Roberto Gibbons Gomez. How to get paid to have fun!
Geek At Sea

Full episode transcript -


All right. Read that, listeners. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. We've had B. C's startup founders, uh, content creators, but we've never had the content creator who is in the actual real life influences. So, Roberto, welcome to the show. Thank you very much. This is Roberta from the expedition is correct. And he's an amazing photographer. Videographer


marketer. Yep. Had? Yep. Ah to two little lens entrepreneur Airbnb air. And ah, that


should sum it up. And you've got hundreds of thousands of followers across social media channels.


Yep. We got a couple 100,000 on Facebook and 75,000 or so on instagram.


We're gonna link to all of your accounts at the end of the show. But Roberto's here because I feel like you're leaving everybody's dream. You know, you're outdoors, You're living fun. Life. You've got kids, you don't have to work really hard. Ah, and most people are stuck in their jobs and their, you know, day to day routine, hoping to live the life you have but unable to break out. So I wouldn't hear how you got to where you are. You know what sparked it? And what What is a life of an


influence. I think it's it's not. So for one, I guess we'll break that up into a few parts. But the life of an influencer would be basically influencing people, whether it's to make purchases or go to destinations or by a particular gear. So that's one facet of our concept. The second side would be that we're content creators, whether it's videography photography on. And then the third facet, I guess, would be when we get hired for gigs where we're show hosts in English and in French. So that would be the three sides of it all. But how we got here, that's Ah, that's a heavy question. But it took time.

I used to be a businessman. I used to supply curtains to Costco Canada, which is where I learned to be a marketer and be able to sell myself. The only difference from selling curtains and to what we do now is that the product change the product became us instead of curtains on dhe. Then the recession hit in 2007 head up to 100 employees servicing my stores across Canada, and then ah, I threw caution to the wind, and we had a lot of money at the time, so we said, Hey, let's go travel with what we have And, uh, let's maybe make concept out of it And ah, lo and behold, we did. We got married, been with my lady about 13 14 years and then hit the road living out of a Pathfinder for about four years. And when I say we did lived on the road out of a truck, it's basically summer time out of the truck and then internationally for the rest of the time getting sponsored. Wow.


So how does let's roll back to the curtains? Yeah. How do you even start a business selling


currents to Costco? Well Ah, in that I was very fortunate was the family business. So my dad was, Ah, curtain guy. And my mom was artificial trees and flowers. So since I was a kid, I was working whether either in one warehouse or the other helping out and then going to trade shows whether it be in Frankfurt or in New York. So that's where I learned the whole business side of things. And basically the apple didn't fall far from the tree. on that one. I learned I learned to sell to large companies by working with my parents. And then that's why I was in that business in particular. And then I started buying from my dad and from his partner and then also buying from my mom and selling directly under my own business to Costco.


So what was the girl's between going from your parents business to your own business? Because I assume once you took it to Costco, it probably multiple multiplied a few times.


Yeah, yeah, No, Um, at the time, I was working more so for my dad. And then the first things they started buying for me were actually stuff for my mom's business. So artificial trees and flowers And then that did really well. And I kept telling them, No, no, no. But curtains will do even better. And they said, No, no, no,

curtains don't work in Costco. They don't sell because people don't take them out of the package and whatnot. And I said, No, no, no, no. They they'll sell because And I built a merchandiser that was basically I ke a You know, there's brick cubes. Yeah, and s I put those up so people could grab their curtains. And then I put three doors together and put curtains on swing arms so people could flick through the curtains so they could feel them and touch them on. Guy was selling a lot, a lot, a lot like the volume was insane. So, uh,


well, and you said that marketing is important, right? That you get really good at marketing. And I love to hear that, because traditionally and startups, what they say is that you gotta build a product that people love, you know, And then the problem is just going to sell itself. And it really feels like maybe that's not the case anymore.


No, I think that's actually a little bit. Ah, not backwards, but there. If if you don't know how to sell a product or you don't know how base get to sell a product, you could have the coolest product in the world. But nobody will know anything about it, so you can have a diamond in your hand. But if nobody knows how cool that diamond is, then you won't have anything. It'll be cool. So So it's important, in my opinion, on The differentiator between us and many influences over the years was that we know how to sell ourselves and that that's, I think, quite defining,

because when you go up to brand and say, This is what I do and this is how much I charge on this is what I'm giving us deliver Bols. Um, it's they understand it is a business. This is a very distinct It's easy to understand, and it's easy to put a dollar value to it, where as many influences that never grew up in a marketing world. We'll just go up into Hey, can you sponsor me? And that doesn't really mean anything to the brand, because then they don't really know. Okay, well, what does that mean? What's the dollar value? What's the delivery bols?

And so it being that it's unprofessional, they tend to stay away from it because they just don't know what it really means. So it's Ah, how to package yourself for how to package whatever product you're selling a super important. I


think so not to create more competitors for you, But can you can you teach us? How would an influence or practiced themselves so that brands can understand


there. Yeah, I think it's absolutely Anybody can learn that. And I think there's many influences that learned from us over the years that would write to us and say, You inspire us, and we'd love to do like what you do and what not. And many of those have millions of fans and make many, many more zeroes than we. D'oh! So definitely I think anybody could learn about how to do that. And in my case, if I was to describe and try and help people, it would be how to be succinct and how to package it in. This is what we're doing. This is where we're going. This is what you're getting. And ah, and that's those are the three important things to answer in your package. To who, Every year.


Thanks. On start of advice. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But you mentioned that being an influence there is a secondary to you because it just happened that you accumulated all the followers. But really you're you love creating and your work is really what drives you. Yeah,


absolutely. Creating is is, I think, the cornerstone of our concept, because before we had any reach We didn't have. Ah, there was There was no fan base so that what we were selling was content and eh? So we would go up to brands when we only had 1000 Facebook fans. And we'd say, This is we're facebookers and they'd say, What's Facebook? They had no idea. And we're only talking, what, nine years ago or so? Um so So I think it's really important to have an idea of Of what? Your hat you're wearing at what time?

In the timeline of social media and influencing. So at the very beginning, the hat was content creation. It switched into, um, reach and influencing and hence the influencer term. And so, yes, we did go from the first year's toe 2000 fans to a few years later. Ah, 150,000 fans. So what? We were the package changed of what we're selling. It was the reach that was so important. And now, with so many people that do very similar, if not almost exactly the same thing that we d'oh, which is create content and do some influencing, um, that that now we're back to content in our case because that the brand still understand what we that the high quality of deliver bols that we give is content.


So what's your typical day? Or maybe a week or months?


I'd all depends where we are and what we're doing. We just spent three and 1/2 months crossing Canada for Jeep with a Jeep gladiator truck in our air stream. So those typical days are more along the lines of Wake up, stoke the fire, make some coffee, take some photos, take videos, get the kids ready, play with them for a while, make them breakfast, and then hit whatever adventure activity that we're planning on doing that day or distance that we're planning on driving. Um so and l depends on which trip we're on, which constantly changes. So if we're in Turks and Caicos, then that is usually wake up. Um, do a little social media breakfast,

get the kids ready and go kite surfing for the rest of the day. So it all depends on where where we are in the world. The time today I woke up, took the little 12 preschool, our eldest and then ah, then the nanny came over by 11 and then wife and I went skiing for the rest of the day. Um, until he had to pick up the kids again. That was a hard day's work.


That is really stressful. Terrible? Uh, no. But seriously, though, do you ever feel stressed with this work? Well,


I think like any entrepreneur, there's cash flow, so our cash flows when we create it. Um, so if you if you sit on your laurels a bit too long, then suddenly you get to a point where the cash flow is difficult and so that's when you get stressed. But in our case, we've built some great relationships with brands that pay us an annuity. On DSO. We have far less concern about creating cash flow, as we used to in our early years. But like any entrepreneur business, there's definitely ah that I think proper cash flows the trickiest thing because you could have be owed 150 grand. But you're still spending and the companies haven't paid. So so that's Ah, that's I think, that what can create the most stress,

But we've learned Thio, take it in stride and, uh, and money comes and goes and the most important thing is your health. So So we don't really focus on Oh, shoot. We gotta pay the cards we focus more on like, Oh, it's a good day. Were healthy. All right. Gotta pay the cars.


Let's write some emails. What's good to have the network, you know, that that can respond quickly. And then if you need the next gig and I get the stuff But what did you feel the pressure to the beginning, You know, for when he was starting, that


was absolutely Yeah, most definitely. And I think for our families, it was very difficult because I went from being a businessman with, you know, dozens of employees to Suddenly I'm gonna go live in a van down by the river and s o the families were a bit in a shock. That being said, we had made a lot of money, so we had a cushion that we could relax on, but that cushion started to dwindle. And then and then that's when we were we were hitting times. That was like, Okay, is this concept viable? Thio not only for ourselves as a couple of the time, but maybe to raise a family in the future. And fortunately,

we we eventually reached a point where, um where we were comfortable, but definitely didn't happen overnight. It took you 67 years. I'd say to get to where we are now. Yeah, And I'd say this year's probably our best year. And we're near 10 or so.


Wow. That's a lot of years


of taking pictures. Yeah. Yeah, I've got lots.


Well, you mentioned that. You know your brother. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Talk about that. Yeah. That he's a doctor. Yeah. And drawn are and lives a very different life where he's got a lot of material assets. Yeah, but he's also stressed out, huh? And like, how does your family look at the two brothers now, have they finally accepted your


Ah, well, it took my parents a long time for them to accept what I do because they've never understood. How are you going to make a living from having fun? And ah, it was very difficult for them to understand up until I'd say, a year to ago, where we invited them down to some of the villas that we're getting sponsored in Mexico and their 3 $4000 us and night and we were there for Well, my wife and I were there for two months, but my parents came down for a week and and so therefore two villas that we were staying at. And that's when they're like, Wow, this is your job, And this is what you get paid to do. And so they kind of got it more. And as for how they see my brother, I think they see him is extremely successful,

but they're definitely most definitely concerned by the amount that he works because he works like crazy. He I didn't mention he's actually he was an aerospace engineer. Then he became appearing applied mathematician. And now he's in the e r. Doctor,


of course, isn't it? Yeah, as you do. Yeah, well, actually is interesting, because in engineering school in Toronto, UFT and I saw the trend and a few really smart people that they would start as engineers or something, you know, mathematical, and then end up being doctors. I mean, first of all, it's a good hack, but second fall, you also really understand what you're actually doing in a way beyond maybe you're pure doctor, something that helps, but ah, but well, yeah.


Ah, a different life. Very, very different life. But I think he I think the grass is always greener. So on some aspects, we look at his life and say, I would be very nice to have ah, massive house with X amount of bedrooms and whatnot. And I think he looks at her life and says, Well, I would be so nice to have so much time to spend with my family,


right? So some people would call your irresponsible, you know? Absolutely


most definitely. But I think people understand that, And this day and age, with the whole social media very differently than a few years ago. A few years ago, they would say, Well, this is a responsible What are you doing? You can't go make a living by having fun. And now now they've seen it as kind of a life hack to make a living. And, ah, lot of people been very successful at it. And now it's not seen as so irresponsible as it used to be. People used to look at influencers and social media and say, What's that garbage? And now you know,

I reached a point years ago, where on Facebook, I reached more people in a day than a national magazine would reach in the country. Yeah, so that's when I realized no need for me to be writing for magazines when I could just


hey, listeners. Just before we continue a quick commercial break, this podcast is brought to you by smash notes the quickest and easiest way to find a new podcast every day. Subscribe. Just mash notes, and you will discover thousands of new podcasts that are right for you. You can get quick summaries. Well, listen right within the APP, check out smash notes dot com. Now let's get back to Roberta before taking a break. We're just talking about how fun it is to be ski and they're random Tuesday. Can you tell me what this lifestyle enables you to do and what you have sacrificed in order to live this lifestyle?


Absolutely. I think a regular paycheck would be definitely what I sacrificed. So if I was selling to the that businesses that I used to sell it and Costco, then you know there's a a certain amount of income coming in on X Day and why day So I think that's what I sacrificed as an entrepreneur because Castle comes very differently. But what I've gained is far, far more valuable in simply the ability of what I'm that the amount of time I'm able to spend with my family. So ah, friend the other day said to me, Oh, look, this link It says that Dad's today spend ah, 80% more time with their kids than they did a generation ago. Um, and he said, In your case, you're probably in the like 99% more than dad's I've ever spent with their Children because we wake up with our kids were both there at the house, were both wherever it is.

We may be, um, and I get TB part of their lives in a way that fathers have very rarely ever been. We're almost kind of back to like the hunter gatherer days because we were in the Airstream and, you know, my chores revolve around getting the fire ready. Getting left the food may be prepared and ah, and the rig in order and ah, but were always around the kids so irrelevant. If I'm doing those tasks, my little one could be on my back or could be playing with the coals of the fire, dirtying his jacket. Whatever. Maybe. But we we get something that few people I think and few fathers in the world get. And that's to be with my kids and my wife.

So very, very, very, very often because even, you know, Ah, husband Ah, are my parents stays is Ah, the husband sees his wife when he gets home from the office Monday to Friday and on the weekends. Whereas I get you know, we could literally say that my wife and I, whether this is healthy or not, have have spent years in certain cases without having spent a day apart. Yeah, literally.


Yeah. Why can really we live a simple life in the gaps sense that we're trying to be as a family as much as we can? Uh, well, so you never know if you're gonna get hit by a break tomorrow, right? So it's it's pretty


useful. Absolutely, absolutely. And you see something you could never like. You can't imagine. You know, most parents, most fathers get home and at 6 30 and they're tired and and it's is it when you're at the top of your game, t give support or play or kindness to your Children? Likely not. So we get to do something that few people get to do. And I think for that we should be very grateful.


Do you think that's likely to change


in our case or


in No, no. I mean, you guys already living? Yeah, but I mean, in general is a society. Do you see trends where you get better?


I think, yeah, I think the whole van life trend which you know, in a way, we my wife and I joke about it because we were living in our Pathfinder years before the van Life starts at trend started. But I think that whole trend is based upon you live. Uh, you work to live, not live toe work and ah, and that's been a great move because people have realized that they don't need so much to live with. But what's more important is ah is there every day what they're getting out of it and and then narc. In many many of these van life families, it's what they're getting out of. It is being together and traveling and experiences versus working to pay for the car that gets them to the office on two. Pay for the House that they're only in evenings on weekends. So So I think there's in certain ways. Yeah,

there's been a good trend towards, um, and with social Media and with absent with VF season with all of those things that there's been a big trend to be able to able to work from home and be with your family. Definitely. Our parents could never imagine this


well, full disclosure. We're currently in your condo, which were being being from your


seven room condo with two Jacuzzis and three bathroom and a fantastic mountain view actually a one bedroom. But that's the example that we went from van life to a one bedroom condo. And when we've learned people say you live with your whole family in a one bedroom and and we say, Yeah, yeah, we do. But, uh, but for us, it's a castle because we're used to being in an Airstream or a tent, and so we don't need that much space. It's most definitely one of the happier homes I know. So So yes, it's not about the space. It's about what you make in that space, I think.


And it's amazing, cause for a lot of people would probably be unimaginable to think of living with the whole family condo. And you guys not even living here because it pays you more should not be


here. Which is definitely yeah, and it's paying the other condo that I'm renting right now. That's a three bedroom, but yeah,


what? No, You know, that's the business person. You're on the right. It's a valuable lesson in there that you gotta figure out what's important and then just live. I love, which is sort of the beginning. How your parents were ensure that you could be, you know, paid to have fun. Absolutely. Ah, and I think it's amazing that you make that a priority, and then you figure out how to make that priority work. Yeah, um, I've been trying this with my way for for a while now, but it's still hard sell.


You are in Whistler, though. So,


uh, on the random Tuesday that, um, it still is still working on the whole thing, but so just two quick, the circle back, you know? Can you tell me more about that life of a photographer. Are you more photographer, videographer? What's more


on and I I am I think that the right answer to that would be saying that I'm an entrepreneur. That happens to have those skills as well, because if a brand, I'm a yes man. So if you


ask me Oh, could you create


this video on the top of Ex Mountain? And before I even know whether I can write, I'll say yes and then I'll figure it out. So that has thrown me into becoming a videographer photographer before in a faster step than I ever imagined because I said yes to think two gigs that I didn't even have any idea how I would do. But then I figured it out. Did Did well. It worked on Dhe. There you go. Suddenly I was considered a professional on dhe. That's how I'd never had formal education and photography or videography. But my contents been used for anything from Jeep and Discovery and Tourism Canada and brands all over the world for seasons. Fair months everywhere. So So I think, uh, yeah, last night train training.


No, no, that's great. I was asking, You know how What? What's the life of Ah, all right. Yeah,


right. Sorry about that. S o. So as a photographer, um, my, my goal for brand is to create content that they can use for their marketing purposes, whether it's their social media or their ads and whatnot. So in but the huge in a traditional sense, you would have, say, a pro skier going down the mountain. And you have the photographer trying to capture the awesome shot of the guy back flipping. And that would be the symbiotic relationship between those two working people one off a photographer and the other an athlete to create the content for a brand. In my case, as a photographer, particular end of the videographer,

I think, applies to both. We go on adventures, we have a blast, and we create content while we're doing so of our own family unit. Whether before the kids, it was just the wife and I were now with the kids. So are I guess, Ah, daily photography work would be basically two to stop and capture the moments that we're creating while we're having fun. And that's how our photography gig works,


doesn't feel like work. Do you have to think about it ahead of time as you plan it, or is it fluid throughout the day?


I'm not that organized, too, to plan something like that, particularly in a lot of destinations where we have no idea where we're going and and where we're gonna find ourselves. So in our case, it's actually quite fluid. But I know other photographers that are very, um like they write notes about their shoot location and the angles, the one and the sun. And what time and all of that I don't do any of that. I basically go with the flow and then create when we can and because we stay such a long period of time in most destinations, I'm never crunched for time as a traditional shoot would be so traditional. Shoot will say OK, we've got six guys on this shoot, and they've got to create content in three days. But it could have rained those days and could have been a snowstorm. It could have been any other variable,

but they've got those three days I go to a destination. I'm with my whole family and nobody is stressed to get back to the kids or the wife or whatever it may be. And so I could stay there a month. So I know I'll have sunny days. And I know that even if I have three days of no content creation because it's pouring rain outside, that sunny day will come. So we have more time, which allows us to have less stress while creative with content and still being altogether, which is our biggest key for us is being altogether. Yeah, you're


making it sound too good. Like there's gotta be a catch. It's not


as easy as it looks. Yeah, So tell your wife that you're gonna live in a 100 foot, uh, camper for the next six months and let me know how she responds with two kids.


It was it wasn't ah agenda last year, but then I forget the actual reason we didn't end up doing that. But it did seem like the best way to go. Anyways,


it can preserve fantastic, but it's a lot more difficult than people imagine. The lifestyle, particularly ours, which is adventure related. So going into the back country with the kids, uh, hiking up wedge amount with 1200 meters of elevation game carrying two kids diapers, supplies. And because we're in places where the weather is very fickle, then you have to be very ready for that. And there's often storms and whatnot. So so it's a lot harder than people imagine it to be. It just happens that I do enjoy type to adventure fund as well.


So do you bring a


sharper uh, No, Except on this recent project, we did a fellow that was helping us. I


guess as you get bigger and you know the funding gets bigger, you cannot expect yes, some shoots.


There's other photographers and videographers that are along, but for our own projects, it's usually us that being said now with the two little ones, we, uh, we do bring help here and there.


Yeah, How do you think that influences your kids


on the lifestyle or having help?


Oh, no. Like the lifestyle you living here versus how everybody else's living. You know, a lot of people I know, ah concerned when you know you live in Seattle. A lot of people are concerned with the future of the kids and look at it two year old and planned their eventual Stanford graduation in all the past and feels a little insane. Yes, you guys. It doesn't sound like there is a pastor. Stanford. There's bean ever even, like, talked about it. Yep. So I wonder you know what? The difference isn't how you think


about that. Yeah. I think, um, I think a solid education is definitely very important. We had considered home schooling for a while, but my wife and I have decided that it's better for somebody else to teach our kids certain things, kids, certain things. So our, um, our goal, really, while our main goes for the kids to be happy, you know, people say, Are they gonna go to university?

Are they gonna do this? We're gonna get through that, you know, right now, at the age is there at which is three and one. I'm more focused on their psychological well being than if they can read, write and do arithmetic by the time. Therefore So, uh, so that's our focus. And I think there has been a shift in what, at least in with the whole van life movement and whatnot on the focus of what you want for your kids in the future. And I think what we want for them is, um, intrinsic success more than financial success. And if the financial success is there as well,

fantastic. But I know a lot of ski bums here in Whistler, and and I used to look at them in Ah, maybe with this cute eyes of a city slicker for Montreal in my youth and say, Man, they've got life all wrong. And now that I am one of those ski bums, I look back to my city slicker life self and say, Man, that guy's got it all wrong. So yeah, I think, uh, there's a shift in the way people are seeing life. And I think we're trying to see the same thing for our kids.


This is fantastic. I love this quick dive into the life of a content creator influence her dad, you know, and and persons was really focused on health and living as opposed to living according to somebody else's standards. Uh, I hope, Yeah. I mean, I hope this will inspire the listeners to reconsider their life. I know for sure it's inspired. My wife, you know, is that We're talking about this yesterday to reconsider our life once again and the little nudges along the way. Tough. Um So how can people find more about you and you follow your are


So for us, I were called the Expedition. Er's Facebook is one of the first platforms that we were on. So we're on their instagram is second And now we are in that tic tac world a cz well, and, uh and basically we could be found on any of those that we could be Googled as well. And you'll see our discovery gigs from the past and that tourism board gigs as well. And ah, we're always open to getting a line dropped with anyone's visiting and Whistler


excellent will link to your being be Yes,


absolutely. I'm also on Airbnb experienced photographer. So I go Ah, when I'm in town, I take pictures of families in the village and and what not? And in the summertime, if I'm in town, I have a sea kayaking experience where it take people on the lake. Canoeing or kayaking? Yeah, again, Like I said, an entrepreneur, many


hats again. Like I said, I think we're not going back to the city again, huh?


Well, I've got a one bedroom. Could


fit two families. Well, thanks,


Roberto. Thank you


for having me. It's been fantastic. Thank you. Think Thank you for listening to another fantastic episode off the ride Dad Show. And if you like, this episode is shared with your friends. And, of course, check out smash nose dot com for more podcasts. They'll delight you and enlighten you all right. Until next time.

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