Life Reimagined Insights with Entrepreneur and Nomad Zach Boyette
Meet Zach Boyette, a blossoming entrepreneur and fellow nomad who is designing life on his terms. I first met Zach while working on the growth team at Toptal, and we’ve since traveled to three continents together.
Over the years, I’ve been impressed with Zach’s ability to thoughtfully and systematically prioritize learning and growing his career into something aligned with his entrepreneurial core.
Today, I’m excited to share an interview with Zach in which he discusses his life philosophy, mission-critical habits, favorite books, and most important life lessons.
Who is Zach Boyette?
Zach Boyette is Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Galactic Fed, a 100+ staff fully-remote marketing agency with employees all around the world. Previously he worked at Google, Toptal, and Procter & Gamble.
Given the remote nature of his work, Zach is a “digital nomad,” living full-time out of Airbnbs (and rarely staying anywhere longer than one week). In the last 3 years alone he has visited 40+ countries, from western Europe to Morocco to Japan to Colombia and everywhere in between (as well-documented on his colorful Instagram account). Zach is also an alumnus of Remote Year, a travel program for working professionals.
Zach’s background is in entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and software engineering, but he’s the first to admit he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life exiting college (and still figuring it out as he goes). Learn from him about finding your passions and building a non-traditional career path.
What did you learn growing up that still sticks with you today?
Empathy and imagination are the most important things in the world. Growing up I was a very shy kid, and read tons and tons of fiction books. I imagined myself living all these different lives, whether saving the world from aliens or sailing around the world to save turtles. I’ve gotten more social as I’ve grown up but I still try to view people through their intentions and their actions, rather than status.
Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
I’d love to speak as an adult with my mom’s dad, William McNeal. His nickname was “Wild Bill.” He was famous for traveling around the world, putting himself in adventure’s way, and having a sort of F-U rebellious attitude that got him far in life. He became an amateur author towards the end of his life and left me all the rights to his books in his will. He died while I was in early elementary school, and I hardly remember him, but I think we’re kindred spirits.
What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?
During my senior year of college, I started a software startup with my best friend Marissa. Everyone else was out partying while we were stuck in our dorms coding all night. We skipped Beach Week for a hackathon. Instead of traveling around Europe after graduating, we rented a tiny apartment in Nashville and cranked for 16 hours per day, surviving on fish sticks and frozen margaritas.
Our startup eventually folded, but it was one of the best times in my life. I realized that you don’t need to follow the normal path of life to find enjoyment, and people respect the hell out of giving something your all. That little startup laid the foundation for my current success as an entrepreneur.
If you were to give your 18-year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Find something that excites you and plunge down the rabbit hole. Don’t worry what other people think now, they’ll be asking you for advice later.
What habits have you developed that have improved the quality of your life?
Exercise – every day, everywhere, no matter what. I travel full-time but I always find time to sneak in lifting weights and running every day. Exercise is the ultimate energizer; I don’t need coffee. Plus it lets me eat like a hippo and still be in shape.
Read Books – constantly. In the Uber, on your phone at the gym, while you’re having lunch. Whenever you can. As Charlie Munger said, “In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time – none, zero.” I aim for a 50/50 split of fiction and non-fiction. Fiction expands your mind, non-fiction fills it with stuff.
Be Open to New Opportunities – fortune favors the bold. The world is shaped by people who make rapid decisions, instead of waiting and thinking and missing your shot.
What are three books that have greatly shaped your thinking?
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – a classic sci-fi book about a young boy who saves the world from invading aliens. But it’s so much more than that. I’ve re-read this series many times over my life and it always reminds that all struggles are surmountable, and life is about understanding each other.
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber – the ultimate book for any entrepreneur. Business is not just a mob of people working on the same thing. If you want to excel, you need to build a system; a documented, automated, living thing that runs itself and evolves organically.
Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts – throwing this one in because I just finished it. This book was packed with history, life lessons, and cautionary tales. Napoleon was an extraordinary man who changed the whole world with his ambition, but his severe flaws (inability to trust others, indiscretion with human life, giant ego) were his downfall.
How do you decide what projects, people, or experiences to prioritize in life?
Projects – I look for work that helps people grow their vision, and grows with me as I evolve as a person. That’s what I love about running Galactic Fed – we’ve been able to help so many entrepreneurs and executives scale the hell out of their companies. It’s rewarding to be a part of those journeys.
People – I like people who are empathetic, imaginative, and open-minded. The best late night conversations are with friends who don’t take themselves too seriously, and are curious enough to question the status quo.
Experiences – if you know me, you know I’m constantly on the move. I don’t pay rent anywhere, change locations every 7 days on average, and live full-time out of Airbnbs. Therefore I prioritize experiences that allow me to connect with people I enjoy – or places and events that have a deeper connection. I’d rather visit all the stops on the ancient silk road than see all the major foreign cities (though I’ve done plenty of that too).
What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)?
This is basic AF but I’m in love with my Apple AirPods. I can’t imagine life without them. I’m on the phone constantly for work, and I’m constantly pacing. I can’t keep still. I gesture with my hands, lean on walls, take notes. Having that mobility has been a game changer for my workflow.
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?.
I used to care greatly what other people thought before I tried something new or outlandish, like starting my first company in college or quitting Google to join a remote startup and travel the world. But, while I still value the opinion of my close friends, I’ve learned to trust my gut and do what feels right.