[0:57] Rachel: Hi, and welcome to a brand new episode of the Yoga Girl podcast, Conversations from the Heart. I am talking to you today from Costa Rica; if you hear a bunch of cicadas and crazy sounds in the background, it’s because I’m deep in the literal jungle right now. And on the show today I have someone so special that I am beyond excited to introduce, Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary is a digital media mogul, a serial entrepreneur, motivational speaker, tech investor, New York Times bestselling author, venture capitalist, founder of Vayner Media…the list is so long I’m literally losing my breath. Welcome to the show Gary!
[1:36] Gary: Thank you so much, thanks for having me on.
Rachel: Man, this resume is so long and impressive. Do you have one of these roles that you identify with more than the others?
Gary: Probably entrepreneur, you know? I…you know, even listening to you rattle it off I was kind of like smirking, you know. It’s really fun when you’re entrepreneurial, you tend to do different things and so you get to do a lot of different things, try a bunch of different things. But I think the thing that I, you know, closely most associate with is just being an entrepreneur, which is the overarching theme of that whole intro.
Rachel: Yeah, it relates to all of that, hard to separate from all the others. So this podcast, it’s called From the Heart and I would love to just start there, you know, speaking totally from the heart, right in this moment, where you’re at, how are you doing?
Gary: That’s awesome, I love that. I’m doing really well. I’m wildly driven by gratitude, so I’m pretty much in a place where I’m going to answer positively to the question you just asked the far majority of my life, only withstanding the death and illnesses of the people I love the most, which would give a different answer. But every second that I’m lucky enough to not be in a situation where that’s the case, for somebody I love, I’m in a pretty good mood. I’m a little bit of an old soul that way: if everybody’s healthy, I kind of struggle to be upset about business mistakes, or shortcomings, or things that didn’t go the way I wanted, or opportunities missed, or judgement of others or…just a lot of things that I think tend to bring people down when I just wish they had the perspective of “health, and everything else is secondary.”
[3:22] Rachel: Yeah, I really love that about you, and I think that’s why it’s so easy to follow along on your journey, it’s so easy to listen to you speak. Actually, right before we got on this call, my brother who is a notoriously kinda grumpy guy, he said “hey, you have GaryVee on the podcast? Man, he is as positive as I am negative.”
Rachel: That’s such a…such a good way to describe you man. It’s such a…it’s such a wonderful thing.
Gary: I would argue and ponder…it almost makes me think like we’re two sides of the some coin. I think the protective mechanism…I think, I think a lot of people who tend to — you know, my father’s pretty cynical and can be negative, and I’ve always seen that as him protecting himself, right? And in a lot of ways, I think I do the same with extreme positivity, which is…it really actually has a very similar nuance to each other, and I think it’s practical. But I very much don’t judge people that are overly negative. I don’t like it, and I don’t like it for them because I think they’re trying to do the same thing and I think there’s a different way to go about it, and when you choose someone’s perspective on that, you know…. Really, there’s two ways to win a sports game, it’s offence or defence, and for me I just think in life it’s a lot more fun to be on the offence.
Rachel: It’s an easier life to live, I think, in the long run. But what about, you know, because everyone obviously experiences hard emotions, tough shit, tough days — how do you deal when you have a crappy day or something doesn’t go your way? Do you have a way where you process those emotions, you think, differently than other people do?
[4:57] Gary: I think up front, I expect them. You know, I think if you’re up to something significant or trying to achieve something of some sort of scale that you need to…I’m a big fan that like, “I’ve signed up for this, I’m going for it,” so with that there should be a lot of difficult moments. I would argue my day is filled with negative micro-moments, right? Like when you are running something, you’re basically just trying to fix things. And so a) I think a lot of people are like “I’m going to start a business!” And then when it’s challenging, they’re upset, and I’m like, “you wanted to live on your own terms, like that’s a minority of people. I would argue that you should know what you’re signing up for.” So a) knowing what I’m signing up for. And then b) in it’s most extreme state when it’s got control of me, or it’s just, you know —many times in my life and in my career, three to four significantly bad things can happen in a 24 to 48 hour window, so when you get the serendipity of that much going at you, that’s when I go to my default protective mechanism of “I gotta protect myself with perspective. Would I…let’s role play, let’s make pretend that everything that I wanted to happen here professionally or personally is going that way, but the phone call I get is that my sister is sick, what kind of mood would I be in? There’s no level of you know, kind of selfish, personal happiness nor professional happiness that would lead to me being happy with that news, so instead of dwelling on this micro-issue, let me be grateful for the macro happiness that I have in the health and wellbeing of the people I love the most. And it almost always, and I mean always, works for me when I need to really push my own self into that mindset.
[6:46] Rachel: Do you have people you feel who help you keep that mindset, or to drop back into that practice? Because I feel like as human beings, we tend to drift the opposite way. We let those micro-things in our day-to-day kind of take over, and then we get stuck in that kind of energy of “nothing’s going my way, nothing’s working, everything’s hard.” Do you have that naturally or just…
Gary: I don’t have that…I don’t have that gear at all.
Gary: And I know it’s like, I always struggle talking about this because I’m aware that it’s the minority. But it’s my truth. I just…because I’m very accountable and I’m not entitled. When something’s not going my way, my mind goes into “what am I doing wrong?” And that doesn’t make me beat myself up, that actually makes me feel empowered that I can fix it. So…but to answer your question, I would say my mom and my best friend, Brandon, are two very optimistic, positive reinforcements. So I think you know, they’re…not that I need to rely on it, it’s more like maintenance than it is fixing. I think subconsciously when I need a little maintenance and don’t even realize, that I’m probably speaking to that more often.
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[9:24] Rachel: Do you have a daily practice just to take care of yourself, to stay in that space? Something you do every day? Or is it this overarching energy you just wake up with?
Gary: I think that’s right, I think that it’s every second, I think it’s my oxygen. I am within my mind at all times around this issue. It is that effective, it is that…it also isn’t a farce, like this has now been consistent for a very long…twenty, thirty years of like in this kind of state. I would argue as soon as I was done with school, which was a real negative framework for me, I’ve been basically in this place of gratitude that I get to do what I love and that I’m good at. And then that feeds all the other aspects of gratitude; profession, personal, things of that nature. I mean we spend so much time in our professions, that it’s…I think why I’ve zeroed in on trying to help people really debate how to make themselves happy.
Rachel: And it’s…this reminds me something that I…so my husband isn’t really a big social media guy, doesn’t really, you know, not so much out there in the world — he’s a Caribbean surfer dude — and he didn’t know so much about you. And we had a friend at the house, and he said, “you know, Dennis…” (Dennis is my husband) “…if you’re in the world of business, of entrepreneurship, if that’s your religion, then Gary is Jesus.” [laughs] and we has this kind of laugh of like, “man, that’s a really big statement to make,” and I feel like when we listen to you speak, you have a way of weaving in spirituality through gratitude in a way where you feel…sometimes it feels like you’re preaching when you’re speaking. Does it ever feel that way to you?
[10:59] Gary: It does a little bit, I think you’re right. And I think…I think I get…I love that, and I fear it. Meaning I love it because — without being deeply knowledgeable about spirituality and religion — it means some of these things are pretty tried and true and have lasted a long time, and are stories that people continue to tell. I fear it because I think the other part of me that makes me who I am within the entrepreneurial landscape, which is I’m pretty successful, is that I’m extremely practical and I’m an executor. And I worry that people think you can just “rah rah” motivate yourself to success. You know this: there’s a small subset of people who don’t necessarily love me, they think I’m too aggressive, and it’s because I’m suffocating excuses, you know. That, you know…I believe in accountability, which often comes at the conflict of spirituality or religion.
Rachel: Is that “it wasn’t my fault,” or “there’s a bigger force there, out there,” you mean in that sense?
[11:58] Gary: Yeah, or “God will take care of this for me, if I just keep praying.” [laughs] God’s not gonna execute your marketing plan, you know, like it’s a real thing. And I think it depends on one’s perspective, but I think like, that juxtaposition of very macro belief and tried-and-true principles with deep, deep micro execution and hard work and, you know, humility, really, I think is a formula that tends to bring success.
Rachel: And I think this is a good segue for me into this question, because this relates so much to the industry that I’m in, the yoga world, where there’s a lot of people out there who have taken something very, very personal and spiritual and sacred to them, wanting to take that passion, turn it into a business, get out there in the world and start teaching yoga. And something that I hear a lot is “I’m trying to manifest. I’m meditating, I’m practicing, I’m doing my yoga practice, I’m really in the zone with this, but how come I’m not growing? How come I’m not there scaling my business, what’s not working?” You know, “do I need to meditate a little harder?”
[13:06] Gary: This is what leads to a lot of things I talk about, which is how I got to things like patience. A lot of times when I’ve talked to friends about this, I’m like “so tell me about it,” and they’re like “well I’ve been doo doo doo doo.” I’m like “okay, and then….” So they’ve been doing it only for two and a half years, and they’re baffled why they aren’t making millions or on the top of their game. And I try to remind them that they’re like five seconds in, you know? I mean two and a half years is just not a very long period of time.
Rachel: And what about for people you think who are…because that also is true to some people who are grinding at the same thing, you know, for a really really really long time doing the best they can. Do you have any advice when it comes to having that up-leveling moment?
Gary: Yeah. I mean if you’ve been doing something for thirteen years very hard, to the best of your ability, and the results aren’t there, a) you have to fundamentally do it completely differently; b) there’s a high likelihood that you stink at it. Now, if you love yoga teaching, and your thought of success is like $500 000 a year, and you’re stuck at $87 000 and you’ve done it for thirteen years and I just said you stink at it, quote unquote, the reality is, if you’re happy because you love yoga teaching, and you’ve figured out how to live within the lifestyle of 87 thousand dollars and not amassed a lot of debt buying things to act like you’re successful, then you’ve actually won. But the market is the market; this is not me deciding. I don’t think you stink, the market told you for the last thirteen years that you stink.
[14:41] Rachel: [laughing] Yeah. I mean, it’s really true, and I think especially in the…in the yoga industry it’s especially true, also because it comes — teaching yoga, making a living in that field, comes along with a little bit of shame, I think, where I see that a lot in this world, where it’s almost like it’s shameful, we shouldn’t talk too much about wanting to make money, wanting to be abundant, wanting to get rich, wanting to really have everything we totally dream for.
Gary: That makes sense to me. I think, yeah, I think we tend to demonize the left or the right, the spiritual, the financial. It’s as if you can’t see the value in both. It’s really sad, and it’s led to a lot of the division in America and around the world. I just don’t understand why somebody can’t be purple, why do you have to be black and…why do you have to be blue and red? Why can’t you be entrepreneurial and spiritual?
Rachel: [laugh] I mean, this is like the eternal question I feel like in this…every person I have on this show who is in the wellness world has started out with that kind of “yeah, like it’s shameful,” or “you’re not supposed to make money, I think, when you start off teaching yoga,” people tell you. “But this is spiritual for you, you should do it for free.” And it’s led to this market or this industry where people aren’t making any money.
[15:54] Gary: My big thing when I hear that from people is like, “you do it for free. I’m not telling you how to live your life.”
Gary: “Don’t tell me how to live mine. Like if you’re supposed to teach yoga for free, you do that. Like don’t worry about me. This is my house: I’ll decorate it how I want. But I won’t judge yours.” And so, you know…I don’t know. It’s not super complicated. It’s so easy for people to…I think one of the least spiritual things is to cast judgement on others.
Rachel: Oh hell yeah. [laughs] And somehow that’s the most common thing, especially in that world, is that quasi-spiritualist thing of like “I’m more spiritual than you, so I’m not out there trying to make money,” you know.
Gary: And that’s what needs to…some of the content I talk about which is the ability not to listen. Both the pro and con. Don’t over get hyped when somebody’s like “oh, my God, you’re so amazing, you have a million dollar yoga teaching business. You’re the best!” Don’t take that in, because then, when somebody says “you’re a farce, this is supposed to be spiritual, you can’t be charging this,” you don’t hear that person either. And I think people are addicted to compliments, when then allows them to be crippled by people that have, you know, put judgement on them, or negative, and I think that’s something I think a lot about. I’ve really gotten…whether it was natural, it was parenting, it was environment, I just have not had the ability to think I’m special. And think about what you just said about earlier about that friend telling you…right? Like I…you hear…I mean, that’s an outlandish statement, and for some reason in my mind when I hear that, I take that as “I understand the perspective of that, and I’m so grateful that have the capabilities to even lead to one even saying something like that.” But I don’t jump into starting to get high on my own supply and believe it, in the same way that I don’t struggle with negative feedback, because I know that person has no context.
[17:47] Rachel: But it’s a hard thing to do I think, especially on social media. I think especially with young entrepreneurs or people who are out there trying to build a brand, build a business, getting a little bit of traction, and then suddenly you have negative feedback, because it kind of answers that question we’re asking ourselves all the time: “am I good enough?”
Gary: Yeah, but I would argue in a lot of ways the reverse. Most people have a father and mother that are the person that’s saying they can’t do it, and that carries more weight than a million anonymous people on a social network. I would argue that if you looked at the data, that there’s a lot more positive reinforcement happening in those comment sections than negative, but we tend to dwell on the negative, not get fuelled by the positive.
Rachel: I mean, especially if it’s already engrained, if we genuinely believe we’re not enough, we’re not going to make it, you know, we heard that our whole childhood, our whole life, then all it takes is one person telling us “yeah, you’re not going to make it,” or “this is fake, this is bad, and you’re gonna get totally stuck on that.” So, for me, we talk a lot about in the Yoga Girl community around therapy and healing those childhood wound, you know, changing that conversation. Is that something you’ve ever, you know, participated in? Kind of working through that old, sticky stuff?
[18:58] Gary: Of course. I’ve…I think I’m an entrepreneur disguised as a therapist…or vice versa. I think the reality is that I love all business mindset. I’ve spent an enormous amount of time trying to pick up context from my employees. I’m funny because I’m so not interested in prying into people’s personal life, but I’m deeply interested in that context because it helps me manage and lead them. So, yeah; something I think about every day. I mean, nature, nurture. This has been established long before I came along, and so I believe in it, and unlike big data, I’m good at synthesizing it, and creating observations from it. And I’m passionate about it.
Rachel: We get…it really shines through and I think that’s why it’s…I can listen to you speak about things that maybe I’m not actually all that interested in, like big picture picture things, but because you can relate to that, there’s something heartfelt about it that makes me go “yeah, yeah, I feel that,” even though I can’t relate to that situation, I feel that.
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[21:40] Rachel: I wanna ask you a personal question, or something that’s personal for me: so, I am…I’m just coming out on the other end of this, kind of a burnout — I don’t love identifying it or putting it in that box — but I’ve had a lot of years of working really, really fucking hard. Hard for my business, for my family, and I ended up de-prioritizing myself somehow along the way? Like I had a kid three years ago, everything became much more challenging, obviously with the baby and now a toddler. And I’ve started to slow down the past couple of months; really making those active decisions to prioritize downtime and rest and time spent at home, undisturbed and all of this. And of course, immediately I am also sensing a slowing down in the growth of my business, which drives me insane because I want to believe that there is some sort of reality out there where I can stay calm and peaceful and have all those things that I want, when it comes to taking care of myself, and still see some growth when it comes to my business. Do you think that that’s a possibility, or is it like having your cake and eating it too?
Gary: I think it’s a possibility if you hire well. You know, if they’re…I think it’s doing okay given the two. As you know, a business is like a child, and how much you put into it tends to be how much you get out of it. And so I just think it’s more about realizing that you’re making a choice that it’s better for you in the macro, and since you associate as an entrepreneur and it’s your art in some way, that’s a tough pill to swallow. But you’re choosing, for the betterment of your macro these alternatives; and that’s nice, and that’s good, and if you want to sustain growth, you’re going to have to quote unquote “be better” in the limited time, in the less time you put into it, or you’re gonna have to hire infrastructure that allows to scale as you try to find the balance.
[23:35] Rachel: Did you experience anything around that? I know you’re a did and your kids are older than my daughter, but have you had moments like that where you’ve really felt, “okay…” and then what did that look like?
Gary: It looked like me calibrating the fact of like, “I’m okay with this because I wanna come home Friday night,” or “I don’t work weekends anymore and that’s good.” Or, “I get this, but yes, my numbers at Wine Library will be down.” It’s just making choices and then trying to build up the people around me, you know, as with my content. I did my own content for seven years, and then I decided to hire people around it, because I wanted it to grow, and I didn’t have the bandwidth because Vayner Media was starting to grow. So, it’s very obvious. It’s about not making your identity the business growth, right? It can’t be your identity.
Rachel: Yeah, but it’s hard to not get totally swept up with, you know…like “it’s going so amazingly great, but I’m killing myself,” which, you know, equates: the time I put in is what I get in return as well, but I dunno….For me, it’s also redefining what success is, you know? Like I wanna be home with my kid and be a really good mom and not be burnt out, and have a thriving business.
[24:44] Gary: Now you’ve got it. And the thriving business should be redefined, and also when you put patience into it, when you put patience into it, it plays out in a totally different way. What’s great about entrepreneurship that’s different from being an athlete is you could be doing it in 17 years.
Rachel: [laughs] Yeah. Long-term thinking is not really my forte, [laughs] but yeah, no, I get you.
Gary: But like think about it, it’s really powerful, right? Like in 17 years, your three year old’s not going to be around you every day.
Rachel: Yeah, that’s true, that’s true. It goes by fast, people keep telling me that. “She’s three, so it’s still, like the days are still very long, and the nights as well.” But how is…how is fatherhood for you right now? Do your kids have an interest in this world of yours as well?
Gary: Yes, I mean like yes and no. My daughter’s not an entrepreneur from what I can tell; she’s ten, I feel comfortable saying that. She’s also an all-time good student, so that’s interesting because that’s super weird for me.
Gary: But she loves content and she’s very creative. And my little guy is very into sports cards and going to the show and shows those tendencies so it’s been very good and rewarding and something that I love quite a bit, as you probably know and can tell, I’m comfortably private in my actual personal life because how much content and how prolific I am in communicating the other parts of my career, and so it’s wildly enjoyable. My family is my world, that is my infrastructure. People get a whole lot of me on the business, entrepreneurial and personal brand stuff, at home not a lot of me on the personal side and that’s how I like it, that’s what’s sustainable and kind of like works for me.
[26:30] Rachel: And I like how we can find our own, you know, really the day to day of what works for that. For me, I think it’s kind of the other way around because I’ve been slightly — I’m realizing this now — I’ve been slightly uncomfortable taking on the role of “hey, I’m really working to scale my business and I want to talk about how I do that in this world,” because it’s been a challenging conversation for me. But in terms of social media, like I share more of the personal, day-to-day, motherhood, yoga, all of this; do you think authenticity is the way to go on social media always, or the combination of strategy and authenticity?
Gary: Always authenticity. I mean strategy…the strategy should be authentic. Anything that isn’t actually true, or is embellished, is inherently vulnerable. Like, fake it until you make it is only going to trick losers, so, yeah, it’s the only strategy. That’s why I don’t talk about a lot of things, you know? If you really look at it, like I don’t wanna…people start talking about things they don’t know about because they think it’s a strategy for social media, that’s crazy.
[27:33] Rachel: Yeah, but what about that, you know, just scrolling through Instagram you see…I mean there’s so many people out there putting on, you know, like sharing the really good-looking body stuff, or the PhotoShop photos, or the “look at me and my perfect life” and you can kind of sense that the authenticity isn’t fully there, but then still it’s where people gravitate a lot. Do you have any advice for people…a lot of people ask that, for this show.
Gary: Just a bunch of likes and a bunch of followers does not mean happiness or business success. And until people realize that, they’ll continue to be tricked by this question.
Rachel: So how can we help them along there? Because I feel like that’s such a big, big thing right now.
Gary: By answering the question in the way I just did when you asked it. And by allocating our busy time for things like this, right? We just did. Which is what’s so powerful, it’s what keeps me motivated is the fact that the majority of people don’t execute on the things I talk about; is that I know one person right now just heard that and actually changed their relationship with social media.
Rachel: I mean, I think that’s true. It was one of the most-asked questions, “where should I be focussing my energy? Should I do this, should I do that?” I think…
Gary: If we want to get tactical since we’ve been very high level, look: TikTok is an underpriced platform, LinkedIn is an underpriced platform, and what I mean by that is you can post on there, spend no media dollars and get organic reach without having an audience, and that is very powerful for the far majority of the people that are listening.
Rachel: Totally. A hundred, hundred percent.
Gary: Like, people hit me up all the time, they’re like “Gary,” they’re like “Gary, this stinks. Instagram used to be so good, like I was on there and like now everyone’s copied me,” and I always reply, I’m like “first of all, you copied someone else. Second of all: like that’s called supply and demand, like kudos to you that you got on Instagram early enough that it brought you value, just like the person before you did that on Facebook, and the person before you did that on MySpace.” Like Tila Tequila was the Instagram girl long before Instagram existed, she did it on MySpace, like that’s what always happens. And like I’m sorry that now you have to compete with more people…you have to compete with more people now. And if you’re not the best at that competition, you don’t deserve to get the brand deal, or the sell your subscription product. It’s called real life.
[29:46] Rachel: So you think it’s safe to say people are sometimes just a little bit too full of themselves? [laughs]
Gary: I think people get caught in a micro-moment and think that they are owed something. I’m really happy that you won for 18 months on Instagram, but then when it’s not working as well, they blame the algorithm instead of the fact they aren’t putting out anything new or interesting.
Rachel: And still it’s like the number one most talked about thing right now is “how do we change this, how do we get back to what it was?” And it’s just…yeah, it’s not the same, and it’s going to continue to change.
Gary: It will never go back to where it was, and it shouldn’t. Instagram’s free. Instagram’s free. They shouldn’t be in…it shouldn’t be, that’s what happens. If that’s the case, can I go back to 19…can I go back 1880 and buy up New York City?
Gary: Like it’s so laughable, “Instagram should go back to where it was six years ago for you so what? You can make more making money off it without paying for it?” Like, what are we talking about here? The level of entitlement is audacious.
Rachel: So where do you think we’re going, you know? What do you project in this online world, world of social media? Like five, ten years from now, where are we gonna be?
Gary: That I never know. I know where we’re at now, and I know what’s emerging kind of in the short-term. I think audio is a very interesting space; if people don’t have podcasts, they should highly consider it. Audio, ads, Spotify has got some great products coming soon, Alexa, Google Home will be at scale with technology at scale, those devices will be interesting. I mean, I can’t imagine being in the yoga business and not being full-fledged on TikTok right now. It is completely winning on an everyday basis and growing in early twenty-year olds that…which is an extremely interesting target for your world. And you know, if you’re not making 3 pieces of content on TikTok every day, and you’re spending that time and energy complaining about Instagram, you deserve to lose.
[31:35] Rachel: And what about for people who aren’t in this world in that sense, you know? The regular day-to-day, say a yoga teacher for instance, who’s just grinding, teaching classes, super passionate, great at what they do, and they don’t want to have that kind of online presence, what kind of advice do you have for that type of entrepreneur?
Gary: Great, I mean kudos to you. Recognize that you’re vulnerable as the world continues to go into that world, and somebody in your local town might start a profile and steal all your clients; know that that could happen. But if you don’t want to do it because you don’t like it, like that’s nice. I’m fine with that, as long as you respect the vulnerability. Like this is how the world’s moving. Don’t forget that your practice of yoga and teaching that took away from some gym that sells treadmills, so if somebody comes along and builds a huge local profile on Facebook and Instagram and starts taking your clients, don’t be mad at the advancements of technology for the way that the consumer has shifted; forty years ago, nobody went to yoga classes.
Rachel: Right, and now it’s a…it’s an 80 billion dollar industry globally. And that leads me to my next question, because there’s so many people who are living that grind. I don’t know how much you know about the business of teaching yoga, but it is a massive business, 80 billion dollar business worldwide, and teaching yoga, you make maybe 20, 30, maybe 40 bucks a class if you’re lucky. From the way I look at it is that there’s a model in the yoga world that isn’t sustainable because it’s never going to pay off to just teach yoga, you know, every yoga teacher has a side job. Do you have any words of wisdom for the people who are, you know, looking to totally make this their passion knowing that they have entered a field that’s super challenging to, yeah, become abundant from.
[33:23] Gary: Well, I think happiness needs to be the R.O.I. It just has to be. And so if this is the thing that makes you happiest in the world, maybe you’e not destined to make $680 000 a year, and that is super okay. If you want to make $680 000 a year and it’s what you love, well then you need to be the best of the, you know, 8 billion teachers in the world, that’s how the economics of life works. And if you’re more focussed on $700 000 a year than you are on the thing that makes you the happiest, well then yoga teaching can be your side hustle and your occasional thing, go do something else that has more earning power. That’s a really practical…you know, that’s a practical answer to all three. All three, those are your three options.
Rachel: Yeah, they are, they are.
Gary: You know like, “Gary, that’s not fair, I love this and I should be able to make money.” I’m like “good news, you can: I promise, you the top 1000 yoga teachers in the world, financially, are making a lot of money.”
Rachel: Yeah, they are. And you know, taking yoga teacher training, it’s thousands of dollars and then it’s kind of selling this big dream of you know, “pursue your passion, go do this, go change the world through yoga.” But then, you have a yoga studio, you can fit like 30 people in there, people pay ten bucks a class…it’s not a sustainable model.
Gary: No, but as you know, as you know, maybe not the most popular character in the yoga world, but then a gentleman came around and created a version of a yoga and built a brand around it. You know, it’s not the consumer’s fault that there’s so many yoga teachers that the price of a yoga class is ten bucks. It’s not their fault. It’s called supply and demand.
[34:54] Rachel: Right. But say you want to take a step in the direction of trying to change that, because I’m passionate about that. I lead yoga teacher trainings, I want my students to be able to go out there and not have such a hard time.
Gary: They have to have a unique value prop. Maybe play better music during class, or no music at all. Maybe it’s cold instead of hot…you have to innovate. If you’re just going to be like “come to my studio and have a yoga class,” there’s eight fucking trillion people that do that, it’s ten bucks.
Rachel: [laughing] Yeah. Yeah, you’re hitting the nail on the head but…
Gary: Nobody feels bad for McDonalds that their burger’s a dollar because there’s also Burger King and Wendy’s. Like my big thing when it comes to business talk is “listen: the market’s the market. You know, like yoga used to be more expensive when there was less studios, I mean that’s just the way it is. I promise you this: if one company controlled all the water in the world, and bottled water and controlled it, it would be a lot more expensive than a buck. If you signed up to do business, you can’t cry about business.
Rachel: No, true that. Okay, I have one more personal question for you. So I am in a place right now where I grew my tiny little business from like, you know, kitchen. We have a team of 30 people now and we’ve never taken a loan, never had an investor, and I’m in a place where I’m wondering is there a moment when you know it’s the right time to look for an investment to exponentially scale the business? Or is it something that just needs to be strategized and you have to just make it work somehow? I’m kind of waiting for the sign that it’s the time.
Gary: Yeah, I think that it’s a personal decision. I think that people are romanticizing it too much. I think the second you think “investment” is a bad day, not a good day. I try, I try and tell…when I hear “home-grown, 30 employees, no funding,” I always ask them “why not bank loan?” Because you know, it’s out of fashion, but if you’re using capital to grow quicker, you could do it this source of a loan and not give up any of your business. So, you know? Don’t put “raising capital” on a pedestal.
[36:55] Rachel: Okay, that’s good advice. Yeah, I think we have. [laughs]
Gary: You know? Yeah, people feel like it’s some sort of thing you graduate into, it usually leads to some of…I mean the amount of… I literally have had two dinners in the last week where the person said the worst decision they ever made was raising capital.
Rachel: Hey, if there’s anything we can do for you right now, everybody listening, something that we can do to enrich your day, what would that be?
Gary: Just say hello. You know, all over the place, not hard to find. Just say hello would be awesome. Tell me how you liked the interview; I love feedback, so.
Rachel: Thank you so much Gary, thank you. So grateful for you, thank you.
Gary: Thank you, bye.
[End of Episode]