Joey Klein is the founder and CEO of Inner Matrix Systems, a personal mastery training system for high achievers. He is the author of “The Inner Matrix: Leveraging the Art & Science of Personal Mastery to Create Real Life Results.” He has been interviewed by Self Magazine, INC.com, Yahoo Finance and NBC. Klein has coached leaders from some of the world’s top companies, including IBM, Coca-Cola, and the World Health Organization. Learn more at https://innermatrixsystems.com and www.JoeyKlein.com.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
The way I found this business was sort of accidental; the business really found me. I was highly focused on the area of personal development, and as I was diving into all the different areas surrounding performance and personal development – everything from meditation to internal training practices to psychology to the brain sciences – I ultimately started finding things that really worked for me. People around me noticed those differences and started asking me questions and calling me for advice. Then a mentor of mine recommended that I start charging for consulting, and I started to build a one-on-one practice consulting people inside the techniques and methods and strategies that I was using for myself. I was getting results and feeling better emotionally in terms of finding a sense of peace and fulfillment in life and business. Ultimately that translated to relationships and just about every area of life because I found that if something wasn’t working the way I was hoping that it would, I would research it and figure out how to make it better. That turned into a consulting practice, and it all started very organically from there.
How do you make money?
Inner Matrix Systems makes money in a couple of different ways. We hold public seminars, which can be 20 to 30 people, all the way up to 400 to 600 people. The primary way that the business makes money is that people pay to attend those weekend training intensives or seminars that we put on. The second way is through the Certified IM Trainers inside of Inner Matrix Systems, who train people on the modality of our techniques, strategies, and philosophies. Our trainers do small group training and work with people one-on-one, helping people with the training and the systems that we provided.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time that you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle it?
I always knew that it would work, but there were times when I doubted the strategies we were using or if we were going to get to the next level and grow the way that we wanted to grow. When those doubts came up, I would go back to a few key things that have never failed me. If we can name the way of being that produces a result and get good at practicing and executing it, it guarantees outcomes. I aligned with these principles that have stood the test of time, the first being to focus on the vision and the benchmark that I wanted to fulfill. Whether it seemed to be working or not working, I would go back to the outcome I wanted to create and find a vision and specific benchmarks that I wanted to fulfill.
Second, I would ask the question, what’s going well? I find that question would get my attention off of the problems and the things that weren’t working, and it would start getting my focus and attention on the things that were working. Then I would ask the question, what can I optimize? Optimizing the things that were going well and doing the things that we were doing well even better tended to remind me and the team that we are pretty good at what we do, and we’re doing a good job. We’ve made it this far, and there’s no reason we can’t make it to the next step; we have unique growth opportunities in front of us. I found that if I went to those three anchors, it allowed me to believe in the outcome and start to see ways forward. I collaborate with and rely on other people, so when I feel doubt, the other team members likely feel that same doubt. If we all get together, we drive that process both individually and with each other; we can kind of feed off of each other. When you are feeling a bit of doubt and beat up, when you’re surrounded by people who aren’t in that space, it just reminds you that everything is ok.
How did you get your first customer?
People started organically asking me questions, and I started supporting them. At first, it was all free, and then from there, people started giving me donations. I got my first real customer, and things began to take off in a new way when I was working with a woman from Los Angeles whose mother happened to be a well-established and pretty well-known psychologist. Inside the techniques and the strategies that I was teaching this woman, she got better and found that they worked for her. Little did I know, her mother was a prominent psychologist and noticed these differences in her and asked what she was doing because she had some pretty significant challenges that were going on in her life. She went to many different professionals to get support, and it didn’t hit the mark for her. The work I did with her hit the mark, and her mother was interested in meeting me. I flew out to Los Angeles to meet her mother and described how I got the results with her daughter. She was interested enough that she sent me my first client. Little did I know, she sent me somebody she worked with for 20 years and wasn’t quite able to get them to that next level of execution that she was hoping for, and I was able to hit the mark for that person. Then all of a sudden, I started getting lots of referrals from her and ultimately moved out to LA and started mentoring with her, and that’s really where everything began.
What is the toughest decision that you’ve had to make in the last few months?
We have a CRM and technology platform that is the backbone of the business. Although our current system gives us the ability to support and serve our customers in a very high-touch and impactful way, we realized that this system is not meeting our needs in the way that we need it to. It’s a great platform; it’s just not perfect for what we need it to do. We realized that there was a better technology out there for us to drive those efforts inside of our communication strategies and our marketing efforts, and our customer care. We were looking at an alternative platform that might do a much better job for us at driving the business in the company, but the transfer was going to be a significant cost in terms of a price increase. But more importantly, the amount of time and effort it would take to redesign and rebuild our technology platforms and the systems and how they drive is extremely significant.
Whenever you make that kind of shift and change in the business, you can always do your due diligence and do your best to verify that the new solution will give you the ability to do the things that you need to scale the company. Still, you never know until you’re in it. And there’s no going back once you make that kind of decision, both in terms of cost and implementation time.
After some due diligence and coming together with the team, we all felt this was the best decision and move, not just for short-term growth but also for long-term growth. When we look into the future, it makes the best decision a little bit more obvious because you realize you’re going to outgrow what you currently have. It’s easier to make the transition today than it will be after you grow a bit more over the next 2 to 5 years. It becomes more challenging and costlier to make that decision, and there is an opportunity cost due to working with something a bit clunky. Going out into the future and doing proper due diligence helps create a level of confidence in that decision even though there’s always a space of uncertainty. That helps to move this forward.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
First and foremost, it comes down to people and being loyal to those that you serve your clients and to those that you partner with and doing everything you can to support those individuals. The better you care for and support people, the better you serve people, and the stronger the foundation you have to grow. Relationships are everything; if you have strong relationships and take extraordinary care of the people in your life, whether they’re family, friends, clients, co-workers, team members, etc., that’s the foundation for success. It all starts with incredible people. When I look at the success I know today, it wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the team of extraordinary people that I come together with to drive the things that we make possible in the world every day.
The second piece is always being growth-minded and asking how I can be just a little better today than yesterday in a holistic form? How can I be a better friend or a better person today than I was yesterday? How can I be a better leader today than I was yesterday? I don’t necessarily look for how to make huge gains or huge transformational outcomes occur for myself; I look at the little step I can take daily that then compounds over time and becomes something significant.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The most satisfying moments in my business are when we see somebody’s life fundamentally change in a rapid and radical way, where they get to realize a life that’s better than what they imagined being possible. When you can see that happen for a single individual, it’s inspiring. I pretty much live for that moment in my business. When individuals hit that mark for themselves, those moments make it all worthwhile; that’s the moment that we strive to drive for. If we can do that for a roomful of people, that’s pretty awesome as well. When you’re in front of 600 to 1000 people, you can feel the energy in the room. You feel that the majority of those individuals present believe in something possible for themselves and create an experience and shift; that’s pretty inspiring as well. But it really comes down to just that individual person making that happen for themselves.
What does the future hold for your business?
When I look at where we want to go, I want to continue doing the great things we do, but for more people. The question that drives me is, inside the training and the support that we offer, how can we do for 1 million or more what we’re doing for 1000s? We are focused on doing the exact same thing, but scaling and growing to make it possible for many more people; influence and impact.
What are you most excited about?
I’m most excited about being able to be with people in person again. We’ve all had this COVID reality where we have been in quarantine and isolated and secluded, and we haven’t been able to do in-person programs. We’ve been inside a virtual reality that we had to pivot to inside our business which has been awesome because it’s given us the ability to access customers in a new and different way. We were able to be agile and create some new products, services, and ways we train people that have been supportive for people and helpful for the business to be sustainable and grow. But we’ve also seen the downside of that and that you can’t create the same impact and outcome through virtual technology as you can in person. I’m most excited about getting back in person with people, interacting with them, giving high fives and hugs, and creating that personal environment.
We are looking forward to getting back to being able to put on the dynamic programming that we haven’t been able to do in the past year or so.
What business books have inspired you?
I always go back to the old but timeless classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It is one of the books that has inspired me the most, and I feel that all the principles still hold true today. I go to this book repeatedly because it has great reminders on how to drive business, treat people, put them first, and so forth. That’s one of the core business books that I always go back to looking at.
Leave us with one point that few individuals know about your company.
Most of the people who work for the company are actively engaged in the training principles we teach and cultivate. From what I’ve seen inside our industry, you would think that if you’re a consulting company or a training company like we are, it would be natural for all the people involved to be intimately integrated into the work. However, I find that that’s often not the case, especially as you grow and scale. You don’t necessarily need to be ingrained in the business and the product to make sales. There are many cases where people work for a company, but they don’t fully embody its ideas and principles. One thing we look to do is, each person who interacts with the company, whether it’s our clients, or an employee, or one of our Trainers, we look at the vision that the individual has for themself in their life, and how we can support that vision to happen while they’re engaging in the company and how they can leverage the company to fulfill on that. We are very interactive in that way; it’s not about what you need to do necessarily for our company, solely. Instead, we focus on the life people want to live and how the company can support them to live that life. I find that when you have that kind of partnership and collaboration and buy-in, that creates a really powerful dynamic.