Hundreds of Ways

How Entrepreneurship and Travel Keep You Curious w/ Eliot Raymond, Creative Director & Digital Strategist

July 17, 2020 Season 1 Episode 3
Hundreds of Ways
How Entrepreneurship and Travel Keep You Curious w/ Eliot Raymond, Creative Director & Digital Strategist
Chapters
0:00
Intro
1:21
What Eliot Does
4:03
Transitioning From Film & Video Into Advertising
7:37
Working in an Ever-Changing Field
15:03
Finding Clients, Big & Small
19:15
Taking the Leap Towards Entrepreneurship
21:27
Finding Time to Start
26:40
How to Find Your Way
28:20
Why Eliot Risked it All
33:22
Traveling the Globe, Running a Business
36:21
How Entrepreneurship is Different
40:58
Next Week
41:30
Reach Out When You Need Help
Hundreds of Ways
How Entrepreneurship and Travel Keep You Curious w/ Eliot Raymond, Creative Director & Digital Strategist
Jul 17, 2020 Season 1 Episode 3

On this week's episode of Hundreds of Ways, Eliot plays the role of interviewee as we chat about his experience traveling the globe while running a digital marketing agency. He describes his journey from Hollywood editor to global brand storyteller, talks about how he nails big-name marketing clients like McDonalds and United Airlines, and shares the life experiences that started him down his path towards independence. 

We also chat about what makes entrepreneurship different—how the challenges you find as a freelancer or agency owner can be a source of motivation, and not frustration. When you're working for yourself, everything is on the line. For some people, that sounds terrifying—but for many of us, the high stakes table is the only place to play.

If you're one of the loonies, join us as we explore which of the Hundreds of Ways belongs to Eliot.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

On this week's episode of Hundreds of Ways, Eliot plays the role of interviewee as we chat about his experience traveling the globe while running a digital marketing agency. He describes his journey from Hollywood editor to global brand storyteller, talks about how he nails big-name marketing clients like McDonalds and United Airlines, and shares the life experiences that started him down his path towards independence. 

We also chat about what makes entrepreneurship different—how the challenges you find as a freelancer or agency owner can be a source of motivation, and not frustration. When you're working for yourself, everything is on the line. For some people, that sounds terrifying—but for many of us, the high stakes table is the only place to play.

If you're one of the loonies, join us as we explore which of the Hundreds of Ways belongs to Eliot.

James Knight :

Welcome to Hundreds of Ways, the podcast that celebrates entrepreneurship and career independence. This week, I'm interviewing my infinitely more charming co-host, Elliot Raymond, as he shares the story of how he travels the globe while running a digital marketing agency. So join us as we explore which of the Hundreds of Ways belongs to him.

Eliot Raymond :

Hey, James, good evening

James Knight :

Hey, Eliot. How are you doing?

Eliot Raymond :

I'm doing really well. Another day, another beautiful day. How are you?

James Knight :

I'm doing great. I am another day in the new normal, as we like to call it.

Eliot Raymond :

What a time.

James Knight :

So today's episode is our third official episode. Number two by count since we had the first one we call zero, which is a programming thing. So if you're not a programmer, then then you're not used to counting by zero. But for those of you who are, this is Episode Two, which means it's the third episode. Today, we're going to finish

Eliot Raymond :

You lost me there.

James Knight :

Yeah. It's a it's a great one. Others, anyone who's a programmer is laughing right now. So I promise they're laughing too hard, right? real hard, but read write, please. Today we are finishing up our kind of our introduction episodes. And last week, we had Elliot interview, interview me about about the stuff that I do. And today we're gonna flip that around, and I'm going to be interviewing Elliot. So to the effort of jumping right in, Elliot, I'm gonna ask you the correct question. What do you do?

Eliot Raymond :

What do I do? Well, that's a great question to kick things off with because it's my least favorite question. So out of the way, but I run a digital agency and content studio and we help brands grow typically funded startups or all the way up to enterprise brands, through digital advertising, so primarily, social media advertising and search advertising, and then also creating the content to go along with That. And the story of how I got there is kind of interesting. I know we'll dive into that later. But my background actually is a majority in film and television. And in the last couple years, I've transitioned over into the more short form kind of advertising space. So that's what I do. It's a company that I've been running for about two years now, just under two years. And it is we're all remote. So all of the contractors that I work with are spread out around the world, everywhere from Europe, to Asia, Australia. And it's been a really interesting journey, kind of learning how to build and manage a team like that. So excited to dive into it.

James Knight :

So I want to back up a little bit to you were talking about the kind of work you do. You said, branding and digital advertising. Can you go into a little more detail into what kind of what sorts of projects you do have what the projects look like that kind of thing?

Eliot Raymond :

Yes, so we actually don't do branding, traditional sense. Let's say we take a company's established brand, and then build upon that by relaying the messages to their consumers or whomever their customers are. And we do that through social and digital advertising. So a company would come to us with certain marketing goals saying we want to either sell this product or grow the brand through an awareness play or whatever it might be. And then we would build out a campaign with creative assets and a digital strategy associated with it to achieve that goal.

James Knight :

So real quick, I want to there's a little bit I just want to clarify when you're saying digital, is a creative assets was a term you used? Yeah. What do you mean by creative assets?

Eliot Raymond :

It's a good question. I think I get so caught up in my own world, where everyone knows what it is. And I appreciate you clarifying. So in this case, a digital asset for me is a short form video or piece of kind of interactive media, whether that's like a clickable ad or Something like that that's meant to grab your attention and drive you to a product website, or have you learned more about that product educate you entertain you in some way to grow your awareness of that brand, or have you buy that product or service?

James Knight :

So you mentioned just a second ago that you started off and film a video. And now, in a way, you're still doing filming video, which is a different focus. What was that transition? Like?

Eliot Raymond :

Yeah, so I got really lucky early on when I was back in college, even before that, in high school, not to drag this way back. But uh, I got super lucky at the age of 16, to convince a experiential school outside of the US based in Costa Rica to hire me. And I was, I think their hot youngest ever employee of 16 at the time, and moved to Costa Rica and got a job there and producing videos for their advertising marketing team. And after that just kind of fell in love with the medium and the creativity that came along with television. stories about different subjects. And that's kind of where it kicked off my interest in film and TV. I ended up going to school for film and television production and getting one of my first jobs out in Hollywood, working on a Batman movie Batman vs. Superman, doing editing, doing posts. And it was great, fantastic introduction into the world of Hollywood really need to land that job kind of right out the gates while still in college. But I realized that if you're not in love with the project you're working on, when you're working on a film, you're stuck on that project for one to three years. And oftentimes in Hollywood when you're working in a freelance capacity, which most creatives are, you're having to hustle for that next job and you're always just taking the next job as it comes in. But then you're stuck on it for years at a time sometimes. And so, a couple of years later, while still in school, I was introduced the world of digital advertising and marketing, especially just generally the world of advertising, and learn that you could be moving through creative projects, you know, monthly or even weekly, where you're scripting, doing pre production, and then moving into production and post and then flighting that content over the course of several months. And then with digital, it's even faster can be over the course of weeks making changes on a weekly or daily basis, because of the feedback that you get. And so I just really fell in love with evolving nature and the like, really fast paced landscape of digital because you're always interacting with something new. There's always new information that platforms are always changing, best practices are changing. And that's really because consumer habits are changing. And so you're having to learn constantly and there's always something new to be understood or kind of, to test out or whatever it might be. So That's kind of that was my transition from to make a long story short from film and TV and advertising.

James Knight :

Well, it's a great story too, because it's almost like you're back home, right? You You started off in digital advertising way back at 16. And then you made this foray into film & video... sorry, film and television, and then you came back. So I love that.

Eliot Raymond :

I remember back then it wasn't even you couldn't even do paid ads on social, it was just putting out you know, social media videos, we'd get a big hit, and one would have 10s of thousands of views. And then, you know, the algorithm was just so different than and that just goes to show things evolve so rapidly because those platforms are all pay to play now. And to get that kind of engagement for a brand it's you're paying to to reach those consumers. So really interesting time.

James Knight :

The world of social media is so much different now. And you just touched on that with you know, talking about these different platforms and the changing consumer behaviors. What is it like working in an industry where where the ground is always moving out from under you?

Eliot Raymond :

Well, I think a good example of that is so Facebook 10 years ago was you could throw something on there and have the whole world see it, not actually. But you could have the entire platform, see, I mean, things would go viral so easily. And that's where kind of people always talk about going viral the concept of virality. It's much harder to attain on those platforms now, but they say we're recording this summer 2020. I'd say that's where Tick Tock is right now. And that's a whole new platform on by dance and China of just getting into that same concept of super early stages still, in its adopted phase, people are still getting on and they're allowing people to have that they're allowing the algorithm to have get people access to those wide audiences on an organic standpoint, organic meaning free, not paid for. But they're starting to do the same thing, introduce ads, build their revenue model similarly to the other platforms and soon enough, it's going to be the same pay to play. So that's when I talked about the space evolving so rapidly. That's over the course of a year that that's been changing so dramatically. And we've seen so much growth of that platform, but also then starting to slow as they introduce their paid model. So always important to be on top of kind of how that's all working and the industry.

James Knight :

Something you touched on earlier was that that love of storytelling, and that's actually one of the reasons why you and I got along in the first place and why we're doing this podcast is both of us have a shared love for storytelling. And the work that you do is so fascinating, because you are the stories that you tell are bound by the medium. And so could you talk a little bit about how, let's say I have, I don't know a company that let's say I'm an apartment complex, something that everyone's familiar with. How would you tell my story differently on Instagram versus on tik tok? Maybe, I don't know. I don't know if it's gonna be interesting. Like my senior living complex.

Eliot Raymond :

Once we see senior living doing advertising on tik tok, I'm gonna assume there's gonna be another platform where the gen Z's are moving to but

James Knight :

yeah, I'll probably be in senior living.

Eliot Raymond :

Actually, maybe not. Hopefully not. I don't know. We'll see. We'll see. So I think a better kind of example to give, it would be that time, you know, comparing a traditional commercial, which I would consider traditional advertising, to digital, and with the commercial, you have these gatekeepers, you have the networks and you have, everyone knows NBC ABC, and the big primetime shows that they run, and then they sell advertising around that those shows. And typically, a really high level of how that works is you have to buy into a certain package. And that means that commitment of several million dollars upfront to buy advertising space around that show then beyond that a company will go produce a multimillion dollar 32nd commercial 15 second spot to run for that audience. And then they get back to you and they say, all right, so we have 14.1 million people watching that show that evening. So 14.1 million people saw your ad, great doing business with you. Whereas when you're working in a digital platform, you're able to instead of go out and produce a multimillion dollar ad, you can produce a $10,000 ad or a $10 ad that you shot on your iPhone. And you can target audiences based on the type of product that you're selling. So you can park it if I am selling an apartment complex. I can target people specifically in Los Angeles instead of broadcasting it nationwide. And then I can apartment complex is kind of difficult actually because laws around who what you're allowed to do targeting but say it's just a typical product with Selling bread sitting here eating my breakfast. So selling some toast. I can target people who have been shopping on Amazon for groceries before and are familiar with e commerce, grocery shopping can target people who have purchased certain types of bread by uploading customer lists, there are all sorts of ways to do it. And then your ad is being delivered to people specifically, who are interested in your product more or less. And take it a step further. I don't want to bore people too much. But it's interesting. You're instead of watching a 32nd ad, the attention span on social is much different. There's the same they're the same platform in the sense that people go to TV for entertainment and they often go to social media for entertainment. And the thing is, you're moving much faster through social media and so sitting down for 30 seconds show or 30 minutes show you're watching five to seven second videos and photos. So the story arc is compressed much more from a 32nd commercial to having three seconds to grab people's attention and tell them why they should watch that advertisement, and what the value is going to be for them. And so there are all sorts of things you're playing around with in terms of not having any sound designing for sound off environment, the typography, crops, kind of duration story arcs. And finally, if you haven't stopped listening by now, because you're completely bored, there's a lot of opportunity for experimentation, you can spend instead of a million dollars on an ad buy on CNN, you can spend $20 testing against an audience of 1000 people. And then depending on how they react if they're engaging with the ad or buying your product. You can know whether or not something's working and kind of move on from there and iterate on what you're doing. And so that's actually a project that James and I have been working on in the last couple of months, but we'll delve into that another time.

James Knight :

Yeah, so the one I think she mentioned was Like the cropping and I have not done a ton of digital advertising work until you and I have been working on stuff together. And it's it's interesting just seeing, you know how you're limited in what you can show visually between a, a Instagram story, which is this big kind of portrait shape and Instagram actual ad on the feed, which is a square and then, you know, on the web, you've got more horizontal formats and and that changes the the story that you're telling. And I think that's super, super neat.

Eliot Raymond :

I think that's one of the things I work with my clients a lot on is they assume Great. So we have this 32nd commercial, we just ran it on 10 broadcast networks, and we now want to slap it on social media. And it doesn't work because your story arc is so different. You're running a horizontal advertisement in a vertical platform. And so the brain is immediately going to identify that as an ad instead of something that they want to engage with. As I say, every ad needs to entertain or educate. And so there's just so many things that you need to take into consideration that are different in this digital world than in the world of standard creative and traditional advertising.

James Knight :

So I definitely want to spend time talking about your work life. But before we before we change gears, I just want to real quick, let's go back to those clients that you work with. So you mentioned that you work with funded startups and larger brands, can you talk a little bit about the types of people that you work with?

Eliot Raymond :

Sure, I think kind of one of the main things that people will come to us for is growth. So whether or not that's selling a product or they're a new brand or company entering the market, and they need to drive awareness of their offering. So for example, we from the smaller side, kind of on the funded startup side, there was a company last year that was selling security systems, and they came to us they're a brand new player in the market. Trying to compete against some of the larger brands out there. Amazon owns one of the biggest in the world, Google as well. And they were a lower cost option breaking into the US market. And so we came up with a strategy for them to do creative assets on kind of iterative scale that was able to communicate their brand message and who they were and why they were kind of a valid competitor to some of these larger brands, even though most people had never heard of them. And then on the enterprise side, scaling all the way up to a company like McDonald's that has kind of global awareness. We've worked with them on a campaign to introduce a brand new menu offering last fall, and that was broadcast across the US and to do with their holiday offerings. And so oftentimes, it'll be specific target markets or groups of people that a brand wants to introduce their service or product to whether or not that's shampoo or health. devices or plane tickets, whatever it might be. Those are kind of strategies and creative concepts that we developed for brands.

James Knight :

So McDonald's is a big name client, right? I mean, that's that's like that's like the holy grail of a marketing client. How do you get clients like that?

Eliot Raymond :

client acquisition is a tricky thing when it comes to running your own business. And it's not easy. I think it's a little bit chicken in the egg, because in order to have, in order to pitch new clients, you really need a strong portfolio, especially for a larger brand like that. And in order to get a strong portfolio, you need to work with some great clients. And so people often have a hard time building up that, that set. So I started out when I launched my company about a year and a half, two years ago, partnering with a lot of agencies and platforms also. So with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, working with stakeholders internally, they're sharing my Frank saying, look, we can build these social ads. That's something I'm incredibly well versed in I've been doing for years. And here are a couple examples. But we'd love to work with you. And some of these brands that you've collaborated with similar thing with agencies reaching out to people in agency saying, Hey, I know you guys work with freelancers all the time, would you be able to trust us with a couple of tests here and there. And so growing those relationships really helped me to build a portfolio and then over the last year, really begin developing my own sales pipeline in the sense that there's a ton of cold emailing cold calling, and in the last three to four months have begun hiring my own sales team to do cold outreach and kind of outbound sales to a whole variety of different clients within the different kind of verticals that I work in. And so it's definitely been an evolution and things started slow, but that's what you have to remember when you're building your own company as overnight success is a myth. It doesn't happen or it does too. Very few people, and you really just have to be patient. So when I left my other job, I had a runway of kind of cash that I had with me of knowing I could support myself and pay my rent and pay for groceries for about three or four months, and that I was just really gonna have to hustle for work. And as I started developing those relationships, and that client roster, things just kind of grew from there.

James Knight :

So as someone who's listening to this, who maybe they want to do digital advertising or a similar field, something on their own, what would you recommend is the best thing that they could do today, the quickest thing that they could do? I know you said it takes time and patience and that people have to wait but what if if someone's listening right now and they say I want to starting Monday, I want to leave my job and I want to go be a digital advertiser. Who do they contact? Where do they go? What do they look up that what that kind of stuff.

Eliot Raymond :

My first recommendation is don't leave your job on Monday. And that's because it takes Some planning, you should leave your job if that's really what you want to do at some point. But there is some planning involved. And so part of the story that I haven't shared is I've been working on a freelance basis at my last job on nights and weekends for probably three, four to six months, four or five months before I left. And I had proven to myself that I was able to bring in additional income on the side. And I grown that to a place of having it be paired with my savings enough to live on for a little while, and was confident that I could continue growing it. And so because of that, that was really what gave me that was the catalyst to allow me to leave having that side income, also that confidence that I was capable of doing this . So I think...

James Knight :

And that's something that shouldn't be downplayed, right? it one of the things when you're starting freelancing is it's scary, and you're gonna have imposter syndrome. You're gonna have this feeling of Huge. And I think your point of the runway is there to Yes, support you financially and give you this buffer. But it's also there to tell you, hey, you can do this. So again, that's a huge, huge tip.

Eliot Raymond :

And now the flip side of that is, you could theoretically keep working your job forever and freelancing on the side forever. So there is a point at which you have to take that leap, and it's gonna be scary and you could fail. But you have to know that and you have to press forward anyway, if it's truly what you want to do, and you feel is your next right step. So it's a balancing act.

James Knight :

Yeah, so one of the push backs that I hear sometimes from people when they say, Well, hey, you know, I really want to go into freelancing and you go, Okay, great. Well, what you should do is find some work on the side where you you know, you have this this day job so that you not, you know, sink or swim, and they go, Well, I don't have time for that or you know, I'm too tired. I, you know, work so hard and and That is true for a lot of people that, you know, life is difficult as it is you don't need to add in freelancing on the side, especially if you've got kids or you know, working two jobs already. Or even a myriad of different

Eliot Raymond :

things that are impacting people's lives that I can't even fathom, because I haven't had that experience. There's so many individual unique circumstances that make it really hard.

James Knight :

Absolutely. The thing that to keep in mind is that it's not for forever. This this, what we're talking about this, you know, kind of burning the candle at both ends, working your full time job, and then also working your side job to build that buffer. You don't have to do that forever. I mean, you really only had to do it for a few weeks. Honestly, if, if you're making two incomes, it doesn't take that much extra income to build up a little bit of a buffer. And there are other things you can do to write you know, there are ways that you can cut expenses. Obviously, again, that's not for everybody that some people's expenses are very fixed. There's a really great I think it's a blog post, I'll try to find it by Amy hoy, who's the founder of freckle and 3500 and a couple other startups in SAS companies and courses and a bunch of other stuff that she does. But she has a concept she calls Buffy time, which is basically she, at some point, looked back, you know, at the last three months of her life, and instead Oh, you know, I, I never have time to get this work done on the SAS product I want to launch and she looked back at the last three months. And she said, Well, you know, but I did kind of watch like four seasons of Buffy, and three months. And so if you're, if you're honest with yourself, and again, this doesn't apply to everybody, some some people really are out of time. But a lot of people that I talked to you that go, I would love to do that. I'm just too busy. I'd love to do that. I'm just too tired. If you look at your life, there might be places there might be things, the elements of Buffy time that you can eliminate and that you can replace with again, just a week, two weeks, three weeks of of extra work, and really make fundamental change in your life.

Eliot Raymond :

Imagine if you one of the amazing tools that I've found on both iPhone and Android is the ability to see your screen time. And what you're spending your time doing broken down by app can be terrifying at times. But log onto there, see how much time you spent on non essential tasks. And you can define that however you want. If you think that scrolling through your Twitter feed and updating yourself on the world's news is essential and great, consider that essential. But take out that time that's non essential, whether it's watching Netflix show or scrolling through social media, whatever it may be, and think about what you could accomplish in that time. Think about what you could accomplish and half that time. I know so many people who spend 234 hours a day watching YouTube or Netflix or whatever it may be. And so don't get rid of that entirely, but maybe spend 60 minutes a day doing outbound, you know, reach outs cold emails to companies saying hi, I'd love to do some graphic design for you, or Hi, I'd love to do your next Voiceover for your commercial, whatever it is, since in one

James Knight :

cent one a day, five a day, right that

Eliot Raymond :

said one a day that's 365 a year. And your odds of someone saying yes, there are great to have one person say yes,

James Knight :

one, I want to get back to you and your life and especially I want to get away from the work stuff. But one one thing to to consider too with with the screentime stuff that Elliott's talking about. I noticed a difference in my productivity during the week when I put a blocker on Reddit on my phone. And the only time I'm on Reddit on my phone is if I'm going to the bathroom or if I'm getting a coffee or if I'm you know, in these kind of transitions and not working anyways. But that distraction, that mental transition that mental context switch to to consumption versus creation versus doing you know, the development work and the business work that I need to actually get done to get paid. There's a cost to that. And it's something to consider with this stuff that is addictive and mentally consuming the social media In a lot of the stuff on the internet can be removing it from your leisure time can even help you find other time, that's not your leisure time. So it's just something to consider.

Eliot Raymond :

And also, I'd argue, funnily enough, it's what I do so much work in, but you know, get rid of that and try some other activities, some other, there's so many more stimulating ways to pass your leisure time that I would argue are going to be a lot more beneficial. So, yeah,

James Knight :

play around with that. And that doesn't have to be reading business books. It doesn't have to be reading, you know, articles on on, on how to advertise yourself online. playing the piano is a better use of time than sitting on Facebook, especially if you're arguing with relatives about politics because that's a giant black hole of emotional and intellectual energy.

Eliot Raymond :

I have a friend I was talking to yesterday who just launched a startup that makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and you think peanut butter and jelly sandwich starter He loves it. It's absolutely what he loves to do. He's been doing it on site for six months, just took on full time. And they're looking to take on the world of, you know, fast, fast snacks and take on smokers and whatnot. And he said, Yeah, I'm working 1214 hour days, and I love it. And granted, you'll burn out on that you can't do that forever, from my experience, but also, if you're spending four hours a day scrolling on Instagram, try finding something that you love doing. And then consider doing that for work, find a way to monetize it, you know, because there's so many things out there that you people love to do. And they say, I wish I could do this for a career. And the fact is, you can you just got to figure out how to make it pay for your living expenses.

James Knight :

And if you don't believe Elliot, keep listening over the next few weeks because we have some people coming in, I think really prove this, you know, whatever it is you're interested in, there's almost certainly a way to monetize it. If you're interested in it, then someone else's, almost almost for certain. And the beauty of the internet, especially in 2020, is it's not hard to find those people like Elliot talks about with with advertising weight, you know, way back at the beginning of the conversation. There are tools now to find and target and deliver content to people with very niche interests. And whatever your interest is, there's almost certainly a way to monetize it. And we're going to look at some of those ways in the coming weeks. I want to get back to Elliot. So we've talked a lot about your work. And it's exciting and interesting, but let's get to the better part of your life. Talk to us a little bit about what you've been doing the last couple years of your life.

Eliot Raymond :

Sure. Yeah. It's a interesting kind of narrative because I think the best way to contextualize it is taking it back to again back in college. I had a close family member Pass, who is always someone who's very inspiring to me. He started his career in Hollywood similar to me. And that's kind of where the similarities end though he spent almost a decade here at a big Hollywood agency working his way up from the mailroom all the way up to being an agent, hollywood agent. I mean, we used to watch VHS tapes of him and Matt Damon in the lobby of the agency just like screwing around playing pranks on people, they would hide a camera, and, like, do all sorts of stuff down in the lobby as people would walk in. It was the funniest thing to me. It's cuz at the time, Matt Damon was nobody and they were just buddies running around Hollywood. So he burnt out on it and move back east and got another

James Knight :

job. We're ranking people with Matt Damon, it's super Yeah.

Eliot Raymond :

But at the same time, it sounds glamorous and all but he was sitting at a desk all day. Sure, and making phone calls and getting yelled out as a junior agent and you know It wasn't the best lifestyle so he moved into another corporate job and did that for another 10 years and then unfortunately passed from from cancer pretty pretty young. And he always would talk about doing different things. He was so excited to do he got a scuba diving license he bought a little plot of land to mine for gold pan for gold out in California. He always wanted to go hunting for treasure underwater. And that's what scuba diving comes in. All of these, you know, kind of business ideas that he wanted to start and trips he wanted to go on

James Knight :

and never got around to enters always so many adventures

Eliot Raymond :

adventures. Yeah, but always, you know, I would ask him, why don't you go Why don't you go it wasn't a financial holdup. He just said, you know, works too busy, I can't go. And then he was, you know, diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer, and he had a really good fight with it, but I ended up passing away sadly. And that was the first time it really hit me. I remember Sitting in a restaurant with him. And he gave me a really good piece of advice that just stuck with me that was stay curious. And that's kind of always a always stayed with me as something that's been a guiding principle in my life because it's so easy to get kind of comfortable and stay in the same rhythm that you're stuck in, day in, day out, year in year out. And all of a sudden you wake up and you know, I can't speak from personal experience because of my age, but 20 years have passed and all of a sudden you are in the same place you were 20 years ago. So that'll just ties back to the state curious principle of my I graduated from school and spent about a year and a half, two years in a traditional agency job and by all accounts, it was fantastic. I had a great role a good salary, great coworkers. It was in a you know, the west side of La lots of stuff to do. Awesome. Some roommates Life was good. But I just couldn't, I was so tired of having to sit at that desk every day and kind of stare out the three panes of windows, we were in a we work. So there was like all this glass everywhere and couldn't even really see out the window. And I just was thinking to myself every day, you know, I can be doing this work from anywhere. Why do I have to sit here at this desk, everything I'm doing is on this computer. And I just come in every day and I sit at their desk and I do it and then I leave. And then I started bringing in work for that company and bringing on new clients and having new conversations. And it kind of hit me like, well, not only can I do this work from anywhere, but I know how to get the work now and I know how to execute on the work. So why am I doing the work for somebody else where I don't want to be? And so that's that's kind of where I decided to leave. And so I think this is rambling a little bit from your question, but that tying back to the curiosity, the state curious advice It was really scary leave because again, it was traditionally exactly where I was supposed to be. And I had things really good. And I could have seen myself staying there for five or 10 years. But I was curious kind of what was out there, what more I could discover, and what was out there in the world. I grew up kind of moving all over the place and had a fantastic, really privileged, Lucky experience to see a little bit of North America but had really never gone beyond that. And so I decided to do everything I could to build a business that could be run from anywhere in the world. And that's where I am today. I've spent the last 18 months traveling all over the world to I was on every continent in 2019, except for Antarctica, and flew just under I think a quarter million miles over the course of the year. So it's a really wild year. It's all over the place, and People thought I was on vacation all the time. But in reality, I was still working, you know, 40 hour weeks just was sitting in a cafe and Lisbon or from we work in Tokyo instead of in my office in LA.

James Knight :

Ellie and I were in Lisbon and we went out with some friends and Elliott was smart and went home earlier which isn't a you know that much of an accomplishment to go home earlier than I do. And I got up in the morning to go down and get coffee and some sort of juice device or something. And sure enough Elliott's sitting and your your your shirt looked freshly laundered and pressed, your eyes were bright. And I mean, it had to be 930 in the morning after us being out last day it was so I told God knows what. And there you were, you were working, you were sending email, see where you were cranking on it. So yeah, I'm

Eliot Raymond :

gonna take that audio clip and send it to all of my friends who think I just sit on the Yeah, yeah.

James Knight :

And you know that's with this lifestyle. That's that's part of it right is some days you do sit on the beach and surf, right? Sometimes you get to do that on Tuesday at 2pm. But sometimes you got drinking all night and you gotta get up and you got to be cranking again and nine in the morning. It doesn't matter. You know where you are, who you're with what you've been doing. So, yes, I

Eliot Raymond :

love it. I think that also just goes to say that when you don't have a boss, it's super easy to in my experience, you No one's telling you what to do. Yeah, I mean, you theoretically can sit around all day and drink if you want or eat Cheetos or whatever it might be chocolate chip cookies, personal favorite, but if you aren't motivated and don't love what you're doing, like if you're doing it for the wrong reasons, if it's to make money or to you know, take photos on Instagram to show your friends what you're doing. But you don't love the work that you're doing, or the result of the lifestyle that comes from it, it's gonna be a lot harder to be successful because of being in it for the wrong reasons. And so you were talking about that morning, I remember that morning, so well. And I was so excited because the reason I was up is I was jumping on a call with a new prospective client I was really excited about, and that was the motivation to, you know, go home, get out of bed, go take the call, because I was looking forward to it. I think that's another important aspect to touch on briefly.

James Knight :

And that's one of the things about this kind of work is that there are elements that that are really, really rewarding, and fulfilling, when it's you and when it's on your own, that maybe aren't as much aren't as exciting when it's for someone else. When I worked at Google and had clients, the I'm making them happy, you know, felt good from an interpersonal perspective, because I like these people. But one quarter at Google, I made the company Through my projects, somebody's $35 million. And that's a really big number, and it meant absolutely nothing to me. But when I'm able to close a project, that's even just a couple thousand, just a couple thousand dollars that you know, it's gonna take a week or two of putting together something real quick for clients, they maybe they're an existing client or something. And it's just some of it is going to be cranked out quick, small amount. That doesn't always mean so much every time you make it. And getting on a call with a prospective client is so fun every time because it's its opportunity as someone new to get to meet, you get to talk about the work that you do. You could just talk about the work that you've done that you that you're proud of. And so that's that's another thing about this, that you can talk a lot about traveling around and spending time on beaches, and you know, I'm fond of that too, but but one of the things that it is harder to get across is is the thrill of being on a prospective sales call when it's your business.

Eliot Raymond :

Everything is on the line, because the paycheck is only going to come whether or not you close the deal. quickly before we end, a couple of things that I want to touch on is just there are their highs and their lows to entrepreneurship. And sometimes you don't close that deal. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. But there's tons of failure and things that I've challenged in my head through the almost two years I've been at this sustainability. I mean, you and I are in different positions. You have kids in a family and I consider whether or not like I want to be doing what I'm doing long term. There's a lot of loneliness in the sense that as a solo entrepreneur or even as somebody with a business partner, you don't have the same kind of office vibe, especially if you're traveling all the time as I do. You get to meet a lot of incredible people, but those aren't relationships that you can physically maintain over the course. of yours because you're in different places. And then there's the benefits of, you know, meeting a lot of, as I said, meeting a lot of incredible people, some with like minded interests and others with brand new perspectives that you get to be exposed to, which is incredible. I remember waking up one morning I was in Amsterdam, and it was a weekend and I just, I woke up really early in the morning, couldn't sleep, and it just hit me like, I'd been at this for three weeks. I'd left my job three weeks ago, it was, I don't know, early 2019. And I was like, This is real. I have X amount of time that I need to make this happen and it was terrifying. And that was kind of the first fire that got lit under me and from from there on, it was just kind of kept burning. And I think since then there have been so many really exciting, unique moments of driving. Through the Moroccan desert when I was working on my laptop in the back of the car and somehow had, I remember so clearly testing the Wi Fi speed is 100 megabits per second, driving through the Moroccan desert faster than my we work in Los Angeles, or winning a big project bid for KLM airlines in the Netherlands. Those are just those high of high moments that you remember so fondly, but I just think it's also so important. Remember that you will have low moments, things will start slow. It was months for me to get my first own real client. I had dozens of people hang up the phone in my face, yell at me over the phone. Why are you Why are you emailing me? Why are you talking to me? Who are you? I don't need this. And it's hard. You know, there are lots of difficult moments that you'll endure. But those highs also really pay, make it worth it. Because there's so much that I've gotten out of my entrepreneurial journey in terms Personal learnings, personal growth and wonderful experiences and people that I've met, that just make it so worth it.

James Knight :

Well, I can't think of a better place to stop than that. Thank you so much, Elliot for taking the time to talk with me today. And to everyone listening. This is our last internal episode and starting next week, we'll be having our first guest on so we're talking to a couple people in the next couple weeks, we're not sure who is going to be first, but we'll definitely let you know. Please join the mailing list so that we can send you an email when it's ready. Or feel free to subscribe on whatever your favorite podcast app is, if you use one of those.

Eliot Raymond :

Yeah, and I think just before we wrap things up super briefly, I encourage people to reach out because that is one of the really unique parts of entrepreneurship, reach out to James reach out to me, ask questions and we're happy to connect to you as best we can. Because it is It is such an interesting journey to be on unlike anything else. And there's no there's no YouTube video to go watch of how to make this work or how to fix this. There are a lot of YouTube videos, but there's not going to be a one size fits all solution. So what a lot of it comes down to is those human touch points, those human connections of people who have been on similar paths and can help you explore that journey, based on learned experience. So reach out, and we'd love to hear from you.

James Knight :

And you never know which one of those relationships or which conversation is going to be the one that that triggers some spark that starts you down some path that you hadn't thought before. I had been playing with this podcast for probably four years, to be honest. And then I was working on actually getting it started and then Elliot and I were checking it on a different business idea, just having a phone call to check in on that. And I threw it out there to him. Hey, do you want to join us on this podcast and Elliot jumped right on it. And we pretty much started working immediately on it and that competition for me Even though it was my, my podcast that I had this, you know, I've always wanted to work on if I hadn't had that conversation at that moment and hadn't asked Elliot in that moment, I wouldn't have been on this path either. And so, especially if you're doing the travel thing, it's super important to reach out to people, to friends to peers. have those conversations, talk about your ideas, talk about your problems. And then start that conversation.

Eliot Raymond :

Love it. It's been really fun. Thanks so much, James. We'll see everyone hopefully if I didn't bore you enough next week.

James Knight :

Thanks, everyone.

Intro
What Eliot Does
Transitioning From Film & Video Into Advertising
Working in an Ever-Changing Field
Finding Clients, Big & Small
Taking the Leap Towards Entrepreneurship
Finding Time to Start
How to Find Your Way
Why Eliot Risked it All
Traveling the Globe, Running a Business
How Entrepreneurship is Different
Next Week
Reach Out When You Need Help