An Intimate Q&A About Introverted Alpha Programs
Do you ever wonder how Introverted Alpha programs came to exist?
Well if you did, you’re about to have your answers!
Hi, I’m Sarah Jones, founder of Introverted Alpha, and I had a wonderful 1:1 Exploration Call recently… During that call, a new client asked such great questions that I decided to have those 18 minutes transcribed.
I wanted for you all to be able to read it and get your questions answered!
Then once you’ve gotten an overview of those, you can come back to dive into these great question-and-answers.
In addition to this transcription, I created an FAQs page here, so between all of this, you’ll get a great in-depth understanding on what we do and how we do it!
Let’s dive in (note that subheadings are for organization only; they were not words exchanged in the conversation):
How did you get into this niche?
Something I’d love to hear about a little bit is how you got into this particular niche, and how you iterated on and built the program over time, and how you think about the process that you’ve built.
Seed planted early
Yeah, I love that question so much. I consider the seed planted when I was doing academic tutoring on and off, starting in my teens. I did it for 10, 11 years on and off.
The way I approached it was, okay, yeah, we have the material to cover; that’s important. But what’s really important is that they built their confidence in themselves so that they can do this and that they have fun with the process.
Those are the most important things. If we get those things, then the learning will happening naturally. I tutored small kids up to adults who were older than me, men and women, boys and girls, and everybody.
I always really liked working with very thoughtful analytical men. Even though I always did, I don’t know how much I noticed it or identified it. But looking back, I always really enjoyed that.
Then I am also an artist. I graduated with a degree in studio arts. I was selling my art, had a business coach to sell my art.
Auburn or Alabama?
I was noticing that people who were getting my newsletters and whatnot, they were just really inspired and I was inspiring them with their lives overall, which was amazing.
That was even more fun than anything else. The creating and also my business coach, I was like, what she’s doing must be the most fun thing ever. I kind of want to do that.
So what I did was I enrolled in coaching school, and I went through several months of training and practice. And during that time they said, you need to find a specific niche.
You need to help a certain group of people with a certain problem to specialize and really be able to help.
So, what I was learning in coaching school was very helpful for me personally, in my personal life. My own dating life just started to blossom in a new way just for myself.
I wanted to teach that. And then I realized through several conversations that I really wanted to teach men.
So, I reached out to a dating coach who, I liked his work. He had a small company, a lot of people who wanted coaching, but he just wasn’t available to do it, so I came on as his Head Coach.
I did that for a year-and-a-half and coached all kinds of guys that were not all introverted at all.
They were just a whole big variety. But I loved the introverted ones that were really logical and analytical and had good heart and introspective, thoughtful about themselves and wanting to do the right thing.
I appreciated that so much, and we could really communicate well. It really worked for them, the way I taught them. It was amazing. They were so relieved and happy that they didn’t have to be an asshole to make this part of their lives work.
And I knew from day one when I started working with the coach I worked for, that I was going to make my own company. I told him from day one, I said, “I’m here to learn from you and help you grow your success. But I’m also here to learn and I’m going to make my own.”
Then a mentor of mine, Ramit Sethi, came out with a business program in Spring of 2014 that I enrolled in. And I didn’t even expect to start Introverted Alpha so early.
I didn’t even have a name for it or even really much of the concept of the specifics of it.
I just went through his program in the spring, and then by the summer, Introverted Alpha was something that was happening. That summer, I wrote my ebook, which I still have to this day.
It was one of those other things I’m like, “Maybe I’ll change it,” but they love it, so I just keep it.
Everything really took off by the end of the year of 2014.
It’s just been growing ever since. And then in the process, I’ve learned that I really enjoy business. I really, really do.
I love creating a system and structure for a free-flow to happen. And it’s been wonderful to hire and train people, because I had not done that before.
Shaping a culture
To see the culture and also to shape the culture of the company too, my own leadership and little things I can do and big things I can do to just make it run very lean and smoothly and really pleasantly for everyone.
For years, I had a tendency to just add in like a bunch of extra stuff and a lot of extra meetings, but we just don’t need it. If there’s a really tight bond with us and everybody’s clear on what there is to do, it goes really beautifully and you don’t need to do all that extra.
So that’s a spot I’m in now is getting things really streamlined, and I’m really excited about the next year and reaching a lot more guys…
One thing that’s been interesting this whole time is the quality of men has really just shot up over the years.
Guys that have really great outlook on life, take personal responsibility for themselves, have developed success in other parts of their lives.
I’ve always had clients like that, but it’s just these days, that’s all of our clients. So that’s been wonderful to see.
Why so many great clients?
What do you attribute that to? I’m always interested in other business models. What do you attribute to that shift?
I think it’s that I’ve become clearer and cleaner and matured in my communication, my visual communication on the site and also my written communication.
When I started, I was 27, and now I’m 32. When I go through things from 2015 that I haven’t seen in forever, my writing was just not as mature then.
I was 27. I guess you could imagine I was 27, but you could also imagine that I was 23 or something.
There was a youngness in the way I wrote, that I think maybe wasn’t consistent with the clients that I have now.
Sometimes I’ll talk with someone or hear an email from someone, I’m like, “Oh, I’m so glad that they found me now and not three years ago. I don’t think that I would have connected with them the same way, through the way I was communicating then.”
And so it’s just been my own process of my own communication skills and confidence and presence as a woman who knows my guys, and can connect and communicate.
I think that’s what has made the difference.
What are the coaches like?
Awesome. What are the coaches like, and what are the characteristics you look for them? What’s the typical level of experience? Anything you think I should know about the activity of the coaches and how I’d be interacting with any of them?
What I look for
Got you. Yeah, absolutely.
So, I have a couple of coaches on right now and I am so thankful about them both. I’ve had a total of five.
The first ones were really good too, but these are even better. That’s the theme of this whole thing, I’m really glad that’s the theme, as the things just get better.
What I look for in coaches when I hire them is I look for someone who’s not done coaching per se, because I don’t want them to come in with all their own ideas of how it works.
I want them to be clean slate for me to train, but I want for them to have background in working with people one-on-one.
Some of them come with a therapy background, or a background in just learning a bunch of different things. For example, nonviolent communication, or they’ve gone through a bunch of workshops, different certifications and things that they’re so interested in.
They also come from sales, just communicating with people and understanding them.
And so I look through that experience in those areas, but not in life coaching because there are just so many fixed ways of doing things over there. I do things really differently, and I want my coaches to be clean and fresh for me to train.
The other thing I look for is that when I hear their voice, I feel so good.
The most recent coach I hired, when I heard her voice, she just said one thing and I was like, “Oh my gosh, you’re going to be so good for our guys.”
I said that to her in the interview.
I was like, “This is not a traditional way to interview. Your resume was amazing, and then here you’ve just said one sentence. I think this is really right.”
Of course, we went on to do the interview like normal. She just has such a calming voice, and that shows me the character that she’s built within herself because you can’t have that voice unless you are really lovely inside and you’re at peace with yourself.
I could hear that in her, and this is just on top of her beautiful application that I had already read, and that I had gotten to know her through.
So the voice is really important because it says a lot, and it’s important for the process because if someone’s calm and peaceful and intuitive and interested and compassionate and aware, that makes the best coach for my team.
How much attention does each client get?
All right, Makes sense. What’s the number of clients and the workload that a coach has at any given point? And what’s the level of attention, so to speak? How do you think about that?
Lots of spaciousness
Yeah, so, a lot of attention per client. It cycles through.
My other coach has what I would consider a full load, which is like 15, that’s full. That’s just full. And then, the other coach has a little less than half of that.
What I’ll do is if they’re both at 15, then there’s either a waiting period or I bring on another coach if that seems like the right thing.
Or we just wait because even though they can technically do more than 15, I want it to feel spacious for the coaches and for all of our guys.
Space is so nice, and that’s one thing I really enjoy about running a business too.
I value that and I work it into my decisions. I don’t think it’s necessarily a great common thing to work spaciousness into a business, but I really value that. In fact, that is one of my core values; spaciousness is a big value of mine.
Quick response time
Also, in addition to the sessions, there are session recordings, which is another thing that is very helpful for our clients.
They love it. Because not only do you get to reference your sessions; you don’t have to worry about taking notes because you can listen later.
Some guys treat it like that, and you also get to hear your own development, the questions that you ask, the things that you say developed, and you get to hear your voice develop, which is very fascinating and awesome.
So the recordings and then also, you can email your coach anytime between sessions with an update or a question. You can send her a screenshot of the text conversation you’re having for feedback, and she’ll be quite responsive.
What my thing is with them is that, during the weekday, one to 24 hours response time, and then over the weekends it can be a little longer, though they still tend to be responsive over the weekend.
I just want them to know that they can have some space. But if you ever need something, then just put “urgent” in the subject line and it will be treated as such.
What if people have different paces?
Mostly out of curiosity, is the program really designed for 12 weeks? Do you see some people staying on and maybe diving into other areas a little bit deeper? How do you structure stuff like that, if at all?
From 8 to 12 weeks
So at one point the program was eight weeks, and that felt too short. The clients did well, but there was sometimes a feeling of pressure that they felt, and I didn’t want them to feel that. It’s not necessary.
So I made it into 12 weeks, which is just much, much nicer. And sometimes somebody will stay in a module or in an area for a long time.
Sometimes, guys stay in the first module for like a month-and-a-half because they know that they have all the rest of the material for however long they want it, and they just want to really go deep with that.
Then they will either go on their own with the other models that they have after their 12 sessions in their 12 weeks or in the case of biweekly sessions, then after Week 24. Or they continue coaching on a month-to-month basis.
We have some guys who just keep going with their coach on a monthly basis or a weekly or biweekly basis, or they go and implement on their own. They can always come back for just pure coaching after they’ve done the program.
But there’s that room to dive into any module you want.
Your session every week is not necessarily about that module. You just have a corresponding session for each module, but life happens in the order that it happens. For example, you’ll have dates before you get to the module on dates.
Why over the phone instead of in-person?
One high level concern that have, I’d curious to get your thoughts on this. With my executive coach and other things I’ve done, it is typically in-person rather than remote, and I’m curious how you think that affects the coaching dynamic.
Special mode voice-to-voice
Yeah. I’ve always worked remote. I did do one in-person event earlier this year, which was really fun. It was super, super fun. And I’ll do another one.
But as far as the day-to-day coaching, there’s something really special, actually, about being on the phone. You’re just completely unselfconscious because no one’s looking at you; you’re just with yourself.
You get to hear what your coach is saying, and you get to process it. It’s not social, which is what gives you that space.
Being in-person is a little bit social regardless of the context, compared to being on the phone in your own physical space.
It’s just a nice feeling that’s conducive for what we’re talking about and what we’re working through. So the phone is special in that way.
Now, of course in-person is special in other ways; being able to read other cues and whatnot. But the voice actually tells quite a lot: pauses and intonations and everything all communicate quite a lot.
That’s why it’s quite effective.
Then of course with the photos you send to your coach in advance of your first session, we get a sense of your presentation. So it’s all put together.
I’ve experimented with, rather than audio calls, actually having a video call. But it just seemed like it was more comfortable and just was better fit to do audio. So, that’s what we do.
Okay. I guess those were all the major questions that I had.
Now, back to you!
I hope you enjoyed reading through that snippet of our conversation. It was a lot of fun talking with him; didn’t he have awesome questions?
One thing he told me at the very end of our call is how helpful the audio client reviews were for him in deciding whether to book his call with us.
He joked that he figured, “Either these are REALLY good actors, or this is an incredible thing they’ve got going.”
Since no one can act *that* well, he figured by process of elimination that it was the latter. ;)
To listen to the reviews yourself (they’re free to listen to, and you can download them if you’d like), go here. These are four very engaging conversations with four clients, who all have quite different personalities and backgrounds.
And if you’re new here, make sure to download the ebook I mentioned above! There’s a reason it’s been around for nearly five years. I think you’ll love it.