Today’s podcast guest is Mario Tomic. He is a certified physique coach, public speaker, digital entrepreneur and world traveller—he is a true digital nomad.
Mario lives nowhere—he travels all over the world, generally moving from country to country every three months, and runs his online fitness business from anywhere he can get a wi-fi connection. His coaching company helps entrepreneurs, consultants and executives reclaim their fitness to get in the best shape of their life, and his specialty is being able to bridge the gap between complex exercise and nutrition research, and behavior change psychology.
In this interview, Mario will give us a glimpse into what his digital nomad life looks like. He’ll also be sharing some cool lessons from his days working as a digital marketing consultant for some big companies, and how he has translated that into helping him grow his own business.
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In This Episode Mario and I discuss:
- The motivation to get into the fitness coaching realm
- Some amazing digital marketing hacks
- Staying in it for the long haul
- Monetization and why avoiding it is sometimes better
- Mentors and coaches
- Working remotely
3:00 – 11:00 – Insights from Mario’s digital marketing background
11:00 – 15:00 – Mario’s “calling”
15:00 – 21:00 – Life as a digital nomad
21:00 – 25:00 – Mario’s daily routine and productivity strategies
25:00 – 27:00 – Thoughts on mentorship
27:00 – 30:00 – Building and optimizing a remote team
30:00 – 32:00 – Rapid-fire questions
What You Missed:
In the last episode was a solo round where I talked about the two-letter word that will transform your business.
This two-letter word will help you prioritize what is most important and ultimately make you more efficient and effective.
Can you guess what it is?
You can find out what that two letter word is at the link below:
Today’s episode is going to be a lot of fun because we’re speaking with someone who is a digital nomad. He really lives nowhere. He travels all over and he runs his online fitness company from anywhere he has a wi-fi connection.
In this interview, he’s going to share how he does live workshops all around the world to get in front of the right people, build relationships with them, and really impact their lives in a way that’s much more impactful than just trying to make a quick buck.
Mario Tomic is today’s guest. He is a certified physique coach, public speaker, digital entrepreneur, and world traveler. He’s been traveling for the last five years moving from country to country, on average, every three months while running his online business.
His coaching company helps entrepreneurs, consultants and executives reclaim their fitness and get in the best shape of their life. His specialty is being able to bridge the gap between complex exercise and nutrition research, and behavior change psychology.
In this interview, Mario is going to share some of the things he learned from his days running the digital marketing side of some big companies and how that’s translated into helping him grow his business.
If you want to learn more about what he is up to, you can check out his website, tomic dot com, or you can just follow him on Facebook which is what he prefers, at Mario Tomic Official (facebook.com/MarioTomicOfficial/) on Facebook
And with that said let’s get into today’s show.
Hey Mario, how’s it going my friend. Welcome to the show.
[Mario] Hey Yuri. Thanks for inviting me. I love it here in Toronto.
[Yuri] It’s a cool city. In a little while it’ll be cold and a lot of snow which is not as much fun. But for now, it’s great.
I know you’re like the International Man of Mystery and you love traveling. You’re on a mission to travel to a ton of countries, do live events, workshops ,and other great things.
Business wise, what are you what are you most excited about nowadays?
[Mario] Business wise, what really excites me is to be able to travel to 100 countries and do live events. In every one of those countries, I get 200 plus people in a room, and everybody is super excited about fitness, nutrition, and they want to take it the next level.
We’re sharing a ton of value, and we’re having a ton of fun. It’s a feeling I cannot describe to you how awesome it is.
We were recently in Bulgaria and Romania, places that I don’t really consider to be the top places where people even know about me. We organized an event and then we suddenly have 150 people in the room and they just love it. It’s crazy.
It’s exciting to go to countries where you don’t think you have following, and seeing how the message of health and fitness is spreading around every corner of the world.
Spreading that awareness and seeing how many people are really interested in this is what really excites me.
[Yuri] Let’s back up for a second. You’ve traveled to all these countries and you’ve done all these live events with 100, 150, 200 people, how are you getting that many people in a room?
Insights from Mario’s digital marketing background
[Mario] That would be because of my background in marketing. Before I got into this, I used to do marketing and a lot of online advertising for large corporations.
Through that experience, I have strategies for Facebook ads, Google ads and forums.
It’s mainly based on Facebook ads which has such a big audience. You need to know your copy, know who you’re targeting, and have a decent following in a country.
One thing that also helps other than ads is having strong word of mouth and connecting with influencers in that city.
You also want to reach out to groups that are into personal development, or groups that are into fitness and nutrition and you would be surprised how many people are there, especially if you have a following, which in my case, is YouTube.
If you reach out to someone who has a smaller channel in some of those countries, they will be eager to meet up, and from there email, and organize something together, however, only invite them as a guest speaker. People are super excited to do that.
I can tell you that not having that limiting belief that there’s nobody out there waiting for you goes a long way.
There’s so many people you can connect with. There’s a lot of influencers out there that have hundreds of thousands of followers in these countries that nobody even knows about.
Those are some of the strategies that I’ve used. It’s really a combination of ads and influencer marketing and of course, your own following.
[Yuri] When you’re running Facebook ads to local audiences in Romania who have an interest in health and fitness, are targeting your own fan page or a combination of both? What is this what is the offer? Do you say hey come join me for this live event because you going to learn X Y Z?
[Mario] I have a rule of my own and that is that I will run events for free. I have free events for now, and that’s basically a part of this world tour.
Take Romania for example. You can do broad targeting on someone who is following Bodybuilding.com for example. If someone is following Bodybuilding.com and they’re in Bucharest, and they’re local, they’re going to be interested.
You’ve got to have good copy, and make it a massive win for them. There’s no cost for them. All they have to do is give their email and phone number to show up for notifications. I’ve found this works really well.
You can create your own audiences for people to follow. You can do lookalikes. That works in some countries. For the most part, targeting based on interests has worked well for me.
If you know your core audience really well, you know what they’re interested in, you can get a huge turnout using targeted ads.
My niche is a combination of people that are interested in personal development and growth, plus health and fitness. They also tend to be entrepreneurial, and speak English. They’re interested in specific books, blogs, and websites so I can target that and gather an audience.
It is a niche audience, but if you’re targeting outside of the US, Canada, and the UK, I’ve found that ads in other countries are not as pricey, so the competition is not as it’s not as high, and you can get a massive list really fast in about a month.
[Yuri] You’re spending money on ads. They’re showing up for free. Is there a monetization strategy? Is there a back end when someone shows up at the event that they’re going to be offered something else? How does it look?
[Mario] One thing that I do mention at every event is that I offer mentoring slash coaching. If I had other offers, I would present them.
I generally do mention coaching and people eventually become your fans. It’s kind of like creating your own tribe around the world.
The main focus I have for this is not to monetize immediately. It has been my experience that people will eventually they just reach out to you and they’re like “hey I met you at an event four months ago. Let’s start working together. I’ve been really following your stuff and I think you can help me.”
If you’re interested in short term monetization, it doesn’t work as well.
If I were to charge let’s say$40 for those events, I don’t think I would get it nearly as many people in the room. This way, when you see a massive crowd of people, it makes an impact.
Almost 10 percent of the people at every event that I’ve done, have reached out to me and are interested in what I have to offer.
Even the countries you would think there’s no way people can afford it, people make it work.
People become resourceful when they see you’re out to help them, that your offer is of high value, and you can deliver the outcomes you promised.
A lot of entrepreneurs think short term. I’m in the long-term game. A lot of these people reach out months later and that works really well.
Also, the cost of the venue isn’t a whole lot. There’s a big myth that the venue costs a lot which is definitely not the case.
[Yuri] It’s great to see you’re taking the long game because typically, especially with live events, we’re looking to make money, and it’s obviously a very compelling environment for which people will convert to potential clients or customers as opposed to seeing a random video on Facebook or stuff like that.
As you said, you’re building a lot of goodwill, building that long game, and it’s working well for you.
Just so that everyone listening knows, you’re dealing mostly with high performers, entrepreneurs, consults and so forth, and helping them on the fitness and health side, and you’re primarily coaching them virtually. Is that correct?
[Mario] Most of my clients are into the personal growth space. They’re digital entrepreneurs. Usually there is some form of nomad lifestyle involved, a lot of travel, professional poker players, you know generally business oriented.
I work only with men, so we’re talking about a specific niche of self-made men in their 30’s, sometimes late 20s and early 40s, but mainly in their 30s.
Guys who’ve been crushing it in everything else and now it’s time to get the fitness side of things handled. The coaching is online and works well for this type of client.
[Yuri] Why did you start doing this? What was the calling? Was there a pivotal moment that said this is the type of business I want to run.?
[Mario] There’s been there’s a lot of testing. There’s always a lot of failures. You try out different things.
I learned a lot from product launches when I used to be a marketing consultant for a larger company. You would do these digital products and 50 percent of people never opened that product at all. They don’t even register for the web site and they paid hundreds of dollars for it.
This also happens to be a huge problem with low ticket products.
Another thing that inspired me is that I’ve seen how much noise there is out there, especially if you’re part of the low-ticket game.
People don’t really take your offer serious enough to put it into their lifestyle, try it out and give it enough will and action to make it work.
I found coaching to be extremely effective for that because you have another human being on the other side. In my opinion, there’s nothing digitally right now that can hold someone’s attention, or focus better than a human being.
You can have the most engaging videos, the most engaging course out there in the world. Nothing keeps a person’s attention like another human being on the other side. It’s someone who’s there for you.
There’s a whole boatload of research out there on peer support and community based coaching and what will create lasting change, and it just won’t happen through information for most people.
I’m not saying that it can’t work. For most people that small offer product is going to be more of a stepping stone and maybe for some, it’s going to that last missing piece of the puzzle and they naturally get really good results.
I would say that a lot of people reach out to me because they’ve tried everything and it didn’t work. They really need someone who’s there for them both as a support, but on the other hand, it is also to customize the programs to be absolutely the best for them.
If you travel, or if you’re a busy person with a crazy lifestyle, sometimes you need to create workout plans within an hour.
At this hotel I’m staying at, you get this message, “Here’s a bunch of stuff that I have available. What can I do here,” and you’ve got to create a workout within an hour.
This is kind of what my company does. To really be there for these types of people. This is what I do and my coaches do, and we’re trained to be available and be supportive.
I think the speed of feedback is important.
[Yuri] Of all the countries you’ve been through, what’s been at the top of the list in terms of this place was amazing?
Life as a digital nomad
[Mario] That’s a tough question. It depends what you’re looking for when you say amazing in terms of nature. One place that I’ve been to recently that I’m looking forward to getting back to in the next few months is Iceland.
I really enjoyed my time in Iceland because I spend so much time at a computer and I spend so much time in big cities, Iceland feels like you’re on a different planet. That’s a place where I would see myself going back for a few weeks, taking a few friends, and just hang out there.
In terms of nature, by far, Iceland has been just breathtaking for me.
In terms of other things, it depends what you’re looking for. You cannot beat the U.S. U.K. or Australia for business. It’s really difficult unless your business is local, maybe in Scandinavia or somewhere like that.
For me personally, those countries have a good mix of a really awesome market place, and at the same time you have more people to network with who are into the same stuff.
I prefer more to stay in those countries now than other countries in the past.
If you were to have asked me this question a few years ago, I’d be more like “Oh yeah, let’s nomad around Southeast Asia and let’s hang out.” In those countries you can hang out, but you won’t run into so many people who are into the same stuff.
You’re missing out on that networking aspect which becomes important after a while. You do want to connect with people that are there living a similar life as you and can learn from. It also makes you feel like you’re less alone, which in this entrepreneurial world, when you’re working really hard, and you’re working with your own team, it sometimes feels like you’re the only person doing this which is a little bit weird.
[Yuri] Well you’ve got two things going on there because (a) you say you’re an entrepreneur and (b) you don’t really have a home base. You’re traveling all over the place. How do you stay connected to others who give you the support and keep you moving forward? How do you do that?
[Mario] That’s interesting and that’s a good question. Looking at the research on basic relationships and dating, if you look at some of the evidence based stuff, it’s enough to send an email to someone say once every two weeks.
People really underestimate how powerful it is to just to hit someone up on Facebook and just ask them how they’re doing.
We’re all living really fast. If you’re an entrepreneur, if you are connecting with other entrepreneurs, a month will fly by and it’s going to feel like we talked yesterday.
A simple message, text or that simple voice you can do on messenger that’s about a minute long, it’s not that big of a time commitment for you. It’s just that simple thing that can go a long way.
For them it’s “Hey we’re in touch. We’re still here.”
You want to be interested in what other people are doing. That’s one of the aspects that people forget.
Everyone likes talking about their own stuff, but if you’re interested in what other people are doing, they’ll be there be super eager to share that with you. People you think who have 10 or 20 times more of a following than you, if you’re cool, if you’re not some weirdo just trying to leach out value, people will be totally fine chatting with you.
Having a podcast for example, that’s a really nice way to connect people.
[Yuri] Having a podcast is great because as you said, because you don’t really have the opportunity to have someone’s attention for 30 minutes online, or in general.
Having a podcast is a great way for us to connect here or for anyone else to connect with anyone else. It kills a lot of birds with one stone.
[Mario] It’s a really nice one. As I said, small things can go a long way.
Sending something of value to a couple my friends, can go a long way.
We meet up once a year because that’s much as we can do because they’re traveling, and I’m traveling. Sometimes we end up in the same location. We deliberately meet up once a year and that’s the best we can do.
Throughout the year, if I stumble upon an article that says hey here’s this Instagram algorithm breakdown, here’s what works right now, I’m going to hit them up with that and they’ll appreciate that I thought of them and shared with them.
They’ll ask, what are you up to? That kind conversation is going to be five minutes and that’s going to be enough.
It’s almost like a refresher for our relationship and then they can hit me up later and it really doesn’t take that much time or effort.
People think it takes this big effort and a lot of time. You can just build it slowly and it does work. It’s not a big deal.
[Yuri] I agree with you because it’s very tough, even for people who live in the same city. I don’t see half my friends who live in Toronto. I have to travel to another country to hang out with them if we’re at the same event.
What I end up having to do, because I find it’s more effective, I’ll organized a trip once or twice a year with some of my closest friends and we bring our families together.
We know that even if we don’t see each other throughout the year, but we’re in contact throughout the year, we have that one or two weeks together, and it’s just that quality time when you’re creating experiences and memories together.
That is so much more meaningful than occasionally hanging out in person.
[Mario] You want to create some memories and these things are under appreciated. These surface level contacts on a daily basis are over rated. If you go a little bit deeper it’s amazing.
[Yuri] Mario, you live an interesting life. What is a typical day for you like? What are your rituals, routines? What does the day look like?
[Mario] That question is a very common one. A lot of people will ask that because as you can imagine, every time you change your environment, some of your habits fall apart, and you have to rebuild that.
Over the years, I’ve realized that if I have too much on my plate, I don’t get things done. If you run around a lot, your routines will just fall apart.
A lot of the anchors for your habits, a lot of the triggers in your environment for a habit are linked to the environment.
Mario’s daily routine and productivity strategies
Let’s say I move from Amsterdam to Toronto. It’s a totally different universe to figure out stuff and it takes about a week to two weeks to build up my habits and build up my routine.
This is why I keep it simple. One thing I realized, is if you don’t know how your day is going to go, at least the night before, that day is probably not going to be very productive.
If you’re waking up that that day and you’re like OK I don’t know what I’m going to do today, that is probably not going to be productive. I’ve realized this and I feel if I just fix this one thing, I’ve resolved 80 percent of the problems. So that’s my 80:20 there.
I’m a logical guy and I get easily overwhelmed. I try to think over things a billion times. If I wake up and I’m like oh my God, there’s 10 things, there’s 10 fires, I’ve got a lot of emails, my staff is staying I need to support this, need feedback on that, I would just totally become paralyzed and waste four hours stressing out.
What I do the night before is make sure that I have my one or two big objectives that will get handled for the next day, and if I just handle those two things, I know the day is going to be productive so anything else is a bonus.
That’s the first thing I do is just make sure that I pre-plan and the day.
After I wake up, I try to get some sunshine as soon as possible just to get some quality time in and a quick meditation session.
Just being out in the sun and doing some reading helps a lot. Get in your water. Maybe fast for a couple of hours, just an hour or two and then eat breakfast and just continue.
Throughout the time you’re working, you do a work break for about 15 20 minutes to get some food and then you work again.
I try to make each day start with about two to three solid work blocks that have small interruptions every hour, and the big ones every two hours.
I make sure that I have those interruptions otherwise I will just become burnt out very fast.
I found that the break is what keeps me productive throughout the day. A break from writing copy, a break from checking stuff or phone calls. You can get easily burnt out if you do two or three calls in a row. You’re done for the entire. There’s no will power and everything falls apart.
[Yuri] So it’s kind of like an extended Pomodoro method.
[Mario] I find blocking an hour of time to be the perfect amount of time to stay focused. I’ll take a five-minute walk around the house even if I’m on a call try to stay moving so I’m not sitting all day.
During that hour work block, I’ll take at least 10 minutes in between and just go outside, talk to my friends, or do something really relaxing that is completely unrelated to the work. I come back to work again and tackle it for about an hour. I find that to be very effective.
[Yuri] I find that for me it’s about the same. It’s about an hour. I find that the Pomodoro twenty-five minutes or so is too short. I’m just getting into my groove.
I’m the same way. I’ll go in my back yard and jump on my kids trampoline for ten minutes, I come back and I’m good to go.
Knowing what you know now based on your journey of building your business, what would you do differently if you started over again?
[Mario] Only one thing and I’m super proud of everything I’ve achieved. The journey was amazing and rewarding and I wouldn’t really exchange any of those mistakes because ultimately, they create leverage which is why I’m here where I am right now.
Thoughts on mentorship
One thing that I would do a little bit earlier would be to seek mentorship on the business side of things. I think for us fitness enthusiasts, and especially for us in the evidence based field, what I noticed is that a lot of us will get lost in reading PubMed research and going over a billion other studies and think, OK’s this protein amount is really one point one point one. What is going on here?
Instead, you need to learn the basics of how to create good funnels, how to reach the clients that you can serve the most, and getting good business mentorship. You someone who can work on that and give you the support you need, and how to manage a team.
A lot of fitness people, we’re used to doing stuff alone. I mean one of the great things about body building is you can go to the gym and it’s you against you. You don’t need a team, you don’t need anybody.
When you start building a company, if you’re an entrepreneur, if you try to do everything yourself, you’re going to fail. There’s no way you can do it. You will never be successful to a very high level.
For me, that would be one thing is, hire earlier, but first hire proper mentors who will teach you how to manage a team, and then start hiring more team members earlier. Get people that do the stuff that you’re not good at, but you keep doing it anyway.
You know there’s a ton of things that my assistants are a billion times better at than me, and I was a micro-managing freak for a year until I realized that. Getting off that micro-managing game is such a stress relief and then you can focus on the stuff you’re really the genius at.
[Yuri] It’s funny because I think everyone who’s been on the podcast has said more or less the same thing that getting a mentor or a coach is the game changer.
Obviously with respect to a team, you need to have people to take stuff off your plate.
Right now, how big of a team do you have to help support your virtual taking over the world mission?
Building and optimizing a remote team
[Mario] Currently we’re five people and I like to keep things small. All five are rock stars. We try to do the work of ten people. I prefer to work with people that can do multiple things and do them at a very high level, they’re ready, they bought into this vision and they really want to crush it.
That’s the direction I want to go for in the future as well.
I like scale, but I will not scale just for the sake of scale. I’ll make sure that there is an actual demand for it.
[Yuri] I think it’s easy to fall into that trap. “Hey, let’s scale the business and get bigger and bigger and bigger”, but then it’s like, for what. Are we solving world hunger, are we solving a major problem, or is it that we just we just want to have a bigger number.
It’s good to have that perspective.
With respect to team, a lot of people want to know if you have a virtual team, how do you coordinate with your team members? Are there specific platforms or software you use to communicate and manage projects? How do you connect with clients and keep them all in one place and accountable?
[Mario] In the past, I used Slack, Base Camp and just about everything else under the sun. Now most of the stuff is done either through Skype with a combination of Evernote, or even just Facebook.
[Yuri] Are you using a group, or sending messages back and forth to your team?
[Mario] For the team, it’s group chats, private messages, and spreadsheets. We use a lot of Google Spreadsheets. We communicate through comments, we communicate through organizational stuff where you need to look at some data. Spreadsheets are the best.
If I’m looking at my ad targeting in my data over the last seven days, my CPC and all the other stuff, and I’m analyzing to see if my conversions are OK., I’ll use that spreadsheet in there to make comments. We can create those comment threads and analyze that.
For quick communication, on a daily basis, we have Messenger, which makes things easy.
If there’s a team meeting or anything like that, it’s done via Skype or Zoom. We rarely need to do a presentation so it’s usually Skype.
[Yuri] It’s interesting to see how people manage their companies and their teams. We’ve used various software off and on. We’ve used G-mail and Slack for one off communications, but Google Sheets and Google Docs, for me, has been the game changer.
Okay Mario, are you ready for the Rapid Fire?
[Mario] Absolutely. Let’s roll.
[Yuri] Here come the five questions that are going to keep you on your toes.
Whatever comes to mind first, just shout it out.
Your biggest weakness.
[Yuri] Your biggest strength.
[Mario] I’m very independent.
[Yuri] One skill you’ve become dangerously good at in order to grow your business
[Yuri] What do you do first thing in the morning?
[Mario] I drink three glasses of water.
[Yuri] Complete this sentence. I know I’m being successful when…
[Mario] I have complete freedom.
[Yuri] I had an inkling that freedom might be one of the top core values. It is for a lot of entrepreneurs
Mario, this has been awesome. What is the best place for people to stay up to date with you, get in touch with you and follow your work online?
For some of my more in-depth, philosophical copy or all the things I’ve shared in my business, my Facebook profile is very active. I share a lot of things there and you can of follow my journey.
I share from a variety of areas of my life. Some of it relates to business.
[Yuri] For everyone listening, we will link up on the show notes to all those different platforms so you can check out Mario, follow his world travels, and other cool things.
Mario thanks so much for joining us on the show. It’s been a lot of fun and I look forward to connecting with you hopefully soon.
[Mario] I appreciate it. Thank you for the invite and I’m happy to share some value with you.
A lot of people want to live a nomadic lifestyle where they travel the world and kind of do their thing from anywhere they want. Mario is a great example of someone who’s done that.
If I didn’t have kids, maybe I’d do that a little bit more. But with kids, it’s a little bit more challenging to travel to 100 different countries and do all that kind of stuff.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter what position you’re in if you want to travel. The beautiful thing is that you have an online business that allows you to work anywhere there’s an internet connection.
For me, it’s a lot of fun that I drop my kids off at school because I’m one of the only dads who can do that. The other dads who are there, they’re all in their suits because a lot of people in our area are corporate lawyers and financial people.
In contrast, here I am strolling down the sidewalk with my two dogs and my kids and I’m wearing shorts in a hoodie.
They’re like ‘dude, what do you do?’ I don’t even know how to answer that question.
What I’m trying to get at is that this is just such a beautiful time in history to run your own show, to do what you want, live life on your terms, to travel where you want, work from where you want, serve who you want, create what you want, and there’s never been a better time than now to do that.
If you want to travel around the world and run your business from the other end of the world, guess what, you can do that.
If you want to stay put, you want to stay in town, you can do that as well.
I’m glad we could share some of those lessons with Mario, and his experiences on how he’s managing his team, how he’s acquiring new customers and clients, and how he’s using live workshops to bond with an audience and not necessarily worrying about “closing them” quote unquote, right on the spot.
I think it’s a great example of how to think about the long game as opposed to thinking about how to make a quick buck, because at the end of the day, it’s those who last, who will create a lasting impact.
The key to remember is that longevity is very important. The longer you’re around, the longer your business is around, that usually indicates that you’re doing something right.
Never compromise the long-term reputation, the long-term game, for short term quick fixes.
I know it’s a challenge sometimes, but it’s just something to keep in the back of your mind.
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