There is no doubt that Ed JC Smith is a success story. The quietly-spoken Brit is the mastermind behind The Champion Academy, an online platform that has helped thousands of budding entrepreneurs weave their own tales of rags to riches.
He has also written three books, developed over 20 online courses, and runs a popular podcast and YouTube channel. Not many realize, however, that Ed has had to overcome his fair share of obstacles to get to where he is today. In fact, his personal journey has been paved with struggles and doubts.
“I grew up in a middle-class North London family in a nice neighborhood,” he says. “Despite what many would consider a privileged upbringing, I was far from happy. I had terrible acne and was diagnosed with a curvature of the spine that affected my posture.
In addition, I wasn’t doing well at school,” he says. “My father was working night and day to put food on the table. He was unhappy and frustrated, and didn’t hesitate to take it out on me whenever he could.”
One day, after a particularly unpleasant argument with his dad, Ed ran to a nearby train station with the intention of ending it all. “I was going to jump in front of the train. I felt that life wasn’t worth living; that there was no point. I was pulled to safety at the last minute by a homeless man.
He walked me home and made me promise that I would never try anything like that again and that I would never give up on my dreams,” Ed says, adding that these words are still the mantra he repeats to himself in times of uncertainty.
Finding a Purpose
It took this near-death experience – and a promise to his savior – for Ed to start turning his life around. At 16, he got a job as a fitness trainer at the local gym, where he cleaned and showed members how to use the equipment. His confidence improved, and the young man quickly discovered that he was finding fulfillment in helping others.
“I started helping people with bad backs and women who wanted to lose weight. I ended up renting space in central London and began helping people with depression and couples going through relationship problems. Eventually, I started coaching groups of corporate clients, as this gave me more personal time than one-on-one sessions,” Ed says.
“Over the years, I’ve accumulated an immense amount of knowledge. I’ve taken courses in different healing practices such as neuro-linguistic programming, cognitive behavioral therapy, and fast action coaching,” he says. “I’ve also coached people in a huge range of niches. One of our clients teaches women how to achieve orgasms. Another coaches people who have lost a loved one. There is also a woman who helps those with arthritis, a condition she suffers from herself,” he continues.
The Spirit of Sharing
Now in his early 40s, Ed is the CEO of The Champion Academy, an online community centered around teaching coaches and consultants how to build their businesses. Ed’s signature program Clients on Automation is by far his most popular.
“The seven-week course covers topics such as identifying your niche and capturing your target clients, as well as how to create online courses. Participants also learn how to automate their online ventures with a variety of tools I have used myself to build a seven-figure business,” Ed explains. “In addition, they get access to our support systems for six months after completion.”
Following in Ed’s footsteps, his clients learn to set up a fully automated online coaching business that leaves them plenty of time for other pursuits. “In my 20s and 30s work consumed me. I worked hard to create an online business where I wouldn’t have to work day and night,” Ed says. “I have combined all that I have learned over the years to teach others how to build online consulting businesses that will free them from the daily grind and leave them plenty of time for their loved ones or that much-needed vacation.”
Ed’s training programs have been an enormous success, partly due to his out-of-the-box teaching methods. Having struggled at school, Ed realizes that not all students resonate with the same teaching methods. “I finished High School with three Es and at one stage was even diagnosed with dyslexia. It wasn’t because I was lazy or didn’t study, but because my brain just seemed to work on a different wavelength. The teaching methods my school was using were just not suited to how my mind worked,” he says.
“Thanks to my experiences, I have been able to identify different ways of learning. I believe that this has made me a much better coach.”
Fun and Games
With more time on his hands, Ed has been able to set up a successful podcast and YouTube channel, which he uses to share information on a range of business and coaching-related topics with thousands of people. He has also penned three books, including Coaching Business Secrets, a step-by-step guide to attracting clients and scaling an online venture.
Ed also runs annual 10-day retreats on the Indonesian island of Bali that has attracted hundreds of learners from all walks of life eager to break through their limiting beliefs. The high-end program teaches participants how to maximize their potential in the areas of health, relationships, and wealth. It also shows them how to use positive energy to scale their businesses. As a part of the retreat, participants visit a school for disadvantaged children, an institution Ed supports along with another two charities.
“This part of the program teaches the participants about the importance of giving back to the community. It’s all about spending time with children who don’t have the high level of expectations that they do. It’s truly a humbling experience. And, hopefully, it leaves them thinking about all the good they can do in the world once they set up a successful business,” Ed says.
You Are the Orchestrator
Ed has used his second chance wisely. Once ready to give it all up by jumping under a moving train, today he helps empower others to reach their goals.
“It took some time and a fair bit of healing, but I am truly grateful for that experience at the train station. I look back and think, I am so lucky because I never had the intention of being here so every day is a blessing,” he says. “My experience shows that no matter how downtrodden you feel, you are the author of your own story. The beauty of the whole thing is that it’s all up to you.”