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Finding Your Purpose with Guest Yanik Silver: MakingBank S2E14


Yanik Silver

Finding Your Purpose with Guest Yanik Silver: MakingBank S2E14

with Yanik Silver

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There is an important point every hardworking person in the world—be they the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a struggling solopreneur—needs to understand:

You were meant to live your life’s purpose.

Of course, what exactly what that purpose is, isn’t always easy to discern.

Your purpose certainly isn’t tied to your successes or failures, nor is it tied to the amount of money you have sitting in the bank or your “official title” at work.

Your life’s purpose is the one thing you would happily do as a professional, with or without material success—the one task or job you’d pursue even at the risk of failing miserably.

It is the career or job where your heart and soul are so greatly aligned that you put your everything into the work every day, regardless of the outcome.

And getting to a career like this is what today’s Making Bank Guest, Yanik Silver, wants to help you do.

Already featured by Wired Magazine, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal for his success as a marketer (and considered by Entrepreneur Magazine to be one of the 50 Favorite Online Marketing Influencers on the planet), Yanik is a Constellation Board Member for Virgin Unite, and a successful author with three titles to his name: Maverick Startup, Instant Sales Letters, and Evolved Enterprise

Yanik’s story started when he received his “cosmic alarm” while refining his vision for Maverick 1000—a CEO-group that works to intentionally give aspiring business leaders the necessary push and support they need to accomplish goals that “truly matter”. In building Maverick 1000, Yanik realized his life’s purpose was to mobilize a collective community of entrepreneurs with the power to transform the world.

Tune-in to hear Yanik explain how you can find YOUR life’s purpose, as well as…

  • Why you need to be intentional in everything you do
  • How to understated value of journaling
  • When to authentically tie your business to your cause
  • How to finding brand advocates and zealots for your cause
  • What it takes to align your heart, head, and higher purpose
  • How to embrace your differences

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Welcome to Making Bank. I am Josh Felber where we uncover the success strategies and the secrets of the top 1% so you can amplify your life and your business today. I’m super excited and honored to have today’s guest on Making Bank. I’m going to welcome Yanik Silver to the show. Yanik redefines how business is played in the 21st century at the intersection of more profits, more fun and more impact. Starting with his first million dollar idea at 3:00 in the morning, he has boot strapped seven other products and services to the seven figure mark from scratch without any kind of funding, taking on any debt, or even having a real business plan. That’s the way entrepreneurs roll.

Yanik’s story and business have been featured in Wired, Time, USA Today, Smart Money, MSN Money, Entrepreneur, Fox Business News, and Wall Street Journal among many others. He is also author of several best selling marketing books and tools including “Maverick Startup”, “Instant Sales Letters” and “Thirty Rules for Maverick Entrepreneurs”.

He was named one of Entrepreneurs Magazine’s top 50 favorite online marketing influencers. He is also the founder of Maverick 1000. A private invitation only global network of top entrepreneurs, industry transformers, this group assembles for breakthrough retreats, rejuvenating experiences and giving forward opportunities with multiple icons throughout the industry; Sir Richard Branson, Tony Hawk, Chris Blackwell, John Paul DeJoria, Tony Harris, Russell Simmons and Tim Ferriss.

He is also co-founder of Maverick Local bringing together a community of entrepreneurs to transform their cities. Yanik I want to welcome you to Making Bank.

Yanik Silver: Yeah, thanks Josh. Sorry to have you go through all that. We could have just said, “He’s a dude that did a couple of things and now is ready to share some ideas.”

Josh Felber: Well cool.

Yanik Silver: [inaudible 00:03:14] the intro.

Josh Felber: No, no problem man. I want to just recognize you.

Yanik Silver: I guess that was maybe an earlier version and you just got the new book, “Evolved Enterprise” which we’ll get into and talk about. That’s the one I’m really excited about.

Josh Felber: Cool, well I guess for our audience they have no idea who you are and fortunately I’ve been around some of the same circles so I’m familiar with you, but tell us a little about who you are and really what makes you Yanik Silver.

Yanik Silver: Yeah, I mean probably my story really got started I’ve got to give credit to my parents who came over from Russia when I was three years old and brought me here and the immigrant success story is pretty prevalent in our history where my Dad ended up starting his own medical equipment sales and service company without really knowing how to speak English and very little command of the English language.

I grew up working for that company so I got a chance to … A chance; sort of forced into it and started cold call when I was 14 years old, telemarketing when I was 14. At 16 I was out cold calling. The deal was I’d get a car if I did that and I realized that cold calling really sucked. I was just really fortunate to get exposed to a guy named Jay Abraham and then this idea of direct response marketing. From a very early age I’ve just been enthralled with this idea can I write ads or letters, or fax broadcast at that time when they were legal, like to have doctors actually raise their hands and talk to me instead of me cold calling on them?

So I got really good at that and took my Dad’s business from a small sort of regional player to a national business and pretty soon got the itch to go off on my own and started off working with doctors and helping them get more patients.

Then the internet came along and that was 3:00 in the morning that you mentioned so that was interesting. That created this whole other world and business teaching other people how to take their information and knowledge and sell that online. Then about nine years ago kind of looked at my life and I was like I’m not totally happy. I think there’s something more I could be doing which led to the whole Maverick Group and putting together the pieces for Evolved Enterprise.

Josh Felber: Yeah and that’s really awesome. I know some of my friends have already in Maverick or been in Maverick and have done a lot of different things with you and they speak so highly of everything that you’re doing and so it’s exciting to learn a little bit more about Maverick. If you can kind of fill us in because I know you work with different thought leaders in helping people make a bigger impact in the world.

Yanik Silver: Yeah so Maverick really stemmed from like I said that moment. I called it a cosmic alarm clock when you have this. You can hit snooze and ignore it, or you can really wake up to this idea that there’s something more and that you’re really built for or designed for, maybe even destined for something greater. What that really usually requires is taking stock of everything that you’ve done already, so all your resources that you built, you network, your connections, your business models that you figured out. Everything becomes ground level for what could be next.

That was a journey of; a lot of journaling. I’m a big journal fan. I’ve actually got my journal right here. This is a new one but I love … Journaling to me is one of the best sort of-

Josh Felber: That’s awesome.

Yanik Silver: -really working through your thoughts and ideas. Inside my journal I came up with these three interconnected circles which originally started as a dollar sign, a happy face and a heart. You put them all together and that was what Maverick was. The essence of that has never changed really, but the expression of it has changed. Originally it started as just adventure travel trips for entrepreneurs and we do business sessions in the middle of nowhere or wherever we were; maybe a charity component built into it.

It took about $400,000 to become this bit of a slap on my head and my wife saying, “What the hell are you doing?” for me to really realize there could be something, is there something more here, and if you’re just an adventure traveling company and that wasn’t it, and that’s when it turned into Maverick 1000 which is more of a collective network.

Josh Felber: Okay, so I guess tell me what were, I guess in your life what were three life defining moments?

Yanik Silver: Yeah, I mean one of them was for sure when I learned about copywriting direct response marketing very early on, like the having skills that give you the ability to leverage yourself. That was a big one.

The other for sure was making my first sale I think online. Just this idea because I still consider myself a bit of a techno dunce. That might be overstating it a little bit but I still even to this day having started back in 2000 which I thought was late which is pretty funny because I had friends who were online since ’93, and ’94, and ’95 doing things, really, really early on. So that idea of without having technical skills could you take something that was in your head and sell it? Just having that first sale come in was really life changing for sure. It was like this culmination of, “Oh wow, this works.”

Josh Felber: Yeah.

Yanik Silver: Then I’d have to say the third one was really that change, that cosmic alarm clock, that idea of our dreams and our destiny kind of whisper to us. It’s not this big loud scream. It will continue to get louder if we ignore it. I even think if we’re not doing the work that we’re meant to do, a little bit of ourselves really dies in that process every single day. So deciding to follow my heart even though, especially when … You know it’s easy when you have sort of an open checkbook which I did at that time. Then it’s harder to say … It would be much easier to say okay I’ll go back to what I was doing online, digital marketing space. There’s something here and to continue forward and work through it.

I will say that once I figured it out and put all these pieces together we actually turned things around and our profits went up 824% in a three year period. It’s like when we put all those pieces together, figured it out, when we merged. I call it merging your head, your heart, and you higher purpose not forgetting your happy inner child, things are in alignment and things really work in a big way.

Josh Felber: That’s awesome and I know I guess can you kind of go into a little more depth? How do you really figure out what that piece is to make sure you are in alignment or you are headed down that path of understanding?

Yanik Silver: So in Evolved Enterprise framework it starts with you. It’s really like to me your business is always an expression of who you are and what’s going on inside of you at that moment. For me it really took digging deep into … Again when things are going well, it’s easy to be like, “Oh yeah, I’ll evolve this one into charity.” Or “I’ll do all these things that I always said we will do,” and that’s what we’re doing. It becomes a lot harder to live by your core values when things are going a little bit sideways and you’re really deciding that. Then it’s digging deep into what do I really care about and what really has meaning for me?

It took exploring all these things and then also like re-exploring like what is my biggest mission and what did I really, really want to do? Again it wasn’t just to build an adventure travel company. It was our mission for our group of companies was changing the way business is played.

When I got clear on that and the mechanism of how we were going to do it, then things really did start lining up like I wanted to be healthier. I wanted … I was never unhealthy, but I took better care of myself. Even the last three years I’ve been meditating regularly. That’s become a big thing. There’s all these internal pieces that the better we are at taking care of ourselves, the more it reflects in every single part of our organization. That’s the first things.

Then the journaling piece, that’s a huge one. You know go back to that and journaling has always been a big part of my life in many ways, but over that period even more so, like that ability to process what’s going on. It creates a beginning, middle and end. It’s proven to make you happier.

Josh Felber: When you journal, and this is just kind of curious for me even, is do you have a process that you go through to I guess to get into that flow, and then do you go back and review those at a certain point?

Yanik Silver: Yeah, it’s so individual. You can do whatever you want with it, but for me I just find that I’ll just start writing. Usually what I start writing about is not what I end writing about. It’s usually you know, it’s processing. So much as entrepreneurs we have all this stuff sort of floating around in our heads, and again it creates this beginning, middle and end and it forces you to go through it. I love like the serendipity of going through old journals and just flipping through and being like, “Oh wow. That was a good idea.”

I know some of my friends are more organized where they actually have journal number, page number, topics that they talked about in there, but I use my journal for everything, so ideas and ideas really grow. You’ll see some of the big thinkers throughout history kept journals especially to work through ideas and concepts because the way they start isn’t the way that they’re going to finish. That’s one part, the journal and beginning, middle and end of the story. I’ll write my gratitude’s in there like of what I’m thankful for and what I appreciate and that has a huge difference in your world view.

Josh Felber: Yeah, and that stuff adds and that’s one of the things I know every day we try to practice with our kids is that at the end of the day, “Hey what are you grateful for?” We go through that.

Yanik Silver: That’s awesome.

Josh Felber: You notice, and they try to get into the same thing where they almost repeat the same thing like, “Okay guys, here. What would you say from here?” and really try to get it to change up and stuff.

Yanik Silver: Yeah, I think that’s great and the more specific you can get them the better. My son will be like, “Oh recess.” I’m like, “What exactly at recess happened today?” and make them think about it. Then this is a little bit off topic, but it really does … I think entrepreneurs, our whole lives are inner meshed with everything else going on not just our business. We have, actually we call them 13 silver keys which are 13 values that we use as a family and we intentionally go through them once a week; kind of like Ben Franklin’s 13 virtues.

I think that any time you can introduce intentionality in anything you do whether it’s a morning routine, whether it’s the way you raise your kids, whatever it is and no matter how small it is, it helps in a big way.

Josh Felber: Definitely and I mean that’s one of the big things for me is just really being proactive from a family standpoint and really trying to create that, so that’s really cool. You said it was the 13 keys, is that what you [crosstalk 00:14:30]?

Yanik Silver: Yeah, ours is called 13 silver keys and we actually enrolled the kids to help create them so it wasn’t just dictated upon them. They had input on what they are and what they look like.

Josh Felber: That’s awesome.

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Josh Felber: One of the things I noticed in your book, you talk about being exceptionally different.

Yanik Silver: Yeah.

Josh Felber: I’d love to hear a little bit more on that.

Yanik Silver: Well, so there’s a great book by a Harvard professor whose last name is Moon. I think it’s Youngme Moon. It’s this little … That’s the title, it’s “Different.” I’ve done this forever in our businesses and it’s like I don’t know. It’s just my natural way of thinking. When we had our underground seminar which was bringing in real world people who were doing really well online to show what they were doing and they weren’t people who were teaching, or selling how to make money online.

That was a massive sort of difference in that point where the marketplace was kind of the same internet marketing seminar, same speaker, same kind of thing. That really grabbed our audience’s attention because it was so different and it was completely again, different than what they were seeing. So I always consider okay, how do we have that difference and then how do we accelerate that difference?

I own a Mini Cooper and they accentuate that difference by the fact that they are small and they enjoy being small. Now they’ve gotten away from that a little bit when they added a Mini SUV model which still is small. It’s like a small little SUV, but for the most part they’ve held incredibly true to their brand and who they are.

Josh Felber: So what I guess, what would you for entrepreneurs out there, what is the best way for them to kind of really create that exceptional difference?

Yanik Silver: It’s usually around one or two key categories. It’s like a lot of times we try to compete by adding more and more features or additional pieces that are going to be like, “Well that competitor has this thing so we’re going add this to compete at there. This competitor has that so we’re going to add that as well.” Then it just becomes a little bit better than a mediocre offering, maybe better than mediocre.

To really be different, it’s usually accentuating one particular thing and really, really stressing that. One of my friends is Sally Hogshead, and she had just came and presented to our Maverick Group, and she has a whole process of fascination. One of the things that she showed was an old ad campaign that she did which was for a steakhouse that was competing against Morton’s and Ruth Chris and all these other steakhouses. They were competing by really just amping the fact that they were a steakhouse for carnivores. Even one of their ads that Sally created for them was like, “We don’t have any sides. There’s no vegetables here because we feed them all to the meat that you devour.” It’s just so over the top.

Josh Felber: That’s cool.

Yanik Silver: That’s how you really … You get into a spot where people either like you or you want to repel or attract people? By being in the middle you’re not going to do it.

Josh Felber: Yeah, definitely taking a stance on one side or the other and then moving forward for sure.

Yanik Silver: That also builds a community of people who when I talk about our Evolved Enterprises, this community of we call them sort of brand advocates and zealots who really want to spread what you’re doing. To me that happens even more so from not only accentuating your difference, but by adding an impact or a cause to what you’re doing.

Josh Felber: Then what, you know you see all the different companies now and everybody is attaching themselves to a cause and aligning themselves I think just to do it. I guess what do you feel about that and then I guess how would the best way for a brand that really wants to make an impact go about moving forward in that direction?

Yanik Silver: Yes, you bring up a great point Josh. There’s a, I call it going from transactional to transformational to even transcending what business can be. At the transactional level, it really is just that. It’s like there’s no real loyalty. There’s no real deep mission attached to what they’re doing. It’s really more of like a, I don’t know, a window washing or in the charity industry like for breast cancer since breast cancer has the pink color associated to it, they’ll call it pink washing or green washing if they want to add an Eco element to their brand.

There’s not a real genuine authentic place that it comes from and in today’s interconnected world and a lot of, not even a lot but almost full transparency, it’s going to come out. KFC was the recipient of this recently a couple of years back when they tried doing pink buckets of chicken with 50 cents going to breast cancer research and for Susan G. Koman. They had a massive backlash pretty much as well they should have because (a) it wasn’t authentic, (b) I didn’t even realize what the connection was until one of my friends was like, “Well they sell breasts of chicken.” “Okay, oh.”

Then also the fact that diets high in saturated fat have been linked to cancer so it really didn’t have this authentic tie-in and it just hurt them as a brand so it has to come from that genuine place. You can kind of get away with it for awhile, but to really make it work it has to be in that core aspect. Inside the book I definitely talk about companies that get it right, and don’t get it right.

There is this growing movement because there’s massive amounts of data showing that consumers are willing to either pay the same and switch brands or pay more even for a brand that has a missionary impact into what they’re doing. Then also team members like employees, especially Millennials, are willing to even work for less if there’s a purpose behind the company.

It’s happening from the inside out and the outside in and so big companies and small companies too are realizing this and they want to get behind it and on top of it, but if they look at it as simply a tactic it’s never going to work.

Josh Felber: Right, and what’s the best way do you feel that you’ve seen to be able to be authentic about it and to really I guess align with what the values and the actual mission is? I guess aligning let’s say my company’s mission with somebody out there to make an impact and make a difference?

Yanik Silver: Yeah for you so the show “Making Bank” right, so about empowering entrepreneurship I would assume, is for us that’s what ours is changing the way business is played, so all our impact is under this umbrella of entrepreneurship. All our [inaudible 00:22:21] partners that we work with, everyone so for instance our most recent sort of connection is with Village Enterprise which we’ve been working with them for years and years, but they for $500.00 they can train and get a micro enterprise off the ground in East Africa.

We decided that we would take on this challenge of actually building an entire village of strategically thinking about 50 different micro enterprises that are complimentary and can help each other and develop an entire village of these micro enterprises. So that becomes the cause that we’re aligned with for the release of the book and we have this unique package that we have in there including a piece of jewelry that’s designed by the same group of artisans that would be benefited there and so you can wear that and becomes an artifact that you can have on your wrist that reminds me of the good that you’ve done. That’s a way of kind of tying it in.

There’s a couple other companies that I really love that have done this in a great way that maybe people haven’t heard of as much. There’s the Thom Shoes and Warby Parker and others that have become pretty big names, but there’s others that are really exciting out there like a company called Elvis and Kresse created by two designers in the UK that were walking down the street and saw all this fire hose that was going to be thrown out. They’re like, “Wow, (a) that’s really incredibly sad and (b) this looks like amazing material. Let’s do something with it.” So they turned them now into doc kits and belts and key chains, you name it. Then what they did, the authentic tie-in, is that 50% of their profits goes to firemen charities. Fire people, I don’t know what the [crosstalk 00:23:58] now.

Josh Felber: Yeah.

Yanik Silver: I don’t know but you get the drift. There’s a really nice authentic tie-in and I love that. There’s another company in there that is really exciting called Ultra Testing. What they’ve done is hired people on the autism spectrum scale to be their employees and testers. This company will do quality control testing across multiple browsers and so forth that you need for software and different interfaces. They do that because what could be a disadvantage, they’re turning that into an advantage because stereotypically people on the autism spectrum scale are more willing to work with tasks that are repetitive, pay more attention to detail and so forth so it becomes this advantage. To me that’s a really exciting way of having a deep, deep tie-in with the impact.

Josh Felber: That’s awesome because I think like you said, part of it I think is really finding the companies. There’s so many of the big companies that are out there with like you said the Breast Cancer Foundations and those ones everybody sees every day. I think by aligning or finding maybe these smaller enterprises that are aligned with what as a business owner my mission, what I’m looking to do and how I want to make an impact I think creates like you said more authenticity and that connection with your audience or my audience or audience’s audience as entrepreneurs.

Yanik Silver: Yeah, no it’s super exciting. I mean I had one of my friends who is in the healthcare space and they sell believe it or not, a deal to get rid of parasites and so yeah, not an exciting kind of thing that you want to talk about and think about. They’ve done well and then he’s like, “Well we’re already making an impact so I don’t really see why we should do this, but I’ll give it a try.” Then they added an element where they’re giving away treatment to I think three people in Africa every time they buy their product and saw a 100% difference in their [crosstalk 00:26:06]. Saw advertisers approaching them, giving them discounts.

He saw partners going after them so it was like a total change in their business and they’re reworking everything around this Evolved Enterprise model. It’s really exciting to see in different aspects.

Josh Felber: That’s awesome and then so you guys, you’re re-releasing the book? Is that what you said?

Yanik Silver: Yeah, yeah the book, the new book is out right now in hardcover. The one you got is softcover. That’s like version 1.5. This would be version 2.0. Nice hardcover, and on the website there’s a special limited addition package that gets to support that village with the micro enterprises that we’re funding. Then or I don’t know when this is going to air, but at the end of February it’s going to be available on Amazon and in bookstores.

Josh Felber: Okay, and then so if people go and they’re getting it through Amazon and the bookstores, does still donations go to the micro or is that just through the special promo?

Yanik Silver: Yeah, it’s just through the package on our website on

Josh Felber: Okay, awesome. What I guess maybe three success or action steps you’d say, “Hey you guys if you’re going to do this, go do this today.”

Yanik Silver: In what aspect, just getting going or to apply some of these concepts?

Josh Felber: Apply some of these concepts I guess you know from your Evolved Enterprise or what three things that maybe stand out to you that people should take action on.

Yanik Silver: I’m a big fan of questions. To me, questions really dictate your answers. Then some of my favorite questions that they could ask themselves is 1, what would my 111 year old self tell me is my greatest work? In sort of a crib from a guy named Brian Johnson from “Philosopher’s Notes”, he talks about your 110 year old self, but I like number alliteration. He got it from someone else as well, but I always like to give him credit. That really forces you to think way out and make decisions from more of a legacy standpoint.

The other thing is Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly”. She talks about this idea of what would you do even if you knew it would fail? That’s one of my favorite questions because it forces you to un-attach yourself from outcome. Sometimes you’ve heard you know, “I’ve got six months to live. What would you do?” Or “If you knew it couldn’t fail, what would you do?” To me that’s not quite the right thing because this is what would we put our full life into even if we knew it would “fail”?

Josh Felber: Sure.

Yanik Silver: When you align your full heart and soul into something, it’s pretty rare that it fails or the by-products of what shows up are even greater. The third thing is to start journaling and tap into maybe your heart a little bit more and start thinking about what would I really want to be doing with my business if I really had the opportunity to reinvent and re-think what I was doing? If everything up until today was baseline for what was next, what would that look like?

Josh Felber: Cool, no that’s awesome. Hey guys I hope you’re taking notes. Yanik is delivering some awesome information, some great … As he mentioned it’s all about the questions you ask, is it going to get you the answers or lead you down that right path of coming up with the solutions for what you want to achieve or where you want to go in life? We’ve got a few minutes left. What kind of legacy do you want to leave for future generations?

Yanik Silver: Yeah, so I’ve thought about this. So I have as my lifetime goal, is year 2100 to help solve or put a dent in 100 global issues that could be solved or helped through business. Anything from like we do a lot of work in Haiti, so orphans in Haiti, to micro enterprises in East Africa alleviating poverty. I’ve been part of, I’m on Virgin United’s Board, their Constellation Board and so I was there during the Global Goals release at the UN in New York. The Global Goals, either or .com, but they have 17 different global goals that businesses are behind and it’s something we can all align what we’re doing with.

Last time when I talked to Branson about this, he actually had a really great suggestion and it’s the first time I ever heard him articulate it in a super clear way which was, “Imagine if every business actually adopted a cause in some way?” You’ve all seen the adopt a child thing, but it really was if we adopted one cause and every business went to work chipping away at that and incorporated it in that authentic way that really touched on every aspect of who a business can touch. It’s our team members, our community, our customers, that reach that we have. It could be really, really exciting.

Again, my thesis and the data has proven this out is that when you have that impact it actually improves bottom line so it’s not just altruistic. It’s not just feel good for feeling good’s sake. It’s like this is ROI pragmatic. It raises our bottom line.

Josh Felber: That’s awesome. Tell us where can people find out more about you, where you said there’s a link for the book?

Yanik Silver: Yeah the book is at so evolved with a D and then I blog occasionally at so Y-A-N-I-K

Josh Felber: Awesome. Make sure you guys check out The links right over here and Evolved Enterprise as well and purchasing through the site here will then money will get donated for the micro business.

Yanik Silver: Yeah, actually 100% of the proceeds goes to that project so it’s real exciting.

Josh Felber: Awesome, that is definitely, and now what’s one last thing you’d like to leave our audience with before we’ve got to wrap up?

Yanik Silver: You know I think that this idea of following your heart is frequently scary, but it’s never wrong and it’s like whatever … You don’t end up in the same spot that you even think that you’re going to end up in regardless of where you kind of see your vision and what you’re going to do. The by-products are immensely more powerful. Like imagine that life has even more in store for you than you even believed it was possible and that’s real exciting.

Josh Felber: That’s awesome and I have like so many more questions but since we’re at … We’ll have to have you back on again for sure, but it was an honor to have you on Making Bank today, hearing about what you’re doing, some of your insights and being able to create authenticity in aligning with making a bigger impact for sure in the world. So I really appreciate your time today in coming on Making Bank.

Yanik Silver: Well thanks Josh.

Josh Felber: I am Josh Felber. You are watching Making Bank. Get out and be extraordinary.