Gabe Galvez – My Whole Life is a Side Gig, It’s Called Gabe, Inc. – Opt Out

Gabe Galvez – My Whole Life is a Side Gig, It’s Called Gabe, Inc.

Gabe Galvez

2 months ago · 58 minute read

“If somebody tells you that you can’t bring your dog to work, quit your job and start a company.” – Gabe Galvez, 2018

“If you want to learn about deal making, work in a pawn shop.”

“I view the myth of W-2 security to be a very damaging myth that’s been put upon us.”

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Gabe Galvez goes against the grain.  As you can see, he likes tattoos, guns and generally doesn’t give a shit.

Why do we love him?  Why should listen to this episode?  Well, would you believe that the man in the picture above spends his days working in the world of investment bankers and private equity firms?

His early business experience started in a pawn shop (from which he has some great stories!), yet today he’s a guy who spends his days working deals in an industry dominated by blue-blooded East Coasters.

Gabe’s business acumen and success gets him a seat at the table here.  He had an exit at 23.  He owns his own business, and runs several consulting side gigs that have lasted over a decade.  At one point he even says “My whole life is a side gig.”  He does this to diversify his income and plan for leaner times. 

But it’s the life he has created that lets him come to work with his dog, travel when he wants, and work with people he likes that defines the “Opt Out”. His outward appearance may be disarming from a traditional standpoint, but like many of our guests on the Opt Out Life, he is intelligent, deliberate, and successful, all on his own terms. 

Listen to this episode and you’ll see that maybe the most interesting takeaway is how Gabe approaches his personal life as a business. This means he reviews his personal finances by producing monthly reports related to time and money, and then adjusts to optimize his life to meet his goals.  You’d be surprised at how he’s able to apply that data to every decision he makes, business or personal.  It’s crazy.

Gabe’s resume includes:

Find Gabe online here.

Transcript

Nate Broughton: This episode of the Opt Out Life podcast recorded here in San Diego, the Opt Out Life story of Gabe Galvez.
Announcer: Welcome to the Opt Out Life podcast: the no-BS guide to living the modern good life. Hosted by subversive millionaires Dana Robinson and Nate Broughton, the Opt Out Life podcast explains exactly how creative hustlers are turning side gigs into real income, and taking back control of their time.
Announcer: From their studio in sunny San Diego, the Opt Out Life welcomes guests who are solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, travelers, and creatives who are proof that you can choose a lifestyle over money, but still make money too. If you feel like you’ve been chasing your tail, running the rat race, or are stuck in a system that’s rigged against you, we’d like to offer you an alternative here, on the Opt Out Life podcast.
Dana Robinson: Today we’re going to hear from Gabe Galvez. I met Gabe many years ago, because we were both registered brokers for a middle-market financial advisory firm. We both had licenses from FINRA to help people sell their businesses. We hit it off immediately, because we realized that each of us was a subversive: two non-conformists working amongst the well-credentialed lawyers and investment bankers.
Dana Robinson: Not to say that Gabe didn’t have chops. He had his degrees, and had owned and sold businesses of his own, as had I. We’ll hear about how Gabe’s early business experience started in a pawnshop, yet he’s the same guy who spends his days working deals in an industry dominated by blue-blooded East Coasters. He’s got tattoos, surfs, listens to underground music, and has created a life that lets him come to work with his dog, travel when he wants, and work with people he likes.
Nate Broughton: I met Gabe through Dana, at a time when I was brand new to the world of private equity. I was shocked to find a young, talented local who could talk the talk of the world of deals the way Gabe does. His outward appearance may be disarming from a traditional standpoint, but like many of our guests on the Opt Out Life, he’s intelligent, deliberate, and successful, all on his own terms.
Nate Broughton: If you stay tuned through the podcast, you’ll hear about how Gabe approaches his personal life as a business. He reviews his personal finances by producing monthly reports related to time and money, and then adjusts to optimize his life to meet his goals. You’d be surprised at how he’s able to apply that data to every decision he makes, business or personal. Let’s listen to Gabe’s story.
Nate Broughton: Well, today, we are joined by the closest guest ever to visit the Opt Out Life podcast, Dana and I’s good friend, Gabe Galvez. Thank you for making the 35-foot walk to the studio from your desk.
Gabe Galvez: Thanks for having me. I think I know why you chose me to be a guest.
Nate Broughton: Because, if we were to have a third partner on the Opt Out Life, it would be you, I think.
Gabe Galvez: I’m a very busy man, Nate, I can’t get involved in all this right now.
Nate Broughton: Well, that busyness is exactly what we want to talk about, I think, because that busyness is all the different side hustles that you run: the real estate that you own that we were just talking about. The businesses that you own, which are residences of this here office where we sit. And then also your robust social life, which completes the trifecta of what we’re preaching here on the Opt Out Life. So, I am actually very excited, because I think you of all people personify the things that we are trying to preach and teach.
Gabe Galvez: Clearly you guys have made some terrible mistake at some point, but since this is so convenient, I’ll go with it.
Nate Broughton: Okay. Well, thank you.
Nate Broughton: Well, Dana is an Opt Out living … How do you say that? He’s …
Gabe Galvez: He opted out of being here today.
Nate Broughton: He opted out of being here, conveniently. He’s too busy up in La Jolla, but he will be here shortly, as he speeds down the 5 in his late-model Mercedes. I see him putting that lifestyle thing in there, like, you can envision a 48-year-old stylish man cruising down the 5.
Gabe Galvez: SL.
Nate Broughton: Speeding to be on his podcast on a Friday.
Gabe Galvez: [inaudible 00:03:52]
Nate Broughton: But anyway. Inevitably, we’re going to have to walk back through some of the early days of how you got into business and all that stuff, and that stuff’s good to set the table. And then, I think it’s a little more fun to talk about philosophy, and where you’ve gotten to at this point.
Nate Broughton: But first, walk me through a day of Gabe Galvez’s life here today in San Diego, in Mission Hills, from the early morning on. How does it go?
Gabe Galvez: Well, I tend to be an early start, early end kind of guy. So, to the layperson, it looks like I beat everybody into the office and I’m more productive, but if you stick around long enough, you realize that I’m gone by the time everybody’s done with lunch.
Nate Broughton: That’s a way to win, though.
Gabe Galvez: For sure.
Nate Broughton: That, “Gabe’s always here early.”
Gabe Galvez: That’s … I mean, number one, it keeps employees on their toes, it sets a good precedent. And of course, because my days are pretty diverse, I tend to run around anyway, so the only real time of focus and quite I have is between 7:00 and maybe 9:00, 9:30 in the morning. So I try to get a whole day’s worth of email communication, planning, any team coordination, all done in that first two hours.
Gabe Galvez: Depending on the day, there may be some gym work before work. Lately, that’s been after. These days, I tend to just get up, walk the dog, get to work. Because we’re all pretty close in proximity uptown, that whole process can take about four minutes, which is why you’ll see me around the office in sweatpants and flip-flops, and swim trunks, and everything else.
Gabe Galvez: But then the day begins. I know we’ll get to it, but because we have our thumbs in a lot of pies, so to speak, it makes time use planning very, very critical, and it means I have to get a lot accomplished on any given day. A lot of little things accomplished on any given day.
Gabe Galvez: So really, my mornings are dedicated to CAPTARGET, our primary business here, which we can get into. But afternoons, and sometimes into late nights, are for other projects, special projects. We have a company that just got acquired, that I’m dealing with the integration and transition of, so that’s most afternoons right now.
Gabe Galvez: But, when it’s light outside still, 2:30, 3:00, that’s time to surf, it’s time to go to the gym. That’s time to sit on a couch, smoke some weed, watch some Mad Men, and …
Nate Broughton: There we go.
Gabe Galvez: Unless you or him or somebody drags me out, I’m usually asleep by 9:00, if I’m not working til 11:00.
Nate Broughton: Well, I admire that. I follow the early rise, early arrival, early departure path as well. And early to bed.
Gabe Galvez: Early to bed.
Nate Broughton: Partially because we’re both getting older.
Gabe Galvez: That’s true.
Nate Broughton: And we’re [inaudible 00:06:34]
Gabe Galvez: I should also say that, in that early morning routine is usually some sort of drag race, a footrace, or a sword fight with your son, who I inevitably see being walked to school as I drive to work.
Nate Broughton: Yes. I think that hits on an important point, because I think, as you described that story, I mean, it sounds enviable, like you’re obviously in control of your situation. Filling in a little bit of the gaps there, I mean, I mentioned this office that we’re sitting in. It’s in Mission Hills, it’s in our shared neighborhood. You own this company, and you’ve positioned the office a yay tenth of a mile from your home.
Gabe Galvez: Near the house.
Nate Broughton: Right. You do the drive, but you probably could walk if you desired. And it’s also a spot with a lot of restaurants and lifestyle in and around it. So also filling in the gap there, you often make time to go out for a nice little lunch at a nearby restaurant.
Gabe Galvez: Karina’s was the spot today.
Nate Broughton: Nice.
Gabe Galvez: That’s where I was today, before I came here.
Gabe Galvez: No, that was very deliberate. When we started CAPTARGET, which was kind of the anchor to what’s now five businesses, we could have chosen to just go for the, you know, office park, rent-a-cubicle type model, which my partner Paul was in favor of. And as you know, he’s a wonderful business partner, among many reasons because he’s very thrifty and very budget-conscious, and really likes to control costs, et cetera.
Gabe Galvez: But, if there’s going to be an area to make concessions, it’s going to be in some of those lifestyle elements. So, when we decided to get our first kind of official office space, we moved into Little Italy, which at the time was just being developed, and was a really dynamic, vibrant place, lots of young professionals, lots of incredible dining, an old-world neighborhood that was kind of in transition. But eventually, we physically outgrew that space, of course, and ended up moving up town.
Nate Broughton: That space was an old paint factory, if I’m not mistaken.
Gabe Galvez: It was a paint canning factory.
Nate Broughton: Nice.
Gabe Galvez: So, as it was told, they brought raw paint in, and then put it in cans there. I’m sure it was super unhealthy, and it was definitely sort of an alternative work environment.
Nate Broughton: You had to go to the bathroom by walking outside around a building.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah. I forgot about that.
Nate Broughton: Yeah.
Gabe Galvez: You had to walk out of a big roll-up door, through a parking lot that was shared by like a machine shop. And by the way, this is all against the train tracks, so the building would shake. Oh, against the train tracks and under the flight path, by about 200 yards.
Nate Broughton: Yep, yep.
Gabe Galvez: And you’d go into this back room, hallway, that shared some space, or an entrance, with the woman who owned the building, who lived in a, I’m assuming, non-permitted apartment in the back of this warehouse. And I think we all used the same bathroom.
Nate Broughton: I think so. I might have ran into her in there once or twice.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah. Lovely lady, very patient with all of us. But we ended up with 15 people in a 900 square foot space or something, and it became kind of a nightmare. Thus, we moved to Mission Hills.
Gabe Galvez: And as you were alluding to, I like a good lunch. Even on my calendar, which is cluttered with commitments, I block out every lunch. I try to not do working lunches, I try to make those for team or for friends, or just for myself. I don’t pack it in, I always sit down somewhere and really try to just enjoy some of the surroundings. I mean, we live in such an incredible place, and we’re surrounded by all this good food, and great people, that it’s a nice way to just check yourself and have some fun. And this is why I’m slowly getting fat.
Nate Broughton: Come on, now.
Gabe Galvez: I’m working on it.
Nate Broughton: Well, it starts to come through there, there’s a contrast between maybe what you’re feeling is important, and what is not, both in like the office space that you choose: location is more important than style … Not necessarily like style, but …
Gabe Galvez: Like prestige.
Nate Broughton: Prestige, yeah.
Gabe Galvez: Absolutely.
Nate Broughton: And you were coming out of, I mean, you and Paul came out of an M&A firm, I think, that probably had a much more traditional office. [crosstalk 00:10:19]
Gabe Galvez: Oh, beautiful office, but corporate, traditional. You know, the big conference room, the little conference room, the secretary area. Again, lovely, lovely space, but I don’t know if our decision to get a little bit more casual from a work structure standpoint was because of revolting against that. That’s how we work, it was fine.
Gabe Galvez: But I think we’ve just always prioritized spending money on people, spending money on experience, just like you in your personal life. And me, to a little bit lesser of an extent. But at the end of the day, spending tens of thousands of dollars a month on rent, and tens more on furniture and having a gatekeeper, and a parking lot with a guard … It just, who gives a shit?
Nate Broughton: Right.
Gabe Galvez: I don’t know, it’s … We would … Number one, I want to keep that money for myself. I mean, we make no qualms about it, we’re in the business of making money, not necessarily in the business of any one of these particular things that we do. They’re all part of this roll-up of just, how do we maximize our earning potential, which is sort of our internal ethos. But also, it’s just more stuff to think about.
Nate Broughton: Right.
Gabe Galvez: You know, and I’m not allowed to have that many nice things, anyway, so … I get into trouble pretty quick.
Nate Broughton: Well, I do remember when you took me to lunch for the first time, from that office, we hopped in a Range Rover, so, you know, you make your choices here and there.
Gabe Galvez: We did. That was like five Range Rovers ago.
Nate Broughton: Yeah, exactly. A couple Jaguars on the way.
Gabe Galvez: Yep. That was about five Jags, five Range Rovers, a truck or two.
Nate Broughton: Right. I’m digging the truck, currently.
Gabe Galvez: Me, too.
Nate Broughton: It’s a good one.
Gabe Galvez: I’ll be in the desert tomorrow.
Nate Broughton: But yeah, those traditional trappings of business, and structure, and a company, are not prioritized, and for good reason. And some of the other people we’ve talked to, and Dana and myself as well, kind of share that ethos. And I think that if you’re willing to let those things go and see them for what they are, as unnecessary expenses that don’t really necessarily facilitate productivity, or profitability, or effectiveness, then get rid of them, right?
Gabe Galvez: Yeah.
Nate Broughton: Okay. Dana is about to join us. Yay. Keep it rolling.
Gabe Galvez: We made some Opt Out jokes earlier, about how you maybe had opted out of-
Dana Robinson: Opted out of Opt Out?
Gabe Galvez: … coming with us.
Nate Broughton: It actually, it gave a great visual of you driving down the 5, you know.
Gabe Galvez: Hair blowing in the wind, SL.
Nate Broughton: Friday, sunny afternoon in San Diego, 70 degrees, all those things.
Dana Robinson: Good one. It was all those things.
Nate Broughton: Yes. You look refreshed, and happy to be here.
Dana Robinson: You know what’s great, is walking into an office and being greeted by none other than Gabe’s dog.
Gabe Galvez: That’s Hank. He’s a springer spaniel, he’s a good guy.
Nate Broughton: Somehow, he didn’t make the story yet, actually, as we were talking. Well, he did, actually, ’cause you say you walk the dog and bring the dog to the office.
Gabe Galvez: That’s true.
Nate Broughton: But he’s more a central figure than he’s been given so far, I think, because …
Gabe Galvez: Yeah. I have a history of bringing dogs to work, which I think has gotten me terminated from, seriously, a couple jobs. When we had sold the first company that we scaled, and we can loop around to that if it makes sense, but … I kind of just had nothing to do, and was waiting for some of that upside to be realized. And just that, you guys have both lived through that sort of limbo of, you do a deal, and then what happens next?
Gabe Galvez: The 2018 answer to that question, by the way, is: you start a podcast. Right? But in 2003, or whatever, that was not the answer. So, for a very short period of time, primarily just because I was kind of interested in it-
Nate Broughton: Let’s break in here for a second. Gabe’s about to tell a story about how he takes a job at a traditional bank, after kind of doing his first exit, and really his first gig. At still a very young age, he’s trying to figure out what to do, so he takes a job. And very quickly, we find out that that doesn’t play out so well. Like many here on the Opt Out Life, and like Dana and myself, Gabe’s a pretty unemployable guy, if you haven’t figured that out yet.
Dana Robinson: That’s right, I think unemployability is probably a theme. I think there’s also a lesson that you’ll … If you listen to other people we’ve interviewed, and the people we’re going to interview, when you get to the unemployability, most of them have done something to create value that gives them the freedom to tell their boss to shove it.
Nate Broughton: Yeah, it’s pretty bold to be able to walk in there and say, “Just because you’re not going to let me have my dog in the office, I quit.”
Dana Robinson: Right, and that’s a freedom that I want to empower people to have, but you don’t just get to do it because you appreciate our philosophy.
Nate Broughton: Right.
Dana Robinson: You actually need to do something practically to empower yourself to do that. And in this case, Gabe had a small exit from a company that gave him some finances. For a lot of people, it’s having a side gig that’s generating some cash. Giving yourself that freedom to make that choice is important, and that takes some discipline.
Gabe Galvez: I worked for a commercial division of just a big, you know, name-brand bank, for like six months. And I worked in this office that was sort of remote, it wasn’t part of like a corporate center. And it had just a couple other people doing some underwriting stuff and whatever.
Gabe Galvez: So, I brought my dog, Simon, at the time, who’s no longer with us, a German pointer I had who was a puppy. And we didn’t really have direct supervision, and he’s, just like Hank, very well-behaved, good well-trained dog. Eventually, sooner than later, somebody from corporate showed up, and was like, “You can’t do this.”
Gabe Galvez: And I said, “Well then I’m just not going to be here anymore.” Like, if this is the measure for how well I’m doing my job, which I’d like to think I was doing well. Maybe I wasn’t, I don’t know. But if the reason you can’t have me on your team is because I — and maybe I’m a little rogue, but — insist to have this dog that is not disrupting anybody in this private office with its own entrance, with a guy who’s doing his job, then fuck you.
Gabe Galvez: And I literally got up and was like, “Then this isn’t a fit.” And I walked home, with my dog. And he was here until the day before he died. So, I mean, part of that is just because … Not to beat up on any dog owners, ’cause it’s hard, just like caring for anything, but, there’s too many dogs that just get left home, for guys who are crazy about their careers. And I can appreciate both sides of that, but these are lovely, lovely animals, and he wants to be with us, and he makes everybody happier, and …
Nate Broughton: He does.
Gabe Galvez: He doesn’t destroy my bedroom or something, while I’m gone. So, the takeaway lesson there is: if somebody tells you you can’t bring your dog to work, quit your job and start a company.
Dana Robinson: There you go.
Nate Broughton: I think that is good advice. And it begs the question, for me, is: how did you figure that out? What made you that way? Because when I met you … Through Dana, by the way, thank you for introducing me to Gabe.
Dana Robinson: You’re welcome.
Nate Broughton: It’s how I got to Mission Hills, I think, and got to many other places. You know, I met you, and I was just kind of getting into private equity. I had sold a company or two, and was like, “Maybe I should but a company,” and I got hooked up with another kind of nontraditional person in private equity M&A. And then Dana thought we should meet, and I was like, “This guy has an office in a paint factory in Little Italy. He’s got tattoos, he’s got an office-”
Gabe Galvez: Two more this week.
Nate Broughton: Two more this week. “He’s got an office full of college interns.” I mean, I felt like I was at my company.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah.
Nate Broughton: I was like, “This guy is me, in many ways. And I’m so curious about who he is, and how he got all this knowledge about the industry. He’s got a strong financial background, obviously very smart.” But, like, there’s so many traditional M&A people, and private equity people that come from traditional backgrounds, and have a lot of the traditional trappings that we were talking about, that you’ve maybe seen and avoided, or never really wanted to begin with. But, how did you get the way you are?
Gabe Galvez: Oh, if I knew, I’d probably be a whole lot better-
Dana Robinson: Did your mother drop you?
Gabe Galvez: She might have.
Nate Broughton: Were your parents entrepreneurial? Were you exposed to … You know, does it go back to upbringing there? Did you have a job or meet a person through your career, or in college, or school, that, you know … I’m sure it’s all those things, but what were the seminal moments that created Gabe Galvez?
Gabe Galvez: I think it is a combination of those things. So, although, until recently, I don’t think I gave it much weight, my father is a first-generation Mexican-American immigrant. He came here for his undergrad, and stayed. And we still have a lot of family in Mexico.
Gabe Galvez: And he, over the years, has been an investor, he’s been a business owner, he’s been just kind of a deal maker. Not in the sense we talk about it, with bankers and corporate finance. And maybe this plays into a stereotype or something, but I think my partner Paul, who also has a first-generation immigrant father … You know, they had the fanny pack filled with cash. And they were just trying to fill it with more cash, somehow. And he was always able to do that.
Gabe Galvez: Through him, and some of his dealings, just doing deals and looking for opportunity, one of his younger brothers was a partner in a pawnshop, that still exists downtown, although it’s owned by somebody else now. And so, probably about the time I started asking him for stuff that was pretty material in cost — 13, 14-year-old, you need a Nintendo game or whatever — he said, “Go talk to your uncle.”
Gabe Galvez: So, I started working in a pawnshop, at Aztec Jewelers on 4th and E, downtown San Diego, which has been there since the 1930s, when I was probably too young to legally work there. And some concession for family business, whatever. But I was like a little kid, right?
Gabe Galvez: And although later I went to school and to college, and all those things, I probably learned more in the five years that I worked in that pawnshop than I have learned anywhere. Maybe with a few exceptions for like some episodic business things that have taught me some valuable lessons. So, you want to learn about deal making, work in a pawnshop.
Dana Robinson: I want to break in here, because this is the most amazing advice that you can get. It doesn’t mean, “Go work at a pawnshop.” It’s that the fundamentals of business can be succinctly learned in real life, from a variety of different jobs. It’s interesting, Gabe has this great education, and he, if you listen to how he said it, it’s as if it’s fluff. Where did he really learn business? He learned it from working at the pawnshop. The basics of business are made in the real world.
Nate Broughton: Yeah.
Dana Robinson: That’s great.
Gabe Galvez: I mean, it’s … We’ve shared some of these stories off the podcast, but you learn very clearly that everything has a price. And not in the creepy way, but just in the material way. And I think the best way to exemplify that was when I, as like a 15-year-old or whatever, wrote a loan for a woman’s glass eye.
Gabe Galvez: And she needed whatever, three bucks or whatever it was, ’cause she was going to take the bus to the casino, where she was going to win back the money for her glass eye, and many other glass eyes, or whatever this woman did. And I remember her very vividly. She was this old Native American woman, like the classic, almost, like the two braids, gray hair, little scarf, and this eye socket that had no eye in it.
Gabe Galvez: And I think I gave her three bucks for it, 96% a year interest on that. Put it in the safe, filled out the ticket, did all that. And I distinctly remember going home and saying, “Wow. You can kind of make money on anything.” And being exposed to the business owners, and my uncle, and his partner, and boss, really showed that.
Gabe Galvez: And I think, now that you ask the question, the primary owner of that business, whose name was Bob Smith, who was like an avid Baja guy, fisherman, surf guy, desert guy … Ring any bells? He left the business half the year to my uncle, ’cause he was in Baja. And newsflash, where do I go, half the year now, right?
Gabe Galvez: And so, he was probably the first guy I saw that was able to build a business that had real value, that created more than just sort of what I think we interpret as a lifestyle business. I mean, he was a wealthy guy, family business. And he would just be chilling. And now that I say it out loud, I probably just want to be chilling like Bob. Hopefully, he’s still out there, chilling somewhere, although he might be up there in age.
Gabe Galvez: So, that was probably the first two critical building blocks. Father who liked a good deal, family and close family friends who were in the business of making deals. But beyond that, when I was going to school and just tripping my way through life with all this accidental stuff that happened, my goal pretty early on just became pretty single-dimensional. It was just to make money.
Gabe Galvez: And I think at the time, especially entering college years, where so many of your peers are really inspired to learn a craft or a science, or help people. You know, there’s all those buckets of kids who go to college: “I’m going to be a doctor.” “I’m going to be a teacher.” “I have this great business idea.” I didn’t have any of that.
Gabe Galvez: I just thought, “I’d like to make more money than most of these people, and I’m willing to work pretty hard. And I don’t think you even have to be that smart.” Although, you know, I was willing to study and apply myself. So, my goal has always just been singular. It’s just been to make money.
Nate Broughton: When I was listening to Gabe talk about his entrance into college, and kind of his mindset going into it, saying that some people come in with altruistic goals of becoming a better professional, or helping people, and that his goal was to just figure out ways to make more money, in the back of my mind, I was thinking about my own personal college experience.
Nate Broughton: You know, I think personally, I’ve mentioned that I was lucky enough to get exposed to entrepreneurship while in college by working a job. And Gabe ends up working a job while he’s in school, as well. But I felt like I leapfrogged over some other people there, because everyone else I was around was more concerned with where the next part was at, or where the next winter formal was going to be, and they were treating it kind of like a vacation.
Nate Broughton: If you’re in college, or you’re about to enter college, and you’re listening to this, I want to point out that that’s one of the best times you’ll ever have in your life to attempt to start a business or side gig. Not only did I work for someone else, and learn online marketing, and how a business works, we ran a few side businesses with a couple buddies of mine.
Nate Broughton: Like, we sold t-shirts to some of the fraternities and sororities, wholesale. We printed t-shirts and sold them online. I learned so much going through that, about cashflow management, about how to file an LLC, about how to get a bank account, about how to deal with my first legal complaint. All those things happened while I was in college, while most of my buddies and people who weren’t my buddies were concerned with jerking off and having fun in the bars.
Nate Broughton: And you know, it didn’t come to bear until four or five years later, when they were talking to me at somebody’s wedding, and wondering how the heck I got so far ahead. And it was really just because I took advantage of that time in college, where you’re really free to fail more than any other time in your life.
Dana Robinson: Yeah, I’ll throw this in. Throughout these podcasts, we can be a little bit critical of college education, and the traditional path. I feel like we’re here to tell you the opposite of what your parents might be telling you: “Go get a degree and get a good job.”
Dana Robinson: But the reality is, both of us started and ran businesses while we were in college, and we didn’t drop out of college. We still finished. What we’re suggesting is that education matters, but experience matters more.
Gabe Galvez: And in a sense, that’s very freeing. Because I’m not worried about the pomp and circumstance of professionalism and all this bullshit, and, “Does this guy like me,” or, “Am I perceived well?” Because my goal is not to be perceived well, it’s just to profit from my efforts. And I’ve done a really good job at that.
Gabe Galvez: Probably haven’t done a great job with anything else. I mean, including some of the jobs I’ve done to do that, because these are, in my mind, means to an end to just make money. And so now, our kind of charter as business partners is just to find ways to make money. And that freedom allows us to think beyond a CAPTARGET, or a MergerLabs, or a growth partner, or an investment deal, or crypto Arbitrage, or all these fun things that I do, some that overlap with both of you.
Gabe Galvez: And allow us to ask a very simple question: “How are we going to make money today?” And once that becomes not scary anymore … ‘Cause it is scary, initially. Luckily, I was much younger when I started asking that question, was just dumb enough to not be scared about making pretty irrational, high-risk, decisions professionally. Which is, you know, the nature of a 21-year-old undeveloped brain. But, once you get used to it, it’s the ultimate freedom. It’s not fearing your own death anymore.
Dana Robinson: Well, let me ask you something, though, Gabe. Your mission is not far different from a lot of America’s ambitious young workforce. Every law firm I’ve been at is full of people whose singular ambition is to make more money.
Gabe Galvez: Then why are they working at a law firm?
Dana Robinson: That’s a good question.
Nate Broughton: Did you answer it before you asked it?
Dana Robinson: Could be. But, the real question is, you have these dual ambitions, that don’t always jive, and a lot of people can’t see how they jive, but you’re pulling it off. And that’s the ambition to do something that we might call work, where, according to what I see, is an office with a beer keg and some interns, and a dog that walks around.
Dana Robinson: I see you playing guitar in the corner when you want to take a break, strolling out for lunch. You’ve got this lifestyle. But most of the people who have ambition for more money never find that. And for them, they end up putting that off for years, and maybe decades. What’s the trick to doing both?
Gabe Galvez: I think there’s probably some practical tips, and then there’s some psychology behind it, which maybe I don’t fully understand. But, I’ve always had a … And maybe this is some second-generation immigrant mentality, or whatever, but, I’m pretty bearish at any point in time, whether where we are in our economic cycles, whether we’re in a good place in our business or not.
Gabe Galvez: I’m bearish on, like, our business, the economy, the banking system, my friends, humanity, the government. Like, I may be a little bit pessimistic in my planning mind, and that doesn’t, I don’t think that bleeds through in my day to day. I’m not a negative guy.
Gabe Galvez: But I think that might translate into a great appreciation for when things are working, how wonderful that is, because they’re probably not going to work for that long. And knock on wood, I’ve had a great run, things are not … You know, things are pretty good. And I have not had like a really hard life. Things, probably, relatively, have been really good for me my whole life.
Gabe Galvez: But, I think being kind of worried about losing it all, being a little bit bearish on all these things, allows me to maybe give less fucks, ’cause I know it’s going to go away anyway. So, who gives a shit?
Gabe Galvez: If a client’s going to fire me, fuck them. I mean, what are you going to do? You try hard. I’m not disparaging any clients by any means, we appreciate that. But when you get to these points of impasse, when you lose your job, or when you make a poor investment, or you make a strategic decision that doesn’t benefit you, what are you going to do? Odds were, that it wasn’t going to work out anyway. Right? So, who gives a shit?
Dana Robinson: So, when you’re a skeptic, every good outcome is amazing.
Gabe Galvez: Absolutely.
Nate Broughton: I think we can find other places where these grooves were dug. And the pawnshop, I think is one of them. I know one part of your story is … And it’s actually pretty similar to mine, is … And please tell it. Is, around the age of 22, or 23, or 24, you made a fuckton of money through a business situation. And I think that provides some luxuries, as far as what decisions you make next.
Nate Broughton: And also it alters your psychology greatly, on how money should be made, what type of money you should be making. Other people, and fuck them sometimes. Because you’re cocky at that age, as well. But, tell us a little bit about that story, and how it shifted your direction, and where did you end up going after that, as well. ‘Cause I think it kind of will play itself out a little bit.
Gabe Galvez: Sure. So, I was involved in a startup, it was a manufacturer. The nuts and bolts of it are not that interesting, but great little company that was a food manufacturing company, that sort of started, almost failed, pivoted, and scaled to the point where it almost broke the business. You know, that kind of scale, where things stopped working, and the DNA of management needed to change, and all these things.
Gabe Galvez: And I lived through both of those little cycles, in a short period of time, like a two-year period of time. It was not a company that I started, but it was a company that I ended up with some ownership of, and was very close to.
Nate Broughton: Yeah, what was your role there? Were you hired at a CFO, or a little bit lower than that, a financial?
Gabe Galvez: I became the CFO. Who even knows? Initially, I think I was just supporting some of their business development efforts, but I had an interest in the cost models, how to cost out products in a fully-loaded production capacity.
Nate Broughton: And did you end up there right after school, or how did you find the position?
Gabe Galvez: Yeah, I met the founder/CEO while working part-time while in school. And I actually took a break from school for a short period of time, went and worked with them, and then ended up going back to school. And a lot of it happened simultaneously. But, I don’t even know what really motivated me to go work with them.
Gabe Galvez: It just seemed like an opportunity, it was more money than I was making selling shoes in the mall, or whatever, by an exponent of like 10. So I thought, in the spirit of making more money … It’s like, do you want to make nine bucks an hour, or do you want to make 40 bucks an hour? And so, for me, it was a logical choice.
Gabe Galvez: But, as the company scaled, and a lot of systems degraded, et cetera, it became really clear that we needed a partner, or an owner, that was really better equipped to run a scaled business, not a conceptualized startup. And that happened, the company was acquired.
Gabe Galvez: And although, in a lot of ways, it was beneficial, it was also like a traumatic experience. I mean, it was a dirty deal. Not in the sense that anybody did anything bad, it just wasn’t clean, it just … Some people didn’t get paid, I knew investors who didn’t get paid, but I was still getting money. You know, it was not a great situation. And it worked itself out, long-term, but it was as classic of a bad M&A deal as you could possibly have.
Nate Broughton: And that was the first one that you were exposed to.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah, absolutely. And again, it worked out for me in the long run, but I saw other people have to sue, I saw people get sued. I saw the classic integration and houseclean that happens when you get bought by a large strategic. They don’t need another CFO, they don’t need another production manager. They don’t need another product manager.
Gabe Galvez: These are people who you’re in a little office with, all day, dreaming about building this great company. The day that company closes, those people go away. And of course, that’s how there’s synergistic value creation. Of course I would do the same thing. But I got to feel kind of the good and the really bad of that, simultaneously, which I think was a nice balance long-term.
Gabe Galvez: I think it was short-term really challenging to deal with. You know, you end up with some money, or some new opportunities, because it reads well on paper, even though you’re in the midst of all this chaos. But you can say, “Hey, I had this exit.” Which, whenever you can say it, say it, ’cause it will make you money. I’ve certainly said it a lot, even though that wasn’t the greatest exit, although again, I benefited from it, certainly.
Gabe Galvez: But, in one shot, I was able to see startup, failure, hypergrowth, acquisition, integration, legal fallout from everything we did wrong in the process. In the course of 24 months.
Nate Broughton: At the age of like 22.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah, 22, 23, something like that. And so, when that ended, I had to again ask, “Well, what do I want to do?” And for a while, I didn’t really want to do anything. I went on someone cool vacations, and traveled around a little bit.
Gabe Galvez: But because I kind of accidentally found that first opportunity, I didn’t really have a foundation for even making a decision as to what I wanted to do next. I wasn’t on a track, I was never an intern anywhere. I mean, I … In at least title, and certainly I learned how to do my job a lot better later, as a mea culpa, I’m sure. But I was somebody’s CFO as 23 years old. That’s a real mixed blessing.
Gabe Galvez: ‘Cause now, what’s your resume say? “Asshole, then CFO. Company acquired.” Number one, that reads like total bullshit, and half of it was. Number two, what?
Nate Broughton: Right.
Gabe Galvez: So, it was this mixed wunderkind kind of blessing, where you would go to an interview or … Well, I don’t think I really interviewed, but, you know, go network or meet with other professionals who maybe you could do some work with. And they would say, “Well, tell me about your career.” And I would say, “Well, I was a schmuck, and then I did this deal.”
Gabe Galvez: And I think the implication is, “Well, you’re either still a schmuck, and that wasn’t real,” which could’ve been argued, believe me. Or, “You’re now way overqualified. What are we going to do, have a guy who’s this age running our corporate finance department? This doesn’t make sense.”
Gabe Galvez: And so I kind of had to go back to the drawing board. Having any kind of exit, though, as you guys know, from a marketing standpoint is great. It’s great to brand yourself with some of that. And I think, then, I might’ve even started doing some consulting, around managing growth, and kind of best practices in startups. And that was fun, and I still, to this day, 15 years later, still have two legacy clients that I see every month, and we do a lot of good work with.
Nate Broughton: Well, let’s talk about that, actually.
Gabe Galvez: Sure.
Nate Broughton: Because, one of the main topics we talk about a lot on our podcast, and also Dana talks about in his book, are side gigs.
Gabe Galvez: Oh, life is a side gig.
Nate Broughton: I think we’ve heard that before.
Dana Robinson: It’s a recurring theme.
Nate Broughton: Right?
Gabe Galvez: Yeah.
Nate Broughton: And you just mentioned that it’s been, what, 13, 14, 15 years since the point in the story you were just describing. And you just said you still have clients to this day that you still work with. Maybe you can describe them a little bit, but it’s also maybe more interesting to talk about the philosophy as to why you maintain them. You know, why do you keep them around? And what are the characteristics that define a good side gig?
Nate Broughton: ‘Cause we try to kind of hear stories of people that have them, come back to them, and like say, “This is what Gabe’s saying, here.” You know, “This is a good side gig, this is what defines a good side gig.” You’ve had some for over a decade.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah.
Nate Broughton: That’s kind of rare. Why? Why are they still there? Why do you keep doing them, and what does it provide to you, from income diversification or maybe just the psychology of “everything is going to go bad,” maybe that’s why you keep them?
Gabe Galvez: That’s totally what it is.
Nate Broughton: Okay.
Gabe Galvez: I think the “why” … Well, the “what” is, and we’ll use these two clients that still exist. I mean, I’m essentially their interim CFO. Whether they have investors who, you know, reporting needs to be prepped for, and presentation needs to be done. Or whether there’s some level of executive accountability, training, documentation.
Gabe Galvez: And now, as I evolve, kind of start planning my own, you know, turn over 40, and a few things that are going to happen in the next couple of years. Maybe playing a role more as just sort of sounding board, confidant, classic trusted advisor. Which was not by design, but just sort of what’s happened.
Gabe Galvez: But, you know, certainly I could stop working with people, these clients of any kind, who pay me maybe a hundred, couple hundred bucks an hour or something for my time. And certainly it, without tooting my own horn or whatever, but it’s inconsequential money to me. Straight up. Like, if I lost that 20 grand this year, from that one client? It would have zero impact on my life, short-term.
Gabe Galvez: But, that pessimist in me thinks, “I need the be as diverse as possible.” I view the sort of myth of W-2 security as a real damaging thing that’s been put on children, us, adults.
Nate Broughton: No shit. That should be an article, by the way, “The Myth of W-2 Security.”
Gabe Galvez: It’s bullshit.
Dana Robinson: Yeah, yeah. Parents are telling their children, “Go to college, and then get a good job.” There is no such thing as a good job.
Gabe Galvez: No.
Nate Broughton: There’s no such thing as a secure job, either. I’ve always been blown away by that. When they’re … Like, I’d go speak at a school, and I’d kind of describe what I’m doing, and they’re like, “Wait, how can you sleep at night?” I’m like, “Your boss could just walk in and fire you at any minute. Do you realize how you’re …”
Gabe Galvez: It happens every day.
Nate Broughton: Right. “You’re going to be the first to go, buddy. Not the people who are building the business.”
Gabe Galvez: Nope.
Nate Broughton: “They’re going to dig back in, and try to make it work.”
Nate Broughton: But anyway, continue.
Dana Robinson: Yeah, so. The side gigs are security for you.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah. I mean, I always look at it … This is maybe the M&A guy in me, but if you were to come to me and say, “I am a great business. I’m a great investment opportunity,” whatever. You, Dana, the guy. The entity of Dana Corp, whatever. The second thing I’d ask you, after how much money you’re generating, or how much you get paid, if you’re Dana the individual, would be: “Do you have any concentration issues,” right?
Gabe Galvez: We’ve all looked at deals, we’ve all bought companies. The biggest inhibitor of value, or of deals closing, one of them, is customer concentration. And yet, we have been trained to have, to opt in to 100% income saturation with one source.
Dana Robinson: This is like a business that has one customer-
Gabe Galvez: Yeah, that’s a terrible business.
Dana Robinson: And the moment that customer fires them, you’re out of business.
Gabe Galvez: Absolutely. So, I’ve always tried to treat myself as a business, and that bleeds into some other aspects of my life. I mean, how I manage my cashflow, how I manage my budget. There’s some really obsessive accountant OCD weird stuff that happens in managing the business of my life, that I think leads to better outcomes.
Nate Broughton: We mentioned this in the introduction, that Gabe has developed a method and reporting structure for treating his own personal self as a business. It’s very unique.
Dana Robinson: Yeah, I think what’s cool about Gabe’s approach is he’s looking at the example of me, as a business, and saying, “If I was to evaluate your value, I would look at it as a business.” And so, he applies those principles to his own life, evaluating his life under those metrics: “Do I have customer concentration? How is my time being used? What am I spending money on? Where am I making money?” These are all business metrics. And he’s going to tell us how he applies these to every aspect of his personal life as well.
Gabe Galvez: I think we need to treat our personal lives like businesses, and set goals, and have other parties hold you accountable, and have good optics on the future, and plan for different scenarios. All these things that a savvy executive manager would do. We need to be the executive managers of our own lives.
Gabe Galvez: So, thinking back, as that M&A guy, going, “Why would I opt in to having one revenue stream, when I know that’s a big inhibitor of value?” So I want my life, and my earning potential, to have max value, potential. So, I’m going to try to not have anything that’s more than, maybe 30% of my income as a primary contribution.
Gabe Galvez: Which would be different than a business, of course, we would want to shoot for maybe 5%, depending on the industry, but. So, it’s a hedge.
Nate Broughton: How do you pull that off? ‘Cause I know those aren’t your only side gigs, and I might also want to ask about what are a few of the other ones, or more interesting ones that you’ve done. But before we do that, you’re also a business owner. A lot of people, the hurdle that they face in even doing one side gig is: “I don’t have enough time.”
Nate Broughton: I mean, you own a business that’s in the seven figures of income. We’re sitting in the office right here. There are several employees. You’re able to maintain several consulting gigs as side gigs, as well as other side gigs. How do you pull that off? Is the answer just hustle?
Dana Robinson: And remember, the lifestyle of Gabe, we know.
Nate Broughton: Right.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah.
Dana Robinson: The lifestyle of Gabe includes the fishing in Baja, and camping, and …
Nate Broughton: And we touched on surfing in the afternoons, when it’s sunny out in the summer, so …
Gabe Galvez: Yeah. As soon as this tattoo heals. Which I can’t show you, Dana, ’cause I have to take my whole pants off.
Dana Robinson: That’s okay.
Nate Broughton: That’s for the premium members.
Gabe Galvez: But it’s … It’s of Hank. I got a full Hank tattoo on the leg.
Dana Robinson: Did you? All right.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah, he’s [inaudible 00:41:56]. Wherever he is.
Dana Robinson: I’m sure he’ll be very happy to see that.
Gabe Galvez: I think so.
Gabe Galvez: Well, before we get into the “how,” so let me just clarify, since you have some picture of it, but the audience doesn’t necessarily, or the listeners. So, I co-founded CAPTARGET, which is an M&A, PE services company, with my partner Paul. I act as our CEO, but that’s really lent itself more to kind of, outbound voice, biz dev lead, although we do have folks dedicated to that, that’s still most of my time, just interacting with the industry and strategic planning, whatnot.
Gabe Galvez: We just sold a company called MergerLabs that I started with two other co-founders, digital marketing company that serves the investment banking space. I’m now the CMO during this transition, but I was the CEO until, whatever, six weeks ago. And that was run largely out of our office in Charleston.
Gabe Galvez: I have a couple consulting gigs still. I own multi-unit residential real estate, that I self-manage. ‘Cause I’m not paying 8% to some yahoo to call Home Depot and buy a new stove. I can do that on my phone, first of all. So …
Nate Broughton: I think we all self-manage real estate, all three of us, actually.
Dana Robinson: Yeah.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah. Smart guys, in this room.
Nate Broughton: Right.
Gabe Galvez: So, I do that. You and I are working on a consulting concept, revamp that will probably take some more time here in the coming months. Gosh, there’s … I helped start this auto title loan company a couple years ago that actually went through a bankruptcy. Not my fault. So not my fault, that we bought the company out of bankruptcy, and have fully de-risked it, turned it around, and it makes money every month. So I play a pretty modest management role there, as well.
Gabe Galvez: So that’s already five or six gigs, right there. The time allocation piece, I try to normalize to the revenue contribution. So, I want to have a balanced time-revenue kind of model. In fact, I had to rebalance kind of my whole life a few years ago, when I realized that …
Gabe Galvez: I don’t know what it was, it was like, CAPTARGET took 80% of my work day, but only made me 40% of my income. Well, what the? I’m working for free, 40% of the time. Fuck that. I’m going to spend 40% of my time earning 40% of my money, right? And there’s exceptions to that rule, if there’s some long-term implications, or there’s some enterprise value or whatever, but let’s just assume it was normalized.
Gabe Galvez: And I should show you guys sometime, ’cause it’s actually a Google presentation that I shared with a few people. And it’s twofold: one half is, revenue contribution to time, and how do I balance that, and what were the pain points there?
Gabe Galvez: One of the pain points, by the way, was the consulting gigs were still paying way less, ’cause it was from billing from years and years ago, but I still spent the same amount of time. And I did have to go to all my clients and say, “The only way this makes sense is if you pay me,” whatever the number was, “3x what you’re paying me now, for the same job.”
Nate Broughton: I think it’s bold of Gabe, no matter how long he’s had these consulting clients, to go to them and say, “If you want me to keep doing this, you’re going to have to pay me way more.” You know, there’s a strategy in there for increasing your monthly income, whether you’re a consultant or even a person who’s working a W-2 job, to go in and ask, and go in and make a case, to get paid more. A lot of people don’t have the gumption to do that, and it can be a “quick fix,” quote unquote, for your personal situation.
Nate Broughton: And it works out well for Gabe. He’s confident in the service that he’s providing, and over time, he realizes that, “If I’m going to keep doing this, I’m going to have to get paid more.” And he walks into those offices and makes it happen.
Gabe Galvez: “Otherwise I just, it doesn’t reconcile on my end.” Every one of them paid me. And that either means I wasn’t paying enough, they think I’m valuable, which I’d be very grateful for, if it’s the case. Or it just made sense.
Gabe Galvez: And I did something very similar with my personal recreation time. So, you’ve got this 100% pie made up of six or seven revenue streams that buys you all your time, right? That 100% becomes, equals, surplus free time, right? ‘Cause now I have money, so I can have free time, I don’t have to be at work all the time.
Gabe Galvez: And that I did something very similar with, where I basically set priorities as to the cadence, the frequency of things I like to do, and then fit them into that pie, and then tried to rebalance them. And we don’t need to get too deep down the rabbit hole, but it was as granular as, “How many times, and how long, do I want to have sex every week?”
Gabe Galvez: Not to be a creep, and not to disparage any ladies, we won’t name anybody in this podcast. Lady, but. But think about this. This is something that, it builds healthy relationships, it’s something we enjoy, it’s something we live for, something that’s exciting.
Dana Robinson: So did you have to cut her off?
Nate Broughton: Yeah.
Gabe Galvez: No
Dana Robinson: I’m giving-
Gabe Galvez: No, I was not pulling my weight. I’m still not pulling my weight.
Nate Broughton: Check the schedule, hot chicks.
Gabe Galvez: Check the schedule. But-
Dana Robinson: “I’ve only got 10 minutes.”
Gabe Galvez: It’s an extreme example, and I’m not scheduling to the minute, but it’s an extreme example of, look. These are the things I want to have time for. I want to be able to surf three times a week. I want to be able to go to dinner five nights a week. I want to be able to do these things, but to do them, I need to have enough money, I need to have enough time.
Gabe Galvez: So the long answer to the short question is: it’s a balancing act as far as contribution of time and revenues to the business of my life. And the other is, being very diligent and disciplined about scheduling. I mean, you’ve seen my calendar. I’m kind of a dick about it, because it’s the only way I can do it.
Gabe Galvez: If you call me in the day … Not you, ’cause I’d probably answer the phone if I’m not on the phone for you, either of you.
Dana Robinson: Thank you.
Gabe Galvez: But, if you’re a client, let’s say, or a CAPTARGET customer, and you call me in the middle of the day, I’m not going to pick up the phone. It’s not because I don’t want to talk to you, but it sets a funny precedent about being available all the time, which I’m not.
Gabe Galvez: But also, I fully book out every one of my days in whatever period of time I want to be at work, five hours, six hours, maybe it’s a crazy day, eight hours. Which is more of a rarity. And you can’t disrupt that. That’s the only way I can do all those things I want to do, manage these businesses, et cetera.
Gabe Galvez: I need to know that we’re going to accomplish what we need to accomplish in a half hour, and in 30 minutes plus one minute, I’m going to be doing this other thing. That’s the only way I can do it.
Nate Broughton: I admire that. I wish I was more like that, ’cause I think it limits stress, it improves effectiveness, and it, as you say, it’s kind of the only way you can do all those things. Because I think we share a personality trait in wanting to make money in almost any way possible, and many interesting ways, but also kind of getting excited about new opportunities that either come to us or come to our minds-
Gabe Galvez: It distracts.
Nate Broughton: And it’s like, “I want to do that.”
Gabe Galvez: I have a spreadsheet for that, by the way, and I weight them by probability of success, by estimated upside, and then I always keep it to three or less.
Nate Broughton: Right.
Gabe Galvez: And very often, it should be like five or six, and I just, I have to say no to a lot of stuff. And it’s not like it’s all great stuff, it’s just ideas guys like us have in a room.
Dana Robinson: Yeah, that’s really great. A lot of investors take this approach. I mean, investors that do angel investing, for example, are very disciplined with how much they allocate, how many they invest in in a given period of time. They’re not going to invest in just any new idea, so they don’t have ADD, the way a lot of entrepreneurs do.
Dana Robinson: A lot of entrepreneurs say yes, and then they say yes, and then they say yes. And they give no objective measurement to when to say no. And they don’t really look at the objectivity of a decision the way you’re talking about.
Gabe Galvez: Sure.
Dana Robinson: So, you think that’s one of the means for controlling your schedule, for not being diluted too much, is this ability to really evaluate each thing before you get too excited and jump in?
Gabe Galvez: I think so. Part of it is managing my bandwidth and maintaining the lifestyle, work-life balance that I have. But part of it is just being practical. I mean, how much money can you blow on zany ideas? How much time do you have to really do things right? And it’s not that many, you know?
Gabe Galvez: So, I think it’s not so much that I’m necessarily, or at least I view myself, as being really disciplined about it. It’s just like, “How can you say yes to five things, when you have six jobs?” You can’t. And I don’t necessarily even say yes to three, I just maybe will be circulating some of the things I feel really good about.
Gabe Galvez: But, going back to one of your earlier questions, Nate, about, “Well, how do you even start thinking about stuff like this weighted revenue contribution model, and whatever?” It comes back to a client, one specific client, who is a San Diego businessperson. I won’t name him, but he was a co-founder of a successful hedge fund, a New York-based hedge fund. Young guy, they founded it in college, or after college, I don’t know.
Gabe Galvez: And he was not a finance guy, but he helped grow the business. I think he raised all the money, he had the network, whatever. And somewhere in that fund cycle, they paid him out in a position in the fund, and some cash. A lot of money, in relative terms, but not a lot of money for a guy who, I don’t know how old he was at the time, but maybe a 28-year-old guy, can live on forever, at least like I would want to.
Gabe Galvez: And so, he had some millions of dollars, and he came to me and basically said, “This needs to last the rest of my life. How do we do that?” And he wasn’t asking, you know, “What should I invest in?” I’m not an RAA, that wasn’t our conversation. It was more about the psychology of, “How do we start making very strategic decisions about what we do with our time, versus what we do with our money?”
Gabe Galvez: And I’d never gone through that exercise before, and he really led that. I didn’t think of this, he just needed some manpower to help realize it, and visualize it in systems and whatnot. But he treated his life … He was the first guy I saw who didn’t have a job, except the job was maintaining his cushion. And he got obsessed with it.
Gabe Galvez: And this guy was entering into QuickBooks at the end of every day, “I bought a pack of gum at Falcon Liquor.” And you’re going, “Buddy, you’ve got $5 million in your checking account. What, a pack of gum?” “Hey, I’m going to live another 80 years.” And he was looking, he was closing a month …
Gabe Galvez: I do this now, myself. I close my month, I do year over year analysis. I look at expenses on a percent of income basis. I look at revenue contributions and changes. I maintain a 12-month pro forma on my few primary banking accounts, based on different scenarios.
Gabe Galvez: He didn’t necessarily teach me how to do that, we sort of co-realized it together, but he was the first guy who sat in a room in a $900 a month apartment. He drove an old Jeep Cherokee. And he said, “We’ve got to make this last. And I don’t want to work again.”
Gabe Galvez: I think he ran a side business that was purely a passion project, art-related passion project. But that always stuck with me. “I don’t want to work again, let’s make this last forever.” And the business of his life became capital preservation.
Nate Broughton: Yeah, and I know you’ve mentioned that in passing, you’ve got sometimes a number in your head at this particular point in time that you want to get to, so you can stop working.
Gabe Galvez: It’s shrinking.
Nate Broughton: Right, as you’re getting closer and closer.
Gabe Galvez: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Nate Broughton: It’s so interesting, to hear you describe all these things, because it’s hyper-analytical, and it’s hyper-practical. It is 100% devoid of emotion. I think a lot of people’s decisions related to money — not only how they make their money, but how they spend their money, whether it’s on everyday consumer purchases, or buying homes — are driven a lot by emotion. And you seem to have none of it. You soulless bastard.
Gabe Galvez: No, I think I’m emotional about all the things you should be emotional about. You know, your loved ones, your …
Nate Broughton: Sure.
Gabe Galvez: You know, your thoughts and dreams, and all these things. But-
Dana Robinson: Your dog, Hank.
Gabe Galvez: My dog, Hank.
Nate Broughton: You place emotion in the right place, and don’t waste it in places where it’s not needed.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah. I mean, on that retirement note, right now … In fact, I’m going to push the call back, ’cause we should keep talking, but. I’m speaking to an analyst at, whenever we end, who I’m paying just to build a model based on a bunch of income assumptions I have, to prove to me when I can stop working.
Gabe Galvez: So, I’ve already built this model, but I don’t, it’s not the greatest. And I haven’t been in the building-modeling game in five, seven years, whatever. So I’m paying somebody to come back to me and say, “If these assumptions prove true, and you execute in this way, this is when you can stop working.” And it’s a luxury to be able to go through that exercise.
Gabe Galvez: It costs thousands of dollars, and you need to have a certain level of sophistication to even know what the inputs are, and to give context for what the structure of the model should even look like. In this case, it’s kind of cashflow-based. But I think very few people go through an exercise that even flirts with being that sophisticated.
Gabe Galvez: And I don’t know if it needs to be. This might be part of just my own psychosis, that I need it this certain way. But, everybody should know what that number is, and it should be real, and it should not just be based on one big assumption. It should be based on a really thoughtful approach. This is our life. The idea of just going to work ’cause you need the paycheck, or ’cause you want to buy a thing, or whatever.
Gabe Galvez: I have a lot of things, believe me. I’m not a no-thing guy, to probably a detriment to my own bank account. But, you’ve got to think about these things in a quantitative, responsible way. We only have one of these lives, and I want to spend as much time as I can, hopefully sooner than later, really engaging in enjoying stuff that I love.
Gabe Galvez: I love all this stuff, too, but that will be a chapter in my life that hopefully will transition into another chapter. So I don’t want to paint the picture that work sucks, and let’s work until we can not work anymore. But I think I’ve maturated through the work piece, and am maybe on the back end of that cycle, and I’m ready for the next one.
Nate Broughton: You got to a point that I was going to come to next, anyway.
Gabe Galvez: Too much stuff?
Nate Broughton: No. I like that, because it’s kind of my style, too. You know, you have all these practical applications and philosophies related to your income and your net worth, and how you spend time. But when we hang out, I never get the feeling that you’re, you know …
Gabe Galvez: Oh, we blow dough.
Nate Broughton: Right, exactly.
Gabe Galvez: We spend dollas.
Nate Broughton: I mean, first of all, I really like that, but … And I guess you kind of said it yourself, sometimes it’s to your detriment. But I think it comes around to the psychology that we share, too, that you still have to kind of live your life while you’re here, because you don’t know if tomorrow’s guaranteed.
Nate Broughton: And Dana said this in a previous podcast, you know, there’s a lot of entrepreneurs who are chasing an $8 million exit, or an eight-figure exit, to the detriment, or at the expense, of their personal lives. And some of the things that we do every day. And a lot of them aren’t going to get there.
Nate Broughton: They’re forgetting to live now, and I think you do a great job of balancing that as well. Along with all the practical things you’ve just described, you’re still someone that can have a fancy car for a while, take a nice trip to Cabo, go on a nice outing for dinner and out, and not be sitting there staring at the bill.
Gabe Galvez: Sure.
Nate Broughton: Because in some ways, you’d think a person with your mentality would be, “Wait, how much did Dana tip? Did we split this right?” But you’re not that person.
Gabe Galvez: Oh, believe me, there’s a line item in my own pro forma cashflow for that.
Nate Broughton: Right.
Gabe Galvez: But that’s okay. And maybe it’s a larger percent of income than somebody who has, maybe, different earnings, or a regular job, or whatever. But I’m not willy-nilly buying stuff. I really revel in the fact, and Paul does too, that if I needed to, tomorrow, I could live for about $42,000 a year, which is a fine amount of money to make. There’s plenty of people out there who are busting their ass for that. I have been that person, and that should be enough to live on. Although there’s some argument about that. But I can do that, in a day.
Dana Robinson: That’s remarkable.
Gabe Galvez: Almost literally.
Dana Robinson: Right. That’s remarkable, because most of us that have made six figures have a really hard time ever going backwards.
Nate Broughton: I would be completely fucked.
Gabe Galvez: I don’t give a shit.
Nate Broughton: Partially because of-
Gabe Galvez: I mean, but, you have children, and a wife.
Nate Broughton: Yeah.
Gabe Galvez: And all the … I mean, they’re expensive.
Nate Broughton: It comes down to who your roommates are.
Gabe Galvez: I know your wife, she’s not cheap.
Nate Broughton: Exactly, yeah. This whole time, I’m like …
Gabe Galvez: Dana, too.
Dana Robinson: No, my-
Nate Broughton: No, Heather’s great with that stuff.
Dana Robinson: My number’s probably $60 a year.
Gabe Galvez: Okay. Well, that’s phenomenal.
Dana Robinson: So, but. I have lawyer colleagues that are making $280-350-
Gabe Galvez: But don’t have any money.
Dana Robinson: … and don’t have any money, and could never, could not survive on $60,000 a year, and therefore, they’re stuck at that job. They’re stuck in a practice they might not love.
Gabe Galvez: And then they can’t exercise any of these opportunities that they have, without breaking their lives.
Dana Robinson: Right.
Gabe Galvez: But, on the stuff note, just to put a pin in that. Yes, it’s in the budget. But also, I heard something, it was probably last year, that really stuck with me. And at face value, it sounds kind of like this bougie, gauche, thing, but I think it’s actually really practical, at least for somebody who’s in our kind of collective situations, and maybe to everybody.
Gabe Galvez: You know, I listen to four hours of Howard Stern every day, whether he’s on the air or not, and I have since like 1995, right. Love Howard. And he was interviewing Jim Carrey last year, who has gotten increasingly self-aware and weird, and anti-Hollywood. And I really, I enjoy him as a comedian also, he’s a gifted guy, but-
Dana Robinson: He’s got cool art now, too.
Gabe Galvez: Really cool art now, cool beard.
Nate Broughton: Have you seen his Netflix special that he did as well?
Gabe Galvez: Yeah, it was weird stuff, it freaked me out.
Nate Broughton: Yeah.
Gabe Galvez: But, him and Stern were talking about, like, maybe why he doesn’t work as much anymore, or whatever. And he’s kind of this, at face value, he sounds like sort of an anti-materialism sort of guy. He’s into, like, shaman retreats, all this cool stuff, right?
Gabe Galvez: And he corrected Stern, and said, “No, no, no. Here’s the reason why I’m so grounded, and I’m not focused on material wealth.” He said, “Because I have one of everything.” He’s like, “I can’t build a tennis court on top of my tennis court. So I don’t have to think about tennis courts anymore.”
Gabe Galvez: So his argument to everybody out there who is ambitious, and trying to gain and maybe measure some of that success by way of material wealth is: “Get one of everything, because the mind share that you gain, once you have all your stuff, is the freedom.” So, you know, to be able …
Gabe Galvez: I mean, especially as younger people. I only know this as a young man, I’m sure young women can relate, but: thinking about that first car, or the sick Jordans, or that new video game. As a 12-year-old with nothing else to do, that becomes your whole process. Until somebody either shatters your dream by saying, “You don’t get anything.” Or gives into you, and then you get the dopamine thing, and then you’re depressed, and then nothing matters, and it goes in the closet. Right?
Gabe Galvez: So, I’m just trying to bridge that gap in some way. And you know, I certainly have a long way to go, if I’m trying to buy tennis courts on top of tennis courts, and that’s not really my goal. But, when I buy stuff that may be viewed as a little luxury type, or a little extravagant type of stuff, I think of Jim Carrey in the back of my mind.
Gabe Galvez: This idea that, if I have … If you have a black Sub, and you have a Batman Sub, and you have a Hulk Sub, you don’t need to think about buying watches anymore. Or at least, Submariners. Then you can move on to Daytonas, and then you can do vintage Daytonas. But, as silly as it sounds, I think that’s key.
Gabe Galvez: So, you have a new car. How many new cars can I get? I mean, now I drive a Toyota pickup truck, ’cause I’m not that worried about it. I’ve had, I’ve driven every car I’ve ever wanted to drive, and I’ve owned them all. So now I don’t think about cars that much.
Nate Broughton: There’s peace, and there’s freedom, in checking those things off the list.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah.
Nate Broughton: And hopefully … And being cognizant of adding ones in the future, and being a lot more strict in ones that make the list, I guess.
Gabe Galvez: Absolutely.
Nate Broughton: ‘Cause you were testing me, something similar, a couple of days ago, when we talked about this in my living room, like two days ago. It was, I think, the secret to life and to true freedom is to not have that many things to think about.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah. Really just to be able to either let your mind be, go where it needs to go. Or just to not have to allocate mind share to thinking about, whether it’s work, or stuff, or things that are just not value-added in our life.
Gabe Galvez: I really recently tried to stop reading the news all day on my phone. I just read it before bed now, which is still not great. But even then, as I read … And I use Flipboard, ’cause I just like the interface. But, probably 60% of the articles are not news.
Nate Broughton: Right, especially now.
Gabe Galvez: Especially now. And I just figured out, this is just me being not that interested in learning new technology, I just figured out I can downvote those things. So now I just, if I see an article about Kim Kardashian, you know, I know she’s a pop phenomenon, so a person of interest in pop culture. I’m just no longer going to let that enter my mind share.
Gabe Galvez: And when you stop thinking about Kim and Kanye 20 minutes a day, or two minutes a day, or whatever, and you just own the fact that Trump’s a maniac, so you don’t have to think about it all the time, you just can sit a little more quietly with yourself, and hopefully that’s a better place to be than everywhere.
Nate Broughton: I mean, I think this was a lot of the psychology that led to your decision to go to Bali-
Dana Robinson: Yeah, yeah.
Nate Broughton: … that you successfully pulled off, and returned back to normal life cleansed, right?
Dana Robinson: Yes.
Nate Broughton: I mean, it’s a lot of the things he’s talked about.
Dana Robinson: It’s that, as well as that, in terms of doing six things, like Gabe is doing, people think, “How can they do that?” Let’s listen to what Gabe’s saying. Gabe is saying, “Be careful what comes into your mind.” Think of all the time that you’d spend scrolling through worthless stories on social media, or even, quote-unquote, “news.”
Dana Robinson: And all of the time and mental space that you could dedicate creatively, to your side gigs, to designing the life that you want, to having the freedom you want. We become slaves, by sort of default. And what Gabe’s teaching is that you’re very deliberate about those things.
Gabe Galvez: You have to be.
Dana Robinson: And that ends up being empowering, for the lifestyle you want, and for the business life you want.
Gabe Galvez: Absolutely. And I think you need to make a choice to treat your life in that deliberate way. Whatever the goal is, whatever the focus is. Whether it’s, like us, to make more money, or to just be more fulfilled, which is a thing we’re all working on.
Gabe Galvez: I am not claiming to be any sort of self-realized anybody, my life is a shit show half the time. But, it’s a shit show on my own terms, most of the time. And I’m kind of the boss of the shit show. Like, I’m not a pawn in anybody else’s game, except for the big games that we’re all pawns to. You know, Illuminati-
Dana Robinson: Before Bali, I had discovered in my self-analysis that I was in a three-ring circus. And the most empowering thing was to realize I was the-
Gabe Galvez: The ringleader?
Dana Robinson: The ringleader. I was the ringmaster. So, you know, once you have that, you take control of that, and then the circus is yours. You own it, and it’s your job to fix it up, clean it up, and make it what you want it to be.
Nate Broughton: Where should you try to throw yourself, practically, to increase the odds that these accidental things can happen to you? Do you have any thought on something like that?
Gabe Galvez: I don’t … I mean, because I think it’s accidental, I probably am not the right person to ask. But-
Nate Broughton: Sure. I can’t answer this either.
Gabe Galvez: Good.
Nate Broughton: But there is, there’s a way to make the odds higher, for someone.
Gabe Galvez: I think there’s maybe a couple things that I have done that maybe helped along the way. Number one is this age-old idea of: become an expert in something. Anything. ‘Cause you can monetize that. Especially now, way more than then, by way of internet media, and social.
Nate Broughton: I mean, here’s a good example. We have a producer for this podcast.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah.
Nate Broughton: Become an expert at that.
Gabe Galvez: He’s an expert.
Nate Broughton: People need that all the time. A lot of people with hollow dreams that are idiots, like us, that want to start a podcast will pay you good money-
Gabe Galvez: Yep.
Nate Broughton: … to edit it and put in online, so no one can listen to it.
Gabe Galvez: I mean, if you think about the things I may be, or at least would self-proclaim being an expert in … Like, for example, we talk about, with CAPTARGET, without getting too technical about it for the audience, how many experts are there in best practices with digital in private equity deal origination?
Gabe Galvez: You know, it’s kind of this bizarre thing, but I’m probably the one. Robin, sitting in the room next door, is probably the other one. It just so happens, though, that funds have a lot of money to spend on expertise, and they value it very highly, ’cause their upside is significant. So, being an expert in something, whatever it is, I think is never a bad thing.
Nate Broughton: And you [inaudible 01:05:55] became an expert in that through a combination of some practical skills you learned in college, and in work. And then you discovered that opportunity, or that need, by working a more traditional job, or at least being there for a while.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah, absolutely.
Nate Broughton: I think that’s kind of a common theme that I see, is a curious smart person with some skillset works a job somewhere, and has their eyes open to see that opportunity, to specialize, or to see a need. And then eventually they can make that leap. Or have that in the back of their mind as like a potential first side gig. That could’ve been a side gig for you.
Gabe Galvez: Totally.
Nate Broughton: While you were still working at that place. So.
Gabe Galvez: Well, I think there’s maybe a couple other things that were helpful for me. And I don’t know how you’d develop this deliberately, but, getting over the fear of income insecurity is incredibly liberating.
Gabe Galvez: Even beyond that, back to what you just mentioned about working somewhere, honing your skills. I think to maybe the Z or even some of the younger Millennials generation … I feel that there’s a bit of this entitlement thing going on right now, where you get a young person from a good college who’s bright, and they kind of want to skip a few steps.
Gabe Galvez: And you’ve got to pay your dues. Every intern we’ve ever had, some of the young people we have working here, I tell them, “Look, dude. You’re going to have a shitty ass job, for probably the next two, three, four, six years. But come up with a plan while you’re getting paid, have a transition at hand, ready to go, and use it as a springboard.”
Nate Broughton: I really like what Gabe says there, about kind of the advice and the directive he gives to young employees who come in his door. He says, “You know, your job’s going to suck for some time. You’ve got to pay your dues.” And I think in the context of us doing the Opt Out Life podcast, we should reiterate that that’s good advice.
Nate Broughton: And it’s important to reiterate, because we put out a lot of pictures of us not working at 10:00 AM, and building side gigs that pay us passive income, but if you listen to a lot of the stories, and even our stories, we started in a much simpler place than that. And you have to put in your dues.
Nate Broughton: Whether it’s figuring out a business on your own, and taking on those first customers, and doing the dirty work. Or getting a job and working for someone, and developing a skill and honing it, and later applying that to a side gig or consulting, or starting your own business.
Dana Robinson: Absolutely. No one is entitled to the Opt Out Life. You create the Opt Out Life, something you have to work for. I totally get Millennials. My daughter is a Millennial, I’ve hung out with a lot of Millennials, I’ve had them work for me. And I’m not one that wants to play the grumpy old man and complain that “kids these days.”
Dana Robinson: I think they’re ambitious, I think they’re creative, and that sense of entitlement might be that we’ve just not laid the right groundwork for the Millennials to understand that they can get the life they want, they just don’t get to walk straight into it. They’re not entitled to it.
Dana Robinson: We’re paying our dues. I was mowing lawns when I was in college, you were slinging t-shirts. We were doing things to learn the skills that we needed to do. And then we let serendipity take her course, and ended up with some really cool opportunities that rose. And we took advantage of those as well.
Gabe Galvez: So many people, I think, now … And maybe it’s just my perception and me sounding like an old guy, even though I’m not. You know, “Kids these days don’t want to work.” But I-
Dana Robinson: “Back in the day.”
Gabe Galvez: I see a lot of that. And you know, I’ve had some kind of shit jobs in relative terms, and I think that’s good to do. Cut your teeth paying your dues. And you’re going to meet people, you’re going to have an opportunity to become an expert. And it’s going to give you some credibility.
Gabe Galvez: Without a little bit of a base, it’s really hard. And I kind of went into my career without that base. And like we talked about earlier, you show up with CFO and nothing else on your resume? That doesn’t do you any good. I’d rather it said, “Junior controller, two years. Controller, two years. CFO, six years.”
Gabe Galvez: But it didn’t. I made that mistake, but I think if you avoid that mistake and you’re willing to pay some dues … Not like our grandfathers did for 60 years at General Dynamics, like mine, or 40 years, whatever. But for a handful of years, at a couple firms, knowing there’s nothing in it for you except what happens after.
Gabe Galvez: Don’t worry about getting a raise. Don’t worry about upward mobility. Just do your fucking job, get good at it, and then go do it somewhere else.
Dana Robinson: Yeah. It’s earn or learn, right?
Gabe Galvez: Yeah.
Dana Robinson: You want the skill, because the skill is what’s empowered you to have the freedom you have, to make the decisions you have right now in your life.
Gabe Galvez: Absolutely. That’s the key. You skip that, it’s really hard. I skipped a lot of these steps, and it just created work in my life. And if I could do it over again, I would probably not skip those steps. But I can’t, and things turned out okay, so.
Nate Broughton: I think things turned out okay.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah. I get to go out to dinner with Nate, sometimes.
Dana Robinson: It’s in your budget.
Gabe Galvez: It’s kind of cool, it’s in my budget.
Nate Broughton: Yeah.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah.
Nate Broughton: I’m never going to look at him the same, when we’re at the restaurants.
Gabe Galvez: It’s okay.
Nate Broughton: Always calculating-
Gabe Galvez: I’m always over budget in that category, believe me.
Nate Broughton: Well, let’s end on something fun, then. Let’s talk about restaurants. You recently turned me on to the best sushi place in San Diego, that I didn’t notice.
Gabe Galvez: Tadokoro.
Nate Broughton: Tadokoro. What are your three favorite spots to eat, here and/or in Mexico? And have I been to them yet? Because I want to know.
Gabe Galvez: I mean, the Mexico call, not to sound like a fancy San Diegan, but Flora Farms is hard to beat.
Nate Broughton: Yes. We were there for my birthday this year on New Year’s. Great place.
Dana Robinson: Mmm.
Nate Broughton: Have you been there?
Dana Robinson: No, not yet.
Gabe Galvez: It’s a great place.
Nate Broughton: It’s an oasis in a desert, of Baja.
Gabe Galvez: We should go sometime.
Dana Robinson: I’ll put that in my Gabe dinner budget.
Gabe Galvez: Gabe dinner budget.
Dana Robinson: Watch my planning, and my pro forma?
Gabe Galvez: You’ve got to get a plane ticket, we’ve got to rent a car. We’ve got to drive a little bit into the desert. It’s past the cement mixing plant, on the dirt road.
Nate Broughton: You have to have a sense of adventure, and lack of fear, these places, to even experience Flora Farms. It’s kind of Opt Out-y to even arrive at said restaurant.
Gabe Galvez: Absolutely.
Nate Broughton: So, it’s a good one to mention.
Gabe Galvez: So, for Mexico, I’d put Flora Farms up there. For those who don’t know, it’s an organic live-on farm that has a number of restaurants scattered throughout its property, and it’s this beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert. That’s always a fun place to go for family special events, a birthday, whatever.
Gabe Galvez: In town, though, it’s tough. We are so lucky to have so much good food here. I think Tadokoro is becoming a favorite, because it’s near the office, and life. And I’ve definitely done some back-to-back nights there.
Nate Broughton: Yes.
Gabe Galvez: I know you have recently, too.
Nate Broughton: Yes, yes.
Gabe Galvez: I think anything up on Convoy can be really good, and now we have apparently a-
Nate Broughton: Great Wow.
Gabe Galvez: … Great Wow down the street. I thought it closed.
Nate Broughton: It is incredible. Do you know Great Wow?
Dana Robinson: No.
Nate Broughton: Oh, man.
Gabe Galvez: It’s on 5th and University.
Nate Broughton: Dumplings, buns, it’s 5th and University.
Dana Robinson: Wow.
Gabe Galvez: That’s good stuff.
Nate Broughton: I had it for dinner and breakfast, in the last day. If that makes sense.
Gabe Galvez: I’ve been digging Cowboy Star for meat, lately.
Nate Broughton: Yeah, yeah.
Gabe Galvez: They got that Miyazaki filet down there.
Nate Broughton: Is it still in season? Is it still on deck right there?
Gabe Galvez: I went there a couple of weeks ago, and it was in season.
Nate Broughton: Okay.
Gabe Galvez: I like going to Piatti, up by La Jolla shores, after a long day of surfing.
Nate Broughton: Yeah.
Gabe Galvez: Sit at the bar, or sit outside. Do some wine, do a orecchiette special. Those are probably some good go-tos. But, anywhere where there’s good fish. Blue Water. The dock, under the ocean, wherever you can find it. That’s probably where I would be.
Nate Broughton: With a spear.
Gabe Galvez: Wherever you drag me to for a rogue lunch, or an occasional dinner. But, I mean, just the fact that we’re a stone’s throw from three, or four, or five good restaurants is amazing, even though I don’t go to them as often as I should. Nate’s within walking distance of way too much good stuff, for being not an out-of-shape guy.
Nate Broughton: That’s the Opt Out Life.
Dana Robinson: It is, actually. That the two of you live walking distance to this office.
Gabe Galvez: It’s pretty cool.
Dana Robinson: It is, it’s amazing. And it’s walking distance to bars and restaurants. I’ve chosen to live in a little village not far from here and-
Gabe Galvez: Which is also pretty cool.
Nate Broughton: I’ve heard it is. Lejella? I haven’t heard of it.
Dana Robinson: La Jolla? After an hour of answering emails, I took a long walk, had a quick meetup with someone that we’ll probably have on this podcast. Took my wife for a latte.
Gabe Galvez: It’s full Opt Out Life.
Dana Robinson: Drove over here. It’s walkable. Walkability and being not stuck on the road for hours a day, is definitely an ambition that I think people ought to have.
Nate Broughton: Yeah. I mean, I went and walked and picked up Gage from school. We hopped on the scooter and skateboard, we went to Donut Star.
Gabe Galvez: Ah, Donut Star.
Nate Broughton: Then we scootered over to Sushi Deli, scootered home. Great experience, great time.
Gabe Galvez: Well, all of this is really interesting to me. Just this podcast, beyond this session here today. Because when you all described this to me, conceptually, whenever it was, long ago, while I thought it was a cool concept, I didn’t really necessarily think it applied to me.
Gabe Galvez: Or even to you guys. I don’t know, I see you in the office, I’ve seen Dana in the courtroom. I’ve seen Nate in business meetings. And I know we all have interesting lives, and I’ve also seen Dana on a skateboard, and Nate in a swimming pool, so. I never connected those dots before, and hearing other people’s stories, and telling a little piece of my own professionally, is a neat light bulb moment for me, to say, “Wow, we actually have something really special.”
Gabe Galvez: I just view this as my life. I just go to work, I try to bust my ass, I have some fun when I can, and there’s some tools I have that hopefully give me a competitive edge over the other schlubs trying to do the same thing. But I hope, as you guys continue this, that it turns into the community that I think it could, that I think you guys are probably envisioning. Because it’s a neat thing, that I wasn’t even really aware of. So, you’re doing a service to me, at least.
Nate Broughton: Me, too. I think in some ways it’s therapy, as well, to hear these stories. And it’s affirmation, because of just the psychological challenges that come with being an entrepreneur, and being on your own, and trying to make these things work. But yeah, that’s nice to hear, and it’s made me look at things differently, and look at the people that are around me a little bit differently, and appreciate it a little bit more, as well.
Dana Robinson: Yeah. We, when we first started talking about the concept of the Opt Out Life podcast, we started with a list. We basically said … We looked at my book, and said, “Wait a minute. This is reflective of a lot of people we know.” And so we started a list, and it was like 50 people.
Nate Broughton: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Gabe Galvez: I saw the start of it, before you ran out space, I think. I saw it, through the window.
Dana Robinson: We just thought … And I’m not sure everyone on that list realizes they’re part of this accidental fraternity.
Gabe Galvez: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dana Robinson: That we all have this Opt Out Life in common. And so, I’m excited to, with each interview, we’re bringing a little bit different angle, a little different experience. But ultimately, a whole lot of the same message. A whole lot of the same things. And you’re right, if we can build community around that, and empower the people that we don’t know, to connect with each other, and for those that want the life that we live, I guess, not to sound arrogant.
Dana Robinson: But you know, I want people to feel like they have a life that empowers them, to do what they want when they want. And to buy that freedom. If I can get a few people to do that, then I think we’ve done our job.
Nate Broughton: Yeah, I think the goal is to tell the story, and to give examples to just inspire people to do it. It is not to be arrogant, but it’s just to say, “This is how we made it happen, and how we’re still trying to make it happen.” In some ways, it still feels like a charade, and you’re juggling a bunch of things, for all of us.
Gabe Galvez: Every day.
Nate Broughton: But, this is how we make it work, and hopefully others can do it.
Dana Robinson: Right. Maybe we defeat that narrative that everyone has that says, “The only way out is to raise a bunch of money, launch a startup, and sell it for billions of dollars.”
Gabe Galvez: It’s all about base hits. If we don’t, anything … Paul and I, you guys too, we’re the base hit kings. You get enough things that make you 100 grand a year in your pocket, and you’re making millions of dollars, you know. And then it’s defensible, and it’s more diverse, and …
Dana Robinson: And it doesn’t matter if you make the big kill anymore.
Gabe Galvez: No.
Dana Robinson: You’re getting the life you want now. Now, I know, according to your pro formas, you have a plan to work less, and maybe eventually don’t work at all.
Gabe Galvez: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dana Robinson: But ultimately, you’re living the life you want, right now.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah.
Dana Robinson: And so, if you never achieve that, you’re still a success.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah, I guess so. I mean, it’s easy to get stuck in your own rat race of the wheel-
Dana Robinson: Your own goals.
Gabe Galvez: Yeah, and just working on closing that next deal and whatever. But it’s good to realize. And you guys make me feel lucky for being able to even verbalize some of this stuff. ‘Cause it’s … We don’t like to talk about work, ’cause it’s not super exciting, the little ins and outs on the day-to-day basis.
Gabe Galvez: But conceptually, this is really cool stuff, and it needs to be talked about more. It’s a way to help a lot of people become better, and hopefully that turns into just a better world, little by little.
Nate Broughton: Making the world one podcast. Shit.
Nate Broughton: Making the world better.
Gabe Galvez: Making the world shit.
Dana Robinson: Making the world better …
Nate Broughton: Making the world shittier-
All: … one podcast at a time.
Gabe Galvez: All right. Thanks, guys.
Nate Broughton: Thanks, Gabe.
Nate Broughton: Thanks again for listening to the Opt Out Life podcast. Visit our website at OptOutLife.org. Enter your email address, get on our email list. We’ll send you updates on new podcast episodes as they come out, exclusive content that we’re publishing every week, access to books, and minibooks, written by Dana and myself, and information about upcoming events hosted by the Opt Out Life. And follow us on Instagram @OptOutLife. We’re trying out that whole Instagram thing.
Nate Broughton: Opt Out, out.

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Opt Out, LLC is not an attorney, business advisor, broker financial advisor, accountant, CPA, life coach, psychologist, psychiatrist or spiritual leader. While Dana Robinson has been a broker and licensed attorney and Nathaniel Broughton has been a licensed real estate broker, the information provided on this site and through the Opt Out Life podcast do not constitute professional advice of any kind. Please seek individual advice from a licensed professional who can work directly with you to address your specific needs.