What can a former FDA Special Agent teach us about America?
With big corporations and big government steamrolling small-town businesses and mom and pop shops, it’s time to ask ourselves what we want the future of humanity to look like.
Returning to the show today to help us out is my friend Gary Collins, bestselling author of The Simple Life book series and host of Your Better Life Podcast.
Gary’s professional background includes working in military intelligence and as a special agent for the U.S. State Department Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Today’s show with Gary might be a little bit spicy. You’re about to hear…
- Why it’s a surprisingly good time to start your own business
- How to dramatically turn down your expenses and live on less
- 3 things you can do to reclaim your freedom
- How Gary started a recession-proof business
- Why you don’t want to become a unicorn start-up
- Why we should stop competing and help each other instead
- And tons more…
Let’s go hang out with Gary.
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Gary Collins: How To Recession-Proof Your Business
Abel: Alright folks, returning to the show this week is my friend Gary Collins.
Gary has a unique and fascinating background in military intelligence- special agent for the US State Department Diplomatic Security Service, US Department of Health and Human Services and US Food and Drug Administration.
We’ve been friends and collaborators for coming up on 10 years now, which neither of us can believe.
These days Gary teaches people like you and me how to break free of conventional wisdom to practice true health freedom and self-reliance.
Gary, thanks so much for coming back on man.
Oh, glad to be back on and you were on my show recently and people have loved our podcast and our rants.
Abel: It was a good one, man. We went deep.
We did. Dude, we went deep.
Abel: Like, three hours of just venting, the two of us about all the crap is going down right now.
I don’t know about you but I felt really good afterwards.
I ended up getting a lot of stuff off my chest and it reinvigorated me to let it fly.
Remember when we first started out? I pissed a lot of people off.
Abel: Yeah, you did.
Because I called a lot of people out. And I won’t say I was ahead of my time because now I have defined them as false prophets.
I define them in my books, and I call it following the people you should not be following because they have no experience and they don’t have you in mind.
It’s a widget in, widget out. They’re just looking at you as a widget.
And back then, social media was creating quite a storm and through time and the trolling and just, it got nasty.
And I just said, “I’m out.”
And kinda left. Even pushed me out of the natural health world a bit because I got sick of it.
I was like, “Guys, I’m a former investigator. You’re not going to out wit me, dumbass.”
And they would just play these games. And a guy tried using an alias on Twitter and was calling me all kinds of names.
I go, “Dude, I know who you are. I know exactly who you are.”
And all a sudden it went quiet.
And now people, it’s funny 10 years later they’re all, “No Gary, we want you to rant. We want you to tell it to us direct.”
And I don’t call people out by name, anymore. That’s usually not a good idea. Unless it’s someone big like Bill Gates, or you know.
Abel: Sure, unless it’s the billionaires who could truly ruin us.
Yeah, who could literally make me disappear. It’s one of those, it’s funny how it’s come full circle now.
Now they’re like, “No, I want you to be direct.”
And so I’ve just kind of let the handcuffs off and I’m saying, either you’re in or you’re out.
If you don’t like it, go away.
Abel: The stakes have been raised and I think people are realizing that it’s not a time for a bunch of cupcakes and snowflakes.
We don’t want to follow the people who are just butt models on Instagram with 5 million followers, even if they have all been propped up.
And that’s what the internet and social media has become.
We want the people who have been through some stuff, who have been run over by a truck a few times, who have some knowledge to share and some wisdom.
Because I think people are starting to realize that we’re not getting out of this.
That we’re going to have to build the next system with our own hands and fingers and minds and spirits.
We can’t rely on any of the top down interest to serve us at all, ever again, is where I’m standing, anyway.
Well, there’s a couple things there. It’s the typical “too much success.” You know, the way of Rome. We’ve always heard that, right?
You get to a point that everyone becomes so soft and gooey. And all the trials and tribulations and suffering are kind of over, but what’s happened is it’s all rushed back a bit.
This is a weird one, right? Because we’re in a situation where it’s a perfect storm.
Election year—a very different president, very different. Yeah, I didn’t vote for either. I have no skin in the game.
I didn’t vote for either one of the knuckleheads.
And the media, this integration of the media and the wheels falling off social media.
The richest people in the world who created social media as a platform to better our lives—but as I’ve explained, it’s nothing but to mine your data.
These guys went to schools where they learned, they were basically spreadsheet geeks, they were data geeks, that’s what their education was in.
You think they didn’t think that through before they launched their platforms?
Super Smart or Sociopath?
Abel: I was listening to a recent episode of your podcast, Gary, and you talked about how there are a lot of people out there who seem really smart and they’re rewarded for being super smart, but they’re actually just sociopaths with no moral compass whatsoever.
And so people look up to them, just thinking, “Oh, he got there because he’s super smart and thought of all these things that I would never think of.”
But no, he thought of those things because he’s a sociopath, because he has no ethics.
These are things that, we would never even come close to crossing any of those lines.
Because the way the sausage is made, especially when you’re talking about billionaires, is ugly.
These people need to be out of the spotlight. They are unelected, they have no right.These people need to be out of the spotlight. They are unelected. Click To Tweet
One of the most dangerous things I see is these giant billionaires and companies starting to be a socially righteous, starting to dictate, “Oh! You’re a bad person for eating dairy products.”
Or if you believe X or if you’re not sustainable and follow the party line and tow the line, whatever that word means, then you’re a bad person.
It’s like, I don’t need Coca Cola to tell me how to be a good person. Thank you very much.
Well and the irony of that is—I’ll use an example, the Oprah Winfrey effect, right?
She’s the one telling you to be healthy and to do the right thing, and to be honest with you, she’s unhealthy, has been unhealthy.
She’s one of the richest women in the world and she follows her stuff, kind of, when she needs to promote something.
Or the Al Gore effect of, “Oh, I’m a greeny. I’m a big environmental-conscious guy. I live in a 50-bazillion-square-foot house that drains more energy than LA County.”
And it’s that stuff. The hypocrites. And I’m not picking on anyone. Those tend to trend more liberal, but everyone knows, I get pigeonholed. I am not a Republican, people.
I am not. I don’t pick teams. I’m a middle-of-the-road.
If you’re going to categorize me, you can categorize me as a libertarian.
But I don’t even belong to their team and they get aggravated with me on that one, too, because I have a lot of libertarian friends.
I just consider myself a person who takes in the information and makes a rational decision and comes to my own conclusion off that information.
Abel: But those people who have no identity, they have nothing to rally around, they have no PR departments and commercials for them.
Because if you’re not willing to just identify with something—whether it’s red or blue, both wings of the same bird to me.
And if you’re trying to identify with food, either it’s like really carnivore and you’re never going to touch any plants, or really vegan and you’re never going to touch any animals whatsoever.
Because if either of you do, you’re either a hypocrite or an omnivore.
It’s like these words and these identities are not helping us anymore, but these things that you believe in.
We don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, obviously, and the world would be a terrible place if we did.
But we believe in a few very important things, most notably our own self-reliance and freedom.
And that we should have the rights to clean water, air that we can breathe.We should have the rights to clean water and air that we can breathe. Click To Tweet
To not be terrorized by corporations or governments and all of these other things. We’re willing to fight for this.
But anyway, we could rant about that for a while.
If you’re interested in hearing us rant, we’ve got three hours of it over on Gary’s podcast.
So definitely check that out.
The Backyard Gym & Health As We Age
But Gary, before we started recording here today, you were talking, maybe even complaining a little bit about how it sucks to get old.
So, tell us about that.
Yeah. Getting older is rough and I take pretty darn good care of myself, I try my best but I’m also a type A, so I tend to wear myself out a lot.
Right now, when I’m up at my property, I have 50 acres off the grid in Northeast Washington in the mountains.
And anyone who lives this lifestyle knows there’s always something to do.
There’s always something to fix. There’s always something to build.
There’s always something going on with that.
So I work half the day. I worked out already. My gym’s behind me, you can’t probably see it.
There’s my pull-up bar and dip and then I got some weights and stuff, but my gym is outside.
It’s doing my task, working, taking down trees, cutting firewood, building structures, all that stuff. Digging holes, like we talked about.
Abel: By the way, for people who haven’t done that, that’s work. That’s real work.
You’re going to feel that way more than a workout most times.
Yeah and you have to balance it. When I was young, I lived this lifestyle.
I grew up in the middle of nowhere. That’s where I learned to dig holes. That’s what I got paid to do as a young kid, dig holes.
I worked on ranches, I worked in restaurants, hotels. All in small, little towns.
Abel: And you’re still digging yourself into holes constantly. I see it all the time on Twitter.
I’m still doing it. Yeah.
And it’s just the way it is. And with aging, what I’ve realized is you have to be careful.
I caught myself doing that for a week straight of 12-hour days, and people go, “Why would you do that”?
I go, “Because I liked it.” It wasn’t that I was not enjoying it.
I’d work half the day on my business, what I do with The Simple Life, then I would go outside and I would go do projects till it got dark.
And you forget, because you enjoy it so much.
And I’m very task-oriented. I don’t like leaving hanging chads, shall we say. I like to finish things.
I don’t just build something partway and then walk away and it’s there 10 years later, parked. I finish it.
I start a project, I finish it.
And so I had to kind of gauge, I turn 50 here pretty quick. I won’t give the exact timeframe so people can steal my identity.
Used to do that stuff with the government, so I know. Be careful what you share.
And the last couple of years, it’s starting to catch up to me.
It was like all of a sudden I went, “Oh God, this is different.”
The recovery time, it takes longer.
Shorter workouts, not lifting as heavy. All that stuff, just balancing everything and adapting to this aging process.Shorter workouts, not lifting as heavy. All that stuff, just balancing everything and adapting to this aging process. @SimpleLifeNow Click To Tweet
Every cell in your body has about 50 cell divisions in it and that’s it.
That’s our life span and the closer you get to that 50, it’s just harder to do things.
And there’s a good song—I’m a big Rush fan—called “Losing It”.
Neil Peart passed away this year, big fan, really bummed me out. He died of brain cancer.
By the way, inspirational book, read his book, “Ghost Rider.”
He also lost his daughter and his wife in 12 months in a tragic cancer and car accident, and then he dies of brain cancer.
Just a phenomenal human being, and he has a song that he did called “Losing It” in the early ’80s on Signals, and it talks about this.
About aging and not being able to do the things that you can’t do but that doesn’t mean you give up, you adapt.
So I know that as a writer, which I’ve been working on for a decade, I sucked when I started.
I still think I suck and some people will acknowledge they think I suck too, that’s fine.
But I know that’s something that I can do long-term as a business model, and that’s part about being an entrepreneur and being able to adapt.
I’m not going to be able to do the physical things and all these things for life, so probably not a good idea to focus on things that I cannot do or that age is going to affect drastically, right?
So, I’m adapting the business on that end, too, getting more into anti-aging.
I’ve been trying to find a really good anti-aging clinic to work with.
Being a former FDA special agent, they tend to shy away from me, but I’m interested in it.
I think the stem cell research and some of these regenerative kind of experiments that are going on, I’m interested.
I want to know, and so I’m getting more into that as I get older. But yeah, it’s not bad.
Abel: How has your recovery changed? Or what was the price that you paid for all those really long days in a row of pushing it?
A lot of joint pain. That’s where you’ll notice it.
Tendonitis starts to flare up. I’ve got tennis elbow, both elbows now and my right knee.
Abel: Just from overworking, like tasks around the house?
Not only that but outside, yeah.
It’s repetitive, too. Because growing up as an athlete—I started playing athletics when I was seven.
You know, I’ve rode bikes all my life; BMX, road bikes, mountain bikes, you know all the sports, lifting.
It takes a toll. But I would say I’m far better for it than if I did not do it. If that makes sense?
I don’t think my aches and pains are unique to any 50-year-old and mine will go away.
If I take a couple of days off, I’m fine. All of it goes back.
But the problem is, is the mind still wants to perform. Like Michael Jordan said, “the mind is still sharp.”
I can still play the game in my head, my body just can’t do it.
So, that’s that balance of where I get outside and I look at a project and I go, “Oh, I can do that, no problem.”
Halfway through and I’m like, “Oh jeez! I better come up with a different plan because I’m hurting.”
The way I do it too is I balance tasks.
One day I’ll work on one thing, the next day I’ll work on something else and I break things up, and don’t do 10 hour days of hard labor.
I can’t do it. I can, but I’ll pay for it.
Abel: Yeah. One thing I’ve been thinking of, and I am sure I’m not unique.
I’m 35 now. I’m almost as close to being a teenager as I am to being 50, right?
So, I still kind of remember what it was like being a teenager, and at least for me, I was hurting all the time.
I had Osgood-Schlatter syndrome in my knees that for years kind of plagued me.
It made it really painful even to walk, let alone jump. And being a runner, that was really painful.
Shin splints, you know, things growing in different ways. I was kind of top-heavy.
Shin splints constantly got me. I would get tendonitis all the time and I would get sick all the time, too.
So, I think there is this temptation that I’ve seen in people that I’ve coached and worked with and learned from, like you, Gary, who are a little farther ahead of me.
You want to think that when you’re young, everything was cool and everything worked right and you were strong and you could go forever.
But it’s like, being a teenager sucked. You also had hormones to deal with and you had no freedom.
I mean, we have no freedom anymore as adults but, like, you know what I mean?
And so I do kind of remember what it was like for that to suck.
So, you never reach that threshold of just total cruise mode, everything in your body is working.
So, I think it’s also important to appreciate that, there are ups and downs but you have to always be ready to adapt.
It’s weird because we did grow up in different time frames.
I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, and for us who grew up in that way, we’re not just old folks reminiscing.
Remember, we came out of the counterculture of the ’60s. The Vietnam war, all these things happened.
So, we were flowing. The ’70s was kind of that freedom. There was a lot of freedom in the 70s.
A lot of stuff going wrong too, don’t get me wrong.
But as a kid, there were no cell phones, there was no way to track us.As a kid, there were no cell phones, there was no way to track us. @SimpleLifeNow Click To Tweet
There was no internet, there were no computers.
I grew up in the ’70s, the technology was pretty much the same technology that my parents grew up with.
There wasn’t a huge gap in technology at that point, but what it taught me is the outdoors and being outdoors all the time.
There was no sunscreen. So I remember, there’s pictures, my nose, the whole tip of my nose is just completely gone. Just peeled completely off.
Abel: Yeah, I’ve had that.
And you know, building forts and jumping my bike as far as I could possibly jump it off a home-made ramp out of scraps in the backyard, wrecking, breaking bones.
And not only that, but playing sports in a small town.
I played football, basketball and baseball and also did other things in between. We had no gaps.
I went from sport, to sport, to sport during the entire school year and we had football practice started in the summer.
So, what all those sports taught me is—I never was pain free, ever, in high school.
I had sprained ankles, monkey bumps, if anyone remembers those playing football. They’d be these huge welts you would get from getting hit with helmets and shoulder pads.
And so I think what that did is, now it built my threshold for pain.
And I was unhealthy. Terribly unhealthy because we ate Velveeta sandwiches, Kool-Aid, you name it, man.
Just junk food galore. And so we did all these real athletic activities, but we were skinny.
I look at high school pictures and middle school pictures, we were rail thin.
All of us because we were active all the time, but that’s what happens is you start to realize that.
It’s not that you’re a stud or a badass. You’ve just endured.
I endured a lot of pain early on and so I think my threshold of pain… You got to be careful with that, because I can endure it.
I can push through it. But when you get older, you realize that’s not such a good idea.
It’s teaching me how to throttle back. How to take the foot off the gas pedal, which for a guy.
If you couldn’t tell, I’m a Type A. I’m on. When I’m on, I’m on and it’s get it done.
Don’t whine about it, don’t complain, just get it done.Don't whine about it, don't complain, just get it done. @SimpleLifeNow Click To Tweet
And it’s that balance because that can actually do harm at a certain point, and that’s what I’m having to learn is how to throttle back.
Abel: And one way you can do that is by pointing your energy at something else that’s kind of completely different.
Ar at least, physically completely different, right?
So if you’re going really hard on workouts for a while then you can switch to painting landscapes, or writing something, or playing music.
That’s what I try to do and I hope and I do believe that all these different worlds and modalities start to inform each other.
And you start to get better at the other thing because you learned about this one.
I think a lot of people listening right now, especially if they’re familiar with your work, are entrepreneurial minded.
Let me just tell you guys, everyone I’ve talked to, it doesn’t matter if you’re multi-millionaires or hundred-millionaires or if you’re totally broke, everyone seems to be hurting right now and their businesses are hurting, too.
Well there’s a couple that aren’t hurting.
Abel: Well of course, yes.
Yeah, Walmart and Amazon.
Abel: I’m talking about the little guys and the small businesses, mostly.
Oh, big time.
Building Businesses That Serve Others
Abel: The big corporations will always print their own money; hopefully, not forever.
But what the little guy has to do is constantly adapt and there are a lot of people out there who no longer serve the beast. Or get their money from something that’s meaningless or whatever.
They’re really desperate and looking for something with meaning, something with purpose.
And I know that one thing that you’re really into and have been into for a long time is helping entrepreneurs build businesses that serve others.
And I think this is the thing that keeps you going in life. You need meaning, purpose, and that comes from serving others.You need meaning, purpose, and that comes from serving others. Click To Tweet
Whether it’s making them sandwiches or breakfast, teaching them nutrition, writing books, teaching entrepreneurs how to be entrepreneurs or whatever else.
It doesn’t matter what business it is, we need the little guys to help build, hopefully, the more Utopian world that’s coming instead of dystopian.
Gary, how can those people who might be having a hard time trying to build something right now, what do you have to say to them?
I want to give them a real positive note.
In my lifetime, I think there’s no better time than now to start and run a successful business. We have all the tools necessary.There's no better time than now to start and run a successful business. Click To Tweet
I started mine 10 years ago after I left the government.
I built this whole thing to run remotely and I’ve had a lot of people ask me how the heck I did this.
And I go, “A lot of work.”
Because what I did, I sacrificed.
Abel: Yeah, and it was harder back then, let’s say that too. Oh man.
Yeah, it was way harder back then, but today we have a glut of multiple jobs, especially in the blue-color.
We can’t find enough blue-collar workers and people begrudge that. I don’t…
I grew up blue-collar. That’s what I’ve learned, that’s how I cut my teeth in the working world is I did manual labor and it sucks, it teaches…
You don’t want to do it your whole life but there’s nothing wrong with you running, doing the manual labor, you’ve got to do your time, you’ve got to…
And everyone wants to skip the hard part. The 10,000 hour…
You’re not an expert, you’re not good at anything ’til you have 10,000 hours of doing it.
Not reading about it, not getting on YouTube and watching YouTube videos; doing it.
You have to do it for 10,000 hours.
So, if you’re going to create a plumbing company, you better learn how to be a good plumber at least for 10,000 hours. You doing it.
Abel: That’s a good point.
There’s a glut in… Plumbers, electricians, heavy equipment operators, welding, diesel mechanics, mechanics.
People, these jobs are six-figure jobs. Heavy equipment operators, big heavy equipment operators.
I know a couple make $200,000 to $300,000 a year and they’re not working 80 hours a week.
They work 40 hours a week. It’s in such demand. If you are motivated and people, like I said, have let the soft edges off.
I flat out say this, we live in the most prosperous, freest country in the world.
We have a lot of problems, don’t get me wrong.
We’re losing those freedoms because we’re allowing them and we can talk about that, too.
It’s us allowing those freedoms to be willingly taken, but you can do anything in this country, still.
If you have a good work ethic, an attitude to learn and to persevere, you can be very successful in this country.
I challenge everyone in my financial freedom book that every American has the potential to be a millionaire.
Because we earn and spend millions over our lifetime and I did it all by math to prove my point.
Abel: For sure. Yeah.
It’s funny. I have people read that book and go, “Oh, my God! Someone should have written this book a long time ago.”
And then other people, I can tell I offend them because it calls them out and they can’t argue against it because I did it all with math.
Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. You don’t need any special training.
These are all the skills you have by second, third grade to do.
We all have it and I think some people, it opened up a little bit of that ugly box of going, “Oh! I can’t make excuses. He just basically scratched all my excuses out.”
So with that, if you’re discouraged right now, you’ve lost your job, your company is going down… ”
I also teach, you need to have a year of money to survive personally.
And your business needs to have a year of money to pay all of it’s bills, period, for a year.
If you do that, you can weather almost any storm.
And if it goes beyond that and things crumble, well there’s a whole lot of other problems going on, you’re not the only one.
But most recessions, most downturns, don’t last that long.
And if you integrate yourself properly to where you’re providing a service that people need, not want.
There’s a difference between want and need. I want a Ferrari. I don’t need a Ferrari, so I don’t have one.
I’ve learned to go after the things I need and by doing that, you basically create a recession-proof business.
Yeah, you’ll have a slowdown. Here’s the thing people, I’m not bragging; my business is doing just fine.
My life has barely changed an iota because I knew this was coming. I’m not a prophet. I worked in the government.
You just heard my… Been there. I saw it coming. I could smell it coming.
I’ve been around the most powerful people in the world. I did protection. They’re criminals, most of them.
They want to control you. They want to take your money and they want to control you.
So I went, “Well, I’ve got to create a business that is recession-proof, that I can work remotely, that I can live the life I want.”
Now, was it easy? Nope, it’s very hard.
I’ve done it for a decade but I started a side business a decade before that.
I’ve been technically an entrepreneur for 20 years but it’s not too late.
Like I said, I didn’t have all the tools 20 years ago that we have today.
You can literally start your own business within a week.
I mean, really, you can build your own website, you can put a plug-in to start ticking e-commerce, get money going.
But people need to realize that the best way is to provide a service. What is a service that someone needs?
And then off of that is not to be a widget. My business, people look at it and they go, “Yeah, he writes books.”
But my covers are done differently. In writing, you’re told genre-specific covers.
If you want to sell books, your cover needs to fit that genre and I said “No, I’m going to create my own covers.”
I’m going to go totally against that because I don’t want to be another widget.
And it’s a risky business move but you have to appreciate yourself because you are the business.If you look like every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, how are you going to rise above the crowd? @SimpleLifeNow Click To Tweet
And you have to provide a really good service.
A lot of people start their own business, and what they do is they take their water cooler attitude that they had with their employer and they turn that into their entrepreneur role.
They take all these bad habits and they continue them as an entrepreneur.
You have to be a cut above as an entrepreneur. Not just one cut, several cuts.
You have to do it better than everyone else. You have to do it better than the company you worked for.
My competition, the way I look at it, is Amazon, and people go “Boy Gary, you’re pretty cocky.”
No. That’s who I’m competing against. If I can’t provide a better service or something very close to Amazon, I’m screwed.
I have to figure out a way to make people want to come to me instead of buying from Walmart, Amazon, the big-box stores.
That’s my competition. These companies are massive, massive, massive, massive.
We’ve never seen companies like these ever, I don’t think, except for the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
With, oh gosh, I’m trying to think of all of them now. Fords…
Abel: Steel and Railroads and Oil…
Steel and Railroads. Yeah, Carnegies all… We haven’t seen anything like that till now but that doesn’t mean…
I don’t want people to be discouraged. You can do it.
Now the best time to start though is desperation.
Because desperation makes you do very unethical things because you have to feed yourself and your family.
I’ve seen it. I used to investigate white collars. You want to make sure you do it.
Luckily, like I said, I’m not an all knowing person.
I just saw how criminals and a lot of white collar criminals are in a gray area, we called that “in the law.”
They were doing things that were unethical but technically sometimes not illegal.
And it got weird and when I investigated them, I would always go, “Once you cross that line, you’re done.”
My attitude was never to cross that line. Stay on the other side of the line.
It’s a lot harder, takes a lot longer, but guess what guys?
I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m not looking over my shoulder. I’m not trying to force people to buy my products.
I’m not twisting arms, I’m not selling bullsh*t, I’m not playing any games. It’s, if you want it, you want it.
I provided something that you need, again not something you want. I want both.
You want a balance between both of them.
So, you want to make sure you start this side business on the side, ease your way into it.
That means you’re probably going to have to keep your job for a couple of years at least.
On average, it’s three to five years before an entrepreneurial endeavour shakes itself out.
Far as if you know, it’s going to succeed or not, and also realize that about nine out of 10 small businesses will fail and most of them fail because they do it incorrectly, unprepared and they finance things.
My role with my business was I never financed anything. I never had investors, I never owed anyone any money. That was the rule.
It allowed me a lot more flexibility, but what I did is, it slowed my growth down but I wasn’t looking to be an Amazon.
I can’t run 10 years, billions of dollar losses to take over a market. I can’t do that.
No, and would I ever want to do that? Like you said, that’s the attitude of a sociopath.
They’re playing by different rules. I don’t play by those rules.
Those are rules that 99.99% of Americans can’t play by.
It makes them look smart. They’re not smart, they’re just, be honest, not very good people. They’re just not.
Abel: They’re corrupt and people like that, as soon as they… And opportunistic.
As soon as they see that little thing that can give them some amount of advance in power or wealth or whatever they’re after right then, they’ll grab at it.
And people who are doing that will step up the ladder, and you bump up into the ladder then.
Or we’ll crash heads along the way.
Abel: It gets ugly, but anyway, you can do this without giving up any of that.
What you do need to do is dramatically turn down your expenses and be willing to live on less.
And that’s something that, from a lifestyle perspective, it doesn’t seem appealing right away.
But it’s such a magnificent education and I’ll just share something that I gave to, an experience I shared with one of the people I’m coaching right now.
That sometimes when you’re trying to make all of this work as an entrepreneur, you want to get help, you need help, you can’t do all of this yourself.
I started doing this all myself and I think you did as well. Blogging, the technological stuff, writing the books, the covers, all of it.
And I had someone saying, “Well, you’ve had a team to help you for a while and I feel like I don’t have the resources for that. I can’t afford to get any help. I don’t have any money, I don’t know what to do.”
And I said “Listen, I have made a lot of mistakes.”
And Gary, we were talking about this before the call.
Hiring an assistant or handing someone the keys to be your tech guy or the marketing person or the podcast person or whatever, goes horribly, horribly wrong the vast majority of the time.
Not only do you give them money but they’ll steal your stuff. I’ve had my podcast deleted by people I was paying.
So, many things will happen, you have to be willing to, I guess, take some risks.
But my whole point is, if you’re starting from nothing and you’re doing it all yourself, that’s what I’ve been trying to do with my own business over and over again, over the years.
Learning every part, learning how to code, both my wife and I know how to do almost everything that the other person can do.
So, if one of us does get sick, which happens, or if our employee can’t do it, we can step in and we can do it.
And if you let that go, then you’re not an entrepreneur anymore and you will lose your pants pretty quick.
In my experience anyway, I’ve lost my pants a few times that way.
Yeah. Oh trust me. We’ve gone through our ups and downs but we’re still here.
We talked about that on my podcast, about when we started out the Paleo, primal, cavemen diet was packed, everyone was running to it.
And I go, “Hey we’re still around. A lot of those people are long gone.” Some are millionaires, don’t get me wrong.
Some did really, really well but for the majority of them, they’re gone, right?
They’ve had to go get jobs, they’ve had to go back and it taught us lessons in that, but you’re right, everyone wants, again, the easy button.
So, they think the way to be an entrepreneur is you hire a web guy, you hire a guy to do the podcast.
You know how many skills I have that I never intended to have. I was loading…
I was doing my own website, I still load all my products myself.
I still do a lot of back-end work because I don’t trust people whacking around in the back of my website.
I’ve had it go down, I’ve had it destroyed.
And you have to realize that the company is you and you have to build in to hiring people and it sounds…
Peope go, “I remember when we first started…”
I was working 10-12 days, every single day. Literarily, in front of my computer just pounding away figuring out.
Doing live events, I would go out and consult, I would talk, I was training clients. It was brutal, but that’s an entrepreneur.
The first couple of years are absolutely grinding. You’re not going to get around that, you know.
And everyone goes “Well, how about those tech guys, those unicorns?” They’re unicorns.If you're comparing yourself to a unicorn, you're going to fail. @SimpleLifeNow Click To Tweet
Never compare yourself to a unicorn. These are… right place, right time, everything lines up perfectly.
The basic entrepreneur, I think the last stat I saw, makes under fifty grand or right around there, that’s it. If you don’t like that…
Abel: We aim to breakeven because we’re in this for the meaning. We’re happy enough…
Any good restaurant is lucky to break even, even before all of this stuff now, that was true.
And another thing, I don’t know if we’ve talked about this, Gary, we probably have but it’s something that is so meaningful to me having grown up in also a small town full of Mom-and-Pops.
Abel: What’s the matter with spending 30-40 years, making homemade dough sourdough pizzas and serving them to your community?
And having enough money to have a house and have your grandkids over and they can swim in the pool or whatever, you know what I mean?
It’s like, what’s the matter with that?
That sounds like… That’s better than being a billionaire in so many ways, if you believe in it anyways, you know what I mean?
And it’s kind of this divide, right? We’re seeing big city kind of versus small town and big company versus mom-and-pop.
We’re kind of seeing all this come together and growing up in a town, my town was 1800 people, the town I live in up here is 2000 people.
I just bought a property in another state, it’s 5000 people. I love small town living but I’ve lived in very big cities.
For me, small town living is what America is all about.
When I grew up in my small town, no chains were allowed in.
The entire town, every business in that town, besides The Department of Water and Power, that’s a whole nother story.
Abel: Yeah, totally, totally.
There was the water rights battles of California. I was in the town where a lot of it happened.
Abel: Oh wow!
But oh yeah, there’s a deep history with the town I grew up in and LA drained us dry.
We were a farming community, it was a beautiful valley.
It’s a hot desert, it has been for decades and decades. They drained literally all our water away.
LA does, but we wouldn’t allow any outside business, corporations in and so it was all mom-and-pops.
They just shut down, it was called Lloyds, Lloyds of Lone Pine.
I grew up in that store. One of my best friends was, his dad and his aunt or grandmother owned the store.
It was a leather cowboy, sold Wrangler shoes, like that, he would fix my baseball mitt, all that stuff, right?
Custom belts, leather belts, it closed. I was, I remember when someone told me, I was like, “Aww.”
Now we’re getting a Jersey Jacks, we’ve got a Jack in the Box and McDonald’s and it just is crushing my soul. It sucks.
Abel: Same thing in Texas dude. Even Austin, even in the cities, just this past…
And I’m trying not to date this podcast but it’s personally traumatic to me how many of the best, most historically relevant places in Austin have shut down.
Music, culture was driven for years. Like this is where Janis Joplin and Stevie Ray Vaughan and all these other just incredible people in music got their start.
They created these movements and all of this totally shut down.
Threadgill’s, Magnolia Cafe, these places that have been there for decades and decades and decades.
And as a musician, you know and as a performer, that doesn’t come back, you know what I mean?
It’s like that’s a venue that’s as special as Carnegie Hall to the people in those movements, in those times and what have you but even more than that.
So, now Austin is full of all these giant expensive hotels with these fancy little lounges in the bottom with their $20 martinis.
And no one can afford to live in that town anymore and now they don’t even have anything to do with Texas in terms of food, you know?
With Threadgill’s and with Magnolia Cafe and these other just like very important places, culturally speaking, and so what’s left?
Now, we can’t even fill these giant glass buildings that are so expensive, because we’re not allowed to touch each other or be around each other.
What was the point of all of this, you know?
Well and that’s the thing too, and that’s why I want to encourage people to start their own businesses.
Because once we lose the small towns… And a lot of them in the Midwest are ghost towns.
Big corporations come in and basically killed all downtown, downtown is dead and I’m seeing that in my small town, you know.
Abel: And the government has paid them to do it a lot of the time, using tax dollars, you know.
Crony capitalism, picking the winners and losers and it’s discouraging in a sense but people hear me preach all the time, you know.
I do things differently. All my products are made in the United States, by Americans, by small companies that have been around for a long time.
My books, my book distributor was the first commune in the country in the ’60s.
It’s one of their side businesses, they’re not a commune anymore.
Abel: That’s amazing.
But they have a book publishing company, I’ll give them props. Bob’s a…
We’re all good, we’ve become great friends and people are shocked. I do not do business with anyone I’m not friends with.
Every contractor, every company that does work for me, we’re all friends.
Abel: That goes against a lot of advice, doesn’t it? That’s interesting.
And I’ll tell you what? Family, I agree with that one. Getting mixed with family in business.
Abel: Sure, yeah.
I’ve seen it. I’ve done it. Yeah, that one’s a little rough but I’m not against that either.
Abel: Husband and wife can work…
I need to discourage that.
Abel: Other than that it can get super tricky.
Abel: Or not… You know, partner and partner I mean. Not just husband and wife.
Yeah, it comes down to, “Do you want to be a widget again or do you want to enjoy what you do?”
I firmly… I enjoy what I do. All the people who work with me, we all enjoy.
They enjoy what they do, they enjoy my projects and what it does is it creates this business environment that is…
I haven’t woken up and jumped out of bed and gone, “God!!!”
I did my last couple years at the government, I had to force myself to get out of bed.
I had to force myself to go to work, I hated it and until things kind of came together and I finally said, “Enough’s enough, I’m out.”
And a lot of things had to happen.
Abel: Living in an RV is one of them, we share that experience. You’ve got to be willing to do stuff like that.
Which is amazing by the way, living in a van by the river can be great.
Well and that’s the thing, I still live in my RV.
Here we are, by the time I probably migrate out of my RV, it’s going to be well over a decade of RV living.
And not that I want to get away from it but I now have the resources to have… To build another house and people look at this…
This is my off-grid house on 50 acres, I own it. I own this. I don’t have payments, I own my truck, I own my RV.
I own my dock. I don’t have payments on anything and you know, I leverage money, here and there.
But that’s part of it too when you’re debt-free.
3 Simple Steps To Reclaim Your Freedom
And let’s talk about the three-legged stool because I think that’s really important.
And it’s the big piece of what I teach, and the first the leg is optimal health.
The second leg is financial freedom by being debt-free, the third leg is finding your life purpose.
What I’ve found through all this teaching other people and what I do, if you get those three in line and you really wire them in…
And I’m working on them, I think I have them dialed in pretty well. I’m still working on them.
If you do those three things, your life is drastically, drastically different than the average American in a good way and people…
I’ve had people go, “Oh Gee! You’re a genius.” I go, “How many of them are you doing?”
And they’ll instantly look at their feet and I went, “I thought so.
I can see, I’m looking at you, you’re 100 pounds overweight, you’re breathing heavy.
You’re giving me grief, I’m going to say… And you’re complaining about the book price…
A book that for $15… $10-$15, can change your life and you’re complaining about it. I’m pretty sure you’re not doing those three.
And it sounds very simple but the process of doing it is not easy. The thought and the model is simple but to…
Accomplishment is not easy. You have to work at it and you have to work at it for the rest of your life.
Abel: You have to put in the work.
But if you can get those three…
Abel: And a lot of people want to skip that.
Yes and it took me a long time to figure that three-legged stool out because what it came to is, I think someone asked me, goes,
“So what would you share with others of how you succeeded and how you live?”
And I remember I stuttered and went, “That’s a really good question.”
And I had to do a little introspection and think about it, right?
And that’s where the three-legged stool came from.
I went, “What are the basic things that I’ve changed in my life and that I had worked on consistently that have made my life and my business what they are today?”
And that’s where that came from, and not only that but I teach people, especially in our… Where we’re getting our freedoms eroded, right? Today. We’re seeing it right now.
9/11 started it, it’s continued to go on, big government, big business.
Again, we’re widgets, we’re just a means to an end to them. We’re just pawns in their game.
Well, by following the three-legged stool, those are the three things, big things that they control.
By you taking back control of those, basically, you’re taking your freedoms back.
You’re returning them back to you. You’re using free will, you’re taking responsibility that your actions determine your outcomes.
That’s what free will is. That’s what free will means.
That I have the ability, what I choose and what I decide and what I do determines my path in life and we’ve kind of gotten removed from that, right?
We want to blame someone else, and we want someone else to do for us. That doesn’t work, it just doesn’t work.
It’s you, you know, because you always get…
Well, I need free healthcare. I need someone to outline my meal plans and I go, “No, your health is on you buddy.”
You’re the one who has to work on your health. It’s not your doctor, it’s not your government, it’s not your nanny.
You need to buck up, you know, push up your big boy pants and do it yourself.” And people go “What?”
Yes, it’s on you.
This is my body. I own my body. Why do I expect someone else to maintain it for me?
That kind of rational thought process.
Abel: Yeah, and I can share something that is quite damaging to the mind, which a lot of people might be looking forward to right now.
That some sort of government or company or what have you, is going to pay for you to do nothing.
That sounds good at first and when I was first hired right out of college to pay off my loans as a consultant, very, very selective stuff.
Very, using air quotes, “prestigious” and whatever, but a weird thing happens in consulting.
In some other businesses when you’re hired on you then have to be assigned to a project.
So, for weeks, me and a bunch of other consultants in my class had nothing to do. We would show up for work, there was zero to do.
We had no project and we were getting paid quite a bit of money for this.
And I have never felt so conflicted and kind of like icky and bad about myself as moments like that.
That was a very weird transition from going from working my butt off all through college, graduating a year early, taking extra classes, doing all these extra curriculars and then just like showing up and getting money to do nothing.
And then later when I took a break, several times, I took a break long enough so that I lost all meaning.
And for a while there, I thought someone else could do my job.
Someone else could write my books just as well as me or do my podcast just as well as me.
Because I don’t know, I’m not doing it and I don’t feel good about myself and so… be careful of those traps right now.
You can spend your time kind of running into those traps and I’ve been there.
I’ve tried to make my living as a full-time musician and that, eww!
That got really weird too. Be careful and recognize if you’re in one of those traps and build your way out of it.
Well and… The easy way out is never the right way out and I know I can irritate people because I am, I’m a hard charger.
I just don’t believe in excuses. Everyone’s got an excuse. I’ve had some really, really good ones in my life.
And they’ve got me absolutely nowhere and realizing that we come from…
Humans are part of an organism that serve each other. We’ve gotten away from that.
We were in small bands, small tribes, 50… Roughly, 50 was the max.
It got up to 150 as we grew but primarily 50 hunter-gatherers and we were nomadic.
But everything was based upon serving our community because our community was survival.
Survival and reproduction. Those are the two things humans are wired for. Nothing’s changed.
You can’t reproduce if you’re not alive and vice-versa, you have to look at it that way and go, “That’s why I push life purpose so hard.”
Do you want to spend your time on this planet? We don’t know where this is going.
No one’s come back and sat Gary down and gone, “Gary, after you die this is exactly how it’s going to go.”
This isn’t about religion, beliefs. This is just factual.
No one’s come back and tells me what’s on the other side so I have to look at this as valuable time on this planet.
How am I going to spend it?
For me and, I know many others who I’ve helped, I’ve got a lot of people living in RVs right now, a lot of people living off-grid. A lot of people.
They always come back and once all kind of figured out that by serving each other it’s much more rewarding.
I feel so much more fulfilled, and that doesn’t mean that being an employee and working for a company is bad.
But I’ll tell you, you talk to any entrepreneur who’s made it, they can’t go back.
They flat out say, “I’ll live under a bridge in a cardboard box with duct tape before I’ll go back to that cubicle.”
And I can’t. I am unemployable. You stick me in a cubicle, it’s like sticking a rat in a cage.
I will come unglued and lose my sh*t, you know? Because it’s against human nature.
That’s not biologically what I’m wired for and we’re fighting this human element and also our compassion, empathy, caring for each other.
We’re too busy trying to tear each other down. We’re too busy saying, “I need to compete against you.”
No. No. We all can provide. We can do all these things.
We all contribute a different element and I hope people that’s what they get out of what I do.
I always say this, “I don’t need to do this sh*t.” I can do something else. I do this because it’s my life purpose.
It’s a skill that I’m good at. I’m good at speaking, sometimes too much.
Abel: Yeah, we talked about it in just a minute.
And putting my thoughts on paper. I know and that’s why my podcast is open format.
Abel: And I love it!
Because I know these, mine could go forever.
Abel: I love it, though. We need the Open Format podcast, like yours, to have deeper conversations where we can just drop F-bombs if we want to and that sort of thing.
And that’s not what I do with this show. I think it’s important to say that.
So, if you guys are interested in that, check out Gary. He goes deep.
Where to Find Gary Collins
Gary, what’s the best place to find you, your work, all your books?
You do a lot of stuff and you can help a lot of people, whether entrepreneurs or just people looking to try to eat better or get some more freedom there.
Yeah, the health hasn’t gone away. It’s leg one of the three-legged stool.
Abel: I was just reading your book about health.
Everything starts with health. Yeah, and that the best place is to go to my website, thesimplelifenow.com, to stay up to date.
I do not really use social media.
I use Twitter (@SimpleLifeNow) and our buddy Michael forced me into that, getting back into it, but actually I like it.
Twitter’s kind of fun.
Abel: I got to say, it’s been kind of fun. We can snark back and forth on there.
It’s fun. Yeah, well and because it’s our group, right? None of us let any outsiders in.
You get blocked and I mean it’s just all positive and sharing and helping and that’s what social media was intended for.
But I still don’t use it that much. I try to stay away from it.
Maybe 30 minutes a month total, on Twitter, at that.
But the website, support me. I sell all my books, all my products, my supplement line.
Everything’s on there, except for audio books, which I’m going to be working on.
I’m trying to figure out how to get everything on to the website.
Abel: It’s trickier than it sounds. It really is.
And I’ve been working at it a long time, and I’m trying to tell people to support your local businesses, support your entrepreneurs.
Abel: Now’s the time.
That’s how we grow out of this. That’s how an economy stays stable. That’s how people stay happy. Purpose, you know?
So, you can find me on TheSimpleLifeNow.com. Go there and sign up for my updates.
You can text “betterlife” all one word, lower case to 33777 and it will shoot you a sign up.
I don’t spam you. I don’t take your information and sell it to everyone.
That’s another benefit of small companies, we don’t do that. And you’ll get updates.
Abel: No, we can’t even afford to do that. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s not what we do.
Yeah, and Your Better Life Podcast that’s the name of my podcast.
You can find it all on my website and great people like Abel have been on there and you’ll hear Gary Rants.
Abel: Gary Rants, love them man. Well Gary, thank you so much for taking the time, man.
I appreciate it. Thanks for having me on again, Abel.
Before You Go…
Here’s a review that actually came in from across the pond in Venice, Italy and it says…
“I’ve listened to Abel since 2012. A solid podcast and a solida man. I love how he is unafraid to go against the mainstream in an age that makes that exceedingly more challenging. Much love to you, Abel!”
Much love to you, all of you out there, no matter where you are.
I’ve talked to people in Thailand, the UK, Australia, just in the past few days. And so I’m of course up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and it’s such a blessing to be able to connect with so many of you.
So much love to all of you, as well.
And of course, yes, going against the mainstream is something I’ve been doing for almost 10 years now, publicly in the world of health, anyway.
And it is getting harder and harder, as we are being buried—not just me, but many, many doctors, chiropractors, naturopaths, nutritionists and just people who are health coaches and running gyms, or just regular people trying to talk about what’s going on.
Now, everyone is starting to feel censorship happening more and more.
And when they take away my free speech, or my ability and our ability to reach our own followers, subscribers, and all of that—when they take away our voice, they take away your free thought, so that people out there think that we’re not there.
For example, I didn’t even know that Robb Wolf was talking about censorship and “shadowbanning” at the same time that I was, even though I follow all of his channels, because he was buried so much. And so all of us felt very alone.
Well, this has been happening and trust me, it has been going on far longer than all of the pandemic business.
So it’s very important that people recognize this.
And if you want a proof of that, go and check out my book, Designer Babies Still Get Scabies, written in 2019.
Justin Nault, one of my friends who’s going to be on the show soon and also provided one of the quotes for this book, he said…
“In 2019, Designer Babies read like a fiction book. In 2020, it reads like a non-fiction book.”
And I find that chilling, especially as the author.
So if you’re interested in that, then definitely get in touch with me personally, get in touch with our team.
Because one of the horrible things about censorship is that it divides people without them even knowing it, and keeps them apart.
So join our community, get in touch. We just launched a new channel on Patreon, which will be much less censored hopefully than the other social media channels and YouTube which are horrible these days. It’s shameful. It really is.
Anyway, you can always find us here on FatBurningMan.com. The new Patreon channel is patreon.com/abeljames.
And I just fired up a new coaching program, so whether you’re looking for help with nutrition or performance or even if you’re a small business looking for a bit of coaching, I am here to help.
If you’re looking to transition online, it’s harder than ever but it’s also the best time ever to get going with all of this and you can do it.
We can all do this together.
What did you think of this interview with Gary Collins? Drop a comment below!
Maggie Mathes says