Adam Cortez is the owner of ARC Creative Co., an atypical marketing agency helping out-of-the-box thinkers in luxury industries crush their goals quarter after quarter with strategic marketing blueprints and creative campaign planning. He helps small biz owners book new clients online by creating amazing content delivery systems that convert.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up in Silicon Valley, my father is a small business owner and my mother is a teacher. I grew up going to BNI meetings with my dad, learning how to create meaningful business relationships. Then in the afternoons going to school with my mom, helping her and other teachers clean their room, organize papers, and get ready for class the next day or week. I was always surrounded by entrepreneurs and it fueled my desire to be a small business owner myself.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

I wished I started saving money earlier in life. Instead of spending all my cash on games I never played or the newest “thing”. Now that I have a family and am hyper-focused on work and family life, I wish that nest egg was bigger. Something I hope my children learn faster than me.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Oh, so many… I think the biggest mistake clients make in marketing is listening to experts say “email is dead”. This is the biggest lie I have ever heard. Email is ALIVE and WELL.

Almost all my clients that run an active email marketing campaign, automation, or systems are KILLING it! Most of the time you are not emailing enough or sending offers enough, that your audience is not even seeing the emails you send.

And of course, people will remove themselves from your mailing list, that is because they are not your ideal client!

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

Right before I decided to leave for my four years abroad, I was going through some of the darkest times I have experienced in my short life. My business was failing, I was depressed, living in my dad’s office because I could not afford the dollar menu at McDonald’s let alone rent.

In order for me to pick myself up, and dust myself off, I had to change a bunch of habits. I had to stop drinking, needed to start working out, I decided to join a group of business owners that were making major moves, and fake it till I made it. I really just had to change my mindset, and change the group of people that I spent time with.

That ended up with me finally leaving the comforts of Silicon Valley, and traveling around the world. A change of environment is not always running away, sometimes it is necessary to survive and remove yourself from toxic situations.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

I don’t know if I would call myself successful, maybe resilient is a better word. It is my drive to always find better ways of doing things, trying new things, exploring situations outside of my comfort zone.

The main contributor to that is travel. Travel immediately makes you uncomfortable, you are surrounded by strangers, put into situations outside of your control, maybe you landed in a place that you don’t even remotely speak the language. Yet, you have to figure out how to survive, eat, find a bathroom.

What is your morning routine?

My morning routine has been a bit of a mess lately. I just got married, and have two step kids now, so things are not regulated. But it normally starts at 6 am, with turning on the coffee pot and reading the news. Then I read and delete junk email. Followed up by a shower. Then I start my deep work process. God, that makes me sound just like my father.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

I think the most important habit I have kept up with over the years is meditation. I may not do it EVERY morning, but I try to incorporate it every day. Sometimes after lunch, or before the kids go to bed. It has allowed me to stay calm, and breathe. To let things go, and remember what is truly important.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

I have to calendar everything out. I go through my calendar on a daily basis and block out times to do deep work, emails, calls, everything. Without keeping track and staying organized with my day, my life would be a mess.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

I think books find you just at the right time when you need their guidance or a bit of wisdom before you take off and do a thing. For me, Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss was there for me, right when I was about to start traveling the world. It gave me the wisdom and tools, to know that it was the perfect time for me to leave everything behind and explore the world for four years. I have many others like that, but Tools of Titans really gave me the kick I needed to create my own life.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes