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SPI 553: The Art of Making a Living Without Feeling Gross with Chris Do from The Futur

I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on Chris Do’s podcast, The Futur. Chris, his podcasts, and his YouTube channels contain a ton of valuable content. I’ve gone down many rabbit holes with Chris and his work.

I’m honored to bring Chris on the Smart Passive Income Podcast to teach us how to position ourselves so that when we sell, we’re not feeling gross. No one likes feeling like we’re selling out, or doing something that makes us uncomfortable.

At the same time, we do want to sell our work, our creative products, our art, our service, whatever it might be, and not get stomped on by other people, right? We don’t want to get taken advantage of. Chris has amazing advice on how to nuance this, and present ourselves from a position of power.

We also talk about value and where it comes from, how to show others the value you offer, how to get paid on time, and how to use content to support what it is that you are selling.

All that and more, on this episode with Chris Do.

Today’s Guest

Chris Do

Chris Do is an Emmy award-winning designer, director, CEO and Chief Strategist of Blind, and the founder of The Futur—an online education platform with the mission of teaching 1 billion people how to make a living doing what they love.

He currently serves as the chairman of the board for the SPJA, and as an advisor to Saleshood. He has also served as: advisory board member for AIGA/LA, Emmys Motion & Title Design Peer Group, Otis Board of Governors, Santa Monica College and Woodbury University.

Chris has taught Sequential design for over 15 years at ArtCenter College of Design as well as Otis College of Art and Design. He has lectured all over the world at numerous conferences. His firm’s work has been recognized by national and international organizations.

Chris has also given talks and conducted workshops on: Sales, Negotiations, Value Based Pricing, Mindset, Branding, Graphic & Motion Design, Social Media Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Business Management, and Client Relations.

You’ll Learn


SPI 553: The Art of Making a Living Without Feeling Gross with Chris Do from The Futur

[00:00:00] Chris:
You learn so much more, and you grow so much more by being prolific and iterating on content.

What I want to do is increase the speed in which I have an idea to make something, so I can test constantly. It’s the difference between making small bets or one giant gamble. I’m a small bet kind of person. I’m going to keep making little bets.

[00:00:41] Pat:
I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on Chris Do’s podcast, The Futur. Chris and his podcasts, and his respective YouTube channel are massively huge. In fact, I’ve gone down many rabbit holes with Chris and his work.

I’m so honored today to bring Chris on the Smart Passive Income Podcast to teach us how to position ourselves so that when we sell, we’re not feeling gross. We’re not feeling like we’re selling out or doing something that doesn’t make us comfortable.

But at the same time, we want to sell our work, our creative, our art, our service, whatever it might be and not get stomped on by other people, and not get taken advantage of.

All of this is really, really important.

Chris has amazing ways to share with us exactly how to nuance this and position ourselves in a way of power. We also talk about value and where it comes from, and how to show the value you offer to others, how to get paid on time, how to also understand how to use content to support what it is that you are selling.

All that, and more, today in this episode with Chris Do.

This is session 553 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast. I hope you enjoy it.

Chris, welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thanks for joining me today.

[00:01:49] Chris:
Thanks for having me, Pat. I’m super excited.

[00:01:51] Pat:
You’re on this mission to help 1 billion creatives do the work that they love, without selling their soul. I absolutely love that. Where did this inspiration come from to do such a huge, big, audacious thing?

[00:02:03] Chris:
There’s two parts of this story. The first part is, I’ve been teaching at ArtCenter for 15 years. ArtCenter prides itself on a low teacher to student ratio. Classes at most would be 12 students. I love that. I love the intimate nature. I love being able to critique someone’s work for 20, 25 minutes and not feel rushed for time.

That was a wonderful experience, and it was at that point in time in which I started to think about, can I make a bigger impact on more people? I also realize that ArtCenter is a wonderful private art school. Currently the tuition is $22,000 a semester. That means very few people have access to this kind of education.

My wife prompted me to think about doing something bigger than that. Eventually I started teaching online and it started making a difference, and I’m feeling like, wow, this is a dynamic new medium to teach through YouTube, and I have the equipment and the crew and the know-how to make these videos.

We were sitting in a conference room with my management, and they said, “We’re really confused, man. Do you want to sell products? Do you want to grow your YouTube channel? What are you trying to do here?” They pushed me into a corner to give clarity in the direction of what it is that we’re doing.

That’s when I told them, “You know what, that’s a fair question. What we’re trying to do here is to make sure that, Ben’s little girl, when she’s 18 and she wants to think about going to design school, The Futur exists and she could sit there and say, ‘I could go to A or B, and there’s no difference in terms of quality of education.’ We have a lot of work to do, but this is for her and we’re going to try and change it.”

That night I went to sleep. The next day I woke up and said, “That’s a really long story. I need to condense this thing down.” So I messaged my chief operating officer, Ben. I said, “Ben, our mission is to teach a billion people how to make a living doing what they love, without feeling gross.”

He goes, “I love it!”

So, that was my team forcing me to crystallize what it is we’re trying to do.

[00:04:08] Pat:
I mean the power of conversation to get these things out of you, right. For sure. To have people push you now. Alan’s the idea of at art school, teaching a person one-to-one essentially, and offering 20 to 25 minutes of individual help for that person. And then using the internet, which is so disconnected from people and not one to one, but one to a billion potentially.

How can you still provide value in this medium versus like you might do in.

[00:04:35] Chris:
Yeah, they’re very different experiences for sure. And I’m not trying to tell anyone. Who’s, Who’s, used to teaching a small group, classroom discussion lecture, or critique that it can be the same. It’s not meant to be the same. I remember one of my classes at ArtCenter, it was called critiquing current films and what a great class, I get to watch movies and get a grade and take care of, an academic unit.

But one of the things that the professor said, his name is Jay Chapman. He said, you know what? Let’s just get rid of this thing. That you’re all going to say. I read the book. I liked the book. Is that a film is an entirely different experience with the whole different things, art direction, design music, score editing, and a book is wonderful because it’s the film that plays in your mind, but there’s a whole different thing.

So we’re not going to compare the two. And that really stuck with me. So I don’t think me teaching on a YouTube video can be the same, but it doesn’t need to be, it can be very different and can be a wholly satisfying and rewarding experience on its own. You have to learn how to teach in a way that’s.

Rhetorical. And then you give people prompts and things to do, but then it’s entirely up to them to do it. And of course they don’t get the feedback, but if you wanted all that feedback, you would have gone to university and you would have done it that way. So it’s an alternative to, and not a replacement for

[00:05:48] Pat:
Was it challenging for you? Get on the internet and start teaching. And what were the big challenges that you personally had while doing.

[00:05:56] Chris:
Yeah. The biggest challenge that is. I don’t like the way I look. I don’t like the way I sound and I definitely don’t want to be on camera and it was a big hurdle to get over. and, and, you know, the funny thing is I would tell my students, like I’m an introvert I’m horribly shy and awkward in, in real life.

In most ways, if you ever saw me at a party, and if I didn’t know enough people there I’d be the guy who was standing by the corner with a drink in his hand. Like not knowing what to do that is literally. And then I put, we can’t see this about you, you know, instructor, we can’t, and I’m like, well, you just want to take my word for it.

And so the idea of taking this super awkward person, that I am recording it for everyone to see forever, that is a very scary thing. So to me, that was just the biggest challenge, just off the top. Like, I don’t want to do this and I resisted if it wasn’t for my friend and former college, he very graciously said to me, I know you don’t want to do this.

We need to do is I need you. And you just sit there and don’t say anything when you’re ready to speak. Go ahead. And I knew that this offer was genuine because his, his name is Jose come here. So he could talk forever for like hours on end without even taking her. You know, he’s a super intelligent guy.

He has some ADHD things, so he could just talk forever. He’s like a Gary Vaynerchuk type. So that was enough for me to say, all right, I’ll try. And so that was kind of like my training wheels into recording content for others to create.

[00:07:25] Pat:
And now you have this YouTube channel with 1.8 million viewers or subscribers on The Futur.

And has YouTube become the sort of center of your content hub and platform, or are there other things outside?

[00:07:39] Chris:
I it. is, I would say that it is part of my content platform. One of the few that I I’m active on, but for me, it’ll always be home. I feel like I grew up on YouTube. I mean, I’m a, I’m not a young man, but, I like that was my foray into social media and content creation. So there’s a special place in my heart for it.

You know, you, you, you can’t ever forget your first love. So YouTube, definitely. It is it. I do have a podcast. I do post things on Instagram and on LinkedIn and Twitter, but YouTube is still like where I spend most of my brain thinking about like, how can we do.

[00:08:13] Pat:
And you have a video, it’s your most popular video? It’s just a short it’s 59 seconds, but it is 42 million views. And in this video, you are conversing with somebody at a event, and I know you run events quite often or, and speak at events. but you’re having this very genuine conversation about. Being charged an hourly wage and why that’s bad.

Let’s start there in terms of, if you are creative and we’re going to talk all about, if you’re a creative, how you get paid for what you do One of those things is well, you have to ask people to pay you, but hourly is what we’re used to. Why is hourly bad? When it comes to servicing our art and our creative.

[00:08:49] Chris:
Oh, you opening up a can of worms. This might be the part of the podcast that goes crazy for people. All right, here we go. Everybody buckle in because we’re going to get into it. So I’ve done some research on this and a lot of what I do is through intuition or through some mentorship that I’ve had in my life.

And then now I’m going back and just reading about the theory behind it. So there’s something called the labor theory of value, right? Where you’re supposed to charge a fair amount based on the necessary labor to make something. So if somebody bakes a loaf of bread, there’s labor involved in it, time and materials essentially.

And we feel like that’s a fair thing. So capitalism doesn’t accept this as an idea, as a concept. And the labor theory of value is, is heavily tied to Marx, Karl Marx and socialism, whenever. So there’s a whole thing there, but it has been for the longest time, how we measure value. Something is worth more, because it took a longer time to make it.

That’s what we tell ourselves. Right. So if I were to say to you, look, you want to buy a car, let’s say you’re into like a BMW. And you’re like, well, there’s a lot of materials. There’s a lot of know-how, it’s like hundreds of man hours to produce this thing. So it’s worth $50,000. But then you get into this thing where somebody sketches a logo for you or builds you a sales funnel or helps to coach you to do, like an amazing podcast.

You and I are sitting here struggling with, well, that didn’t take you a long time to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less valuable. So let’s talk about time and effort. Okay. So a lot of people equate time and effort into value. Let’s look at that. So from the, the craftsperson, the, the creative human being, who’s going to make something yes.

More time, more effort is more valuable than. I can’t replace a time. I gave you. So if I work on something for 6, 7, 800 hours, I have to charge you an appropriate sum for that makes total sense right on the surface. But what happens is on the other side, the buyer of the creative services is not looking at it the same way you as the maker of those things are, for example, if I want you to build me a website and you say, it’s going to take four months, is it more or less valuable than another person who’s like, I could build you that same website in one.

And in this case, the buyer would pay more to get it done in less time. So the expression time is money, depending on how you look at it is true in both cases. So for the person who’s laboring on this time is money more time equals more money from the buyer’s perspective. Less time is actually more money.

It’s why we pay, rush fees for shipping for Amazon or for ups. Anything that you want done faster from the buyers point? Yeah. Absolutely will cost you more time. I mean, more money. So then now we have to start to decouple this idea that more labor and time is equal to greater value because in this case, the buyer is the person who gets to determine how much value it is to them.

So we had this unhealthy mindset that we’re like, it takes me this long to make it, therefore, I should be able to charge you more for it. Right. But if it has no intrinsic value to the person buying it, I don’t care how long you work. And the last thing I’ll say on this is this is that usually there’s two things that determine value there’s, a utility value and then there’s replacement value.

So water has high utility value because without it, you would die. You, you, you can’t grow a crop without water. So it’s actually absolutely essential, but it’s, the replacement value is very low. There’s not that many things you can exchange for water right now. On the other hand, Take, for example, a diamond, a diamond has actually fairly low utility value, but high replacement value because theoretically they’re precious started, they’re rare.

Supposedly then you could exchange that diamond for a car. And so we have to kind of understand this and, and hopefully you start to take, a more business and pragmatic look pragmatic. Look at that.

[00:12:54] Pat:
So when it comes to the services that we offer, knowing that while the time that we could save somebody by hiring us is a value it’s is really, really important. How do we decouple, especially for the artist, the artist, the creative, who has essentially a mindset of. I’m putting my own time and my own care into this.

Therefore, you know, the more hours I put in, the more valuable it is on our side, like a bonsai tree, right? The bonsai tree might take, you know, 30 years. Does it mean it’s more valuable if it only took one year to make it look like that? I think inherently a bonsai tree being art and being something like that.

Inherently has more value because it took more time to get it to that point, almost like a fine wine, if you will, or, or, or age to cheese or what, or whatever it might

[00:13:40] Chris:
Yeah, wine is a great case, by the way.

[00:13:42] Pat:
Yeah. Talk more about that.

[00:13:44] Chris:
Yeah. Okay. So we, we say that some wines are some very rare whiskey or scotch. I don’t drink at all. So I don’t know, but I know that there are like aged for 15 years and then this and that. There’s a whole process. So it’s, so they can’t just make them as fast as you want them. And so there’s a process and they have to care for that thing for a really long time.

But ultimately you and the buyer don’t care. So, let me, let me try and explain this. So if the whiskey takes a hundred years to age and to mature and you taste, it tastes terrible, unless you told yourself it’s going to taste great, no matter what, then it doesn’t matter to you. But if we, as a society, get together and say, you know what?

Certain, certain vintages are age really well on there. There’s a richness and boldness and a thing to the flavor and we’re willing to pay for it. But you know what. Paying for, for, these a hundred, $205,000 bottles is the idea that we can afford such things. You’re exactly. And that’s really what we’re paying for.

So like, this has happened to me. I’ve gone to like wine warehouses. I don’t drink at all, but they’re like easy gifts to give to people. And I say, okay, I need to buy my clients who I really appreciate. I need to buy some for my relatives, who I appreciate sort of, but not totally. And then there’s some that I just need to give away.

And so then I go to it and I go and shop in sections where the bottles are of a certain price point, because the last thing I want my clients or my relatives to think is I’m some cheap person I’m giving you a $7 bottle of wine, even though technically it might taste better than a hundred dollars bottle of wine.

I buy that just to say like, This is a gift. This is a token of my appreciation to you. So you’re really getting into the real understanding of value at this point, and has not as much to do with what you think in terms of the glass, the actual flavor, all those kinds of things they do matter, but not as much as, as you would think.

[00:15:40] Pat:
Now on that video, the 42 more million video, some of the top comments are actually very similar. There are people saying things like, you know, you might be buying this thing that takes me an hour, but you’re also buying the 10 years of expertise and time and education that I put into learning how to do this in just an hour.

So you can figure it out on your own. And. Save some money, if you will, or you can invest in me to help you do it quicker and not have to go through all that education. And I, I, I love that. How does a person who is preventing a service or creating for somebody, a person designing a website or person creating a logo, for example, or ghost writing for somebody or something like that?

How does one best portray the fact that there is that much time that I’ve put into learning how to do this thing quickly for you?

[00:16:22] Chris:

[00:16:22] Pat:
What’s the best way.

[00:16:24] Chris:
Good. Good, great question.

I think the best way is not to do it, to be honest. And so the minute that you have to start to justify to your prospective client, how long it takes you, what kind of education, the pedigree and the awards you’ve won, you’ve already lost. Cause at this point you’re justifying and justification is you seeding the higher ground.

You’re coming at it and lowering yourself to say, I must prove myself to you the best way to talk about values, to ask the client. Let’s just say. and so instead of talking about my pedigree, what I’ve done in the past, I’m going to just put all that stuff aside and I’m going to say to them, and I like to start from a negative position because it puts me in a position of power to say, like, I understand you want to do a website, but is it necessary?

Will this impact your business at all? And then I get them to tell me why they want to do something versus me trying to prove to them that it’s valuable. And so now it puts them into this position where if they say it’s valuable, they’re going to pay more. If they say it’s not valuable, then I’m going to say, let’s not do this at all, which is not the case, right?

Because most people who are coming to you, that want a website or a video, or to be coached to do something they’ve already recognized, I have a problem. And only by spending money and hiring people or buying services or products, can I make my problem go? And so if you ask them this question to say like, why even do this, will this even do anything for your business?

And then I find that most of the times the client or the prospect is going to say, well, here’s what it’s going to do. First. I I’m tired of Johnny down the street, having a better website than us. It’s embarrassing for me and my, my team. they just started and we’ve been a family business for 80 years. I think it can help us to sell more product. They’re going to go through and list one thing after the other, as to what they hope the website is going to do for their business. And this is true about everything. Like whenever you hire somebody, you’re thinking to yourself, what am I getting out of this?

So if we, the surface provider focus on what they’re getting versus like everything, it took us to make it because they don’t really care at the end of the day, then we can start to focus truly on the value to the.

[00:18:28] Pat:
How are you bringing people in top of funnel for a conversation like that? I mean, I imagine you might want to get on a call for example, for a 15 minute sort of just discovery call for example, or it might be a person coming onto a webinar, or there could be a number of different ways that you could bring people in from the top to get them interested.

They let’s just keep on this example of a website, you know, we’ve done what we could to perhaps convince them that, you know, a website’s right for them and that we might have something they might need. Are you saying that if they come on the call, just go, okay. Well, like what do you even think this website is going to do for you?

Like legit asking that question, would that not come across as well? Shouldn’t, you know what it’s going to do for me? And this is the whole reason you exist. Like I’m just trying to nuance that conversation a bit, just so I can understand more about, well, why do we need to approach it that way or what, why that might be a group?

[00:19:17] Chris:
Right? Okay. So your question threw me for a curve ball. Cause I thought you were asking me a different question at the top. And then there was like a curve at the bottom.

[00:19:23] Pat:
You thought I was going to ask after

[00:19:25] Chris:
Okay. So let me answer that first and then we’ll go back to like the challenge and the pushback. Cause I, I love just, you know, having a deeper dive into this So what are we doing for top of the funnel awareness so that we’re, we’re even getting into this conversation in the first place, right?

So you eat, right? So I read this, just the other day on Twitter. Somebody wrote writing is networking for introverts, and I love that because I’m an introvert. Okay, so I’m just going to change it.

I’m like, well, content creation is networking for introverts or as you suck at sales, and if you don’t like networking, make your content really. So that then it starts to, to rank a higher on search. And also it gets shared on LinkedIn and other platforms where people are looking for you right now, someone who has a problem, you just make it easier to find you.

So for me, marketing is very simple. It could be boiled down to this, make it easier to find you than your competitors. So if you’re content game is really strong, the client’s going to look at your work, or they’re going to read things about you that like, why am I keep seeing this person in my feed, on YouTube, on, on Instagram, wherever.

And so at certain point, they’re going to feel like I need to reach out. So the client’s already made up a couple of decisions in their mind already. One is I have a problem. They already know they have a problem. Cause otherwise they’re not calling you two. You potentially can solve that problem.

Otherwise, again, I’m not calling. And as it turns out, there are studies that have been done that there’s at least 50% of the clients who call you. They, they have already made up their mind if they want to work with you or not. So at this point, the only thing you could do is totally screw it up, right. It used to be that you’d have to pitch and sell them.

But at this point, because there’s so much data and information available, clients are very smart. They’re shopping before they talk to you. So now they get on the phone with you. And now we can get to the second part, which is so Pat, I heard you make videos or websites and, What does the value of this thing?

And then you asked me that same question, which I said, which was, I don’t know, but before we dive into this, before we assume that you need a website, tell me what you think a website is going to do for you if they push back. And now this is where we’re at. It’s like, well, isn’t this your job, right? And here’s how it would respond to us.

It is my job to connect your users for customers to your company and give them a delightful user experience. That is reflective of your brand and your brand values, but I have no idea what this is going to do for your business. And then this is usually where I’ll say something like some clients come to me and say, we absolutely need a website.

And they overbuild a website only to, to find out later it’s misaligned with their business. That their customers actually don’t spend a lot of time on the web that a strategic video kind of delivered to targeted email lists will be much more effective than having a website that no one will go to. So I will be happy to take your money to build you a site, but from a business point of view, it’s unethical for me to do this unless I understand what it might actually do for your bit.

[00:22:21] Pat:
What a valuable response, actually, that is right. You’re most in a way, coaching a person and helping them figure it out either way. And if they’re not ready for it, you don’t really want them to be the client. I would

[00:22:33] Chris:

[00:22:33] Pat:

[00:22:34] Chris:
Yeah. And I do say this, like, I’m happy to take her money and some people do insists. They’re like, I don’t care. Just charging whatever I’m like. Okay. But I’ve done my part,

But you know what you’ve done there is that you’ve you’re a rising in esteem in your client’s eyes because you’re really straightforward.

You’re looking out after my best interests and not your own. And I find that if you can just approach these calls with this kind of mindset, you’re going to be much better off being a close at a higher rate, and it’s going to be a lot less friction for you throughout the entire sales.

[00:23:05] Pat:
One struggle. I know a lot of entrepreneurs have, especially who, you know, unlike myself who creates all my courses and has students, a person who might get clients and has a lot of hours to put into service that client in some way, shape or form, you know, there’s a couple of things that go along with that undercharging.

It’s a very common thing. I’d love to dive into, why do you think we undercharge and how to combat that? Oftentimes the answer is literally double what you think. And we ended up closer at least to where we were, we should be. But do you have any formulas or any strategies in terms of how to properly price ourselves into the work that we do for our client?

Especially if it’s not obviously a per hour, it took me this many hours. Therefore, this is how much.

[00:23:44] Chris:
Yeah, I have a couple of different things and a very high level. I’ll tell you all the different models than then we can dive or go wherever you want to go with this.


[00:23:53] Pat:
Sure we’ll figure it out.

[00:23:54] Chris:
Yeah, there’s a couple of ways to price. Any project. One is time and materials. This is the easiest thing. This is what most freelancers do.

This is how much time it takes me. These are the materials after you. So based on that, this is the estimate. And the one thing that we need to remember is that the estimate it’s not a big. It’s not a fixed price, because if it takes more time, I will charge you more. If it takes less time, I’ll charge you less.

Some mistakes that rookies make is they say, it’s going to take 40 hours to do this. And then it winds up taking them 60, but they committed to the 40 hours and they screwed themselves solver. what are the pros and cons of doing this one? It doesn’t take a lot of effort and energy is very low risk to you.

The seller of creative services, there is some risk to the buyer because they don’t know a. I’m going to get a result that I want, or B how long and how much money it’s going to take. If you want to see someone who’s really uneasy, just have a running bill that you have no control and no transparency over.

So that’s one of the problems. So eventually, as you’re working with your clients, they’re going to say something like Pat, I love working with you. I need to have like a fixed fee. I don’t care what it takes you to do. I just need you to charge me a fixed fee because I’m going to get that approved. Once I get approved.

I want to hear from you again, because unless I changed my mind on something, that’s what it’s going to be. And you say, okay, this is great. And so now you’re now taking the risk on, because if you under prices thing, you’re going to be hating yourself for that. So what you do is you build in some kind of pad, more hours than you think you need.

And you’re going to build in some kind of profit margin so that if you underestimate you’ll still be okay, and the client already knows this and they accept that you have to account for a unforeseeable circumstance. So he gave him a fixed fee. So now we’ve graduated from the hourly base estimate, and now we’re moving into a fixed fee bid here.

You really need to know what it’s going to take because you can totally screw yourself over my advice to you is charge enough so that if you mess up here or there, or if you underestimate, it’s still not going to be a problem and you can still deliver excellent customer service. Okay. The third part of this, is, is to, to price based on results or outcomes.

So you know what? It’s got nothing to do with how hard I work on this. I’m here to get you an outcome that you want. So if you want to improve conversions on your site at 1%, if you want to double your downloads for your podcast, I’m going to help you do that. And now I need to understand that you have to have the value based conversation.

Now, what is that worth? Well say, Pat, for, for you, for example, let’s say you get 10,000 downloads per episode, right? And you’re like, well, my advertisers pay me X on this. And if I could double the downloads, that’s at least worth double my revenue just from an ad point of view. And if we can apply to us over the course of a year, it’s going to be worth, let’s say a hundred thousand dollars.

Okay. So now we understand how valuable it is to you. And then I would just then ask you, Pat, how much do you want to spend to make this happen? Well, in, in your mind as little as possible and in my mind as fairly as possible. And so that’s the discussion that we’re going to have. So usually people start off with around 20%.

I’ll just throw that out there. It’s like usually people spend about 20%. Are you willing to spend 20 K to do. And you’ve done a lot of wonderful things if you’ve had the conversation just like this, because the first thing I did was I focused on what’s valuable to you. I focus on the results that matter to you.

And you got to tell me the number, which is a hundred thousand dollars. And so that is a price anchor. Now at this point, so a 20 K relative to a hundred K is not that much money. You still can clear ADK, which if you could do that deal every day of the week, you would. Yeah. yeah, they don’t lie.

And one of the things my business coach told me is nothing is expensive or cheap, absent context. You have to understand relative to. So if I didn’t have the value conversation with you, and I said something like, well, I’m probably going to have to work on this for 200 hours, blah, blah, blah, four team members want to do X, Y, and Z.

Your eyes are rolling. You don’t care. Like, why are you telling me all this stuff? And then I say, it’s going to cost you 20 K to do this. You’re going to make yeah. At a town man, 20 K you know what I can buy for 20 K you’re thinking about the replacement. Right. Like I could buy something else for this. I could buy a new microphone.

I can buy a new camera. I could hire three people to work for me for a period of time. Why would I pay you that? Because I haven’t done enough in established new value in your mind from your point of view.

[00:28:19] Pat:
I mean, it goes back to that original question of, well, what would doing this do for your business? Right?

[00:28:24] Chris:
That’s right.

[00:28:25] Pat:
It goes right back to it.

[00:28:26] Chris:
Yeah. I want the client to tell me what it’s going to do, and if they can’t tell me a good reason, let’s look for a problem worth solving.

[00:28:33] Pat:
How do you ensure a client doesn’t walk all over you and continue to ask you for more and more?

[00:28:38] Chris:
Okay. There’s two ways you can charge them so much money that they can ask you for more and more, and you don’t care. I would prefer that way. And because then you can do, then you can provide the best customer service in the world. some of the most notable hotels and restaurants do this, it’s so expensive to stay at the Ritz Carlton that they anticiPate their clients are going to ask them for sometimes unreasonable things.

And they’re happy to do. And you know, what happens, the customer’s happy to pay it and then they tell more people, but that’s a very privileged place to be, to be able to say, I charged so much money. I don’t care if you call me at on a Friday at 5:00 PM. I’m just happy to hear from you because you paid for the kids’ tuition.

You put the pool in my backyard, all those kinds of things. Okay. So we can’t do that. The other way that we can do is we can have very clear scope and in turn. And so we say, okay, after we do some, some scoping, we figured out you you’re, you’re going to need X, Y, and Z a. It’s going to take this long. And these are the parameters in which we put around it.

So that if you go outside of that, I’m happy to do it, but I just have to charge you more. And this is where a lot of creators make a mistake. They don’t have clear a scope of work agreements. And so the clients can say, I want this. And there’s nothing for you to point to, to say, well, that’s out of scope because you didn’t do a good job to find out.

[00:29:56] Pat:
This is great. Chris, thank you. Sorry, I’m just exploring the next question. Yeah. The only thing I’m thinking of all the potential downfalls that freelancers especially might go through, especially with a lack of experience. Another issue that I know a lot of freelancers and entrepreneurs have, especially when it comes to client work is. The payment terms, you know, you don’t get paid upfront. All of it necessarily all the time. And I think that’s less common. There might be a 50% upfront and 50% upon completion type of thing. And there’s all different kinds of things in between. But I also have heard the horror stories of, and this is why I’m grateful that, you know, I don’t do a lot of client work is because sometimes the clients don’t necessarily pay on time.

It could be a chore to, you know, get that payment. how do you recommend you protect yourself from. A putting yourself in that position, or being in that position, excuse me. And then B, if you are in that position, how could you get paid?

[00:30:53] Chris:
Yeah, in my life and running a creative service agency for 25 years, I’ve only been screwed over by small operators. I’ve never been screwed over by a big corporation. They have too much going on to like deal with like, not paying you on something. Right? So all the ad agencies, I need these a hundred million dollar companies and up, they have no problems paying you.

They might have hall here and there, but they’re going to pay you. I’ve never been stiffed. It’s always been the mom and pops the under five person agency or studio that hires us that then says, I don’t feel like paying you anymore. And I don’t care because I don’t have a professional reputation to protect.

So I’d be very wary of that first to understand who your clients are and the level of risk of your. So, if you’ve determined that there’s high risks, you need to get more of it upfront and you need to get paid on delivery because otherwise you have no leverage and they don’t care. Their time is less valuable than yours.

So you going after them in small claims court or filing a complaint against, in a better business bureau, it’s not going to matter. You’re going to lose more money doing that. So what I recommend is following a simple rule, 50 25, 25, 50% upfront. When I received the deposit, the transfer money into my account, I will begin the project, not a moment before.

So if you say you have three weeks to do this, you better send the money to me. And I, I want it to be a wire transfer. I don’t want to receive credit card payment because credit card payments can be challenged and they often are. And if you’ve ever had to deal with this, Pat, I’m sure you have is that the credit card company always sides with their customer always, and you’re screwed and there’s nothing.

There’s not a lot you can do about that. So this is why I want a wire transfer. The bank confirms that the money’s there. I’m good to go next best is the check. And so once the check clears and I’m good. Either one’s okay. The 25 comes in and when you’ve crossed over a major milestone, you send them another bill for 25%.

And this will give you a good indicator as to how quickly they pay. They had to pay you a 50% upfront because they wouldn’t, you wouldn’t start. But if it takes them two or three weeks, if you can, all right. So the final payment might even take longer, right? So that’s your first warning sign. If they don’t pay this, you have to stop. Right. And then you’re going to get to this final part, which is the last 25%. And if you bid your project, well, you at least pay for everybody and have made a little bit, a little bit of money, but this is this last 25% is probably going to come out of your profit margin. If they stiff you. So we can still survive.

It’s not great, but we can survive. The last 25% is you let them know ahead of time. That the project is going to deliver on a Tuesday. And you need the final payment before you release the files of turnover, X, Y, and Z. And they’re like, okay, we’re going to work with the category to make sure you get this check and you’re going to be, you’re going to be.

And depending on your level of trust and how it’s been going so far, you can give them some leeway or you can say, look, it’s doing 20 days doing 14 days, et cetera. And the last thing I would do is I would include a late payment penalty in your terms. And conditions is say, like for every day after this, you’re going to be charged, some kind of interest rate that’s compounded by.

[00:33:55] Pat:
I have a student of mine who has. With a smaller client of theirs who wasn’t paying on time and they were friends. And when you bring friendship into this as well, it starts to add a little bit of, you know, weirdness sometimes stickiness, you don’t want to hurt feelings, but you also have business to do, how does one navigate the relationships that they have with their client and the friendships that might be formed with, you know, business at hand And deliverables and all that sort of.

[00:34:24] Chris:
Yeah, I’m going to separate this into two parts. There are business acquaintances that you’re friendly with, and then the, your friends that you grew up in high school with. So let’s talk about a lot of the two,

[00:34:36] Pat:

[00:34:36] Chris:
If you have a deep relationship with them and that you want to preserve and protect. The best thing that I can tell you to do is a don’t worry.

It’s just not worth it either. You don’t poo where you sleep or eat. generally speaking, I, I just don’t like it. It’s, it’s generally not worth it. And I’ll tell you why you expect them to be super cool. They expect you to be super easy. And there’s a lot of things that are taken for granted that can poison a relationship.

And unless it’s some once in a lifetime opportunity, I wouldn’t do it. There are stories within our industry where two brothers no longer speak to each other because they were business partners. And now they can no longer go to family gatherings because. If he shows up, I’m not showing up and we’re talking about even twins sometimes.

So this can be a dividing thing, like business acquaintances, if you never talk to them again, your life will be okay. When it comes to family and friends, I’m just going to be very careful, but let’s just say, you’re like, I got to do this. It’s good for them. It’s good for me. What I would do is say to them, I want to treat you like you’re real.

I’m going to run this as professionally as I can, I think is good for you. It’s good for me. We’re going to protect each other. So there’s going to be a contract. There’s going to be payment terms and that can treat you any different. You’re going to get the best service and I’m not going to take you for granted.

And if you’re already getting weird feelings about it, I would just stop and say, you know what? Not going to do it. This is the reason why, because I have a lot of cousins, no cousins work for me. No, no friends of cousins work for me because I still want to see you at the Thanksgiving.

[00:36:02] Pat:
That’s great advice. it can be hard though, cause especially when you get a good idea and you’re both jamming on it. You both went to high school, you have this relationship, you can talk very openly about how excited you are about something, but definitely something to pay attention to. And I think the contract is probably the smartest thing in the world.

If you choose to work with somebody in that, in that way, whether it’s a client or a business partner, I think, I think it’s important to think about that. Now as we finish up here, Chris has been amazing. I’d love to go back to top of funnel and S and specifically content creation. What is your strategy for content creation, obviously with so many views on YouTube, as well as a podcast and a blog as well.

How do you approach organic in such a way that will then bring potential?

[00:36:43] Chris:
Yes, I’ve tried, both organic and. Organic works way better. I guess the term that people in the advertising space are using is paid versus earned media paid. You have to pay people to get a placement earned media is because if it’s good enough, people will check it out and they’ll share it in organic way so that they have some kind of intrinsic motivation to share your content because it gives them also status and caught.

Like I just discovered something, Jimmy, I this will be helpful for your business or Mary. There’s something here you need to see. And this is the best kind of sharing that you’re going to be able to get. So put more of your energy towards creating content that people are going to care about and to share my, my, my particular strategies, very straightforward.

There are two, two approaches. One is sit down and really plan and build something. Ginormous, paced case in point is Mr. BESE. He did a video, that is, the real life version of the squid games. It has 170 billion views. That’s nuts months of planning, preparation, almost half a million dollars worth of giveaway.

So he’s that kind of person who’s going to sit around and say, we’re going to plan plan, plan, and we’re going to build this thing. And it’s a giant gamble. If it doesn’t work, he’s out probably 750, maybe to a million dollar seed out that money can never get it back. not much of a gamble for Mr. Beast because he’s figured out his formula.

Assuming that you’re not Mr. B’s, I would just caution you towards this approach. People can sit there and plan content for months and then they’ll release something and then no one cares and it could be very debilitating. It could be, it could lead to depression and anxiety and all kinds of things. I’m of the other mindset, which is you learn so much more and you grow so much more by being prolific and iterating on content.

So that’s the approach that I think. what I want to, do is do to increase the speed in which I have an idea to make something so I can test constantly. And it’s a difference between making small bets or one giant gamble. I’m a small bet kind of person I’m going to keep making little. So the way I do that is I will jump on Twitter.

I will put out some, some ideas and I’ll see like what people responding to, what touches a nerve. It’s not always what I think it is. counterintuitively, the ones that I tend to spend the most time thinking about. Let’s get the worst performance and the ones where I’m like, oh, I’m just feeling something.

I was just writing in five seconds. And then that’s the one that takes off. So that gives me a clue as to what’s working what people care about. And then I’ll take that tweet and I’ll turn it into Instagram carousel. And generally speaking now. I know it worked on Twitter. If I had some design and a refined thinking, it’ll probably work on Instagram.

And if that works, then I’ll take that. And I’ll I’ll transform that into like a whiteboard session and make a YouTube video out of it. Each time my confidence is growing and becoming a little bit smarter and I’m also having in a strange way, a bi-directional conversation with the audience so that they inform me as to what’s valuable.

What’s not,

[00:39:43] Pat:

[00:39:44] Chris:
It that way, it works out.

[00:39:46] Pat:
So it starts on Twitter in most cases for you,

[00:39:49] Chris:
For me, it does. Yeah.

[00:39:51] Pat:
How do you determine whether something’s hitting or not? What are the metrics you use for that?

[00:39:57] Chris:
If, I just look at it relative to my account size and, how much interaction I get. So if something gets over a thousand. And over a number, whatever number Rishi. I know that’s a solid piece of content, but that, that bar can go up or down. I just want to have some sense that this is what people care about before I go and invest more time.

And so here’s the cool thing about Twitter. No one takes it that seriously. If there’s a typo, if your grammar isn’t perfect, they understand this. as long as you don’t say something evil and horribly racist or misogynistic, they, the, the little grammar errors that people will generally forgive you for.

But the other way I use Twitter is that when people and cause there are a lot of really smart people out there, they comment back and they share other resources. They’re like, here’s another quote. Here’s another idea. Or the original person who said, what you’re saying is this person.

And I follow up on all those loose threads.

And then now it’s informing me on what I can do in the next. So I, I look at Twitter as, as what it is. It’s very femoral. It lives a very short period of time, just maybe a few hours. And before I move it onto like Instagram, Instagram is going to live a little bit longer, not much longer, maybe two days.

And then I think YouTube, the reason why I love YouTube is it kind of lives forever.

[00:41:10] Pat:
YouTube is I’m having a lot of fun with YouTube, to be honest. In fact, you might not know this, but the spa podcast currently is now living on YouTube here in 2022. And we’re experimenting with little clips and different channel to put the full episodes to see what happens there. I think there’s going to be a lot of podcasts slash video things happening in The Futur.

So I’m excited for that, but I’d love to ask you what is an example of something you might post on Twitter? Maybe something on your mind now or something that you posted recently that has gotten some engagement and and, and I’d love to like, hear how you went from Twitter to Instagram, to YouTube, if you don’t mind.

[00:41:46] Chris:
Absolutely. So a, so here’s the funny thing, and this is, you’re like, wait, you didn’t follow your own formula. I know formula is rules. You break own formulas people. That’s what happens. Right. So I’m having a live stream. my friends from my community and we’re just talking about something and I said something and I said, you know, sometimes you got to just fake it till you make it.

And they’re like giving me that sour look like fake because the word fake is in there. Right. And, and nobody wants to be fake. And I was like, oh, okay. So I sat there. I’m like, all right, I know you don’t like that term. I’ll say it a different way. So you can accept it is that sometimes you have to believe it to achieve it.

Same idea. Th quite literally the same idea, but now the word fake isn’t there, it’s not it’s about belief. And like, I like that Chris, and then people on the license were like, oh, we like that. So I took that exact same expression. You know, you got to believe it to achieve it. I put it on Twitter and then it’s our.

And I, I literally, like I said, some people don’t like this term, fake it till you make it. So then you could use this other one called, believe it too, you achieve it. And then people are sharing, other kinds of comments. One of which is a guy named Blair ends. Who’s the writer who I look up to. And he said, you know, I’m reminded of the four CS from I’m forgetting his name now, Dan Sullivan, you know, have the courage to commit to something, to build a competency and leads to confidence.

I’m like, that’s even better. And so I take all those ideas and I go onto Instagram and I create a 10 slide carousel and, you know, fake it till you make it or believe it till you achieve it. It’s two slides. What am I going to do with eight more slides here? So I incorporate some of the feedback and some of the ideas and suggestions, and I create a 10 slide carousel out of that.

That then performs really well. So each one of these things I’m trying to build up on.

[00:43:34] Pat:

[00:43:35] Chris:
And then I don’t have a whole talk on this, but I could have just taken out one carousel and now I’m like, okay, now I’m going to do a deep dive. I’m going to do some research. I’m going to have people will help me sit down and write concepts and ideas because this is actually touching people.

And that would have been a good piece of content.

[00:43:51] Pat:
And then if you create a YouTube, I mean, your YouTube video would be like a presentation or kind of like a talk type thing about that. You also post a lot of clips from workshops and things that you do that work out really well on YouTube. I think the, the realness of that and the, the, the actual conversations that are happening is, is that something you suggest we do more of is just turn the camera on for those moments where wherever we are, essentially to capture in, in post on there.

[00:44:17] Chris:
As far as they can tell, Pat people are emotionally charged they’re on camp a or camp B. And if you say something that is going against their core beliefs, they will respond. I don’t engineer. Our, our videos to do that. But in the course of talking for an hour and a half to two hours, someone’s going to say something.

And then I’m going to say back to them in very emphatic ways that are going to just charge people up. I don’t mean to do that. I’m not the, the, is it, Paul Crowder louder with Crowder guy.

Who’s like a male. Whiteness is not a thing, prove me wrong or whatever. He’s deliberately provoking people to get into a fight, but his content works because you’re either on campaign or.

And so one of the secrets to having videos and content that performs well is you have to be willing to be polarizing. I don’t mean that to be your intention, but you have to have a point of view and you have to take a stand. And once you do something wonderful happens. So almost all the shorts that have performed well for us is me engaging with someone speaking like in a very real way.

I think you’re wrong. Here’s why. And hopefully I’ll change your mind. And it’s something like that. It’s not always said in that nice way, but that’s how I see it in my head. And so when someone’s asking me like, so how much do you charge for low. And then I start to ask back some, some really tough questions to this person in to help them unpack, maybe some, condition thinking that they have about value.

And then it starts to mess up the internet. They’re like, this is crazy. And so people start commenting and you’ve seen the comments. I love reading their negative comments, by the way. I’m not saying do it, but I do love reading them. They’ll say this guy’s an idiot. Oh, there’s fire. Or I’ll do it for five bucks.

I know old pay $10,000 for a logo. They go on and on and on and on about that. And the saddest part for me is many of them are creative people. It’s not that there’s a

Business coming in and saying, I would never pay a designer this much it’s designers and creative people saying, oh, I’ll do it for less.

And that’s part of the problem, the culture that I’m trying to change. And so I think when you, when you hit a nerve like that, things start to get real real, and it almost always happened during these live tapings where. So, this is the beautiful part. You cannot plan for this. People will say something, they’ll do something and it will then spark an idea in you.

And then you guys will go head to head and somewhere in the middle is the truth.

[00:46:40] Pat:

[00:46:40] Chris:
For really engaging.

[00:46:44] Pat:
I got into a rabbit hole watching your stuff, Chris, I must say, in preparation for this interview, I mean, I’ve watched it before, but watching it again, especially knowing that we were going to have a chat. I just, I just love it. I think it’s

So true. We have to pick a point And and have a stance on something or else if we’re just trying to play it safe and trying to make everybody happy then well, why would they come and join us and follow us?

[00:47:05] Chris:

[00:47:06] Pat:
I love that before you go, Chris, tell us about The Futur of The Futur. What’s going on in the brand. What can we look forward to coming in 2022 and beyond?

[00:47:14] Chris:
Okay. The feature, the feature is that we we’ve had some challenging, two years here with the pandemic. We had the initial surgeons spike with like audiences, not knowing what to do with their time locked at home. And so had his surgeon in dealership and then people figure it out. some of my plans got totally derailed Pat, because prior to the pandemic I was building out this, what I think is the 21st century classroom, which is wide open space, to learn, to share whiteboards, projectors, all this kind of stuff with cameras everywhere, like big brother style, like the TV show.

Right. And I thought I can invite you. Great speakers and teachers that come and teach and not to worry about the technology. And then we can do our services to the community by broadcasting this out for, for low or no money at all. It helps the author. It helps the students helps everybody and I bought a hundred shares.

I bought all kinds of stuff. And then boom, dynamic hub.

Downsize office got get rid of all this stuff. So for me, I’m, I’m hoping that, once this pandemic is under control and that we can have some semblance back to normal reality, I want to restart those plans because I do really miss being around people.

And like you said, those magical moments happen when we’re together and we’re, we’re like arguing, but in a way that is respectful and sometimes playful, I really meant. I, I really define myself as, as, as an educator and I want to continue experimenting with ways to teach people and I’m looking forward to doing more of that.

[00:48:45] Pat:
I’m looking forward to seeing it from me, Chris, and you know, forever at a party together, both being introverts. You know, we’ll be both on the wall together and we can spark up a conversation there. I promise you cause I’ll be there as well.

[00:48:56] Chris:
We’ll just stand quietly staring at each other, but not saying anything.

[00:49:00] Pat:
Middle school dances are coming back to me.

Chris, my friend, this was such a pleasure. Thank you so much.

Where should people go to follow you and check you out?

[00:49:11] Chris:
I’m pretty easy to follow on the internet. I’m @theChrisDo. Do is spelled D O. That’s it.

[00:49:18] Pat:
Thank you, Chris. Appreciate you. Thanks for all you do, and we look forward to chatting again soon.

[00:49:21] Chris:
Thank you very much, Pat.

[00:49:22] Pat:
Alright. I hope you enjoyed that interview with Chris Do. Again, you can find him at The Futur. T H E F U T U R. That’s Futur without the “e.”

I’m really excited about the future of The Futur, because Chris, as you can tell, is just an absolute wealth of knowledge. I invite you to subscribe to his YouTube channel and his podcast, The Futur, and then you can check out the episode that I was on, on his podcast. It was a great interview.

I just love talking to Chris. Such a down to earth, amazing person who has a very, very good way of positioning these statements that help us as entrepreneurs and creatives. Definitely check them out.

Chris, thank you so much for your time and your wisdom today.

And you, thank you so much for listening in on this episode. I appreciate you.

Make sure you hit that “subscribe” button so that you can get this and every other episode that’s coming out, and all the other episodes that are in our backlog, as well. We have a lot of great stuff coming.

Here we are, we’re approaching midway, if not over halfway, through Q1 of 2022, and we’re just getting started. We’ve got a lot of great stuff coming. Make sure you hit “subscribe” so you don’t miss it.

Thank you, in advance, for all the reviews and comments. I appreciate it so much. I look forward to serving you in next week’s episode. You can check out the show notes for this episode at That’s

As always, take care, peace out. Thank you. Team Flynn for the win.


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