Michael Ellsberg’s Career Hacking Challenge Entry

Dec 29 2011


If your having problems viewing this video, you can watch it on youtube: http://youtu.be/7s2YszUmlmU
This video is also featured on the main page of this site: PabloSanchez.com Thanks for watching!


The video above is the birth child of this challenge which showcases the type of work that I want to hack into: Motion Graphics.

In the final 2 weeks of the challenge, I thought it would be a great idea to build my sample reel around this challenge instead of creating a random demo. I’m glad because it serves several purposes: To help promote Michael and Tim’s ideas, to help me accelerate my learning curve and at the end have a sample that I can use to help market my service.

It was a timely challenge for me personally because I have decided on going into Motion Graphics on October 20, 2011, this was before I read Michael’s article. I remember that day because it was the date I had also decided to trash a previous, unrelated, project that I had been working on a few months prior. And it wasn’t until mid November that I had read Michael Ellsberg’s article on the Four Hour Work Week blog.

Michael’s article articulated the path I was trying to take and I was happy to find it full of practical and actionable details to help guide me on this journey.


A bit of a background on me and how I came to choose this new field.

Like so many people, I have grown dissatisfied with my past work. I wanted to fuse an old abandoned passion in art which wasn’t so practical (big surprise!) with everything I have been practicing in the last few years in the field of marketing. My criteria was simple, I wanted to feel connected with how my service makes a difference to the recipient as well as feel connected with the ideas that I was helping them spread AND I wanted to use an old skill that I had in creating art and illustrations, that I haven’t touched in a long time.

I saw that motion graphics was a great way to illustrate a point, simplify ideas and make it fun and entertaining while also providing a lot of value depending on the type of message you are trying to convey. It was the perfect fusion and I was hooked.


SUMMARY OF STEPS ACCOMPLISHED Between October 20 – December 29, 2011


Step 1: Choose Your New Field of Learning

Starting on October 20, 2011, the first order of business was to learn the craft of motion graphics animation. I will be fusing skills I’ve already learned in the past such as writing copy or storyline scripts and creating artwork & design. But motion graphics using After Effects was completely new and I knew there will be a steep learning curve.

I had 3 options for tackling this:

A. Personal Mentors
B. Taking a short courses or workshops
C. Take an online class

I did all 3. I was fortunate enough to be freelancing (doing SEO work) for a media company, that focused on video production. There were a few freelance video producers within the company that showed me what was possible with motion design. I also have a close friend who works as the creative director at a public tv network in San Francisco and I’ve taken all of these existing contacts as mentors to help me accelarate my learning curve in this field.

These mentors also provided workshops and pointed out a few good ones that were held at the Adobe headquarters in San Francisco. I attended 3 in the last 2 months which gave me a different perspective to the craft and some networking opportunities with the attendees and speakers. I’ve also joined all of the Meetup groups on and around the subject which also provided great networking and direct helpful advice from other freelancers.

My network in this area has grown steadily in the last 2 months.

Finally, I took an online course at Lynda.com. The site was perfect for learning and getting up to date with almost any software you want to learn. I bought the motion design software on November 28th. My goal was to learn as much as I could and create my first reel by the end of December. That’s the reel of the video above :) !


Step 2: Showcase Your Learning

With the given timeframe, I had to make a choice and focus on the most important thing. And that was to learn the skill well enough to build a demo reel. Without the reel, blogging about motion graphics or anything related to it would be like attempting to market a product that does not exist. I needed some samples first!

So I decided to use a domain name (of my full name) which I acquired a long time ago but never did anything with. A chaper on The Education of Millionaires made sense of using your own name for branding.

To fill the site, I uploaded some sample artworks that I’ve done in the past while I was still trying to learn motion graphics. I cranked it up in the last week of the challenge to put together a storyline script, voice over, getting background music, sound effects and the artwork. I finally got everything done today and now its ready to show as a sample whenever I meet any potential clients, I can now show them my site!

You can see the final video prominently on the front page of this site at: PabloSanchez.com along with some illustrations to further show what I can do. I may take down some of these illustrations as I put more videos up.

I’ve also read a few books in the last 2 months that really helped me along this process. Notably:

The Education of Millionairs
Spin Selling (Audio Version)
Linchpin by Seth Godin
The Flinch by Julien Smith
Midway reading through: Rework
Starting: The Thank You Economy


Step 3: Learn the Basics of Good Networking

I have hacked into a few jobs before by just doing the job I wanted to do on top of what I was already doing. And I ended up getting that position within the company I was working for. I’ve done it with web & graphic design, marketing, social media and SEO. I am currently employing the same strategy at the company where I am currently freelancing and doing SEO work. After this demo video, I will be creating one for this company to help them spread their message and get more leads. I’ve already hacked my way into the SEO job which started as a Social Media marketing position at the beggining of this year. I will keep hacking till I get to where I want to go. The opportunity is there.

I’ve also offered my free service to another friend who created an event ticketing platform that is growing like crazy. I have a short list of businesses that I can offer my help for free, but one or two should be enough to focus on quality work that I can use as samples and case studies.


Step 4: Within Your Budding Social Economy, Start Working for Free

This first video which was just finished and uploaded this morning is my first free work and serves as my demo reel to offer more free work until it turns into paying gigs.


Step 5:  Develop Case Study Work

I’ve been creating case studies for my SEO work at the media company I am working for and now I am using that as a supplement in the realm of video and motion graphics. Compeling content is the first order of focus because without that, SEO stuff is pretty much useless.

My goal is to get several concrete success stories that highlights my service as a crucial element that plays a role in their success.


Step 6: Develop Relationships With Mentors

Right now, my relationship with metors are limited to my circle and they are great at what they do and offer useful advice. As far as book authors, you are the first one I am shooting for Michael! :)


Step 7: Learn Sales

So far, I’ve listened to the audio version of SPIN Selling a couple of times on my trips to Sacramento. My videos will be my first attempt to try and sell to the target audience of the media company that I currently freelancing for. I want to use those as supplement material when trying to sell a service.


Step 8: Sell and Deliver Your Services Within Your Social Economy

I will be doing this step first with the company I’ve been mentioning above. The owner is very open to ideas and is quite receptive to anything that we can use to get more business. I want this to be the start of a series of case studies.



This challenge gave me something concrete to work on, a deadline and a dual purpose: It helps me because I am using this reel as a sample to show potential clients of what I can do for them and at the same time I am exposing people to some very useful content that may help them change path, if they happen to be stuck.

It has also accelerated my learning curve since I had a concrete goal and not just some random -get to it- whenever I feel.

The challenge may be over by the time this video gets shown but that doesn’t take away the opportunity for anyone to follow the steps to change something in their life. I hope to play a small part in spreading the word. My craft, is what I bring to the table to help anyone spread their message that can help others make a change.

Thanks Michael!


Pablo Sanchez



Details of this career hacking challenge can be found on a post from Michael Ellsberg on the 4 Hour Work Week Blog at http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2011/09/29/8-steps-to-getting-what-you-w…

Titled: 8 Steps to Getting What You Want… Without Formal Credentials.

More about Michael Ellsberg at http://www.ellsberg.com

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