guy, I had a 2 year I call it my 2 year prison sentence, but my 2 year earn out period.

Jodie Cook:
So we got 3 offers. One of them I can't remember what earnout that was. One of them was an 18 month earnout. One of them was a 3 year earnout. We ended up going with the ones that said 18 month earnout. And I got them on the phone and said, so this earnout, what do you want me to do? And they said, oh, well, we want you to do sales and stuff. And I was like, right. So I don't do sales right now.

Jodie Cook:
So you want me to take over the sales? You want me to manage the sales team? Like, this feels a little bit of a step back. And then also I overcame this problem at the start where if I did the sales, clients would just hold on to me. So I don't think you'll ever get rid of me if you get me to do sales. So they're like, oh, okay. Well, maybe we get you to manage clients. And I was like, okay. So I've got someone who manages clients. So do you want me to manage her? Do you want me to like, how do you want this to work? And I really just talked through it, and it didn't really make sense.

Jodie Cook:
And there wasn't really a role for me. And so we ended up having the same offer, but without an earn out. I just did a handover, and it took 2 weeks.

Rob Da Costa:
Wow. Yeah. You're the author's very fortunate. Just goes to show for anybody that's listening to this that that hopes one day to sell their agency that you've got to put all the components in place to make yourself redundant before you get to the sale, like Jodie did. And and that means that you you can you know, the value of the agency isn't totally based on you and your brand and you being there and because everything will fall apart if you're not there. So that's amazing. So tell me this next question. Did you already know what you were gonna do next? Did you know that you wanted to create Coachvox, or or what happened after you left the, the agency?

Jodie Cook:
So, actually, just on the earnout thing, because it earnout's almost like a big, horrible, scary word, I think, in the agency acquisition world. And so when I one of the things I did when I set the intention to sell is I also had in my head, start your earn out now. So I kind of I always felt like I'd done my earn out by the time we sold because I'd started it as soon as I set the intention that we were going to sell, which potentially helped that. But now I didn't I didn't know what I was gonna do at the end at all. And maybe on purpose because I really didn't want to set all my stall on this on this, deal going through and then it falling through because that could have easily happened. So when it completed, I went to the gym a lot and also did a ran a lot of experiments, like loads of experiments. I, I was just seeing what I wanted to do next because I I knew I didn't wanna just jump into a new business without really thinking about it. So I probably spent about, about a year running experiments of doing some teaching, doing some coaching.

Jodie Cook:
I wrote a book. I wrote 10 year career that you, that you mentioned at the start. And that was to try and that was almost to to close a chapter because, like, I was 22 when I started the agency. I was 32 when I sold it. And you're such a different person in that time. So I wanted to write up the manual that I wish I'd had at the start so that someone else could use it, but also so it kind of closed the chapter so that whatever happened next could, like, start from scratch. And then I did some powerlifting competitions because I had way more time to, to train. And what else did I do? I did a whole, like, podcasting, like, series where I went on podcast every day.

Jodie Cook:
I just I just experimented with lots of different stuff. I did a lot of writing thinking I can test this out as like a career. But then what I realized after all of this time is that I only really like writing because it's an outlet for running a business. And I only really like, like, mentoring because, like, I'm in the arena helping other people in the arena. But when I wasn't in the arena, I found I found it all kind of boring. So that's when it was like, okay. I really think I wanna start another business. And then set about figuring out what business that would be.

Jodie Cook:
And that became the summer of ideation that Ben, my husband, and I did together. And this is where we would go to different places and, like, diff different coffee shops, different restaurants, different cities, and and just talk about business ideas. But we had this set of 6 parameters that they had to fit within. And that was things like it has to be location independent, has to be good for the planet, has to be, an audience of entrepreneurs, has to have a potential to be a $100,000,000 business. Like, there was there were 6 of them. And we thought of ideas that fit within these parameters, wrote them all down. But, and this is really important, didn't let ourselves buy any domain names and didn't let ourselves go forward with anything at all. And we came up with 30.

Jodie Cook:
And Coachbox was idea 22. So we kept going even after we found the one because we were so careful to not get into stuff too fast. And I don't know if anyone listening can relate to this. But it's like, as entrepreneurs, we're so capable of just getting this thing, this idea, and then rolling with it and just putting everything into taking action. And that is dangerous. Like, to to do that at the wrong thing, that is is the worst thing ever. So both Ben and I were just very aware that we didn't want to do that. And we didn't want to get ourselves in a another 10 year journey where we were just that would happen without thinking about it.

Jodie Cook:
So, yeah, CoachBox was number 22. It sounded like it was a slightly different company, and now it's the one that you that you know and love now.

Rob Da Costa :
Yeah. Absolutely. And so when you hit on Coach Fox at number 22, did even though you carried on to 30, did you know that was the one? How did you narrow it down to pick that as the one?

Jodie Cook:
Yeah. That's the one so the the narrowing it down process is very unscientific. It's simply the one you can't stop thinking about.

Rob Da Costa:
Yeah. I love it. You're you're really fortunate, I think, because one of the things that I if I'm working with an agency who wants to sell, one piece of advice I always give them is they need to have a succession plan. And the reason I say that is because, personally, for me, once I'd sold my agency, the next kinda 18 months until I figured out I wanted to become a coach were the worst 18 months of my life because I'd lost a sense of who I was because I reluctantly admitted that my self esteem and self worth was based on my business, this baby I'd created, and I no longer had that baby. So I was like, hey. I'm Rob, and I'm don't know who I am. Yeah. So I was searching around I was searching around in a negative way to try and and I ended up doing a bunch of things I really, really hated.

Rob Da Costa:
But it taught me a good lesson, which is don't be driven by money. Because if you're driven by money, you'll never really love what you do.

Jodie Cook:
Yeah. And that I had I definitely had that existential crisis that's very specific and very unrelatable because no one cares that you've got loads of money and time. It's like, it's not a problem that anyone thinks is a Rob. And but you're there. Like, who who am I? I remember someone asked me and I met someone at the gym and they said, oh, what do you do? And I was like, I I can't answer that question. I think I actually said I can't answer that question right now and just ran away. And then there was someone at a wedding who told me he was joking. But when when he asked what I did, and I said, I just sold my business, he said, oh, you're you're totally irrelevant right now.

Jodie Cook:
Like, come back to me when you start your next one. And it was kind of a joke, but it was like I felt I felt like that at the same time. And then also doing the coaching. Because I I did a couple of well, maybe about 6 months of of kind of what you're doing now, Rob, like speaking to agency owners and helping them. But I think that I had a, like, debilitating level of empathy because I could feel all their pain of being stuck in their agency and not knowing what to do. And then because I'm such a doer, I was like, this is what you need to do. And then if they didn't do it, I'd get I I like I I would just think about it for days days. So that just wasn't I couldn't hack it.

Jodie Cook:
I couldn't hack it. So, yeah, it was it was about finding a new a new business to start and to really own and to just double down on on bringing that.

Rob Da Costa:
Well, let's dive into Coachbooks because, obviously, it's a platform that I absolutely love. It's, I'm investing quite a lot of my future in, based on sort of an AI coach. So just because obviously a lot of the listeners won't know what Coach Rob is. Can you give us the sort of elevator pitch of what the product is and and I guess. Yes. Go go for it. That's probably an unfair question.

Jodie Cook:
So coach Coachbooks AI is a way that subject matter experts or coaches or thought leaders can essentially scale themselves to infinity because they can upload all their content, beliefs, frameworks, methods, and have an AI model coach and mentor their clients in their style 247 when they are asleep or doing higher leverage things or just doing other human things. And within our platform, they, they do all the uploading their content and and training the model as well. But they also collect leads. So they see what their they see their names and email addresses of all the people who chat to their AI, but then they also see all the summaries and transcripts. And, this allows them to really understand their ideal customer, know their challenges, know their hopes and dreams, and use that to either get better at their actual role, which might be coaching, or to create more content. Because these people are creators. They've got content. So it feels like it makes a lot of sense for their audience's challenges to combine with their existing content to then create new content.

Jodie Cook:
And the goal is to be the ultimate AI marketing tool for coaches with content.

Rob Da Costa:
Yeah. So true. And I love the fact that in the back end, you can see what people are asking because we all assume we know the kind of things that our audience is asking, but it's not until we actually go and look and then check the answer and think actually this answer could be better. I always look at it now with the lens of is this the same advice I would give if I was sitting 1 to 1 with the person? And if it's not, then I go back and train the model to answer in the way that I would. I think it's super exciting. I feel like we are at the cusp of this AI coaching world, and a lot of people don't quite get it yet. They see it as a glorified search engine or they're not seeing it as a coaching session, and that's something I'm really trying to educate my audience on. But how do you see the these type of tools kind of transforming the way that, you know, agencies or businesses generally operate?

Jodie Cook:
So I think right now feels like the time of the personal brand, especially this year. It's like it's the buzzword, isn't it? Personal brand. Everyone wants one. And I think that the Coach Hox being involved in this sector of the agency and marketing world is super interesting and super different to how it was in, like, 2011 when we were running our agencies. Because right back then, we were representing brands, not people. But now it's all about the person, and people are buying into these people and their methods and their frameworks and their world views. And that's what they want to take on board, and that's how they want to build their brand and run their life, really. Like, a lot of people run their life based on frameworks of some guru on the Internet.

Jodie Cook:
But everyone wants to be that guru on the Internet. So I can see the AI coaching side fitting in with this way of the world. Because people who have spent all this time creating content, they could keep creating books. They could keep creating courses. But how are they gonna add true one to one value to people at scale? Like, it's with AI coaching. They there's no other way of doing it. There's no other way of scaling yourself one to 1 in that way. So I think that it's it's super exciting because it means that people can make more impact, more money without burning out.

Jodie Cook:
And the underlying premise of AI is that if we've got artificial intelligence doing all the boring monosomal stuff, we can do it with stuff that only we can Da. And that's what we wanna we wanna help out. We wanna help creators do the stuff that involves their super powers and not the stuff that they don't need to be doing.

Rob Da Costa:
Yeah. Exactly. I think that's so true. And, I actually see, because I'm old and wanting to retire soon, I see creating my coach box, which is called Ask Rob Anything, as a way of creating a legacy that can live on after I retire. So that's something, you know, I'm kind of mindful of. Like you say, we could write books and so on, but actually having this coach that can still operate. And, you know, I I joke to say that one of the five ways that I found to use my my, Coach Fox tool is the fact that it can remember better than I can. And so I can ask it I can ask myself questions in effect, and it can oh, yeah.

Rob Da Costa:
I remember that. And I find that super useful as well. So tell us about, like, what what do you see coming down the road in, like, the near term and then the long term? Because, obviously, I mean, I know I'm asking you to look in a crystal ball because the AI world is moving so quickly. I just reminded someone yesterday, actually. I was on my group call, and we were talking about AI. And I just said, just think, what, 18 months ago, no one really knew what AI was. They had a rough idea, and then this ChatChiBT thing came along and it changed everything. That was only 18 months ago.

Rob Da Costa:
So what's your crystal ball gaze? Tell us.

Jodie Cook:
So much. I mean, I think about this a lot. I think so a a big misconception, I think, about about AI, especially in coaching, is that it's replacing coaches because I don't think that's true at all. I think it's supplementing it. I think the creators that we have on board, they're extending the time that someone spends with them. They're creating I love this phrase, Ty. My friend, Talen, always mentions this phrase. He's like a marketer marketer, ghostwriter guy.

Jodie Cook:
And it's time under attention. Like, the how much time someone's spending with you, how much of your attention of their attention you're getting. And that's what I feel like they're doing, which humans can't do 1 to 1 at scale. And this idea that there are so many generic tools popping up, And if you wanted to, you could train Chat GPT to be your coach. You could say, hey. Start a coaching session. But people don't want generic advice. They want advice from individuals.

Jodie Cook:
They want to believe that they are aligned with the ethos of whatever person that they've got in mind that they look up to. Like, I I think the the personal brand fits in with this so much. So for where I see CoachBox, it's getting our dream thought leaders on board, but having them take the credit of their work, not just the large language models that are trained on their content that they don't see the benefit of. And then that their clients love the AI version of them so much that they think of it first when they have a question or a challenge. So it's not, oh, I've got this challenge. I'm gonna sit here and think about it myself. Or it's not, I've got a challenge. I'm gonna go read a book that may or may not give me the answer wherever I'm looking for it.

Jodie Cook:
It's like, I'm going to go and get an AI coaching session. And it would just be so unbelievably normal. And we wanna be a really big part in helping people do that because it's I'd say it's the closest to journaling that you can get with the ethos and mindset of the person who you really admire. Yeah. So that's that's, yeah, that's that's our kind

Rob Da Costa:
of thing. It's great. And, you know, even since I've been using CoachTalk, I I can see how much the platform was changed and evolved and improved and new functionalities come along. So it's exciting to see where it goes. I personally hope that at some point, there'll be an avatar version of an animated avatar version of me that can talk to my clients, and they can talk to the the platform and then get verbal and written responses so that it really does look like a a coaching session. I think one of the challenges I have at the moment is just getting people into that mindset of seeing it as a place that they go, first of all, to have a coaching session rather than a, you know, a place to go when they've got ask a question or even I mean, I had someone the other week say to me, not in Coach Rob, but in another program that I sell, say, Rob, you know, unfortunately, I need to pause my membership. You know, can I do that? And I'm and my first response is, I've trained my coach Fox on how to do that, so go ask the go ask the coach. But, people we've just got to train people more.

Rob Da Costa:
But I love the fact that we're sort of at the cutting edge with this stuff and the the bigger world has got to has got to catch up. So I think it's super exciting. And I could talk to you for hours, but I'm conscious that we are just over the half an hour. So let me just ask you now you're still very young, but let me just ask you. If you could go back in time and give your younger 20 something, old self a piece of advice, what would it be?

Jodie Cook:
It would be it would be think bigger. It would be set bigger goals, make bigger requests, and go to great lengths to broaden your thinking. I think in until 20 about 2017, I was so UK focused. And I remember I won in 2014, I won this business award called Birmingham Young Professional of the Year. And I just thought I peaked. I thought like, I can't get any higher than this. This is, like, this is my city where I live, and this is the thing I've and the the world is so big. It's it's so bigger than your town, your city, the place you grew up, even your country.

Jodie Cook:
And I think I would definitely give that advice to my former self. It's like the the places you go and the books you read and the people you meet, every single one of those has ideas and opportunity and new rabbit holes to go down. And I feel like I'd want my former self to be hungrier for more knowledge so that they could make bigger plans sooner.

Rob Da Costa:
Uh-huh. Yeah. Do you know what? We've had maybe, I don't know, 70, 80 guests on this podcast over the years, and I always ask my guests that same question. And we almost never get the same response. So actually for our 100th episode, we put a a like a freebie together of all of the bits of advice that everybody has said. And I mean and so no one's ever said that before. So that's just really really really interesting and and great advice to hear now. Right? Let alone your younger self.

Rob Da Costa:
So I'll share obviously the links to Coach Vox. I'll also share a link to your book. But if people wanted to find out more about you, where else would they go? Or is that Well it would go?

Jodie Cook:
Yeah. Coachbox the Coachbox is the main place. The main social media platform I'm active on is LinkedIn. But, I mean, go I'm I'm on jodiecook.com. So jodiec0ok.com. And if you wanna drop me a message, drop me an email. I would love to know if anything resonates or just say hi and tell me about you.

Rob Da Costa:
Great stuff. I will make sure we share all of those links in the, the show notes. I just wanna say a huge thank you for joining us today. Jodie's actually in San Diego at the moment, and it's super early in the morning. So I really appreciate, you getting up and being bright and bushy tailed early in the morning, and thank you so much for joining us today.

Jodie Cook:
Absolute pleasure. Thank you, Rob.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}