Ep 10: Jason St. Clair On Finding His Passion In Influencer Marketing With Athletes
Chief Executive Officer of Xendurance, Jason St. Clair
The industry is very competitive, andyou need to stay on top of it all. To do that, you have to be updated with allthe latest trends and technology. And this is only possible if you have apassion for what you're doing. This is what Jason St. Clair is doing for hiscompany, Xendurance, a company thatcreates health wellness products for athletes. Learn how Jason tacklesinfluencer marketing with athletes for his products. He joins host Scott Harkeyto share what it takes to achieve growth in the business and in yourself. Findyour passion and learn how to plant your flag, and commit to it in thisepisode!
I got my old high school bro here, Jason St. Clair from Xendurance, also an MLB agent. We're going to talk about Jason's background. We're going to talk about how he got going in the business. Hopefully, not too many high school stories. Jason and I played football baseball together, but Jason was good, played a lot, got drafted, and played pro baseball. You're so nice. You're like, "You played a lot of football." "No. You started over me." I went in there. It was like a blocking play. I was like, "Jason thought I played a lot. That's cool."
You and I, especially in the last years, had been meeting more regularly, just seeing what you've done in your business career. You got drafted and played pro baseball. It was cool. It was funny because I was in marketing. I watched Jerry McGuire and I love sports. I always wanted to be an agent. You were the guy that got to be an agent, and so I was like, "I want to catch up with my boy as an agent. That's freaking dope.”
A funny story. When I first started in the business, you can tell an agent versus a scout. An agent is like Jerry McGuire with a suit and my hair was a lot darker then, but it was like, "You look like Jerry McGuire," and that took off from there. Quite literally the life as a sports agent is like that movie.
You told me some crazy stories like how you had to sign guys and some of the baseball players you signed because you started with Gaylord, right?
You worked for them, then Gaylord has Tampa ties. It was Phil Mickelson's agent. Loy started it, right?
Steve Loy. Reader's Digest version. I was drafted, played seven years, retired and went to corporate America, and hated it.
I remember that. I talked to you about when you were doing that.
Yes, the entrepreneurial spirit wanted to innovate, and then I was given the opportunity to become a sports agent, so the agency that represented me was Gaylord, my agent in the baseball division, but I reported to Steve Loy, who was the founder and Phil's agent. I learned so much about marketing and endorsement deals through the golf agents and that's where the passion took off of where I'm at now.
The baseball guys don't do like the golf guys because they're not on a team sport, right?
Yes, and you're not guaranteed money.
Baseball contracts are nice.
You got guaranteed money. You get hit by a bus. Your next of kin gets it. It doesn't matter. They love more free stuff.
The baseball guys?
Influencer marketer tip. If it's baseball guys, with free stuff, they're good. What's cool as you started representing when CrossFit was big, you got into the CrossFit game, big time.
In 2011, I got introduced to CrossFit, by me doing it and athlete Camille Leblanc-Bazinet was starting to get some recognition. She had a Reebok approaching her. One of my Major League players was certified by her boyfriend. They talked and like, "What do agents do?" They put me in touch. I saw this vision to help athletes outside of baseball and all sports so that they could make money full-time, so they could do their job to compete. That's where it was, "What can I do through social media to reference some value for this person?" They can now have a side job and be able to train all day. That's what fueled me to take it outside of traditional sports.
It's almost like building up their personal brand, monetizing it through endorsements or their products outside their sport.
When I started Facebook, it was capped at 5,000 friends, but then it transitioned to the athlete page, where you could have an athlete page and you can have hundreds of thousand people following. It started there and then Twitter, and then 2014, Instagram.
Was Camille your first big one outside of baseball?
Did she win the CrossFit games?
She did in 2014.
She won the whole deal right at the height of CrossFit. The other guy, who is it?
Josh Bridges. He's a former Navy SEAL and he, at the time, was in the Navy and couldn't have social media, given his job, so it was tough, but once he got on it, he's a huge brand now, which is great. I started too, with Mattie Rogers and they call her Mattiecakesssss. She's punched her card to the Olympics. I should be a very decorated Olympic athlete, in my opinion, but I had a passion for helping athletes. I wanted to take it further than the endorsement. It was like, "How can that make these athletes money while they sleep, but also when they're done competing or playing?" That was the whole goal and that's where you and I started talking.
We saw what Gary Vee was doing and I had the agency side, not the athlete side, and then all my friends were either former athletes or agents, and so I would talk to you and I think you and I both, we saw this merging of social platforms and brand platforms, and as televisions decline, athletes I think have the most long-term opportunity for marketing.
It stuck in my head when my mentor, who was my agent, he had said, "Just keep this in mind. It never ends good for you as the agent." I was like, "Why?" "Because you can't get them a job or they're too old to compete or play anymore, so it's your fault." I'm like, "I got to fix that," so this was a way to fix that where at least they have something to fall back on, where they have some residual income coming.
I've heard this from a lot of agents. They get someone their first contract and then at the second deal, I don't know the percentage, but a high percentage of agents get fired after that first contract going into the second contract. Not so much baseball, but definitely in football, I hear.
Yes, because it's not guaranteed money. Football's tough.
Especially with some of those rookie contracts, the team sports, it's hard to monetize their name and likeness. Golf is much easier, like weightlifting, CrossFit, and other categories seem like much.
In my opinion, the team sports, the brands will reach out to the actual team. They won't go to the agent, for example, Pepsi or Gatorade.
They block a lot of deals for those guys. I've seen that happen, too.
There are so many small brands out there and that's how our economy can be great. It's helping small companies blossom and this was the way to do it.
With influencers, I think you've done a good job as finding people that already love certain products and how do you take people that have influence and pair them up with an existing part they already love and that's why you hear more ambassador programs more than influencer programs.
How the model worked was like, "Let's take a look at what we use every day," whether you train with it or if it's off the field, maybe sunscreen, your face lotion, or makeup. Whatever it is, let's go to those companies because we know you're passionate about it. It's easy to talk about it. It's natural and it's a win for the company.
How did the supplement piece come in? How did you become CEO of this giant supplement company?
That all kind of goes together, but my father is in the manufacturing of supplements for twenty years. He was part of making a Whole Foods 365 brand.
Does your dad live here?
He's not at Ahwatukee still, is he?
Yeah. It's the same house on the Foothills golf course.
My parents are still in Ahwatukee, too.
I still love it back there.
It's the largest cul-de-sac in Phoenix, for most people who don't know.
It's cozy, though. He introduced me to this product and as an athlete, to be able to reduce lactic acid in your body is unheard of from a natural supplement.
Do BCAA caps do that?
What do those do? Do those do anything?
Branched-chain amino acids are to help recover the muscle. They're crucial to recover.
That's different than the lactic acid.
It's like getting your meat. You see people sipping on BCAAs at the gym. That way is not the best way to get your BCAAs.
It's after, like take a couple of caps after.
It's after, but you want it paired with something like a protein that can help the bioavailability and absorption in your body. He introduced me to his products. It sat on my desk. I was racing mountain bikes at the time. It said reduced lactic acid. I'm like, "There's no way." I tested it three different times. I was breathing easier. My legs weren't burning as bad. I called the founder and I'm like, "What's in your product? How come you're not big? How come I've never heard of you? Is this legal?" He laughed and he's like, "Yeah. Are you an athlete?" I was like, "I'm a sports agent." He's like, "I hate agents. People have a competitive edge of this and they don't want to tell anyone." I was like, "You're right. I don't want to tell my brother who was on it and my dad because we were all racing mountain bikes."
Were you doing trails?
We're doing the cross country.
How long would the race be?
My first one was a half, but I think the full one is 34 or 35 miles. I would ride the trail that you ride. From where they live, to the cabanas and back, was thirteen miles. That was my training. I called the founder. I saw a vision like this could help anyone from their day-to-day.
He had one product at the time?
He had a couple. He had probiotics, protein, a multivitamin, and a joint product.
It was based in Arizona?
He brought it from Europe. I was like, "If you can get the gym more, get more efficient workouts, be less sore, do more and you can get your goals quicker.” Everyone needs this product. Especially women, they hate being sore. From there, we have made a brand out of it. We've made several products around that based on recovery, diet, and performance. On that particular product, we've had twelve clinicals on it proving now that it's reducing lactic acid by 26%. We reduced muscle trauma, which is huge, but the bigger thing for me is oxidative stress.
What's muscle trauma?
It's called CK level. When you go to the gym, you get swollen and your muscles swell up. Those are small muscle fibers that break down. If you have too much of it, it can get in your bloodstream and shut down your organs. If you've heard of rhabdo, that's what's happening. We also reduced the oxidative stress, which is the leading cause of degenerative disease.
The Endurance products help that, too?
Yeah. We've rebranded.
I take this product, too. I should know.
You know of Extreme Endurance. That's the name of it. We rebranded it and made a new one called Essential because we know it reduces oxidative stress, which is anti-aging. If a woman were to see it on a shelf, they might be like, "I don't need Extreme Endurance," but if they saw Essential, we know it's essential to your life to help combat those things.
Is that the main product?
That's the flagship product that no one else has, but we've built everything else based on science.
I would geek out on too, but you've brought kind of influencer marketing to this company early. This was years ago.
The way we kind of grassroots grew was we had an app and we got these ambassadors, the people that loved the product. They would tag us, make a cool picture, and we'd give them a virtual coin that they could purchase off our website for it. Quickly, we had up to 500 people doing it and then posting and getting the virtual coins to get their product that they already loved.
This is the early ambassador program before they're even calling it that. How long ago was it?
This was 2015 and I started with them in 2012. From there, we had companies trying to acquire us, direct sales companies.
Are they Amway-type companies? What's a quick start or whatever the company, a bunch of them?
It's like Doterra and Young Living.
Yeah. There was one big one in Phoenix. I forgot that one.
Plexus. We're literally buttered up to them, our buildings. We had several companies trying to acquire us because we have a proven sports performance line and people are wanting better human performance, so we decided to do it ourselves. We knew where the world was going through social media. You know you go to bed with your phone. You wake up to your phone.
They had you that understands this world and they had great products.
We used the branding from athletes. It's like Nike. It didn't blow up until Jordan and Bo Jackson. Wear Nikes. We need to wear them. We felt like we have the best products. Obviously, we're not Nike, but people would want to take these products, so we built the line of products for every lifestyle.
How many different products?
We have fourteen SKUs. From there, we've made it into a direct sales company. We're a hybrid. You can be a retail customer or you can go out and refer and make money.
I feel like the way you marketed it is so much different than even putting it in that category. There's a lot of great direct sales coming. I'm not mad at them at all. It seems like the marketing of it.
The stigma is not there. You can say it. I went to a Vemma event. You ever heard of Vemma?
It's like those cans with young college kids.
Yes. I was picturing that.
They were making millions of dollars supposedly. I went to his event, he invited me, and I left in the middle of it. The stigma of MLM and I was completely against his direction, but I was like, "We can do it different," and that's what we're doing. We're trying to disrupt the industry.
Where do you think things are going? Not only that industry but things in general, like where's this market going?
It's so fast-paced and hard to keep up. I got an advice to give someone. You just can't be content.
I was thinking about this. You have to be so passionate about what you're doing to compete. It's like you and I grew up competing in sports and you have to be so committed to compete because it's competitive. I think the business world now is so competitive. You have to love what you're doing and you have to compete and wake up to get your ass kicked every day. Do you know what I mean?
You can be comfortable, but you can't be complacent. You got to be able to pivot quickly.
You can be comfortable, you think?
I can get comfortable.
How can you be comfortable?
I feel like I'm comfortable because I feel like I'm keeping up with the times.
Maybe confident is a good word too, but comfortable that I'm learning that things are advancing like technology.
Comfortable that you can move with where the market's going.
If we need to adapt to TikTok, Pinterest, or LinkedIn. We're ready to do that and we have a hungry team that's young and keeps up with the time. You're right. Business is so competitive and you have to love what you do to be successful at it.
It's hard. It's a tough business environment, but there's also so much opportunity. That's what keeps me up. It's both of those like frugal where I need to be frugal and a steward of our budget and my client's budget, but also taking advantage of an enormous opportunity like we've never seen the type of change to human beings. Life, as we know it, with COVID, it has been almost like a World War and that's why I think you've seen the stock market do it. You're seeing there's pent-up demand for things to do, and so that's why a lot of people are predicting, after World War II or World War I, you had a huge boom. I feel like that now. Everything's full throttle. All my clients are like, "We need to go." I'm like, "Holy shit."
Real estate, too. That's where I've seen it. I got a lot of friends in loans.
It freaks me out because I know we're going to hit a correction. I personally don't think it's going to be a real estate like we're used to. I think it's going to be something different. We don't even know.
Like what? Bitcoin? I'm just kidding.
I'm fine with Bitcoin, but inflation is going to hit. Where do you put your money? I’m like, "Shit. I don’t know."
Do you like index funds? It's a hedge.
In my research and my opinion, I think since the stock market has started, that is the only thing that's ever stayed consistent. Your money would compound. Yes, mutual index funds.
I was going to go balls to the wall theory.
With compound? What's the other one?
Doge? I'm not going on the Doge just because the name is cool.
I got in on that little bit. The other one is called Cardano. The guy who is the cofounder of Ethereum left and started Cardano and he's saying it's more energy-efficient or whatever. I'm still trying to understand all this money.
I know they're going up and I like Bitcoin kind of stuff because of the hedge because I know inflation is going to hit. My mentor and his mentor are part of the Robert Kiyosaki group and the first time I've ever met Kiyosaki, I'll never forget it. He took some African million-dollar bill out of his wallet. I had dinner with him. I begged this guy who's now my mentor. Kiyosaki's book, Rich Dad Poor Dad changed my life and we're at dinner.
He talked about inflation. I never forgot that and then I saw Kiyosaki's post on Instagram. He went on this tangent about how small Bitcoin is in the grand scheme of investing. Even though he's not saying he's against it, it's going to do okay. I feel like some of them you're going to try and take money out and this will be your offshore sports betting account that I didn't have, but I'm sure people had, and you can't get the money out.
It should be a small portion of your portfolio or have fun with it, but it's just like that. Keeping up with the times, I feel like you got to know what Bitcoin is or Ethereum. A lot of people don't even know what that is yet.
That's what’s interesting to me and before this, we talked about David Panda a little bit. There are so many marketplaces that are being built and there's not a leader right in it. I think what I understand is that the technology or this new way of looking at things or doing things is now being created. Who will the leader of that be? I don't know whether it's NFTs or blockchain or Esports. Obviously, there's huge growth in that, but what's going to emerge as the brand to go to? Who knows?
Do your kids game?
My son does. I hate it.
Do you game with him?
I have to. I don't like video games.
Does he beat you?
When we play Mad, I smoke his ass. He's like, "You're so good." He cries because he's so competitive I love it. He hates losing at anything, which is I can relate to, but he's on another level. I beat him on Mad, but I can't play Minecraft. I don’t know how.
I would get wiped if I even tried.
Your kids are too young to game yet.
I have three girls and my boy. I got a while.
Your girls don't game?
I know the esports scene is crazy. He's not crazy. I try to limit it. He plays golf and baseball. He's a pretty good golfer. It's annoying.
Now that I played professional baseball, I'll definitely make my son a pro golfer.
It's so hard, though. It's harder than baseball. I think it's the hardest sport to make it in.
People don’t understand it. You walk and swing so much. When you go and warm up on the first hole and how stiff you are, right when you got to hit the ball straight, but then you got to putt, with all these crowds.
There are golf coaches that told me right now they're scratch golfers. They can't even get college scholarships to D2s and D3s. It's so competitive. You got to be consistently on multiple courses, under par like a plus in high school, even to get a college scholarship. They make it on Q-School and all that shit. It's insane. You've got to have a lot of money, no job, be focused on this, and travel around. That's why a lot of golfers come from wealthy families. They grew up in a country club. They got coaches. Their parents have the money to support them through Q-School.
Q-School is tough.
It's insane. I don’t know. To finish this up, I do want to ask you and part of this show I think is what advice would we give to our 25-year-old self? I talk to a lot of young people at colleges. I talk to people, getting the business career, and I wish I could take them through the experiences that I've had and give them those insights, and then watch them freaking conquer the world. What comes up for you when you're thinking about that?
I think it's more general advice but it's you got to commit to planting your flag somewhere. Once you do, if that's something you're passionate about, you got to continuously educate yourself and learn and grow, but I also think before that, you got to have some major self-growth.
How do you have self-growth?
When I retired, it was the darkest time of my life because you never think baseball is going to end. You never think money is going to end and when the real estate market crashed in '07, I was part of that. I went from nothing to having to build back up again. I did a lot of self-growth things. Landmark was one that I went through. I completed a year program for coaching in mental strength with one of the most decorated Navy SEALs that wrote the program.
Was he coaching you?
The program did. It's pretty awesome. Now I'm certified to teach it.
What's that called? That's cool.
It's called Unbeatable Mind. Yes, it's intense.
I've watched your social content and it relates a lot to the professional development things you talk about.
It's tough because people don’t see that part. You really have to do work on yourself to put it out there to help others.
Going to the gym is easy compared to the professional development self-growth shit.
In terms of advice for business, it's plant your flag.
Pick what you want to do in the industry you want to be in. So many people bounce around.
That's exactly what I'm saying. Plant your flag, commit to it, and do the best that you can. Learn as much as you can every day and take ownership of your own things. You can't point blame if you don't succeed. It's your fault and you got to learn how to get out of that or get back up. I think a lot of people don't take ownership of that.
I agree with that. It's this fall, step, fall or whatever. Put a mirror up and figure it out.
I got asked and it was a great question. "What does success mean to you?" It took me a second, but it was the ability to help others and have healthy relationships. One thing I learned at Landmark was like if you can speak completely black and white and transparent with someone, that takes your relationship to another level because it's truly authentic and it's not this surface conversation. You can connect that way. I think that's how business should be taken too, in terms of networking. When you're partnering or merging dollars, that's most important, to be able to connect with people. That's how I answered that question.
I think this is now my twelfth episode or whatever. I don't know what I'm doing or whatever. It's like, "Let's do it but the same insights from successful people come out over and over and over again in a different story and a little different verbiage, but the same thing about authenticity, purpose, and having your purpose infused with helping other people." That can be your job.
Integrity. Seriously because that's I think that's a role of a leader.
The word integrity is so weird to me. It seems so stiff.
My definition of integrity would be if you say or are you going to do something, do it. That's just it.
Can we come up with a different word? I don't know why I don’t like the word integrity because everyone uses it. For thirteen years, I've done branding for companies. I sit in this room. We talk about what the company is going to be and we figure out the company's purpose, so we can do dope marketing for them. Our website too, it's like, "Integrity is at the core." It sounds so outdated of a word or something.
I don't have another word for it.
I don’t either. I think it's huge.
Character. You have a good character. Do you know what I mean? Be a good person. It's tough to come by these days really, especially in business.
People in business do weird stuff. They get shady. Why do they do that?
I don't know. That leads me to another point, though. People that I've done a couple of podcasts for them are like, "How does it feel to be at the top?" I'm like, "First of all, I just have a title. I could be stripped of that in a second." It's probably worse being at the top and they're like, "What's it like that you arrived?" What's that saying? "You made it." I'm like, "You never make it. I may arrive and be here, but every day is problem-solving, and it's probably harder up here than you think."
You have more bosses. They're called your team members, employees, shareholders, partners, sponsors, and clients.
To your point, you deal with people that don’t have good character and you have to navigate that.
I'm learning now to trust my gut more and if there's someone's energy that I'm off with, I'm finally at a place where I'm like, "Nope, I'm not going to deal with you." It's more about the people, not the product or what the opportunity is.
You're right on. I was going to do something on gut and I hadn't written it out.
I hate that word, too. It's weird. It's not your gut. It's your spirit.
Even in my training, there is an intuitive pillar in our life that we need to pay attention to. It's your gut. Two things, if your health or a feeling, you should always start at your gut. An issue with health, start with your gut. There's an issue with your feelings or an outward thing, go with your gut.
There's a lot to that. I think I told you or not a lot of people, but I have this book I've been working on. I have a major fall. I screwed up and during that time of my life, my stomach was hurting constantly. I think I was carrying a lot of stuff, traumas, and stress and it showed up physically. Now my stomach doesn't hurt anymore. You're talking about the gut. That's so true.
That would be my advice. I have health issues, start with the gut. If you have this outward problem with relationships or feelings, go with your gut. It all aligns.
Everyone should get colonics. Have you had that?
Don't do it. It was the worst experience of my life.
For how long?
It was probably an hour.
I am one of those people that goes against, and that's why I got into the supplement market. I go against the grain because if you do a lot of research, a cleanse isn't necessarily the best thing for you. You're depleting yourself of the good stuff and water weight. You would want to cleanse with good foods, whole foods, like cruciferous vegetables, and stuff like that. You can cleanse your gut that way and there's a whole formula to it, but depleting yourself through a laxative is going to make everything worse.
Everything's about this get rich quick, get healthy quick, and all these quick fixes. Go back to the basic.
That'd be good advice for young kids. You're not going to get rich quick. You're successful, but people don't know the years, days, months, late nights, and airplane flights and everything you did to build this.
I do think people think that and like, "We're still young. We're not in earning years. We're building life, at least for me." I'm not liquid with a bunch of money. I built something that I'm proud of that is still being built. I think people are like, "This person's rich." No, they're not.
That's another great point. The perception is you're at the top, so you're wealthy, but they don't sometimes understand that wealth has to be reinvested to take care of your people first. Leaders Eat Last. That's a good book too, if you know that one. It's true. You got to take care of your people first, but it's a perception of you're at the top, you're wealthy, you must get paid the most or something like that. It's a huge sacrifice that you have to make to get there.
I do think and part of the reason for this show too, is we're finally entering into this new world of connection and trust. It's going to be hard to come by. Professionals that are coming up, if you can dive into the professional development stuff that I know you and I have been in for a while that there'll be a huge benefit. In the new world, as I think technology advances, and they say it doubles whatever in a couple of years or something, which is probably true and exponentially it gets better and better, that the differentiator will be the person that you are. Also, how spiritually connected you are, how in-tune you are with your body and relationships like this. The X factor is not going to be IQ. It's definitely going to be EQ.
I'm preparing a speech for a summit we have in. I had to look at after post-COVID, I think what's important now, and this is more generalized, but I think the top two is health. If you don't have your health, you have nothing. That means mental health too, because you know what's happened during the pandemic, a lot of unhealthy people mentally but then finances. I think those are the top two things that are the forefront of our minds post-pandemic, but mental health is right in there.
I've seen it a lot. We've had a lot of employees working from home and people don't have family in the market that they're in. Now they're sheltered down at home and they're losing that connection. They've missed even the workpiece of connecting with people.
Even stay-at-home moms. My wife, she's like, "You need to interact with people all day." I don't think about that. You need that connection or that community. Community equals immunity.
I know you're slammed. We've got a meeting after this but thank you for doing this. Check out Jason and his social media handles. If you could give a shout out quickly to Xendurance and all your stuff you got going on.
Thanks for coming on.
Thanks for having me.
I want to tell everyone, if you like what you've read, share it, follow us, and definitely try to build a community of awesome entrepreneurs that are good people. If you know someone that's in business that could read this advice from somebody in the trenches doing some amazing things with some big brands, definitely share this to them. I know you're busy and we definitely are putting our heart and soul into this show and want to give you great content with great people. Thanks for reading. I truly appreciate it. We'll see you the next time.
Scott leads a stable of marketing agencies and services offering the world's biggest brands speed, value and results. OH is an independent agency built to serve today's brands through consumer-centric marketing and strategy.
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