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How to Face Your Writing Fears with Paco de Leon

Clients want to be connected, and since too many meetings can be burdensome, you need to find other ways to demonstrate your expertise. Technology offers numerous options, but they can often seem intimidating, especially when just starting out.

On this episode of Elementality, Reese and Paco de Leon, of The Hell Yeah Group, explain why it’s critical to interact with clients by creating content. It can be scary to put your work out there, and that fear is often paralyzing, preventing people from even trying. On this show, Reese and Paco talk about the writing fears they have faced and the power they now feel as they write. They offer tips on how to gain confidence so you can overcome your own fears and begin developing a voice that is uniquely yours.

 

Show Notes

Finance for the People

thehellyeahgroup.com

 

 


Podcast Transcript

Paco:
Yeah, I’m a musician, so I hang out with musicians, and once you start hanging out with musicians, then you’ll find yourself hanging out with painters and just all sorts of… You know, film makers and all sorts of creative people. And so at work, I would go to work and I would learn all this secret financial planning wizardry, and then I would go home and hang out with all these artists, and they would eventually start to ask me questions like, “Hey, my grandma gave me 100 grand what should I do?” Or, “Hey, what’s a bond even?” Or, “Hey, how can I not be screwed in 10 years?”

Abby Morton:
Welcome to Elementality. I am Abby Morton, CFP and producer of our podcast here at Elements. I love being a financial planner, but I know it’s a challenging profession as well, that’s why the number one goal of our show is to help you prosper as an advisor as you better connect with your clients. We know your time is very valuable, plan on a good return when you spend it here with us.

Reese Harper:
Welcome to another episode of Elementality, everybody. I’m your host Reese Harper, excited to be here. Beautiful Friday morning. I’m excited for a very interesting episode from someone who’s art and content I found super attractive and interesting and helpful. I’d like to welcome Paco to the show. Paco, how about you introduce yourself to everybody. For those who don’t know you, a little bit of background and maybe how you came into this really cool brand and project that you’ve worked on and authorship. And I don’t think a lot of our audience will probably have heard of you before.

Paco:
Cool. Yeah. Happy to be on here. Thank you so much for having me.

Reese Harper:
Yeah, yeah.

Paco:
My name is Paco, and I studied finance and economics mostly because my time was running out and I needed to make a decision, and I was pretty okay at accounting, but that seemed boring, so I picked finance, which is adjacent. And I’ve worked a lot of different financial services jobs, my very first job was as a debt collector at Bank of America, so I have a lot of experience talking to all sorts of people about money. And that job was amazing ’cause it taught me how to literally talk to anyone and to ask them for money, which I think is a great skill to have, right? Not being afraid to ask for money.

Reese Harper:
It does translate well to a lot of different careers all the way from for-profit to non-profit, so yeah.

Paco:
Absolutely.

Reese Harper:
It’s an important skill. I love how you went Finance because it’s adjacent. The artsy people tend to go finance when they’re in numbers land and they’re like, I don’t know if I can do a total left brain, but finance seems like maybe there’s some right brain in it. Was that any part of your thought process?

Paco:
It was more like, what is the least amount of work for the maximum amount of return.

Reese Harper:
Okay.

Paco:
And finance seemed like that was the way because people took money and then they made more money. And honestly, the people who were studying finance, this is gonna sound jerky, they didn’t seem like that smart, but they seemed like they made a lot of money, and I wanted to put in as little time as possible.

Reese Harper:
Yes. ‘Cause that…

Paco:
And…

Reese Harper:
I mean, you’re just trying to do the math on time.

Paco:
Exactly.

Reese Harper:
Okay.

Paco:
I wanted to have this really full life outside of work, and in order to do that, I thought, I think finance is probably gonna be the way. And…

Reese Harper:
There was more career tracks that you could see there, where time translated into more, and accounting seemed like I’ve got three tracks or two tracks and I kinda know what… It looks like a job…

Paco:
For sure. For sure.

Reese Harper:
That’s linear, quite predictable in terms of what I can earn.

Paco:
For sure.

Reese Harper:
Okay.

Paco:
And actually, when I finally took my financial planning class course, I really liked that, I liked that it was people-oriented and you’re helping people, and that is kinda what led me down that path, was that class and you know, like, “Okay, I’m just gonna help one person figure out all this crap,” and it’s just gonna feel good, ’cause you get to do this one-to-one work, and that’s really where I got the idea of like, I’m either gonna choose financial planning or some sort of business consulting. And I had got experience doing both, so I worked at a boutique business consulting firm for a couple of years, which is where I learned how to do bookkeeping, and I worked with a lot of different creative businesses, a lot of interior design firms. And then after a couple of years, I pivoted and I ended up at a financial planning firm, a boutique financial planning firm, served a lot of studio execs, a lot of Hollywood, and I started to feel like, woah, I kind of fell here.

Paco:
Like, there’s no reason why a state school kid who did not take it seriously should be at this boutique firm sitting at this conference table, hearing an economist from Goldman Sachs come in and teach us about the economy. And sitting across the table from two Harvard grads who are working at a big studio here in LA, and I felt like somebody lifted up, the curtain was like, Here’s how the world works, kid, and I just quietly sat there [chuckle] and absorbed everything. And you know, I’m a musician so I hang out with musicians, and once you start hanging out with musicians, then you’ll find yourself hanging out with painters and just all sorts of… You know, film makers and all sorts of creative people. And so at work, I would go to work and I would learn all this secret financial planning wizardry, and then I would go home and hang out with all these artists, and they would eventually start to ask me questions like, “Hey, my grandma gave me 100 grand what should I do?” Or, “Hey, what’s a bond even?” Or, “Hey, how can I not be screwed in 10 years?”

Reese Harper:
I’m worried about like, that I’m not gonna do anything with my money and like, I need to start doing something, that kind of a question.

Paco:
Exactly.

Reese Harper:
Right? Yeah.

Paco:
And the model like… When I was in the industry 12 years ago, there was very little space, at least from my perspective, for like, fee only financial planning or to do it at a skill that felt like you can help a community, it seemed kinda like all you had to do… Like, what you need to do to be successful in the industry was to chase folks who had a million dollars worth of investable assets. And I don’t come from that background, so that’s not natural for me, I don’t run around with those people, but I run around with artists, I around with creative people, those are my people. Any cocktail party, any dinner party, any brunch that you find me at, it’s a bunch of creative weirdos and me. And so, eventually I started to get this feeling of like, Maybe I need to be trying to serve this other audience. Then the big question was like, How do you do it in a way that you can actually make money, right?

Paco:
And the answer to that is, my company kinda does two things, The Hell Yeah Group has become this media company, I suppose, I wrote a book called Finance for the People, I was a podcast host for Refinery29’s Money Diaries, and I have all these other cool financial media things in the works that I can’t necessarily talk about right now, but the other side of that is Hell Yeah…

Reese Harper:
Top secret. Yeah, we’re not ready to release that, yeah.

Paco:
Top secret. Exactly. The other side of that is Hell Yeah bookkeeping, where we run the books and do the accounting for a lot of production companies and marketing agencies. And there’s a lot of artists around the country that have found ways to find the intersection of art and commerce, right? So like a filmmaker will end up shooting a commercial for Nike or a photographer will end up doing something for Google, and those are the kinds of people that we do the books for.

Reese Harper:
I went to thehellyeahgroup.com thinking… This was before I knew anything about you. I just was… Abby told me, you’re gonna really like Paco, you gotta get to know her and do an interview, and I was like, Okay. Check out the website. First thing I saw, I was like, Okay, this is like a content website, this is awesome. She’s producing content. I believe that’s the future. You see groups like Medium create for-profit writing, platforms like Substack are trying to get writing and content to become a thing again. And as an author, you know how hard it is to produce written copy, like, copy is way harder than a podcast.

Paco:
Yeah. Definitely.

Reese Harper:
Like, talk about that for a second. Why is it harder?

Paco:
‘Cause I think with a podcast the feeling is off the cuff, like…

Reese Harper:
Yeah.

Paco:
People just wanna feel like they’re sitting at the table with you while you’re having a conversation, so you don’t know necessarily…

Reese Harper:
No edits.

Paco:
Yeah, you don’t need to say something that’s gonna sell the person… I think you have more space for people to get to know you and your personality on a podcast, which is great, right? They can… That buy-in comes from them kind of like feeling and experiencing who you are. With copy, you’re trying to sell at the end of the day. And maybe you’re not trying to sell, but you’re trying to manipulate the reader into an action, and that action is either sign up for our services or book an introductory call or buy my book or get on the newsletter.

Reese Harper:
Or it’s persuading them at least at a minimum level to think a certain way, like it’s rhetoric, right? You’re like…

Paco:
Sure.

Reese Harper:
What’s my thesis? I gotta sell this idea like…

Paco:
Sure.

Reese Harper:
And you have to identify what the idea is you’re trying to sell. Like, even if it’s a chapter in a book, it’s like, Well, it’s not just rambling for 1500 words, there’s a thesis, there’s some supporting kind of arguments here. Podcasts don’t have that kind of precise agenda, even if you’re not selling something. I’m just kinda backing up what you’re saying, adding a new dimension, which is like, rhetoric or persuasion is the point of most writing. I mean…

Paco:
Absolutely.

Reese Harper:
I guess you could argue that some blogs are literally just like, you’re so fascinated by somebody that you just wanna hear them rant. But it’s not very common that you find someone that interesting. Like, you’re usually trying to get something into your brain quickly. I’ve struggled with this Medium, ’cause I’m just like, writing is the foundational place where people’s blood, sweat and tears end up on the page. Like, it’s hard, and then podcasting is so much easier, video content is easier, but it’s also less substantive.

Paco:
Yes.

Reese Harper:
Like, there’s not as… In this entire 45 minutes, we’re gonna be on together, right? There’s gonna be some good ideas and it will be interesting and people will love it, and they’ll like it more than reading anything we write. Like, if you and me read… Wrote an article today and we published it, no one’s gonna read the damn thing, it’s just not gonna… It’s not gonna get read. [chuckle] I don’t know what it is, people aren’t reading anymore. Like, what is this?

Paco:
I love reading. I mean, shocker…

Reese Harper:
I love reading too, but… [chuckle] You know? I don’t know… Would you agree that it’s becoming less common to love reading? I don’t know.

Paco:
I think my sample size is flawed, so…

Reese Harper:
Cause you’re in the artist community.

Paco:
Yeah. And I put out a weekly newsletter that’s a round-up of links and people write to me and they say, I love reading the articles you pick. So my sample size is very flawed. I have 12,000 people on my list who love to read, you know?

Reese Harper:
Yeah, exactly. They love to read. You have the only 12,000 people in the country that love to read. [laughter] I found it to be like, just the general… If you look at general book sales, general consumption of written media, like magazine, general newspaper, it’s in massive decline. And to me, that’s like, kind of… Like that’s… I’m curious about what that means, you know? Like it’s…

Paco:
Sure.

Reese Harper:
It’s harder to read, mentally, it’s challenging to write. I don’t know.

Paco:
It’s a crude way to communicate information. It’s much easier for me to make a… Like if my friend was like, Should I do… Whatever, they could ask me any question they want, and if I have the option to type it out or to just record a voice memo… Like, writing is a crude instrument, and I think that’s also what we’re starting to see with the development of technology, with the ability to just connect with you wherever the hell you are and wherever the hell I am and talk something out and then publish that, we can together synthesize and get that information out in a more succinct, concise way than going back and forth, editing a blog post for sure.

Reese Harper:
It’s just a very interesting crossroads right now were other mediums that are less crude and easier to produce and more entertaining, are kinda the dominant source of information.

Paco:
Sure.

Reese Harper:
But if you look back over the last thousand years, there’s some pretty interesting books that still have surprising relevance that are true, like wisdom that keeps passing on the test of time. And they’re… We’re repeating the same mistakes of the past all the time, and I don’t know, it’s kinda very interesting for me to explore this. That’s not what I was expecting to talk about today, but I love that you have an opinion on this stuff, so. Or you have the last word on this topic before we bounce to the next one.

Paco:
I mean, I’m a book person through and through. I wouldn’t be… I wouldn’t have written a book if I’m not a book person.

Reese Harper:
Yeah.

Paco:
And when I wanna learn something, the first thing I go to… I mean, depending on what it is, ’cause there are no books about cryptocurrency right now, but for the most part, I’ll read a book, I’ll read several books on the topic, and that just kinda gives me my footing, I feel like I can kinda understand that universe whatever it is I’m trying to learn. And I like the feeling, I love the experience of reading a book, of quietly sitting with somebody who really deliberated…

Reese Harper:
I know. It’s so cool.

Paco:
Right?

Reese Harper:
Yeah.

Paco:
It’s like through space and time, this person is talking to me and shaping my thoughts and my ideas, and my opinions, and my feeling and my world view, and that to me is the magic of a book. And that’s not to say that these other mediums aren’t wonderful. The way that I view it as somebody who’s in media now is that a book is a planet in a larger universe, and I’m gonna make a whole bunch of other crap, a book just happens to be one of the things I’m making.

Reese Harper:
I found that there’s some synergy between mediums, but I still find myself if I wanna really say something and really polish it and finalize it and get it down to where I’m like, You can’t… There’s no confusion anymore.

Paco:
Sure.

Reese Harper:
I can only get that from either a picture…

Paco:
Interesting.

Reese Harper:
Or writing, but audio and talking can kinda still be this like, Yeah, I heard you, but then we’re not on the same page, still.

Paco:
Right. Right. It’s nebulous. Talking through it on a podcast is much more nebulous for sure.

0Reese Harper:
‘Cause they’re feeling emotion, they’re interpreting emotion, not the words necessarily.

Paco:
Right.

Reese Harper:
Like, that’s the beauty of it, is it is so endearing, but it’s also not very precise, and I’m like, “Hey, what was that podcast about, Did you… ” “Oh, I loved. It was so great. I love the story when you told the story about this thing,” and I’m not actually hearing the point of my podcast, I’m just hearing that they loved the story and the emotion and the connection.

Paco:
Right.

Reese Harper:

But I’m like, Alright, I gotta write this down, ’cause what I shared was clearly not short, brief enough, precise enough, targeted enough, and…

Paco:
Right.

Reese Harper:
To cut through the noise.

Paco:
I’m sorry, I wanna say more about this though.

Reese Harper:
Go ahead.

Paco:
What I like about reading is, for example, if you read a book or watch a movie, I have a hard time seeing the character go through something and then they’re making faces and stuff, and they’re emoting. It’s not that I don’t get it, it’s that I get it more when I read the first person, this is how I’m feeling, the internal monologue. And I don’t know if that’s just because I’m a thinky kind of a person, but that’s always what’s fascinating to me about the difference between watching somebody have their feelings and then reading somebody kind of walk you… Take you on a walk of what they’re going through.

Reese Harper:
Yeah. I mean, to me, this… There’s a point to this financial advisors, okay? Like, we’re getting somewhere with this.

Paco:
Okay.

Reese Harper:
Because really, I just wrote a little piece on my… If you haven’t subscribed to theadvisor.substack.com, I just started a Substack a few weeks ago on just Financial Advisor concepts. So if you’re listening to this today, you wanna subscribe, just go to theadvisor.substack.com and you’ll see five or six articles that I posted. And one of them was just a recent one I did called emotional jobs to be done, kind of the thesis is, that people are actually hiring you for emotional connection, they’re not hiring you for functional jobs.

Paco:
Yo, I got out of the business, I was like, [chuckle] I can’t hold this for people.

Reese Harper:
Yeah, hold this job, it’s too heavy.

Paco:
Yes.

Reese Harper:
But if you can hold it, man, they’ll pay you a lot for it, [laughter] so this is a question of like, you wanna be in pain, you know? But what I’m… The reason I’m like, we’re talking so much about media and content here is, in your job as a financial advisor, if you’re servicing a lot of emotional jobs, if that’s really what people are actually hiring you for, a lot of ways to service those jobs efficiently is through content and it’s not as efficient to service those jobs through one-to-one conversations all day long. It’s pretty emotionally draining to do that time and time and time again, like Paco is kinda highlighting. So, backing up to continuing our discussion about media, I’m just giving you guys some context for why we’re even talking about this. For in recent… My recent experience that’s been in this emotional kind of jobs research, if I were to simplify it down even more, it’d be like, people want community, people want connection, and sometimes that’s a community of two, one friend is enough for community and COVID land and for me, it’s always been enough… One person’s always been enough community to feel like I’ve got a… My people could be one person, but you have to have deep connection with that person, and what I’ve found is writing has a way of building the most authentic community.

Paco:
Yeah, writing is a very fascinating necessary skill that even if you’re not a writer, we write… Everybody writes emails, everybody’s trying to communicate their ideas, everybody is trying to get people to buy into whatever it is they’re selling at the end of the day, and it doesn’t have to be sales-oriented, but… You know what I’m saying? Even when you’re working for an organization and you’re trying to get people on side, writing is… It’s important, it’s important, hard skill that I think a lot of people don’t overlook it.

Reese Harper:
The moral of this first part of the show before we jump into the application here is both of us, for better or for worse, we may be a community of two that feels this way very strongly, but I don’t think we are, ’cause you can see the financial advisory space is we produce a lot of content, like finance people into it. It’s a big thing out there. And if you’re not practicing this yet, I’ll just encourage you to sit down at least once a week and just carve out an hour, I’m gonna say I’m gonna write to my people who are your people, what do they need to hear from you? Just practice. What would be one tip you give besides that, or maybe a tip to help them in that process?

0:20:37.9 Paco: I think I’m trying to think about how extreme of a tip I wanna give.

Reese Harper:
Oh, nice.

Paco: Take your time. I mean, if you’re an intense person like me, I would say if you commit to shipping something to an audience, that’s the easiest way to guarantee that, not guarantee, but convince yourself or hold yourself accountable when it comes to writing. I’m like on issue to 54 something of my weekly newsletter, and it forces me to sit down on every week, if not every morning, and just kind of click-clack away on the keyboard and think about… Process things I’ve read or process interactions I’ve had, and then try to convey that to an audience. If you’re less intense, I think just trying to write like 30 minutes to an hour every morning, I’m laughing as I recommend that, I’m sure nobody wants to do that, but if you wanna improve your writing… That’s what I did, I just said, Okay, I’m an okay writer, but if I’m gonna write a book and if I’m gonna continue writing and if I wanna foster this, I’m gonna just have to put my butt on a chair and put in the time… The other thing, I know you only asked for one tip and now I’m on my third.

Reese Harper:
That’s why I’d said that’s the way we like to do things here.

Paco:
I was listening to Dax Shepherd on his podcast say… I don’t know who he was talking to you, but he’s a writer too, and he was saying, I just don’t have writer’s block, I don’t have it. And I was like, Wow, that’s fascinating. So every time I would sit down and it wasn’t flowing, I would just… I would type out, I just don’t have writer’s block, I’m not the kind of person that has writer’s block, and then I would delete it, and then I would start writing and… That’s worked for me. I just stop that narrative and I stop that belief, and it’s helped me to just… Even if it’s a crappy first draft or that I’m not gonna use that idea, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re putting words on the page that still… It’s still productive to go through that struggle.

Reese Harper:
So we’re gonna keep going down this vein because this is when one of the most requested topics, strangely enough, ’cause I’ve struggled with this during my career, I’ve focused on business building, which is sometimes… It was interesting reading like Ray Dalio’s book principles, I know he had never really written his whole career, but he built Bridgewater Associates and he’s a multi-billion dollar net worth kind of individual, and it was a great book, I don’t know how he actually got it down on the page, it was some combination of very expensive editors and copywriters and draftsman and audio transcribers, I’m sure, but I kind of could, in a very, very much less significant way relate to his pain of like, I’m always building a company, I can’t write… And for me personally, I’ve always loved writing, but it’s always been in the context of blogs and articles for trade journals, and I’ve never published a book yet, but I have five books written that are sitting there that I just… I’m too scared to publish, I’m just too worried about, I shouldn’t say now I am, but the process of actually feeling comfortable enough to ship… It was easy for me to do on a podcast, it was easier for me to do on a blog post, it was easier for me to do on articles, but writing a book, I was always like dude I don’t…

Reese Harper:
I’m not like, I’m not Ray Dalio, I’m not like… I grew up in a time where books were kind of the thing you write when you knew what you were talking about, finally, and I’ve never felt like anyone was talking about it, I never really actually felt like I knew, and that’s been a very slow, gradual process for me to get to the point where I’m like, “Okay, I’ve passed my level of like, ‘I know what I’m talking about now in this topic,’ I’ll ship it,” and other mediums, like a podcast or maybe a video, or especially a conversation or a speaking event, they’re not… They don’t feel like the weight of copy, so articles and publishing and trade journals was like the last thing I finally felt like I worked up to. I’m asking this question mostly because whether you’re like me and you’ve struggled to, you’re sitting on books that you wanna push ship on still and you’re obsessing over the last detail or you haven’t even written your first blog posts of your career, I think there’s this dimension of like just pushing send and shipping as the deadline, which is what you brought up at your first tip, that it’s really hard for people, especially in a social media world where it’s like, you see people put something out there and get no comments, no likes, it’s freaking crickets out there and you’re like, “Glad, I’m not that idiot.” [chuckle]

Reese Harper:
And then you see people post something and they got thousand comments and they’re like God’s gift to man, and that dynamic is happening, which even complicates your willingness to ship, so kind of people shrink out of the social media world and they shrink out of pushing publish because it’s like I don’t want it to be crickets, I just wanted you to talk a little bit about this confidence thing, and shipping… How shipping helped you maybe get to the play… Did you use shipping is maybe the right question as a way to kind of advance as a writer, what tool does shipping it play for you in just getting better.

Paco:
Shipping is vital. It’s absolutely vital because you’re going to build the confidence, you’re gonna work through the fear of putting your opinion, your voice out there, and it’s actually amazing to exist in relative obscurity when you’re first starting out, because inevitably you’re gonna look back three years later, however many years later at your first blog post, and you will say, “trash, trash, trash, trash trash. I was a horrible writer or I didn’t know how to refine my thinking yet, or I didn’t understand structure when it comes to putting a blog post like that together” or trying to articulate your ideas, your thesis and then support it. Yeah, so shipping is vital because it just… It’s like watching the ball go through the hoop gives you the confidence, and…

Reese Harper:
Or hit the front rim.

Paco:
Say that again?

Reese Harper:
Or hit the front rim… Yeah.

Paco:
Yeah. Exactly.

Reese Harper:
Hit the backboard. Only the backboard and it just bricks and hits the ground either way, it may not go through.

Paco:
But it’s scary to put your work out there, I’m terrified of certain platforms that I write, like I read a monthly advice column on refinery 29’s website, it’s called taking stock every month, I’m terrified that the audience is gonna crucify, cancel, something terrible is gonna happen, because that is how that audience is, they’ll find something and they’ll start a fire in the comments.

Reese Harper:
They’re editors that are waiting in… Lurking in the shadows.

Paco:
And sometimes the way that they choose to title my article, I’m like, Oh, I know you did that just to get everybody all riled up, which is fine, I’m in this game, I’m playing this game along with them. I’m not going into this thinking, I’m not gonna be attacked. I’m not going into this thinking people are not gonna disagree with me or hate What I have to say, it’s part of it, and that’s part of the media game as well, it’s probably not gonna be that intense for folks who are really focused on building a service-based business and they’re using content as marketing it’s certainly not gonna…

Reese Harper:
Like a supplemental marketing tool. Yeah, it’s not quite as heavy of a weight there.

Paco:
Definitely, but…

Reese Harper:
When you’re writing content for content’s sake alone though, right, when it’s the naked, when the only objective was quality piece of writing, the stakes are a lot higher there too…

Paco:
Yeah, definitely when people are… I mean, and there’s so much controversy would you just think about this idea of monetizing attention and so much journalism, so much media is based on getting an emotional reaction regardless of what that emotional reaction is, it’s funny ’cause I’ll post something on Instagram that’s very… Not controversial, like love yourself. Maybe not that corny, but something along those lines of like, the world is good, very low engagement. Anytime I post something thing where I’m like, “Isn’t this messed up?” Huge engagement, and I see that happening and it’s frustrating, but I understand why that works, and I try not to play into those traps for sure, and I try to be more of like… Especially being a book person, you don’t… The process of writing a book, the way that you think about writing a book is really different than writing a catchy copy for your Instagram post, you have two seconds with. So those are very different ways of thinking and… So I just try to…

Reese Harper:
And you might like… I found for me personally, at least like I don’t… I’m writing to find authentic community, and sometimes that can be hard to do in social media, like the nature of social media is just different than the nature of journalism or writing, and I think you gotta… And advertising and marketing is different than instructional design or instructional communication or education. I don’t know that the readers on… There are some people on social media that want education or trying to learn and grow, but it’s not… There’s a reason that pictures get more engagement than copy if you don’t put a picture on your post, like it doesn’t get as much engagement, so…

Paco:
Totally.

Reese Harper:
I think it’s important to remember…

Abby Morton:
The number one question we get asked as advisors from our clients is, how am I doing? The answer to that question is at the heart of what we do, unfortunately, most of the technology used today for financial advisors doesn’t really speak to the younger generation, how do you tell a 30-something-year-old client they’re doing okay, when all of the tools we have make huge assumptions and project investments 30 plus years into the future, it’s hard to rely on that type of information when you’re in your 30s. You want a system that can actually tell a client where they stand today, you need a piece of technology that resonates with clients no matter their age. And it’s called Elements. Our Elements Financial Planning system provides you with the tools you need to measure, assess, and ultimately improve client financial health, both with an eye on the present and to the future. Contact us today at getelements.com/meet to learn more.

Reese Harper:
The book that you wrote, was it… I think it was called Finance for the People, is that right?

Paco:
That’s it.

Reese Harper:
When did you decide like, this is the book. I wanna write a book. And how long into writing had that been before you were like, “This is a book.” Was the book the intention the whole time, I guess ever.

Paco:
No.

Reese Harper:
Or just like, “Okay, I’ve got enough here, Why don’t I do this?”

Paco:
It’s a very charmed story, how I got the book into existence, but I always thought that I would write a book, which may be as arrogant, I don’t know, or the nature of being a creative person, because I also think… I’ll always put music on Spotify, and I wanna make a television show, there’s a lot of things I wanna make that I have this very half-baked idea of what I wanna do.

Reese Harper:
A cursory kind of concept going. Yeah.

Paco:
Right. RI wanna be an artist, I wanna create relevant stuff in the world, like culturally relevant stuff in the world, and there’s a lot of different avenues to do that, a culturally relevant company, a relevant book, and so on and so forth. So I’ve always had that in the Back in my mind, I’ll write a book someday, I’m not sure what it will be about. And there’s actually this book called, it’s called How To Be One With The Universe by Yumi Sakugawa. It’s a book about meditation, and she’s an artist, so it’s all hand-drawn on and she’s a Japanese artist, so it’s in… It’s kind of like a Japanese style. And I had been into meditation, I don’t know, maybe several years into my practice, and I picked up his book, and I read through it very quickly, and then I quickly realized I had bought some of her other books and gifted it to friends, and I bought a Zen several years ago, and I was like, Wow, I’m accidentally a fan of this person, and the way that she made me feel after I read it was what I wanted people to feel about money, and here’s how I felt, I felt like, “Wow, you can do that.

Paco:
You can talk about meditation in this way. I didn’t know you could.” I wanted people to feel that way about reading finance for the people, you can have a conversation about money in this way, you can learn about money in this way, you can address your relationship with money in this way, while I had never imagined that possibility. And so I had that modicum of an idea, I start writing blog posts in 2016-ish, 2017, and publishing the newsletter around then, and then in 2018, a literary agent by the name of Jenny Stevens, just cold emails me and asks if I have representation, and she says that she’s been reading my blog posts and she thinks I have a really unique voice in the space, and that if I wanna have a conversation about writing in a book, she’s all ears, so I had the material, I’ve taught it to people… I did a bunch of talks where I was trying to get business, and the talk is in essence what the book is, but not as refined, ’cause I didn’t sit and think about it for hours and hours and hours and hours the way I did writing the book, anyways, I read the proposal, I’m going back and forth with my agent, she’s like, “Okay, I’m gonna send it to 30 publishing houses.”

Paco:
Okay, great. So she sends it off. And then she’s like, “11 of them wanna have conversations with you. In the next 10 days,” I talk to all the editors, like eight bids came in, and then my agent had them all bid against each other, and then my first choice was Penguin with Emily, and they came out on top and it just was worked out. It was kismet and then so I wrote that out, the book, so it’s a very charmed story.

Reese Harper:
Give some external accountability too. Right?

Paco:
Oh yeah, I don’t…

Reese Harper:
I think that’s what I think again, a deadline, it created some structure…

Paco:
Yeah. I don’t do shit, if I won’t do anything if I can’t… Don’t have to ship it. I would do nothing.

Reese Harper:
Yeah until you’re starving, and then I’ll be like, “Okay, I gotta move here.” Yeah, I just like You… Go ahead finish your thought you were gonna say something.

Paco:
I was just gonna say, you won’t be starving, but you’re right, if you’re trying to run a service-based business and the point of writing is one of your marketing channels you’re gonna… It’s gonna hurt, it’s gonna hurt because you’re not constantly having a warm pipeline. You need a warm pipeline, there are so many people that reach out to me and say, I’ve been following you for two years, I’m ready to hire you as a bookkeeper. That’s amazing.

Reese Harper:
So I don’t know if you’re familiar with a concept called ikigai from Japanese early Japanese wisdom literature, but there’s four kind of circles for the audience who doesn’t know that make up this vend diagram of Ikigai and Ikigai is Two Japanese words, Iki, is life and Gai is value or worth. So essentially, Ikigai means a reason for being alive or a reason for your existence, and there’s four kind of components to that. One is what you love to do, which for me was clearly, I was a musician, I love music, and I was like, I just wanna do music for the rest of my life. Another thing is what you can get paid for. Which For me, I wasn’t like a savant, so I was a good musician, but I wasn’t like Hans Zimmer, so there’s a gap. But that was another kind of component to like you’re finding your Zen, and the third was what the world needs, that’s what Ikigai says, what the world needs out of us, and then the fourth is what you’re really good at and you kind of… You find throughout your life that you bounce around, at least for me, between what you’re good at, what you can get paid for, what you love, and what the world really needs at the time you’re alive, and that combination of all those things gives you your center or your peace of mind and your reason for being and I found that for me, at least, like…

Reese Harper:
All of these things that we have been talking about today, and hopefully the audience has appreciated this fun exploration, all of these things are intended to help you find that Center for yourself between what you love, what you’re good at, what you can get paid for and what the world needs out of you, and by putting yourself out there and talking about it and sharing it, you start to feel out and figure out what… Who you really are and where you’re gonna fit and for you gonna find yourself, and I found that I was really enjoying working with dentists for a while, it was awesome. And I had a blast and I still enjoy it, and I don’t know that it was what I loved at the time. I loved people, I loved interacting with humans, I loved writing to them and finding connection, but it was what I could get paid for, and the world really needed it at that time, and they valued it, and I was pretty good at it, and I learned to love parts of it that really helped me find a balance in that, but I’ve kind of seen that as you went through your journey, finding bookkeeping and writing and picking this audience, I can tell that you’ve been exploring to find the right way. How would you describe that concept of Ikigai that you’ve found in your life, how does all of that stuff in result in where you’re at?

Paco:
I think one of the other important things to mention about that is sometimes when you get good at something, you end up liking it, and so there’s that relationship that…

Reese Harper:
That’s interesting, yeah.

Paco:
You might not have liked something in the beginning, like writing, and then when you get good at it, you realize, wow, there’s a controlled struggle in it, and it forces me to face myself and I’m challenged in the right way, and now I like it for those reasons.

Reese Harper:
Yeah, that’s awesome.

Paco:
Yeah, I definitely didn’t do a lot of reflection when I was younger, I didn’t think about what I want in my life to look like and who I wanted to help, but sometimes you don’t know that answer because you haven’t been tested. Right? You haven’t gone into the workplace and tried things, which is backwards, right? Instead of four years of college, we would probably be two years of a bunch of jobs…

Reese Harper:
Yeah Exactly.

0:40:58.9 Paco: Figure out what we hate what we like, and then go to school based on that, but that’s not how it works. I’m actually a much better business owner, I think than the person working in the business. I had to learn that. And I realized, yeah, looking at my sharp tools or the tools that were the strongest and the sharpest in my tool kit and thinking about how could I live my life in a way where I’m not stuck in LA traffic all the time, I just thought… I stopped and I thought about how I wanted to build my life intentionally, and then I tried, and every day I tried, and then you learned some things along the way, you learned, “Oh God, I shouldn’t be doing the bookkeeping, Let me hire that out.” You learned, “Oh gosh, I shouldn’t be pricing that low, ’cause now I’m the $1 oyster,” which could be a good thing, but it could be a bad thing, so I have to change my pricing. But you said it perfectly it’s… You just figure it out as you go, but I think the one important thing that nobody taught me when I was younger, you have to just pause and reflect, that’s a big part of it, is just allowing yourself to think about and to strategize What you want your life to look like.

Reese Harper:
The reason you’re doing something really is to make… To bring some joy, to bring some happiness into what you’re doing, it’s a really… It’s a good sign, I can tell you’ve done that with your business, and it’s cool to see the non-traditional kind of set of services and monetization and subject matter, I think that’s a sign of what’s to come, this very niche kind of human-kind of service-oriented businesses that have different types of services, like the types of services that are gonna start popping up, or are gonna be different too in the future, more than what we see now, so congrats. I’ll let you leave everybody with the last word, it’s been a fascinating conversation.

Paco:
Oh gosh. No pressure or anything. Thank you so much for having me. I did not think we were gonna take this beautiful walk through the flowers, I really enjoyed this conversation.

Reese Harper:
No, thanks a lot it was fun.

Paco:
And I’d love to do it again some time. Oh, and buy Finance For The People anywhere where books are sold.

Reese Harper:
And if they want to get your website and get in contact with you and just ask you some questions, how would you like them to reach out?

Paco:
You can follow me at thehellyeahgroup.com, sign up for the weekly newsletter, that’s the surest way that we can continue to stay in touch.

Reese Harper:
Thanks, Paco next time We will get to the story of your nickname, and I’m excited to do that here sooner than later. So thanks so much for taking the time today.

Paco:
Thanks so much for having me. It was my pleasure.

Abby Morton:
Next time on elementality…

Reese Harper:
You can expose jobs to the consumer in a real clear way that allow them to go, “Oh yeah, I’d like that job, and I’d like that job, and yeah, do that for me too. And yes, that one.” But if you’re really bad at describing, I’m like, “I do comprehensive financial planning,” well, no one’s gonna pay you a lot for that.

Abby Morton:
You can learn more about the elements financial planning system at getelements.com/meet, and schedule a time to speak with one of our friendly financial planning experts. Elementality’s executive creators are Reese Harper and Matt Glazer. Elementality is produced by Abby Morton and directed by Jordan Hanes. Have a good one.

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