5 Life Lessons from a Billion Dollar CEO

2015-2-17-260Hi guys, Franklin Cruz here – REI Drill Sergeant and Mentor …

So as most of you guys know, I served in the Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was at this time that I learned lessons that would serve me a lifetime, and I had the honor of being an aide to General Summerall, whom I truly admire.

Now let me explain the level of responsibility that comes with being a General in his position… It’s equivalent to being a voted-in senator. Not only is he responsible for running a billion-dollar corporation, but this corporation is the Army. He is assigned billion-dollar assets to control, along with all the logistics involved and the people under his care.

Lives depended on his decisions and his leadership.

Working for him, I was amazed and wondered:

How is one person in charge of so much and not pulling out his hair?

So while aiding him, I made it my (side) mission to learn critical lessons that have made me the real estate entrepreneur that I am today…

4 Life Lessons to Help you Get a Life

From Craig Fuhr, The Fix & Flip Artiste …

As I’ve spent hundreds of hours speaking with students over the past several months, its occurred to me that we all are lacking one of life’s essential ingredients: Joy.

Where did it go? What happened to the bright, hopeful childlike exuberance in all of us?

I’ll never forget one of my favorite episodes  of Cheers where big Norm walks into the bar and Sam asks, “What’s happening, Norm?”

Norm replies, “Ugh…it’s a dog eat dog world, Sam, and I’m wearing Milkbone underwear.”

You laugh because that’s funy, but this is no joke.

I open every mentoring call with, “Hey [student name]….how are ya? How are things going?”

Inevitably, I get something like, “Man I’m just swamped,” or, “Geez Craig, it’s been tough lately,” or, “I’m struggling, but I’m working on it.”

How about you? I’m asking you right now; “How’s it going?” “How’s life treating you?”

If your answer sounds like any of the above, then read on my friend, because your boy, Craig, is here to give you some practical tips to make a fast (and maybe much-needed) 180 in your life.

I’ve spoken to thousands of real estate investors and one of the questions I love to ask the most is:

“Why did you get into real estate investing?”

100% of the time, the answer is, “I wanted more freedom in my life. I wanted to be happier.”

Why, then, does it seem that so many of my investor students and friends are so damn unhappy? Perhaps it’s because they’ve allowed their businesses to take over their personal lives…

Life Lesson #1:  Design your personal life first.

You are doomed to a relatively joyless life if you allow your business to dictate how you will live your personal life.

Design your personal goals first – then make your business fit those goals.

Listen up because this is crazy important…

lifeAs you think about your goals, you must think first about your personal life, NOT your business. You must think of your personal life, not money. When we’re working, even if we absolutely love our jobs, we are still not free, right?

That boundless sense of freedom comes in the personal moments doesn’t it? It comes when we are unstrapped from our smartphones, iPads and laptops, right?

So why then, would we design business goals first? Those goals only serve to maintain the lifestyles that we choose to live. They DO NOT give us freedom.

A sense of freedom comes when your spouse says, “Hey, rather than that crappy, too-short, 7-day trip to the beach, let’s take a 14-day vacation to someplace warm this Winter,” and because you’ve designed a business that serves your lifestyle, you’re able to reply with a resounding “Yes!”

That’s freedom. That’s joy.

I know it seems antithetical to what society teaches us, but take a look at society. how are they all doing? Pretty crappy, right? So why listen to society?

Sit down, take a hard and honest look at your life and ask yourself, “What do I want for my personal life, my health goals, my spiritual goals, my family goals,?” and “How will I build more joy and freedom into my life?”

For most, designing their personal goals is not easy…

But I want you to think back to when you were a kid. Allow yourself to dream like a kid dreams. Let your spirit run wild as you imagine joy like a 12-year-old kid on the last day of school. When you truly arrive at this child-like state, I want you to write down your personal goals.

This is where you are truly designing your freedom.

Life Lesson #2:  Design a life that requires less work.

If you own that big $500,000 house, the two $35,000 cars in the driveway, the 2-car garage so filled-up with crap and toys that your cars can’t fit in the garage, and a house full of everything that money can buy…you’ve designed a lifestyle that must be maintained by A LOT of work.

I’ll be honest, I like stuff. I like nice cars and big houses. I like the finer trappings of life…but I don’t let those things dictate how I am going to live my life. I’ve discovered that just like the new car smell wears away, so does the new house smell, and the new electronic smell.

Listen up – all material possessions tarnish with time. A brand new house just becomes a place to live. A shiny new car just becomes a way to get to work.

When you surround yourself with all of the material possessions that society says you’re supposed to have, you’re creating a lifestyle that must be serviced by money and work. You’re also creating a life where you’ll never be happy because your house won’t be as big or as grand as your neighbor’s, and your car will one day be tired and old. You cannot win at this game.

happyAsk yourself right now…What does it cost every month to be you? How much money MUST you earn every month just to maintain what you’ve got right now? How much money should you be putting away toward tomorrow’s retirement that instead is going towards today’s lifestyle?

Choose to live your life unencumbered by material possessions that bring you momentary and fleeting joy.

Choose to live your life with the endless joy and boundless freedom that comes from having time to get healthy, having real, quality time with your kids, having the time to make date nights with your spouse, and having stress-free time just to sit and read a book.

Do you want that life?

Life Lesson #3 Get rid of the debt and get rich!

Strangely enough, I know people who are actually motivated by debt. It’s true. Heck, even my brother has said to me, “I buy more things because they motivate me to make more money.”

The sad truth is, that the $30,000 Harley sits in his garage waiting to be taken for a joy-ride. The big camper begs to be taken out to the woods. The two quad-4-wheelers sit waiting, begging to be taken out in the mud. And saddest of all, his two beautiful kids sit waiting every night for him to come home to share a simple dinner.

You see….debt makes you a slave. Debt makes you do things you don’t want to do. Debt delays dreams.

And listen up right now – there is NO GOOD DEBT! People often say to me, “I have no debt Craig, only my house, and my cars, but that’s good debt.”

NO!

worseIs it good debt when you lose your job, and you lie awake every night crying on your pillow, wondering how you will make the next mortgage payment? Is it good debt when the repo man tows your car away? Is it good debt when you have to work overtime to pay the mortgage? Is it good debt when you can’t send your kid to the college she deserves, or go on that 2-week vacation that you deserve because you have to work to pay off that debt?

Is it good debt when you work tirelessly at a job that you hate because you know you can’t afford to lose the job you hate? Is it good debt because you’ve convinced yourself that your kids deserve a nice house and neighborhood to live in, but they never see you because you’re working so hard to maintain that debt?

Trust me, your kids just want a happy, stress-free parent who is present – NOT a nice house.

Even The Bible warns us against debt and extols the virtues of not going into debt. One of my favorite verses; Matthew 6:24 says, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Choose your master wisely for you can only serve one. Just know that no matter your choice, you will surely serve.

Life Lesson #4: For more joy, simplify your life.

If you lack joy, take a look at your life. How complicated is it? And how much of your life is dictated by what we’ve been indoctrinated to believe we must have?

When I take my kids to soccer or baseball practice, I’m inevitably confronted by a parent who is pissed to be there. They say things like, “Damn, I feel like all I do is cart these kids to practice,” or “This practice at dinner time is just ridiculous,” or “When will I have a Saturday just for me?”

But guess who is signing the kid up for all the sports teams? Yes… those same complaining parents!

We find ourselves trapped by these lives that we’re “supposed” to have, only to find that we’re too busy, and too stressed to enjoy them. Get off that roller-coaster. Enough is enough. Your kid will be just fine if he or she is not the next Derek Jeter or Maria Sherapova.

Set goals for your personal life that are based less on what society says you need, and more on what you think you need. You know when your spouse needs more of you. You know when your kids need more of you. You know when your mind and body need less stress and more joy….so why not build a life that will get you just that?

Remember, simple is better. Simple = Joy.

Craig

P.S. Need a mentor?

Lemme Hear You

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. If you need help designing your best life, I’d love to help you do just that. Hit me up in the below.

How Far Will You Go to Find a Deal?

From Tom Nardone, Millionaire Mailman … 

With many market's tightening up all around the country, investors are having to reach out to other markets to find deals that they can buy far below the market.

In my neck of the woods (and it's not woods it all, it's more like swamp and ocean here in Florida) many of our markets have got a lot of competition – investors and hedge funds and people from foreign lands are buying here.

A Hop, Skip and a Jump Away

We decided in my business to explore some other markets that I can reach within just a 3-hour drive from my home market of Fort Lauderdale.  So far, these travel ventures have been very profitable.

If the prices in your town over the past two years have taken a big jump, seriously consider looking in other markets where you think there may be less competition.

Top 10 Things I Outsource

2015-1-20-260Cody Sperber here, back at ya again with another action-packed lesson. For today’s topic, we’ll be answering a question that I get asked all the time:

“What’s the secret to my success?”

One ginormous breakthrough I contribute my success to was when I effectively learned how to outsource.

Outsourcing is when you contract business functions to an outside third party. It’s vital because it allows you how to focus on the tasks that require your highest and best skills by freeing you up from daily basic business operations.

I know you guys are now wondering what some of the things that I outsource are, so for today’s lesson I’m going to share the top 10 things I outsource.

How to Calculate Your Net Worth as a Real Estate Investor

2015-1-13-260Hi guys, Franklin Cruz here – REI Drill Sergeant and Mentor …

I lived a good portion of my life serving in the military and had no idea what "Net Worth" even was, let alone how to go about calculating my own. Now, I get the question all the time from my students.

 They ask me: “How do I figure out my net?”

Well, look no further… I’m going to show you today this quick, easy way to calculate your net worth as a real estate investor. Knowing yours will be super helpful.

May I Have the Definition Please?

Most amazing Real Estate Investing event that NO ONE has EVER Heard of ….

Our Founder here at Clever Investor wanted to do something special for our top performers. Cody Sperber wanted to see real students make real deals in real time with their mentors right there to help. So we thought of Clever Labs, which is an exclusive 2-day event for elite level Clever Investor students. Coaches, so-called “Gurus” and real estate companies will talk your ear off at seminars about doing deals. Almost all of us have been there before we found out what actually works with real estate investing

clever1

But Clever Labs is not like those boring REI seminars at all. Clever Labs is all about real deals happening in real time. Select students attending a Clever Labs event get designated into groups that help keep each other accountable and reach their goals.

In 2 days, students gain more confidence and knowledge than in years of trying to do it themselves. These lucky students also get a hands on, step by step process of how to land lucrative deals - in REAL TIME. With over $50,000 worth of one-on-one time with mentors over 2 days, there are NO other events like Clever Labs out there!

Demystifying Comps – It Ain’t Rocket Science

2014-12-30-260From Craig Fuhr, The Fix & Flip Artiste …

I can’t tell you the amount of phone calls I’ve had with newbie investors, as well as veteran investors, on the topic of “How to find real estate comps.”  I’ve spent countless hours speaking with investors about this and frankly, I think I have it down to a science.

So listen up my investor friend – this blog post will put an end to any frustration you have when it comes to pulling comps. Hip hip hooray!

Training Your Realtor

First and foremost, if you are not a Realtor, you must train the Realtor on your team to give you what you need. Remember, they don’t teach Realtors what investors do in “Realtor school.” So, you cannot expect a Realtor to automatically know what you need to make your investing decisions easier when it comes to comps. If you take just a little bit of time up front to train your Realtor how to pull comps for you, your frustration level will be greatly reduced.

Many people see comps as nothing short of looking into a crystal ball. Let me assure you, nothing could be further from the truth. Licensed appraisers spend years learning how to evaluate properties for their value. We don’t have that luxury. We don’t have the time or the money to elicit the help of a licensed appraiser every time we need to evaluate comps for a home that we’d like to purchase.  What we really need is a down-and-dirty but highly effective way of pulling comps.

Seller Calls: The Art of Building Rapport

2014-12-16-260Over the years, I’ve talked to thousands and thousands of potential sellers. By trial and error, I‘ve developed an art to mastering the negotiating technique that I’m going to demonstrate with a script for you today.

Keep in mind, when it comes to that first phone call with a motivated seller, you need to control the conversation and achieve these 5 objectives:

  • Build rapport with the seller over the phone.
  • Identify what is motivating the potential seller to sell.
  • Collect information about the property.
  • Set a preliminary price.
  • Make an appointment to see the property.

Okay, are you ready for a little impromptu role playing? (No, not that kind…)

Our Scenario

I sent out my nifty postcards to tons of absentee owners with high amounts of equity. A motivated seller, whom we’ll call “Bud,” received one of my postcards and gave me a call.

How We Measure Our Success with Seller Calls

2014-12-09-260Franklin Cruz here – REI Drill Sergeant and Mentor …

Today, I’m giving you a chance to look behind the scenes at one of the coolest aspects of our student coaching…

I’m going to let you in on how to measure your success when it comes to working with sellers.

While I can’t give you the full spreadsheet to enjoy that my students use, I can show you some visuals of what you’ll hear me describe in the audio.

The audio is clipped from a private conversation between me and a colleague where I was explaining to him what we do. I just happened to record the conversation and I’m gonna share with you a slice of our conversation. You can follow along with the numbers you hear me talking about in the audio with the screenshots I’ve placed below.

Basically, I want to give you an idea of how we are internally helping our students track whether or not they are winning – and how well they’re winning – in their conversations with motivated sellers. Even though you’re not a coaching student and don’t have the spreadsheet, you can still take the ideas that you hear me describe and cross reference them with the screenshot pictures below and apply it to your benefit.

Look, these super-cool tips will add a whole heck-of-a-lot of value for you in tracking your effectiveness when dealing with sellers, which is a critical piece in any REI business.

Get Your Head Right To Get Past ‘The Dip’

2014-11-25-260From Craig Fuhr, The Fix & Flip Artiste …

This post comes directly from a few 1-on-1 calls I’ve had recently with several of my mentoring students. So as not to offend the innocent, I will make no mention of their names. But if I’m being honest, I could list the names of most any investor – as most of us will struggle at some point in our investing careers with the exact same issues.

Sticking to It. Persistence. Getting Past ‘The Dip.’

Maybe you have a friend or family member who has had success as a real estate investor. Maybe you saw a late night commercial or attended a seminar. Maybe you found Clever Investor or Cody Sperber while surfing your Facebook timeline.

Then it hits you…like a 2-ton lead brick and you say to yourself:

“NOW is the time. NOW is MY time. I’m going to follow my dreams. I’m going to crush this – and I’m going to be a real estate investor.”

And in that very lucid and immensely powerful moment you could walk barefoot over 100 yards of white-hot embers because you are completely convinced and convicted in your decision. Nothing can stop you!  Nothing!

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