Unapologetically BOLD: I'm not sorry for....
Focusing on helping vs selling with Jeff Gargas
February 26, 2021
Who loves to be awkwardly sold to? No one! Yet many sales are based around oddly approaching people not getting to know them. Well, you have to make money right so how do you do this? Listen in as we discuss this with Jeff Vargas of Teach Better. We talk about adding humanity to the equation and how it is a patient and long process but just like for them, it can give you the best year yet (even in the middle of a pandemic.)
Who loves to be awkwardly sold to?

No one! Yet many sales are based around oddly approaching people not getting to know them.

Well, you have to make money right so how do you do this?

Listen in as we discuss this with Jeff Vargas of Teach Better. We talk about adding humanity to the equation and how it is a patient and long process but just like for them, it can give you the best year yet (even in the middle of a pandemic.)

About the Guest: 
Jeff is the COO/Co-founder of the Teach Better Team and co-author of “Teach Better.” He works with educators to increase student engagement and improve student success. Jeff previously owned an online marketing firm, where he worked with entrepreneurs and small businesses. He is also a former adjunctive professor at Kent State University and spent 10+ years in the music industry.

[00:00:02] spk_1: this is This show is brought to

[00:00:05] spk_0: you by Safety FM. Welcome to unapologetically bold. I'm not sorry for If you are a person that is tired of apologizing for being you, you know the human part of you that sometimes feels like it has to be different at home versus work versus play. The human side that just wants to be hot, humble, open and transparent about your wants, desires and uniqueness. If you answered yes, this is for you. Join me, Emily Elrod as I dive into conversations with Amazing Guest. About what? That you're not sorry for and creative and loving ways. Let's get started. Hello, everybody. Welcome back to another unapologetically bold I'm not sorry for. And I am so excited today to have my guest with me. Jeff, welcome.

[00:01:01] spk_1: Hi. Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here.

[00:01:04] spk_0: How? This would be a fun conversation, because the little glimpse that I've got to know of you, you're a cool human being. And I'm so excited for my listeners to get to learn more about you and just how your brain works. Because it I wish everybody has some of the thought pride terms that you dio about doing things differently. So before we get into it, um, tell people a little bit about yourself.

[00:01:28] spk_1: Um, yeah. So my name is Jeff Vargas. I live here in Northeast Ohio, a little outside a little south of Cleveland. I'm a father of two, and a husband and a Zai have thought back. I'm actually a pretty long time entrepreneur at this point, as I continue to make myself feel old, I think I've been starting businesses for about 20 years now. Andi, uh, currently operate as the c 00 I'm one of the co founders of something called the Teach Better Team. Teach better dot com and we work with school teachers, school leaders, school district's to help them teach better, and that there's a lot of ways in which we do that through fresh development support. Um, we've got a podcast network. We've gotta speakers network. We've got a podcast of our own. We've got online courses and we do a lot of different things, and, uh, you know, I get the work with amazing educators every day and try to do whatever we can help support them, and I get to work with amazing team of mine on really just loving life every day, even through the craziness that has been these last 89 months. So very, very blessed, very fortunate.

[00:02:29] spk_0: I love it. Love it, love it. Love it. So I appreciate you coming on, because I think what you're gonna be talking today is very important aspect of it and for the people that are new to the show. Just so you know, it's called unapologetically bold because our goal is to spread the message of your human. You're human at home versus work versus play, your human everywhere. But sometimes we feel like we have to be different. But what if we tapped into that humanity? What if we tapped into it? And I think that leads into what you're not sorry for? So the name of shows unapologetically bold Jeff water. What are you not apologizing for?

[00:03:07] spk_1: I'm not sorry for always focusing on helping people. Um, you know, we've We've done that since day one of our company with about six years old right now, And, uh, to do that and to truly run our business and live our business for the purpose of what we're trying to do, which is to help teachers help kids. We've had to be really patient and to focus on that above everything else. We've had to, you know, there's been a lot of people on the way that with with all good intentions telling, you know, you need to push for that sale more, you need to go after sale. You need to go get it stopped doing all that free stuff because eventually, like you're you know, you're giving stuff away for free and you're taking yourself out of the equation and we've had to be really patient with that and really focused on like, this isn't just a tactic for utilizing content marketing and the Constant Inc method or whatever. It's actually how we do things. That's how we're going to run our business, and and I'm not sorry for that. So that

[00:04:01] spk_0: Z um, and my listeners may know this. I don't know if you will, you probably don't. But my season right now is of learning patients. I always joke that, and so I think this flows in well because the thing is, is what I've always been instructed by some of my great mentors is that you have a minimum of two years of hard work. Before you could even think about something paying off if you're going from the aspect of caring for others instead of caring for yourself. You know, and and in like you said in helping and and having a mission oriented versus selling and making money. Yes, we want to make money. Let's not like you got a family. We got a family we wanted, but but the patients that comes with it. So for you, I guess my first question is patients again. As I said even before this, people don't also know that I am on my, oh recording because a Greek computers but did not work. And now I'm on my fourth one. So I have to be patient, and I understand this, and this is a lesson that happens daily with me as well go probably and later I have a cow in my bathroom right now. So that's so Yes, yeah, yeah. So it's like you have to be patient with some things in life and teach. Tell people about that, like how patients does pay off even when other people are yelling. Whenever you know in your gut it's right.

[00:05:36] spk_1: I think it pays off because when you do get there then and you do find the success and the sales do come, you can look back and say like, not only are we here not only are we seeing success and further on a mission, but we did it the right way on your building. The right thing for us. Our patients has really paid off. Ah, huge example has actually been our shift through this pandemic, you know? And, you know, March April, like K 12 schools shut down all across the country. That's who we service. Uh, and when they shut down, so does all their training and their profession development, which is what we do on, and a lot of people that do similar stuff to what we do really started tripling down, really started chasing all the anyone, leads the had all these things and really do that we've seen it. Unfortunately, lot of them not survive the last eight months, we actually we made a decision. Um, we actually, in Chicago when the world was saying, like, don't go to Chicago because, like everything was shutting down, we made this decision. We said, Okay, we turn all sales off. Everything's off. We're going 1000% support. We started doing daily drop. We call them daily droppings every morning, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. Eastern time. We were live on all our social media, just there to support, not really with a whole lot of agenda. But we started. Then we started having people on and guess, and we're sharing advice, but really just sharing support of like, Hey, we'll be your constant in a world that's not constant right now we'll be your your support peace here. And we did that for a couple months ago, no matter how long we actually went. And we were extremely patient in the sense of we didn't follow up on things. We didn't pester leads. We didn't chase down contracts that have been sound. We lost. Um, it's been three days. I received phone calls that lead to us losing 23% of our projected revenue for this year. It be due to the pandemic and as a small business, you know, like that's not a percentage you wanna lose, ever. And we lost it. And if I'm being completely honest in May, I talk to my co founder, Chad, and I told him, like we both sat down like we need to brush up our resumes because this could be the thing that ruins it, which is a really crazy thing to think of. An unfortunate A lot of business has to come to that. But we were really, really patiently waited for our audience to tell us they were ready to start talking about, you know, about the instruction again about advance. And how do we do this and that they want to start talking about. Okay, how do we prepare for this New year and fall? We have no idea what it's gonna look like even when we get there is probably gonna change. Like, what do we dio? And we were really, really patient and waiting for that to happen, and then we end up having so we were right now rounding out the best year we've ever had the highest profit margin we've ever had, Uh, more clients that we've ever had, or for further on a mission we ever had. We've doubled the size of our team this this year on just having a really great year now because we shifted because we took that time. Why would be impatient? We also took that time to adjust how we were going to deliver things to go all virtual utilize and zoom in such how we were going toe. We create a new services and support pieces to support the virtual classroom and or the hybrid classroom or or the in person classroom that might have to switch to virtual really quickly, right and all these things that and so we filled up our July August September. We're just packed to the max with what trainings and support sessions and stuff, so that for me, looking back when I got a very riel and very close reflection on patients, the patients that we had through March April May just has extremely paid off and in so many different ways, and I could go back further lessons are patients across the last six years have has done that again and again. So it's a big thing. It's actually on another podcast. I can remember which one. It was just yesterday had an interview, I think I said there were patients, like 5000 times it's really were there today to I guess it's my thing right now.

[00:09:25] spk_0: Well, it is my to so that that works out perfectly. And I think it's so important, especially as I talk about I'm talking about my generation, but it's also others that are human. Design is created now for what I say is quick heads. I call, I call it the teenage Cheerleader is the dopamine releases, which are like that raw, raw, Good job happy. We're gonna make you happy really quick, you know? And then we don't get that happiness and we're gonna go back, you know? And so we constantly want these hits of raw, raw like don't mean that happens from it. And it's this instant gratification world you're living. But that's also what our kids are being told. There's good and bad from it. So yes, instant gratification. You know that as soon as you do a certain test, you get your score, you know, right away or information I can google something. I can get it right away, you know, literally again talking about the cow last night my cow sick. So we we have a baby cow that I married into a farm and I know nothing about cows other than my husband does. And he's not here right now. So he's at work. He's off. And I use Google last night to say, How do I take care of the baby cow? That's it. And it's in my bathroom because I felt like it was too cold last night. Um, but it's things like that. It's like we the the technology is great and we do. We love it, but it's also there's this double edged that comes with it. Eso when it comes to helping people versus selling people, What I love is that you already have enough What the stimulus is, you already have enough coming at you in life as is. When is there to support, like, how much difference has your customers have? They said about the experience in it or I'm assuming you've probably got a lot of gratitude for you not yelling at them to say, Hey, give me money.

[00:11:26] spk_1: Yeah, I mean, it's yeah. I mean, absolutely, and we've we've always done this, but I think it's really been amplified this year is, you know, for for the first you know, you know when you get into business, everyone always ask you what your differentiator, what's the thing that makes your business different and all that stuff? And we've had a lot of ideas for that. Well, we really focus on follow up versus just been like a one off, you know, trading session where we're always available, but we're young, so we're agile, blah, blah, blah, blah. I really realized over the last, you know, 89 whatever months that I think the thing that separates us from so many is family man, we figured out we found our audience has told us all these little things that we have, whether it's our ambassador program, are our speakers. Are, you know, are mastermind groups that we have our social media, the whatever it is like everything feels like our family. It's always connected, and people look at our team as a family, like they don't. People don't. They don't love our team because of the good method, which is one of the big things that we that we trying on or to teach further model because we're really great at standards based grade and they love us because we feel like family because they feel they feel welcome. And I think we're that really, really Shine was back when we did that when we were put on that patients. But when we said Okay, we're not going to sell, we're just gonna take care of you the best we can because that's what you did with your family, too, right? I'm gonna pretend like that's what we were thinking then, right? That's just was our default because or let's have a fucked back in my gap because we're just taking care of. That's our family. And that kind of goes back to when we created the we originally started as the grid method. We became teach better because we do so much more than that now. And when we were finally trying to figure out like what the Social Media handles were for the brand switch teach better was taken, so looked and I looked and I said, Oh, we'll teach better teams available and Chad my, my co founder, had this like moment. We have been locked in a room, our team for like, 16 hours for this end of the year, meeting whatever. And he goes, Yeah, like we're the teach better team. But our entire network is the teach better team, and we're all like, Oh, dude, that's deep. But that's how we've always acted. And it is like whether they're like on our website, under our team or not or whatever like it's, it's one big family, one big team. We're all trying to go to the same goal, which is help impact kids. So I think that really is what really led into that and just ability to just say, now we're just here for you. And when you do that to for more specifically for, you know, administrators and leaders in schools who get a billion emails and phone calls a day for this new technical, this new curriculum on stuff they go, you just wanna help me like Okay, cool. So then when they do need something to say what's called those guys because they didn't sell us anything, you know? So that's for me. That's been a big reflection point that that I'm really, really proud of for our team. So,

[00:14:07] spk_0: yeah, and you being the CEO, that's probably everything that's ever countered against what you might have been told with the money uh,

[00:14:17] spk_1: ways. Yes, I've had some. I've had some mentors who have really, who actually really helped them bed that into me, or it's been allowed me to take it to our team. And I really, you know, as I would fight back on conversations that I didn't realize we're really impactful. I've been realized that, like they really are impactful like Andi. They've all kind of led to this this whole concept. So

[00:14:39] spk_0: I love it and it makes me think of, Well, there's two things. First, my father, he always taught me that how you care for your people will be reflected in your bank account. Uh, and that that's the true measure is how you care and how you love on people. But then the other thing is, any time you get an email from me, it says the kiss of death is to be the genius with 10,000 helpers. Instead, be the genius with 10,000 geniuses. And that's what I hear from you. Like you saying team. And I love the other thing that you pointed out that you waited for your customers to tell you when you're ready. And I actually had a conversation with somebody the other day, like So what are you doing? And And it felt awkward for me to say, Like, I feel like my stuff stressed to the strategy like, that's what I dio and I'm like, I know if they're stressed, they're not thinking about this. They just want to just, like, find something to decompress, you know? And so basically, I felt like I got a little berated because my method was not to their method. You know, um, on go make those sales no matter what, but that's not the people I want. I don't want to do that to people because I wouldn't want that to be done to May. So that's my next question for you is how much has it helped your internal team and the culture that comes with being people focused on helping instead of selling?

[00:16:06] spk_1: Oh, it's I mean, it's priceless, I guess, for for our internal team. So you know we have. We have the majority of people on our team, our teachers, the majority of them still in the classroom, full time. That worked for us part time, and you know, it's a it's ah, it would be very difficult to have all these people jump on with us and tell them, Go sell a bunch of teachers stuff because their teachers, and like, that's what we're doing, right? Or go sell a bunch administrator stuff they're saying they're gonna say, Well, I'm a classroom teacher. I'm gonna go sell a bunch of administrators like what's like That's a weird vibe and stuff. But I and I also believe that if we did that, we wouldn't have the team we have because the team that we have came to us because of what? Of this? I'm gonna go back to like this family atmosphere, this this team atmosphere we have. And so I think internally, that's such a big piece. Because when we look at things, when when the question comes up or a concern or ah, challenge in conversation and were like, All right, which way do we go? We look and we say, Okay, well, what what is on the What's the end goal? Well, the angle is impacting students by impacting teachers. So which decision gets us there? Not which decision has the bank account. Which decision gets us there now? Don't get me wrong. You still have to think about like, Is that the decision that a bankrupt you obviously right? Because you need. If you have money to go do good, you could do more good, right? But But we always look at, like what? Like why don't we? Why do we come to that conclusion? Is it because it's the best thing for further and what we're trying to do? Or because it's the best thing? Because I looked at the cash, she and it looks worse right now, and I think our team really appreciates that we're very transparent with our team. We're very open with our team. They're very aware of things are going on and how things look. And I think that family atmosphere in there helps us. Then have them go out and do the same things which is always putting others first, always looking to help first and support first. And we've just found that it comes back around. It takes

[00:17:58] spk_0: a

[00:17:58] spk_1: while, which is why you have to be patient, you know? So

[00:18:03] spk_0: and I look at and the thing again, what I'm hearing right now is is the word patients, which I told you that's my season. Right now there's so many things that are happening. And I also want to go into this, Um, because I know that you're about helping. People are not selling people. And I know this because just the time, because I wanted to make yours. I'm not sorry for teaching better. And you're like, No, no, no, no. I don't think that's it. Like it's on helping people. And I'm like, Okay, but I do want to talk a little bit about the philosophy that you do at teach better because right now you know this and some of my listeners know this as well that I am a stay at home mom teacher right now. So because, you know, we're kind of locked down. Uh, so I have my kids and I've been homeschooling them while still running a business while still doing podcasts and doing these other thing. But the cool thing that I've found is in this season that I think that some of the things that possibly might be doing may match up with you. Like hands on, literally. The kids are taking care of the cow like their bottle. Feel like these things that you can learn. And my kids were making three D printing ornaments and writing hand written notes, um, to people right now, like in need. Those were the things that I found have been so different than what has been taught at school. So, yes, they're still learning riding in language, But it's just in a a different way. And if they get it quicker, good. You know, if if it takes more time, then okay, so I do want I think it will help people understand to what you do it teach better as well.

[00:19:45] spk_1: Well, big piece of sort of. One of the foundations of what we believe is you kind of just allude to it is if they get it quicker, Great. If they don't, that's okay, too. Um, you know what? We as far as what we do, you know, we we work with teachers to help them improve what they're doing. It's not to fix them because they're not good or anything like that. It's too. Try to give them, offer them solutions, ideas, tactics, strategies that they can put in place toe, help them be just a little bit better today than they were yesterday and a little bit better tomorrow than they were today. That's our our whole thing when we started this and started with something called The Good Method, which something that might co founder Chatter Strauss we created and Chad from Day One said, I don't want to walk a teacher's classroom and tell them they're not teaching right, because that's not what this is, because I want to go into classrooms and say, Hey, this helped me teach better. Maybe it can help you if you want, and that's what we've done. I think because of that it works that way. You know, the model that we have and we work with the district over multiple years toe actually have all their teachers be trained is a very slow dispersal model where we start with a small group. We proved the concept. We we test it out and then it's very optional. It's as they're adding in and it's more about what's the end goal and if you could do that without without what were preaching, great, awesome. But if you need some help, that's what we're here for. A Sfar is the sort of the shift and methodology. A lot of what you touched on is what it is. It's how do we make the content relevant to real life? And I focus on what we're actually trying to teach them versus the time they spend in seats or in front of a computer screen or or the amount of work they dio. You know, it's no longer, you know, did we did Jeff complete worksheet to point to its? Did Jeff learn what he was supposed to learn by completing 2.2? And if not, is it because that worksheets not the best method for Jeff or because he just is confused and and you touched on it right? Then there's if they learn quicker, great. If they don't, that's okay, too, because one of the biggest things is, you know, a big thing that we train on his his master learning so self paced learning students moving at the pace of their understanding, not the pace that we think they should learn. Do you think about education? It's so weird. The traditional education Think about like when your kids learn toe walk. They all walk at different times in different ways, right? But then we put them into school were like, Oh, you all have to learn this way at this time this this day and these grades and you move it doesn't make any sense. And if a kid doesn't understand two plus two, when we move them on the multiplication, they're probably never going to catch up because that gaps have in their field and so focused on. It's not about what the kids doing, it's What's the kids learning? What have they actually taken away? And so that's one of the big things that we work on our on with educators is how do we make sure that we're lining everything we do in the classroom to the standards that they have to be going after? How are we making it relevant? How are we making it? Engage in on how are we properly assessing their growth and their understanding of the knowledge or their understanding of the content, not the completion of the task like what? Do we actually get them there? So those air, that's kind of a broad, quick overview of what we really work with on in the mix that there's a whole bunch of little stuff that our little pieces of all of that. So depending on what individual schools and teachers need, we may work on a small piece of that or a bigger piece of that or whatever. And that could be anywhere from a 60 to 90 minutes session to one or two day workshop to, you know, a 3 to 5 year plan for, you know, big rollout with the district. So

[00:23:11] spk_0: no, I love it. So here's the thing. I wanna nerd out a little about business for my audience, too, because they know how I love how humans work and why I love what you do so much is there is one part of it. It's self paced, and it's self mastery. Um, so for any of the work that we do, we based it on DeSean Ryan's the self motivation theory. So it's competency, autonomy, relatedness compensate. You got to give them the gotta let them know what you need to know. We gotta get some mastery. Uh, you it has to be relatable. Always joked that some of the stuff that we've received on, like the wellness or safety world, would be about snow. Well, I'm in Georgia Do you know how much snow I've seen in my life? Let's you know

[00:23:59] spk_1: when it snows a little bit, you shut down everything right?

[00:24:01] spk_0: Yeah, that's exactly that's all that we know there's

[00:24:03] spk_1: one snow plow for the entire state. I know my brother. My older brother, is down in Atlanta. It's crazy. Yeah,

[00:24:10] spk_0: And you will get bread. All the bread will be gone in the way. Don't know why yet, but we still do that. But it's compass. See autonomy, then related. This like those are the things that we have that make things. What we found to be successful, what drives human behavior. And that's kind of what you're doing with the kids. You're giving them the knowledge you're giving it an in the aspect of your also doing this with your staff for the teachers that you're teaching is if it works, great is your choice, you know, you take it, you own it because what you own, you will do the best act, you know, and that is so important. And just like you do that with the teachers, the teachers could do that with the kids, and it almost has this multiplying effect that I love, love, love, love to see And that's really important especially for my listeners to get on and Thio learn in on and get on The best way that you're gonna learn is the best way that you're gonna learn. So you need to figure out what way The best way that you're gonna learn. And we're all different. We're all humans and you're bringing humanity to it. That is beyond important. Um, because what I see is when I say a lot of the times is I wish that the people that I worked with were taught some of this stuff at a younger age that they were taught sooner. And that's why I love again. The work that you guys were doing is because it, in essence, you're teaching them at a younger age toe to rely on their self bring and give them confidence. Don't focus on them being a product that they're not A in essence, what you do, you have to do more and do more and do more and do more because that can weigh down on your soul. Especially whenever you're talking about patients, you know, you could get burned out from it, and that's what I'm seeing. A lot of people do is they're doing everything and they're trying toe switch and do every lever that they can possible. And they're absolutely burned out instead of understanding how humans are designed and how we can make the next generation better, or how we can make our generation better just one day better. So I'm like, I'm so in love with what you're saying and I'm I

[00:26:27] spk_1: want to clarify that the work that I do that we do is to help support the amazing teachers because they're the ones that go on, do that for the kids. They're the ones that that make that happen. We're just trying to support them, but But I'm totally with you. It's such an important piece, and we're seeing that shift and all around the country. And it's just awesome, and especially when you take in the context of this year the work that educators are doing right now and they're still thinking about how do I do this better when, honestly, it's perfectly cool if they were just trying to survive, but they're thinking like how do I do this better? How Doe I and all the thinking about is how do I do this better for my students? And that's just one of my favorite part of the job is the fact that educators are just amazing and they want that they want everything you just talked about for their students, and they're still working in the midst of all of this. They're still working so hard to do that. So we'll start a little love shout out toe all those educators because

[00:27:17] spk_0: they make my life better. They do and always, always say that whenever my kids go back to school that, um, full time that I am blessed with this group of the school that we do have and that they do Soon as you walk in the door, it says you are loved, you know, and and bring that family aspect to it. And I think that continuation of just letting people learn and grow and the amazing human beings, you know, And so I appreciate you so much So I got a two part final question. First one is people are apologizing for focusing on helping people versus selling people. What would you tell them?

[00:27:59] spk_1: He's oh, what would I tell them, Um, you gotta believe in it, which I understand is easier said than done. But But I mean, that's that's really like you have to believe in and what you are doing and why you're doing those things and realize that if you believe in it and it is the right thing to do, we always say is teachers like If you're wake up every day and doing the things that you think of the right thing to do for your students, then you don't have to apologize for anything, even when you fall flat on your face. And so if you're if you're not, if you're done, apologize for some things you believe in it, you have to believe in it to the point where if someone else criticized to try to bring it down like that's not. That's not worthy of stopping you from doing that. So really, really believe that. Reflect and make sure it's what you believe in, and then trust your gut in your soul on that and just don't let them stop you from doing that.

[00:28:50] spk_0: A man and then final question. If people want to reach out and learn more about you or what you dio How can they find you?

[00:28:58] spk_1: Yeah. So the best place final everything we do is that teach better dot com. The team is at teach better team on all the social media profiles. I am Twitter. Probably best place to get me at Jeff Gardas g a r g a s on instagram I'm at underscore Jeff Gorgas. And then, I mean, honestly, I love I mean communicated and chat. And anyone could email me anytime. Jeff, teach better dot com and happy to connect.

[00:29:22] spk_0: Awesome. Well, I appreciate you so much for coming. I

[00:29:24] spk_1: appreciate you so much, you know that.

[00:29:27] spk_0: Thank you. This has been a fun conversation, and I'm excited for the listeners to hear in. So until next time, you'll have a blast. One. Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of unapologetically Bold. I'm not sorry for if this touch shoot anyway, please, like and subscribe and share with your friends as we continue the message of being unapologetically bold, Bobby and hot humans who are humble, open and transparent. See you next time