In this episode, I talk with Andy Lockwood, “unindicted” founder of Lockwood College Prep. We talk about the evolution of his business, his appearances on Neil Cavuto’s show on Fox News and his new certification program.
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Jason: Why don’t we just start with you telling everybody who you are and then we’ll get into it.
Andy: All right, Andy Lockwood, unindicted college advisor, out of Long Island’s New York. We help kids get into college and families pay wholesale prices for college. Help them figure out what the hell they want to do with the rest of their lives. I started a certification program to train other people how to get in on the college advising business without lying, bribing or Photoshopping included.
Jason: As everyone listening on the other end will soon notice, Andy has a flavor of humor that is really unparalleled across any of my life experiences. If you follow his emails, you’ll see that there is very little that will knock you off. I mean, this is who you are because you get some flak for telling the truth to a lot of people about some other people but you’re pretty firm. You know which way you’re going.
Andy: When you say unparalleled, that could really… It doesn’t mean funny. Unparalleled sense of humor, just noting that for the rest.
Jason: It’s extremely funny. But you know how those people add humor in, they’re trying to be funny but it just doesn’t work. It is so well intertwined in who you are, this is my perception of course, that it totally fits every time you do it and you take people way over the line in terms of business to places where they need to go. So I applaud you.
Andy: I appreciate that. I usually think of myself as… When I’m writing my emails, I’m as prolific as you are, but I do write a lot. I’m usually sitting here in my basement, unlike this podcast, because I was enjoying the green room and the lobster thermidor you were serving but normally I’m sitting daily on my own words and assuming that maybe one or two other people will think it’s funny on my list.
Jason: Do you get ideas on the spot? Or do you come down to the basement with clarity about where you’re going?
Andy: Yeah, I am not that methodical about it. I definitely write down a lot of stuff. I put notes on my phone. I have all these scraps of paper that I put away and find a couple months later. But there’s a lot of stuff that goes on in the news also which is very timely and easy for me to use. Talking about college-related subjects without the scandal stuff.
Jason: You’ve been getting a lot of material handed to you lately.
Andy: Basically yeah. A lot of my colleagues say, “The sky was falling.” I was like, “Are you freaking kidding me? This is like the best thing that could have happened to…”
Jason: Tell people what it means to pay wholesale for college. Just clue people in a little bit on what you do for people.
Andy: We have a few different businesses that are related and one of them is helping people get discounts for college. Whether that’s through the need-based financial aid system which involves doing a lot of financial aid forms and occasionally kind of optimizing where money is saved, moving it from one place to another. But that’s not a big part of the business. It’s like going to an accountant and having your taxes done. It’s a big pain in the butt for families to do that and do it right and avoid making mistakes. Even one little mistake can literally cost tens of thousands of dollars. That’s very high volume type of business. But it’s a hard business. Not for me because my wife, Pearl, does all the work in that one. But in theory it’s hard.
Andy: Wholesale means getting a discount whether it’s through that or it’s through identifying colleges that are most likely to be generous to how your child presents, not just grades and scores, but other stuff also. So it’s matching… And most of our clients earned too much money to qualify for need-based aid. If they are interested in avoiding overpaying for college, it’s more about the college selection.
Jason: Okay. In your world, there are tons of people who do stuff like that who say they do stuff like that. There’s a lot of noise out there for you. Can you talk about how maybe what your progression has been in developing your business, ascending to where the position you want to be and all the stuff you’ve done for differentiation purposes?
Andy: Yeah, definitely. I’ll just note here that you were very helpful in that whole process over the years.
Jason: Yeah. By the way, I wasn’t fishing for a compliment.
Andy: Yeah. That’s bullshit. You totally were. You’re like a totally different guy than you are in your emails. You’re like mercenary. It’s embarrassing. Shameless. Jesus.
Jason: Oh, you’re funny.
Andy: Cool it, Leister. See, I’m amusing myself. There really aren’t a lot of people who… I think there’s about 8,000 college advisors in the country. I know that stat because I did about 43 seconds worth of research before I created my certification program. It was grueling. There are far fewer people who are experts at the financial aid aspect of the paying for college aspect of it. That’s where we started in close to 2000 just helping people pay for college. Back then college is really expensive when it was like $40,000 a year and now it’s almost double for private schools.
Andy: The idea was I was going to do that, maybe get some referrals from people who are more on the college advising side which is more traditional. You hire a college advisor if you live in some crazy, mass affluent type of neighborhood. I was working with someone who’s a private advisor in those pockets and those are our people. After a couple of years, I realized I really wasn’t getting that many referrals. I was like, “All right, shit, I’m just going to do it myself.” I spent some time expertizing myself, which required a little bit more than 43 seconds, but not much more research. But I wrote a bunch of books also to create the authority for myself to force myself to learn this and went to a bunch of conferences whenever and those are much higher fee type of clients also.
Andy: We had two things, getting into college and paying for college. The biggest game changer was at a conference. I ran into someone who helped solve a problem that I had been wrestling with, which was that it’s very easy to go to college and learn nothing that’s going to help you get a return on the investment for college or help you succeed in life after college. The 40 or 50 years after college, not the four years, which is really what most college advisors and guidance counselors and parents and kids focus on. But that’s ludicrous as thinking about just rushing to the airport, but you’ve no idea where the flight is going.
Jason: You’re making fun of where I went to school?
Jason: It was just a page out of my history books there. Sorry for a second.
Andy: No. There’s plenty of other things I can make fun of you for. That wasn’t one of them.
Jason: Sorry for interrupting.
Andy: No, that’s welcome. I didn’t mean to rant. Anyway, once we decided we’re going to be talking about not just getting into… Because there’s a lot of people who will say, “All right, pay me $150 an hour, I’ll help you with an essay.” That type of thing. Our conversation is really more about the “What’s next?” Why are you even going to school? That’s where we started. So we developed a whole process, which again you helped with, which we developed into what I call P4, which is plan, path, position produced. Plan means backward planning, helping kids figure out how they’re wired and that could translate into… It’s never what anyone comes to us for, but it’s always the most valuable thing. Ironically, that really resonates with the clients that we want especially high-income business owners.
Jason: What is your experience opening somebody’s eyes to sell them something they didn’t know existed or to even ask for? Has that been smooth?
Andy: It is more or less. There weren’t huge hiccups. I didn’t try to figure out how I was going to… I don’t really sit down with anyone until they go through a funnel first, which is either a live presentation or a webinar. So that gives me the opportunity to express that stuff. I feel from almost day one I got a lot of head nods like, “Oh yeah. That makes sense.” I am very quick to point out, of course, like, “Your guidance counselor is not going to help you with this. This person’s not going to help you.” So I’m already selling against, not necessarily the guidance counselor, but the system. Like you do. Whenever you talk about educational stuff, it’s always stuff I agree with. Not professionally, of course. [inaudible 00:09:28], no.
Jason: You have a reputation, I get it.
Andy: I actually say the same stuff. I’m like, “Not everyone should go to college.” I’ll say flat out, I said, “We can help kids get into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, whatever and we do every year, but we also help kids take gap years and go to community college or figure out…” And I don’t really care where they end up. I just want them to be successful, whatever that looks like. That’s a different message.
Jason: When you roll that out, not only are you providing a ton more value, but I’m also assuming that that allows you to be playing at fee levels that these people might not be expecting? Or are they? Did you arrange this so that part isn’t a surprise or jarring? Or is there work that you do there too that you’re like, “We’re opening your eyes to this, we’re going to deliver all this value, and because of that, the fee’s up here.”
Andy: Before I get to the fees, which I always disclose in my webinars and presentations, I talk about not only the value of… But the mistakes you can make and I’ll quantify them. So I’ll say things like, “If you switch majors three or four times and you’re on the six-year plan at $70,000 a pop. Two extra years, there’s $140,000 plus you’re retarding your entrance into the workforce. That’s another opportunity cost of another year or two of salary. That could be a $200,000 problem that we can help you solve. And that’s just one of many problems.” I’ll use language like that to say, “That’s the ghost of Christmas future,” what I call.
Andy: Then it’s very easy for me to segue into, “Okay, so here’s how it works with us.” And I’ll have a lot of like, “We’re not right for everyone,” type language and one of the reasons is what it takes to invest to work with us. And I’ll say, “Fees start at $5,000 and can be as high as $20,000 or even more sometimes depending on blah, blah, blah, blah.” I also say, “I’m not good with working with kids who are spoiled and entitled and they’re not going to do the work.” And I do a lot of stuff like that, too, to try to make it seem like I’m the college that they’re applying to, where the private high school they’re applying to, and I get to decide also whether to take them on as a client. It’s a positioning thing.
Jason: So you ended up being a great deal even at a high fee level?
Andy: I think I am. I’m definitely not the most expensive out there. For some reason, that kills me.
Jason: There’s still time.
Andy: You’re the same way, right? I remember when you were way lower than you are now and you’re still not anywhere near the top. Because I’m very proximate to New York City where the fees are outrageous and the whole college scandal thing. The people were paying the guy, Rick Singer, a hundred grand or a million or crazy fees like that. When I come in at like 15, it’s funny for me, well for now. Hopefully, Pearl is not listening. It’s still a lot for people around here. It’s probably the highest for people around here or close to it.
Jason: Yeah, I got it. Can you give us an overview of how the past flows from stranger to client and has that changed a ton for you over the years? Or have the basic steps remained the same even if how that step is executed might change?
Andy: It’s been kind of the same. A lot of lead magnet stuff, whether it’s a report or announced an ad on Facebook, or a free presentation and then a funnel to follow up with them like forever. Some of the nuances of it and the messaging and the offers have changed, but it’s basically the same funnel.
Jason: So when somebody raises their hand, how does that go?
Andy: Usually, they attend a presentation. We have a sequence of following up for them. We also have another sequence for people who raise their hand, but they don’t actually show up. Even though I’ve tried to shame them into… I’m sorry resell the benefit and partially shame them into showing up. And then they come and we make an offer. The best offers are almost always a free consult, which we call a college strategy session. Then we have the actual session, which is a phone call, 20-minute phone call and I’m kind of scripted out to take charge from the get go but to schedule it ahead of time just a backup, they fill out an application which has a lot of questions on there that I’ve seen you also use along the lines of, “Why do you think we might be helpful to you? What’s your biggest obstacle?” Just to bring them into the awareness of what they lack that they may not have thought about.
Andy: It’s pretty easy to pinpoint within a few minutes or even before whether I can help them or not. People I can’t help I tell them, “I’m sorry I can’t help you”, which a lot of times ends up with referrals to other people because they appreciate that. I give them an offer and a discount, which we call an early action scholarship, instead of a discount, to get back to me within I think 72 hours and they [inaudible 00:15:11] they do a payment plan and we get good amount.
Andy: We’re selling for a high fee things. So my close ratios, embarrassingly, if you’re going to ask me about that, I don’t know if you were, but I don’t… Okay, good. Because I don’t really know there are anymore. I would say they’re pretty low. I’m going through a lot of volume right now of college strategy sessions and I’m actually training someone to help me with those. We’re profitable and we’re way up compared to last year.
Jason: Whatever low is doesn’t matter. Conversion rate as you put it. What do you think are the things or… Because you’re a pretty… For happy and go lucky as you are, you’re a pretty systems oriented person. You have a pretty clear methodical way to lead these people. Yet there are still… It’s like each one is so unique and the situation is so unique that they can come to your system and it’s not you’re selling a 10-cent thing off the shelf. What has been your process for trying to figure out… “Okay, this guy got to this point and said no, because…” I didn’t see that coming. Is it a situation where you’ve tried to improve it over the years? Is it a situation where like, “This is how the business is and I’m just going to run my systems and deal with it?” Or how do you approach that?
Andy: Well, in terms of the commonality, everyone has some problem related to college and they’re stressed out about it. That could either be, “I don’t know where to start” or “My kid’s not going to get anywhere” or “He’s not motivated”. Those types of things. Or it could be, “I’m freaking out about how I’m possibly going to be able to pay” or “I had the money but I don’t want to blow it all”. We sort that out initially on the application. I’m coming in on second base, headed for third on that. Then when we get into the questions about, “Why do you think we might be helpful to you?” I’m asking the same question in a bunch of different ways. They reveal more on that application. The process is the same, but the people are different. There’s self-sorting just from that.
Andy: To me, it’s working well enough that I have gotten to the point where I don’t really want… Until it stops. I don’t really feel like I-
Jason: [crosstalk 00:17:38]
Andy: Yeah, I don’t think it’s the highest and best use of my time to screw around anymore. Now, it’s just more trying to figure out what’s the best way to get more people in the funnel. Scaling, helping people, having people help me and I guess just optimize that portion of it. I think the messaging now is pretty good. Because I listened to them all the time. I’m taking notes and sometimes we do webinars like, “Fire your questions away with me and Pearl, stump the chumps. We have nothing prepared. Just give us your questions.” They’ll submit them ahead of time. So I have somewhere in my studio around here, I have a stack of 175, 200 questions, which are really about 40 or 50. It’s asked different ways. So I never have a shortage of material to talk about.
Jason: Do you guys still do your show on Facebook?
Andy: Yeah. College Talk Tuesday. We do but we’re just coming out of our busy season and we got very uptight and demotivated to do that. I’m still doing a lot of webinars.
Jason: It’s a super high stress kind of time cycle that you’re on.
Andy: That’s a big issue I’m trying to solve right now also. And you’ll be talking to Pearl about that, doing that thing. It’s not rocket science. It’s just really getting the right people in place to Henry Ford style the business. Pearl is more of a life or not doing that business anymore. I’ve suggested that numerous times after she’s unleashed a series of F-bombs about what’s going wrong before I creeped down the basement to do whatever it is I do down here. It’s like a throughput issue a lot, but it’s such a valuable service that I know we’ll figure it out somehow.
Jason: And they’re going to go somewhere.
Andy: Well, they may not though. That’s the thing, there are people around who do what we do, but they suck at marketing.
Jason: Unless they need it done. They want to do it.
Andy: So do themselves and screw it up or they’ll try to get their accountant to do it, but they’re all… Those are bad other choices. At some point, there’ll be someone who’s at least as good if not better at marketing than we are. So far we’re beyond capacity, I think.
Jason: It’s working. Awesome. Tell me about the certification program. You said you’ve been thinking about it for 10 years.
Andy: I’m a fast action taker. Is it like a Dan Kennedy thing, like the perfect clients or like people with a lot of disposable income but slow learners?
Jason: You said massive action. I don’t remember him saying when it had to happen. I think you’re [crosstalk 00:20:37].
Andy: Pretty sure it’s high income people who are slow learners are his best clients, I think. We probably said both situational. I got into this field because I was licensed into it by someone who was in this business. I was like, “Wow, that’s a good business.” I’ve kind of dabbled on and off, but after the scandal this year I was like, “You know what? Crap. I just have to do it.” Because this is an opportunity. Because I got a lot of… I had a moment in the sun where I was on a bunch of TV shows and trying to leverage that as being more prominent. So I was like, “If I’m ever going to do that, I have to do it now.” I just kind of put together a sales letter. It didn’t create anything but sold a bunch of certifications slots and now I delivered my first module last night.
Andy: I’ve got five modules total to do and I’m going to try to start joint venturing and finding other people who maybe they have lists of accountants that are giving business advice to, or who are financial advisors, those types of people who are looking for lead gen. That’s really what this is.
Jason: You already had a list of those people? Or you made that?
Andy: I actually did it from my own list. I actually said anyone who… I sent out maybe three emails and the first one was, “Look, this is kind of weird for me to ask, but I’ve been thinking about doing this just like I explained it. Is anyone interested in getting into this field? I’m thinking about creating a certification program. Just email me back.” And I got a handful of people and then that grew into maybe 14 to 15 inquiries and I was like, “Okay, I’m going to do this.” Then I sent out a bunch of promos and nobody bought for the first five or six emails and I put a deadline on it. Then I said, “Okay.” The day before deadline I said, “So I’m going to do a webinar for anyone who’s interested in this, just sign up.” It had like 42 people register I think for the webinar. At the end of the webinar and the next day on the deadline day that’s when we got like a flurry of people signing up, which was great. Gave me proof of concept. I was hoping for one.
Jason: Is this a crowded field?
Andy: I wouldn’t say it’s crowded, but there are easily a handful of other more well established outfits that do it. Plus, there are things like I think UCLA and one of the other UCs has a “How to be a College Advisor” certification thing, which is really more about the technical aspects, but not how to get clients.
Jason: Yeah, got it. Isn’t that always the way that it goes, isn’t it?
Andy: Yeah, it seems very common, yeah. A lot of other businesses, like realtors. For example, there’s a lot of people in my field who are mommies who had a kid got into an Ivy League school and now they’re experts. They’re like, “Oh, I’m going to become a college advisor. I don’t even know. I don’t need the guy that I worked with, the girl that I worked with.” There’s a lot of that too I think in that 8,000 number.
Jason: Yeah. What is your guide system look like right now for just how you keep in touch with all your people in what ways?
Andy: We have a few touch points that are baked in to ensure that people get the information that they need to get and it’s still not by any stretch fail safe. It’s a hodgepodge of different things that we’ve tried to unify. Besides the one on one type of advice, we do a monthly client only Facebook. “Here’s what you need to be doing now” type of thing. Sometimes we get like eight people on. Sometimes it’s more. That’s at the beginning of each month. We get a lot more views on replay. I do a monthly written newsletter, which for me the biggest pain in the butt to do.
Jason: Wait, have you been… Remind me, were you doing that for a while? Or did you start that in the last year or two?
Andy: The spring of last year, yeah.
Jason: Okay. How’s that received?
Andy: I think it’s one of these things where I would guess that most people don’t read it. It’s just my core belief. We have maybe 700 people total or 600 people total. It’s mostly clients, past clients, high value prospective clients, and accountants who are in a position to refer. But anecdotally, I think the second time I did it last year, I had a prospective client call me and she said, “My neighbor, Susan, handed me this newsletter and I liked it and I want to come talk to you.” I was like, “Okay, great.” And then she did. Then ultimately she probably ended up being worth so far about $15,000 to us. She’s got a younger child who I’m sure I’ll end up working with. I was like, “Okay, I guess I’m going to keep doing this.” Because I just paid for a whole lot of postage.
Jason: Sure. Indirect marketing. It’s annoying, but it seems to work. You just don’t know what…
Andy: Like you. You write, I would say prolifically, I don’t know if you’re doing as many newsletters as… You’ve been kind of schizophrenic about that, right? Do you actually enjoy doing it? Because I don’t really enjoy doing it.
Jason: The written one? The printed one, sorry.
Jason: For some reason, I enjoy the email one better. But the impact that the printed one makes is light years ahead.
Andy: You switched from the paid one to now you’re just [crosstalk 00:26:31].
Jason: I do both. Oh yeah, correct. No more paid one. I was like… This whole newsletter business I’d love to have one, but it just doesn’t seem to be how people want to be served, at least the people that I’ve collected. So I’m just going to help them this way and turn it into something of value for me another way. You get thank you notes from all over the world, which is pretty cool. Which is not for any hardcore direct marketer. Yes, you can’t pay your bills with that, but it is a stop along the path. I’ve seen it just work and do amazing things too many times to start telling the pennies and say, “When is this coming back?” I just think that’s really shortsighted.
Andy: I do too. I just got very lucky with this one. I also have an inner circle info thing where people pay like $97 a month, whatever. But it’s very small.
Jason: You send emails on a schedule? Or when you feel like it? Or what?
Andy: It’s not really scheduled. It’s never less than a couple of times a week. But the newsletter thing I feel like I have to keep doing it because it’s just so valuable. It’s a success trap.
Jason: It really is. When you got on TV recently, did you do anything to facilitate being noticed? Or had you already done the work?
Andy: In terms of what? Ending up on TV?
Jason: You being the obvious expert to comment on what was going on in the whole college scandal.
Andy: I think the best I can figure because I never had any publicity agents or I’m not one of these guys who sent out a bunch of press releases and tried to prostrate myself in front of people. I’m a go-to source for someone who writes a lot in The Wall Street Journal or MarketWatch. So that’s pretty consistent. When the scandal came out, I got a couple of phone calls from a reporter for local CBS who I’ve spoken to on and off over the years, who I get along with. Then someone from one of the local Fios cable people came and I was like, “What the hell is this?” But I did it anyway because I was like I’m not going to watch this. Of course, how am I going to say no? You never know. It’s a good thing. Because she said, “Wow, I thought that was very good and my husband works for Cavuto on Fox. You’d be great there.” I was like, “What? Fox?” How does that happen?
Andy: I got a little aggressive on that, figuring I don’t want to ever have regrets about not forcing the issue, I guess. Then she left, I was like, “All right, well, whatever.” Then I got an email the next day, “Hey, Neil would like to have you on tonight or something.” I was like, “Really?” That’s how I got on. He was great. At the end he was like, “That was very good. I’d love to have you on again.” I was like, “Yeah, how do we make that happen?” He said, “We’ll call you.” I was like, “All right. He’s just blowing me off.” On the car ride out… They actually sent a car that was fun. On car ride out here I got a call from his booker saying, “He’d actually like you to come in, not just Saturday but also Thursday. Two days. Would you like to come then?” I was like, “Yeah, of course.”
Andy: The second time I got in there he’s chit chatting, whatever, and we’re about to go live and he goes, “Oh, don’t fuck up.” I was like, “Okay, this is…” This is my type of guy. By the third time I went on I was actually a little pissed off. I was like, “I have to rearrange my whole schedule. This is annoying.” I quickly went from, “Wow, this is cool and going to be great for my business” to “What a pain in the ass is this.”
Jason: What happens when that happens? Does your world change in any way? Does the world wake up to you? Does nothing happen? What was your experience?
Andy: Well the phone didn’t ring off the hook or anything magical like that but I did pick up a couple of clients who… We always ask, “How’d you hear about us?” There was certainly a handful of people who hired us who are high value clients, maybe three or four I think, and then a few others that trickled in. Of course, I shamelessly put it on my website and all over all my materials and so people claim they saw it when they may have just seen it on my website or something.
Jason: That’s awesome.
Andy: Yes, I’m using it forever.
Jason: What are the kind of the things that you guys are wrestling with now?
Andy: For me it’s the scaling. I was trying to figure out how I get more done with the more consults and training someone to help me with that and finding a couple more people to hand off to. But the other way of scale is the certification thing. I think that’s a much better business. Honestly, I prefer that right now. With my wife who does all the financial aid forms, it’s trying to get her to delegate more. We just wrapped up our books for the year and our bookkeeper was like, “Your margins are insane compared to what I usually see.” First I’m like patting myself on the back and about seven seconds later, I’m like, “Well, that means we need to hire more people.” I can give Pearl more of a life if we hire one more person to help her with some of the menial stuff. That’s what we’re working through right now.
Jason: Are you still doing the tutoring end of things, too?
Andy: Yeah. It was still [crosstalk 00:32:22].
Jason: That’s a lot of irons in the fire.
Andy: Yeah. That’s the ugly, redheaded stepchild that doesn’t get enough of my attention. That’s another thing that’s on my list. I need to block out. I need to be better about time blocking so I can devote enough time to do that, but it’s growing slowly. It’s a six-figure business and right now I don’t feel like I wanted to give myself the bandwidth to focus on and start hiring more people and managing them. I’ve held off and it’s just sort of muddling along. But it pays for our office, pays for my retirement account contributions and we get a little bit out of it. Plus, it’s a lead generation thing and it’s also an upsell or cross sell for our regular services. It’s nice to have, but it really should be triple the size.
Jason: When you guys are thinking about scaling, are you the type of people that are like, “Let’s get our plan and then…” I’ve worked with people who, the phrase they always use was all in, which was some weird, testosterone fueled like, “Yeah, baby, we’re going to do this.” It usually ended up being like the dumbest, most expensive decision that they had made that year.
Andy: How do you know what I did?
Jason: I didn’t need to project it on you. I was genuinely asking if you were that way or if you were more reserved, “Let’s bust at the seams and then figure out what to do.” How do you guys approach it?
Andy: I’m more of, “Fuck, yeah, bro” not “Yeah, baby” guy. Totally different mentality. Way more level 11 testosterone. I think I’m just competitive with myself which is idiotic. I’ve got that similarities. During the middle of last year when I’m like, “Oh, we’re a little behind.” In the month compared to the year before I really got to step it up. I’m like, “Why?” Of course that exits my mind quickly and then I’m like, “[inaudible 00:34:26] compared to last year. Growth, got to have growth.” I don’t have any master of the world, delusions of grandeur dominating. But I would like to have more growth and I’d like to have more money. Personally, put my kids through college and take a few more vacations and pay off the house and stuff and debt and save more for retirement. I had goals like that. That’s really the more personally motivated than I don’t think I have anything that I need to prove or establish to just for the sake of growing.
Andy: I was talking to someone… This is funny and he’s not like a, “Yeah, baby,” type of guy but he’s a very successful entrepreneur and he’s bought and sold companies and he’s made a lot of money. He just reached out to me one day. He was like, “I’m not selling you anything. I just went to one of your presentations, I thought it was cool. Maybe we can chat. “I was like, “All right.” Either he’s selling you something or he’s like Jeffrey Epstein. I was thinking, “What the hell?” But we’ve become really good friends and he’s just a great guy. He was like… This a couple years ago. “Don’t think about how you can get to a million, think about how you can get to five million.” I’m like, “Yeah.” Because then I’ll be usually to get to a million. I’m like, “Yeah, you’re right, yeah.” So then we got there and I’m like, “This is pretty good.” That mentality whether it’s testosterone infused or not, that’s been baffling to me also.
Jason: Yeah. I don’t get it either, but I just learned it wasn’t my place to be most definitely.
Andy: You could help that. Ironically. If anyone could help someone get there…
Jason: I’m working on it. I think I’m pissing off as many people as I possibly can as quickly as possible, but it’s just not something that a lot of people want to hear. Certain people do. Certain people are like, “Oh, wait, like my actual life on this planet could be great, too.” And I could give up the idea of judging myself based on numbers on a spreadsheet or that feeling I get when I crush it or whatever words they use. It’s something that somebody has to decide to shift it around a little bit. Otherwise, you’re one of their obstacles in the road of the gladiator.
Andy: You know what? That’s crazy talk. I just tuned you out. I’m getting the five million. I didn’t hear anything you said.
Jason: I totally hope you do. I think it will be awesome.
Andy: By the way, I’m not going to say kidding aside because I can’t control that. But-
Jason: No, it’s not possible.
Andy: You said yes, for me coming on. Some of the stuff that I think has been very influential also in terms of my messaging is most of the time in your email is you’re going to what I call the higher ground and half the time I honestly can’t figure out what the hell you’re talking about. I get it but I’m like, “What’s he really talking about?” It’s not about like the thing, the copywriting thing or the marketing thing or whatever. It’s about the why are you here on earth and that type of stuff and that has been very influential I should say in terms of my messaging to quickly elevate out of the, “Yeah, we can do your financial aid forms or help you edit your college essay,” to helping you be successful in the bigger picture in the scheme of life type of thing. I think that’s…
Jason: Yeah, you guys really stand for something that isn’t out there everywhere. In terms of-
Andy: You can take that to the bank. Sorry.
Jason: You actually can. Look, you can, it actually works. In terms of growth, the certification program is obviously a huge lever point with Pearl’s work or overload. Is the leverage point just hiring more Pearls? I guess are there other big leverage points that you guys are aware of?
Andy: I think she’s a very high level person working on a lot of low level menial tasks. So we don’t need another Pearl. We just need someone who’s an accountant type of person, who is meticulous and understands a little bit about that. I think that would be a big deal. She’s also kind of a control freak, which I can relate to because I am also.
Jason: And it gets good results.
Andy: Yeah, she loves doing it. We both love what we do. That’s the thing. We were talking before about strategic coach and Dan Sullivan and one of the things I took away from being in that program was you have to have your free days and rejuvenation days and things like that. We do that. We basically work from home. So we’re always around our kids like you are, except you have twice as many as we do. You have a baseball team or whatever you got.
Jason: I guess by math I’m around them half as much as you are, but I’m doing my best.
Andy: That’s funny. Where are they by the way? It’s so quiet.
Jason: This is not my house. This is my wife’s office.
Andy: [crosstalk 00:39:29]
Jason: No, that doesn’t work.
Andy: Sorry. We digress. We get such great feedback when you do a great job for any client, but particularly someone who’s trying to do the best for their own kids and they get into the school they were striving to get into, or they end up getting all this money that they never thought they’d be able to get or we negotiate for them or something. They’re so happy and it’s so gratifying to get that feedback from them. It makes us get out of bed every day. I’d say it’s a very cool, emotional capital type of payment, not just monetary payment. So we love it and I think we should be in this for another 20 years or so. There’s no reason to not be in it anymore, but she’s doing a lot of low level tasks right now. So I was finding getting her out of that, which we’ve made strides in, but she needs to go a lot further.
Jason: In your business, what would you say is the best and highest use of your time? In your mind, what do you do best than anybody?
Andy: The top two things are really the marketing stuff as well as finding clients and selling. I guess that’s really two things, but I consider that one thing. I really also enjoy coaching kids. I think it’s great. Then I sort of thinking about the business and the structures and that type of stuff, that’s probably something I’m good at but not in the top two.
Jason: Yeah, sure. Do you still do a lot of local events?
Jason: What has that been like over the last couple of years in terms of getting people there? Is that simple? Is it a challenge? Has it changed?
Andy: It’s usually not a challenge because I’ve developed a pretty good list of local opt-ins. I’m not looking for 5,000 people at a venue. I’m looking for like 40, 18 families, 30 or 40 people and it’s great. The webinar’s even better in terms of the number of people.
Jason: When did you start doing the webinars?
Andy: Probably five or six years ago. It was right around when webinar jam came out. It was so glitchy and I remember being so frustrated, but now they’re okay. They’re not perfect, but it was right around then.
Jason: And you mix in some live ones or not usually?
Andy: The webinars?
Andy: They’re mostly live. I do have a lot of canned ones that are fake live. What I’ve started doing is I’ll come on camera and I’ll say some introductory stuff and I’ll say, “Okay, I’m going to go to my slides now.” Then when I switch to the slides, that’s really injecting a video in there that I’ve already prerecorded.
Jason: [inaudible 00:42:26]
Andy: Yeah, exactly. I go upstairs and say to my kids, I’m like, “Hey, I’m doing a webinar now guys. Isn’t that cool?” They’re like, “Yeah, shut up.” That’s generally the protocol.
Jason: How many kids do you have, I forget?
Jason: And they’re older? College age?
Andy: Bigger than I am. I’ve got two in college and two on the way.
Jason: Yeah. Got it. Okay. When we work together a little while ago, we talked a lot about documenting… I forget what terms we used… A story that you take people on?
Jason: Whatever happened with that? If anything, did you think about it? Did it resonate with people or not? Did it change the way you thought?
Andy: I think one of the things that we worked on was that system, the P4 system, which really is kind of the soup to nuts journey that they go on. Another thing that was a great idea that I started doing, but then I was like, it’s a bright, shiny object. I have to set it aside for now. I still have all my notes on it. I was actually looking at it the other day is I’m coming up with like a fable, a parable, which is Man in Babylon type of thing. I remember we got kind of hung up on what the hell to call it.
Jason: That is usually the trouble, isn’t it? Yes.
Andy: I guess. Yeah. It was like the happiest college mom or the happiest freshman.
Jason: I can tell you the title, man. I’ve done a couple different takes at those with people and some have been enormous homeruns and when you get the title wrong, it’s terrible. Especially when you printed like 100,000 of them.
Andy: Yeah. I’ve never done that. I’ve always [inaudible 00:44:17] my books on Amazon. I’m like, let them go with it.
Jason: That’s smart.
Andy: Let’s do it.
Jason: It really does transport people. I remember how I feel when I read those books. You get imbued with this energy that you just think your life is going to change and it can, just doesn’t the next day.
Andy: It’s definitely a different type of feeling. I have a book called How to Pay Wholesale for College, which is basically financial aid strategies and a bunch of snarky jokes. That gets me leads, but it’s not the same type of thing as what we talked about doing. What I intended to do was… I’m looking at it right now on my notebook. I outlined a bunch of chapters. I didn’t finish them, but I know what they’re all going to be and I was going to basically just outline them and speak, record, transcribe, and edit and be done with it. I’m probably three quarters away through the actual chapters. Honestly, it’s probably been what? Two years if I think about it.
Jason: That’s all right. Better late as Amtrak always says.
Andy: Better late, period. I wrote a book actually called, which was really a revision after the college scandal called How to Get Into Your Dream School Without Lying, Bribing, or Photoshopping. That took precedence.
Jason: Two things. Number one, tell me if you’ve always allowed your humor to come into what you’re doing in business. My guess is you can’t help it. Number two, your ability, and sure it depends on the industry, but your ability and facility with jumping on events in a way that it’s not… You could say it’s gimmicky, but it’s the way you do it is always so strong. Is that like a natural ability? Or do you really think through strategically how to use what’s swirling around in the world to get people’s attention? Because I think you’d do it really well.
Andy: All right, thanks. Correct on one. I can’t help it. I probably could help it. I don’t want to help with the sense of humor thing, so I don’t know where one begins, the other one ends. In terms of the stuff, current events or other opportunities, I think I’m okay at that. I feel I might see 10% to 20% of the strategic aspect of it, but I’m like, “That’s good enough. I’m just going to do it.” Maybe this will happen, maybe I’ll get publicity, maybe whatever. I definitely don’t overthink it. I wouldn’t consider myself a great chess strategist or something like that.
Jason: It just seems to come really naturally to you. You do it in ways that they’re over the top enough to shock someone out of the stupor, their social media and mundane live induced stupor. It really gets your attention on you and then you say something really profound, like you were mentioning, you’ve kind of gone to a new level of communicating, the depth of the journey that you help take people on. I think it’s a cool combination because two worlds that may not belong together, you smashed together. It’s like peanut butter cup. It’s pretty good.
Andy: I haven’t thought of it that way, but that’s great. I think that’s exactly I’m trying. I’m trying to cut through the clutter. I wrote an email the other day, high school principal to Lockwood calling drop dead, which is obviously a…
Jason: You do get some heat for this by the way.
Andy: Yeah, that was a recycled one by the way. I guess I have to just email this again. Basically it was a hate mail I got from some idiot high school principal objecting to how I was bashing high schools and guidance counselors and all that. Then I got so much positive response from people saying, “Oh, that was so great.” Whatever. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to interrupt their patterns and then tie it into something. In this case, I was trying to tie it into our monthly inner circle membership. I’ve sold one. It wasn’t like a big windfall, but I got people booking consultations with me about one-on-one stuff, which is also an option.
Jason: I think it’s pretty cool. That is like incomparable expert thing. You’re demonstrating who you are and you’re doing things that people would probably say you shouldn’t do to sell high value things. For anybody listening who thinks they have to be a certain way other than what they are, you’re just [inaudible 00:49:14] in the opposite direction. You can be exactly who you are in a smart way and it doesn’t matter how many dollar signs are attached to what you do.
Andy: Yeah. I looked at that way and I’m also demonstrating who I’m not. Everyone’s got something to sell against, like you sell against the system or whatever, and I’m selling against the high school system or dumb guidance counselors or dumb parents or dumb principals or whatever. I think that’s just as valuable also to polarize.
Jason: Are you guys goal-oriented people? Or are you just trying to enjoy every day? How would you describe-
Andy: I’m definitely goal-oriented and my wife is not as much. Although she’s a very highly motivated, high achieving person, she’s not someone… I’ll say, “Okay, so it’s 2020. I want to try to get the business to… What do you think three million?” That type of conversation. Circling back to that and she’ll be like, “Yeah, okay. I just want to pay my bills.”
Jason: You guys make a great team. It’s how you are on camera. How close is that to real life? Was that real?
Andy: She’s such a bitch off camera.
Jason: You’re terrible. I’m going to-
Andy: You can’t tell her.
Jason: When she gets this in her mail box.
Andy: I’m totally cringing as I… I couldn’t even say it with a straight face. No, it’s literally exactly the same.
Jason: That’s awesome.
Andy: I don’t even love doing it by the way. When we’re on that, it is fun, but it’s not like I feel like I have to document everything we do on social media or something. I just feel there’s a real value in elevating our authority and likeability. There’s a lot of people who prefer her way more than me and relate to her better. We have a lot of women business owners and people like that who I think really… She was on the phone for two hours yesterday, which is very unusual for her with a client from California who had found us that way, who was a self-made… She and her husband met. They were both on welfare growing up and now they own all this property on these… A couple of businesses and stuff and they totally hit it off. I think that’s a direct result of expressing that personality possibly only on Facebook, but definitely other stuff too. The webinars, I guess.
Jason: Yeah, you can’t put that into words always on a page so easily.
Andy: No. Let me say one more thing. This is also a Jason thing by the way I forgot to mention this before. Another big thing that I took away, and I’m trying to mention this prominently in my certification class, is he used to have a line or something about how instead of chasing people around, you’re sort of putting out all this content. You’ve got all this people orbiting around you on your list, and then occasionally they dropped down and engage with you and then something happens. Maybe they go back or maybe they engage with you for a business relationship or something. That’s how I feel like we do stuff because I have people who have been on my list for years and years and years. I don’t know how many years I’ve been on your list, but it’s been years and they’ll say, “I saw you speak at the Huntington Library seven years ago and I was looking at all these people in the front of the room and they’re all stressed out. I’m not going to be like that. So here it is.”
Andy: Three years later and now my kid’s going into 10th grade and I’ve been to a bunch of webinars. I’ve been to this, been to that. So I’m just constantly putting stuff out there not necessarily like, “Act now, we’ve got six spots left” and “Carts close at 1159.59.” I hardly ever do stuff like that, but it all works.
Jason: I think that’s just how humans are. It always was odd to me when someone showed up and said, “We got to sell 1500 of these and we’re going to make it happen, man.” To me, that was just so odd. Some people did it sometimes and so that was enough for everybody else to think that this was a smart thing to do. I’m sure in your business… Like you just mentioned, I have kids with brothers and sisters that aren’t helping. You selling matters no more than how the sale happens. Because how the sale happens determines if the next one’s going to happen. It’s always just made sense to me that you would treat people that way.
Andy: Listen, I love the idea of doing a webinar and all these emails and stuff and making seven figures off that. I know that’s a lot of work. I’m sure you know people, I know people will do that. I don’t think my business is particularly… It lends itself to that. My personality really lends itself for that either, frankly.
Jason: No, I totally agree. Plus like when the fruit’s ready to come and everybody’s happy and. It’s not that the results are different, it’s just that they’re displaced generally by time.
Andy: Okay. By the way, it’s not to be confused with having real scarcity. You have real scarcity. I have real scarcity and I’ll say it like that. All year. Well for the last three months, I’ve been saying for kids graduating 2021 I will take on a maximum of 24 families. Right now as of today, I have 20 spots filled. There’s four left and we have other people who can help you at a slightly lower investment. I just personally can’t do that. Will I revisit that? Probably. That is on the new side but it’s genuine. I’m not, I’m trying to scale. I’m trying to get out of as much… I’m in the business too much. I’m trying to get out of it and be more at the higher level doing the marketing and handing off more.
Jason: Last question. What do you know this year that you didn’t know last year that’s valuable?
Andy: Wow. So Dick Cavett.
Jason: Is it?
Andy: I was just trying to come up with a random talk show guy. We’re recording the seven days in. I don’t know if I know anything that I can pinpoint that is more valuable. I definitely feel… It’s more of a feeling on the knowledge. I think my certification program because I have now gotten more than one sale. I was trying to get one. We got like a dozen. It’s opened my eyes to I need to be doing more to promote that business because I really love doing it. I love putting my materials together. It’s sort of like what would you do, coaching people how to improve their businesses so they can live a better life, more freedom, more money, that type of stuff.
Andy: The first guy I spoke to… As I said, before you go in the program they sign up and I said the first thing we should do is do a deep dive conversation so I can hear about your goals and I want to make sure that you get everything out of the course that you signed up for. And if I have to adjust things, I’m going to do that based on our conversation. The first guy that I spoke to, I asked him what his background was and he says, “Well I have a PhD from Princeton and I’m a college professor.” I’m like, “Holy crap, this is awesome.” I’m chasing the Princeton guy.
Jason: Who certified the certifier, by the way.
Andy: You can’t go back too deep because there ain’t nothing there. I knew that already, but it’s like new information that I learned this year. It was holy shit, slap in the face moment where I’m like, “Yeah.” it’s so obvious that there’s so many people out there who if I get in front of them are right for this type of program. In his case, he’s trying to get at the B.S. administrative political stuff, teaching in college, teaching in high school, also trading hours for dollars. That type of thing.
Jason: Yeah, that’s an awesome way to impact people and multiply all at the same time. That’s pretty cool.
Andy: Yeah, it’s not like I invented it. I’m always kicking myself like, why didn’t I do this like for real five or six years ago, but I don’t think I was really ready for it. Certainly our financial results, which in a lot of it’s in your head, but I think objectively speaking the last couple of years we’ve done really well. I was going to say crush it, but there’s too much testosterone there. Crushed it, bro.
Jason: Hey, you just be you. That’s totally fine.
Andy: You do you, my frat.
Jason: 11 on the testosterone scale is fine.
Andy: It’s been 30 seconds I just made another seven figures. I subscribed to a couple of guys like that and I actually really appreciate them, but then after like the fifth or sixth message like that I’m like, “All right, come on.”
Jason: Yeah. I think it’s hard to do long-term relationship with that. I don’t know what that looks like. I don’t know that it exists. Maybe it does. I don’t know.
Andy: I’m scaling to 24 mil, bro.
Jason: That’s funny. Okay. Thanks for coming on. The last thing you have to do is tell everybody where to find you so they can harass you for all the jokes that you told.
Andy: We’re really wrapping up now? I had like an all-nighter plan. It’s kind of a change in plans.
Jason: I just got this text from Pearl.
Andy: That’d be funny. She’s not yelling. She’s listening outside the door. Our website is Lockwood College Prep dot com. A real long story behind the name. I’m sorry.
Jason: Hey, you don’t have to be creative everywhere. You just have to be clear.
Andy: Yeah, yeah.
Jason: Very clear. Awesome. Well thank you.
Andy: No, this is awesome.
Jason: All right. I wish you the best.
Andy: Thank you.
Jason: Happy 2020. All right.