Joel Gandara is the CEO and founder of Morro Capital, where they acquire e-commerce businesses, with over 20 brands in their portfolio.

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

Born in Communist Cuba and fled on an overcrowded boat as a kid. Grew up in the San Francisco area.

I grew up poor and learned tremendous lessons about hustling, working hard, investing, and gratitude.

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

Connecting with people and building strong relationships.

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

Doing things the way we’ve always done them. Whether people say this or not, many live their lives this way.

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?

After spending 15 years with my head down nonstop working, saving, and investing everything into real estate, the 2008 real estate crash hit, and I lost everything I had ever worked for.

I learned to invest for cash flow, not to speculate on future increases in value.

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

I don’t quit easily. I plug away, little by little. In a get rich slow, type of guy.

What is your morning routine?

I used to get up at 6 am every day and go nonstop till 11 pm, but as I got into my 40s I made the conscious decision to sleep more than 5 hours per night and now I wake up without an alarm the great majority of the time, which gets me up about 7 am.

I drink coffee, walk my kids to the bus stop then work out.

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

Constant improvement. I’m addicted to learning and improving. I don’t need to do it all in one day, but I’d over time I can get a little better than I was before then I feel like I’m living a worthy life.

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

I live by my calendar. Everything I say that I’ll accomplish, whether to others or to myself, goes in my calendar. I am my own accountability partner and I’m a really good one because I don’t allow excuses and I’m all about productivity.

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

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

I tell myself, “Get off the Couch” all the time. Ironically I rarely ever sit on a couch (or even sit much for that matter). Get up and do it! Whatever that it is.