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Anthony Banks

In this episode, we talk with illustrator, graphic designer, and Futur Pro Group member, Anthony Banks who—at the time this was recorded in 2018—was considering a big career move.

Golden Handcuffs
Golden Handcuffs

Golden Handcuffs

Ep
148
Sep
01
With
Anthony Banks
Or Listen On:

Are you riding a slow boat to nowhere?

Are you familiar with the term “golden handcuffs”? It’s a phrase that refers to financial incentives given to employees to make them stick around. Because when you have everything you need, why would you ever want to leave?

In this episode, we talk with illustrator, graphic designer, and Futur Pro Group member, Anthony Banks who—at the time this was recorded in 2018—was considering a big career move.

But he is conflicted. His job is stable. It pays well. All of which is good for his family.

For all intents and purposes, Anthony is doing  just fine.

But is fine enough? Or, without any room to grow in his current position, is he riding a slow boat to nowhere?

The conversation you’re about to hear is from 2018. The world feels like a different place now, but our the dilemma remains the same: are golden handcuffs worth it?

We do the math and find out.

Hosted By
special guest
produced by
edited by
music by
Appearances

Episode Transcript

Anthony:
I see in-house and predictability in that slow boat to, I don't know, nowhere or retirements ahead of me and I know that my family will be taken care of and going out on my own, which is my dream and my goal and where I think we have the most potential to do better. There's a lot of uncertainty there. I guess what I'm really challenged with is introducing uncertainty into the lives of my family for what feels like my own professional gain.

Greg:
Welcome to the Futur Podcast, a show that explores the interesting overlap between design, marketing and business. I'm Greg Gunn. Are you familiar with the term golden handcuffs? It's a phrase that refers to financial incentives given to employees to make them stick around because when you have everything you need, why would you ever want to leave?
In this episode, we talk with someone who has been wearing their golden handcuffs for a while and is thinking about making a big career move but he's conflicted. His job is stable. It pays well. That's good for his family. For all intents and purposes, he's doing just fine but is fine enough or without any room to grow in his current position, is he just riding a slow boat to nowhere?
The conversation you're about to hear is from 2018. Now, the world feels like a very different place but our guest's dilemma remains the same. Are golden handcuffs worth it? Well, let's do the math and find out. Please enjoy our conversation with illustrator, graphic designer and Futur Pro Group member, Anthony Banks.

Chris:
Let's just jump right into it. Before I forget, for people who don't know who you are, can you just introduce yourself really quickly?

Anthony:
Sure. Hi, I'm Anthony Banks. I am an illustrator and graphic designer in Nebraska. I have a beautiful wife, two amazing kids.

Chris:
How old are they?

Anthony:
They are 5 and 9, oops 5 and 10, 5 and 10...

Chris:
Five and 10?

Anthony:
Just recently.

Chris:
Boy and girl?

Anthony:
Two boys, two boys.

Chris:
Two boys?

Anthony:
Yeah.

Chris:
Okay, woo. I know what that's like. Why don't we just do this? Why don't we just jump into what's on your mind today?

Anthony:
All right, so how about this? I've been in and out of the outhouse or the in-house as a graphic designer for a long time. As I got married and as we started having kids, being in-house just became very attractive. There's consistency and the demands on your time between 9:00 and 5:00, it's pretty predictable, which makes it really easy to have a good relationship at home and to raise kids and do all these things but I aspire to more.
I want to run my own business. I want to go out on my own. Where I'm running into a conflict in my head is I see in-house and predictability and that slow boat to, I don't know, nowhere or retirements ahead of me, and I know that like my family will be taken care of, or at least that's my perception and going out on my own, which is my dream and my goal and where I think we have the most potential to do better and for me, career wise, to do better. There's a lot of uncertainty there.
I guess what I'm really challenged with is introducing uncertainty into the lives of my family, for what feels like my own professional gain, even though I can still see intellectually that at the end of that tunnel, I believe in myself, and I think we'll get to where I think we can be, but how much am I going to disrupt their lives to get there? Am I willing to do that?

Chris:
Okay, when you say you have an in-house job, you mean you're like, you're on staff, you have a payroll, right? I mean, you're on payroll. You have insurance and all that kind of stuff?

Anthony:
All that stuff. Yeah.

Chris:
Yeah.

Anthony:
All the trappings of an in-house position.

Chris:
Like timesheets and all that stuff?

Anthony:
Fortunately, no. I'm salary.

Chris:
Okay, good. Well, even salaried employees do timesheets because they need to know how to build the clients and that kind of stuff or track you for accountability. That's good. You don't have to do timesheets?

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
Excellent. Okay. You're working a staff job and you're thinking, okay, is this just me slowly dying and I'm getting paid and there's comfort and security in knowing that there's a regular paycheck and I'm just stressed over finding work all the time but then there's no real fast way to get ahead, right?

Anthony:
Yeah, I mean, there's always move out to move up. That's kind of what we do in our industry, but then you just end up at another job, kind of just biting your time until you think you're ready for a promotion or a pay raise or something, and then you just move somewhere else. It's just like a slow, predictable path. It's not very appealing when I think ahead, like 10, 20 years.

Chris:
Yeah. How long have you had this job?

Anthony:
I've been at this job of about three and a half years, which is about the average stint that I'll be at any one place.

Chris:
I see. You're coming up on that, and you're getting the itching?

Anthony:
Oh, yeah. Again? Okay.

Chris:
Well, let me ask you a couple other questions, are there a lot of job opportunities in Nebraska?

Anthony:
There are. I live in the capital, which is Lincoln and I work in the biggest city, which is Omaha. That's where Berkshire Hathaway is based out of. There's a lot of industry here. There's a lot more design and advertising and things like that than I would have ever imagined when I first moved here. I'm originally from Southern California. You have this perception of the Midwest, it's just farms and cows and all that kind of stuff. I've been shocked at how much design there is here.

Chris:
Okay, so there's plenty... Is there a healthy job market for a person with creative services or creative skills, right?

Anthony:
Oh, absolutely.

Chris:
Okay. All right. Do you feel that you have to stay for a certain reason?

Anthony:
That I need to stay in my position?

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Anthony:
I don't feel any compulsion to stay. I can say, in all honesty, that this has been the best job company culture that I've experienced in gosh, like, what, 20 years I've been now doing this stuff. I mean, it's rare. It's the idea of leaving it for really anything else, especially another company. That's kind of not appealing, because I know what the alternative could be like, and that this is rare. There's that part of it that's teetering me there. I mean, they pay me well. I have great perks. It's that the golden handcuffs a little bit.

Chris:
What was your motivation to quit and find another job be? Would there be one?

Anthony:
Right now, I'm kind of at the top of what I can do there. When I first came on, we were going through a rebrand. It was really guiding the company through the rebrand and all their visual assets and helping them develop more because it's in a niche industry where there's not a lot of stock assets. You kind of have to go out and produce all of your own stuff.
It's been like three years of building up their catalogue, helping them establish their style. We've done a lot of great work and addressed a lot of the things that were missing when I first got there, and now I feel that we're plateauing in terms of their need. Maybe that's where the edge is coming from too, the challenge is gone a little bit. I like to be challenged. I would probably leave where I'm thinking about leaving because I need that next challenge.

Chris:
Let me just tell you what I heard, you have a full time job, great company culture, they take good care of you, it's predictable hours, and you're already at the highest position that you can be there. They pay you well. You're kind of feeling unsettled and you want something different, right?

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
Okay. You sound like a lot of creatives I know. I was like, what's on the other side of that fence? I wonder. I wonder.

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
Sometimes that can lead you down a really dark path. Now, is it soul sucking work for you to go into the office?

Anthony:
No. I wouldn't say it's soul sucking at all. I would say that those projects that are challenging and that really spark the fire in me that they're getting fewer and farther between.

Chris:
I think sometimes we're fortunate to work at a place where that fire, that spark, the constant need for change and growth and learning is there. In most jobs, though, people are looking for that predictability and that slow growth and just growing into a position and not having to stretch too much. You may be the odd individual that is looking to do something weird all the time, because that's scary for a lot of people because they don't know, what's going on now? Is there job security while be replaced? Can I learn these skills? I'm getting too old, et cetera.
I think that expecting the company that you work for to provide all these things to you, may be unrealistic, that you're going to trade one situation for another and the other might be worse than the one that you have now. I don't know. I think that's part of your question but let me ask you this question then, why is it that you don't find your own fulfillment in the time that you have off of work versus the time that you're in work?

Anthony:
Well, I do to a large extent. I moonlight. I've been taking on freelance work for probably 10 years now, consistently. That's the thing that probably keeps me in any one place as long as I am just because I am able to satisfy my curiosity and to push myself and to go into different segments or to try different techniques, or just honestly to develop my business to business, interpersonal skills, and all the things that aren't just design. I find that just really satisfying.

Chris:
Okay, could it do you see in your future that you could have a stable job, so that you can provide for your wife and two boys and do some freelance work on the side that pays you in bigger chunks for less time and those projects can also be very challenging for you on a creative level? Could that work for you? Is that the combination? Are you looking to say, you know what, is it time for me to go full business and just stop working staff somewhere?

Anthony:
That's a really good question because I know that occasionally I'll fall into the trap of all or nothing. It's either all the way this way or all the way that way but finding that middle ground, it's not the first place where my mind goes. Yeah, that's a really interesting idea to find something that satisfies my needs and the needs of my family, but also build something on the side that is more substantial and that does challenge me more but without sacrificing that little bit of consistency.

Chris:
Okay, okay. I know what we need to do. I want you to now to ask me a question. I have plenty of context now.

Anthony:
Okay. Any question in particular?

Chris:
No, what are you thinking about now, based on the things that we just talked about?

Anthony:
Okay.

Chris:
Because I need a jumping [inaudible 00:13:02], right?

Anthony:
Yeah. Sure, sure.

Chris:
Because that's where the story is going to begin.

Anthony:
Yeah. All right. Part of my challenge is, is that I have a full time position. I freelance on the side. I find a lot of fulfillment there but it's also very time consuming, but I also have a family and I want to be part of their life. How do I balance these three things that are all demanding a lot of my time and attention that I honestly want to spend a lot of time doing when I feel like I have to sacrifice some of one to benefit another?

Chris:
Right and the decision is still unclear to you right now, in terms of like, what do you give up for what you want to get, right?

Anthony:
Right.

Chris:
Okay, I have this theory. I go this theory and I've been thinking about this that in a way, we are all the same no matter what sex, race, or how much money you have or where you live in the world, and that we all have the same amount of currency. The currency is time. We have 24 hours every single day to work towards our dreams. Some of us give away that currency to things that don't really matter and amount to much. Those are usually the easiest things to give up.
Once we have an accounting of how we spend our time, that we can say, look, those things are not productive. They're not helping me to grow. They're not moving me towards my career or strengthening my relationships. I need to get rid of those. Probably, what we need to do is sit down and look at how you're spending your time every single day.
Now, on the other side is what do you want to buy with your time? I think you shared with me before that you don't want to do what happened to you and your brother, I think or sister?

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
Is it brother?

Anthony:
My brother, uh-huh (affirmative).

Chris:
You and your brother were left by your parents. You have that feeling of abandonment. Now, as a responsible parent, you never want to do anything remotely close to that, right? You may have overcorrected it. I don't know but I suspect that you might and a lot of people do, do that.

Anthony:
Mm hmm (affirmative). That's right.

Chris:
Right? You feel out of your moral compass tells you, you have to be there for your wife and kids and that anything other than that is some form of abandonment. Then, you also have to think about your role as a provider for your family. Does your wife work?

Anthony:
Yes, she does.

Chris:
What does she do?

Anthony:
She is an accountant.

Chris:
Oh, fantastic. Okay. Does she work from home or does she work at an office somewhere?

Anthony:
Well, fortunately, she gets to work from home four days a week. She only has to go into the office one.

Chris:
Even better.

Anthony:
Yeah.

Chris:
Okay, this is exciting for me already but does she help you with your books?

Anthony:
Yes. Yeah. Just recently, I started reaching out to her because I needed help and who better than an accountant to do all that stuff.

Chris:
Right. Is she okay doing it?

Anthony:
Yes. No, she's really been looking for ways to help me and up until now...

Chris:
Fantastic.

Anthony:
... yeah, I've been really struggling to figure out what I could handle.

Chris:
Okay. I see. Okay, this is fantastic because some people can work together with their spouse and some people cannot. I personally find it to be very challenging but you guys have complementary skillsets. You're not stepping over each other or on each other's toes...

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
... which is fantastic. Okay, this is good. This is very good. All right. Now, I think you might have it in you, but I'm not sure, this risk tolerance part. We've kind of tiptoed around it a little bit, in that entrepreneurs need to be very risk tolerant. We need to be able to make bold moves, make calculated risks, and realize to get what we want, we have to give up a lot of stuff. It's going to require that because otherwise everybody would run a business and everybody would be their own boss.
Okay, how do I help you? What are you spending most of your time doing or thinking about that you say, "Well, if I do that, then this is what it's going to cost me." Help me understand a little bit of the psychology of what's going on in your head.

Anthony:
Okay, well, I think I've shared with you before that I want to have it all. That's my goal, right?

Chris:
Of course.

Anthony:
I want to be able to provide for my family. I want to be healthy. My health is really important to me. That's getting enough sleep, eating right, physical activity, spending quality time with my family, so that I'm a part of their lives, a meaningful part of their lives. Right now, I feel like and maybe that's just because I'm not looking at it too closely, I feel like I'm being fairly efficient with my time. I'm cutting out a lot of things that I shouldn't be doing, which is not to say that I don't indulge every once in a while, but it does feel more like a treat than a habit when I do that.

Chris:
Okay. When you say provide for your family, what does that mean?

Anthony:
Well, let's see. There's the basics, right? There's shelter, food, and all that, insurance, make sure to take care of them when they're not well, when they need clothes, where they get clothes.

Chris:
Okay, if we boil that down, it comes down to money, right?

Anthony:
Essentially, yeah. Yeah.

Chris:
It's like a cheque or cash solves all those problems.

Anthony:
It does. It does.

Chris:
Okay. When I asked, I should have been more specific. How much money do you need to make in order to feel like, "Yes, I'm going to be good provider for my family?"

Anthony:
Just like a [inaudible 00:18:49] number or annual number or something like that?

Chris:
Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Anthony:
We'll say 100k.

Chris:
Okay. Is there a certain point where you can make enough money where you can say to your wife, "You don't need to work anymore?"

Anthony:
That would be around 150.

Chris:
Okay. Is that something that you guys entertain?

Anthony:
Yes. Actually, my wife would love to spend more time at home with the boys.

Chris:
Okay, that automatically sounds like you're solving two problems with one stone: make more money, your wife doesn't have to work, so she has a healthier mindset and all that kind of stuff and she can actually spend more time with the boys, which is taking care of two of the three problems now or two of the three obligations, right?

Anthony:
Yep.

Chris:
Okay, your goal should be in theory then to make at least $150,000 a year.

Anthony:
That sounds like a good goal to me.

Chris:
Yeah. Now, doing creative work that you do, does that sound like it's attainable for you?

Anthony:
Not at the rate that I'm charging or the amount of time that I have been able to devote to it with my side projects.

Chris:
Okay, if we were to do the thing that we would do inside the pro group, we would take your 115 divided by 10, right?

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
That would give us $15,000 a month is what you need to make.

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
What's the average size job that you do as a freelancer or an independent business owner?

Anthony:
On average, it's around 2,000.

Chris:
Okay, on an average job of 2,000, it's going to take you eight jobs to make that per month.

Anthony:
Yikes.

Chris:
That sounds like a lot.

Anthony:
It is.

Chris:
What's the reasonable number of jobs that you can do in a month, if that's all you're doing?

Anthony:
Three to four.

Chris:
Okay. I like three, few jobs, the more attention you can give each one, the better job you'll do, the less stress you'll be. That means that you need to do three jobs at 5K, okay?

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
Just doing basic math here.

Anthony:
Right.

Chris:
What kind of work within the realm of things that you can do would pay you $5,000 per job?

Anthony:
Like a fairly large illustration project. That could be illustrating a book or illustrating a mural.

Chris:
Okay. Illustrating a book sounds like a lot of work.

Anthony:
It is, yeah. That would probably closer to like one thing that I could do in a month.

Chris:
Right. You'd have to charge 15K to do that?

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
Because how many illustrations would be in a book?

Anthony:
It depends. Usually, well, sometimes it's like however many chapters there are, there's an illustration and probably a cover, between 15 and 20?

Chris:
Yeah, that sounds about right to me. In essence, then, you're doing each illustration for 1000 bucks? No, not 1000, less than that. What are we talking about? Four 5K, that would be a third of that, like $300? No, what's wrong with me? 300, 300 because 300 times 20 is 6,000, that would get you to your 5K a month.

Anthony:
Right.

Chris:
You could do it if you charge like that.

Anthony:
That's a lot of work...

Chris:
It is a lot of work.

Anthony:
... and not a lot of money.

Chris:
You are right. Then, your rate per illustration for a book can be 300 then?

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
What do you normally charge for something like that?

Anthony:
About 300.

Chris:
Oh, okay. We've come to a realization of something here then. If you do involve me, you can do it but here's one of the problems with what you do is that when somebody hires me to do graphic design work, I can hire anybody to do the work but when somebody hires you to do illustration work, it kind of almost has to be you.

Anthony:
Yup.

Chris:
You can have assistance to layout work, cleanup work or coloring and stuff, like production work, but for the most part, it has to be driven by you. A lot of what you do, can't be delegated to somebody else, Americanizing a small challenge there. Okay, the same thing with murals and other kinds of illustrations, right?

Anthony:
Sure.

Chris:
Is that typically what you do is illustration work?

Anthony:
I get a lot of design work but the work that I try to draw, I try to get in more has like an illustrative component to it. The more illustration work that I put out there or design work I do that has a strong illustration component, the more I'm been approached for illustration-type work. I'm really trying to move in that direction.

Chris:
I see.

Anthony:
Yeah. Wean myself off of a lot of design.

Chris:
Okay. Okay. Very interesting. All right. The way I'm looking it at like this is because you have access to clients all over the country and in the world, and I assume it's lower cost of living in Nebraska, it must be, right?

Anthony:
Oh, yeah.

Chris:
Okay. Just the other day, somebody reached out to me on Facebook and said, "Hey, I got an identity system for a startup." I was thinking, there's no way when I do this because I don't have any money. I'll always caution people, like don't work with startups because they're broke. I just told this person, "Well, I can do your ID work, but my prices start at $100,000." Thinking, okay, that's enough to get rid of somebody. She responds back, "Can you send me a proposal?" I just confirmed with her again and I said, "You have $100,000 to spend?" She said, "Yes." I said, "Well, I don't do proposals." I'm trying to get rid of her. I said, "I'll talk to you first and then we'll see how it goes and see if we're a good fit for each other." She goes, "Fantastic. When can we talk?" She's hot to trot. We're ready to go.
If I look at your goal here of getting to $150,000, you could do this one identity system and that's really all it is and be two thirds of the way there. I think what we need to do is we need to start reframing the kinds of services you sell and how you see yourself so that you're in that mental space of attracting these kinds of jobs. I can draw but I can't draw like you. I'm not putting myself out ever as an illustrator.
When you say you're trying to wean yourself off of graphic design, I don't know if that's necessarily a good nor strategic move. I know why you're doing it, because you want to be this hybrid person, right? But my whole thing is, I just want to solve big problems. That's what I think about. You can think about it literally, figuratively, whatever because big problems means there's money behind it. If I'm going to exchange my time and attention for something, I'd rather exchange it for something big versus something small.

Anthony:
Sure.

Chris:
I'm always looking for a big problem to solve. Now, since you're both a graphic designer and an illustrator, you have more tools in your palette, if you will or your toolbox, that you can go and solve a big problem. What has been the fundamental challenge for you to find higher paint work?

Anthony:
Well, up until recently, like a lot of people, the bulk of my work has been referral. The people that I've been working for at a certain price point, find other people that are kind of like in their price range and then refer them to me. I'm in a bit of a vicious cycle.

Chris:
Okay, one of your own design.

Anthony:
Yes.

Chris:
Okay. The problem with referrals is it's completely passive. That means you're not actively taking control of your destiny and that's one of the traits of an entrepreneur. You want to write how your story begins and ends, right?

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
You've been part of the program for some time now. What's been holding you back on working on your inbound marketing, your content marketing and getting your name out there? What's been that challenge?

Anthony:
Well, it's interesting you should ask. At the beginning of the year, we all have an exercise to map out the year and our goals and what we're going to do for that. One of my first goals for Q1 was to do my own branding, to find my positioning, and then off of that, to create content to support that. Honestly, I got stuck at positioning because at that time, I wasn't sure how I was going to differentiate myself. Anything that I could think of sounded like it was something that like 100 other people were doing.
It then made it difficult to move on to those next steps because if I didn't know what my position was, then what kind of content could I even produce and it's only recently, probably within the last couple months, that I have discovered what my niche to be and how I want to position myself. Now, it's almost like the clouds have cleared and I can see everything and now, I have direction. It's just been taking me that long to figure out what I would even do as far as creating products or inbound marketing materials or anything like that.

Chris:
Okay. There's a bunch of things I want to ask you about this. Just kind of keeping it super conversational, right? What is it that you see yourself doing? Then, how did that happen for you?

Anthony:
There's this thing I do and you've seen it, it's the like the visual note taking thing where I, because I learn a lot. I picked up this technique where I translate the things that I read or I hear into these one page, visual stories that break down the big points of what I need to take away because it helps me remember, it's easy to reference later on. It's super easy to share visually on things like Instagram but I'd never knew how to market it. It was like super niche and narrow. It was more like a hobby than anything.
But as I started to talk to people and people became aware of it, they would come to me with ideas of like, "Wow, that would be really great if you applied it for this or like for this type of illustration or for that kind of advertisement or for this kind of product. It really took other people telling me how it could be used for me to see its potential.

Chris:
That's the problem that most creatives have. We have all these skills and interest and we apply them to a whole bunch of different things because we're so close to it, that we just don't know if it's even special or worthwhile. Then, somebody from the outside can clearly see, "Well, hey, you do something that only a few people do. Maybe you should consider doing more of that." Then, you go down your path.
Some of us arrive it through just standing in the metaphorical forest by ourselves and closing your eyes, and then kind of figuring it out. Some of us need a little help from a kind stranger to say, "Hey, try that thing, man. That's pretty cool." Okay, so you found your thing now, you think?

Anthony:
Yes, yes.

Chris:
Okay. Well, I think your problem or your challenge is relatively easy to solve. There's something inside of you that still hasn't figured it out because me from the outside, I'm like, "Dude, just do X, Y, and Z, and you're done." This could be a three-minute conversation as far as I'm concerned. It really has because I can connect the dots really fast, right?

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Greg:
I'm thinking, what is it that's inside of you that is holding you back from thinking those thoughts because you're a smart guy. Is there something deeper here that we have to kind of surface and overcome or no?

Anthony:
I guess there's just some part of me that had a hard time seeing what I was doing is as special. It wasn't until one person told me and then two people and then three, and then just again and again and again, just people telling me like, "You should do that. That's amazing. I want to see more of that before it started to dawn on me that maybe I was doing something special.

Greg:
Time for a quick break but we'll be right back with more from Anthony. Welcome back to our conversation with Anthony Banks.

Chris:
Okay, you said a couple of things that are really interesting to me. I don't want to get into armchair psychotherapists here. We'll try to avoid that for a second here.

Anthony:
Sure.

Chris:
Let's see, because it keeps popping up. Here's what I'm thinking, you like to learn. If I'm you and I'm going to get into a prescriptive place right now, okay, here's what I would do with my skills. I would make videos. I would voice over the videos. I would draw on those whiteboards and do stop motion animation or something that looks like it. What I would do is I will explain complex concepts, or novel ideas to people.
We begin something like this, you have an overhead shot of a whiteboard and a dry erase marker and it's white. You say, "Hi, my name is Anthony Banks. I'm a graphic designer and illustrator, living out of Nebraska. I help to make the complex understandable." That's your intro. When you say that, you're sketching out your name, "I'm Anthony Banks," whatever and a lot of what I do people consider or call it sketch note taking, something like that. Then, you're going to say maybe to camera now, "On today's episode, I want to talk about how to make the perfect souffle," or whatever. I don't know what that is. Then, as you talk, we just see your hands drawing things and then erase things. Then, the image comes to life.
There's a company that does this in the UK. I forget what they're called, but they do an amazing job at this. We've actually done things like this for commercials. That what, there's dry erase board animation style. We faked it. What we did is we shot a hand holding a marker at odd positions and then took a bunch of photos, right?

Anthony:
Yeah.

Chris:
like it's wiggling around drawing and things like that. Then, we gave that to an animator and then we had somebody else draw a bunch of illustrations kind of on whiteboard. Then, the animator went in and erased the illustration and put the hand on top of it, wiggled it around so that it looked like it was stop motion animation and just using a series of mass to do that. That job was over $100,000...

Anthony:
Whoa!

Chris:
... for a 30-second video. Okay?

Anthony:
Yeah.

Chris:
In my world, I just think of possibilities and what we can do. In doing this, you have a great hobby, you're honing your skill, you're producing content to help other people learn, you're also branding yourself, you're doing content marketing and you're creating a market for yourself. That's the hybrid. Like I said, I think I could solve your problems in three minutes and I think that was about three minutes [inaudible 00:35:10].
What you would do is you'd create 5, 10 of these videos, and nothing would happen but as you know, kind of being in Nebraska, it's like you plant the seed, you till the soil, you water, all that kind of stuff and eventually, you have this crop and then you can reap the harvest but that's really what I think you should be doing. That same format could be used for a lot of different things. You could do this as a mural or just use a bunch of permanent markers and draw on the wall and then film that as stop motion animation.
Then, you would shoot that at really high resolution, like say 8K still photos and then you can crop into it. You can pan around so that everyone's while you go through the wide shot, you cut it, and you can find like a delightful musical track, and just explain things. It would require you to sit down and write.
I've said this many times before and then most recently in a live stream where I say, wealth is your ability to convert knowledge and information, or knowledge and experience into capital and equity. When you only draw, you're only converting a small part of you, a small piece of your knowledge. When you do a podcast, you're only converting a small part. When you're reading and learning, a small part, when you're taking sketch notes, that's a small part.
What you need to do is bring all those things together because if I'm going to trade something that I have, I'd like to trade all of it so that I get a bigger reward. You have the production experience. You have the equipment. you have the knowledge to do this and you have this skill. You have all the necessary ingredients to make an amazing souffle but if you're making pancakes from a premixed batter, you're obviously leaving a lot of skills behind.

Anthony:
Sure.

Chris:
Maybe that's something that you might consider doing. Does that sound appealing to you?

Anthony:
That sounds great.

Chris:
Because this could open the door for a lot of other things like, "Oh my God, we want you to make a video art." Fantastic. It's $100,000, 60,000. It doesn't even matter what the number is because all we know is we just need to make 5K a month so that your wife doesn't have to work so that you can be a good provider and chances are you can do this from home or from anywhere and spend more time with your family to boot. If you had a $15,000 a month, you could chill for two months, and not even sweat it.

Anthony:
That sounds pretty great.

Chris:
You need to become known to the world for doing something. This ain't a bad thing to do. Later on, people are seeking you out to do this at conferences live, which would be fun. I think you and I talked about this before, right?

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
People do this. I don't think those people get paid a lot of money because they're not that good but if you did it for TED, I think you would be paid really well. Could you see that? Because you love to learn, right?

Anthony:
I do.

Chris:
Imagine if they invited you as a paid artist to attend TED talks, like not TEDx but Ted Talks, because they're kind of expensive. Not only do you get to do your craft, you get to expose yourself to people who can afford their craft and you get to learn while you were getting paid. I think what we need to do is we need to just be a lot clear with our goals and where we want to be in life, and not to be complacent with the cards we were handed in life. You got some work. More work begets the same kind of work and that's how this thing works but instead of saying it's a vicious cycle, and it's true, we have to take ownership like, "Well, what is my role in that? Well, I haven't done much, so I shouldn't expect more." Right?

Anthony:
Absolutely.

Chris:
I believe you can do all these things. Even for right now, as you have a full time job, just keep doing that. It's fine. You have all this time on the weekend. You have all this time after hours. You just got to get clarity and focus. You got to turn away some of these low paying jobs and start doing this and you have to say to your family, to your two boys, "Boys, dad's going to work on something for a little bit. I need your support. Here's the goal. We all bought in." "Yes, dad. We support you." It is a team effort.
I'll give you an example. My wife does not work. Luckily, she retired about two years after we started the company. I have two boys, 14 and 12, so a little bit older than yours. They know. Right now, I'm doing this podcast with you. They know to stay away from this room. They know not to bust in here with any kind of trivial things that can't wait. Then, my wife is probably busy downstairs preparing whatever she needs to prepare. As soon as I'm done with the podcast, I have a hot meal to eat. I'm ready to go." We're all working together. It's not that the kids can only be kids and dad has to be dad and mom has to be mom.
I look it like this and I've given people this advice before is that we have to kind of align around the person who's going to be the most likely to achieve what the family needs. If you're going to be the provider and your wife agrees, and she wants to do that, and she wants to support you in your endeavor, so that you can then, in turn, support the family, then we need to start to align that and the kids can also see like, wow, okay. They're mature enough now. They can understand that. Dad needs to do this so mom doesn't have to work. Mom can spend more time with us. Then, dad could be more with us.
You have to give up something temporarily in the short term to have a much bigger gain in the long term. You have to. It's the story of the ants, right? The ant versus the grasshopper. During the summer, the grasshopper runs around and nibbles here, and plays and sing songs, the ant is busy doing what? Preparing for winter, always preparing for winter. The ant has some very virtuous characteristics, always preparing. When winter comes, the grasshopper dies, is hungry, is starving, is cold. The ant is eating, spending time with its family knowing that it has done the work. It sacrificed the playing, the singing, the running around for the preparation for winter. That's a mindset change.
Jim Rohn talks about this in his book the Seven Principles for Wealth and Happiness. He said that as we moved away from this rural kind of community and lifestyle, we moved out of the idea of seasons, we become disconnected and we forget that we have no seasons, it's all the same season. It's always harvest, harvest or it's always winter, winter but it's not so. What are your thoughts?

Anthony:
That makes a lot of sense.

Chris:
You don't have to be the superhero without sidekicks. I just watched The Incredibles again. The Incredibles II.

Anthony:
Oh, yeah.

Chris:
That's a family of superheroes. I like the sequel because it kind of upset the whole patriarchal model where the dad is the hero. He [inaudible 00:42:26] actually Mr. Mom and he has to deal with that he has to put his ego aside and he has to be there to support his wife, who is the most likely candidate now to help the family. All the kids help. Everybody helps. Dad does not have to carry the weight of the entire family unassisted and it's like a secret...

Anthony:
Yeah.

Chris:
... because you haven't shared the plan, you haven't shared the burden. You haven't shared the responsibility, even in story form.

Anthony:
Yeah, that's, I admit, that is a habit that I fall into. Just the assumption that it's kind of all on you to achieve these things because you don't want to burden anyone else or inconvenience them and just forget that they have something to contribute and that they want to contribute, if you would let them.

Chris:
Yeah. Now, imagine your kids are adorable. I don't know.

Anthony:
Oh, they're the cutest.

Chris:
I don't know anything.

Anthony:
They're the cutest.

Chris:
They'll probably ask you some crazy questions all the time.

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
That's all kids do because they have curious minds. You can even have an episode where one of your boys asked you, "Dad, why is the sky blue?" You just fill them asking you that question. Then, you explain it via sketch note. You go do the research. You figure it out. How many parents would love to share that with their kids? That's wholesome, educational content, that in a way that's interesting.
I recently wrote an article, not an article, a post on Facebook about this common idea that educators have this challenge. They say, "We can't compete with entertainment. Kids have such short attention spans. We have to compete against blockbuster films and video games and all this other kind of stuff." Out on the surface, it seems like a reasonable complaint but again, it comes back to this thing. It's like we have to take control our own destiny. We have to take responsibility for that.
I said, during this panel discussion, I said, "I know it's not going to be popular but I'm going to say this, 'Why shouldn't education have to compete with entertainment?'" I think by acknowledging that, we've given up and that's a cop out. That's an easy excuse for us to say that, "Well, we don't have to try harder." The video game makers have. The film producers have. Why haven't we? I think there's this great opportunity out there for people who can be great entertainers and educators. The field is wide open, my friend.

Anthony:
I love it.

Chris:
Use all the power of storytelling, multimedia, sound, animation, graphics, voiceover. Bring all that stuff together. I remember reading this somewhere. I can't remember where but in terms of commercials, somebody famous who made commercials said, "Nowhere before have so many talented people have done so much for so little." So much talent is gathered to make a 32nd-piece of garbage. Nobody will care about.

Anthony:
It's true.

Chris:
If that same talent were used and the same resources, the attention, were used to do something more important than to advertise to people something they don't need, how much better would the world be? Maybe that's part of your calling then. The side benefit is you build your brand, you start to command attention, and you can trade on that attention or you can now be positioned as a person who is worth 5, 6, $7,000 a pop. You need to make your 15,000 bucks, right?

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), that's right.

Chris:
You can do that. I think I messed up before because I circled this 5,000, you have to make 15K a month. You need to make 45K if you want to take three months off of that 15K.

Anthony:
Even better.

Chris:
I just want to clarify that, right?

Anthony:
Yup.

Chris:
You need to do that. At least my math is good there. Okay. What else do you want to talk about? One of the reasons why I wanted to invite you on the show is because I want to talk to people who have great questions because I'm only as good as the question. Since you and I kind of know each other now for quite some time through the Pro Group and some side conversations and chats, that it feels like you can ask more insightful questions or more challenging things so that would then force me to look inward and say, "Here it is."
Perhaps, this series is really about us having conversations, where you're going to push me and push me out of my comfort zone to find something because we don't have to go through the getting to know each other phase. You can ask me things and then I will be forced to explain them.
Now, one of the things that I've been saying to people is that when you look at a problem, break them down into bite-sized pieces, it makes the problem something that you can solve. Sometimes we refer to this as scaffolding or chunking, breaking things into small bite-sized chunks and what people do when they ask me questions is they're trying to figure out what my chunks are.
That's a problem for me because I'm 23 plus years into my career and I'm not trying to say this in some kind of self-aggrandizing way but I'm so far, in my career, that for some people it's unattainable. What I have to do is go back in time and break this 23-year career into five-year chunks and then break those five-year chunks into smaller chunks [inaudible 00:48:23].
I'm not putting the burden on them to try and figure it out. I need to do a better job of explaining this. This is one of the things I got from coming back from the Philippines is that from where they're sitting, man, they're just trying to get fast internet. Literally, they have to go to work or the library to log into our YouTube channel, to download the video onto a hard drive so they go home and watch it. That's a whole another perspective that I haven't considered because for me, living in America, in a place where fast internet is an issue, I could just type in something and search for and have the answer in minutes. It's obviously not something that they can do.
What I need to do is go back, break things into smaller pieces so that this path, if you want to achieve what I achieved, instead of it being one giant leap, it can be broken into like 100 bite-sized pieces. Even if you're at the bottom of that journey, you can jump in and you can figure your way out.

Anthony:
I could totally understand that. It starts to get fuzzy, right? Because you adopt certain ways of thinking or certain practices and after a while, they just become habitual but you don't remember when you started to form that habit.

Chris:
Yeah. Perhaps, in structuring our future conversations, what I want you to do is help me do that, okay? That's what I'm hoping that you'll be able to do. It's like, okay, "Chris, I know this about you, blah, blah, blah. How's it you're able to do that or what do you think about this," and frame it that way, then I'll give you the answer. Then, by me doing it, hopefully you've answered your own question.

Anthony:
Yeah, I like that.

Chris:
Okay?

Anthony:
Yeah.

Chris:
I think the problem is because every time I talk to somebody, I try to solve their problem or their challenge. Well, then other people say, I don't have that exact same problem or challenge and they can't figure it out. What we want to do is to be able to solve problems in a broader sense, so that it's easier to map for people because people are going to say, "Well, I don't draw like Anthony. I'm screwed." They basically will tune out, out of the rest of this conversation, which is a shame but I also have to realize not everybody can see through that stuff and map what's important to them.
I know this because every time I do a role play and I ask my audience, "What did you learn?" They stare back at me, like, "I don't know," or they only pull apart two things, versus the four or six or eight things that they need to know for that scenario. Then, I had to go and say, "Okay, look, here are the six other things that you need to consider. Write these things down." They go, "Oh, okay."

Anthony:
Can I draw a parallel here?

Chris:
Of course.

Anthony:
I play a game called Go. I don't know if you've heard of it.

Chris:
Yeah, of course.

Anthony:
When you start playing Go, when you're learning, you play on a small version of the board, like nine by nine grid and you play and you have, usually, if you're playing with somebody strong, you have a big handicap and you will lose initially, even though you have this big handicap because you can't see. It's like you see the board, the same board that they see, but you don't see like the second movement and third move and how things are going to resolve themselves, whereas the person who's been playing a while, they can tell like, "Oh, that's dangerous," or "That's a good move," or "That's a bad move," and they can anticipate these things and they learn to see, whereas maybe when you're first starting off you have some kind of weird tunnel vision and you can't relax enough to see like the bigger picture.
Then, as you improve, then the board gets bigger until you're on the full size board. When you see people who are really good at playing, when they make the move, you can see that it's a good move but if you had been tasked with making a move that good, you wouldn't have been able to see it. It's not until it's shown to you and sometimes even explained to you because even sometimes you see a really good move and you don't know what its significance is until somebody much better than you can break it down. You're like a Go master.

Chris:
Fantastic. I love that description but also, you helped me understand something else for a talk I have to do. Thank you for that.

Anthony:
You're welcome.

Chris:
Because you know, I use everything in every conversation to fall back into the next conversation. It's upcycling to its best.

Anthony:
Wonderful.

Chris:
All right, I was that for you, man?

Anthony:
I've listened to your talk a lot. I just received a lot of information and you've experienced this too, where you are on the call and you say stuff, and then you're greeted by silence afterwards, while the rest of us are just processing what you had to say. We're really like, we're trying to figure it out and we're kind of having our own little epiphanies. We're just dumbstruck a little bit versus when we have a call with like, Matthew or Ben and there's a lot more engagement and people just talking about stuff because then it feels more like a discussion.
I think, for me, it's kind of being able to process what you say a little bit faster but mostly, instead of getting lost in my own thoughts when you say something is to just say those questions that I'm kind of trying to work out internally, but instead of just working them out in my own head, throw them back at you and say I'm struggling with this. I don't understand or please explain this a little bit better.

Chris:
Yeah, so I think, okay, I have some tips for you and perhaps everybody else that's listening here is you're right. I experienced this quite a bit. I think only recently have I gotten enough feedback where I understand the phenomenon, right?
I'll say something and the room is dead silent, whether it's on the call or it's in person. I was like, "Shoot. Maybe I'm just not making any sense to anybody," but what's happening is, there's that processing time, but I also feel that a lot of people are not fully there. They're not 100% present. They haven't emptied their mind before they began the conversation. They're still fighting against an internal belief, an idea or something else or maybe they're just thinking about what sandwich to eat for lunch.
When the information is coming in, there's no room for it to fit. There's that expression, like you can't fill a glass that's already full. You have to empty things out. You have to empty out all that stuff and show up empty. That way, whatever is being poured in, you can just let it sit there.
The other thing that I noticed people do is they fight what is being said at the beginning. They're resistant. Prove it to me. That'll never work. What evidence do you have with that? Well, that's not going to work on my case. They have that kind of very cynical, it's never going to work. We have to strip away that attitude. The more empty that you can arrive in a situation and this is broadly applicable to just about everything, if you have a conversation with your wife, your son, a new client, a boss, a friend, it's better that you just take a minute and clear your mind.
Now, luckily for me, I can do that without meditation. I don't have to sit there and read some kind of mindfulness chant or prayer or whatever it is. I could just show up. I'm like, "Okay, I'm ready. Let's do it. Rock and Roll." There's that part.
Lastly, is this part about being transparent to what's going on to have a level of self-awareness so that if you're confused, you say, "I don't know how to react to this even because I'm stuck on part 2 of 17 points." It takes me back to my childhood memory of X, Y, and Z. Fantastic. Let's talk about that. I think for men, especially and some women, there's this thing that we can't be vulnerable. We can't say we don't know because we've been taught in our culture, in our society that people don't know we're weak and shouldn't be taken seriously.
Therefore, we won't admit those kinds of things. Anything that resembles like, I don't know, I don't have all the answers, is emasculating. That's what men don't say that. Then, the conversation can't continue. The learning can't continue. In our conversations in the future, I would love for you to be like, "You know what, Chris? That's fantastic but here's what I'm really afraid of." When you said this, "I thought that, but I think you mean something else. Can you help me out?" We have to strip away that sense that if you say I don't know, that's a bad thing. Are you totally in pencil by the way?

Anthony:
I was writing.

Chris:
Oh, you're writing? Are you doing your sketch notes right now?

Anthony:
Right now, I've got a table full of post it notes. I've just been writing furiously.

Chris:
Okay. Does that help you listen?

Anthony:
Yes.

Chris:
Okay, fantastic. This could have been an episode. This could have been a two-part episode, the podcast and sketch note version if you were filming with the down shooter.

Anthony:
I see. You know what? This is something we should address.

Chris:
We will.

Anthony:
Yes.

Chris:
What you want to do is set up your lights, so that there's no hard shadows when you draw. Instead of doing it on post it notes, that is something visible, have bigger sheets of paper and draw.

Anthony:
That's a great idea.

Chris:
Do you use Procreate? You do, right?

Anthony:
Yes.

Chris:
Yeah, you could draw on that too. Then, it becomes an animation automatically for you.

Anthony:
Yeah, I love Procreate.

Chris:
I mean, think about the kinds of micro content you can produce on an insane level. We want to strip it all down. Forget, I that I said, they'll hold lights and camera, that's just even more work. I want to remove all the layers of resistance, right? You can just get right to it. If you have Procreate open and you're just drawing and taking, and then you can export those as movies. As soon as we're done, you can just load up on YouTube, tweet about it, show it up on Instagram stories, JAM it on Facebook. So on Facebook and Instagram, maybe it's a static image. Then, in a call, you might have eight videos.

Anthony:
That's very cool. I like that.

Chris:
This is what we talked about in terms of stacking things up, right? You can't buy more time. You just can't, not possible. However, when you're doing one task, it can be multiplied. It has that effect of you buying more time. You're exchanging time right now to have a conversation with me but in that time, you could be making content.
Now, you've essentially doubled your time for that during those moments. What I do a lot is it's just kind of a time hack here, we were just talking about this like, "Oh, everybody needs to unwind after work." I get it. You need to be in a vegetative state sometimes and it's healthy probably. For me, I like to watch CNN or just leave some program on in the background like The Walking Dead or something like that.
While I'm doing that, I'm sitting there scanning my feeds with a notebook next to me, in case an idea pops up a question that somebody has, so that I'm doing as much as I can in the time that I have. That's why people say like, "God, you live an insane day and you get so much done is because I've learned how to time hack." You can do it too. When we're talking, I'm already making notes for my lecture.

Anthony:
Awesome.

Chris:
I think once you master the art of being present, listening, and being fully transparent and vulnerable, then you could also now not have to concentrate as much because nothing was there to bother you, right?

Anthony:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
It's pretty interesting because I think our brains can work on much higher levels but we're distracted by things that are not important, either emotions or thoughts that are not helpful in the moment. Once we get rid of that, you realize, "Oh, my gosh, when I was barely treading water before to kind of be here for the conversation or the person, now, I realize I have so much extra capacity, so much more bandwidth because I wasn't focused on all that junk. Now, I can listen, respond, take notes, and respond to a tweet. It can happen. Okay.
I think now's the time to wrap up. We'll continue our conversations. This is an ongoing series. I think every time we have our conversation, I think we're going to do a deeper dive. I hope for everybody that's listening, you enjoyed this conversation. Let us know on social media. I'm Chris Do and that's Anthony Banks. Stay tuned for more.

Greg:
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 Barro for editing and mixing this episode. Thank you to Adam Sanborne for our intro music.


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