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Chris Do

In this special three-part episode, Chris helps Rodrigo work through a dilemma. One that places him at an important fork in the road: keep working on the business he’s tirelessly built or give it all up and pursue his dream to become a YouTuber.

Should You Follow Passion or Profit? (Pt. 1)
Should You Follow Passion or Profit? (Pt. 1)

Should You Follow Passion or Profit? (Pt. 1)

Ep
176
Feb
16
With
Chris Do
Or Listen On:

Balancing what brings you joy and what keeps the lights on.

How do you make decisions about your life? Do you follow what brings you happiness and makes you feel good? Or do you remove emotion from the process and remain focused and objective?

Most of us land somewhere in the middle on that spectrum. Juggling the pursuit of our ever-changing interests while working a job that pays the bills.

But what happens when your time is equally split between the two and you’re unhappy with that juggling act?

In this special three-part episode, Chris helps Rodrigo work through a dilemma. One that places him at an important fork in the road: keep working on the business he’s tirelessly built or give it all up and pursue his dream to become a YouTuber.

Part one focuses on what the two options look like for Rodrigo. Which brings more joy, which brings more revenue, and ultimately which he should focus on.

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Episode Transcript

Chris:
A lot of times when we start to see success, for some reason, many of us self sabotage. There's going to be different motivating factors, and I can't figure it out just on a broad spectrum, but each and every one of us, for whatever reasons, start to do something that move us away from the success that we're having. And my philosophy has always been, if it works, do more of it, if it doesn't do less of it. What confounds me about people is, they start to have success and they do less of it. And the things that don't bring them success, they start to do more of that.
Welcome to our room, or our space here on Twitter. As you can tell, I'm getting a little bit more prolific here on Twitter Spaces creating content, hopefully to connect with you all and to have conversations with you. In an ongoing series we've been calling business fundamentals, I've been talking about business with Mo Ismail who will be joining us shortly. And last night, we got into a heated conversation. Even our good friend, Lola was saying, "Chris Do, you are a savage." So if you missed that call, tonight might be a little confusing for you, but I'll do my best to get you caught up to speed. And an interesting thing happened is that Drigo was on that call and he's like, "Man, I need a follow up call right now." And so shortly Mo will be joining us and he has a follow up. And that's why we're calling this room or the topic, passion or profit. Do you have to choose one or the other? And which one should you choose? And how do we even decide to begin with.
I believe in passion. I believe in following your passion. And so this is where it might sound really conflicted and confusing. In a little bit, I'm going to introduce myself and a couple of other people, but I want to let you know how tonight's going to go. Now, yesterday we got into the thick of it and I felt pressured to bring other people who I didn't know to come up on stage and talk with us, but it got a little confusing. So tonight for the most part, I'm going to just stick to having a conversation with Drigo and possibly Mo and my friend Nidhi who's a mental health professional. So I think she's always dropping value and knowledge and wisdom, so I just made her mic hot just in case she wants to say something, but I'm just going to ask all of you just to hang out and listen, enjoy the conversation. And if you want to talk to us, tweet something and let's use the hashtag #futurpro, F-U-T-U-R pro Futur Pro. And that way my friends can help me scan and monitor that. And that way we can bring in your comments and questions in real time without it interrupting the flow of the conversation too much.
I hope that makes sense. We're probably going to be here for another 90 minutes or so. I see my friend Heather there. Heather just send me a message if you want to join the conversation. Drigo set up what we're going to be talking about. Why are we even addressing this issue of passion or profit?

Rodrigo:
Thanks, Chris. Thank you guys for listening tonight. So pretty much yesterday Chris had a call with Mo, and everything that Chris said during the call made sense to me. When Chris lays down the logic, it just makes sense. But I felt conflicted with everything I've been also learning from Chris in the sense of we had a call not too long ago. Not a call. We're actually in LA. And I remember me and Mo were sitting there and Chris was telling us, "You guys need to build a audience. Why are you guys still doing client services?" And you told us about the deal that you closed with a large computer accessory company and you guys are missing out. And with that, I started my journey of creating a digital product, which I saw a like online contract and I started doing coaching and things like that. And then we started doing pro calls inside of the Futur Pro Group about doing a product or launching a course. And then yesterday's call everything he said to me made so much sense, but it left me feeling so conflicted of which path to choose.

Chris:
Okay. Was that an abrupt end? What happened?

Rodrigo:
That was an abrupt end. That's how I felt. I got left in a cliff hanger of, I don't know what to do because everything you said made sense. But in the other end of it, I find so much more passion doing the YouTube content, doing my coaching calls, and I just don't know what path to even go forward with anymore. So I want to talk to you and figure out what is really the path we should be looking at. What are the things that we should be considering as creative entrepreneurs that I guess that's firmly stuck out. I don't know how to proceed at this point.

Chris:
All right. First, I just want to quote Tony Robbins. He said that passion is the genesis of genius. So passion is the genesis of genius, and I do believe in that. I believe if you pursue things that you're not passionate about, it'll only take you so far.
All right. So here's what I want to do. Drigo's question and maybe confusion and lack of clarity will make a lot more sense if we're able to just quickly recap where we were yesterday and where we are today with Mo. Mo can you give us the high level overview just real quick so everybody understands what's going on, and then we're going to introduce ourselves.

Mo:
I'm at the house today. Babies are asleep, so you can give the high level recap.

Chris:
Okay. Very good. So here's what happened. Yesterday Mo was looking for some business advice and coaching because he was a little conflicted. He had two paths to go down or possibly a hybrid, so maybe that's a third path, of whether or not he should create an educational product that's a hybrid of a course/coaching or consulting, something like that. And the other thing was his service business, which was him making social video content for others. And he started to see real progress and growth in that line of business. And setting his goals for 2022, he had disclosed that he wanted to do half a million dollars in revenue. The prior year I think he did 140,000, which was a lot of progress for him.
Let me go back to my notes here, just to make sure I have that right. Give me two seconds here. I got my notebook open. 170,000 in revenue. So it was more than a 2X, almost a 3X growth, which is pretty fantastic if you can hit. Companies would kill to grow by three times. So that means if you were doing a million dollars this year, that you're predicting that you'll do 3 million of revenue next year, and that's remarkable growth. And so he was like, "What should I do?" And we really got into it, and were looking at the data; what are you basing your decisions on? And we discovered there was a lot of emotion in there. And I generally like emotion. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. And in fact, EQ, emotional intelligence is really important in the 21st century as a skill to have, as a trait to have.
But when it comes to making decisions and being clear about where you should go with your life and your business, I think we have to look at the data a little bit; where are we getting conclusions from? And there are things that we love that we think we love, but I really think we're infatuated with. And infatuation is like I have a crush. It feels a lot like love, and then we fall out of it and then we're onto the next thing. And so it got pretty heated yesterday because I was really just trying to help Mo see the facts, just the facts. And I've been thinking about this a lot since our conversation. I was thinking Mo was saying, I could grow both sides of the business equally. I'm equally confident in growing either side of the business, the product and the service to get to $500,000. Where his confidence comes from, I do not know. And I asked him, "Where do you project your data from?" He says his aspirations. So just from thin air, from the cloud.
And then I think Drigo's listening in on this conversation thinking, wait a minute, I'm actually pursuing my business right now, but maybe I'm confused now. Maybe I should do something different. And so now we're going to get into that. I hope that was a high level enough conversation or recap. I don't want to get into the whole conversation. There has been some evolution of thinking since then, but since Mo is in a place where he can't speak too much, maybe we'll save that for another day.
Drigo, let's get into your specific conflict about passion or profit. What are you pursuing now; passion or profit?

Rodrigo:
Right now, passion. And it's hard because with the call that we had last night, me and Mo had a call this morning and I was like, "Dude, last night that was brutal." I was just like, "I felt it for you because we got into the whole thing of..." I know how passionate he is about doing the course thing and I was like, "I relate to that because I'm in the same boat. I'm trying to build a course." I've been listening to Chris. Chris is like, "You guys need to build an audience. You guys need to build out the YouTube thing." And then everything he said about doing the business, it makes sense. Me, if I keep doing Tasca Studios. I'm going to do two or three years, keep grinding out and get myself out the dip.
Doing a course, doing everything else makes sense, but I don't feel as passionate about it as when I do a coaching call and somebody calls me the following week and they're like, "Dude what you did for me helped me so much." And it gives so much more joy from that. But at the end of the day, one of the stories that sticks with me, I don't know if I can share it, it's about your friend and how he didn't have money to buy a ticket for his wife and all. That story sticks with me day in, day out. And that always leaves me so conflicted.

Chris:
Okay. I don't want you to tell that story because I need to be able to tell it without revealing too much about the person and we'll talk about that. So let me just get clear on something, you are currently following your passion, which is a service business. Is that right?

Rodrigo:
No. So me and Mo had a call, right now, this year, I was ready to put my service business on a back burner and go full in on YouTube.

Chris:
Okay. So let's be clear now, because a lot of our audience, they don't even know who you are, they don't know what business that you're in, and they don't even know what the heck we're talking about so let's not make any assumptions about that. Let's clear it up. Currently, what is your business?

Rodrigo:
My business is I have a video production agency that specialize in creating brand videos and TV commercials.

Chris:
TVCs and brand videos. So you shoot videos and you edit them and you produce and direct them, right?

Rodrigo:
Yeah.

Chris:
Okay. And you would classify this under profit or passion?

Rodrigo:
Started out as passion, but now it's profit, because it's all client work.

Chris:
Okay. Can you explain that? What do you mean it became... Isn't that a good thing; your passion, your hobby, and then now it's your profession? Isn't that a good thing?

Rodrigo:
It is a good thing. The reason I got into video is because I enjoyed just doing it for fun, and then all the projects that I do now, it's all client work. I'm always doing client work. So the fun that I used to have doing it, I'm still passionate about what I do, but I don't get as much joy as when I edit a behind the scenes video from one of my client shoots or I'm putting together a video to teach somebody about how they can grow their video production business.

Chris:
Okay. So what started out as being really fun, that started to diminish and something happened. Can you describe in a very high level way, a couple of bullet points as to why it's less fun now?

Rodrigo:
I think honestly is because I don't have the time that I used to have when this was just a fun thing. My free time is consumed between either working on the next project, doing sales and marketing, trying to grow that side of the business. So the fun and the downtime that I used to just put together to create videos or just shoot something for the fun of it, that doesn't exist anymore.

Chris:
Okay. One could probably sum up what you just said as making videos was really fun for me before, because it was self-directed and now it's other directed. Would that be fair to say?

Rodrigo:
Extremely fair.

Chris:
Okay. And so the more successful you get in the video production business, the less opportunity you have to do it for yourself. Is that also accurate?

Rodrigo:
Yes.

Chris:
Okay. And in your pursuit of building a profession and a business and being able to make money, it's kind of like you got your wish. Because when you're doing it for yourself, you're really happy, but you were broke; also true?

Rodrigo:
Extremely true.

Chris:
Okay. So you do have a decision. I mean, you have a full agency and I assume that no one has a gun to your head saying you must make more videos for clients. I mean, you could just scale back and take half of the time and book it for yourself. Is that possible?

Rodrigo:
It is possible.

Chris:
Okay. And do you think if you were to cut back your time... Let's assume, and I don't know this. Let's assume you work 40 hours a week, a standard work week here in America. And if you can just cut back 50% so that only 20 hours a week are spent on client work and 20 hours a week are spent for you. Would that increase your happiness quotient?

Rodrigo:
It possibly could.

Chris:
Okay. What's the hesitation coming from?

Rodrigo:
In the sense of a very similar situation with what Mo was talking about the business, we had our best year yet this year.

Chris:
Do you want to talk numbers with me or do you want to keep that as an abstract?

Rodrigo:
Yeah, it's fine.

Chris:
Okay. Let's do it.

Rodrigo:
Yeah. We did 186,000 this year.

Chris:
Last year?

Rodrigo:
Yeah. Last year, 2021.

Chris:
Well, first of all congratulations.

Rodrigo:
Thank you.

Chris:
You and Mo are in very similar boats.

Rodrigo:
I know. Yesterday that hit me because this last year, the same thing, I hired a team of editors. I had two to three people in the Philippines. I had all these things happening. With all that, I was managing the team, all these different things. I was like, "I don't know if this is what I want." But then I hear you talking about you guys are in the dip. You need to make it out. You got to make it through the dip. That's why I felt conflicted because it made sense. Me making it through the dip, keep working through this is only going to make me a better business person, it's only going to make me a better videographer, YouTuber, all these other things that come along with it. But it's like, am I putting my passion off to the side to keep working on my business?

Chris:
Yeah. Okay. I want to just say a couple things. First of all, congratulations. $186,000, anybody with enough heart and determination and grit and a little bit of luck can make it in America. I mean, you're not that far away from grossing a quarter of million dollars. And I need to point this out, because you did share this on Clubhouse before. You need to understand something about Drigo. He's been an independent person on his own for a long time. And he literally worked as a butler, as a man servant for a period in his life. Right, Drigo?

Rodrigo:
That's correct.

Chris:
So this is a gigantic leap forward in my opinion. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I'm trying to just acknowledge this because oftentimes when we're in our own business, we don't have that perspective where we can step out of our business and look at ourselves and say you know what, good freaking job, Drigo.
So 186,000, basically you guys are almost the exact same company revenue wise. And I think that's an accomplishment and we just need to acknowledge that, because there are people in this audience, I imagine quite a few, especially if you're in a developing country where you would probably give your left leg to be able to have the problem of what should I do with my life since I'm grossing $186,000. I just want to put that in perspective. Things are going well. Now here's the problem or maybe the question is, if reducing your workload for clients by half or whatever percentage you want bought you back some of your free time so that you can explore whatever it is you want, you want to do go cave paintings, you want to weave baskets and throw pottery, that is up to you. So the question is, why haven't you done that?

Rodrigo:
Honestly, because I think with the growth of everything that was happening, I wanted to see where things could go. Because when I started in this, I never saw it this far. And I always struggle with the question of where do you see yourself in five years? You know my story about what happened in Brazil. It's always so hard for me to imagine where I'm going to be in two years from now because I didn't even... the thought of how I ended up in America, it's hard for me to even grasp. So it's hard for me to think that far into the future.

Chris:
I understand. And so if you don't mind sharing, I do remember what happened in Brazil. Can you just tell people what happened in Brazil?

Rodrigo:
Yeah, so we lived in Brazil. I was 10 years old. My family was robbed. I was held hostage in my house for about eight hours. Next day, my mom came home found I was locked up in a closet. Next day, the people called my mom at her job and said, just next time if you call the police when we rob you, you're not going to find your kids alive. We left Brazil within pretty much 30 days. Parents sold everything, moved to America and began our American dream, pursuit of happiness.

Chris:
And what do you think happened to 10 year old Drigo in that moment? How did that affect your psyche?

Rodrigo:
That's funny because me and mom talk about this. It's been a good and bad thing. It helps me move through things very quickly. Sometimes I don't process things very well. We just had to keep moving. You know what I mean? I didn't get a chance to process that. You hear about this stuff in Brazil all the time. So for me it was just like, hey, it happened to us. It is what it is. I mean, we packed our bags and we left, we came to America. And every time many bad situation has happened to me, I just move through it quickly. I sometimes don't process things. I just move through. And me and mom talk about this. I sometimes get things done very quickly because I'm just like, okay, we just got to get it done. We just got to move.

Chris:
I'd like to invite Nidhi to do jump in anytime. Nidhi, if you have something you'd like to add, just raise your hand so I can recognize you and bring you on. I don't want to call you unnecessarily. So anytime you think you have a perspective, go ahead and raise your hand. Oh, you have something to say, Nidhi?

Nidhi:
Well, I was just going to thank Drigo for sharing that because that sounds like a really traumatic experience and I think it's so cool that you're able to see the connection there between that experience and the decision making in the present. So I just wanted to commend you, but yeah, carry on.

Chris:
Okay. So I don't want to play a fake therapist here, so we can all acknowledge when you experience something or if we can imagine experiencing a life and death situation where whether you're 10 years old, 20 years old or 100 years old, when you don't know if you're going to survive that moment and you have no agency, that's going to change the way you think about things. And so when Drigo says it's hard for me to imagine where I'm going to be in three, five years, because at one point in his life he couldn't imagine what was going to happen tomorrow. I'm just going to make that assumption there. And also having faced death, it also gives you a clarity that little things, little transgressions that might happen to you ain't anything.
I remember Robert Kiyosaki who wrote the book, Rich Dad Poor Dad. He said that he volunteered to serve in Vietnam and flew helicopters. And he almost missed the war and he was really disappointed. But he did get to fly in some missions where machine gun fire was literally firing at him and it didn't kill him. So when he came back as a veteran, returning back to the world of business, he said that you know what, they couldn't kill me with bullets, what are words going to do to me? So it gave him maybe a sense of his own immortality or mortality. And he was brave enough to start doing things that would scare normal people, but he wasn't afraid. And so we can look at it in a number of different ways.
But getting back to what we're talking about right now, you're growing your business and you're starting to look around a little bit and maybe it's getting murky again. And you connected with the story of a lot of times when we start to see success, for some reason many of us self-sabotage. And there's going to be different motivating factors, and I can't figure it out just on a broad spectrum, but each and every one of us, for whatever reasons start to do something that move us away from the success that we're having. And my philosophy has always been, if it works, do more of it, if it doesn't do less of it. What confounds me about people is they start to have success and they do less of it. And the things that don't bring them success, they start to do more of that.
And that is as confusing to me as probably as I am to you, Drigo. I can't figure it out. So if you're growing your business and you're achieving levels of success that maybe young Drigo never even dreamt of having before, you don't want to stay the course because now it's work. And so with Mo and you, is it that we have an aversion towards things that feel like work to us, or is it something else? Because I worked for 20 plus years making commercials and music videos. I did work. And my wife knows this and she appreciates that for two decades of my life, I showed up every single day and I was a professional. And being a professional means you go to work whether you feel like it or not, whether it's fun for you, whether you're miserable, if the clients are good or bad, you still show up.
We don't take into account our mood and if we're feeling it or not. We show up and we do the work. So Drigo, aside from the freedom, because money does do something for you. It should theoretically buy you your time. That's what money is supposed to be used for. But maybe you're reluctant to use it for another reason I do not know. Do you have any insight into why you just don't move in this direction or potentially you're just asking, is this even a good idea for you to stop doing the work and doing something else? What do you think?

Rodrigo:
So I think what really comes with this, and honestly it comes from you, when I hear you talk about why you left client services. And I understand you did this for a very long time. But then I also see other people that have done way less than me build the amount courses and doing these different things. And I just feel like, am I not jumping on the boat fast enough? Am I losing the opportunity here to keep doing my client service, and I should be building an audience and building influence within my market?
And I guess that's where I feel conflicted because every day that I'm working within my business, I feel like I'm not working towards... I'd rather be a YouTuber than be a business owner at this point or be an educator online. But then I also know all the benefits that comes from running my business. I took five trips last year for an extended amount of times. You know what I mean? So there is that give and take with it. And that's why I feel so torn about it. And yesterday's call I was just like, "I don't know what to do anymore."

Chris:
Okay. So your head's spinning around a little bit. And you took some amazing trips because I saw the photos and the video clips on Instagram. I'm like, I haven't gone anywhere and I'm still sitting here doing the work and you're living the dream, making money, traveling, seeing beautiful places and people. That sounds pretty good to me. And now you're saying I'd rather just be a YouTuber and what happens happens. Perhaps?

Rodrigo:
Yeah, perhaps, but [crosstalk 00:24:03].

Chris:
I can help you there.

Rodrigo:
Help me out, man.

Chris:
Okay. So one thing that I like to do is I like to play both sides of the argument so that we can see if we take it to its extremity, we can see a little bit more clearly. So this is a general rule. If you're stuck in a decision, if you're in a quandary, quagmire or whatever, and you're not quite sure which way to go, try to play the scenario out in both directions, but take it to its extreme. So one direction is, you know what, making videos for clients other directed sucks. I'm working all the time and I don't get a chance to find that love and joy and that spark that I used to have just making videos for myself, speaking about the things that I care about, saying things that I'm passionate about. And so let's take it to extreme.
The extreme is, you know what, I'm done with doing client work. Perhaps I can sell my book of business. I can train someone and have them run the business until it runs into the ground without me. There's a lot of options there, but I want to pull myself out, not just a little bit, but 100% so that I can go and make content. So I'm just going to play off this idea. I'm going to quit tomorrow. I don't really care about what happens with the business. I have enough money saved up to last me for a few months. I'm not really worried. I'm going to go all in on this YouTube thing. And I really don't care if it makes any money for a year or longer. Let's just say that's what it is.
So I wake up every day, I got nothing on the agenda. I get to do whatever it is I want and I go and do that. I want you to imagine that in your mind right now and think about how you feel, think about the emotional state that you're in, the joy that might be in your heart. Now, if you were to score that on a life fulfillment scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is being the greatest thing that you could do in your life right now, what score would you give that feeling?

Rodrigo:
An 8.2.

Chris:
Okay. That's very precise. 8.2. I like that. Why not a 10? What's missing in that equation?

Rodrigo:
I guess it's the doubt of what would happen if I kept going in my business? Because I've been working on this business for the past three to five-

Chris:
Wait, hold on. The way this works the best if you just fully embrace, this is what I want to do with my life. I'll give you the example and I've told you and Ben Burns and others who have listened to this before, all I want to do is teach all day long. That's all I want to do. I don't care about the money at all. And so if someone could run the company in a way that provides for my family and helps with the mission, I don't want to charge a dollar to teach anyone. I would speak anywhere for free. I would do whiteboards. I would do workshops. I would design solutions for whatever it is that heals you. But that's not the reality. But that would make me filled to the brim with a 10, because I don't want to deal with the whole money part, I just want to teach. So if you get to make YouTube content all day long, why are you holding onto this old idea that I'm doing something for other people?

Rodrigo:
Well, because there's the money part.

Chris:
That's an honest answer. I like that.

Rodrigo:
Yeah. I mean, it's the money part. You know what I mean?

Chris:
Okay. We can solve this though.

Rodrigo:
Okay.

Chris:
Let's be really creative here. So I have no source of income now. I'm going to make YouTube content so we can push the 8.2 to a nine or a 10. If for whatever reason you make a couple of banger videos on YouTube and they go viral and you start making money from YouTube ad sense or potentially a sponsor steps up and says, "You know what, we'd love to give you 30,000 to $50,000 to mention our product or service," and all of a sudden you make money. Would that bring you to nine or 10 at that point?

Rodrigo:
It would.

Chris:
Okay. That's a solid nine or 10 then you think?

Rodrigo:
It is.

Chris:
Okay. So to put a number on this, how much money in ad sense and sponsorship combined would you need to make for you to be able to do YouTube content full-time whatever you want to make and be at a 10 in terms of satisfaction?

Rodrigo:
I honestly have not looked at that number.

Chris:
Let's look at it right now. This is just a thought experiment.

Rodrigo:
Yeah. So I mean, I would say $10,000 a month.

Chris:
So 120 K?

Rodrigo:
Yeah.

Chris:
Okay. That's a pretty good dream by the way, you get to do whatever you want and someone's going to give you six figures worth of money, right?

Rodrigo:
Hey man, living the dream. That's why you should do it.

Chris:
I mean, if you lived in Thailand, you'd live like a king.

Rodrigo:
Well, you know I like traveling.

Chris:
I do know that. That's why I said that. All right. So that's the dream. So we've designed one end of the spectrum. What would give you a 10 in pure joy is not to work for another client to make six figures, give or take, doing exactly what you want to do, making whatever kind of content you want. Now we can park that there. So we no longer have to think about doing service work for other people. Is that right?

Rodrigo:
That is right.

Chris:
Okay. Let's take the other side of the equation here, not the argument, other side of the equation. All right. You're doing client work. Now, what would you say is the average price of engagement for one of these videos or TV commercials?

Rodrigo:
I would say like 5,000 per video.

Chris:
Okay. At what price point would it bring you a lot more joy as the average price point per video?

Rodrigo:
10,000.

Chris:
Okay. Let's say you said $35,000.

Rodrigo:
I guess I'm not thinking big enough. Yes, 35,000 would be really great.

Chris:
Okay. So if each client paid you $35,000, even though it was client directed, other directed work, do you think that would bring you more joy if you did the exact same thing you're doing today?

Rodrigo:
It would bring me a lot of joy.

Chris:
And what if some of these clients were household names and brands that you personally love and connect with? Would that bring you even more joy?

Rodrigo:
I'd be ecstatic.

Chris:
Okay. So I'm going to say now, if you could do $600,000 doing the exact same thing that you did this year for your favorite brand, say you did something for Adidas, for Xbox, I don't know, for a band that you love, where would that give you in terms of satisfaction, joy of life on a scale of 1 to 10?

Rodrigo:
10.2.

Chris:
So this is even more than your own freedom?

Rodrigo:
Yeah. Because money buys you time that gets you freedom.

Chris:
Exactly. And then you have prestige, you're working on great brands that you love, that you probably would've done for free in your old self; really, I get to do this with you? It's just cool to be able to say... go back to the block and tell people, you know I just did this thing for Adidas. What?

Greg Gunn:
Time for a quick break, but we'll be right back.

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Greg Gunn:
Welcome back to our conversation.

Chris:
Here's why I created these two scenarios and it really helps us to understand why you're dissatisfied. You're dissatisfied because the current condition doesn't look like what you want it to be. So instead of solving that problem, we just change the problem. And this is where there's a lot of confusion. You see what I'm saying? So when you are like, "You know what, I want to take off. I want to make YouTube videos, but that's only going to get me an 8.2, because I want to do some of that service work still." Because we're not being totally creative and we're not 100% committed to this goal happening. If we're 100% committed it's like, what has to happen for me to be really happy versus trying to bring in a compromise factor. And I think that was the scariest thing from last night when I presented to Mo, if you're equally confident about hitting your financial goals for 2022, drop one, but he couldn't. He wanted to hedge his bets. And I'm not a big believer in this.
A friend of mine told me focus F-O-C-U-S. Focus on one course until successful. That is focus. And even Nidhi was saying, "You know what, maybe you start here and as you progress and you're hitting your benchmarks, you can afford yourself to do the other thing that you wanted to do, as opposed to diluting your effort and your energy and your focus to doing two things at once." And I've talked about this before. I think I picked this up from Jim Quick, and he said something like there's no such thing as multitasking. There's just tasks switching. So we think we can run two businesses simultaneously. And if you have enough money and resources and you have a deep talent bench, you can do that. Because the argument is what about Elon Musk?
Well, if you're the world's richest person, you do whatever the F you want, but we're not in that position. We do not have that team of geniuses, inventors, project managers, operations people, creatives to run all of our endeavors, because we just don't have the finances to do this. So right now between these two dream ends, between you just making YouTube content, waking up one day and you're like, "I want to make something. I don't want to make something." And being able to bring in six figures, 120K. Or you running a business that's $600,000 in revenue working with high profile clients where the average cost per project is 35,000 and up. Which of these two at least right now feel more appealing to you?

Rodrigo:
The 35,000.

Chris:
Okay. So do you know what you need to do then?

Rodrigo:
I want to say yes, but I guess this is where I feel conflicted because I know what I need to do, but I guess it's like, when we have calls about building courses or creating a digital product inside of the Pro Group, that's where I feel like I'm not taking advantage of what I should be doing. And that's where I feel the conflict.

Chris:
Okay. Let me ask you this question here. If I told you tomorrow there is a path forward where you can actually have this very situation that you describe on a scale of happiness on a 1 to 10, a 10.2, that there's a path forward and you could do it. And then I also told you that if you pursue something else, you're only going to delay your ability to reach that goal, would you pursue something else or not?

Rodrigo:
No, I'd listen to you.

Chris:
So what it sounds to me is you don't see the path clearly ahead of you, hence your reluctance. Now, let me ask you this other question, how long does a person need to wait to achieve the life of their dreams? So if today was the beginning of you marching towards that dream life that you want, what do you think is a reasonable amount of time for you to invest in achieving your dream?

Rodrigo:
I don't know how to put a number on that.

Chris:
Well, just throw something out.

Rodrigo:
For you to achieve your dream, it's something that I think you work on it every single day. It's not going to happen overnight.

Chris:
For sure are.

Rodrigo:
So are you referring to reaching that $35,000 client?

Chris:
The $35,000 client to hit your $600,000 annual revenue working with a couple of big brand names that you love? How long do you think you have to work in order to achieve that? What's a reasonable amount of time for Drigo?

Rodrigo:
In our current state, probably three to five years.

Chris:
Okay. Three to five years. Are you willing to put in that time?

Rodrigo:
Yeah.

Chris:
Okay. So you are at 186,000. So by the end of this year, you are at 400,000. And by the next year, only two years later, you are at 600,000. You could do that in two years time. Would that be a reasonable amount of time for you?

Rodrigo:
I'm scared to say yes. I have doubt in that.

Chris:
Well, this is just a hypothetical right now. We don't have to be dragged down by our fears of what reality might be. I'm just saying, conceptually speaking if you could do $400,000 this year, grow your company by 2X, a little over 2X and next year, grow it by another 200,000, which isn't as big of a jump. From 400, 600 is not as big as 186 to 400. If this were something that you can commit to, would you be happy doing this?

Rodrigo:
I would.

Chris:
Okay. So again, I ask you what is the problem then?

Rodrigo:
I guess it's not doing what I think is fun.

Chris:
Okay. So you'd rather have fun.

Rodrigo:
I don't know if it's fun, man, but it's just-

Chris:
No, it's fun. I know it is.

Rodrigo:
It is fun. It's enjoyment of life. I don't know.

Chris:
Okay. So I'm going to share a couple things. First, I just want to correct again, the quote, it's actually from Galileo Galilei, it's the passion is the genesis of genius. So here's the thing Drigo, I think I said this yesterday and I stole this from Blair Enns who says all strategy is autobiographical. So I'm going to give you a plan, and the plan that I give you is based on my own life. I'm not going to tell you do something I haven't done, or I haven't seen success in my own life. But let me just tell you something my father told me, and I know you already know the story, but for the benefit of everyone on the call...
So when I was a lot younger, I would get in a little bit of trouble with my dad. And this was during high school, because my dad knew the importance of getting good grades and performing well in high school because he knew that if I didn't do well, I was not going to get into a good college. But my dad is a busy man. He's working from sunrise to sunset to provide for our family. And when he would see my report card, he would just look at me with this kind of disappointment and sadness in his eyes. But he didn't yell at me. He's like, "This is going to be your life." And he presented me this concept, and the concept was like this, pretty much said, you can take all of your success, the success that you want to achieve and you can spread it out throughout the rest of your life so that you'll be working a little bit, making a little bit of progress until you're 65.
And that's pretty much how everybody works. They go to their 9:00 to 5:00, they're weekend warriors, they have a barbecue and that's pretty much the majority of all my relatives, my many cousins, uncles and aunts. That's what they do. And he says, "There's another option for you. Take all the work that you're going to do from now to 65, instead of spreading it out, you compress it down to a few short years. You have to work harder than everyone else. You have to stay more focused. You have to be less distracted and you'll have less fun. But if you do that, you can achieve the level of success. And once you get to that level of success, the rest of your life becomes easy."
Now he said that to me as a 16, 17 year old kid, I'm like, "Yeah, dad, whatever. I'm going to have fun." So what did I do? I played video games all day and night. I would talk to my girlfriend at that time for hours at a time every night. Every day I would do the bare minimum that I needed to do to get an A in my class, never more, just enough to get an A. I didn't take any advanced placement classes. I didn't study for my SATs. I did not spend the proper amount of time writing an essay. So you know what happened? My dad was right. I applied to three universities, I got into zero of them. And so then I had to go to community college.
But once I started to realize that there was truth and wisdom in what my dad said, because my whole thing was my dad's from another world, another country, what does he know about America? What does he know about the education system? I'll show him. I didn't show him anything. I just showed him he was right. And I made a couple more mistakes before I learned the lesson, because in life, I think it's like the universe tells you to do something, you ignore it so it delivers you a little slap and then it tells you again, do something and you ignore it, and this time it's not a slap, it's a punch. And if you can feel the pain, you start to recognize, I do not want to feel this pain anymore.
So once I got into art school, I became super hyper focused and that's how I started to perform and that's how I got better at things. And for the first five years after getting out of school, I went on zero vacations. I worked like an animal, and true to my dad's prediction, I achieved success. So I'm only a couple of years out of school. I'm already doing millions of dollars in revenue. And so now I get to coast. But of course I don't coast. But that's the end of that story.
So Drigo, I feel like you and Mo, you're two long lost brothers, really, from another mother. When you start to achieve some level of success you're like, "Nah, I'm done. I'm going to go vacation. I'm going to go do different things." So I think you're subscribing to this plan of, I'll just work for the rest of my life doing just well enough not to panic, but never doing well enough that I could just do nothing. Does that sound about right to you?

Rodrigo:
Sounds like you're hitting the nail right there.

Chris:
So you like to have fun and it's okay if you want to have fun. I'm not your dad. I don't have to live with your decisions, but you just have to recognize one day you're like, "You know what, I'm not as young, I'm not as good looking, I'm not as physically able and I wish I made different decisions." And at this point I'm going to tell you that story that eats at your heart. I have a friend who by all accounts is a very successful artist. I don't want to say too much because I don't want you to know who he is. And when he made money and when he hit that moment, he didn't realize it was the peak of his career. He spent money foolishly, buying all kinds of things he didn't need, a fancy motorcycle, he wanted new furniture or whatever. He just spent the money thinking that golden faucet was going to continue to pour on his life. And when it stopped, he was not prepared because he didn't have any money.
So for the next couple of decades, he just works. He meets a woman. They fall in love. They have a kid. Unfortunately for him, he does not make enough money to have his own place. So you know what? He's still living at home and he's not a young man. And then before the pandemic, his wife's father became ill and she needed to fly home to see him before he would pass. And sadly they did not have the money to go. So her father passes and she doesn't arrive in time. She comes to bury her father and it broke him, it broke the relationship and it was such a tragic thing. And he told me, I feel less like a man because I could not even do this one thing for my wife. And he told me she blames me for it and I deserve it. So Drigo, do you want that to be your story one day?

Rodrigo:
I don't. I really don't.

Chris:
Are you taking action consistent with your desire or that's inconsistent with your desire?

Rodrigo:
I think I'm taking action that fulfills my desire, but I don't think I'm maximizing my actions.

Chris:
I mean, if you look at your trajectory in the last couple of years, do you think you are at the peak of your earning potential and the peak of your career as a creative person making TV commercials and videos? Are you at the early arc of it? Is there a lot of room to go up? Where do you see yourself right now?

Rodrigo:
I'm in quadrant four next to Mo.

Chris:
Okay. You're still on the ascent. Well, what's happening here is you haven't broken gravity yet and you're like, "I'm done." And we all know this, it takes a tremendous amount of energy for a rocket to break gravity of earth. But once you're in outer space, there's no air, the gravitational pull of the earth is much less and it requires almost no energy to keep moving forward. Actually, once you're in the dead of space, you fire your rocket, you turn it off, you travel at that speed forever until you hit something. But you guys are still at the launch pad taking off like, "We're done. Our energy is spent, let's turn around." That part confuses me.

Mo:
I want to say something about this. Is that okay?

Chris:
Do it.

Mo:
Okay. So me and Drigo talk a lot. And I realize, and Drigo correct me if I'm wrong, I think at the core of this, probably with the both of us, it's a stamina a game. So Chris I realize that at a certain point in the year, that's when Drigo gets flustered. Usually it's after a very long period of intense working with a client to where he's burnt out. And then he takes his, what I now call quarterly vacations. And then he comes back and he feels off-kilter. And it's this constant reset. So the question I want to pose and Drigo, if it's not the right question just cancel and keep going, how to maintain that stamina, how to maintain that focus to not lose sight of where you're going as the days and the work happens the day to day, the nuances of life? Drigo, your thoughts around that? And if that's the right question to ask with what y'all are talking about.

Rodrigo:
Me, it is. And it's hard. In the beginning years of being a solopreneur, entrepreneur as you're creating a team, I still have my hands into a lot of the things. And I do feel burned out at times with everything that I am doing. So I guess, Chris, how did you just keep going at your rate? Like you said yesterday, your 100% is not like me and Mo's 100%. So how do you stay at that focus and at the speed that you operate at?

Chris:
Okay, I'm going to say something to you and everybody, if you want to have a strong reaction tweet at me, come at me. Nidhi, I expect you to be listening with that heart-centered mind of yours to say, "Chris, let's pull that gear back one." I'm just going to lay it on you guys. Here we go. This is me climbing on top of the soapbox. Let me prepare myself here. So here's the thing that I've learned in my life, success is freaking addictive. When you start to hit it, you want more of it and you can't get enough of it and it's a freaking awesome feeling. And I'm just driven by the results that I see. And so every time I put in that extra effort, I see a little extra reward. And when I get that extra reward, I'm like, "Let me give a little more extra effort. Let me just keep doing this."
And maybe I'm built differently, maybe I'm like the David Goggins of design because I have stamina, baby. I'm going on the ultra marathon, the iron man. I'm going to go for it because it feels really freaking good. And it's funny because people say, well, that's dumb luck. Maybe it's dumb luck. I accept that there's a fair degree of luck, right time, right place, right people. You cross the street, somebody sees you, they're like, "Hey, we should work together." Yeah, that happens. But when luck keeps happening to you, coincidence keep happening to you, it's not a coincidence anymore. So let me enter into exhibit A, because we're in the court of public of the opinion here. It's like, when I'm at school and there are people who have greater talent and I just outwork them, I start to outperform them and I start to get better opportunities.
Okay. That's cool. I get out of school and then I work for a company. My first job as a professional creative person is I work in advertising. I get this job at Cole & Weber which is in Seattle. So I'm living in Seattle, still going to school. But I took a semester off. I'm here in Seattle, I'm working. And you know what? Just the nature of how I work during the day, people are talking to me, will go to lunch, there's an event. I can't focus and I'm not satisfied with whatever ideas I have. So you know what I do? I just ask my boss, how late can I stay? He says, "You can stay as late as you want." Very cool.
So I sat in my cubicle, this tiny little office next to the bathroom, no window, one door, two of us in a closet, quite literally in a closet. And I just work 10:00 PM, 2:00 AM, 4:00 AM and no one is there because everybody went home at 5:00. And I just do this again and again. And of course you could see it in the work because the work is better because I put in the effort and energy. I'm a 22 year old kid at this point so I have that kind of stamina. I had that young person exuberance. And after a little while, my boss, Kevin Jones recognizes the work that I do. So when I got this job, they paid me $40,000 a year, which at that time was pretty decent relative to my counterparts who were focused on design, probably making $25,000 a year. So I'm still doing pretty good. First thing out of the gate, it feels pretty good.
And within a few short months of working there, my boss, Kevin says, "What do you want to do when you're done with school?" I said, "I don't know, Kevin." He goes, "Do you want to work here? I'm like, "I'm not sure that advertising is for me." He goes, "I get it. But let me tell you, if you want to work here, I can pay you a lot more than what you're getting paid now." And I said, "Well, how much is that?" And he's like, "We can pay you $85,000 a year." And I was blown away because prior to this point in time, the only kind of jobs I had were paying me some low hourly freelance rate. And I'm not even months into this job and they've more than doubled my job offer. And I was like, "Oh wow. Okay. Let me think about it."
And Kevin's a great boss because he comes back to me, noticing that I did not bite on that offer. So he sweetens the offer. He says, "You know what? You can run your own design company within this agency and keep your own clients." I'm like, really? He goes, "Yeah, you could. As long as you give me three good days a week, I'm good." And I was really confused. First of all I'm like this young person in this agency fish out of water, because everybody there is an advertising professional and I'm a graphic designer. And so I ask him, "Kevin, why would you want to pay me this and give me this kind of freedom?" He goes, "You know what? I'm going to be honest with you. I don't even care if you actually do any work, but you work so hard. You've set the bar so far that everyone else here who goes home at 5:00, you put them on notice. You make them feel bad because if your passion and your hard work." And you know what, that made me smile. I'm like, "Wow, somebody recognizes this."
And you know what's crazy, even though I was a salaried employee, I still had to fill out time sheets. And I would fill up, I came in at 10:00 AM. I left at 2:00 in the morning. And so some of my hours during the week were ridiculously high and their policy was, they paid me for overtime. And so I got a call up to the fourth floor. Creatives were on the third floor, account and management were on the fourth floor. Dolly, the controller calls me up to the fourth floor. I'm like, "Shoot, what's going on?" She calls me in. She goes, "Chris, I looked at your hours. These are crazy hours." And she goes, "Did anybody approve this?" I'm like, "No. I wasn't actually expecting to get paid more. This is just what I do."
She calls Kevin up to the fourth floor. Kevin comes in and he's like, "What's going on?" And Dolly's like, "Kevin, have you seen Chris' hours?" He goes, "No, what's the problem?" She goes, "They are a lot of hours." He goes, "As long as there are not more hours that you can work in a week, whatever number he puts down is fine by me." He signs off on it. Again, I'm just blown away.
So the story of my life is you work hard. You do better in school. You work hard when you're in work, people reward you. I'm not saying this is everyone's story, it's just my story. Of course, this is what I experienced and so this is what I reflect on. And this continues for the rest of my life. I can tell you more and more stories about how hard work equals results. And if you work hard with talent and passion and you're smart, the results will shock you. And I'm always sitting back, scratching my head with Mo, with you and other people, you have talent, you have passion, why won't you just focus a little bit more on what it is that you want? Why is it that your endurance is so relatively short? That part confuses me. Turn it back over to you, Drigo.

Rodrigo:
I guess it's because I'm too busy multitasking. It's hard to find focus when you're trying to do 500 other things.

Chris:
Maybe you're the smart one. I leave that open because you're young, you're still single, you get to travel the world, you get to enjoy your life while you're still able bodied, while you have all that youthful exuberance, energy and stamina. And when you're old you're like, "I had a better plan than Chris." But I got to tell you something, it is so neat when my wife and I, when we ever have a problem surrounding money, I just turn to her. I say, "Let's not stress out over this. It's just money and we have it, just spend it."
I'll give you two examples. I'm in London with my two boys. First of all, that's a privilege in itself. I'm there because I'm doing public speaking that I'm getting paid for, and I run a workshop which I'm getting paid for. And I leave it to my boys to arrange transportation from our hotel in London, to the airport and they're new to travel. And so you know what we did, we jumped on trains. We went the wrong direction. Ultimately we missed our flight. And my oldest boy, I think he was 16 at that time, he was really stressed out. It looked like he wanted to cry because the person at the airport was telling us, you can't catch this flight. They're closing the gate now. And he felt a tremendous amount of guilt because he was the responsible one to plan our transportation and we missed it.
Now in my mind, I didn't care because you know why, I didn't have to be anywhere because I don't report to anyone. I don't have a job. And if it means taking the train or cab back to a fancy hotel and booking it and staying another night, it didn't matter to me. I didn't let on because I wanted him to feel that heat, the consequences of making poor decisions. Ultimately another flight attendant looked at us, had pity on our soul and said, "How can I help you?" He got us on a different flight. And I could tell, my son let out a giant sigh of relief. But in the back of my mind, it didn't even matter. I texted my wife, I said, I think we missed our flight. We might not be coming home tonight. FYI, don't worry. That's story number one.
Story number two. My wife is remodeling our master bathroom, and if you see it, it's like a hotel and she was so stressed out, honey, what if I picked the wrong tile? What if the finish on the faucet isn't the right... Is it supposed to be satin nickel or is it polished nickel or is it stainless steel? What is it? You know what, I could tell she was stressed out. She wanted help in that decision. And I told her, "I'm not going to make this decision for you. You know the scheme, this is your project, you get to make the decision." Then she goes, "I need help and you're not being helpful to me at all." I said, "I am going to be very helpful to you. Don't stress, make your best guess. If it doesn't work out, just pay them to rip it all out and replace it. It's only money."
I tell you that story because if you put in the work up front and you hit the levels of success, the success begets more success. People love working with winners. When you do that job with Adidas, Nike will call you. And when Nike calls you, Puma calls you. This is how it works. But if you don't get to that level, no one cares. Now I brought up Neil because Neil had raised his hand to join us on the stage. And I believe this is the Neil we all know and love. Neil is that you?

Neil:
That's me, man.

Chris:
How you doing buddy? Haven't talked to you in a while.

Neil:
Yeah, I'm great. I just randomly saw this and it's a great topic because I've just recently worked with Mo and Drigo on a couple different projects, so I just thought I could contribute a little bit here.

Chris:
Wonderful. Is there something you wanted to say specifically or do you want to chime in a little bit later?

Neil:
Yeah. It's something specific for both these guys, because I worked with both of them on a project recently and Mo's working with me a little bit more. And I think it was a cool experience because it was a high revenue event, a high ticket product that I was doing and I needed their help and they came through and we had a lot of fun doing it. And when we were doing it, I think we had a combined... in about 48 hours of work, we combined maybe slept four hours. We were just having fun. And it was just crazy because you brought up the fact that winning gives you this energy and collaboration does too.
And I thought, these guys are so talented, both of them and they're selling... I feel like you guys are selling yourselves short. You have so much to offer people, not just the product. I feel like you guys are stuck in this commoditized product. You're selling the product when should be selling more of your IP and your services. And I just feel like if you could figure out a way to scale, that's the one thing. I feel like years go by and you're still selling the same product to the same people and you have relatively the same number of people working on your team. So everybody has this goal to quadruple or triple their revenue, but yet you have the same product you're selling and the same number of people on your team. So when you guys say that, we're just joking. How is that going to happen if you're not going to sell way more products? And in order to sell, how are you going to fulfill those products?
You know what I mean? You have to have a scalable product. And I think that's the conversation. Not so much, I'm torn between this or that. I think Drigo, dude, everybody you worked with at my event loved working with you. Same thing with Mo. There's so much more you could be offering people, and that winning will give you the energy to put in an insane amount of work. You feel like right now you get scatterbrained and you get burnt out. You don't get burnt out when you're winning and when your revenue's going up that. You have endless energy and that is going to build momentum and then you're going to hire more people and you're going to offer more products and you're going to build this product. You're going to do so much if you could just get into that pocket of momentum. So that's what I wanted to tell you guys.

Chris:
Thank you, Neil.

Greg Gunn:
Thanks for joining us this time. If you haven't already, subscribe to our show on your favorite podcasting app and get a new insightful episode from us every week. The Futur Podcast is hosted by Chris Do and produced by me, Greg Gunn. Thank you to Anthony Barrow for editing and mixing this episode and thank you to Adam Sandborn for our intro music.
If you enjoy this episode, then do us a favor by reading and reviewing our show on Apple Podcasts. It'll help us grow the show and make future episodes that much better. Have a question for Chris or me, head over to the futur.com/heychris, and ask away. We read every submission and we just might answer yours in a later episode. If you'd like to support the show and invest in yourself while you're at it, visit the futur.com. You'll find video courses, digital products, and a bunch of helpful resources about design and creative business. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

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