Lauren Schwab – Losing $500,000, checking your ego, and dating Travis Kelce.

Lauren is an expert in health, wellness and mind-body connection.

As the creator of Unplugged Mornings, Lauren created a 9-step process to help individuals disconnect to reconnect back to their true self! In connection to that effort Lauren has hiked Mount Kilimanjaro, spent almost 60 days living in a cave, and competed with more than 1 million people to win one of 50 coveted spots in a competition reality TV show held on NBC.

Lauren has also opened and sold two fitness studios, is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and fitness model in addition to leading online workouts that reach hundreds of thousands of men & women focused on changing their lives through fitness and mindfulness and has been featured in USA Today Sports, Marie Claire Magazine and Mind Body Green. Lauren has been seen on Good Day LA Fox 11, FOX, ABC, NBC Universal, GSN, E! Entertainment, CBS and Syfy.

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[00:00:00] Michael King: Hey everybody, welcome back to In the Trenches with Michael King where we talk with business owners, leaders, and executives about the lessons they've learned while fighting In the Trenches of the business battlefield. I am Michael King[00:00:23] For those of you that have gone into business, by yourself. You know what a scary thing it can be. There's a lot of unknowns. There's a lot of uncertainties, there's a lot of variables, and particularly if you've never started a business before, it can be a really, really scary endeavor a lot of times.

[00:00:43] When we're scared. We want to have security through groups, right? We want to do things together. You don't want to go to a haunted house by yourself. You go to a haunted house with your friends because there's some security in doing things with a group. I think it's just human nature. So a lot of times when we think about going into business, we want to have somebody come along for the ride.

[00:01:05] Today, I'm talking with my new friend, but definitely a good friend, Lauren Schwab. Years ago, Lauren decided to go into business via a health,  wellness and fitness studio franchise, and she decided to find some people to go on the ride with her. The bad news for Lauren at the time is she didn't really know these other people that she was going into business with.

[00:01:27] They brought some things to the table that she thought complimented her. So Lauren invested $150,000 to get this franchise started up, and within a few years, Lauren had realized that she had sunk about $500,000 into the venture, and some of her partners were cashing out while she was getting no money, essentially, she was lied to and stolen from.

[00:01:52] And so Lauren's going to share a really candid conversation about how she got into business with some folks and how she lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, several years of her life, and how you can avoid making some of those same mistakes. The good news is, Lauren came out the other end, a stronger professional, and a stronger entrepreneur for it.

[00:02:12] And so she's going to tell us how she climbed out of that hole. She's going to talk about how she checked her ego at the door after that and was able to grow as a professional and ultimately start a new business that has been much more successful and lucrative for her. We're also going to talk about a little bit of a trend, and that's coaching and masterminds.

[00:02:33] What is a coach? What is a mastermind? How do you pick a coach that's a good fit for you? How do you pick a mastermind that's good for you? This is something I'm learning a lot about right now, and Lauren gives some really good perspectives on what that world is all about. So without further ado, here's my conversation with Lauren Schwab.

[00:02:53] Lauren, thanks for being here.

[00:02:55] Lauren Schwab: Thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited.

[00:02:58] Michael King: Absolutely. You were telling me about how a few years ago you entered into a business venture. It was a fitness studio franchise, and it costs you about $150,000 out of pocket, to go into the venture. You went into the business with a couple of partners that you didn't know really well, and within a few years you were out about half a million dollars and you were without a business.

[00:03:26] Is that right?

[00:03:27] Lauren Schwab: That is correct. Unfortunately, that is all correct.

[00:03:35] Michael King: Take us back in time to the start and we’ll unpackage that a little bit.  How did you get there? What was the genesis of this idea? How did you come to be in business with these people and lose all this money?

[00:03:45] Lauren Schwab: I think it really kind of set the tone for the story and how I got there. I grew up in a small town in Kansas playing sports, and so my whole life revolved around sports and fitness, so when I moved to California and I no longer was a part of a team, I honestly kind of lost my identity there for a while.

[00:04:05] And so the next big dream after playing college sports and stuff was, Oh, I should own a gym. That would be really cool, but I figure I need to start with maybe getting my personal training certification first and do some of that. So that all kind of happened, and it led me to this opportunity with this gym franchise where they first brought me on as a project manager to launch their franchise in the U S it was an Australian brand.

[00:04:28] It is an Australian brand that still exists. And so through that process I realized, Hey, maybe I really do want to open my own gym and I have this opportunity right in front of me, so why not go with this one? So originally, I was just going to do it by myself and then hire trainers and other people to come in, and I very quickly was approached by another.

[00:04:49] A gentleman that was looking to franchise more than one. So at the time I was thinking I just wanted to do one. He came to me with the idea, let's open 20 of these and beyond. And I think he kind of saw the opportunity where I was in the fitness industry and I had a big network and community where I live, and he didn't really write.

[00:05:09] He was going to be more of a kind of money man. And, I was like, you know what? This could be really good. I don't know this person at all, but we bring two different things to the table. So at the time it seemed to be good. I quickly realized that that is definitely not the way to pick your partner, even though you definitely should bring different things to the table, but you should do a little more research on people in general and actually get references.

[00:05:32] I feel like that's something of the past that people don't necessarily do anymore is talk to people and get real references. So I just heard from a few people that he seemed like an okay person. So anyways, it went from being the two of us to six of us very quickly. So that diluted our percentage right off the bat.

[00:05:51] And I probably should have seen these red flags coming up and instead of painting them white, I should have actually listened to them and made a different choice.

[00:06:00] Michael King: Did you recognize at the time that they were red flags and you excused them away or is it in hindsight, you should have seen them as red flags.

[00:06:10] Lauren Schwab: So here's the deal. I definitely had intuition. I didn't know at the time that that's what intuition was, right? So I don't think we ever really realized what intuition is. Unless you feel something, you go down the line and then something pops up and you're like, Oh, that feeling I had back a couple months ago, that was intuition.

[00:06:26] I should have actually listened to that. If everything goes right and peachy, you're never going to think back to that time because you're not going to go back and assess that. So yes, I had intuition. It was telling me. Not too, it was a very, very loud and bright flag. And at the same time, I also knew that regardless of whatever choice I made, I was going to learn something through the process.

[00:06:46] So I was okay with that. I was like, you know what? I'm young enough still that I can learn something here. Worst case scenario, I lost all my money and moved back to Kansas and with my grandparents. Right. And that would be a great scenario. So when you chunk it back and it's really not that bad anyways, but yeah, no, I definitely had the intuition, saw the red flags, painted them white, and kept moving forward.

[00:07:07] Michael King: One of my mentors from years ago asked me this really provocative question one day. He said, how does it feel to be wrong? And I thought about it and I, you know, gave him some kind of an answer, like, you know, it's embarrassing, or humiliating or shameful or whatever, and he said, no, it feels normal to be wrong.

[00:07:28] It's the realization that you're wrong, is what brings up those feelings. He's the example of a Wile E Coyote. You know when he's chasing the roadrunner and goes off the cliff, he doesn't realize he's in trouble. Like when he goes off the cliff, he's fine until he realizes that he's about to fall, that that, Oh boy,

[00:07:46] Now he's scared.

[00:07:48] Lauren Schwab: Right.

[00:07:49] Michael King: I think that that's a really good example. It's good to be cognizant of when you're making mistakes. It feels just like you're doing the right thing. It's not till you realize that you've made a mistake, that the oh shit moment.

[00:08:01] Lauren Schwab: Yeah.

[00:08:02] Michael King: I respect that.

[00:08:04] Lauren Schwab: I love that you bring that up about being wrong, because being a very competitive person my whole life, I never wanted to be wrong.

[00:08:09] Like I would do anything to be right. Even when I knew I was wrong, but now I actually get excited about being wrong, especially if it's in a relationship, you're like, I really hope I'm wrong about this. Right? So, no, it's actually, we learned way more from being wrong than being right. So I'm okay with being wrong.

[00:08:26] Michael King: So as you progressed, how far along did you guys get? So there's, there's six people. Is the business even launched? Has the franchise opened its first location? Where were you at in time and progression through the franchise?

[00:08:38] Lauren Schwab: We actually opened pretty quickly our first location, gosh, I don't even know what year this was.

[00:08:44] Anymore. 2015-16 within five months we opened our second location. And then that's when some of the other’s were popping up, where there were more investors coming in. So, it was getting diluted even more our shares and things like that. And so at this point I actually had the opportunity to go on a show and I thought, you know what?

[00:09:05] I don't feel like this is so long-term anymore. So I feel okay, you know, walking away from this for a little bit to go do the show, cause it just, it was calling me there and I felt more excited about that. The show was catching Kelsey. Yeah. And so I feel really good about that now. I mean, after we just won the super bowl, I feel like, you know, single-handedly, I am the reason for the chiefs winning the super bowl.

[00:09:31] Michael King: How was that? Did you win the show and you gave him pro tips on how to be better?

[00:09:36] Lauren Schwab: how to be a better football player. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I did not win the show. I went to the finale. They flew my mom out from Kansas. It was an amazing experience. Got to go to the sports spectacular, meet a bunch of athletes.

[00:09:47] Being an athlete that excites me more than like actors or actresses or whatever. So it was a really cool experience and I'm so glad. My goodness, I'm so glad I went because I met some of my best girlfriends on that show. Literally that will be in my wedding on that show. So had I said no to that, I would've missed some, a lot of fun in my life and excitement as opposed to what was actually going on back home with my business partners.

[00:10:09] Michael King: What’s your biggest lesson learned from being on a reality show? I'm guessing it's a dating show.

[00:10:13] Lauren Schwab: That one was a dating show. I've been on a couple other ones, but that one was a dating show

[00:10:17] Michael King: What other ones have you been on?

[00:10:21] Lauren Schwab: In 2014 I was on a show called Opposite Worlds where I ended up living in a cave for 60 days, literally in a cave for 60 days.

[00:10:29] Again, that was a big lesson on human connection because with all of these shows and you just ask like what was the biggest lesson? They take away your technology, your phone, your computer books, journals, any kind of external like outlet that you would go to when you start to go a little crazy stir-crazy cause they want that to happen.

[00:10:48] They take that all away. And so you actually sit and just have conversations with people and it's really awesome how you can connect on such a deeper level when you're not checking your phone or thinking about the next email. So I actually, will say yes to any reality show now cause I'm like, take away, my technology unplugged me.

[00:11:07] Michael King: You go on a 90-Day Fiance.

[00:11:09] Lauren Schwab: excuse me,

[00:11:16] Lauren Schwab: you better look it up cause 90 days. You’re going to get a fiance?

[00:11:17] Michael King: I will botch this up, I'm sure. But I think the premise is you meet somebody and then in 90 days you marry them. So you meet a stranger.

[00:11:29] Michael King: Then a doctor, you know, some psychologist or something connects you with based on a dating profile and in 90 days you have to get to know them well enough cause you're going to marry them in 90 days.

[00:11:39] I think that's how it goes.

[00:11:41] Lauren Schwab:  Old school, Lauren over here that feels like she needs a date forever and can't say, I love you for life. I don't know if I could do that. I will say like no joke. I really did connect with Travis on the show and I really could have seen myself like dating him now if he would, would've proposed, I'm not sure unless it was like person Chiefs tickets.

[00:12:02] I'm not sure I could have

[00:12:03] Michael King: said yes?

[00:12:07] Lauren Schwab: if you would propose with tickets, like I don't need the ring, but like just propose to me with like season tickets.

[00:12:14] Michael King: All right. Okay. All you single guys out there, tickets to the chiefs. Yeah, that's it. Okay. All right. So, the first location opened up pretty quickly. Location two is in the works. Now there's all kinds of investor money you're delivering.

[00:12:28] What was your role in the company?

[00:12:30] Lauren Schwab:  So I was one of the partners, I guess you would call me, the COO, Chief Operations Officer. I was actually leading all of the classes I was doing backend customer relations. All of that kind of stuff. Pretty much everything, all the events, getting people there, signing up people and not exactly sure what we're doing, to be perfectly honest.

[00:12:50] Michael King: What else is there? I'm thinking to a fitness studio. Customer acquisition? Yep.

[00:13:00] Lauren Schwab: Yeah.

[00:13:01] Michael King: Keeping track of the money?

[00:13:03] Lauren Schwab: That's the one thing that I didn't have any say or see in. And that's where everything went wild. So we had a CFO, that was not sharing any of the financials. So we obviously asked for that multiple times to figure out what was going on and we did not have access to see anything.

[00:13:24] Michael King: And so let’s talk about that for a sec.  What do those conversations look like? Who are you asking? How are you asking them? And what kind of responses were you getting?

[00:13:30] Lauren Schwab: It was kind of like a beat around the Bush thing, right? It's like, Hey, can we see the financials? Oh yeah. Well we'll get that to you next week.

[00:13:36] Right? And that's kind of just what kept happening for months and months and months. and it's like, Hey, why are things getting diluted? Who are these investors that are coming in? Where is this money? Like, we don't need more money. Like, we are totally good. Let's wait till we get some more members signed up.

[00:13:51] And so that's the thing is there was reason to be questioning it because there were a lot of things going on that just weren't. In integrity and that people just weren't being honest. They were, they were hiding the financials for a reason. Right? Again, we can take all this thing, these things to relationships.

[00:14:04] It's like if you're not willing to put it all out there, there's probably something that you're afraid for somebody to see.

[00:14:09] Michael King: Why were they hiding it?

[00:14:10] Lauren Schwab: That is what led me to no longer being partners with them. So, what happened is when I went on that show . we won't say like, who, what, where, what, but someone saw something that would prove.

[00:14:26] Otherwise that we, we had made an agreement for two years that we weren't going to pay ourselves, that we were going to get the business up and running, all that kind of stuff. So as partners, we weren't going to pay ourselves. And so that is the agreement that I thought we were under. Someone showed me some stuff that proved otherwise that they were actually paying themselves.

[00:14:43] And that's why we were running out of money is that they were paying themselves monthly. We are running out of money. Everything was getting diluted. We were having to have more investors. That's why I was so confused about why we need more investors when we have  plenty of money, but we didn't. And so once I figured that out, I realized, number one, I had invested my own money into this, but also my time.

[00:15:03]like I said, I was running all the classes and doing everything. So I slept probably four hours a night. I had an air mattress at the studio. I showered there, ate there. So in my mind, it wasn't even the loss of the money. It was the time, like the time that I could have been building my own brand, my own business, because I was treating it that way as if it was right.

[00:15:22] And all of the members that were there were my friends, like people that I had brought in. So it was just a lot of time, money, resources, blood, sweat, tears, all of it put into that. And so it hurt really bad to find that out. That like, oh my gosh, these people you thought you trusted actually. Yeah. Trust it all.

[00:15:39] Michael King: Was the partner that was, or partners that were paying themselves, was it through a, I'll call it a loophole,  in the contract? You didn't realize that they could pay themselves this way or where they actually like legitimately the contract said, thou shall not, but they were doing it anyway. So was it a legal loophole or a contract loophole that you didn't recognize or where they just straight up operating against the contract?

[00:16:03] Lauren Schwab: Yeah. We had written in the contract that we would not be paid ourselves. So thou shall not,

[00:16:08] Michael King: I don't know if this is applicable here, but this is something that we've seen in our firm. When you have a business, oftentimes there is a manager that's assigned in the operating agreement that says, you know, either an individual or a company will be the manager.

[00:16:26] Of the business. Okay, so you and I go into business. We're 50/50 partners, and in the operating agreement it says Acme Management will be the manager of the business, and they're in charge of the day to day operations. and we say that Mike King and Lauren Schwab will not pay compensation out of the business until whatever point.

[00:16:47] Michael King: However when you look a little closer, Acme Management is owned by Mike King.

[00:16:52] Acme Management gets a management fee, right? And so that's a way that legally, you know, you could say, well, the partners aren't going to get paid, but, we're going to have this management company. And then it turns out I am the management company.

[00:17:08] It's a company of one, and I get paid. And oftentimes, you know, we've seen this before where, let's say there was a $150,000 capital contribution put into the business by each of us. And we'll say, Hey, we're going to not do profit shares until that $150,000 capital contribution is recouped.

[00:17:28] But what you'll also see in some of these agreements is it'll say, but that's up to the sole discretion of the manager. And so I could say, Hey, we're not going to pay that $150 capital contribution back, but we're going to hire Acme Marketing to now do the marketing for the company. And guess what? I own acne marketing too, right?

[00:17:50] And so even though there's profitability on the business, and Michael King and  Lauren Schwab aren't getting paid. I am still effectively getting paid. And we saw somebody get really burned by that. I mean, but we weren't talking hundreds of thousands, we were talking millions of dollars.

[00:18:06] And luckily this individual came to us and said, Hey, what are the holes here from a financial perspective that I don't see. And we showed her that and ended up, she pulled out of that deal, thankfully because she was completely helpless, and it was a 50/50 ownership. And so she couldn't do anything about it.

[00:18:24] She would've been stuck because it would have taken a majority of the ownership to vote out the management company that they both own 50%. So anyway, all that to say there's a lot of loopholes in these kinds of things. A lot of ways that people like you can get burned. Really, suggest not only consulting legal counsel, but also financial counsel because they look at those contracts through different lenses and really find out what are the holes, where are the ambiguous points that people can get burned.

[00:18:54] The other thing, Lauren, that I think is this super advisable in deals like that is in the operating agreement stipulates that a third party, a CPA firm will present audited financials quarterly

[00:19:09] Michael King: to all of the shareholders, and that those reports will be emailed directly from the auditing firm to the shareholders, not through the president, not through the CEO, not through another partner.

[00:19:21]but directly that way. There are no surprises. It's a third party that you all agree on ahead of time. You know that all of you say, Hey, we're going to use Acme CPAs, right? And that way you have that unedited access to the financials, and there's really no room to hide because you start getting, you know, hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars into a venture.

[00:19:43] You know, me personally, I don't want to take that on a pinky promise that you know, CFO, Fred is keeping my interests, above board.

[00:19:52] Lauren Schwab: So, it's so important because it's very rare that people, you know, when you get into business like this and there is money involved in all of that, that they will stay true to who they are.

[00:20:05] Because I see the good in people and I know that there, there is that there. I just think that they get stressed and whatever. Maybe it's not going as they anticipated and stuff like that. And so they make some, some choices that aren't, you know, what maybe they would typically do. And that's really, really a benefit.

[00:20:21] I said, you just gave and moving forward, it's just like, I'm so grateful for that. That happened early on in my entrepreneurial journey so that I could learn all that stuff and move forward. Knowing that like getting legal advice, giving financial advice, all of that stuff, and just being ahead of it.

[00:20:36] Being a couple of steps ahead instead of being so trusting, because that is something that I really love about myself. And I think that's also a little small town, Kansas girl that doesn't lock your car doors or the house doors and just trust everyone. and so it's just like, Oh yeah, you seem like a good person and this will be fun.

[00:20:51]and so just moving forward, kind of getting ducks in a row and I feel like it's helped set the tone for where I'm at now. So I'm so grateful for that and I'm grateful for my partners. I really truly believe I picked the perfect partners to teach me the lessons I needed to learn to move on and grow.

[00:21:06] Michael King: When you realized that everything was going sideways and somebody brought these things to your attention, I think a lot of people would have been inclined to sue the shit out of them and make a big ordeal. How did you handle it?

[00:21:16] Lauren Schwab: For me it's all about energy. And although I'm not going to lie and say I didn't cry every single day for like quite a while, just because I felt like I had poured my heart and soul into this and I felt like I had been on the up and up and communicating and honest and having integrity and all of that.

[00:21:34] And I just felt really betrayed and you know, all of that kind of stuff. So I was definitely hurt, and everyone advised me to go to court. You're going to win, you're going to get all this money, blah, blah, blah. And for me, it wasn't about the money. It was about the energy of how long is this going to go on?

[00:21:50] Is this going to be five years, six years until this thing is settled? I didn't want to be energetically tied to these people anymore after what they had done. And so for me, I was really willing to say, you know what? I'm going to pray for them because I truly believe that only hurt people hurt people.

[00:22:07] And so whatever was going on in their life, like at the time or previously, whatever happened to them and their experiences, and maybe they had partners that didn't go well. So they were having trouble trusting and they were acting out on that stuff. So I prayed about it a lot and I just released it with love.

[00:22:22] I was like, you know what, I want out of this, that I feel like I'm giving up a child right now. Like my, my unborn child. I feel like I'm giving it up. But also at the same time, I know that that energetic release will open more doors for me, and I'll be able to move forward with a smile on my face and with my head held high, and so I just decided to let that one go.

[00:22:44] Michael King: two pretty big blows in your life. Now, one is, you know, half a million dollars lost two is Travis Kelsey picture.

[00:22:58] We all learn, and we all grow right. So you paid an expensive college tuition there in business. How did you pick yourself up and carry on? What did you do next?

[00:23:10] Lauren Schwab: Well, first of all, I had to check my ego at the door because I was now in a financial position that I'd never been in. I kind of put it all on the line.

[00:23:19] Everything I had saved up to this point, I poured into this and put all that time and energy into that. I wasn't putting it into anything else. So all of a sudden, I just woke up one day and. Everything was gone, including my bank account and all of that. And I'm like, I have a decision right now. I could move home with my grandparents in Kansas, or I take a job somewhere else, a corporate job that I'd actually never had a corporate job.

[00:23:40] I'd always wanted to be an entrepreneur since before I could spell entrepreneur back in the day.

[00:23:50] So I knew that. And so I kind of had always had these different jobs and done my own thing. But I actually ended up accepting a job at Equinox as a fitness manager. And so just that title in general, going from like business owner, gym owner to fitness manager, felt like down so I was like, you know what?

[00:24:09] You've got to write out your list, pros and cons. And I did that, and I took eight months to make this decision. By the way, it wasn't like overnight. I really did kind of  like,

[00:24:18] Lauren Schwab: I didn't rush into it at all. so I did a few other little side things before that. But I ended up looking at my pros and cons list one last time, 147 times, and I realize that.

[00:24:30] The cons were all made up stories like it's what potentially could happen in the future that had not happened yet. The pros were the pros. I can tell much you're gonna make stability, this and that. You can save up money. This is what's going to happen. But the cons are like, won't get to travel, won't get to see my family, like going to work too many hours, not fun.

[00:24:48] You know, all that. And I'm like, Whoa, I haven't even tried it yet. So like get in there, get in the game, find out. And also at the same time. I want it to be able to help people in the future that were in corporate jobs that weren't happy to move into entrepreneurship. And I'm like, who would I be to never have a corporate job but want to lead people to a place that I've never been.

[00:25:07] So I was like, you know what, if anything, this is market research to go in there, have a corporate job, see what it feels like. So I actually can say to people, I know how you feel because I've been there, and I couldn't say that before. So I decided I'm going to go in there, see what happens with an open mind.

[00:25:20] I actually released all of the thoughts and everything I had about it and I'm like, I'm going to go in there with a completely open mind. And I truly did have fun for a little while. And I think that happens in life. You have fun until it's not fun, right? Cause I did get to the point where I felt

[00:25:34] underappreciated, undervalued, underpaid, all the things that you know, typically people say is how I truly felt and when that expiration date came, I made sure I got out of there because. You know, when things surpass expiration dates, they get sour and it really is not fun anymore. So I learned a lot in that process.

[00:25:52] What did you learn? Well, I learned that the ego has nothing to do with it, honestly. Like when you think you're taking a step back, sometimes you need to realize that there's a catapult back there that's going to launch you way further than you were before. So where I was owning these gyms, I was plateaued.

[00:26:07] I was just going to own these gyms. Right? But like what was really above that? That was it. But stepping back and getting that caterpillar, like pulling the bow and arrow, right? He pulls back before you go forward. So it was like, okay, step back, see what you need to learn here so you can get further than you were before.

[00:26:20] And it actually ended up being the perfect place because I was so unhappy at the end that I'm like, you know what? I'm never working for anyone or with anyone ever again. Right. So that was the thing that actually lit the fire for me to start my own thing, to finally believe in myself and say, I'm tired of building other brands.

[00:26:37] I'm ready to build my own brand. And I had saved up enough money in that year working there that I knew, Hey, I have six months here to see if this thing can get off the ground and make it happen. And I did. And so I learned a lot about who I was and what I was capable of and how strong I truly was.

[00:26:56] And also the belief that you know what? Like when you actually believe in yourself, you can do anything like really anything is possible.

[00:27:04] Michael King: When you think about practical, tactical lessons learned from Equinox, can you think of something that either they do this really well and I'm going to take that with me and make sure that I apply it to my next venture, or was there anything that they did particularly bad.

[00:27:21] You said, I'm going to take that with me and make sure I never ever do that

[00:27:25] Lauren Schwab: What I absolutely love is that they provide continuing education and you are paid to be educated, right? So you're like paid to go to school instead of paying for school. And I don't know any other place that truly does this outside of like scholarships and things like that, but I love that they're not like, once you get here, that's it.

[00:27:45] And you know everything. No, we're going to keep providing this for you and keep educating you. And that is something that I love in life. I'm a student of life and I recommend to everyone to continue educating themselves, continue learning, going to get other certifications, going to seminars, going to retreats, going to conferences, all of that.

[00:28:03]and just continuing to grow and get better. Like we're never going to know it all and we needed to stay kind of on top of things. So I really liked the support they gave with that. And I just have to be completely honest as far as how they treat me, and how they pay and all that kind of stuff.

[00:28:19] Trainers, I don't, I just don't think it's good. Like they don't pay them enough. They expect a lot. For example, they don't pay him much and expect a lot and don't want them to have other jobs outside of there. Right. Like don't want them training anybody outside of there. Don't want them doing anything else, but it's like you're really not paying them enough to survive.

[00:28:37] So I don't like the rules and regulations around that. It's like I feel like supporting them, let them go have other clients so that they're happy. Right? If they have other clients and they're making enough money, they're going to be happier to come to work and then perform better and show up better for themselves and their clients as opposed to always feeling like they're doing something wrong or having to hide stuff all the time.

[00:28:55] Cause that's what ends up happening. They're going to do it anyways, but they're hiding it. So it feels icky. It fills out of integrity. they, they say like, they're getting called out all the time instead of supported in that way. When

[00:29:06] Michael King: You made the decision to leave Equinox, what, was next? What do you do now?

[00:29:13] Lauren Schwab: You know what's really cool is that a breakthrough that I had when I was leaving Equinox, cause I, I'd always been kind of like quote unquote called the girl that never quit. Like she'll never quit. She's just going to keep going. And I really held on to that, I guess the image you would call it is like I'm not a quitter.

[00:29:27] And I realized I didn't like that. Yo, it's okay to quit when it's time to move on to the next chapter in your life. It's actually okay to quit no matter what it is. If it's a job, it's, it's a relationship like anything, it's actually okay to quit.

[00:29:41] Michael King: How do you think through that, whether it's a relationship, a job, a business venture, a reality show?

[00:29:46] How do you think through, Hey, it's time for me to step away from this?

[00:29:50] Lauren Schwab: I feel like it hits you one day. What kind of, like I said earlier, when it's just not fun anymore, right? Like when the relationship isn't fun anymore. When the job's not fun anymore, when life's not fun, it's like, okay, it's time to move on.

[00:30:02] It's time to make that decision. Like, are you really gonna stay? And I always think about the expiration date. I really do. I'm like, okay, are you really going to stay past this expiration date? Cause it really does get sour. You're not excited to get up in the morning and you're not excited to go there.

[00:30:14] You're not excited for who's there, nothing like that anymore. and the same thing in a relationship, right? If you're not happy when you wake up in the morning and you're not happy, who you see when you roll over, like you're just not enjoying it anymore, then it's time to make the decision. And I, I definitely am guilty of staying in things longer than I wanted to.

[00:30:31] And I don't know exactly if that comes down to safety, security or whatever. I'm just in a place now where it's really quick. Like when I just don't feel it. I'm like, all right. Gotta go. Cause I have that awareness that it's okay to quit. I feel like in my mind, I was programs that like, you can't quit, like don't give up.

[00:30:47] keep working on this. And I just don't believe that you have to do that anymore. I feel like you really, and I'm not saying like just quit everything cause it's not fun. Or whenever, I think you'll know the difference between if it's serving your highest good or not.

[00:30:59] Michael King: Yeah, I think it's, that's challenging because we always tell ourselves.

[00:31:05] Hey, the best things in life are the things you have to work the hardest for. And a lot of times hard work isn't fun, you know? So how do you think through that?  how do you think through, like, you know, Hey, I set out to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. I got two thirds of the way up and fuck, this isn't fun anymore.

[00:31:25] I wake up and I'm lying next to a frosted dude and I know that we still have, you know, five days or something left to go. This isn't fun. How do you differentiate that between it's time to bounce out of this relationship?

[00:31:38] Lauren Schwab: Wait, did that actually happen to you?

[00:31:40] Michael King: hell no. I'm not climbing up.

[00:31:42] Lauren Schwab: Oh my gosh. I was like, wait a sec.

[00:31:48] Michael King: Yeah. So I should have gotten with it. But no, no. There's a lot of times in business and then school and relationships when it's not fun. So how do you distinguish between it's time to, it's time to bounce, not fun, and then it's time to just keep grinding through it, even though it's not fun.

[00:32:05] Lauren Schwab: Well, I think you have to know your goal in life, and so you have this thing that you're striving for.

[00:32:11] And if it isn't in alignment with that. It's not going to help you grow. It's not going in the direction that is going to help you get to your highest self. Then it would be a no and you would bounce out, but there's going to be things in life for me because since you brought up Everest, I hiked Kilimanjaro, so it was very exciting and fun saying yes to that and going.

[00:32:31] But yes, there are times where I actually thought I was going to die. Like I mean I literally was like, yeah, I have one more step and I'm a goner. Like this isn’t for me. And at the same time, my goal was to get to the top of Kilimanjaro, which means I knew which way I was headed. So I'm willing to work hard for that and I'm willing to let it suck a little bit.

[00:32:47] Because I know what the scaling at the top is going to be. Cause I've been at the top of mountains before and I knew this was the hardest one in the longest hike and all of that. So I knew how rewarding it was going to be at the top. So of course I wasn't going to quit that. Like that was a goal. I set out for that and that's what I was going to achieve as, I mean, I was going to do everything in my power to get to the top of that mountain.

[00:33:07] So I feel like that's kind of the difference. If you know, I'm starting a business right now and I know what my end goal is. Yeah, there's some days that are not going to be super fun. There's going to be extra legwork and in like. Spreadsheets and stuff that I don't love to do, but I'm going to do it because I know what my goal is, and I'm headed in that direction.

[00:33:24] And the same thing in a relationship. If I know the end goal and I'm for sure going to marry this person, like, okay, I know this is the person. Yeah, I'm going to work through that. I'm going to communicate, I'm going to do whatever it takes, right? But if there's something in my mind that's like, this isn't my person, I know this isn't who I'm going to end up with, and then it becomes not fun, then I'm going to leave.

[00:33:40] Right? It's like sometimes you'll just stay in things cause like it's kind of fun, but you know that that's not for you. But there's a point where it's. Just like no more. And that was, that was Equinox for me too. It was like, okay, well this is kind of fun. I'm meeting some cool people and doing some fun things like kind of okay.

[00:33:54] Like whatever. But it wasn't my ultimate goal to move up through Equinox through the ranks at Equinox. I wasn't gonna go any further than that. So I knew that. So when that time came, it was easy to peace out.

[00:34:06] Michael King: My big takeaway from that is, well, what are the fricking odds that I pick? I know all the hard things in the world to do.

[00:34:12] I pick summiting Mount Kilimanjaro and the person I'm interviewing summited Mount Kilimanjaro.

[00:34:22] Lauren Schwab: I didn't tell him the dark people because there actually were people on Kilimanjaro that the body is, you know what I mean? Like you're talking about, so like it's real.

[00:34:32] Michael King: Yeah. I did take the stairs at work today though, so I kind of get where I get it. So I think we got off topic. What are you doing today?

[00:34:42] Lauren Schwab:  What am I doing? Literally today,

[00:34:45] Michael King: not today. Like you know, you're going to the gym in 20 minutes, but you left Equinox in that one post Equinox view right?

[00:34:53] Lauren Schwab: So post Equinox, I decided to kind of fulfill my lifelong dream of just hosting events and retreats. So I became a live event host retreat. Hosts started hosting live events all over little pop ups all over the U S and then did several retreats.

[00:35:09] And then people were reaching out to me organically like, Hey, how do you do a retreat? And I'm like, Oh, cool. I'm a retreat coach now. So I started doing retreat coaching and I helped a bunch of people launch their first retreats, sell out retreats, live events, and such. Quickly built up to 23 clients, one on one clients with the retreat launch formula, and then realize, okay, I don't want one on one clients anymore.

[00:35:30] This is just a lot. So I was like, Oh, I'll move into a group model, which turned into a mastermind model. And so that's what I'm currently doing.  I'm doing a mastermind model. Six months, a transformational leadership program, and within that, there are still in-person retreats and there's also live events and things like that.

[00:35:47] So I'm still doing everything that I love. I'm just putting it into a different container and that feels really good right now.

[00:35:56] Michael King: What does a coach do and what is a mastermind? There is a coach for everything. Now, I was talking to a guy earlier today. He has a photography coach.

[00:36:06] There's coaches. we, we know a soul coach. You and I know, and then you're a retreat coach. What is coaching? And when somebody hears coaching, what does that mean? Cause, I don't think that’s really gone to the East coast so much yet.  I don't think it's as popular on the East coast as it is on the West coast.

[00:36:24] Lauren Schwab: I love that, and I think that, I just relate to the word coach because I grew up playing sports. I've played sports my entire life. So to me, I'm like, Hey, coach me in this, like the basketball coach, you've obviously played basketball. You know what to do. So show me what to do. Like give me the blueprint and give me the formula and I'm going to follow it.

[00:36:40] So I relate to that. I love having coaches, but some people might call them guides. Guide me in the right direction, be my vehicle, get me from point a to point b. Right? So basically someone has an idea, we'll just use the retreat coaching. They want to host their first retreat. They don't know where to start, where to go, what to spend money on, what not to spend money on, how to get sponsors, how to get people there in general, all of that.

[00:37:04] So they need a guide, or they need a coach. That's where I come in. So it's like you're at point a. Point b would be selling out your retreat making $10,000 on the retreat, plus an extra $30,000 adding on some coaching or something like that. Right. So we figure out what that is, and we get them there. And so that could be anything as a simplicity coach, teaching people how to be more.

[00:37:22] Simple and live their lives more simply. Right. So that's kind of the coach aspect of, if you will.

[00:37:29] Michael King: Is that a modern word for consultant?

[00:37:31] Lauren Schwab: Definitely. Yeah, I think people can use it. Again, I feel like consultant might be the New York version, right? I'm a consultant.  Even some of the clients that I have right now that I'm helping with business, I'm like, okay, well what do you, what do you relate more to?

[00:37:45] And like, I think I'm a consultant. Same thing they're doing. They're teaching people the same thing as a coach or a guide or spirit guide, whatever.

[00:37:54] Michael King: Euphemisms are my favorite. And then what about mastermind? How is coaching or consulting different from a mastermind?

[00:38:00] Lauren Schwab: So coaching is typically done one on one.

[00:38:04] There's group settings as well. As far as coaching goes, I like to do one-on-one coaching. as opposed to one on 20. but the mastermind model brings in other people, so you could get one or two coaches, but also you get 15 to 50. I mean, depending on what mastermind you're in, other people, and I believe they are masters of their mind, right?

[00:38:24] So they all bring something unique and different to the table. And this goes all the way back to. Jesus. He had a mastermind, right? He had his 12 disciples so it can go all the way back. And it's like, yeah, he had, that was his mastermind. And there's so many greats that have come and gone, and they all had their masterminds because they realized that as one person, they didn't know everything, but as a collective, they knew a lot more.

[00:38:45] So they would bring all these amazing people together and through that they can collaborate. And so it's this thing now where I truly believe. Collaboration over competition is our future. The only person, the person that you should be competing with is yourself just to get a little better every single day.

[00:39:00] But other than that, you're going to go so much further with people than you are going to go alone, and you're going to go a lot faster with people than you would go if you're going at it alone. So really looking at that like, okay, yes, we're going to have these coaches, these people that are helping us, but we're also going to have a group of humans that are going to come together collectively and raise our awareness, raise our consciousness, and really just give us the results that we've been looking

[00:39:22] Michael King: When you think of a coach as compared to a mastermind facilitator, what is one called that leads a mastermind?

[00:39:34] Lauren Schwab: I would say a facilitator I use that word. My reason in general is to facilitate relationships so we can live in a more connected world. So I would call myself a facilitator of relationships so that we're all more connected.

[00:39:47] Michael King: So when you think about a good coach or consultant and you think about a good mastermind facilitator, those aren't necessarily the same person or the same set of skills, I'm imagining. How do you distinguish between a good coach versus a good mastermind facilitator? And the reason I ask is the word coach is hot right now, especially on the West coast.

[00:40:10] Masterminds are very, very popular now. The pastor at my church has a mastermind, right? They can be expensive, right? They can be a couple of hundred bucks a month. They can be tens of thousands of dollars. What should somebody look for in a coach and what should somebody look for in a mastermind facilitator?

[00:40:28] Lauren Schwab: So for a coach, you really want to look at somebody who has done what you want to do and has done it successfully. I feel like they are the ones that are going to have the roadmap to get you to where you want to go and whatever area is that you're moving into. A mastermind facilitator can also be a coach and have results in a lot of different areas, but really, I believe what mastermind facilitators are best at are bringing people together.

[00:40:51] They're like master recruiters, and they see the best in every single person and what uniqueness they bring to the table, and they like to facilitate a container. They facilitate a space of people. And so they might not be the one that will be coaching everything they might bring on other coaches to teach different lessons.

[00:41:09] So instead of that one coach teaching all the lessons, so say you're a coach and you give 12 sessions and you teach all 12 of them, as opposed to if you're a mastermind facilitator, you might coach one of the 12 sessions and get 11 other coaches to teach on other topics. So you're really bringing in experts in each of the topics that you're talking about to teach.

[00:41:28] Knowing that, Hey, yeah, I can teach on all 12 of these topics, but I'm not a master or an expert in each of those, and so I'm going to bring in the master of each of those.

[00:41:38] Michael King: Do you have a coach?

[00:41:39] Lauren Schwab: Yeah, I always, I have coaches. I have mentors, I'm in masterminds. So yeah, I, I believe trainers need trainers.

[00:41:46] Coaches need coaches, mentors need mentors. If you're going to  facilitate a mastermind. You better be in a mastermind.

[00:41:54] Michael King: Tell me about your events that you host now. Who are they for? What do they do? Should I be there?

[00:41:59] Lauren Schwab: Absolutely. So, I moved from all my events last year, all were called unplugged. So they were unplugged and unplugged in Hawaii.

[00:42:08] I'm plugged in XY on bugs, all the unplugs. So the whole premise was that disconnecting to reconnect to your true self, unplugging from all the external outlets and plugging into your internal outlet, plugging into your purpose. And so that was a beautiful journey. And I still highly recommend people take time every single day to unplug.

[00:42:28] This year I've moved more into like leadership retreats, so they're way more focused on leadership skills, how to be the leader of your life, the leader of others, all of that. again, like I said, you can't lead people to a place that you've never been. One of my favorite books, if anybody, they need to read it.

[00:42:44] It's called lead like Jesus. And I absolutely love it. It's the best book I've ever read as far as it coming to management, leadership, all of that. Because in my mind, Jesus was the best example of that. And he is my role model. So just be a little more like Jesus every day. So that's really what I've kind of taken into account for these events that are coming up this year, and we're doing.

[00:43:08] Three-day business intensive. So it's like business. Launch your business in a weekend business in a box type style. So you leave with your website and your social media and everything just like ready to go. Cause I think in life the biggest thing is people just don't take action. They keep waiting and waiting for this perfect time or to be ready when ready isn't even real.

[00:43:25] It's not even a thing. We're always going to feel like we could have prepared a little bit more and so business in a box launched your business in a weekend. We're also going to be doing two live events that are leadership focused, bringing in different experts, having them come in and speak. Really the whole goal with all of this, like I said, collaboration, but community and connection.

[00:43:43] Getting people face to face, getting out from behind the screens, right. And just getting face to face, giving people real hugs, having real conversations, like the healing in this world is going to come from conversations. So really, I'm just facilitating more experiences like that for people to get in person.

[00:43:59] So that's really kind of what the year looks like. We're also going to do a retreat at the end of the year, a happiness retreat, which I'm really excited about, where I'm partnering up with this amazing, incredible man that is a happiness expert.

[00:44:13] Michael King: That’s really exciting.

[00:44:16] Lauren Schwab: I'm so excited.

[00:44:17] Michael King: Today I learned there is a happiness retreat.

[00:44:22] Lauren Schwab: I’m honored.

[00:44:24] Michael King: So, I am a reading fanatic, and I love that you suggest lead like Jesus. So, what I'd love to do, the first 10 people that email me at [email protected]. That's [email protected]. Just send me your name and mailing address and I will send you a copy of a lead like Jesus, either paperback or audible.

[00:44:46] Just let me know what you want.

[00:44:48] Lauren Schwab: yeah, thank you.

[00:44:51] Michael King: I haven't read it, but it will be next on my list. If somebody wants to find out more about some of your events and retreats, where do they go?

[00:45:00] Lauren Schwab: So retreats. They will go to and for anything, TLP, transformational leadership program related, whether that's a live event, mastermind or business intensive, you can go to

[00:45:15] Michael King: I know you're a big Instagrammer.

[00:45:17] How can they find you on Instagram?

[00:45:18] Lauren Schwab: Sometimes I'm on the ground. Yeah. So it's an underscore Lauren Schwab.

[00:45:27] Michael King: It's almost as bad as having a website that ends

[00:45:30] Lauren Schwab:  or

[00:45:31] Michael King: dot. C

[00:45:32] Lauren Schwab: Oh gosh.

[00:45:36] Michael King: Awesome. Well, Lauren, thank you so much for joining me today and sharing your story. I really appreciate it.

[00:45:40] Lauren Schwab: Thank you for having me.

[00:45:50] Michael King: Thanks for joining us today. Please don't forget to subscribe to In the Trenches with Michael King on your favorite podcast platform like Apple, Google, or Spotify.  Once again, I'm Michael King with KFE Solutions. We'll see you again next week.