058: SPECIAL COVID-19 RELEASE Rob Lawless of Robs10kFriends

Welcome to a very SPECIAL RELEASE of the Self Made Strategies Podcast.

This episode is particularly special for a couple of reasons:

First, despite the strangeness of current events, and the current state of the world, we need some positive and entertaining stories to keep us going.  Most importantly, we are all currently undergoing a very trying time (the COVID-19 pandemic and isolation of March 2020).  Stressful times like these call for, now more than ever, beacon’s of light in the darkness.  Rob Lawless, and his quest to meet and share the stories of 10,000 new people, may be that beacon.

Secondly, it’s actually the Self Made Strategies first anniversary!  One year ago, we launched our podcast, hoping to bring you engaging stories from amazing entrepreneurs and innovators.  We hope that you have enjoyed our show, and look forward to continuing to grow and bring you amazing entrepreneurial content.

We hope you enjoy his story, and message of overcoming adversity using a pragmatic approach and positive thinking.

About Robs10kFriends (From Rob’s bio at www.robs10kfriends.com)

back in may of 2013 Rob graduated Summa cum laude from Penn state university with a degree in finance and minors in accounting and entrepreneurship. After graduation, Rob began his career with Deloitte consulting as a business analyst in strategy and operations.

It was his reach job at the time, but about a year and a half into it, Rob pulled the millennial move and took a large pay cut, left the PowerPoint decks in spreadsheets for the laid back $24 million venture funded RJ metrics while at RJ. Rob worked as a sales rep where he cold emailed people every day asking them to hop on the phone for 30 minutes to chat about their product.

His job being in sales, he often received responses like the following actual replies:

  • “Take me off your mailing list, cockroach”
  • “I understand that this is your job. This being said. If asking a girl out for coffee and she ignores you twice and finally says no, you do NOT ask whether this is a no just now or a now forever – and you certainly do not ask her why you are not her type” (Disclaimer: he has never used this strategy on girls)
  • “Not interested (and you’re really starting to annoy me)”

So along with a bunch of those factors that Rob mentions in his first blog post, he started this project to see if he could meet with people to chat for an hour for absolutely no reason. And held his first meeting on November 11th of 2015 he was rejected way less. The responses were all positive and encouraging, and he’s met some amazing people with incredible backgrounds.

Who would all consider themselves normal. On Monday, June 20th of 2016 RJ metrics was acquired by a larger company, which no longer needed Rob’s position, so Rob dove in full time on his endeavor to meet 10,000 different people for an hour each. Since then, Rob’s met over 3,200 people, as we said. As of right now, that’s March of 2020 across 20 cities in the United States and Canada.

And has driven across the United States six separate times and has even been featured by some awesome press sources, including Ryan’s Seacrest on his nationally syndicated radio show on air with Ryan Seacrest as well as your morning, a national Canadian morning show. Rob loves adventure and loves potential.

Over the last three and a half years or so, he’s found this project to have had both, so he’s been greatly satisfied with how it’s gone so far and can’t wait to continue giving it his 110% to see where it takes him in the future. The last thought is he’s had great experiences meeting new people, so if you feel so inclined.

Give it a try and let him know how it goes for you.

You can also check out Rob’s Instagram account, which is @Robs10kFriends, you can also look at his website if you want more information.

SHOW AGENDA

On today’s episode we will:
• Get to know Rob and hear about his amazing quest to meet 10,000 new people
• Discuss Rob’s strategies for overcoming adversity and hurdles during transitionary periods in our lives (useful advice during our COVID-19)
• Why focusing on what you CAN control is important during financial uncertainty

What you will hear on this episode:

• Why Rob started his quest to meet 10,000 new people
• Rob’s “control the controllables” strategy
• How Rob has dealt with the COVID-19 crisis
• What we can expect from Robs10kFriends during the #socialdistancing isolation period
• And so much more!

PRODUCTION CREDITS:

This Self Made Strategies Podcast is a SoftStix Productions LLC jawn.  This episode was produced, edited, and hosted by Tony Lopes, REMOTELY (because we are in COVID-19 isolation) in Philadelphia.  The Self Made Strategies Podcast is sponsored by Lopes Law LLC (www.LopesLawLLC.com).

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HERE IS THE TRANSCRIPT FOR EPISODE 058 OF THE SELF MADE STRATEGIES PODCAST:

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:00:21] Hey everyone. This is Tony Lopes, host of the Self Made Strategies Podcast, welcoming you to a special COVID-19 release where we interviewed Rob Lawless of Robs10kFriends. Rob really brings a lot of positive energy and sends a wonderful message about how, even though we have to stay inside to get past this horrible virus that’s overcoming the globe, you can still connect with people on a very intimate level. Please stay tuned throughout the entire episode to hear everything that Rob has to share with us, but don’t forget to go hit subscribe, and also drop us a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Thanks very much. We really appreciate you listening and we hope you enjoy the show.

Welcome to a brand new episode of the self-made strategies podcast coming to you remotely because we are all locked in doors right now. To that end, with me today is Rob Lawless joining us on the phone from Robs10kFriends. Hey Rob.

Rob Lawless – Robs10kFriends: [00:01:21] Hey

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:01:22] How you doing, man? Yeah. Great. Thanks for joining us. I really appreciate it.

Excited to talk about your mission. I know you and I have been circling the wagons on each other for a little bit. Here. You, you started this journey to meet 10,000 people and to connect with 10,000 people face to face. Obviously today you are at around. 3259 that you’ve posted. So 3,259 people that you’ve met since you started back in may of 2013 really cool, awesome social experiment.

I think it’s really interesting, your backstory and how you got into all of this, so we’re really excited to hear more about it.

Rob Lawless – Robs10kFriends: [00:02:03] Yeah. It’s been a good journey so far, and I did not anticipate a pandemic being something to change the course of it in any way, but no one saw that coming with their lives. So yeah, it’s crazy and it’s a good time. The cha, I think any interaction is important right now, so I appreciate you having me on the show.

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:02:21] Yeah, I appreciate it. And also it’s a good time just in general with all of the, obviously we’re all sort of freaked out by this and, and a little bit concerned because we don’t know. Where this is headed, but it’s great to be able to share a positive message about connecting with other people and collaborating on a project like this.

So really psyched to get into this with you.

Rob Lawless – Robs10kFriends: [00:02:41] Yeah,

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:02:42] so back in may of 2013 Rob graduated Summa cum laude from Penn state university with a degree in finance and minors in accounting and entrepreneurship. After graduation, Rob began his career with Deloitte consulting as a business analyst in strategy and operations.

It was his reach job at the time, but about a year and a half into it, Rob pulled the millennial move and took a large pay cut, left the PowerPoint decks in spreadsheets for the laid back $24 million venture funded RJ metrics while at RJ. Rob worked as a sales rep where he cold emailed people every day asking them to hop on the phone for 30 minutes to chat about their product.

His job being in sales, he often received responses like the following actual replies, quote, take me off your mailing list. Cockroach quote. I understand that this is your job. That being said, if asking a girl out for coffee and she ignores you twice and finally says, no, you do not ask whether this is. Uh, no, just for now or a no forever.

And you certainly did not ask her why you are not her type disclaimer. I’ve never used that strategy on girls. That was a quote from one of the email responses that you got and another was not interested, and you’re really starting to annoy me. I think I’ve gotten that one a couple times, maybe from a, from a variety of people as well.

So along with a bunch of those factors that Rob mentions in his first blog post, he started this project to see if he could meet with people to chat for an hour for absolutely no reason. And held his first meeting on November 11th of 2015 he was rejected way less. The responses were all positive and encouraging, and he’s met some amazing people with incredible backgrounds.

Who would all consider themselves normal. On Monday, June 20th of 2016 RJ metrics was acquired by a larger company, which no longer needed Rob’s position, so Rob dove in full time on his endeavor to meet 10,000 different people for an hour each. Since then, Rob’s met over 3,200 people, as we said. As of right now, that’s March of 2020 across 20 cities in the United States and Canada.

And has driven across the United States six separate times and has even been featured by some awesome press sources, including Ryan’s sea crest on his nationally syndicated radio show on air with Ryan Seacrest as well as your morning, a national Canadian morning show. Rob loves adventure and loves potential.

Over the last three and a half years or so, he’s found this project to have had both, so he’s been greatly satisfied with how it’s gone so far and can’t wait to continue giving it his 110% to see where it takes him in the future. The last thought is he’s had great experiences meeting new people, so if you feel so inclined.

Give it a try and let him know how it goes for you. Now you can also check out Rob’s main account, which is @Robs10kFriends. And you can also look at his website if you want more information. Robs10kFriends.com now Rob, tell us from the beginning, this is, this is really exciting for me cause I love meeting new people as well.

I think everyone has their own unique and interesting story. So. That it’s such an awesome thing to hear about that somebody else decided to go out there and really just connect with people on a one on one.

Rob Lawless – Robs10kFriends: [00:06:09] Yes. Thank you. Yeah. It goes back to I think my childhood, even where I didn’t, it’s funny because sometimes people will ask me and say, were you really shy as a kid and did you not have friends in school?

And so this is your way of overcoming that, and it’s actually the opposite where I’ve always been a people person. I’ve always like, I remember being in grade school and being excited to get to high school because there’d be more people for me to know and I remember being excited to go to Penn state because the student body was 40,000 people and that was one of the big draws for me to attend school there.

I’m the youngest of three. So both my older siblings went there and they kind of  gave me an idea of what to get involved with, uh, when I became a student. So my freshman year I joined the Penn state dance marathon. It’s huge up at Penn state. And I also. Uh, did habitat for humanity trips over spring break.

I joined a fraternity the spring semester of my freshman year. I became a tour guide and campus ambassador during my sophomore year. And then I was involved with the Penn state homecoming as a captain during my senior. Yeah. So I always had my hand in something. And from that I built this really natural, large group.

Friends who provided a lot of fulfillment in my life. And I noticed when I left Penn state and went into consulting for Deloitte, I was really miserable. And I expected that I was supposed to be that way because like you go from such a fun environment surrounded by all of your friends, she was the real world and you’re there to work and make money, not really to have fun.

So for a while I just thought that that was what life was supposed to be like, but the entrepreneurship side of me. Always told me that there is a way to create your own path  be able to sustain a living doing something you love. And so knowing that I love people, I came up with this idea in January of 2014.

To meet 10,000 people in one year. And at that time, that guy wasn’t thinking as longterm. I just thought it would be a cool project to do in a year. And I thought I would meet each person for 10 minutes. Mmm. And I honestly had no idea where I thought it could go, but I thought it would be successful. And now looking back on it, I don’t think it would it 10 minutes with each person.

That’s such a short amount of time. And I think there was a, there would’ve been a lot of like. It wouldn’t have been as genuine if I had done it back then, and so I just let it sit and over time as I matured, I gained experience at Deloitte and left really to go to RJ metrics. Okay. Then I decided, okay, once I moved into Philly for the RJ metrics job, to me it kind of felt like moving back onto a campus, except this time the campus was Philadelphia as opposed to state college.

And from there I just kind of started reaching out to people and I had no fear. Okay. Reaching out to strangers and getting rejected because as you already read, I was used to getting some pretty mean responses from people, and I learned how to turn that emotion off.

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:09:14] Yeah. That was, some of those were pretty harsh, I have to admit.

Rob Lawless – Robs10kFriends: [00:09:18] Yeah. Yeah. But sales is such a funny time because it’s like people are mad at the character of who you are at that time because. I would be mad if I was getting the emails that I was giving out because it’s like you. Email someone and then you follow up three days later and they don’t have any follow up three days later.

as a salesperson, it’s just a numbers game and you know that the amount of emails that you put out is going to get a certain number of responses in a certain number of those people are going to hop on a call and a certain number of them are going to move forward. So, and that was one of the things that surprised me.

I wanted to always wanted to go into sales because I thought that it would be okay personable thing, but. It wasn’t like a super long sales cycle where you’re really spending time getting to know someone. I was just opening the door to conversations and then passing it off account executives. And so you’re much more like a robot than a person.

Uh, so I ran the turn the emotion off, but. So the answers that I gained as a salesperson were extremely helpful for me and I, I use a lot of those skills. Again, like that plays to pitching brands for partnerships. You have to be able to send them an email and if they don’t follow up, like not be afraid, you.

To follow up and to follow up multiple times. Um, Oh yes. We’re doing that in September of 2015 and then that led to me having my first meeting in November of 2015 as you mentioned, I was laid off eight months later and then took this full time and the last like July will be four years of full time. Me just meeting people and somehow finding a way to survive and hopefully thrive in the future.

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:11:01] Yeah. That’s great. And so just real quick, taking a step back, focusing on that specific moment. Obviously we’re recording this remotely. We have the covert 19 thing going on, so we’re doing our, our part to stay indoors and away from each other to, to hopefully find the curve and stop the spread of this thing, but focusing on that transitionary period in your life.

So you get laid off your focus on this. Side project essentially that at the time is generating little revenue, no revenue. Walk us through that. Where was it in terms of your sponsorships and your revenue generation?

Rob Lawless – Robs10kFriends: [00:11:36] Well, when I was laid off, I’d only met. Following on Instagram was probably like 200 people, if that, maybe 300.

But I enjoyed the pro, the process of what I was doing. I enjoyed actually sitting down with people for an hour. Uh, so it was more of me doing what I loved and kind of believing that the money would come then doing something for the Monday and I was always a 50 person. And so. When I, my first two years of my career in the back of my parents’ house, and I had student loans to pay off and whatnot.

But I was able to do that within the first few years of graduating because I didn’t really have friends the first couple of years. Mmm. And I was never really a big spender. I was always saving my money for what felt like taking a leap. And then when I did that, when I was laid off, I decided, okay, I’m going to go into this full time for two to three months.

And if it seems promising, then I’ll continue. And if not, I’ll just hop back into a consulting job with a company like Deloitte. And I think that, okay, I think Deloitte on my resume, having that experience gave me a lot of confidence as a fallback because I felt like I could take this risk without completely screwing myself.

I could go back into an interview with really good stories if I needed to. And so. Two to three months, then turned into me like finishing my lease out in Philadelphia, which was, uh, my lease went until the  end of the following may. So it was like 11 months. And then at that point, my friend TJ, who was my roommate at Penn state,  invited me to go out to Los Angeles to stay with him.

But he had moved there from Pennsylvania after school, and we had this apartment on, on, on the beach in long beach, and it was just him there living by himself. And he said, Hey, if you want to come out, you, I have an extra bedroom for you. I can post you for the summer. Stay as long as you need to. So that was the first time in June of 2017 I drove out there to be with him.

And I guess I should note at that point, like the first through I had was November of 2016. So that would have been probably like or five months after I was laid off. And it was actually, uh, Jake, who is the COO of the company that laid me off. So RJ metrics, I’m not your sure, if you’re familiar. I had two products and one was acquired by this company in Magento, and then one spun off into a new startup.

So JC came, the CEO of the new startup, and he and I had had a good relationship. I had good relationship with Bob Moore as well. And so. I texted Jake and I was like, Hey, I want you to sponsor my project. And he said, no. And I was like, okay, well, how much did you think I was going to ask for? And he was like, all right.

Good point. I don’t, I don’t really know. And so I just asked for like $100. Mmm. Because I wanted to see what it felt like to have a sponsor attached to the project, because I was worried that it would take away from the authenticity of it. Right. In those times, I would just put the caption and then put presented this month buys stitch data is company.

Mmm. And then that right before I left for LA, I started using that for other companies. I had, Mmm. Fish town pharmacy in fish town was like the first true sponsor that I had outside of someone that I knew. And then the next month it was BYB urgent care. And the month after that was teen dental, Northern liberties.

And then after that it was a leadership program. Leadership Philadelphia. And then I went out to LA. Mmm. Oh, I can stop there. I know I just said a lot and hopefully I didn’t confuse you at all. But yeah, that is up to the point of me going out to LA for the first time. Mmm. And going to LA where I was fortunate enough to not have rents.

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:15:22] Yeah. Wow. So that’s an incredible, just to unpack that a little bit, just because we’re kind of an uncertain times. Obviously a lot of people are facing financial uncertainty right now, so I think there was a lot of good. Positive, um, tips that can be taken out of what you just said. So at least for me, and correct me if I’m wrong and we’ll kind of talk our way through this, it sounds like you really took a step back.

Okay. You got laid off, your income got shut down and you focused on, okay, what can I do. To control my outcomes and my destiny from here on out. And I know it’s not that easy, especially when you’re facing financial uncertainty. You had some things going for you already and some momentum with this project already, but nonetheless, you took a step back and you said, it is what it is.

Things are what they are right now, and here’s what I can start doing today to head in that direction. And then you took those steps to start proactively. Controlling your own outcomes and destiny, reaching out to people, saying, Hey, um, will you sponsor this project that I’m working on? And you, you did not take no for an answer, which is pretty incredible.

You really persevered through that situation. That’s very admirable.

Rob Lawless – Robs10kFriends: [00:16:37] Yes. Thank you. And yeah, I’ve always felt that way. I think I’ve always been a big believer in control the controllables, and it’s almost like life to me. Strategy wise is almost like a board game and it’s kind of like now being inside, it’s changed the rules, like I can’t go out and meet people.

It’s crazy because before this started, the concept of my project was so like fulfilling and uplifting to people to see a guy going around and connecting with random strangers. And then it’s like the landscaper came plus that if you’re out connecting with strangers, you’re doing the world a huge disservice.

And so. Fortunately, I feel like I recognize that early on in, I postponed my project. I announced last Wednesday, so like 10 days ago, and then right after that is like what I felt like everything started to hit the fan, and so then it became okay, like what are you going to do at first? Because I wanted to, part of me wanted to have my project  just all in person meetings, but.

Then it’s like, how do you survive two or three months keeping the audience engaged that you built up that wants to follow the stories that people you’re meeting and a lot of people were recommending. I go on to zoom or Skype and then talk to one of my friends, Chris, who runs another inspiring project called special books by special kids.

And he is like in a situation where he interviews people with rare diagnoses from around the world. It’s so, he also at the game has changed for him. And he was saying he’s going virtual. And the thing he said to me was, these are like, I think we’re living right now, sort of times that will be in line with times like the great depression.

And he was like, I think documenting this time for other people. Is it a service to everyone? And so that was kind of like what tipped me into going virtual. But. It just reminds me of the fact that I feel like life is a board game. The one that I, have you ever played the others up to 10

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:18:40] I don’t know the game super well, so just give us a, a brief sort of 30,000 foot view of how the game works.

Rob Lawless – Robs10kFriends: [00:18:47] So there’s like five different resources. It’s like, would she, or, Oh wow. And one other thing. And like, depending on where you’re positioned, someone wrote the died and you get those resources. And then from there it’s like you use a certain combination of resources to build roads and houses. Um, kind of like monopolies.

Yeah. Mmm.  the basis is you have a limited amount of resources and you can either go out. And try to get resources through the diet. Like for me, I think about it like enlist resources or money there. Friendship. You can go out and trade your time for money or you can try to like, Mmm. Rely on your friends to make it easier so that you don’t have to spend as much money.

It’s like, I think a lot of people, you just have to look at what you have in your life. Identify your resources. And then identify what you can do with those resources. Mmm. Or like another way. It’s like food in your pantry. Like what are you going to make for dinner? It depends on the ingredients that you have.

And if you don’t have the right ingredients to make chicken pot pie, then you don’t make that. You think of something else. Um, so that is the kind of the mindset that I have going through with this project of being like, I have a friend in LA who’s willing to host me. I have a friend in. Right now, Hoboken, who’s willing to host me, and I have this audience that I’m able to leverage great partnerships with brands.

And so like those are the resources that I’m operating with. But yeah. Do you think times like these. Really make us reflect on what the rules of the game currently are and what resources we have to help us move through it.

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:20:23] Yeah, that’s great advice and a great point. Let’s take a circle back. So you go out to LA your first time, going back to the original story that you were telling, tell us about that.

That’s where you were really now gaining some significant momentum. You had picked up a whole bunch of sponsors, which by the way. All of Rob’s 10  friends. Sponsors are listed at Rob’s 10 , friends.com. Forward slash sponsors go check them out. Lots of awesome organizations. Fish, town pharmacy, um, a team dental vibe, urgent care, uh, Philadelphia weekly, the university of Pennsylvania, Penn medicine as well.

So lots of great sponsorships. We work and. You, you start to build this momentum. Now you’re on a trip out to LA and as you said, you were staying out there for free. Is that correct? Yeah. So yeah. Walk us through that. What was a, what was your feeling now that you’re seeing sort of, okay, you know, we’re pushing the Boulder up the Hill.

Maybe we’re gaining a little bit of momentum and it’s actually starting to be a little easier to push. And what was your, your, now you’re even more all in, I would imagine. Tell us what was going on in your head at that time.

Rob Lawless – Robs10kFriends: [00:21:32] Yes. It’s funny because I was, I was building momentum and then I think going out there periodically killed all of that momentum in the time being.

It was ultimately building momentum in ways that I didn’t. Deep inside I had these ships and then I went off to LA and no one really wanted to talk to me anymore because I was meeting people in Los Angeles. My entire following wasn’t Philadelphia. And it didn’t really make sense for Philly companies to sponsor something that was being done in Los Angeles.

And it didn’t really make sense for LA companies to sponsor something that was mainly silly people. And so I had gone out to LA thinking like, okay, this is going to be  make or break somewhere. Like something big has to happen with the project, or I’m going to go back to Philly and I’m going to jump into a full time job again.

And I had had, I had known that I would be going back to Philly in September because. My buddy Brian was getting married in October and his bachelor party was on the East coast in September, so that was kind of my timeframe. And I went out to LA and unfortunately, the first week that I was there, hi, not Los Angeles, wrote an article on me because the girl that I had met, what’s a friend of someone that I had met in Philly.

Uh, so I met her for my project and then she did a piece on me. So I got out there and like in one week I had this jump up. People reaching out to me and I thought to myself, this is great. I can just go out to LA and. Your dreams come true, like people notice you immediately. Mmm. Which happened in a very small way.

And then it’s crazy because it just tapered off the rest of the summer. Like I started high and then just slowly made my way lower and lower because despite that initial press piece, like I didn’t have the momentum that I had in Philly. I wasn’t able to find four people a day to meet in Philly.  meeting five people a day before I left.

Um. And so it’s kind of a struggle. And in August, I fortunately had a sponsorship with. This company Serengeti. It’s funny, I’m actually wearing the teacher right now. Um, I had met student ambassadors of those in Philly from temple university, and I was meeting a lot of different ambassadors, and so their CEO reached out to me.

I said, Hey, I love what you’re doing. We should commit some time. And I’m 29 and, and he’s 20 and on as well. So it’s just like the two of us chatting about. Our own entrepreneurial path. Then he sponsored me in August. Mmm. Within, like, that guy became a really important figure. I didn’t know it at the time, but you can get to it, but that, um, yeah, that was the experience.

And then I came back to Philly in September.  then it was again, like building back up the momentum because people in Philly forgot that I was doing this project because for three months I was out in Los Angeles.  uh, so I came back and I think. In November. That’s silly. I was able to land another partnership with ’em metropolitan.

There was a dog walking company run by this guy. Uh, great. And he also runs a product in Philly called Philly unknown. And so he just supported me for that. And then. It was like a wedding band sponsored me. And then I had a photographer response to me. And then Philly weekly and random mix accompanies companies that I was back in Philly.

So the momentum started to pick up again. Mmm. And I can stop there too, cause a lot of the guys, some Serengeti bleeds into other things that lead into other things. Uh, but I’ll let you, I’ll stop there unless you ask. Of what, what you want clarification on.

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:25:01] Yeah. So let’s go into that partnership with Serengeti specifically.

Um, what do they do? What, what does the organization all of the all about and how did you come together to collaborate?

Rob Lawless – Robs10kFriends: [00:25:13] So they are a teacher company, so that’s started by two guys that went to Arizona state university. Mmm. Or at least I know the one, the guy that I know Ryan went there. I’m not sure if the other guy.

I did or not, but they did a semester at  instead of a semester abroad, and they came up with the idea to has a  pocket tee tee shirts. Um, but the, the pockets on the tee shirts, it’s the breast pocket would be made out of materials from local artisans from around the world. So they would source these materials from like all different countries.

And then proceed from the tee shirts would then go to like causes in those countries. So the brand was centered around like travel. Yeah. And adventure. Mmm. And it was cool. Like I, I still love the brand and their tee shirts are awesome because it’s all different tee shirts, but the, the pocket is like the thing that makes them pop.

Um, so he, we just did a thing where he gave me like a discount code and I put it out to my audience. And I was like, Hey, if you want to support my project, use the discount code too. Purchase one of these t-shirts, I’ll be getting a cut of it. And he definitely, he gave me, it ended up being like a couple hundred dollars, but I didn’t at the time.

He didn’t bring that much in for him. I’m sure he just kind of cheers. Here’s what we’ll do. Like, we’ll give you this money. Like thanks to the partnership. Mmm. But the crazy thing is that. Partnership as part of it. They had a social media audience too, and so they put the about me on their page and a girl started following me because of that.

And a year later, the next time I was in LA, that girl had moved from Portland down to LA and she was like, Hey, I’ve been following your project for over a year. I saw when you posted with Serengeti, like I’m finally in the LA area and I would love to meet with you. So I met with her. And then she be posted our photo to her Instagram account and the next day I got an email that said, we’d love to have you on air with Ryan.

Seacrest. Friend had seen that post. Her friend was a producer for Ryan’s because radio show . They emailed me on a Thursday and by Monday morning I was on the phone with them talking about my story and so it’s crazy. And then like beyond that, the next time I went out to LA. And this was even before the Ryan Seacrest thing happened.

Ryan Serengeti introduced me to these guys who run a YouTube channel called yesterday, and they were just becoming really popular at the time. Like they had just put out a challenge to Wilson. He jumped out of an airplane with him for his 50th birthday and he accepted it. They did it over. It’s very Italian.

It was a big thing, but. They have like the most loyal audience that I’ve come across still to this day from anyone in my project. And they had put out like an Instagram story about me. And in that 24 hours, I had 4,000 people start filing my projects. I got 400 messages from people all over the world. So they were like, because of me meeting Brian and him introducing me to them, they opened up.

A lot of doors for me and gave me like that jump, obviously followership that brands like to send you. So yeah, it’s wild how much can be tied to just one person.

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:28:44] Wow. That’s absolutely incredible. And you’re right. I mean, people who have that level of influence, that’s why influencers get paid the big bucks, right, of because a, they have that level of influence in one quick mention can just have that sort of a, I don’t want to use the term viral right now cause I don’t want to freak anyone out, but can have that kind of immature exponential impact, let’s say.

So. Awesome. Fantastic story in congrats for, first of all, for persevering, for maintaining a positive mindset. Throughout all of those hurdles, there are little hurdles that are, are mentioned throughout that story that you’re telling and each time. It seems to me that you’re the type of individual who takes a step back, resets your positive mindset, and says, what can I do to take control of this current situation in a pragmatic way to continue to advance my mission, my goals, what I’m looking to do in terms of outcomes?

So amazing. And thank you for that inspirational story.

Rob Lawless – Robs10kFriends: [00:29:43] Thank you.

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:29:44] So now we’re recording this on March 20th of 2020 we normally don’t say the date that we’re recording it, but we’re kind of in the midst of this coven 19 spiral. And yesterday you posted on your Instagram account that you were finally going virtual a decision, obviously to avoid.

Um, to avoid face to face interactions and to sort of jump on board. I think because you have a platform, a platform, you have about 35,000 plus followers. So you have a platform to help to spread this message of. Social distancing, not in a negative way, but more so, so that we can flatten the curve and try to overcome this thing before, before it becomes even worse.

Um, so thank you for spreading that message, first of all, and for being a leader in this time of uncertainty. But walk us through what your mindset is, what, what made you, obviously you impart are following suit with governmental guidelines. But. You decided to continue to your project to continue to grow again, faced with another hurdle that would seemingly potentially derail your project, and instead you send out a message and I saw your message immediately after an, I apologize in part because your message immediately after the message about going.

Virtual was, I got all of your messages and I’m excited to keep the project going. About 200 plus of you messaged me to meet. So just wanted to update you that I’m going through all the messages. I was one of those 200 plus, and I apologize, but I appreciate you making the time. Yeah. I appreciate you making the time to jump on this, spread the word and in another way.

So yeah. How did you, how did you come up with this decision? How are you implementing your new strategies to maintain. Contact and to maintain the core values of your overall mission?

Rob Lawless – Robs10kFriends: [00:31:29] Well, it’s funny because one of the guys that I had met, I’m out in LA, he messaged me last week around the same time that I was getting ready to post about postponing the project, and he was like, Hey man, I think you might have to think about doing zoom or Skype and maybe try to get them to sponsor the project in a way.

And at the time it’s like, you know, it’s crazy how much. This has progressed from, okay, we’re going to have to do like a two week indoor quarantine. Okay. It might be eight weeks that we have to be indoors and then all right. The thing might be going on in full July or August, and so it’s, this is like, it’s getting worse every day in the timeline getting pushed further out and so.

If it was, if it was just that we would be in weeks indoors for two weeks, I probably would have held off. Mmm. Because I probably would’ve stuck to the integrity of in person interaction. I feel like, I think there is a big difference between video chatting and being in someone’s presence, in being able to pick up on their body language and like the music of the cafe that you’re in and all that stuff.

I think it makes for a more rich or richer experience. Um, but. Yeah, I, with the, the steps getting pushed further and further out, and I’m living in Hoboken right now. I keep telling my roommate, I feel like we are in the thick of it. Like, we don’t really leave our apartment. We had, earlier this week, we’ve had like 8:00 PM to 5:00 AM curfew, and I think a lot of the stricter measures Hoboken was doing before anyone else.

So it kind of feels like we’re here in like the epicenter. Uh, uh. With people taking strict measures. Yeah. I think going through this week and realizing. Initially I was like, okay, I’ll use this time to start thinking about how to best document my project from the beginning until now. And I was like, I’ll just, I’ll highlight.

Some of the old people that I’ve met had inspiring stories because they would give people perspective during this time. And I, in all this time, kept getting messages of people being like, Hey, you should try to the new chatting, or, Hey, have you thought that going on Skype? And. It was really that conversation with my friend Chris from special books by special kids and been talking about, I was kind of a service to document this time for people.

That for me was the tipping point, and that was like the two sides of it too. I thought, okay, maybe it would be nice to have this time documenting and it’s nice to deal with the tech or other people and share their stories and share. Now it’s crazy because. Of those 200 messages. I’ve got people who’ve messaged me from Iran.

I’ve had people who messaged me from Italy, from other parts of the world, like Chile, Indonesia. Mmm. Like all of these different countries that I wouldn’t have access to before. I’m curious to hear what they’re, Mmm. What life is like in Italy right now. Cause I know they’re going through it worse than any other country, really with like the death toll.

Um, Oh. Yeah, it’s just making, the decision kind of came from like, okay, this is important to document this and it’s important to show that there’s still a connection online. And they continued to share people’s stories and for me to like do for my audience. What they’re following me to do. Like my audience bothers me because they’re interested in other people’s stories.

And I don’t think, even if I care about the integrity of in person, that it necessarily makes a difference to them whether we’re video chatting or not, because the end product is they get to see this person and they get to read about their story. So after I made the decision, I was like, man, why did I put that off for so long?

It makes so much sense to do it virtually. Mmm. But yeah, and I also. For me to sit in, in our apartment in Hoboken, struggling to be productive. I felt like I needed that interaction with people too. Mmm. Just for my mental health to be able to sit and talk with people, because that was giving me so much joy before the whole coronavirus thing started.

They didn’t, I still have that as an opportunity take advantage of. It’s just in a different way. So I think for me it was just really important to get back to connecting with people.

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:35:44] Like any other millennial. I communicate a lot over text and text based forms of communication. Obviously I reached out to you on Instagram, so to your point, I’ve sent some messages out.

No offense to anyone who’s hearing this that didn’t get a message from me yet. I’m working my way through my phone book, so just give me a little bit of time, but I’m trying to, like you said, and partially inspired by your message on Instagram. So again, thank you for the positivity and for continuing to lead.

Um, with, uh, sort of more emotional forms of contact or more intimate forms of contact. And, um, so I’ve been reaching out to people and just saying, Hey, you know, let’s talk on the phone. Let’s hear each other’s voice. Let’s try to stay more engaged and find new ways to connect with people. And to your point, yeah.

You know, productivity can help get through this a lot easier. Uh, sitting on the couch reading news headlines on the internet, especially that may or may not be accurate first and foremost. And, um, some of that stuff can, can really just drive you crazy and. You know, looking at your inspirational throwbacks, you have the story with Danny Bader.

You have the story with a world war II veteran. Uh, Alex Solomon. You have the story of Roz Pichardo who, um, had an ex boyfriend that tried to take her life when she was 16, and then you have the story of an individual who was, um. Wally green, who was a member of a gang, and because of the kindness of another stranger, ended up joining a ping pong club and essentially turning his life around.

Really interesting stories that you post about to your point. So. How, what is your process now going forward to adapt to this new environment, as you said, and we’re still uncertain to your point of how long this is going to last, but, um, but how are you continuing to maintain that intimate content contact?

And, um, I know you answered this to a degree, but how are you walking through this process of going forward? Are you going to continue to do inspirational throwbacks? Are you going to. Look for other avenues to break out in this project in innovative ways or, or what’s your thought process for the future?

Rob Lawless – Robs10kFriends: [00:38:12] Right now, the way I’m thinking about it is now that I’ve made the decision to go for a tool, I’m going to be meeting four people. Okay. A video chat. And so that will keep me busy too. Talking with them and distilling their stories down to put on Instagram. And so I see it going back what it was before, like if you were following her page, the four stories a day of someone who could have an inspirational story, they could be the person next door.

You have a completely normal life. Mmm. And yeah, that’s, that’s just kind of what I’m saying. And not, maybe it’s like that the throwbacks and stuff. Go back to the Instagram stories for that, but . Yeah. For my, I count and it’s, the numbers are messed up now, but before the Corona virus, every single post correlated to a person that I had met.

So before this fire started, the last post you saw is 3,259 and that correlated to that person who I’d met. And so. I think I’m going to go back to just running up, um, or, or posting and having the posts correlate to the number, uh, eventually, like, I want to go and archive all of the stuff that I’d posted during this time.

Mmm. So that’s the number  even again. Mmm. Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s just getting back into, into. The process and then sharing. Yeah. Other things. True. Uh, the Instagram, no worries. And for me it’s helpful because that kind of like, it helps my mind get into a routine for, for someone who lives such a spontaneous lifestyle overall, I’m really big on routines on a daily basis.

So I know that like I can move forward and make progress in the field, like iron making progress in my life by doing it that way.

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:40:08] Very cool. Very cool. And yeah, again, continue to do what you’re doing. Continue to put out your message of positivity. It is helping. I’m sure there are others out there like myself that appreciate seeing you pop up in our news feeds rather than, um.

Scary headlines or, or potential misinformation and disinformation. To that end on our podcast, we’re going to have an interview with an epidemiologist from temple university as well in the upcoming week. To try to overcome not only flattening the curve of the virus itself, but flattening the curve of the disinformation and misinformation and just negativity overall that’s spreading across the internet right now.

I know that, you know, times are tough. Obviously a lot of people are sick. A lot of people have lost their lives, and we’re all also dealing with our own individual. Situations at home and try not to go crazy in the process, trying to maintain our sanity, but at the same time. Proper information coming from verified sources can be important.

So people like you are really doing big things and I commend you for what you’re doing,

Rob Lawless – Robs10kFriends: [00:41:22] but it has an impact on people. Mmm. I’ve always done it meeting with people and being able to spend the time, and I never really thought too much about it. The impact that it has afterwards when the story goes out and who’s affected by that. But it’s always nice to be reminded by it, especially in these times.

And so I’m more than happy to continue doing that going forward. And I, I hope that it provides a little bit of relief for people in this time. And yeah, when I was once Derek earlier this week about what this might hold for my project, I’m now in a place where I’m excited to see what it’s going to do for

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:42:00] it.

Awesome. Awesome. And yeah, quoting your message on Twitter two days ago, and that’s at Robs10kFriends on Twitter as well, and your message was, let’s keep this thing going and continue to learn about slash gain perspective from each other. We need it now more than ever. And that’s a wonderful message.

I really think that that’s you’re, you’re doing great things and we really appreciate it. Rob, thanks for being on the show. And again, if you want to contact Rob, the best place would be through your DM on Instagram, correct? Yeah. And that’s at Robs10kFriends on Instagram and Twitter. And you can also get more information about Rob on his website.

Which is Robs10kFriends.com. Thanks again for being on the show, Rob, and keep doing what you’re doing. If there’s anything we can do to support, let us know.

Rob Lawless – Robs10kFriends: [00:43:00] Awesome.

Tony Lopes, Esq. – Self Made Strategies & Lopes Law LLC: [00:43:01] Thank you. Thanks. I really appreciate that.