Taking Ownership Of Yourself & Your Future, Listening To Your Gut + Black Wealth With Chad Sanders

Episode Number: 298

Episode 298- Taking Ownership Of Yourself & Your Future, Listening To Your Gut + Black Wealth With Chad Sanders

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Show notes

Taking Ownership Of Yourself & Your Future, Listening To Your Gut + Black Wealth With Chad Sanders

Chad Sanders 0:02

I wrote that cold pilot in that coffee shop, no outline, not getting feedback from anybody. And I just poured it out like the story had to tell. I just poured it out. And then Spike Lee literally just appeared in my life, you know, like, just like, right there.

Intro 0:21

T-Minus 10 seconds. Welcome to the journey to launch podcast with your host jameelah. So frogs as a money expert who rocks her talk, she helps brave juniors like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real world. joins are on the journey to launch to financial freedom 4321

Jamila Souffrant 0:50

If you want the episode show notes for this episode, go to journey to launch.com or click the description of wherever you're listening to this episode. In the show notes, you'll get the transcribed version of the conversation, the links that we mentioned and so much more. Also, whether you are an OG journeyer, or brand new to the podcast, I've created a free jumpstart guide to help you on your financial freedom journey. It includes the top episodes to listen to stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources and so much more. You can go to journey to launch that comm slash jumpstart to get your guide right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.

Jamila Souffrant 1:33

Hey journeyers welcome back to another episode of the journey to launch podcast this week we have Chad Sanders, Chad is the author of black magic, what black leaders learn from trauma and triumph and a writer on HBO Max's wrap. His op eds have been appeared and featured in New York Times and other notable platforms. And you also worked at Google as a tech entrepreneur before you left to go full time in the creative space. Your latest project that we will be talking about which I can't wait to dive in with you is the direct deposit a podcast through audible originals, where you are talking about being on the brink of wealth and what black wealth looks like when you start earning money. And you had some amazing guests on your show. And I just can't wait to get into what you glean from them from your experiences. And let's get into it. So welcome to the podcast. Chad.

Chad Sanders 2:27

Thank you. I really appreciate that introduction. And it's nice to meet you.

Jamila Souffrant 2:31

Yeah, so chat. All right. I always love giving my audience like a basis point, or a starting point from where you came from in terms of your background. And then how you ascended to what you're doing now. So can you talk a little bit about kick it back to even like what you went to school for? I find that that's helpful for people like what did you major in? What did you think you were gonna be? And we could take it from there.

Chad Sanders 2:54

What did I think I was gonna be man, so many, so many things over the years. So I think this my story as a writer is interesting, because in some ways I kept trying to veer away from writing, which was really always my thing. Since I was a little kid, I was a writer, you know, my first second third grade teachers would tell my parents that that was something that I was really good at. And I loved it, and I enjoyed it. But I think that the quote unquote, real world always pushed me in different directions and told me like, this can't be a career, you should try to be an executive at a big corporation. And that's the way to make money. And that's the way to have a stable lifestyle. And so I was always in the middle of this tension between this thing that I love to do, and that feeling of needing to get this stability. It even happened to me in college, I went to Morehouse down in Atlanta, I started off as like a finance major, because I just thought that was the traditional path to stability, you know, and I think as black folks, a lot of times, what we are chasing is something that feels like safety, because we don't know safety. And I don't even know if I made it a whole semester into that finance major. And I was just like, I gotta change this. And I don't think I even told my parents until I was maybe a year into my English major, that I had left that finance major to study English. And that was when I felt really free in my classes, you know, studying Tupac and Shakespeare and Maya Angelou and like just swimming in writing every day, it was like, I'm a fish in water like, this is what I do.

Jamila Souffrant 4:27

That's similar experience. I think for like you said, a lot of us where we came from instability is to go towards that, especially our parents are pushing that and they mean well, but they're just like, how are you going to pay the bills like doing that? And it's so funny because knowing what you know now, right, looking at how many people you know, personally who are have great careers or making money. Being creative is the access to the internet and what that allows you to do. It's like, oh, there's a pathway, but the practical side more leads us to not exploring that. So, you majored in English How did you then end up working at Google or in the tech space?

Chad Sanders 5:03

I had a friend who went off he was a year ahead of me. His name was Jason crane. He went off and worked at Google the year before I graduated. So he finished oh five, I finished Oh, six down at Morehouse. And that was a guy who I just actually spent this past weekend with Jason down in Atlanta at our homecoming. And he was a guy who I always looked up to, you know, he always had his hands in everything on campus. He was like a leader. He was a partier. He was, you know, a leader in our fraternity. And he went got this job at Google. And I was like, I don't even know how Google makes money. Like I don't. When I think of Google, I just think you type in Google, as you know, as a search engine, and it takes you where you want it to go. I had no concept for the literally at that point, dozens and now 1000s of products that Google offers. And he came back to campus while I was a senior, and I didn't know where I was gonna go. I had gotten an offer from Teach for America to go be a teacher. I was interviewing at like McKinsey and places like that. And he was like, why don't you think about Google? So I just schlepped into my Google interview in like shorts and a T shirt, you know, because I didn't really have a suit at that point in time. And if the interview was like, very non traditional, it was very conversational. It was really about like, creativity, and how do you think about ideas, and they were more so teaching me what the company did, and kind of like, honestly, recruiting me like luring me into the company, they flew me out to Silicon Valley to check out the main campus. And that really sold it for me, I was like, wow, this is this is like life on space. I'm gonna go work there. So that's how I ended up there.

Jamila Souffrant 6:35

Okay, and so you stayed there for how long before you left,

Chad Sanders 6:39

I stayed at Google for four years, I was in Silicon Valley for a year, I transferred to New York for a year, I transferred to London for about a half a year, and then back to New York. And after those three and a half, four years, really, after the first two years, you know, as much as the company was fascinating, and it had its hands and all these things. And it was this, you know, million, I'm sorry, multi billion dollars, many times over company. It just wasn't what I wanted to do with my life. Like, it wasn't my dream. And I know that sounds cheesy, but it wasn't like something that my heart wasn't jumping out of my chest every morning to do the work that I needed to do, and I couldn't live with it.

Jamila Souffrant 7:16

Well, it's not cheesy I, my listeners, myself, we felt that way we feel that way. That's why I ended up leaving my corporate job to do what I'm doing full time. And, you know, I've been to Google, I had a friend that worked at Google, on the west coast. And she took me to one of the campuses for lunch. And I was just like, you get this for free. So I know that it was it was amazing. It was just like a buffet of all the things you could think of, and it was what they had every day. And, you know, that's the corporate like handcuffs that usually keep us tied, like the benefits, right? The the stable salary, what our parents think the prestige that comes along with seeing where you work. So how did you have the courage to leave that? Like, what was your plan? Did you have a plan? Yeah,

Chad Sanders 7:59

I'll tell you this, I was scared. I think the last two things that you hit on, were probably the scariest for me like money at that point, I was so young, that money was a little immaterial. To me, it was like, as long as I can afford my rent, you know, I'm good. I'm 2324 benefits, like, I didn't even really have a concept for the benefits again, like 24 year old guy, like we barely even go to the diet, I barely was going to the doctor or the dentist or whatever. But the last thing you said, my parents and prestige so and I'll extend my parents to my larger family and community, which includes family, friends, where I grew up friends that I had from college, the other black folks that I worked with, in a lot of ways, I think all of those people were projecting fear onto me about the idea of leaving this kind of cone of stability. They were, you know, it was every version of, You're crazy. You're in your ego, you're going to spin out, you're going to be trying to get another job in a couple years, and you're not going to be able to Why don't you just go to business school. And I remember I was like staying up late one night watching the show girls, because I was like studying how you write your own series, you know, and I had a friend who I was dating at the time she came through, it was like, by two in the morning, and I'm just like, sitting around, like watching girls so intensely. And she looked around my apartment, you know, this was after I had quit Google and I had like, nothing, you know, I had like barely anything in the apartment. And she was like, there was shock on her face. And she was just like, What are you doing? Like, didn't you say you were gonna go to business school or something? And it was just, it was that kind of condescending tone that I would feel from everyone in my life. At that point. Not almost everyone should say everyone there were some people who were supportive. But that really it got into me. And it did. It did make me so scared to leave that place. But how did I find the courage to to leave? I mean, it was visceral, like it was in my body. And at some point it was like, I can't walk back in here anymore. Almost you know what I mean? That feeling of like, it was almost as though the building had a force field around it and I had to like push through it every day to get in there. And, you know, when I told my boss she actually who I love Deborah Castro, she cried because she cried like almost out of joy. She was like you're you're spinning your wheels here like you're you're flatlined here like, I'm proud of you to see you decide to sort of actually take some ownership of yourself. And I changed, I became a different person after that day.

Jamila Souffrant 10:25

And when you left, did you have something you were leaving towards or to do?

Chad Sanders 10:30

Well, I have stepped it. To be honest with you, I left Google and I went and worked at a tech startup, which was a smaller, a really small company, it doesn't even exist anymore. It was eventually bought by Kaplan and they crushed it. But that was my way of saying, Okay, I'm going to take some independence over my life, some ownership over my future, but I still want to have the paycheck. You know, I still want to feel like I have something fancy on my LinkedIn that people will look at and think that I'm doing something with my life. I mean, it might have been six months into that job where I started off with such enthusiasm and excitement, like tech startup, you know, so cool. I'm gonna be out here like building something and all this other stuff. And I became disenchanted very fast. You know, I still ended up working underneath a bunch of white folks, I still ended up being misguided and mistreated and subverted and condescended to. And at six months in or so I probably was just like, in my head, I was like, Man, I need to actually go and shoot my shot at the thing that I said I wanted to do. It took me another year to get out of there and actually go do it. And that's, and that's the thing that I don't want to get lost in my story sometimes is, for headlines, I think it's become an easy story to tell, guy goes from sleeping on the mattress, meet Spike Lee. And all of a sudden, like, now he's doing it in Hollywood. And it's all these little devil in the details, things that have to happen between Step A, which was where I quit Google to wherever I'm at on step p, which is where I'm at right now, you know.

Jamila Souffrant 12:02

And it sounds like for you that what you valued I think most of us do is this autonomy and ability to express yourself without censoring I saw you had you had a clip up on your Instagram about Gabrielle Union. And she talks about we'll get into more of the show, when she says like money controls production. And you know, you mentioned like you you weren't working under a white folks, right, like, and it sounds like and I think for a lot of black people working in corporate and in the more technical jobs, like when I used to work in corporate, you feel different. There's a code switch that happens, there's things that matter to your community, when you walk into the office, no one's talking about it, you're one of only and like it does, it brings a lot on you as a person in the world. So I guess I just wanted to highlight that as someone who has been in corporate America, and I know that a lot of my listeners feel sometimes or actually feel that way a lot walking into the world.

Chad Sanders 12:54

Yeah, I'll respond to it really quickly. And we call it code switching, which is like a very sweet bow to tie on to it, you know that that's the term we have for it. But it's a lot deeper and more sinister than that. Because to change how you talk and what you say, the changes start in your body first, like you feel this tightening of your diaphragm and you feel like you start speaking out of here and your voice gets a little different, and you'd laugh different. And then all of a sudden, it's in your brain and you start laughing at things that aren't actually funny to you start laughing at yourself a little bit, you start looking at yourself a little bit like so it's all these things have to happen internally, before the code switch even happens, which is the language that's coming out of our mouths. I know you know this, but I'm just saying this for anyone who hasn't ever felt it, you know, which is that it's not a code that's being switched. It is your being, it's your identity that's being switched, and like, somebody's made me like this, who I am on purpose for me to let somebody else change that or for me to change that for somebody else. That's sinister. That's that's how I really feel.

Jamila Souffrant 14:00

Hmm. All right. So you now you're in a position where you're like, This is not working either, right? This new job that you were working, how did you get into the creative side writing, doing what you love doing? How did you find that?

Chad Sanders 14:12

Yeah, and again, like, you know, I don't want to tell the cheap version of the story, which is like, you know, I just sat down and I had this gift and it all just started pouring out like, because it's not that I've wrote, I was writing my whole life. You know, I was I was in the accelerated programs for young writers. When I was young. I was on a kids TV show when I was 12 called adventure camp on the Discovery Kids channel. I did plays I did theater, you know, I always was like, around writing and creativity and the performing arts my parents took me to plays my parents take took me to see the Nutcracker every year like that was a part of who I am. So so that part I think is important to bring into this conversation. Now, at this point in my life, I had repressed all of that I had pushed all of that away because I wanted to focus on the things Do is like climb, climb, climb, get this LinkedIn title and then that one and that one. And eventually you'll be a vice president and you'll make $2.5 million a year and your kids can go to private school, you can buy a house on Martha's Vineyard, right? Like, that was the thing that I was working up toward, when I finally quit my job and had some space to just do what I do. Writing came back. And so at one point, I was like writing these long ass Prozis emails to friends just to tell them where I was at and how I was doing. I would write the first like, official thing that I wrote that I think got me somewhere was, I wrote a TV pilot. And the way that I did it was I Googled, how do you write a TV pilot, I saw what you do, it's 30 to 35 Pages for a comedy. You got to do this themes, characters that you got to have a story Bible, I watched girls, I watched insecure, I watched Atlanta, I saw what young people were doing, who had built worlds around their actual lives. And I was like, it was so in some ways, so simple and so pure, it was like, I'm just gonna follow what they're doing. I'm just gonna do that for myself. So I wrote a TV pilot that was loosely based on my own life. I was sitting in Baba cool coffee shop every single day writing that pilot, which is in Fort Greene, right across from, as you know, 40 acres and a mule Filmworks, which is spike studio, I wrote that whole pilot in that coffee shop, no outline, not getting feedback from anybody. And I just poured it out, like the story had to tell just poured it out. And then Spike Lee literally just appeared in my life, you know, like, just like, right there.

Jamila Souffrant 16:36

Wow. Okay. So what's interesting here, I do want to talk about just a little bit, you know, when you said you were writing emails, like these elaborate creative emails to your family and friends. Like, I know, there's limitations to how much time we have, or we think, Okay, once I have this, then I can be creative, then I can do the things I've repressed. And there's outlets in our lives, like right now without the money without having that be their full time thing where you can do that work and practice on the side. And I just feel like, that's just a perfect example, as just mundane or just a regular conversation as it sounds, it's like, I'm gonna practice writing or doing these creative, these creative paragraphs to just people I know, right, or even strangers. So I think that's just an interesting way to look at how you continue to develop your creative skills and in the real world.

Chad Sanders 17:27

Yeah, and there's a couple of things about it. I feel like when you know that you have made something good. Doesn't mean it's perfect doesn't even mean it's great. But when you just feel like, you know, I, for me, it's with writing, it's like, Man, I wrote this, and I think it's good, I put myself into it, it's honest, my feelings are there, I think some, there's a little bit of truth there. Like, you want to share it with people, and whatever your for whatever your medium is, like, if it's podcasting, if it's art, my fiance has a has a jewelry company, like when you make something and you're like, This is good, you want to share it with people, you know, when you really feel like it's good. And I think that sharing with people, once I had that TV pilot written, I did, I would start emailing it to friends, I would show it to whoever would look at it, I put together a table read with like a few friends, you know, at a buddy's house who cooked and like had some people whose artistic tastes I respected, you know, read it out aloud with each other, I listened to where the laughs where I saw, you know, and you start feeling and seeing people respond to your thing. And it's like, there is some truth in their like, you can feel it when someone's act, you can feel it when someone's like, Oh, this is very good. Versus when someone's like, damn, like, oh, wow, you can do this, you know. And that, to me, like gave me fuel to keep the thing pushing as far as the like finding space and time to work on your stuff like that. My same friend Jason, you know, he's been very successful as an entrepreneur. He sold a tech company to Amazon a few years ago. Now he's president of this company called slutty vegan based out of Atlanta. And so, you know, he gave me some good advice. Again, as I was thinking about quitting that tech startup, which was, it's gonna take time for your thing to happen, but it won't start until you leave this other thing behind. Sometimes I feel irresponsible giving that message that like you have to sometimes truly quit cold turkey, whatever it is that you've got going on, so that your next thing can materialize. But like, it's that it's that serious, like it's that urgent, in my opinion.

Jamila Souffrant 19:34

Now, when you talk about and I'd love to hear meeting Spike Lee's story, or at least how you started to then work with him because that I know has also led to momentum of where you are now. So can you talk a little bit about how that happened?

Chad Sanders 19:47

Yeah, so spikes studio 40 acres in a mule is right there across the street from Baba cool. When I say across the street, like I'm not exaggerating, like it's quite literally a stone's throw from Baba cool to his studio. And so, you know, I had seen spike before. He's a legend to me like I, you know, he made Malcolm X like he made mo better blues he made you know, he made 30 movies, I've probably seen at least 10 of them. And he went to Morehouse. So, you know, in a lot of ways, it's like one of those people, we all have these kinds of people in your own Zeitgeist where it's like, if I see that guy out like that, it means something to me, it almost feels like a signal of some kind. So I would see him here and there about for green. But now that I was writing this project, I felt like a different urgency to meet this guy. I think I even told a friend like hey, I've seen spike walking around here a few times. And he would say like, go introduce yourself, but I had no reason to introduce myself or something. So I finally you know, this one time, he was sitting on the patio right next to Bob, Ah, cool. On his BlackBerry Scroll of his Blackberry. I think he had some notes out in front of him. And I saw him there. And I just like, it's no more complex than I just walked over. I said, Hey, hi. You know, I probably said, Mr. Lee. I was like, hi, Mr. Lee. Um, Chad, told him I went to Morehouse like that was the only connecting point I could think of, and he was very welcoming. You know, he sat me down, he put away his work for 20 minutes. And he just talked to me about my life, like, not even about other stuff. And he gave me his email, I walked away. And you know, I followed up with some email that was like, hey, you know, I work at blah, blah, blah. If you ever want to come and check out the office or something, you know, come, you know, you're welcome to and he didn't respond. And then the crazy thing is that months later, another friend, a mutual friend, like a family friend that knows spike from Morehouse, also, he got a hold of my screenplay. And he gave it to Spike. Spike called me one day while I was sitting in the barber's chair from a number that I didn't have saved. And he's like, Hey, this is a spike. And I'm like, huh, a spike. You know, I read your screenplay. It's great. It's great. It's great. It's like, I want you to meet me at 40 acres, 40 acres and a mule. And we had a meeting there in his office, maybe like the next night, you know, and then he put me on my first flight to Hollywood.

Jamila Souffrant 22:16

Wow. Now I have to ask where you go into that coffee shop, because you knew it was across the street or next to Spike Lee's studio.

Chad Sanders 22:25

Not at all. I you know, for those three or four years after I quit my job, before I got into my relationship with my fiance, I was just like, a wanderer, like, I would just, you know, I would probably spend two or three hours a day writing. And the rest of my day, I had no job. I had no family I hadn't I was not in a relationship. You know, I had no kids, I had really no income. So the rest of my life was spent a lot of it was just spent walking around New York, I would walk from Bed Stuy to Fort Greene Park Slope to over the bridge, I would walk into, you know, financial district or Williamsburg, or Lower East Side, like I would walk I'm talking about like, hours and hours a day, I would just walk because I could think while I walked, and Baba cool, for whatever reason, it just called my name as a shot. It was like a small coffee shop, not noisy, not seni not particularly expensive. And so I would just plant myself there, you know, every day and he just was there, he emerged

Jamila Souffrant 23:30

and took go up to him, which I think a lot of time we have like maybe these opportunities that happened for us like once in a lifetime, we see someone who if we can make a connection with can be life changing the fact that you were able to do that, but then you just said like, alright, you sent him an email, it didn't really go anywhere. But because you've been doing the work already, which is like speaks to just preparing for the moment, regardless, like prepare for the moment, because if you were waiting to meet him first a waiting before you had the screenplay or the body of work, then it would have passed you by

Chad Sanders 24:03

Yeah, I'm of the opinion that if you're not prepared, it's not the moment you know, it doesn't matter if you're a musician, and you see Dr. Dre, and you don't have any music, like you're not a musician, so there's nothing he can do for you, you know that there's nothing he's gonna want to do for you. And frankly, since meeting spike, and since getting into this game and stuff, I've met a ton of people who, oh, it's, you know, here's Beyonce. Here's this person. Here's that person, like, oh, like if I only had my mixtape, like if I only had my record ready to go, like they could do something with it. But if you're not prepared, it's not the moment you know, and that's okay. I think sometimes, it's fine to let something that looks like an opportunity walk past you if you are not really truly ready for that thing. But for me, it was just I mean, I think of it as God it was just like, it was just the right timing for me to run into this person and spikes not like he's a presence in my life. It's like he'll check in here and there, we'll maybe we'll get lunch, you know, once or twice a year kind of thing. But it's not like he's like, he's not shepherding me through the industry. But he showed up to me with my agency to show face, he took me to Hollywood, he took me to pitch meetings, he showed me how to pitch. Also, he gave me confidence, he told me, You're a writer, you're always going to, you know, you're going to always be able to feed yourself. Because of this skill set. He talked to my mom on the phone, who I'm sure was terrified of my career path. You know, like, he did a bunch of stuff for me at the beginning, that gave me the freedom to like become who I wanted to become.

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Jamila Souffrant 26:28

Now can imagine you had to be scrappy in terms of money, right? So how were you surviving? Because that is part of what you talk about with your series, right? Like it's going from this level of Alright, not really making any money to on the brink of it or making it so what were you doing then, and then we can jump forward a little bit to the money stuff.

Chad Sanders 26:48

You know, I'm a I'm a I'm a scrapping person, I think that is a word that friends would use to describe me, I'll tell you one thing I was doing was I was wearing the exact same wardrobe every single day, which is funny because I put it on today. But it wasn't like, I don't dress like this every day now like I used to. But I used to wear a black T shirt from Urban Outfitters which costs $20 I used to wear black sweatpants from you know, sometimes from Nike or otherwise, every single day like joggers, some black boots, I've got the same black boots that I've been wearing, probably for five, six years, I have more shoes now. But you know, and I found a way to just like craft an aesthetic that looked like I could fit in kind of any kind of room like I could go into a pitch meeting with that, or I could go to a party with that on I could go to a coffee shop put that on. So I never had to think about you know, I never let myself think about buying expensive clothes, or I want to be honest with you. I skipped and missed a lot of birthday parties, christenings, weddings, you know, I lost a few important friends to me at that point in time, like I kind of had to let them go. Because, you know, I don't even think I ever had the conversation with them. But it was like, if it cost me $2,500 To go to your wedding because I gotta you know, either I gotta buy a suit, I gotta get a flight, gotta get a hotel, I gotta buy gifts, I gotta get all this stuff, whatever. Like, that's one more month of life that I won't be able to have because to work on my dream, because that's how much it cost me to live for a month in New York City. So I just reshaped my life, the scope of my life. Every expense, I thought about it almost as a business expense, except for I will be honest, like I did go out and have drinks a lot of the time. But it just shifted like the things that were important in my life. I overdid it. I mean, I lost a lot of friendships, I'm gonna be real with you like I overdid it, like I completely locked in on just for the next 1824 months, like, I am going all in on this thing because I'm going to turn 30 in a couple years, and I and I need to know that my life is going to be spent doing this thing I care about and not like that not have to try to tuck my tail between my legs and go back to that other life.

Jamila Souffrant 29:00

You're all in basically.

Chad Sanders 29:02

Yeah, I was.

Jamila Souffrant 29:04

Yeah. Well, it pay it seemingly paid off, right? Because now if you want to talk, I would love for you to talk a little bit about your what you've been up to now. And then we can transition into the project because I think the project explores this difference between coming up without much going all in but then at a point where you have the money, what do you do next? So what are you doing now? And how has your life changed now that money seems to be more stable for you?

Chad Sanders 29:30

Yeah. And then you know, the funny thing is, I have more money now but I wouldn't call it stable because the life of a writer, the life of an artist, the life of an entrepreneur, like money is not stable. It is highly fluctuating. And so and that was a tough lesson I learned over the last year, which is I wrote a book that came out last year it's black magic, and the book came out last February and it really sort of in a in a visible way. I would say it long Punch me into, like, what my career is becoming, which is, you know, a writer, I also have some performative roles like I do podcasts, I have this show that we're going to talk about direct deposit, I have another podcast called quitters, that I co host with Julie Bowen from Modern Family. And that's about like, people quitting every different type of thing that is hurting them in their lives. But I'm writing another book that's due in January, I write for wraps, you know, I'm developing at all times, and I'm pitching TV series movies, I've sold some TV series that didn't get made like, and I'm trying to think of how to even title myself, you know, I still very much do, I know what I do is I'm a writer, like, I know that that is what I am, I could try to escape it, I can try to think I'm something different from that. But like, that's what I am. But I'm also now like, you know, I have a team and we're a company, you know, and we and I get a creative idea or somebody gives me one and I, I set a focus on something that I want to get done. And like I start pushing resources together, and people together to make that thing happen. Like that's what I do. This series, specifically direct deposit. As I was starting to feel my money journey change and starting to feel myself make a little bit more money. I was also, frankly, just feeling a little unhappy, feeling a little uneasy, feeling a little isolated, feeling a tension between me and some of my friends, me and some of my colleagues. You know, I was finding for a couple years as I started this journey, there were no white people in my life at all, like the only people that were looking out looking for me at all were black folks, Spike Lee, Will Packer Morgan Freeman, you know, eventually became Issa Rae, you know, people, people like that, all of a sudden, as I started to gain some notoriety and make some more money, now the white people back in my life producers talents, you know, and that brought a new tension. And so I was just, I was also watching former heroes of mine, like Kanye West, you know, I was watching them spin out, just watching them lose it, you know? And I started to think, is this what happens to us? Like, is this what happens to black people, when we get some money? Do we start to lose who we are? Do we start to think that the rules don't apply to us, and then we smash into the windshield. And I was like, let me explore this, like, I want to talk to some people who have actually gotten to that place, because I'm not wealthy, like who have gotten to wealth who have gotten who have built a big business, built a big production company, you know, made the hit TV show, like, let me talk to them about their real lives and what happened to them when they got money. And we ended up looking at it from every dimension of the journey from the time when you're broke, and you're just trying to make your first dollar in a business all the way to the point where you have it, you got the fancy car and the House and the you know, tuition for your kids and all this stuff. And like we're looking at it through an emotional lens, what is the emotional journey of that experience for people, and that's what the show, you know, that's what the show is,

Jamila Souffrant 32:57

you know, it's interesting, because so on journey to launch and the reason why I was able to quit my job and to start what I'm doing is because I discovered this concept, and movement, quote, unquote, called financial independence, like the fire movement, and I don't know if you ever heard of it, but it stands for financial independence, retire early. That's so the acronym is fire. And the idea is that you save and invest enough money, eventually, where your portfolio your investments are able to pay for your lifestyle. So ultimately, you don't have to ever actively work again, until unless you choose to do that. And I find that most people outside of people who already know about that stuff, like don't know what that is, like, you know, about investing, you know, about you should be saving money. But this concept of like, what if you're able to save and invest enough where you don't have to worry about any other sources of income, because you've already kind of created that trust fund for yourself is there? And like, I wonder what you think of that idea? And because when I hear that, you know, potentially, you know, you've done all these things are you're talking to people like the ESA raise, and assuming how much money they made in my head, I'm like, Well, if they invest in say that in a way that's conducive to their lifestyle, sure, of course, they're going to continue to work because they want to be creative. They always going to want to bring their stuff to the world. But it's almost like you could you could potentially have enough money invested where it wouldn't matter if nothing else came in after that. And so I want to know if you think that's possible for from someone in your position, or who's never heard of this concept before, because I think a lot of people who are in your position have the opportunity to do that, and they don't understand it or know that they can do it.

Chad Sanders 34:29

I think it is absolutely possible. And I'm reminded by family members of mine who are more educated than me that it is possible. It's something to aspire to, and to open that door up a little bit. My dad's a securities lawyer, so he studies the stock market, he eats sleeps lives and breathes whatever the saying is, he loves the stock market and he pays very close attention to all of his assets and his and his investments and arts. He's done that for most most of our lives. It's a weird tension in my life because I am a creative person. And I do not care to study the stock market. It's just, it's just true about me, you know, and I think, you know, I care about building the Empire, you know, maybe just as much as the next person, but I have friends who want to live in their portfolios and pay day to day attention to how each thing is performing. And I'm like, Man, I want to write a song, like, I want to go on a walk, you know, and that and, please, sorry, looks at you want to say something?

Unknown Speaker 35:24

No, actually, like hearing this. I'm actually writing my first book now. And it's also due in January. And these are the conversations like that I have with people as brilliant as you on the creative side. And you know, you saying that you don't, I don't want to watch the stock market, either. Most of the people who listen to this show, they have other things they want to do with their life other than worry and think about their money and tinker with a spreadsheet all day. And it's just interesting that the concept, which I know like, finance, Twitter, or Instagram, or what looks like they're like trading everyday, looking at some stock, buying stock and all that, and, um, I know there's an easier, more passive way to build wealth, like index funds, which, you know, I'm not sure if you know what that is. But literally, it's just like buying a piece of the stock market. I do. Yeah. Okay. So I just feel like I'm not, I get it, because I don't want to do that either. And I'm just like, I wonder how many people don't know that building wealth can just can be as simple as you want it to be so that you can focus on your creative pursuits.

Chad Sanders 36:16

Yeah. And I meant to, you know, to give a fully rounded answer, like I'm, I am invested in the stock market. For one, I got some stock from working at Google. And also, like, it's so crazy how certain things happen, like Tesla came onto campus when I was a freshman in college, and my dad happened to come and visit. And we went and saw like a Tesla exhibit or whatever. And this was like, early days of Tesla. And I was just like, Oh, that's cool. Like, why don't we buy a couple shares of this company, which were like, you know, it was dollars at that point in time. And so that that's chrome like, I have some, I don't know why I'm just spouting off my portfolio. But like, I have some apple stock. I have some, you know, tech stocks, like all this stuff. So I'm not saying I don't like completely bury my head in the sand with it. And I agree with you like, it's important for us to know that there are more passive ways to make a living and to live than to trade your time for money every day. When you sit people in my position. It's funny, because I'm in a I'm in an interesting position, which is to say, I'm not like Issa. You know, I'm not like Donald Glover. I'm not like Lena Lena, wait for Lena Dunham. I don't know their finances. But like, I know that they're all making millions. I'm not doing that yet. I think I'm in an interesting spot where I could possibly be doing that pretty soon. And it could also go the other direction. And so you got to have something to invest before you can live the lifestyle that you're regarding that you're talking about. And I would say most people who are where I was just a couple years ago, don't have that. They don't have that to invest at this point in time. That's what I think. But again, like I'm not I'm not a financial manager.

Jamila Souffrant 37:55

I understand and respect that point of view. It's valid. I think that's how people feel. It's one of the things. When we talk about the wealth gap. We talked about whiplash, I forgot where I saw that. I mean, you talked about it in a couple places,

Chad Sanders 38:07

sort of my Instagram.

Jamila Souffrant 38:09

Yeah, okay, it was Instagram and you talk I mean, you may have used in a different way I'm about to say it, but it's almost like this idea of being able to contribute and have money, the way I'm explaining it, it's like coming from a place where maybe that's not what your background is from or the people around you what they have. That's not normal. So, gleaning from all the I mean, you had some amazing guests on your show. What are some of the takeaways because you're talking about money with them? You're sitting down with isa Gabrielle Union, and you're talking about like, money and like how they deal with wealth, or money. So what are your take your biggest takeaways or highlights or things that you remember them saying, you're just like, that's something more people need to hear or can relate to?

Chad Sanders 38:49

Well, something I do want to highlight is I don't only talk about money with them, as it regards the money that they have today. I talked about also especially with ESA, I talk about what it was like when she was broke, like when she was you know, borrowing and buying cheap equipment, so that she could start getting her visions off. And the funny thing is I what I think I learned from ESA about money is that she has been thoughtful and meticulous about her spending from the beginning. And she remains that way. Like Issa, as far as I can tell, she lives by a system and that system is I manage my money. I manage my creative output. I manage my time I manage my team, and I do so almost scientifically like that's that is what I think I learned from her and she was doing that in 2012. You know, she was doing that when she was Awkward Black Girl. And Gab, you know, gab gave me for refreshing perspective because, gab, I mean, she said it herself. Like gab has made her own fortune. And she's married to Dwayne Wade you can go on basketball reference right now and see how much money Dwayne Wade made just as a basketball player, not even including his indoor or cements, whatever else however else, he makes his money. So Gab, by her own admission, she's like, I'm good. She's like I got a good prenup, no matter what happens, I'm only going to fall but so far, and for Gab, and I'm Connor gab only because she said to be called that we're not like, like, I don't have her phone number. So for her, she's like, that kind of financial security gives me the freedom to work on creatively on what I want to work on. But I think more importantly, for her to say what she wants to say. She talks about, you know, something she says on the show is how much money is enough money to tell the truth? That's a question that as a writer, I'm constantly pondering, it's like, I do my best to say what I mean, every time I sit in front of a microphone or in front of a keyboard. But I know there's lines I can't cross. We all know that on some, on some level. In this show, you're going to hear Gabrielle Union cross all those lines, because she's rich forever, because she doesn't care. So I learned from eat, you know, so that O'Brien Pinkie called Charles King Quincy Avery. Some of these other names you guys know, some of these are names you don't know. But each one of these people, they remember when they were broke, they remember when they were sleeping in their car, they remember when they were sleeping in a locker room. They remember when they started to get some money, and they accidentally spent too much they remember when they thought they were supposed to be rich, and they weren't rich yet, like these people are gonna give you each of the points in the journey that get glossed over when you look at someone's Wikipedia page, and it just says, Oh, they invented this thing. And then all of a sudden, they were wealthy, like, you're gonna get the dirty, dirty, dirty details.

Jamila Souffrant 41:32

Yeah. And you know what you said about money allowing you to well, Gabrielle Union said about money allowing you to speak your truth. And there's a fine line like you said to where what happens to black people when they get money. And you know, this can apply to anyone who just gets money. Remember Oprah this saying, money just magnifies what you are. Right? And so a lot of people may not have all the money they want, right? I know, you just said like, Hey, I might be doing well right now. But it's not like I'm to the place where I'm good on that level. And so as you continue on your path, your creative path, entrepreneurship and money journey, what are you hoping continues to stay like you know, the qualities and things that you love about your life now that with without money, more money, you're good? Versus Okay, when I get a bit more money or security, I'm doing something different? I'd love to know, like, those kinds of things from your life.

Chad Sanders 42:24

Yeah, I think about it with two different lenses. You know, I have my profession, which is creativity. And then I have my family, which is very small and growing. As of right now. It's me, Giuliana, who's my fiance Penny, who's our German shepherd. And then I hope soon we will have some new people joining the squad and all that. And then I have my extended family like, so let's let's cover that part first, which is, I think an important part, which is, right now I have some peace, knowing that we can pay our bills, we can invest a little bit, we can think about the future, if there's an emergency, we'll be able to cover it, you know, like those kinds of things. We can take a vacation here and there when we want to not a ton, but we can we can do it when we want to, you know, we can pay for flights, all that stuff. Like, that's great. What I would love to know is that, should we ever decide to pick up and move somewhere for three months that we would be able to without, you know, really feeling any kind of stress to our income to our lifestyle, etc. If God willing kids come, that's going to be an entirely different conversation, then we're going to have to figure out like, how to keep them alive, how to, you know, get them educated, all those different things. So that part aside what I want. And that part is to me like I am Family Guy, like that's the important part. But in addition to that, where I where I also get peace and freedom is the thing, that's always the thing for me. I've worked on a lot of books. In those first few years. Sometimes people paid me sometimes they didn't. Sometimes it was just to get into a room. I don't ever want to have to do that, again, that hurts me. I'm sure anyone who can relate it hurts it literally it hurts your body to try to make something that you don't believe in. I don't ever want to have to do that, again, on the high end of it. Like I want to be able to live the life that you know, Dr. Dre lives as a musician, I want to be able to have my own studios have my own podcasting studios, music studios, writing studios, I want to be able to shoot stuff in my own factories in my own studios, like I want to be able to have the vessels of creativity readily available, so that I can do what I do best, which is think and make stuff you know and give direction and get it out and then it's important to me not just to be able to get stuff out but for there to be an audience there to to hear it and to see it to engage with it. And that's the phase that I'm in right now is you know I've written for all the you know, HBO Max and freeform New York Times time, like all these different vessels, but I was serving their audiences there and now And now it's time like, I want to build my audience. And so in this project direct deposit, I am giving as directly my actual life and true life experiences, as I think you will find from any writer in anything right now, like I'm telling you, for I'm taking you into my therapist chair, like, I'm showing you really exactly what it's like on this journey, because I want you to stay with me on this journey.

Jamila Souffrant 45:29

I love that. And then before we tell people where they can find this amazing project of yours, you know, you talked about having hours and hours of time when you were wanting to make it right before your big break, walking around. And I'm wondering, looking back at those times, I know obviously, there was some, like insecurity or struggle, but do you miss any of that, like all that free time you had? Like, before you got to where you are today? Like, do you miss that?

Chad Sanders 45:53

Oh, yeah, all the time. I mean, you know, I have, I have a life full of responsibilities now. And I was in my, you know, I was in my 20s, then, and I'm now in my 30s. And like, just life seasons change, you know, but I always reminisce on waking up, you know, walking out the door at 11 o'clock AM like getting sitting down in front of that laptop with a brain full of ideas that have been building over the last, you know, 24 hours, because I had no other responsibilities. And just like, just focusing all that energy on the creativity, you know, and then wandering back out and taking another three hour walk, you know, to somebody to a friend's house and then walking out of there listening to some music on my headphones, getting inspired, you know, thinking, texting, whatever, like I do, I do reminisce on those times, the thing that I tried to find gratitude in now is the struggle then was like, I could make something that I thought was good, and nobody would hear it or see it, you know, I could write something that I thought was really profound. And they wouldn't even have a chance to, I wouldn't even have a chance to find out if it was profound, because nobody was going to read it. And I love now knowing that at least somebody is going to engage with what I make. And so in those moments where I do reminisce and reach for those old times, that's what I try to find solace in, but like, I'm a wanderer at heart. Like if I'm not wandering on my feet, I'm going to be wandering in my head. That's just who I am.

Jamila Souffrant 47:23

That's awesome. All right. So Chad, please let everyone know what they can find out about direct deposit and any of the are things that you have coming up are working on.

Chad Sanders 47:32

Yep, direct deposit is available for free on Audible right now. So Audible is usually a subscription based service to listen to podcasts and audiobooks. But this project they have released, they've allowed me to release for free, because they want everybody to hear it. So please go listen to direct deposit on Audible. Please rate it, leave a comment if it speaks to you. You can follow me on Instagram at Chad sand Cha de sa nd if you go to my profile, if you click the link tree, you'll find everything that I'm working on, you'll find direct deposit, you'll find the merch store for direct deposit. You'll see what I have going on and I'll keep you updated on everything. You can also find me on Twitter at Chad underscore sand. I'm around I'm in New York, I'm in LA. I'm here.

Jamila Souffrant 48:20

Love it. Alright, I'll put that all in the episode show notes. Thanks again, so much, Chad.

Chad Sanders 48:25

Thank you, I really appreciate it.

Outro 48:30

Don't forget, you can get the episode show notes for this episode by going to journey to launch.com or click the description of wherever you're listening to this. And you can still grab your jumpstart guide for free to help you on your journey to financial freedom by going to journey to launch.com/jumpstart.

Outro 48:48

If you want to support me and the podcast and love the free content and information that you get here, here are four ways that you can support me in the show. One, make sure you're subscribed to the podcast wherever you listen, whether that's Apple podcasts, that purple app on your phone, your Android device, YouTube, Spotify, wherever it is that you happen to listen, just subscribe so you are not missing an episode. And if you're happening to listen to this and Apple podcasts, rate review and subscribe there. I appreciate and read every single review. Number two follow me on my social media accounts. I'm at journey to launch on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And I love love love interacting with journeys. They're three support and check out the sponsors of this show. If you hear something that interests you, sponsors are the main ways we keep the podcast lights on here. So show them some love for supporting your girl for and last but not least, share this episode this podcast with a friend or family member or co worker so that we can spread the message of Journey to launch. Alright, that's it until next week, keep on journeying journeyers

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Chad Sanders, author of Black Magic: What Black Leaders Learned From Trauma And Triumph, and writer on HBO Max’s new show, Rap Sh!t, joins the Journey To Launch podcast to discuss his experience leaving Google and the tech industry, how to deliberately develop your creative skills in the real world and Black money and wealth.

We chat about his new project, Direct Deposit, a podcast through Audible Originals, where he talks about being on the brink of wealth and what Black wealth looks like when you start earning money and more!

Chad’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, SLAM magazine, Teen Vogue and more– but he isn’t only a writer and author. Since his time in tech, Chad has also directed and acted on TV series and feature films with collaborators Spike Lee, Morgan Freeman, Issa Rae and Will Packer. 

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Being scrappy with money, opportunity cost and his new financial podcast Direct Deposit
  • The pull to choose what is safe vs. what you love and deciding to follow your passions
  • Why it takes so much courage to leave corporate America or a stable career  
  • Code switching, pivoting from the tech industry to the creative space, making it in Hollywood  + more
I'm Listening to Episode 298 of the Journey to Launch Podcast, Taking Ownership Of Yourself & Your Future, Listening To Your Gut + Black Wealth With Chad Sanders Click To Tweet

Other related blog posts/links mentioned in this episode:

  • Listen to Chad on the Direct Deposit Podcast
  • Check out my new personal website here.
  • Join The Weekly Newsletter List
  • Leave me a voicemail– Leave me a question on the Journey To Launch voicemail and have it answered on the podcast!
  • Watch me on News12  Watch my latest segments on News12
  • YNAB –  Start managing your money and budgeting so that you can reach your financial dreams. Sign up for a free 34 days trial of YNAB, my go-to budgeting app by using my referral link.
  • What stage of the financial journey are you on? Are you working on financial stability or work flexibility? Find out with this free assessment and get a curated list of the 10 next best episodes for you to listen to depending on your stage. Check it out here!

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