Understanding the Value of Coaching with Michael Knouse

One-on-One Business Performance Coach and host of The Startup Sessions PodcastMichael Knouse, has worked with Young Architect Podcast host, Michael Riscica, for two years to help him develop his business including the ARE Boot Camp. Working with Michael K. has helped Michael R. so much in developing his own business that he asked him to share how he became a business coach and how someone like himself can help architects launch their own project, company, or side hustle. As you listen, you’ll learn the importance of specializing, what to look for in a good business coach, and the importance of adapting and being open to learning in order to get to where you want to go. 

Michael Knouse Feature Understanding the Value of Coaching with Michael Knouse Podcast

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One-on-One Business Performance Coach | Michael Knouse 

Michael Riscica and Michael Knouse originally met at a World Domination Summit to break the world record for people doing yoga. After meeting, they kept in touch here and there. Then, one day Michael R. realized that needed help growing Young Architect and so he reached out to Michael K. They ended up working together for about two years and Michael K. has been a huge part of the business side of Young Architect and the ARE Boot Camp 

Before he became a business coach, Michael K. was originally in the Pre-Veterinary program at the University of Oregon but because he struggled with organic chemistry, he wasn’t earning the grades he needed in order to enter the Veterinary program. So, that experience sent him on a different path to actually figure out whether or not he truly wanted to become a veterinarian. 

To help him decide, he participated in a 2-month internship. He learned a lot during that time including the importance of specializing in one area, but in the end, he switched his major to marketing management; specifically, technology with sales and development.  

After working with various startups, and partnerships, he began his own business called Zen Dog Organics based on his dog’s own need for nutritional based supplements and dog treats due to his allergies. After selling the company, he went back to the technology industry until he decided to begin his own business coaching business in August 2013.  

Today, he is the creator of both The Startup Sessions and the Council of Visionary Business Builders. Thanks to him many people such as Michael R. have been able start new projects, firms, and side hustles. As you listen to this episode, you’ll become equipped with plenty of tools and advice to help you get started on your own business goal.  

What You’ll Hear on This Episode  

  • How Michael K. and Michael Riscica met plus how their business partnership has helped Young Architect grow and succeed.  
  • His experiences working for various startups and partnerships including starting his own company, Zen Dog Organics. 
  • Why he began his own coaching business in August 2013 and how it has grown since then.  
  • His typical clients and his experience working with them.  
  • What leverage means to him when it comes to honing in on your skills plus how he uses leverage to help his business grow and help clients succeed.  
  • What steps architects can take to start their own firm. 
  • The importance of specializing and sticking to a specific niche for your business.  
  • What learning blocks Michael K. has learned since becoming a business coach.  
  • Some of Michael R.’s own reservations to focusing on a specific niche such as the AREs.
  • How Michael R. was able to tap into his own specialized skills, experience, and knowledge to successfully and easily create Young Architect.  
  • What advice he has for someone who is looking for a coach to help them up-level their career.  
  • The difference between a sub-par coach and a really great coach.  
  • His process for selecting a coach to help him.  
  • Why you should look for a coach who is going to ask you tough questions about your business.  
  • What both Michael R. and Michael K. need in a coach to help them move forward and succeed.  
  • The fact that even people like Warren Buffet has had a coach for over 40 years.  
  • Some of the best advice Michael K. has received from a coach to not quit when you’re having a bad day.  
  • His opinions on networking and why he disliked certain networking events because people are so needy. 
  • Why he created Council of Visionary Business Builders as a way to get together with people, but not be like a typical networking event in order to communicate and build a community.  
  • About his podcast, The Startup Sessions, and how he chooses which guests will be on the show.  
  • The importance of adapting and being open to learning in order to get to where you want to go.  

Top 3 Takeaways from This Episode 

  1. Specializing in a specific niche won’t only help you stand out from the rest but will also help you focus on certain customers and succeed in your target market. It’s confusing when a firm is all over the place; it makes much more sense to have one business that everyone goes to for the same need. Not only that, but it makes life and managing your business a whole lot easier for you as well.
  2.  Be ready and open to learn and adapt. You can’t grow if you stick to the same basic business principles. Architecture is always changing and so how you see your business should be evolving as well. If you get stuck in a roadblock, learning how to get past it will allow you to overcome any future hurdles.
  3.  Be picky when you choose a business coach. You don’t want to follow a cookie cutter modal but a method that will allow both you and your coach to improve your business. Also be sure to pick a coach who is passionate and will ask you the tough, realistic questions that you need to answer about your business.   

Michael Knouse’s Advice for Aspiring Architects  

“Always be coming from a perspective of learning. If you’re coming up against a roadblock anywhere in life and you approach it with the perspective of, ‘All I need to do is learn how to get past this roadblock,’ then fundamentally your life changes. There’s a lot about where I want to go in my business that I don’t know how I’m going to get there right now and that could stop me, but fundamentally I know that I can figure it out; I know that I can learn it. One of the greatest resources that we have today is the time we live in and our access to all the answers to our questions. If you’re committed to learn, then you can overcome any hurdle.”  

Favorite Quotes 

“It doesn’t even matter what type of vision, business, or project someone wants to start. If they’re excited about it, I’m excited about it and to share my insight with them. It doesn’t matter why you’re excited because if you are and you have some sort of desire drawing you into it, listen to it because that’s what’s going to make life sweeter.” – Michael Knouse on the excitement he sees in new entrepreneurs who succeed.  

“Leverage is looking at resources or assets that are essentially probably already there, but you’re just not using them. They might be so close to you that you don’t even recognize that you have potential with a specific idea or intellectual property that you haven’t marketed or productized yet. Leverage is looking at something that’s already there in your business or life and just learning how to really tap into it in order to maximize the value of it.” – Michael Knouse on how to take advantage of resources to create something from your ideas.  

“Know who your client is. Don’t just open up an architecture firm and take every single project that comes through the door. Figure out what it is that you specialize in and understand who your customer is and learn the market. It’s so much easier to understand a niche than it is to be everywhere and everyone is your customer.” – Michael Riscica on Michael Knouse’s advice.  

“Whether you’re already in a career or starting a business as an entrepreneur, narrowing your business focus into a niche is one of the four most important core elements to focus on because it just makes everything easier for you and for your clients. Even if you’re afraid to try it because you thinking your limiting yourself from all of these other opportunities, it’s simply not true. It’s far easier for people to align with your message and find you when you’re focused. You also get to harness the power of getting really good and well-known in a specific niche, industry, or micro-niche which just makes it easier to build a business around all of that.” – Michael Knouse on the importance of specializing with a specific niche in order to have a successful business.  

“There are these two common pervasive thoughts about starting a business or becoming an entrepreneur. The first pack of people say, ‘Pursue your passion; follow what you love,’ and then there’s this whole other pack of people that say, ‘Get good at something and you’ll develop passion about it.’ For me, it’s not an ‘either’ or an ‘or;’ you have to find the middle ground that works best for you and embrace both of those things.” – Michael Knouse on becoming good at something you are passionate about. 

“I don’t want a coach that wants to put me into a specific system that has worked for them. However, if someone has a framework which is an over-arching proven model that allows for individualism and creativity within that model, I’m all for that.” – Michael Knouse on what he looks for in a coach.  

Resources Mentioned in the Show 


Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect, Founder and Head Coach of the ARE Boot Camp Coaching Program & Online Study Group.

Hi I’m Michael Riscica.

My goal is to help as many people as I can PASS their exams and succeed in their architecture careers.

This is accomplished with the following offerings:

Free FB group that is 12k+ members strong
Low-cost, high-value upcoming webinar
Affordable and Quality ARE Study materials
Professional Development and Powerful Networking
Premium 10-week ARE study program