By age 6, Gay Gad­dis

Inc. (USA) - - SIDE HUSTLE -

knew how to work a field of cat­tle. Grow­ing up in a small town just out­side of Hous­ton, she spent much time on her god­fa­ther’s farm in Lib­erty, Texas. “I don’t know what it’s like to not be on the land,” she says. Af­ter ma­jor­ing in art in col­lege and brief stints in copy writ­ing and pub­lic re­la­tions, Gad­dis turned to ad­ver­tis­ing. In 1989, at 32 and with three young kids, Gad­dis cashed in her $16,000 IRA and put all her money into start­ing an ad agency. The big break for T3, her Austin-based firm, came in 1992, when she took on a new client, Dell, which soon be­came one of the first com­pa­nies to sell its wares on­line. “No­body knew any­thing about sell­ing on­line,” says Gad­dis. “We had to learn it to­gether.” For­tune 100 com­pa­nies came calling. A few years later, Gad­dis and her hus­band bought the 900acre prop­erty that’s now Dou­ble Heart Ranch; now she splits her time be­tween the ranch and Austin. “Ranch­ing and farm­ing—it’s not a big money-maker any­more,” she ad­mits. The prop­erty breaks even (or turns a small profit) thanks to hay and live­stock sales. “This isn’t a city boy’s week­end play­ground,” she says. “It’s a real dog­gone work­ing ranch.”

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