Hank Frazee ’79
With a degree in English Literature from UCLA, two books to his name and a third on the way, it is probably not surprising that Hank Frazee ’79 references literary quotations as a way to convey his philosophy of life.
Kobi Yamada, author of one of my favorite books, “What Do You Do With an Idea?” said “Follow your dreams; they know the way.” That’s what we are continually trying to do in our business and inspire in other people to do the same. I sweated over not knowing what I wanted to do when I grew up but kept pursuing the idea that there was something that would be just right for me, that would charge my batteries and that I’d never get tired of doing. It turned out to be two things, and maybe other ideas not dreamed of yet. I certainly had no idea that I’d ever be doing what I’m doing now—writing and rainmaking. But those are the two things that most resonate with me vocationally. The inspiration for those didn’t come to me until my forties.
I started at UCLA as a political science major but became disenchanted, as one of my professors frequently lectured about how quickly we could bomb the Russians versus how quickly they could bomb us. I knew I didn’t want to spend my life thinking about this.
My plan was to study law, and when a guidance counselor told me that English was a better major for law school, I switched on the spot. She asked, “Don’t you want to think about it?” Nope, it felt just right to me. Eventually, I began to think that law would be dull after reading the great works of literature.
Looking back, I know I was solidly on my path and the pieces were falling into place, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I had started a business and made stained-glass windows all through college. It was easy to fit in my schedule and make money during school, and it became quite a good business. Creativity and entrepreneurialism are very strong traits in me, and stained glass is where they initially blossomed. I knew I didn’t want to breathe lead fumes all my life but didn’t know where to go from there.
That’s when fate stepped in and supplied an answer. One day, on a lark, Frazee decided to do a deep dive through the want ads to see if anything looked like a viable career option. All of the job opportunities he circled turned out to be in the insurance business, though none of the ads indicated that. He set up some interviews, and every company wanted to hire him. Sensing that his skillset and personal traits might be more valuable than he realized, he decided to do some research on the insurance industry, rather than randomly taking one of the offers on the table. He spoke to a few people, including a cousin who was in the insurance business, and found that there were three primary companies for life insurance, and he picked one. He was not an instant success in his chosen career.
But eventually, I rose to the top 1% of insurance agents internationally. I met my wonderful wife through a good friend in the business. We have been married 27 years and have three children, two in college and one who works with me in our business.
When our son was two-and-a-half- or three-years-old, my wife would read to him, and then I would sit with him until he went to sleep. He had us pretty well trained. One night, he said to me, “bedtime story,” and I asked if he wanted a real story or a make-up story. He asked what the difference was, and I said a real story really happened and a make-up story didn’t. And he said, “I want a real story.” I began to tell him a story about snake hunting up at my uncle’s cabin at Lake Tahoe (around the lake there were garter snakes, and to a three-year-old that’s incredibly fascinating). Gradually telling him “real” bedtime stories became our routine, and one day the thought occurred to me, “I should write a book about this, because other parents ought to know how to do this.”
It was in writing that book that I learned to love writing, because it was the first time that I wasn’t writing for a school assignment. I was writing about something that interested me, that needed no research as the stories emerged from events that had happened in my life. It had never crossed my mind that I would write non-fiction, because I always viewed non-fiction as being text-book material. But telling a story about something that really happened is non-fiction, and everybody knows how to do that. They just don’t know they do.
By now I’ve written hundreds of posts of these stories, and we’re currently in final edits for our third book, “Saturday Morning Post,” a collection of my short stories that originally appeared in my weekly posts. They are some of my favorite bedtime stories and contain other stories as well, because I want my kids and grandkids to have them forever, the actual stories of our family in writing, rather than someone else’s hazy recollection of a few facts.
The satisfaction Frazee realizes from his writing does not come solely from the creative process itself, or from the reader’s pure enjoyment of his work. It also comes from the benefits he hopes the reader gains.
They take a couple of hours to read, on purpose, so that you can use them immediately and put them to work for you. We’ve built our business around that concept.
His second book, “Referral Upgrade,” brings us to Frazee’s second “calling”: rainmaking, which is defined, in the business world, as “generating income for a business or organization by brokering deals or attracting clients or funds.” Like his writing efforts, this career pivot took place in his mid-40s and led him to start his own company, IntroSource, which seeks to connect one business to another to benefit both.
That became the way I did business, and I discovered that I had talents and gifts in vision, strategy, connectivity and organization that others didn’t have. Using the gifts God gave me, I kept on connecting buyers and sellers. During this time, I had a dream that was really just a single sentence: what if you just focused on introducing them? That is how “Referral Upgrade: A New Way to Find Your Ideal Client” and our new company came about.
At IntroSource, we introduce buyers to sellers. Our company has a contract with a company who has a great idea that would be ideal for another company, but they don’t know anybody in senior management in the company they would like to meet. Over 30 years, and especially being in the insurance business, you meet a lot of people–and those people know a lot of people, rather like “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” In a law firm or a business, you would be compensated for bringing in big customers, and they call that rainmaking. In the insurance business, they call it “joint work.” Over time we graduated into doing it for any business, not just insurance.
If you like this concept, I highly recommend the book “Who, Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork,” by Dan Sullivan. When we have a challenge that we face, we mostly think, “How can I overcome this? How can I take advantage of this opportunity?” And that’s the wrong question. The right question is, “Who do I know who can help me accomplish this goal?” The metaphor he uses is from “Lord of the Rings”: Gandalf comes in and he talks to Frodo and creates this team around him, and it’s this group that overcomes the dark lord, and so on. It’s “who,” not “how.” That’s what rainmaking is.
Frazee never loses sight of the overall arc of his life and career and how its various facets are related.
Frazee credits his studies at UCLA with playing a big role in his chosen vocations.
When I was in school, people frequently asked me, What are you going to do with an English major?” Well, it turns out, quite a lot!
Not surprisingly, Frazee is always looking forward. He’s just a kid compared to one of his heroes, a very active rainmaker with his company who is a 99-year-old World War II veteran.
And one last book recommendation, by Robert Maurer, Ph.D., who is a clinical psychologist on the faculty of the UCLA School of Medicine. “One Small Step Can Change Your Life, The Kazen Way.” Those small steps sure have changed mine.
To learn more about Hank Frazee and read his posts, visit hankfrazee.com. To sign up for Frazee’s Saturday Morning Post, text the word “Saturday” to 22828.