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From Rockstar to CEO, Financial Entrepreneur Marty Chapman Brilliantly Inspires to Live Life to The Fullest




With nearly forty years in the financial field, Marty Chapman, CEO of Marlo Holdings, has touched the lives of many throughout his entrepreneurial career.  A charismatic and inspiring leader, Chapman leads by example with his incredible work ethic and passion for life.  We were fortunate to sit down with Chapman to discover what drives him forward on his path to success, as we discuss business, life, and vital keys to the pursuit of health, wealth and happiness.

Budrow – You have incredibly deep experience within the financial field, what influenced you to begin your career within the financial business?

Chapman – I was actually a professional guitar player before that.  I played in a few different bands and I was recording, and we needed money (lol) That wasn’t making the money and the right opportunities came along.  It’s a funny thing you and you hear it said a lot, you go to school for one particular career path and few people actually take that career path to where they think they are going to be.  I’m a firm believer that life will point you in a particular direction and you just need to see the road signs that this is the way to go.

Budrow – You mention seeing signs that point you in a different direction, what signs did you see that redirected you from professional guitar player to financial entrepreneur?

Chapman – Interestingly enough as humans we all have motivating things that hit that pleasure center of the brain.  Playing guitar is definitely an area that stimulates that pleasure center for me (along with probably about a dozen other things out there).  One of the things I always thought in my younger days was that I could never see myself behind a desk, but the truth of the matter is that just like artist creates things, for me working in the financial business, making money, knowing the right paths to take with certain investing and coming up with solutions to problems that others may not, is a good push of that pleasure center for me.  I think some people resist things that may be a good fit for them because its not what they expected, but once you start to see that something feels right and its hitting certain areas of your brain you feel fulfilled.  For me I’m a workaholic, so I needed that feeling that I didn’t want to go home at six o’clock at night.  I noticed I wanted to stay at my desk until midnight, sometimes I want to work seven days a week – things like that.

Budrow – Referring to the pleasure center of the brain, you are referring to a dopamine release from the work you do?

Chapman – Exactly!  Exactly, its a funny thing I speak at a lot of conventions and I say some of you may be addicts in some way, some of you may not be but I got news for everybody – you’re all addicts, you just haven’t found the thing that really just turns you on, and hopefully what it is that turns you on is a good thing and not something that is a detriment to your health or your life.  I think its just the way our brains work and function.

Budrow – So you would relate the feeling of achieving goals and hard work at your desk, to the same feeling you would get while on stage performing on stage for a crowd with your guitar?

Chapman – Correct, correct – and by the way, it is performing.  That’s a very good analogy that you just made, because there are a lot of people that have similar ideas but who can sell the idea?  That is a huge act, because there are a lot of people that know what’s right but they can’t communicate properly to sell the idea, or convince the stake holders that this is the idea they should go with.  I’ve seen really smart people sit at their desk afraid to speak up, mentioning to a few people maybe this company would be better if they did X, Y and Z – why don’t you make it known to the people that count?  They are shy, it’s one thing to tell somebody to do something but it’s another thing to motivate them and make them understand its the right thing to do.  I’ve always had a knack for making people understand its the right thing to do, and its interesting that with a high turnover in life with businesses, a lot of people that work for me have been with me for twenty to thirty years, they don’t want to go any place else even if they’d make more money, because they feel confident with the decision processes that I make, and I trust the people around me to have my back.  The point is it’s sales, it’s performance, it’s making people believe in you and then you can do anything.  

Budrow – What do you look for when building a team and how do you motivate that team to support your vision?

Chapman – So when I hire people, the first thing I do is throw the resume into the garbage.  The next thing, I really don’t care about education too much.  I look for the raw talent of the individual, because going back to the very beginning of our conversation – I didn’t expect to be where I am today and I think most people know that they have a knack for a certain job or a certain skill set, so I look for a person that I can read inside of them and read their personality, and understand that they might be good for that job.  I look for loyalty in an individual, I look for somebody that’s open minded to believe in what the mission is for this particular job. 

Budrow – How do you motivate and inspire your employees to support your vision?

Chapman – I am the type of person that I promise you I am going to do X, Y and Z, irrespectively of what it means, I am going to do X, Y and Z.  So if you work for me, I may not be perfect but for example if I say you’re going to get a raise, it would be nothing unless the fault of your own, that would not get the raise.  One thing I’ve seen in businesses is there is a lot of inconsistency with managers.  My employees know if I say I’m going to do something, I do it.  

Budrow – From an employee point of view, what do you hold valuable from a leadership stand point?

Chapman – Honesty, following through on your promises, sincerity – I don’t want to walk into a business being told we are marching in one direction, only to find out we are marching in another direction.  Now that’s not to say if the situation’s not right that I wouldn’t take the job, but I want to have an honest view point of the organization, what it’s mission is, and what the culture of that organization is.  If you as an employer give me that to work with, then I know how to attack my job.  

Budrow – Regarding company culture, how would you describe your company’s culture and your personal culture that you wish to instill?

Chapman – Again I like a culture of honesty, integrity, treating each other as equals, and working together to get to the goal.  Everyone is enriched when that happens.  I like to make things as efficient as possible along the way.  I don’t like politics at work, and I don’t mean Republican/Democrat.  Whether it be brown nosing or what you may, it seems to be a huge thing in work places.  We are all a team, and you better yourself by understanding that we are all a team.  As an employee or an employee that will work for me, it is a team effort and you will be noticed if you support the team.  

Budrow – Going back to the pleasure center of the brain and the signs, can you recall a defining moment where you realized “wow, this financial business is for me, I am really enjoying this”?

Chapman – When I went into it, in the beginning it was kind of like well, can I do this or can I not do this?  I couldn’t give you the exact moment, but I can tell you when I exceeded the expectations that the company put on me in the beginning, that was the defining moment.  There was nothing greater than to see the results.  My manager came over and said ‘wow you’re incredible, you’re telling me you’ve never done this before?’ I said no, and he goes ‘well you belong here’ that was a defining moment. 

Budrow – Was there ever any doubt regarding your career path?

Chapman – I had some health problems a few years ago, which gave me a little bit of doubt that I should go back to work at that point in time because I just didn’t know what was right for my family.  I’m an intense person, and going back to culture I work at a certain intensity level, I can’t work at any other level.  To do the guitar analogy, my amp is always at ten.  You’re never going to see me in a down mood or lackadaisical about anything.  When I had the health issues, I wasn’t sure if I could dial it up to ten anymore, but I was able to and my doubts left.  I’m just not a give up person.

Budrow – With so much passion and intensity for what you do, how do you manage your time to balance work with family and other aspects of your life?

Chapman – I am just a very rigid individual across the board.  I am up every morning between 4am-4:15am, and I am in bed every night by about 11pm-11:30pm.  I don’t sleep a lot, I am about a four hour a night sleeper, which is more than I need.  There are certain things I need to do everyday.  I know what I’m going to do and I have a plan in mind, which isn’t to say if something comes out of nowhere from left field that I can’t put it into the day, but at least up until that point in time I’ve checked off all the boxes for the day.  

Budrow – So you essentially have a very particular routine that you go through each day?

Chapman – Correct.

Budrow – With that being said, the routine keeps you focused and on task for the day, do you write out your plans and routines to ensure you check them off?

Chapman – I write them down in my head to be honest with you.  I have a really unique memory, that’s one thing people will tell you about me.  I can mentally say to myself at four o’clock I have to do this, at five o’clock I have to do that, I just know what I have to do.  That said it’s good to have the routine, but you have to be flexible so when something unexpected comes you can move things around.

Budrow – In regards to the early rising, can you describe your morning routine?

Chapman – I don’t need an alarm clock, I’m up between 4am-4:15am.  I walk my dog and feed my cat, and from there I put on my running gear and I’m outside.  And honestly, sometimes I don’t feel like running.  Sometimes my body is telling me ‘no, no, no’ but I’m saying ‘yes, yes, yes’ and I run through it, and that’s the power.  Once you hit that second mile and that pleasure center starts kicking in, that’s the power hour right there.  Which it’s very funny, people that work with me (and I say with me not for me) know that I’m up at that time and will sometimes adjust to my type of schedule to work with me, so I’ll get phone calls when I’m out running and I gotta tell you, it is so invigorating at that time in the morning.  You’re huffing and puffing and somebody is calling you to discuss work and it is just great.  

Budrow – Sounds like the brain is just ready to go at that point

Chapman – Oh yeah!  I gotta tell you, I think some people are day people and some people are night people, but night people I just don’t understand that – but I understand day people really well, because you function the best in the morning.  I get up at 4am, I don’t have breakfast until 10am.  It’s six hours until I eat or drink anything because I have so much going on that I make my own energy, I don’t need any food at that time.

Budrow – So you are just completely running on that dopamine rush at that point?

Chapman – Correct.

Budrow – You say people work with you and not for you, can you elaborate on that statement?

Chapman – I try to give my key people and everyone an opportunity to have profit sharing in our organization.  If they work hard, there is something for them there.  It’s not that they are working for an hourly rate or a salary, and I will turn to my people and ask them ‘what do you think?’  Sometimes they will say ‘well, you know better’ and I’ll say no – I asked you what you think because I want to know, I wouldn’t have you in that position if I didn’t feel confident for you to tell me your thoughts.  I think people that work with me appreciate that their opinion counts and they aren’t just told what to do.  I think it’s important.  I know I perform better in roles where I felt like I had ownership in the project or the organization’s mission, so I try to give the people the same thing.

Budrow – With running and guitar, you have a physical activity and a creative activity that keeps you balanced, do you partake in any other activities that have helped shaped your life and work ethic?

Chapman – Those are the two biggest, but I do write sometimes, I write short stories and musical lyrics every once in a while and I enjoy that how it comes out.  I enjoy good food, especially in the evening.  I’m not really artistic from a standpoint of painting or anything like that, but I like things to be very uniformed and I look for certain combinations of color when I’m doing any type of decorating or buying clothes, but running and guitar are definitely the two big ones.

Budrow – Are there any activities that you recommend other entrepreneurs to partake in?

Chapman – Running is not for everyone, but I think some sort of physical exercise is extremely important to being great at work and having a happy home life.  There is energy that has to be burned and a strong body ties to a strong mind.  You could be a swimmer or lift weights (I do like to swim by the way, and lift weights occasionally) but definitely something that makes your body burn and release the chemicals in the brain to be creative.  

Budrow – What would you say is the most important thing for an entrepreneur to focus on outside of their business?

Chapman – The most important thing to have in life if you want to be successful, is having a happy home life.  If you don’t have a happy home life, you’re never going to be successful in life.  I’m lucky to have a great marriage in my life, and irrespective of if you’re married or of your sexual persuasion, whatever it is in life you have something that you feel confident that when you go to work the world is not going to end inside your personal life.  I think that is very important.  

Budrow – With that being said, are there any personal ideals or core values that you hold yourself accountable to that are vital to success?

Chapman – Yes, no adversity, no stop signs.  There is adversity, adversity happens in everybody’s life – but you can’t let things put a stop sign in front of your face.  If you’re the type of person that when something happens it’s the end of the world, and you bring it into your work, you are going to have a problem.  Tying in to what I said before, I know people that have horrible home lives and they bring it into the office and they can’t think straight at work.  They are waiting for their significant other to call, they have problems with the kids or the dog, the cat, whatever it is and it affects their job.  When you get into work – no stop signs.  Go to work, that is your primary concern at that point in time.  Bad stuff happens to everybody, I don’t care who you are it happens to everybody, but some people are better at saying screw it and not let that put the ultimate stop sign in front of their face.  You got to put it aside, and keep persevering at what you want in life. 

Budrow – Would you say that is a personal mantra for you?  ’No Adversity, No Stop Signs’  

Chapman – Correct, yes, but I want to be very clear – it’s not saying that there isn’t adversity, it is saying that you don’t let it become a stop sign.  There is always adversity, it is how you handle it.

Budrow – When you personally face adversity, how do you personally avoid the metaphoric stop sign?  How do you handle adversity?

Chapman – It makes me stronger, being able to overcome situations.  Believe me I’ve more adversity than most people in my life, but I was able to overcome those situations and I encourage a little bit of adversity in my life because sometimes its a thrill to deal with those situations. 

Budrow – Would you say there is a pattern or a formula to success that you see in others that are successful as well?

Chapman – People that I admire in business are people that may have been terminated from a particular job for no reason, maybe they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but they picked themselves and they moved on.  A gentleman that worked for a few different financial institutions that I know very well, had his position eliminated and went through a few different jobs before finding the right role again and now he’s been with his latest job for about ten years.  I see that in people that you just don’t give up, you have to keep going. 

Budrow – As such a motivational figure, you have impacted many people’s lives with your drive and positive outlook.  Is there anybody that has impacted you in a similar way as a mentor or positive figure in your life?

Chapman – I could spend hours telling you different stories about people, but I am going to select one person and tell you my father, he was that inspiration to me.  Everybody is a flawed individual in their own way, and my father was no exception.  With that being said, when I’d talk to him about problems he was always the person to say look on the bright side of things.  No matter how bad it looks today, you’re going to get to a place that you’re going to be happy, and you need those bad moments to understand the direction you’re heading in to be happy again.  I often tell the story that when he and I were seeing each other every day in the 80’s before he passed away prematurely in 2001, I probably agreed with about 10%-15% of what he said, but by the time he died I knocked it up to about 30%-40%.  Here we are about twenty years now from when he died, and I can tell you now I agree with about 90% of what he said, and if I live long enough I’ll probably figure the other 10% out.  He’s my ultimate inspiration and I always want to be like him.

Budrow – Is there a particular moment or conversation you had with your father that sticks with you today?

Chapman – I had some conversations with him right before he died in the hospital, which he had changed his opinions and belief system on a few things at the time, and I thought it was really interesting that a person that was completely set in his beliefs and the ways that he was, had made some changes in opinions in the last couple weeks of his life.  I remember sitting in the hospital with him talking about a few things in particular, and he was saying he was wrong about them.  I remember feeling kind of shocked in a way, that a person that I felt was as rigid as I am was open minded at the end to see a couple subjects that he may have been wrong about over the time.  That really stuck with me.

Budrow – Would you say that influenced your thinking and perspectives to look at things differently yourself?

Chapman – I think it made me a little bit more flexible than I was before, and I think being flexible is a key.  It kind of contradicts what I said before, but you can be rigid and you can be flexible at the same time.  Rigid is only the way you handle things.  You can look at different situations and see that one calls for one type of approach, and another calls for another type of approach.  I think it definitely worked on me a little bit that I could be more flexible than I though I could be.

Budrow – With all that being said, if you could go back in time to have a conversation with your younger self, what pieces of advice or wisdom would you provide yourself?

Chapman – Keep playing the guitar and don’t go into the financial business!  JUST KIDDING, no, no, no I’m just kidding – you can go back in time and tell yourself to do X, Y and Z and not A, B, and C, but you’re still going to do A, B and C because A, B and C was right for you at that time, and irrespective of what you know today, at that minute in time A, B and C was the right thing.  Even if you know how it’s going to turn out, you’re still going to do A, B and C.  I really believe in that.

Budrow – That’s a great point, and I suppose if you were to go back and change your decisions and not do A, B and C, you wouldn’t be where you are now.

Chapman – Correct, and it ties into what my dad said – as bad as it seems today you had to go through that to get to where you are today.  I can’t tell you as a blanket statement that I wouldn’t change a decision based on what I know now, but I’ll tell you this if you could go back in time the right thing to do at that time was to get in that car and take that road trip to California, and the right thing to do a that particular time was to quit playing guitar professionally and get into the financial business, the right thing at time was to leave this job for that job or to go for this interview or not go for this interview – again I’m very happy and I feel secure in myself with where I am today.  I love my life, is everything perfect?  No, but who’s to say if I did something differently things wouldn’t be different and I’d want to be where I am today.  The only way to be where I am today is to go through mistakes, you have to learn from your mistakes.

Budrow – You mention an impulsive trip to California, is that a personal story that came to mind?

Chapman – Oh yeah, absolutely!  I left a job in 1991 working at a bank.  I had a few dollars and I decided it was a very good time to go out and see the country and see places I haven’t seen or have only seen as business, so I happened to go out to California at that time.  I went to see it not as a business person but how I dreamed about it as a kid, and it was great to be out there and I had a good time.  Then eventually I turned around, came back home and got another job.  I think you see a lot of college students that take a year off and take a trip across Europe, is it a good decision or a bad decision?  Doesn’t matter, you need it.  You need the mistakes that you make.

Budrow – Just for fun, you mentioned your love for guitars, can you tell me a little bit about your love for guitars?

Chapman – I have a very expensive collection of guitars.  I buy collector’s pieces, I sell collector’s pieces, right now I have probably between 50-60 guitars.  Some of them are made to order for me from Gibson, I have Fender send me guitars to test out, I’d say my favorite guitar is the Gibson Les Paul because there are sounds that you can get out of a Gibson Les Paul that you can’t get out of any other guitar and those are sounds that I like, which the class rock sound of the 70’s.  I like that over drive sound within the guitar, and the Les Paul is a very unique machine that you can get that particular sound out of.  I had a guitar made with my cat’s picture on it, it was a custom made guitar by Watson Guitars in California.  I really like that particular guitar, and just love the instrument and hearing the different sounds and tones you can make by positioning your amplifier in the studio and using certain effects on the guitar.

Budrow – The guitar with the cat sounds really neat, what kind of cat do you have?

Chapman – I have a Chinchilla Persian that my wife and I found in an animal shelter.  At the time that we found him they said he was between three and five years old.  We’ve had him for eleven years so he’s somewhere between fourteen and sixteen so I just average it out to fifteen.  He’s still running around the house with the dog having a great time, and we love him.  He’s absolutely my best friend.  He’s the most empathetic, sweet cat that you’ve ever met.  He doesn’t have a cat personality he has a dog personality.  We just love him to death.

Budrow – Back to the guitars, if you could play with any band, even if just as a one time experience – who would you play for?

Chapman – There are two bands that I absolutely would’ve loved to play with in my life.  One is The Beatles, the other is Led Zeppelin.  I’m definitely into classic rock, bands like Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Guns and Roses, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne – which one of the greatest concerts I’ve saw in my life was Black Sabbath on their last tour, the end tour.  Just watching these guys that I listened to their music for years, in their 70’s still jumping around on stage doing things, just blowing my mind.

Budrow – Ozzy is certainly a legend, that’s for sure

Chapman – He really is, here’s a guy who’s had adversity but he just gets by it, you gotta be proud of a person like that and amazed by them.  

Budrow – It all goes back to the mantra ‘no adversity, no stop signs’

Chapman – That’s correct!

Budrow – Is there anything else you’d like to add that comes to mind from the topics of the interview?

Chapman – Fairness is a human concept.  I hear a lot of people say this isn’t fair, or that’s not fair, but who’s to say what’s fair and what’s not fair?   It’s just the concept in your head to thing something is fair or not fair.  If something happens that is not fair, go out there and make it fair.  Not everything in life is going to treat you fair, not every date that you’re going to have irrespective of who it’s with is going to treat you fairly.  Not every political decision that is made in government are you going to perceive as fair or right, but you as an individual, anybody out there can change by going out there and making things the way they are.  Don’t dwell on this is not fair and I’m screwed because this is not fair, go do something about it.  Nobody wants to hear anyone’s perception on what’s fair and what’s not fair.  

Budrow – One of my personal pet peeves, is when people talk a lot about what they want to or what they don’t like but they never take action on it.  I often look to limit my time around these types of people.

Chapman – Because they push negativity on you, and you don’t want that negativity, you don’t need that negativity.  You want to be a positive individual that is plowing your way ahead.  Yeah so this isn’t fair, I don’t agree with this guy’s decision, or that girl’s decision, I don’t care – my direction is up and I am going to leave anything that I don’t agree with in the dust, and I can turn around and makes things better everywhere because I am going to stay positive and I am committed to making life in my sphere of influence the best it possibly can be, and hopefully in everyone else’s too.  

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With experience as a full-time environmentalist and part time journalist, Lisa heads the post of editor at California Herald. She covers all the significant proceedings in the world of Environment while editing all the news pieces posted over the website to ensure everything aligns with the journalistic format.

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