Tribefit Interview - Josh Tree And How He Has Successful Started And Run Multiple Successful Events
Chris: Hey guys, Chris Lynton here from TribeFit, and today we have a very, very special guest, Josh Tree with us today. How are you Josh?
Josh: Yeah I'm good, how you doing?
Chris: Really good mate, I'm doing really well, and guys we've got Josh for today's interview. Josh has about a million degrees, he's got a super high IQ, he's doing some phenomenal things in the men's health space and what we're going to do today is specifically focus on retreats and events. Retreats and events being an option or an opportunity revenue stream for online fitness business, and Josh reached out and said "Chris, why don't we have a chat and I can let everyone know what I've been able to do, and then some people can take some learning from that?"
So Josh, mate without me going on for ages and trying to tell your life story, can you maybe give everyone a little bit of background about yourself, where you've come from and how you got in to the events and retreats and that sort of thing that you're currently doing?
Josh: Sure. So, my background is, I've been in the health and fitness industry going on fifteen or sixteen years, and I've had a couple of evolutions during that time. I initially started off as a personal trainer, working out of a gym. More or less, sort of global gym.
I'm just going to put the lights on so that you can see me.
I started off there, in fact, before I even got into personal training, I was actually a membership sales consultant. So, I was born and bred in sales and had the gift of gab [inaudible 00:01:58] I worked in high-performance, so I worked in strength and conditioning coach for the West Tigers for about three seasons, then sort of went into [inaudible 00:02:09] West, started all their junior high performance programmes. Worked a little bit at AU in internship, working with the twenties and the sevens boys, and then from there I decided, while during that period of time, I was doing my bachelor's degree in sport and exercise science and making that sort of transition and growth into exercise physiology, which is what I do today.
Whilst I've been in the exercise physiology industry, I've been privileged enough to be able to do a number of things [inaudible 00:02:39] I've worked with some high-risk patients now that are going through cancer treatment, might have heart disease, pulmonary issues. The other side of the work that I do from a board level and a couple of other things is in health promotion. From that side of things, I've been involved in some men's health campaigns like Real Men Move and a number of other esser-based initiatives like exercise right, sitting in front of Better Homes and Gardens talking about that and a couple of media channels.
From that health promotion, got a real passion for men's health and realised there wasn't a lot being done around men's health compared to women's health. As someone who works with blokes [inaudible 00:03:25] on a day-to-day basis, I often see guys coming into the clinic in worst case scenarios. They are blokes that are broken, they have mental health disorders coming through. I've worked with guys with schizophrenia, bi-polar, PTSD veterans. Work with guys with really bad, extreme cases of heart disease, diabetes, and pulmonary issues, and the common thread was always they've left it too late and had that sort of "shit'll be alright" attitude which then led to me wanting to do more about it. I suppose, in terms of what I'm doing now, in relation to [inaudible 00:04:10] this really started from having conversations with blokes over coffee. They say, "What can you do about it?" Fortunately enough, I had a couple of Armstrong contacts around the media, and that led to some conversations getting things started in that base, and I've had a little bit of experience with event management.
Having thrown myself in the deep end the last two years doing that, I definitely know what I need to do and how to launch an event and all of the ins and outs and what to consider, and it's something that has become a really strong part of what I do now as a health professional and also a part of my business.
Chris: Beautiful. Beautiful, mate.
I think the video is frozen a little bit. We can still hear you loud and clear. It looks like the video is working again now, but, mate, just to break it into two stages. First and foremost, first stage, what do you currently do now in events in regards to how many faces, price points, and timeframe.
Second to that, how many have you run, and what have you learnt and changed from the first one to where you are now? Just so that people who are thinking about kicking off, what are the traps that people can fall into?
Josh: Answering the first part of that, the events that are run now, I'm sure the guys in the truck might have come across Blokes Lunch. Really, it's pretty much getting a group of blokes in a room talking about men's health. The way we do it is through storytelling rather than just throwing facts and figures and information, because often, blokes know about it, but it's really having those charismatic role models in front of them telling their story that actually does something about it and brings about change.
Getting back to your point about price point, in terms of price point, the tickets for something like that start at $125 for at three-course lunch and they're there listening to the presenters, they're getting networking and building connections. The big thing is really storytelling [inaudible 00:06:40]. Once I say that the price point is $125, we also sell things like sponsorships as part of that event as well, and those can go from being about $500 up to about $10,000 to be involved. The big thing with those, it is definitely about creating value, and then nurturing and maintaining a partnership and the relationships involved.
That's leading into the second point about what I've learned about being involved in events. When you are looking at an established event, people need to have a good experience, especially on the first one, to then maintain those relationships, but secondly, you need to understand, if you are trying to seek sponsorship from someone, it's not a transactional relationship. It's actually a partnership and it's about building value and understanding who their audience is and who your audience is and saying [inaudible 00:07:44]. So that's the second part of it, as well. I hope that addresses what you are talking about, as well.
Chris: Beautiful, yeah, awesome, mate. Ticket price, how many heads, or how many people, in your first one versus your most recent one, in regards to how many bumps in seats and so on?
Josh: In terms of the first event that we put on, which was last year, we got 170 to it. In terms of this year, we've maintained that same level, but we've had further corporate sponsorship and investment. So, in terms of revenue, our revenue has been slightly more this year, but the plus side to this year's event being the second instalment, it's evolving [inaudible 00:08:44] opportunities to further spin-off events that we are looking at launching into 2019. It's also created opportunities for further Blokes Lunches to take place in other areas around New South Wales and possibly into Queensland.
Chris: Of course. That's phenomenal, 170 people, pretty much, on average, to every single one of them. That's pretty phenomenal, hats off to that. That's a good number, and obviously, the larger the scale the more complexity there is in regards to set ups, delivery, logistics, so on and so forth. I guess, looking back now, if someone's listening to this, Josh, and they're going, "I have an issue, I have an audience, I service them in an online format currently, or I'm thinking about an online, but I'm also thinking about some aspect of an event, or a retreat." Looking back on where you've come and the experience you've got so far, what would be your recommendations to them on their first one?
Josh: I think with the first one, you've got to factor in what's your budget. You need to understand, if you're going to put on something like the Blokes Lunch, for example, a sit down event, or a fitness event, or retreat, or anything like that, you've got to sit and work out the numbers first, before you even put it on. You need to obviously work out what your price point needs to so you know what your break even is, before you can put it on. Otherwise, if you just go ahead with it, you're going to run into a whole lot of complexity and drama before you even start.
For us, the big thing that we did with the Blokes Lunch before we even put it on, is that we costed it out. We knew exactly what sort of support we needed, and certainly, sponsorship helps a lot in addressing those initial challenges or financial complexities that you are looking at on the run up to the event, but it's got to be the right sponsors. Then, certainly, once you've worked out the cost and logistics of that cost, I'd also recommend getting and experienced [inaudible 00:11:05] involved in what you put on, rather than just trying to just do it from a DIY sort of perspective.
That is something that we did with our event. Fortunately enough, in my family, I do have someone who is experienced in event management, so I've learned a lot from them, and what we have done, when we've done it right the first time, we've got templates that we can just turn around, modify, and adjust and learn from each event that we put on exactly how we can go about doing the next one, and how we can do it at a reduced cost so that we are more profitable. If, for example, we don't have the same support, how is it going to look, run and operate. So it's always trying to run it on a shoestring budget so you get the most return so you can put out a great experience every time.
Chris: Beautiful. So, from budgeting, everything flows off on that, because, obviously, as you were saying, you can decide what you can include, what you can't include, what's possible, and regards to, you started off with a pretty sizable number, 170, so what is your recommendation to someone who might not have as much of an audience or existing network as yourself? Is there a better number? Is it better to go for a hundred, 170 out of the gate, or smaller and more intimate? What are your thoughts on that?
Josh: I guess that ultimately depends on what your event is. If it's a fitness or trainer, I'd imagine you'd operate off of a smaller number, but you'd have a higher cost per head in relation to what you'd [inaudible 00:12:56]. If you're putting on an event in your gym, for example, then obviously, a lot of those costs are negated, in terms of venue and staff, getting your hands on deck with logistics and how things operate. You can't do it with one or two people.
If we take, for example, the Blokes Lunch, a big thing we did was look at collaboration and partnerships to get that going. That's something you can actually look at. It's often, if you look at the fitness industry, it happens all the time where you have brands that want to be involved and talk to your audience. You'd have, possibly, even, if you are looking at running a fitness event at your centre for example, there's certainly scope for you to be able to reach out to your clients and reach out to friends of your clients and bring them to your centre to get engaged that way. It really depends, ultimately, on what the event is, but if we are using the Blokes Lunch as an example, I didn't have 170 people to reach out to, but the way we achieved it was through partnerships and collaborations with the right people.
The other big thing that also helped us as well, and it is something that I now maintain, is we've got some pretty strong media partners involved in what we do, so it saves me cost and time. I've noticed out there, in the local media, through print, radio, TV, working with those partners, given the fact that they've touched, felt, and experience, and had that immersive experience in the Blokes Lunch and it's something that they want to be involved with every time, which is really part of the endgame. If you're going to put on an event, everyone has a good time. Otherwise, there might not be a second one.
Josh: To get back to your question, a big thing is, I would look at collaborations and partnerships and [inaudible 00:15:00]. You're putting on an event, even if it's a talk, I'm sure that there's other people that want to talk to your audience, or that would advertise your event to their audience, to come along to your event, so they're reaching a greater audience and a greater niche.
Chris: Great, man, that's awesome.
In terms of the partnerships, the sponsorships, whatever structure or whatever you term that, what is, for someone that has never done this before, and has been listening to this, and obviously loud and clear about that is a massive part. What is the first step to approaching potential partners?
Josh: It's something you touched on earlier when we've been working together. It gets back to your avatar, doesn't it? It's who are you trying to talk to and who are they trying to talk to? When we've looked for partners in the Blokes Lunch, one of the things we've looked at is our audience. We even put out surveys about what kinds of brands would you engage with, as well, for potential partners with our event. We got feedback like, Holden, Harley-Davidson, [inaudible 00:16:27], Australian Men's Health magazine, all that sort of stuff. So you look at that content, and you look at the sort of people you're talking to, Man Shake, all that sort of stuff, so there's plenty of brands that we can go and talk to and say, "You know what, this is the audience we've got", and from that feedback and information that we got there, we know exactly what brands are likely to engage with us, because that's the audience they want to engage with and talk to.
Obviously, it's a health conscious brand, but obviously with my event being a Blokes Lunch, it can be a bit loose about what sort of partnerships we look at, but, certainly, if I was putting on a fitness event, which we are looking at doing something like that going into next year, one of the things that is a bit of the spin off from doing the Blokes Lunch is how to create a health event management company, and how it looks at that, is certainly with fitness events, the big thing I'll look at is what sort of brands want to talk to my audience?
For example, when I was looking at affiliate based, marketing based content, I'd ask, for example, if I was putting on a kid's event, I'd also want to talk to pre-adolescent teens through young adults, so Adidas would be a brand I want to talk to. Especially if it was a women's sports event, or looking at young men. If I wanted to talk to older blokes, or if I were to put on a men's health event and engage that way, it'd be brands more like Nike or Underarmor that I would want to get involved because of who they want to talk to and engage with. I suppose, in the end, it's just being really intelligent about it. It's really knowing your avatar, knowing your brand. That is a big thing, knowing your brand, who you talk to, and who your audience is, and then looking for like-minded brands that are wanting to partner with you.
Chris: Beautiful. Absolutely awesome, you nailed all the points. To bring back something that you talked about earlier, it is a two-way street, it is a partnership, so, if you're going out there and you're saying, "Hey, I'm doing an event, do you want to give me a million bucks" and that's about the end of my pitch, that's a one-way street. You've got to go in assuming what are they going to get out of it for what they give you. As Josh talked about, if you think about your avatar and the people that are going to be there, do those people want to communicate to those people, what value is it going to bring them, and creating it always as a win-win, it's how you are going to build those long-term relationships that you were talking about earlier, is that correct?
Josh: Yeah, so what's really useful, and this is something that I just recently come across, reading some content about sponsorship and partnership based agreements, the big thing you want to have a look at is, what brands want to know is, who's your audience and how many of them are you talking to? The other side of it is, especially when you are looking at those partnership arrangements, they also want to know what sort of value in return on investment are they going to get from engaging with you. So if you are going in with a mentality of it's just transactional, you're going to get the money and then put on the event, and that's about it, well, that's advertising, that's not a partnership.
If you're looking at sponsorships, or partnerships, like we've been talking about, you want people engaged with you long-term to the point where they are almost recommending you or speaking to you as a regular ambassador of their brand. That's probably another consideration there, and there's certainly brands that we have strong partnerships with that regularly engage with me to talk about a number of things, like health insurance companies and et cetera, because we've become a strong ambassador of their brand.
Getting back to that point earlier, it's definitely about value, so you want to be looking at what sort of value do they receive from getting involved. What's the audience, how many people are you talking to, and also, how are they going to be best featured, and also, any content you are putting out. You need to be mindful that any content you are putting out isn't going to be harmful to their brand or your brand, or cast a disparaging shadow on what you are trying to do.
Chris: Yeah, mate, that's awesome.
It's going in with the right mindset, thinking about yourself, thinking about your partners, alignment, overall. What you are delivering, what they are going to get out of it, but then, also, the realistic end of that, serving the needs, the wants of the actual person attending the event, making sure they have a great experience and that they want to come back time and time again.
Mate, awesome aspects on that. Anyone listening to this, guys, it's pretty clearly planned out pathway of doing that. Budget all the way through to alignment of partnerships.
In terms of finishing up, Josh, to sum up, there are so many gold nuggets within that, to sum up all of that, is there any one-liners? If someone's listening, going, "Josh, I'm going to do this", it might be an event or a retreat, might be one day, might be a weekend, whatever it might be, what would you suggest, if you could sum it up in just one or two lines?
Josh: You know me, I'm not a one or two line kind of a guy. If you are going to put on an event, you've got to really plan it first. You've got to understand exactly who you are talking about, who you want to engage with, and how it's relevant to your niche. After that, potentially look at collaborations and partnerships, and then, to sum up, with those collaborations and partnerships, it's all about relationship building and rapport. One of the biggest nuggets of learning that I've had in relation to working with brands is, it's the old adage that people do business with mates. The way that comes about is that you are building that relationship and rapport before you even put a sponsorship document in front of someone.
If you think that "I'm just going to slap down a whole bunch of emails to companies with my prospectus and they are going to take it up", they're not. You do need to actually put in a bit of ground work on it. You've got to build up. It's that whole sort of friction ladder thing that we've spoken about before. You've got to have some authority to what you are doing. You actually need to have sort of [inaudible 00:23:27] to build rapport and build that relationship before you even go into a prospectus document.
To sum up, you need to plan it out, is the big thing. You really need to plan out who you are talking to, what the event looks like, who would be your best collaborations and partnerships, and then you obviously want to build a relationship, not only with these sponsors, but also with your audience.
Chris: Beautiful, mate. In essence, don't go in half-cocked. Do the planning, do the thinking, otherwise you're going to waste time and energy, and not move forward in any direction.
I really appreciate that, Josh. Guys, if you want to find out more about Josh, about what he's doing with Blokes Lunch, all the spin offs he's doing with Blokes Lunch, the work that he's doing with individuals, or all the event stuff that he's doing, as well, where would they go, Josh? How would they connect and find out more about yourself?
Josh: You're welcome to hit me up through the web site, either joshttree.com or the healthentourage.com.au. Otherwise, just reach out to me in the TribeFit group. I'm up there regularly, and just slide into the DM and we'll have a chat.
Chris: Don't be sending him any dodgy photos in the DMs, guys, we'll have to confirm on that one.
Anyways, mate, I appreciate the chat, Josh. Loads of good information there, guys. Josh has been through the paths, he's done it, he's done it multiple times, and obviously it's growing time and time again, so check out what he's doing, go to those formats if you want to find out any more information.
Thanks, once again for your time, Josh. No doubt, buddy, we'll be speaking again, soon.
Bye for now.
Josh: Great. See ya.