In this episode, Stacy sits down with Miha Matlievski, the founder of Fail Coach LLC. The two discuss how a change of perspective helped Miha turn his life around and bounce back from bankruptcy. He talks about what he has learned from his failures, and how hardships are an important part of finding personal growth and success.
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Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How To Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of influencer marketing and branded content agency Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for top experts to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy, or money, whether you are doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.Speaker 3: 00:31
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How To Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.Stacy Jones: 00:36
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How To Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones. I’m so happy to be here with you all today and I want to introduce someone who has such an inspirational story that we can all learn something from him, and I’m giving a very warm welcome to Miha Matlievski, founder of Fail Coach. In 2009 Miha had four companies that went bankrupt overnight and landed him $5 million in debt. He hit rock bottom, but thankfully had an “aha” moment that saved his life. He realized that failure was a normal part of being human, and since then he’s climbed back up and created a business that scaled to eight figures in less than a year. Extremely impressive. Now his life mission is to help others develop a healthy relationship with failure so they can find their personal success and fulfillment, and we could all obviously benefit from that. Today we’re going to talk about how Miha has helped others overcome adversity, focus on the processes and eliminations of their fear of failure, and we’ll learn what’s worked from his experience, what could be avoided, and how some people somewhat miss the mark in this area. Miha, welcome. So happy to have you here today.
Miha Matlievski: 01:45
Hi Stacy. It’s a pleasure to be here and thank you for inviting me.
Stacy Jones: 01:50
Of course. Well, can you let our listeners know a little bit more about you, what got you to become this failure coach, and how you’ve evolved this into success?
Miha Matlievski: 02:01
Well, I’ll try to smoosh through the story, because it’s 23 years old stories, so I can go on and on, and on and then you just dive into whatever you feel would give the most value to your audience.
Stacy Jones: 02:15
Miha Matlievski: 02:16
So it all started … I mean it all started with the perfect childhood, but then I ended my high school at 17. I started my entrepreneurial journey at 18. I started working first for my father’s small business, and I was more or less [inaudible 00:02:37] occupation. So not really doing much learning but just enjoying the life, and everything would be probably picture perfect. When I was 23 he wouldn’t be diagnosed with a pancreatic cancer, and then three weeks later he died. So there was really no time at all for me to learn anything about business. I really was just good at connecting with people, networking, let’s call it doing a little bit of sales and that was it.
Miha Matlievski: 03:08
But because of that perfect childhood where everybody in our family was telling me how I’m the next Jesus, I thought, “I can handle this, I know how to do this,” and I couldn’t. So very quickly the company was starting to head towards bankruptcy, but life gives you lessons and I didn’t learn a lesson, but I was lucky to find people who would help me. They entered the company, they took over the majority share, and they, “Miha, you do what you do best,” and I was doing the sales and I was actually really doing it well because month to month we would be doing hundred, hundred and fifty, two hundred percent more in sales and in revenue, and life was good again, a lot of money, nice trips, vacations, cars, all of that, and I became again, very creative with new business ideas, and I said, “Well they own majority share. Why would they do those businesses there?”
Miha Matlievski: 04:17
I mean, yeah, they do know how to run a company, but obviously I’m that good. I’m bringing all the revenue in, I’m that big shot, so I’ll do that with no problems, and I started creating new companies. One thing that I wasn’t really considering or thinking or really I didn’t even know it was that I wasn’t laying any foundations. I was … back then I thought that I’m that good. Now looking back, I realized that that was before the crisis so I was riding that good wave of the economy and everything was nice. My companies were going to seven, eight figures, but without any foundation. So you know the story of three little pigs? My companies where that first house made out of straw, and of course when the crisis came, I was the first to be blown away and everything was just a domino effect.
Miha Matlievski: 05:19
One company was in real estate, others were [inaudible 00:05:22] for the credit, me personally and so on. So the bank said, “No go. You’re in the middle. The retail price will be lower than what you’re building for. We are going out,” and they just foreclosed everything and I ended up $5 million in personal debt and I wasn’t able to do any personal bankruptcy. So depression, anxiety, darkness slowly started sipping in. You start getting this idea like, “Oh, I used all the good parts of the life and now this is it for …” and when things go down that road, you start asking yourself, “Why even live?” And then you start thinking about suicide and then you started getting closer to that and closer and closer, and so in the spring of 2010 I was there on the balcony, on the other side of the fence holding myself just with one hand, and then I used a lot of pretty juicy words.
Miha Matlievski: 06:33
So I’m not going to repeat that, but just yelling at myself, “You failed. You made all those mistakes,” and that perfect childhood and me being the next Jesus, that reflected throughout all my life, because whenever something would happen to me, which was only normal, that that’s because of me, and whenever something bad happened to me, I always found something or somebody to blame, and this was the first time when I took that ownership of all the mistakes and I had these flashes of I signed that agreement, I employed that person, I did this, I did that, but in that not such a nice a dialogue with myself, I actually found a light, which was, “Oh my God, if I made all those things and I still was able to have about 15 million US in personal net worth, imagine what I can do if I learn, if I change, if I do better decisions and all of that I can do even bigger.”
Miha Matlievski: 07:40
And so I climbed back in, I sat down at the table, made a huge list of everything I need to change. In all honesty, in the past few years, I worked with over three and a half thousand entrepreneurs, and yet I haven’t found a single entrepreneur who would come to me with the struggle that was unknown to me, and I haven’t failed at it yet. So I guess I really was a very thick headed entrepreneur who had to just really experience everything you can fail at in business. So I’m still waiting for that moment when I can say, “Oh, I haven’t failed at that. At least one thing that I always did correctly.” So I’m still waiting for that moment.
Miha Matlievski: 08:24
But then the whole journey started because I really had a lot to learn and a lot to change, and it took me roughly three and a half years of personal development, business development, just getting to know myself, what do I stand for, what are my core beliefs, values, and so on, and then in 2014, with all that knowledge, I created a new startup and that startup I was able to scale from zero to multiple eight figures a month in less than a year and then to multiple nine figures next year and then I sold it to a fortune 100 company and suddenly I was able to repay almost 7 million [inaudible 00:09:14] debts, because interest rates and so on, and I found myself with this freedom of time, freedom of money, and what I call the ultimate freedom, which is the freedom of choice, where you choose what you want to do.
Miha Matlievski: 09:28
You don’t have to do it, but you can get to choose, and it was at that moment when I realize then I’m just an entrepreneur. That’s in my blood, that’s in my DNA. I can’t imagine going to a local pub hanging with the local drunks and talking about the weather and the politics. I need to be surrounded with entrepreneurs. I need that. I’m hooked on that, like hooked on cocaine or something, to be surrounded with entrepreneurs so that we brainstorm together, so that we solve problems together and all of that, and I just started volunteering in different startup incubators, accelerators, and so on. A little bit down the line I started thinking, okay, so what’s next for me? Because it wasn’t apparent immediately to me to go into any kind of coaching.
Miha Matlievski: 10:23
I thought, okay, maybe it’s time for me to start the new company, do something, and it was actually a friend of mine, we were having a few beers and he said, “I mean you love doing this. Look at you, all the stories and everything. Just be a coach. There’s so many coaches out there. At least there will be some good ones with you along the line,” and I said, “Well that makes sense. I love doing this,” and then a few years later, how do I name this? How do we brand this? And again, this friend of mine, he said, “You constantly just talk about having good relationship with failure. How you will fail so much more before you reach success. How every story that you start starts with, I failed at this and then this is what I did and this is what it ended up being,” and he said, “You are the fail coach.”
Miha Matlievski: 11:17
And I don’t know, probably because of the beer I agreed and I registered the domain name, but the more now I do these interviews, the more I work with entrepreneurs, the more I realize that it’s not just what I do, the fail coach, it’s really who I am, and that’s kind of the story of how the Fail Coach was born, and like I said, in the past a few years, I worked in different ways with about three and a half … I mean my marketing people had me calculate that, that’s why I know that it was approximately three and a half thousand people, entrepreneurs, and yeah, here I am today.
Stacy Jones: 12:01
That’s awesome. Well, it’s so interesting. As a fellow entrepreneur, I started Hollywood Branded in 2007, which was the wrong time to leave your company, and much like you, I was like, “Oh, I’m at a company. I can do the same thing. I can start this up,” and the bottom fell out of the market for you with real estate, for me with marketing dollars. I mean at that time people were saying, “Oh, we don’t want to spend advertising money. We don’t want to spend money to market,” and you just have to persevere as an entrepreneur, despite all odds, and figure things out, which is awesome that that’s what you teach people how to do. You really teach people not to fear the fact that they can fail and that’s the bottom line.
Miha Matlievski: 12:45
To actually embrace … often I get asked, “Oh, now that you’re the fail coach, so what does that mean? Do you not fail anymore?” And I said, “No, I fail more because I understand the power of failure.” I mean if I have big dreams and big goals, and we crazy entrepreneurs, we have these insane goals, and the bigger they are, the more you have to push yourself outside of the comfort zone. I mean, failure doesn’t happen in the comfort zone because those are the things that you are used to doing, but when you go out of your comfort zone, you do things for the first, second, third time, and the likelihood of you failing is bigger than the likelihood of you succeeding, and so if I don’t fail for a few days, I’m worried because that means that I’m not pushing myself. I’m slacking off.
Miha Matlievski: 13:41
I mean I’m probably, I don’t know, lying on the couch watching reruns of Friends. That’s not going to get me to my crazy goals and my dreams, because I have this dream that one day I want to be that person who started at least that momentum of breaking the taboo called failure. I have this wish to create failures anonymous, which would be similar to alcoholics anonymous, small groups throughout the world, talking, sharing about failure, learning from failure. We already did a few of them in a small environment and the results were crazy. Really, the emotions, the crying, the laughter, the connection that was made amongst those who were present, it was so inspiring and so powerful, and I don’t want to depend on some UN fund or something like that to fund that idea. I want to fund it myself, and so if I want to do that, I need to scale what I’m doing and so I need to do it all over again because I didn’t want to depend on anybody. But yeah, if I want to achieve that, that’s crazy big goal, to have an organization like that worldwide, because wherever I travel, whether that’s US, Europe, Asia, Australia, failure is always still a taboo.
Stacy Jones: 15:12
Well, the whole thing with failure too is, I mean, if you’re not failing, you aren’t learning, because the biggest learning lessons in life are not only internally, but also in taking action and figuring out what doesn’t work. We often have clients say to me, “Why do we need to hire your agency, Stacy? What is it that you can do? I could do this myself,” and I’m like, “Well, we have the expertise to make sure that it gets done better.” That’s why you hire other firms to help you, and really what you’re hiring people to do when you’re hiring a firm to help you, whatever type of company that is, is they’ve already failed so many times. They know how not to mess up your whatever it is. You’re hiring them just as much for their successes as for all the times that they have totally hit a wall, because they know now how to not hit that wall again.
Miha Matlievski: 16:06
Yeah, but Stacy, even let’s say that you have the leverage of money. You are fresh out of university, but you are lucky, you have a nice cushion there waiting for you to jump into the entrepreneurial world, so you have the leverage of money. You can outsource, you can hire, you can do all of that. You never did that before. You don’t know how to do the due diligence. It’s also very likely that you will hire the wrong coach, hire the wrong accountant, hire the wrong lawyer, and so on. So failure, you can’t eliminate it completely. You can manage it. You can fail at the smaller scale, and this is where business foundations come into place. If you have processes, if you measure that, if you have KPIs, benchmarking, business intelligence on top of that, you can spot that something is not working the way it should be quicker so you can react quicker.
Miha Matlievski: 17:09
So your failure can be minimized, but it can’t be eliminated. It’s just that maybe you won’t say it’s a failure, you’ll just say, “Oh, we hit a little roadblock along the way,” but just different words, but somebody would say fail, somebody would say something else, but yes, you can’t eliminate testing and trying because testing and trying is … who was it, Edison that said, “I found 10,000 or however many ways for the light bulb not to work, and then one …” or I don’t know for what product that was. I think it was from the light bulb. “I found 10,000 ways how it doesn’t work and then bam, I found one that does.”
Stacy Jones: 17:55
Sure, and that’s the whole magic of it. That’s all you have to do.
Miha Matlievski: 17:59
Stacy Jones: 18:00
Miha Matlievski: 18:01
I mean, when I teach entrepreneurs or CEOs, it’s really you test, you try, you measure, you then reflect, you brainstorm. Now if you don’t have any more ideas, you find an expert who might have ideas and you just try new things, new approaches, and you move on. You fail fast, you fail forward.
Stacy Jones: 18:28
So when you’re working with an entrepreneur and they’ve come to you and they’re like, “I have failed,” what’s your first advice to them?
Miha Matlievski: 18:37
So with failure, failure is an emotional reaction. Usually we set a goal or we have a dream and that dream is connected with something that brings huge positive emotions if we achieve it, and when we don’t achieve it, we go in the other direction, negative emotions, negative self talk, and so we need to eliminate the emotions because emotions cloud our vision, and then we start with, “Oh, why God? Why is this happening to me? What evil have I done to the world that now I have to pay this price?” And so on. I mean, I’m not saying don’t say that to you, but I don’t see any point because you’re not going to get any answers. The reality is that whatever the goal is, there are always steps or a process before that goal, and the problem is usually either we are doing the wrong steps or there are bottlenecks that we haven’t eliminated.
Miha Matlievski: 19:44
So let’s say … let’s give a simpler example. Let’s say I want to lose 10 pounds in the next 30 days. I mean, it wouldn’t hurt me to really do that, and I go to McDonald’s every single day. Well, I mean I’m probably going to gain 10 pounds, not lose 10 pounds, and that would be an example of doing the wrong steps. Now maybe I am eating healthy, but instead of two bananas, I eat four pounds of bananas. Instead of one salad, I eat … I don’t know, I put 10 avocados in it, or whatever. I have too big of a calorie intake while eating healthy, I would probably not hit the goal as well. So that would be more bottlenecks. So I’m doing kind of the right thing, just I’m not measuring or being mindful about the calorie intake.
Miha Matlievski: 20:46
So usually the problem is in the … I mean, not usually, every time the problem is in the process. So when entrepreneurs come to me, the first thing that I try to do is I try … what I do is, okay, so what was the goal? Okay, now let’s reverse engineer what you were doing to achieve that goal, and because I’ve worked with so many entrepreneurs and I’ve had so many companies and I’ve been through this and that trenches, industries, this, that, I can always spot, “Oh, we tried this.” “But have you tried this? Have you tried that? Have you tried that? Can we try that?” And so through just questioning their process, they say, “Oh no, I haven’t tried that. Oh, why didn’t we try that?” And so through logic, I made them see that the problem wasn’t that their God didn’t want them to achieve that goal, but they just didn’t do the right process.
Miha Matlievski: 21:49
And when you get to that point where you are able to show them that you set the goal but then you let go and then you focus on the process, you eliminate emotions. When you eliminate emotions when it comes to failure, that’s when you can actually fail fast and fail forward, because you don’t go into that crying mode every single time when something happens. You’re just, “Okay, we tried, it didn’t work. What else can we try? Do we have an idea? No? Okay. Who can we find who’s an expert who can tell us?” I mean obviously somebody has already done it unless it’s a huge invention, but obviously somebody has tried something similar. Let’s find that somebody, let’s see what they have to say, what they did to overcome it, and let’s try that and see where that leads us to, and then you just go from one way to another, to third, to fourth, to fifth, and eventually you always find a way that’s working.
Stacy Jones: 22:53
I love what you say about fail faster, right? So that you can actually get to the other side of that and that you can move forward with that.
Miha Matlievski: 23:02
I mean, like I said, failing or not failing hasn’t changed for me. If anything, I fail more. It’s how I view that failure, it’s how I react to that failure, how I embrace it. My mindset has shifted 180 degrees, and that’s what has changed, because like I said, many people ask me, “Oh, you’re the fail coach, so you don’t fail, or you help your clients not to fail.” I mean, no, that would be disaster if I would do that. I actually push them to maybe fail faster. I mean, often my clients say, “Oh, now I understand why you’re the fail coach,” but I do it in a controlled way because I already know how to mitigate those risk factors and so on so that they don’t end up where I was but they learn the lesson, because most entrepreneurs … I mean if you want to achieve something, you have two options.
Miha Matlievski: 24:02
Either you need to have insanely crazy emotional why’s. That’s why I love working with mompreneurs. They have the most amazing why, their family, and I mean I resonate with that because everybody who knows me in person will tell you the same thing that I’m the craziest mom they ever met when it comes to my dogs. I go and buy those happy birthday cakes made just for doggies and then I invite all the neighbor doggies and we have a party and they get the hat and yeah. I mean I better stop talking about that or somebody will call up a psychiatrist.
Stacy Jones: 24:41
You’re doing better than I, because if I called all the neighborhood doggies over and did a birthday party, all we would have is a dog barking and fighting contest. So at least your doggies like other dogs, so you did not fail there. Congratulations.
Miha Matlievski: 24:55
Thank you. So either you need that insane why, and then the second thing is pain is the best motivator for change, and so sometimes I need to really control how my clients fail and be mindful when they hit that pain point that they resonate with, and then they’re ready to move past it.
Stacy Jones: 25:22
But thank you. I do really … I think it’s fantastic. I am going to also make sure my team listens to this because they always are like, “I failed.” I’m like, “Take ownership of your failure and you can move on from that. Learn what should you not have done? What can you learn from so we don’t do it again, so that we come back stronger?” All you have to do is acknowledge, “I failed. This is why I failed and this is how I’m going to fix it in the future so I don’t repeat the same failures.”
Miha Matlievski: 25:51
Yes, absolutely. That’s the attitude. You try something, reflect on it, ask yourself good questions, and then brainstorm, either by yourself. If you are out of ideas, ask somebody on the team. If they are out of ideas, find somebody on the outside who can help you, a consultant, mentor, coach, whatever, book whatever mastermind and just try something new. Again, measure, reflect, and bam. Eventually you’ll find a winning combination.
Stacy Jones: 26:27
And I think talking about the fact that finding someone outside your world is so important because if you sit there and just spin on it in your own head, it gets to be a lot bigger and it’s a different perspective when someone else can weigh in and be like, “That’s nothing. I did this stupid thing,” and you’re like, “Oh that was really stupid.”
Miha Matlievski: 26:47
A lot of my clients are doing things for their clients.
Stacy Jones: 26:50
Miha Matlievski: 26:52
But then they suck at it when it’s to do it for themselves, like marketing agency, but then they suck doing their own marketing, and I always tell them, “Don’t worry, I suck at my own business as well.” We all do because it’s a different perspective. That’s why I have business coaches as well and I have my mentors and my mastermind, and if a business coach tells you, “Oh no, I don’t need anybody. I’m a business coach,” run Forrest, run.
Stacy Jones: 27:21
Right. So how can people learn more? If they’re interested in coaching opportunities with you, I know that you have some really cool things that you’re offering as well for insights.
Miha Matlievski: 27:32
Well, I mean if they want to get in touch with me or see my content, then the simplest thing is go to Google, type Fail Coach and bam, that’s me. There’s no other fail coach. So that’s the easiest way, and then just pick whatever platform you like, but I also do two things. One is every week I open up my Zoom client and they can jump in and have a conversation. We can talk about failures, struggles, whatever, anything business related that I can help them with, and if they want to join my Zoom sessions, they have to just go to frameworkforfreedom.me. That gets them into my chat bot and there they can see my upcoming sessions. We don’t spam them with anything. It just for that purpose, and then Calendly will remind them of when the Zoom session is going on.
Miha Matlievski: 28:22
And then the second thing, a lot of entrepreneurs sometimes need some oxygen money, and especially now in December everybody was asking me, “Oh, how can I get some oxygen money,” gift giving and so on, and I remember that a lot of the time I was using this simple technique that I called the leverage of trust, and it’s really … every purchase or anything, whenever we buy something, we go from no [inaudible 00:28:49] trust, and so if you want to speed up the process, you have to go where trust already is and so I created a Facebook group, The Leverage of Trust at facebook.com/groups/theleverageoftrust, and they can join that group. It’s a free group, and just in two weeks five or six people there made $34,000 just by using this technique, and every week more and more people join and every week we have more wins.
Miha Matlievski: 29:19
And that number is just climbing up in climbing up, and that’s another super great thing where they can join in and I walk them through first the technique and then also all the techie stuff, and then one thing that I see most people struggle with is how to communicate with other human beings online. So I give them examples, I share what not to do, what to do. Actually, when I get bombarded by spammers and pictures and so on, I capture that, and so we go through what’s the right thing, what’s the wrong thing? We do live, so I give them specific examples for what they need. So it’s really a hand holding through the whole technique of leveraging trust. So that’s the two things and they’re free to join, and yeah, just come meet me in person.
Stacy Jones: 30:14
Well, yeah, that was fantastic. You’re fantastic. You have a great personality and I love that you like helping other people. It comes across really well. You’re a very warm and welcoming person, so thank you.
Miha Matlievski: 30:28
It’s an obsession. It’s an obsession. Really once you start … I don’t know what it is, but once I started doing things for others … because in my previous life before the failures, it was all about me, and then when I started doing things for others it’s like I can’t stop myself, and sometimes I really need to be mindful because sometimes I really drive myself to the point of burnout, but I just can’t stop myself.
Stacy Jones: 30:58
Right. That makes sense though, and I think that is something that a lot of entrepreneurs have and it’s just a matter of channeling it and you found a good way to do it where you are helping so many others. Well thank you again for coming on and chatting with me and dealing with a dog barking in the background and all of the fun things of this podcast today, but also I want to thank all of our listeners for tuning into Marketing Mistakes and How To Avoid Them. I think that all of the advice provided today is really truly valuable. We all fail in life, we all hit hurdles, we all have hiccups, and it’s really how you recover and keep moving forward and that you do keep moving forward. That’s the bottom the line of whether or not you’re going to be successful.
Miha Matlievski: 31:48
Perfect. Thank you for having me. Thank you for inviting me and I really do hope that the audience will get a lot of value from this chat.
Stacy Jones: 31:57
I have no doubt they will. So thank you again and for all of our listeners. Thank you for tuning in today to Marketing Mistakes and How To Avoid Them. I look forward to chatting with you next week.
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