Monday, February 06, 2023
We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Jeff Heggie. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Jeff below.
Jeff, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today What’s the backstory behind how you came up with the idea for your business?
Sports have always been a big part of my life. Growing up I played in many different sports, ranging from hockey, boxing, baseball, football, basketball, rodeo, and more. Having an older brother who was successful in many sports gave me someone to look up to and aspire to be like. So a lot of the sports that I was involved in were because I had watched him play them as well. Basketball and rodeo are the two sports that I really fell in love with and pursued the most.
After high school, my passion for basketball turned into a 20+ year career of coaching. As for rodeo, I found success in the amateur circuits, won a few Canadian Intercollegiate Championship titles, and then moved on to the professional level for a number of years.
I’m a strong believer that sports are a powerful tool to help shape us into successful adults. Today, when I look at many of my values, my discipline, my leadership skills, goal setting, and so much more, I attribute a lot of that to the coaches I had growing up and the experiences I had in sports.
I remember being at a rodeo with my brother and he gave me an article about mental strength and visualization. That was really the first time that I started to look at my mental game. As a rodeo athlete I found the visualization exercises to be very beneficial. I started to use them with the basketball teams I was coaching and saw it as a great benefit to them as well.
Over time I started to spend more and more time studying the different aspects of the mental game and realized how impactful it was. I saw how much the top athletes in any sport made it a priority. It was definitely something that I wish I had more knowledge about as a younger athlete. But at least as a coach I was able to start to introduce it to my athletes earlier than I was able to learn about it.
I came across the book, Mindset, The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck and started to put a lot of focus into the importance of a powerful mindset. I then had an opportunity to be introduced to Ryan Gottfredson, who was the author of Success Mindsets. I learned so much from Ryan and spent time with him to understand the impact our different mindsets could have on both the entrepreneurs that I work with, as well as the athletes.
At some point, someone who had been following what I was doing introduced me to Tami Matheny. Tami wrote the book, The Confident Athlete. She is an amazing mental strength coach and I’m so grateful for meeting her because she has taught me so much.
I created a program and started to work with athletes from all sports in both Canada and the US to help them develop their mental strength and loved the impact it was having. But I really wanted to figure out how to take it to another level, and that’s when I partnered with Tami and we created The Confident Athlete Program (www.ConfidentAthleteProgram.com/Membership) as a membership offer.
The Confident Athlete Program fulfills everything I was trying to bring to the athletes we work with. The Success Path is the main training lessons and then every month we add a new Masterclass, a Personal Development Training, and I live group coaching session. We also include an expert section where I’ve interviewed world champions, Olympians, and other athletes and coaches in their sports. We have a resource area with recruiting expertise, books, podcasts, and so much more. We have really created a program to help our athletes develop their mental game, which is as important as their physical game if they want to reach their full potential.
Jeff Heggie and Tami Matheny have joined together to create The Confident Athlete Program!
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I graduated from college with a major in entrepreneurship. Throughout the years I had a number of small businesses and knew that I wanted to be my own boss.
After college I was offered a great opportunity to start working for a bank. But I actually turned it down. At the time I was a professional rodeo cowboy and that just seemed like a lot better option than a real job. However, a while later I did end up accepting a job at that same bank and loved the industry. I was able to climb the ladder quickly and soon was a manager of my own branch.
My favorite part of my job as a bank manager was that I worked with all the business owners and entrepreneurs. It was an incredible education to be able to see how they ran their businesses and what made them successful or not.
One day I was in a clients office who was a home builder. He had a catalog on his desk for the artificial stone veneer that they used on the front of their homes. As I was looking through the catalog I had the thought, “I could do this.” To make a long story short, I left the bank, he became my business partner and we started a rock company!
As easy as that sounded, the learning curve was very steep and never seemed to end. I ran that company for over 16 years and since it was in the home building industry, we had many ups and downs. We pivoted a number of times. We had a factory in Canada and another in the US. We sold all over North America through our dealer network and even had a number of our own retail locations. Throughout that time I had many entrepreneurial experiences (both good and bad) that taught me many lessons. It was my passion for business, plus the lessons that I had learned in running my own business that steered me towards business coaching.
Today as a business coach I work with a number of clients one-on-one, but most of them I work with through The Entrepreneur Coaching Group (www.CoachHeggie.com/Entrepreneur). I also have my Inner Circle Mastermind (www.CoachHeggie.com/mastermind) and other tools such as my podcasts that I use to help entrepreneurs find success.
Has your business ever had a near-death moment? Would you mind sharing the story?
Our manufacturing company created products (stone) for the home building industry. This meant that we were on a roller coaster ride with the economy as it went up and down. In 2008 when the building industry crashed, we were hit really hard. But we made some decisions to pivot and recapitalize to fight through it.
As we were climbing out of the hole we were in, we saw some very encouraging things in our future that could help us recover. But as with any business, nothing is guaranteed and many experiences are difficult to deal with.
In this particular situation I remember being very optimistic about our future. But to get to that place, we had some tough times ahead that we were going to have to navigate through. We had a large staff that we needed to make our product so that we could sell it. But we needed to make the product, get it to our customers, and then wait another 30 days before we would receive payment from them. That’s all great if you have the working capital to get through that, but we did not.
We had a big payroll coming up and not enough accounts receivable maturing to cover it.
I started working with all of our accounts to see who could pay their bills ahead of time. I was trying everything that I could, but at the end of the day we were still going to be short. This was literally the worst feeling ever! Missing payroll wasn’t an option. Our team wouldn’t keep working if they weren’t getting paid, which would mean that we wouldn’t be producing product to fulfill the orders of our customers. It would create a giant snowball effect going the wrong way.
My only solution was to personally cover payroll. It’s not something I wanted to do, but if I wanted to continue operating it was my only option. In the end, that money ended up on the books as a shareholder loan that was never repaid to me before we had to shut the company down during COVID.
How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?
Throughout the time that I was running our manufacturing company I had a number of opportunities to mentor people in business. With our many ups and downs in the business I often talked with one of my business partners, Dave, about using our experiences to help other entrepreneurs.
When we moved to Arizona, one of the things we were looking at was to expand by purchasing an existing stone company. In the middle of those negotiations we were hit by COVID. Our investor backed out at that time because he thought the real estate market was going to crash. In addition to that, our Canadian operation was facing shut down and other restrictions because of the pandemic.
Over a relatively short period of time during COVID, we had to make the tough decision to shut down the business.
At this point I had to make a decision on the direction I was going to go personally. Since I had already been doing some business coaching and had recently gone through some certification programs, I made the decision to go all in with my coaching.
It really was a pivot from running my stone business, but it gave me the opportunity to become involved in a number of businesses from a coaching perspective. The experiences I’ve had in my own business have been invaluable tools to help others to be more successful in their businesses.
The Entrepreneur Coaching Group https://www.CoachHeggie.com/Entrepreneur
The Confident Athlete Program www.ConfidentAthleteProgram.com/Membership
Mindset Questions (Free) www.CoachHeggie.com/MindsetQuestions