Adrian Vasquez’s story is one of intrigue that can be used as inspiration for many young entrepreneurs out there who are always #hustling on Instagram but don’t get anywhere close to their goals because their heart, actions, and ambitions don’t match. Adrian’s does. He is more committed, possibly more than anyone I know, and he sure knows how to make things happen.
Now, Adrian sharing his journey from quitting his job, leaving his family behind in LA and moving to NYC where he didn’t know anyone, to getting his dream job at #teamGary – only to ditch it after discovering a role that really matched his true ambitions.
Adrian, 27, was born and raised in Newman, California. After having his two kids, he dropped out of college to take a regular job and support his family. He worked for a cell phone company for seven years, just going day-by-day, as most people do. “There was a part in my life, when I was like ‘nothing is happening,’ I was doing the same thing day in and out,” Adrian said. “It was draining, and then my kids’ mother and I broke up. After that, I discovered a guy, Gary Vee.”
Gary Vaynerchuk, popularly called Gary Vee, is a famous entrepreneur known for reforming the way we create content for social media and changing the way millennials think about entrepreneurship. “He is responsible for changing my life,” Adrian said. “Eventually, he was saying, ‘How bad you want it? Are your actions matching your ambitions?’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God, he is right!’”
Dad, I want a Youtube channel!
Adrian has always considered himself a creative person. When one of his sons was just four years old, he said “Dad, I want a YouTube channel!” Adrian was supportive, so after many years of working a dead-end job, he finally got an outlet for his creativity again in the form of creating video content with his son. “I rarely say no to things. I said yes, I tried something different, and I fell in love with it,” Adrian said. He encouraged his son further, and they started to see some success. That was enough for him to became part-time at his job and focus more on the YouTube channel. “It was really growing, and we were killing it..”
All you get is a year
Although his relationship with his children’s’ mother didn’t work out, Adrian’s love and affection for video couldn’t stop, and he found himself thinking about what Gary had said about matching actions with deep desire. He knew he was clearly not doing it, and he knew he had more to offer. “I had a crazy idea: I want to move to NY and work for this guy,” Adrian said. “I didn’t go to school for this, I didn’t do any of that. But I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I said to Linda, my sons’ mother, ‘just give me a year to potentially change my and the boy’s lives, and I will make it up to you somehow. She said, ‘all you get is a year.’”
Burning the Boats
“I believe in this theory called burning the boats,” Adrian said. “I don’t know how factual this is, but it changed my life. It’s basically the story of when the Spanish captain Hernán Cortés sailed to Mexico. When they got to Mexico, they disembarked from the ships, and the crew was like ‘This place is huge, we can’t conquer this.’ What Cortez did was light the boats on fire and said ‘We can’t go back home. We conquer this place or we are going to die.’ When you put yourself in a position that you can’t go back, you figure it out. Survival mode kicks in, and you just make it work.”
Adrian’s version of burning the boats was moving to New York and leaving his family behind on January 9, 2018. He didn’t know anyone and only had a bit of savings, but he knew he had no other choice. He had to make it happen.
Starting over in a new city without knowing anyone, having to worry about your financials, and having the pressure to achieve your goal to survive can be stressful as hell. Adrian’s situation was even more difficult, because he had to deal with being away from his kids. “Overall, leaving my kids was the hardest thing I have ever done. Also, doing your own thing is very lonely, especially when you have a very specific goal,” Adrian said. “I have friends who do this stuff, but everyone is doing their own thing, and they’re busy, so you are mostly alone. You just know that the end goal worth it. And when you love what you do, you survive. It could be so much worse. I live this life that I love. It’s exhausting and lonely, but it’s so much more worth it.”
I ran my funds down to $11
For three months, Adrian followed the Gary Vee model: he was DM-ing people and offering them value as a form of free work. His ultimate goal was to get to Gary, so he befriended the people who knew him, he showed them value, and he came closer to him every single day. “If I am going to risk a year away from my kids, I am going to make every minute count,” he said.
While the clock was ticking, Adrian had less and less money in the bank, as he was not making a dime while he was working on finding a way to meet Gary. “Then, I eventually found Ryan Serhant. I was really close to his videographer. I didn’t know who Ryan was, but I knew he was on a TV show and I was like ‘Hey listen, I work for free. I just want to get as much practice as I can,’Adrian said.
He finally got his chance, but he was running out of money fast. “I was broke. I was eating peanut butter sandwiches, and $1 pizzas. I was coming down literally to my last dollar,” Adrian said. “The day Ryan reached out to me, I had $11 in my bank account. I was freaking out: ‘how am I gonna make it?’ Then Ryan texted me, ‘I want you to work for me full-time. Are you down?’ I literally started crying. ‘Yes, I am down.’”
“Would you be interested in working for Team Gary Vee?”
Here comes the part when you stop focusing on what you originally wanted, and life offers it to you–in Adrian’s case, it came in a form of job offer from Team Gary (yes, you read that right). “The crazy thing is, three weeks later, I get an email from Gary’s team: ‘Would you be interested in working for team Gary?’” Adrian said. “This is everything I had wanted. It took me a whole day to really consume it.”
I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who has the same level of commitment and focus on his goals as Adrian, and that’s why his story is so amazing. In just a couple of months with the right mindset and work ethic, he got what he originally wanted.
And he turned it down.
“I really thought about it, but I realized I had a real shot to build something from the ground up with Ryan. Gary is already established, he already has this machine, and with Ryan, we are just starting out,” Adrian said. “We have a shot to be as big as Gary. I think I made the right choice.” By the time we talked, Adrian had spent enough time with Ryan to see the potential in this work. He kept a cool head, and weighed both opportunities. Adrian recalls Ryan asking him, “Do you have a plan? Don’t tell about it, just do it. I trust you.” It would be hard to get this level of trust and freedom by being the part of a bigger machine.
When everything works out
“This past January was my 1st year anniversary in NY. And the craziest thing happened,” Adrian said. “Linda calls me, and says ‘don’t worry about coming back, we are moving to NY.’ On March 20th, my kids landed, Ryan helped us find an apartment, and now they live here.” It seems like everything aligned when Adrian got himself on the right path, and now he’s able to both support his kids and focus more on his future – because it has just started.
Learn it all.
“My biggest advice to people who want to do what I am doing is to be well-rounded, say yes to everything, and learn everything,” Adrian said. “If you want to build a personal brand, be someone who is valuable. My thing was video editing, but I also learned how to take photos and how to use social media. Do all of that, so you worth more to somebody, because eventually, they have to hire fewer people.”
As Adrian said, sometimes burning your boats gives you no other option. He is not the kind of person who would give up when there was only $11 in his bank account. That’s why he has gotten everything he’s set out to achieve so far, because his heart and motivation were in the right place. He couldn’t accept his life as it was, so he did everything he could to level up so he could provide a good life for his family. Adrian’s story is the perfect example of how people can change their lives by taking a huge step, not leaving other options open, and trusting the whole process.