Out of all the DIY, build your dream resources available, very few people give it to you straight. Anthony Frasier is one of those people. His clear, simple approach to tackling success makes you feel like you’re getting insight from one of your closest friends. As one of the founders of wildly popular resource for entrepreneurs The Phat Startup, Anthony is on a mission to give you the tools you need to execute, build tech startups, and online businesses. Here’s part 1 of our amazing conversation from last year. (Interview and Introduction by Melissa Kimble)
I just love creating. I like the idea of somebody enjoying something I made. It’s something about that, that’s always excited me. At the end of the day, that’s what drove my entrepreneur spirit really is creativity. I am a creative person. I think that some people are driven by a lot of other things, which is cool like most people are driven by money, which is cool. But to me I just like to create and when you have that passion to create, you always put out a product that people can appreciate.
Melissa Kimble: Why do you think it’s important to go after the opportunities that scare you? Because nobody likes to confront their fears head on.
Anthony Frazier: Those are usually the ones that are worth it. It’s the moments where your life changes. I can’t think of a moment in my life that scared me, and it didn’t change my life. This TED talk that I did completely changed my life. When I first flew out to Silicon Valley, I was by myself, I had never been that far away from home. Just far away from Jersey in general, for a long period of time. So I was scared but it changed my life. You know, any time that I’ve done something I was frightened by, it changed my life. We have to embrace it and change the narrative because sometimes fear can cause a person to turn around. When I get scared, I just push down on the gas even further. It should be that way. Change the narrative. If you want to change your life, you have to confront your fears.
MK: So you’re a big believer in investing in yourself. Have you always followed that piece of advice or did it take you time to work up to it?
AF: It took me time. Holy shit, it took way too much time. But, everything happens for a reason. Personal development, the concept of personal development hasn’t ringed true with me until maybe the last two years of my life. That’s when I started to realize that what you put into yourself, you actually put back into everything else. So if you’re not taking care of you then you’re not taking care of business, you’re not taking care of family, you’re not taking care of money, you’re not taking care of nothing else. You come first – taking care of yourself and making sure that you’re knowledgeable and making sure that you’re healthy and making sure that you’re spiritual and making sure that you’re emotionally intact.
All of those things are very important and if you don’t handle that you’re going to suck at business, you’re going to suck at making money, you’re going to suck at raising your kids and taking care of family and being a good daughter, brother, husband, wife, etc. Your attitude is going to stink all the time. You’re not going to be happy. You’re not going to handle failure well. You’re not going to know how to react in certain situations. People won’t want to be around you because your energy is messed up. All of these things happen when you don’t take care of you. When you take care of yourself, the world opens up to you. You start having more ideas. You start being more creative. You start to attract more opportunities. People want to be around you. Things just start to happen.
MK: You’ve also had ventures before The Phat Startup, so as you transitioned from venture to venture and collaboration what are some key things that you kept with you as you’ve grown as a creative, as a professional creative?
AF: One of the biggest lessons to me – which has been more of a business lesson – is ‘don’t reinvent the wheel, put rims on it’. That’s my favorite quote. I created that quote. I was sitting on my grandmother’s porch one day, and I just seen this car go by and I started thinking about ideas. Ideas are like wheels, and wheels have been around forever. You don’t have to reinvent it – you just have to make it work better and make more people attracted to it.
Amazon is the rims to bookstores. I take that approach in business all the time, it’s the greatest thought process that I’ve ever kept. Another one is to think A to B and not A to Z. When people think about issues and problems, they lose their cool and start thinking about the end goal all the time. Of course, I keep Z on my mind, but I gotta think about C and D. There are steps to getting where you want to go in life, and while I do believe in luck and miracles happening, it’s not promised. You’re more likely to get lucky when you’re grinding so you might as well go A, B, C, D, etc.
Go through the steps that are necessary to get there and have patience. And the third one I would say, and it’s so hard because there’s so many lessons, but if I had to pick the third one – there’s a quote…from Jim Rohn and it says ‘work harder on yourself, than you do on your job’. That’s a lesson on personal development and investing in yourself.
MK: Now that’s pretty powerful. I just want to go back to the second point that you made too about keeping an end goal in mind, but also working A to B and B to C because when you’re a creative we tend to overthink and overanalyze things that cause us to completely like I do it all the time.
AF: There’s another quote that I came up with too. I think I tweeted this one time, but I said ‘a creative person’s mind is a gift and a curse’. It’s a curse because there are times you think too much. You got plenty of ideas. You got too many things to do. Too many ways to go about doing it. And so much you want to do. But it’s a gift when it works for you, it’s the dopest thing ever.
MK: Yeah, definitely and so Julian Mitchell, said a quote one time via The Bizz Plan that stuck out to me: If you’re on mission than you should expect cool things to happen and you should expect great things to happen. What are some great things that have happened to you on your journey that you did not expect?
AF: Everything. A friend of mine asked, how does The Phat Startup get press? We had just gotten profiled by the USA Today and it was a really good look, right? So she was like how did you get press? Do you have somebody emailing the newspapers all the time, things like that? And I was like no, we just do us. But for some reason, that’s hard for people to fathom. Results are the best advertising. Throughout my life especially since I became an entrepreneur, I never had a greedy goal. I never had a self-centered mission. I always wanted to do this because I wanted to have fun, I wanted to create something that I think will change the world in some way. I read a quote one time that said ‘if you could make something that reaches a 100,000 people, you’ve changed the world’. When I heard that quote that energized me. It put a battery on my back. I was going to build something that reached 100,000 people. And I did.
I got a job at a startup and that surprised me because I didn’t have a college degree at the time. I was like look I’m going to send out my resume and do interviews until somebody hires me, and somebody did, and I was thoroughly surprised. When that company failed I pitched my idea about a Foursquare for video games to an investor, and he put money behind it. I was thoroughly surprised. I saw Wayne Sutton talking about “Hey we are doing a new accelerator, the first tech accelerator for people of color in Silicon Valley. It’s the last day to apply” I applied and two weeks later I get a call. I was thoroughly surprised. When they called me they’re like “Hey, in order to be in this program, you have to opt in to be filmed by CNN because they’re doing a documentary called, “Black in America” and I was thoroughly surprised. You get the pattern here. I never get into it because I want to get this thing that is so great. I get into it because I just didn’t want to sleep on my mom’s couch no more. So over time, I’ve learned not to be surprised. I’ve learned to just expect.