Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 5 months ago

218) #DigitalGrowthJourneys - Neo Banking: Giving the Freelance Community a Financial Home


Finances for freelancers and self-employed business owners are a whole different can of worms compared to the traditional American employee. Keeping track of tax payments and other financial obligations can be overwhelming.

Oona Rokyta saw a need for a bank that catered to the independent workforce. As CEO and co-founder of, Oona and her team built a niche neo-banking platform that focuses on helping content creators and small business owners.

Together, they built a community of collaboration.

Join us as we discuss:

  • The inspiration behind starting a bank for the self-employed (5:31)
  • Perspective around the collaboration of community in niche banking (24:54)
  • Coaching as a core competency in financial brands and fintech (33:34)

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

- LinkedIn

- Twitter



You can find this interview and many more by subscribing to Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or here.

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Build a community around your product. They're the ones that are the first to tell you when something is off the rails from what they expected or when there's a need that's unmet, but they're also the first them to be your customer support. You are listening to banking on digital growth with James Robert Lay, a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing, sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential by generating ten times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part of the Digital Growth Journey series, where James Robert Uncovers and explores some of the industry's biggest digital marketing and sales stories of success. Let's get into the show. Readings in Hello, I am James Robert Lay and welcome to episode to eighteen of the banking on digital growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the Digital Growth Journey series is and I'm excited to welcome Una Rakeda to the show. Una is the CEO and Co founder of Lance, the first smart business banking account for the self employed, and I'm excited to share her story of growth with you today. Welcome to the show, UNA. It is so good to share time with you thanks so much for having me really excited about our conversation today. It has been a long time coming for sure. And before we get into your digital growth journey and the good work that you are doing over at Lance, what is good for you right now, personally or professionally? It's your pick to get started. I am really enjoying, Um, getting back into the health circuit in terms of training. Um jumped into my first marathon of the year in June and have another one coming Um and just hied up for a metric bike ride with a friend to so I'm trying to really keep that balance between work and health. So I'm not that far behind you. I've got a couple of marathons behind me. But you know my wife and I, we have four kids and so she told me, she said no more marathon so they get a little bit older because, as you know, those long weekend runs leading up to it. So I said I agreed, but I I need something to work towards. So I will get back into a half. And then I'm forty and so my next big big health goal, fitness goal, half iron man. Um, Oh man, I'll be right there with you. Well, let's do it. Let's do it together. So my sister in law, she's done, Um, a couple of halves over the years. Probably I think she's done maybe four or five at this point. And then my brother in law, he's gone all out into the full iron man spectrum. Couple here in the states, one down to Mexico. So I love it because there's such a connection and correlation between, and we're talking before your recording, like health, wealth, well being or, as you have on your instagram, health, wealth, joy. Right, it's it's all interconnected and and that's where I want to bring this back into just your own digital growth journey, um, your own story going back to when you launched Lance and what was the inspiration? Why did you decide to go down this path, to start the first smart business banking account for the self employed, when you come from outside of the industry? WHAT'S THE WHY? Yeah, absolutely. Well, it was a big, strong why of my own personal frustration. Um, I, like we were talking about earlier, just don't come from the finance industry and, uh, my parents themselves were artists so really did not give me any sort of coaching as a young adult. You know, they've got a lot of other skills, but financial management was not one of them, especially coming into this country from another, you know, they didn't more familiar with the disciplines, let alone all the retirement planning that goes into, you know, managing your your future financial health here. And as I worked for myself with a number of stars it ups and Coaching Them N PR and marketing as a...

...freelancer, I found that the you know, irregular conversations with an accountant are those that were more tax related, really weren't doing it for me in terms of staying on top of my finances and kind of playing around with the metrics. I mean we have a common interest in terms of where athletic endeavors. When I was either a collegiate swimmer or now trading for marathons, I could play around with my workouts and figure out how to reach my goals, and I feel like you can do some of that on your finances, and we certainly have kind of budgeting apps and the like, but there's nothing to really play around in the palm of your hand in an APP in a banking setting, even you know how to address multiple income streams, how to appropriately invest in different needs along the way and that's really what started kind of the conversations with friends of mine in ten surveying people. I got excited kind of you know, incorporating the company, because I know that it was a great idea us um to kick off, and then it's really evolved into the last year of becoming a neo banking platform that does all those things well. It's, you know, and I think that's the key lesson to be gained here. Number one, it took some time Um and I think like any great endeavor, whether it's, you know, training for a marathon, you know preparing for an iron man, it takes time leading up to the point to start that race, but then once you start the race, the race is really only just beginning, and so there's a lot of, I think, mindset that goes into this and I appreciate the perspective of, you know, looking at ways that we can continue to just like we can optimize our health or our training performance, we can optimize our financial performance as well. I want to stay kind of in this, you know, past to present concept just for a bit, because when you launch this Um, it's and it is a neo bank, it is a neo platform, and I'm greatly appreciative of the work you're doing because it's I think it is important at work. It's a meaningful work. Would have been some of the biggest lessons that you have learned along the way, going back from like a moment of conception to really getting this up and running and inviting people in? Yeah, I think there have been a few and I was I was thinking about before we, you know, hit record, a few of those lessons. I think the first is really digging into something you're passionate about. I think that can't be overstated. There aren't any overnight successes when you're, you know, launching a startup, great idea, and so it has to be something that you wake up excited about every morning and you know that you're committed to. And the closer it is to a personal need that, I think, the more that you can keep referencing that or referencing people that you actually know, Um, that need that kind of solution and you know, falling closely on that is, you know, chase those high expectation customers, those H X C S, as they are known in the startup space right Um, you know, it's more valuable than ever, especially in today's market to focus on a niche audience that is going to have those high expectations and then, by default, is also going to be part of building that solution with you and even paying for that solution ahead of you having built it fully. I think that that's really what, you know, communities and investors are going to look for today, and it's something that we've focused in on. You know, we certainly market ourselves to freelancers, independent workers, the self employed, but if you look at who we're building for, who were attracting, it's people that are very much in the middle class and highly scalable and we have certain Um, you know, terms that we reference for that type of audience. It's really going big. Going small before you go big is a thorough, you know, approach. We think Um, I think getting paid before you've fully built.

I think that a lot of startups are going to go through that learning especially in the next two years there's these recession, current concerns. As as you're talking through, a couple of keywords stood out in my mind. Number one, you mentioned niche or niche, you mentioned community and then also, I want to come maybe bring this back to your background of marketing. How, how do you think that has influenced you your just marketing background, your way of looking at things, maybe a little bit differently than traditional financial services, because I'm hearing Alison Netzer in my mind with her book that's about to come out. Think like a brand, not a bank. It's it's just like alarm bells are going off. What role has this, maybe a marketing first perspective to growth, played for you in this journey here? Yeah, I think that there's been two standout ways we've really presented ourselves Um differently than a lot of other neo banks and, frankly, than a lot of accountants wood in the space, because our neo banking aspirations are really to help people with their counting, in their wealth management. Um and, you know. The first is really be thoughtful about the brand, about the presentation, try to stand out, try to be really accessible to people, and so we took almost a gamified approach or game like even presentation. You look at our website, you look at our APP is, you know repeatedly gets the comments of being super slick and exciting to play with Um and and go into on a daily basis. And then two is we really leaned into being active kind of spokespeople in the space and talking directly with people. So even from the earliest days I was doing webinars and workshops and stuff, even with groups of people at a time, about their finances, about how to get on top of them. And you know, not only were those great kind of folk guest groups for us as a company, but they were a way for people to feel how invested we were in the space and how much we expect to grow with them over the course of time. What, what role do you think your focus around a niche of freelancers has played in this journey so far? Because, like you said, you gotta go small before you can go big or, to use the words of Dan Sullivan, you need to simplify before you multiply. Where are the opportunities, maybe? Where have the opportunities been for you here, first and then second, when thinking about other financial brands, I think they tend to shy away from niche. So let's start with you first then we'll come back to the larger financial brand conversation here. Absolutely, uh so. In terms of Arties, we really focused on people, like I said that our middle class. We put it in terms of income, because we find that independence kind of will work multiple jobs at once, and those jobs aren't always aligned with one particular vertical, if you well, like being a food truck vendor or a coffee roaster or a DJ Um, but rather people will partner those jobs with different skills and interests, even, uh, you know, like the word that swims around in the space of being multi passionate, right. And so what we focused on is, more so, where can we be the most relevant with an APP that helps organize your finances? It's likely not to be for low income gig workers, right, that are really Um, you know, dependent on marketplaces. Nor is it likely to be highly relevant for, you know, high six figure earners who are perhaps a doctor, lawyer and defaulting to that just hiring an account right. So our sweet spot is going to be with those folks that are making fifty two d fifty thousand dollars a year, maybe scaling quickly from that point, but are really confused about which pactwork quilt of tools should be using...

...and instead they can just use lance from day one. Yeah, and how how has this, we'll call it focus, helped too, and I think it's important to note, for the dear listener. UH, visit Lance DOT APP and you'll see the positioning here Um and and how niche provides something. And this is in your primary area of focus in your navigation. It's called community Um because this is really about building a community. Or there's a fantastic book on the subject called the business of belonging. When you have this level of focus, it does allow you to build a community as a almost a mote, if you will, to to invite people in through the drawbridge, but then also kind of build a protective uh stance and in the marketplace. Right. Absolutely. Yeah, I think that this is uh something that people are still trying to wrap their arms around today. Right. There's great organizations that are focused on community building and coaching professionals. You know, I was fortunate to work with, UM, some fantastic leaders in the space at honey book. You know about the portfolio companies of the VC I worked at, and you know, this really does become a moote over time. Right, you build a community around your product. They're the ones that are the first to tell you when something is off the rails from what they expected, um, or when there's a meme that's unmet. But they're also the first thing to be your customer support right when people have questions about how to use your product and to come to your defense if you've been really open and transparent and working closely with them. And so you know, it goes both ways. I think that you have to be careful that you really engage people in a way that that makes sense and to be transparent about things. But if you're willing to be those things with the community, um the and you know, it's invaluable. I want to come back to the larger market perspective here of maybe other financial brands. We'll call them incumbent banks, incumbent credit unions. I was just speaking about the potential for, you know, growing through focuses or or or folk I around niches, because the idea of community goes beyond the physical boundaries of Zip codes and borders, but it's really it's more of where it resides in people's minds, their their values, their likes, their tastes, their preferences. What are opportunities to build financial brands, quote unquote, through a focus of niche? You know, I'm a big fan of of podcasts as a way to learn about communities, Um I think that, you know, they're one of the best ways to really hear the words of various communities, especially in the fintech space, around kind of goals that people have or ways that they're approaching their finances. Um. I think twitter can be an okay vehicle for that as well, but you often don't get the color and the richness of hearing people's voices. I think similarly, Youtube is where you can get um and and observe kind of communities at work and conversing with one another. And, you know, I think that there is a number there are a number of distinctions here around how people gravitate towards how they're working, Um, you know, the types of jobs that they're working, Um, what their goals are over the course of their lifetime. I mean, I think one of the most interesting examples of this recently has been the whole finance communities approach towards uh, slow Fi, low fi, you know, fi and and really thinking about how people want to acquire wealth and it...

...rate right and UH and now you're s staying this proliferation of different terms around that, but really the terms hold a lot of weight for those communities of people. Right, you see teachers gravitating towards one terminology versus doctors and lawyers gravitating towards another, and then you see the whole ecosystem of accountants now addressing those different approaches and desires and timelines. Yeah, and it's interesting as as you're speaking through this about these different approaches. You know, there's the whole fire movement of financial independence, retire early. I think for the dear Listener, Um, whether you're at a bank, a credit union, of Fintech, a fantastic community to plug into here is Finncon or Finncon Expo Dot com, Um, and look just you know, go to the website and you can take a look at all of the different UH speakers and literally the community that they're building of independent, quote unquote, financial leaders who have no affinity, but they have they've built audiences, Um, they've built communities around particular points of view. I even think about Chad Willardson, who is the author of smart not spoiled, who's been a guest on the podcast the seven money skills kids must master before leaving the nest, Um, and how he has teamed up to launch a a a neo called gravy stack, and so we're seeing all of it. Like you said, accountants and just different people from out society, the industry, financial advisors, who are solving for very niche pain points, but they're building communities to learn from and then take that knowledge turn it around to create products and paths forward that that are prescriptions and cures. Two solving common prey pain, problems causing common people pain. What might be some of the roadblocks be, Um, that the you've dealt with on your own digital growth journey to get lance to where it is today? Thinking back to yeah, I think that, you know, we were just talking about niches, but there are different points at which ourselves and and and certainly other kind of banking platforms have struggled with that. FREMIUM versus subscription. You know, where do you side on that? Um, you know, how do you keep yourself open enough to capture different types of people that may have, you know, different uh applications or visions of how they might use you? Um, and I think you know much to the comment that you just made around kind of objectives driven banking. I think that is kind of the next iteration of all of this and an iteration that you know banking platforms are neo banking platforms should really um approach with open arms, right, and I think it does cause essentral tension around, you know, adopting and objectives driven approach, but then knowing that some percentage of your customer base will shift over to other solutions. And that's okay. I think that, you know, you have to be comfortable with having really strong retention for those people that will continue to have the same objective zero over a year and then some portion of those will shift into another banking platform as their goals evolve. Um. But I think there's been this unhealthy kind of focus on scaling and growing at all costs, which is now catching up with the industry right. Um, and, and I think you know very transparently, we've had a slower growth trajectory, but the balance of that is that we've had almost no turn within our entire system. Right, it's low single digits, three percent since our lot... That's unheard of in this space, but it's because we've been so focused on servicing those people that we've had in our system, keeping a fraudlow and continuing to grow at a more predictable, stable rate. Digital growth is a journey from good to great, but sometimes this journey can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming. The good news is you don't have to take this journey alone, because now you can join a community of growth minded marketing and sales leaders from financial brands and fin techs who are all learning, collaborating and growing together. VISIT DIGITAL GROWTH DOT com slash insider to learn more about how you can join the digital growth insider community to maximize your future digital growth potential. Now back to the show. On that note of of Churn or slow or no churn, I think about the conversation that had with Joey Coleman through a fantastic book called never lose a custom and it is this idea. It's very expensive to acchoir a new customer, but it makes a tremendous amount of sense to slow things down focus on retention because, as I wrote about in banking on digital growth, the bankers strategy circle B A, N C e R. Build an audience, attract leads, nurture those leads with content automation, convert those leads for loans and deposits, expand the relationship by the lighting accounts. But then most importantly repeat that process through reviews, through ratings, through referrals, because people still trust people and when you build a community, you're you you're literally building a baked in referral system that will, you know, pay dividends over time going forward. Another area that I want to focus on, and I think a lot of it is a benefit of focusing around niche, is collaboration, Um and and and how collaboration allows you to work alongside others. And I think this requires a bit of a of a mindset rooted in abundance versus, say, the traditional view in financial services, which is very competitive and that takes us down a negative path of scarcity. But if we look at the world through abundance, how have you been able to to work together? Um, to team up with others who share a similar view? I know that you teamed up with a bound to kick off a collaborative initiative independent economy council. Can you give some perspective into what this is and how the idea of collaboration, of community all really starts to come together here? Exactly your point around abundance. I think that they are more than enough customers in a fin tech space. You're looking at the entire population of, say, the US, or internationally. I mean there's more than enough float money flowing into these um great ideas that different companies are having. I think you know, when you're grounded in a growing need, like we are with the future of work, how are people going to continue working for themselves and in continuously operative ways? Then your mindset isn't just about how do I capture all of these people for their entire lifetime, which is an impossibility, right, but it shifts more to how do I help people continue develop and developing and evolving, and how do I create a resource that's grate for them? How do we collectively, in the FINTECH space or beyond, support people's growth and then benefit from it in a way that's aligned? And so what Trent and I worked on with a bound is, you know, through an early conversation, talking about just how poorly mapped the future of work is. Right, if you go to any conference or look online around the future of work, what you find is a number of, you know, consortiums and Events and summits about how large cubicle should be, how should hot dusks were topics... this right, and certainly there was a proliferation of those during covid. That then turned into webinars around retention of employees and whatnot, when the fundamental question is really how are we tracking productivity and how antiquated is that model right? And you know how poorly were we really tracking people's engagement and productivity through Covid, where it was inherently remote, and where people are inherently valuing more of a remote model that allows for them to work and live kind of in time blocks throughout their day and their week. And so what Trent and I started talking about is let's collect more CEOS and companies and constituent groups like freelancwers union and others to really have a more sixty degree conversation about how people are shifting how they work. What are the priorities in terms of how they're working? How much more frankly are they making across different job types? How much more fulfilled and productive are they across different job types or even chapters of their lives, and how do we quantify those things right? And I think that that's become increasingly important and unfortunately we've been able to collect a number of CEOS and organizations around that just released a report last month. We'll be having annual as well as quarterly ones and creating resources for people so that they can more actively kind of understand and the role that they could have in determining their future. Yeah, and once again, you know, just another conversation to kind of connect this back for the dear listener, Joe Politzi, we were talking through when he re released content INC UM. I mean this is a massive market opportunity because when you think about the freelancer or the quote unquote Creator Economy, it's made up of over fifty million independent creators, content curators. Two million would say that they're making six figure salaries. So I mean it's it's massive. But I think what what you shared, it's important to come back to because people are gonna move in, people are going to move out um the the day. And I and I shared this at the conference in Vegas last week when I was talking about niche, the days of the P F I are dead. Um this idea that you know you're gonna be all things to all people. I I think it's a pipe dream now and if you're if you're if you're hoping on that, it's false. Hope, which is where, once again, I think there's a tremendous amount of opportunity for incumbents to start, you know, looking beyond competition with the neos, to really begin thinking about collaboration, and I know you've been doing that with with with a quote unquote traditional financial brand. What has that experience been like because, once again, I think these are a lot of uncharted waters for well, call them incumbents or maybe even community financial brands. And there there's a very select few right now who are thinking beyond traditional growth of, you know, working within the local community. But then now those select few are saying, ah, we could partner, we can collaborate with neos to kind of provide all of the back end. We'll let them run all of the front stage. Experience will be the backstage. What has that experience been like for you in this journey? Yeah, I think that it's been, Um, you know, largely positive, but also hit or miss right with different partners that we've looked at along the way. I would say largely positive because we've been really proactive in terms of articulating what we'd like, where we'd like, points of flexibility, because we just don't know yet what people's needs are and, you know, there have been some partners that have been more open to that. I think that there is a tremendous amount of fear from incumbents in today's...

...face and I think to some point appropriately, around fraud and kind of this low cost of acquisition that we've seen the last couple of years that some neo banks and and and some kind of newer options have really taken advantage of, but to the detriment of, you know, having Uh, more compliant or Um, you know, stable basis. Uh. But I do think, to your point, there's a huge benefit to neo banks and kind of newer players and incumbents working really well together. Right, there's always going to be a need for a stable system, UM, and one that is mindful of compliance, that is, uh, you know, well equipped for all the regulatory needs in this country and abroad. I mean we've seen the need, of need for that, uh, you know, uh in multiples today with all that's going in Crypto. Right, we're seeing the need for a regulatory environment so that people who are close to retirement are losing their life statement savings on a sell bullet that they were looking for. Right, Um, but I think the value that neo banking platforms or, you know, financial health APPs can provide is really that incredible layer of marketing and virality and education that we've been talking about since, you know, the history of finance, Fin Tech Services and what we'd like to do. But shifting that onus off of consumers to learn every discipline of finance but, more so look at their finances and their goals and apply them towards an APP that can help them map towards their goals more readily. This idea of financial guidance Um, whether it be APP base or maybe it's a mix of APP automation AI, tie in some human humanity community into this. Where are some of those opportunities? Because I think this brings our conversation almost full circle back to, you know, coming from a background of Sports and fitness coaching, right it's like, you know, we have coaches to optimize our performance and sometimes it might be a human coach and that human coach provides a bit of accountability and positive or negative motivation, depending on upon how you spin it. But then there there there are also things like, for example, I'm wearing my garment right now. My Garment Watch that that I used to track runs and other you know data points, uh, you know, recovery times and whatnot. So there's that idea of of a synchronous, you know, Automative Ai Coaching. But but where could there be potential opportunities, whether you are an incumbent or a Fintech or a Neo Bank uh, to bring coaching as a core competency? Human based, UH AI based, maybe a hybrid of both? What does that look like? Kind of just getting some future thoughts from you, bringing the future, if you will, into the present moment for just a bit. Yeah, I think this is a tremendous question, especially in light of how much certain incumbents are investing in UH coaches and accountants and really broadening out their workforces. Especially over the summer there were some great announcements in terms of Fidelity Bank America a number of others kind of looking to higher tens of thousands of financial coaches, um. But what I think they're still struggling to understand, and this is from my humble opinion, is the benefit of the layers, integratable layers. Right, uh, you just talked about your fitness and the watch, and I've got a similar model in terms of slices of my watch, my Strava, you know, now paying for a coach with my training towards the Mathon, and I think we need to apply a similar model to finance, right, and that those different layers can work in tandem and that we...

...can apply them more or less in different chapters of our lives. Right, there's going to be more of a similar to athletic pursuits approach towards finance, where you may want to have that full time job while you are a new parent or caring for somebody in your life or straight out of college, and then there will likely be years of your life where you would like to work more remotely because it allows for you to travel or, you know, invest more time in a hobby or a burgeoning idea of yours and then dip back in. And I think that those chapters are going to be iterative and they will need more or less use of different layers, and I think that's something that we really haven't gotten comfortable with yet in the FINTECH space. Right, is that layering? Of Yes, I will always need a custodial banking layer of sorts to hold my deposits and to feel stable about that and to have those ensured. And then I will want a layer of digitization that acts almost like a CFO in my back pocket for the business of me. Right. Read half my Han's written a book, you know, years ago, about the start up of you and I think that we are finally starting to really see the scalability of ourselves through all these marketplaces and tools, whether it's squarespace, shopify or whatever. And then I think there's also, to your point, that person that you want to pick up the phone with maybe once a quarter or once a year, whatever is relevant to you, it feels comfortable, and just review your stats. Right, and I think you know, this is also happening in the health, sex health tech spaces, this need for layering, and I think we should be thinking about these things more intuitively and almost pushing all of these resources and these tools through this ongoing conversation about which layers are most relevant to myself and then how do they integrate and lean on each other at different points? You know, you talk about the layering and I think, I I think about the the Lance Triangle and how you have the different layers there. So that's just one thing that kind of comes top of mind. But but then I think about my sister in law and her her triathlon or her iron man training Um and how she she has her garment that that connects into garmen connect which then all of that data gets poorted into her coach to where she does have, you know, regularly scheduled, whether they be in person or remote, conversations and and it's really it's, like I say, a lot of the coaching is more than and and that's where I think financial brands are falling short today. Is there so much of an emphasis on financial quote unquote, literacy and financial education. And I'm like, that is a change behavior. That doesn't change like the core beliefs that we have about ourselves, about our the way that we view our relationship with money. I mean all of that's rooted in family of origin, environment are upbringing, and the way that we have to transform that is our basic belief structures. That's where I think the coaching comes back into play to have those dialogues, that conversation. I'm so encouraged by WHAT THE FINANCIAL JIM out of New York has been able to do and building at entire business model around that. And so you know, if you think about all of this, you know, bringing it all back together and just knowing what you know now, if you could go back and just maybe, I don't like to say do things differently, because I believe everything that we've done at this point has been for a reason, but if you could optimize just one thing in your own journey to do even better, what would that one thing be that you would just not do different, but I would say just optimize. Yeah, I think that we've always had a great onboarding flow digitally, but I would make that more hands on. What we've found, to your point about the final...

...entil Jim out of New York Um and coaching, is that people do like that touch, Um and you know we've been working on that in an onboarding process now. But that phone call from somebody to check in, and we did that more recently, just this last spring. Um and and going forward is just call people once they've signed up with us and say hey, how's it going? What's confusing, what's helpful? Um and we've even started doing those in group settings right so it doesn't feel like that one on one question air where somebody feels like they need to have the the answers or the questions themselves, but they can, you know, listen to others and then layer on with additional needs or highlights as well. And I think it's that group setting. It's almost like group coaching, potential to continue, because you're basically welcome me a cohort of swords, and that cohort exactly if they are like minded, you know, coming from a freelancer background, a creator background, so there's a common bond already established there. Will you start to bring them together once a quarter and they're able to? This is work for me and this is what I did and here's what I think I could do better. Oh, I have an idea over here. It's a it's a collective consciousness that just continues to increase the more that they share and and you become nothing more than a facilitator of of of their thinking, and then they're learning and all growing together and we're all getting better because of that. As you look ahead towards the future of of we'll just call it financial services as a whole, what are you feeling most hopeful, energetic optimized about? I, uh, it just goes to the name of this podcast, but just the ability for growth that we have access to today, on an individual basis and as a collective is remarkable. Right. Never before have we had so much access that's at our fingertips. Um, you know, as long as you've got Wifi and a phone or laptop or something, Um, and there's there's no shortage of lending options to afford for well, Um. But but as long as you've got that, you know, the sky's limit and you can really apply your ideas and thought processes to scaling yourself and growing your ideas into tangible products and and opportunities, Um, and then monetizing those. I think we're just at the earliest stages of people really monetizing all of their interests and their hobbies and their passions and if anything, it's it's an exercise and focus for us individually and just doing short term testing projects. I wish that you know, uh, or my hope is that everyone kind of reads a product manual of sorts on quick iteration testing, uh, and then applies it to their everyday life to really learn how to test things out, drop them quickly if they're not working, and move on to the next. So I'm actually writing to that subject in my second book titled Banking On Change, Um and, the subtitle is how to maximize growth in the age of AI. Because, you know, if you think about all of the digital transformation we've been seeing within the financial services space and and in other verticals too, six of those initiatives either fail or fail to deliver meet expectations, not because of the technology, it's it's the humanity involved in that. And I think where transformation begins is not at an organizational level, but it begins from within. It begins with the self and then that then gets multiplied to the team and then from the team comes out to the organization and then the organization that spills over into the community, which is where the idea of niche and focus they're like you said, there's an abundance of opportunity. Um and and a great book on that subject, is abundance. The future is better than you think about your...

Peter Diamandi's and Stephen Cutler, you know, because I think it's so easy to get bogged down in the here and the now and the doom and the gloom, which is why, uh, in banking on change, I have a model that I'm I'm writing to make sure that you have your morning tea or have your daily t how are you investing your time, what are you spending your energy on, and then what are you paying attention to? Those three things, time, energy and attention will directly impact how you continue to move forward, either, you know, from an exponential perspective or kind of keep you stuck in the present moment or or, even worse, just pull you down into a very negative place, negative state of being. Looking ahead. Let's let's bring all of this down to one thesis, one point of view for the dear listener, because we've touched on a lot of different things that they can do. What's one thing that you would recommend that they commit to do next, the next best step that they can take on their own digital growth journey, based upon everything that we've discussed today? A great question to land on, and I was just thinking as we were talking, is that what is uniquely human is the ability to ask great questions love it. So I think that's what I would land on, is that only you can apply yourself and in terms of asking yourself really great questions in terms of how you want to grow, how you're able to scale yourself. Um and and what your goals are in life. You know, what do you how do you want to live? If the sky's limit and there's no blockers? I was just listening to Colin o'brady in a podcast and I think, you know, kept reinforcing that point. There were no hurdles ahead of you. What would you do? Yeah, here's and I'M gonna give I'm gonna give the dear listener just two more mental models to maybe take forward when you ask questions, because there's acronyms that are all over. Did little growth topy, because it's the only way that this entrepreneurial a d d mind to keep things straight. So I follow on acronyms as as mental models. Ask when you ask a really good question, what are you doing? Whether it's to yourself or to someone else? You're always seeking knowledge. That's really when you ask a question. You're always seeking knowledge. So always be the student and sometimes you'll be the student, sometimes you'll be the teacher, but there there's always a lesson to be learned from either perspective. And then, when it comes to goals, I adjusted a podcast about this because you know, as as we look ahead towards the future, that doesn't necessarily seem it might seem a little bit confusing and conflicted and maybe there's some chaos, but if we can get really clear of how we want to grow going forward, what are our goals, the roadblocks that stand in the way of them and then, most importantly, the opportunities to begin to overcome those roadblocks to achieve those goals. Back to your point, the sky really is the limit in this age of AI, in this exponential age. UNA, this has been just a fantastic, energetic conversation. Thank you for sharing time with me today. What is the best way for someone who's listening to reach out? Say Hello, connect with you, learn from you. Absolutely, and I can be found on twitter at O Ropeda, O r okay y t a Um on Instagram, UNA ROPEDA and Um. Shoot me an email if if the need arises, UNA at Lance dot APP and thanks so much for having you. This has been a great conversation. I was expected. Absolutely thank you for joining me. UNA. Connect with her, learned from her, grow with UNA. Until next time and, as always, be well, do good and make your bed. Thank you for listening to another episode of banking on Digital Growth with James Robert. Lay to get even more practical and proven insights, along with coaching and guidance. VISIT DIGITAL GROWTH DOT com slash insider to join a community...

...of growth minded marketing and sales leaders from financial brands and fin techs. Until next time, be well and do good.

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