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From Farm Boy Beginnings to $15M in Real Estate Holdings with Rock Thomas

The BiggerPockets Podcast
70 min read
From Farm Boy Beginnings to $15M in Real Estate Holdings with Rock Thomas

What does it take to truly find financial independence? Money? Deals? Mentors? Or could it be something else entirely… something intangible? In this episode of the BiggerPockets Podcast, we sit down with Rock Thomas, a real estate investor and agent who shows others the simple mindset shifts needed to achieve financial freedom. In other words, it’s time to work on YOUR “money blueprint.” Through Rock’s story, you’ll learn the most important skills any individual needs to achieve in any field, the best way to find and attract mentors who can teach you the path, how to change your “operating system” to one that is far more successful, and so much more. With powerful stories, humor, and insight, Rock’s story is one you won’t want to miss!

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 This is the BiggerPockets Podcast show 296.

So there’s four money personality types; you’re either a spender, a saver, an avoider or a money monk. So we have these patterns that we learn from our parents.

You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio, simplifying real estate for investors, large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing without all the hype, you’re in the right place. Stay tuned and be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from biggerpockets.com. Your home for real estate investing online.

Brandon: What’s going on everyone? This is Brandon Turner, today’s host of the BiggerPockets podcast, here in the flesh- is that the right the phrase- with my buddy David Greene reporting from Hawaii. What’s up David?

David: What is up B? We are here in Hawaii and we’re having a blast. I just closed on a property.

Brandon: You did.

David: Yesterday, where Brandon and I had to go find a mobile notary so that we could sign the paperwork which was actually surprisingly easy. Like I’m telling you guys, once you hit a point where you get financial freedom and you can travel, it’s way more fun buying real estate from Hawaii than it is from North Dakota or Wisconsin.

Brandon: That is so true. Yeah we’re having a good time here. We went snorkelling yesterday and saw a bunch of cool stuff and I saw some turtles, whatever. It’s a good time. And this show is not about us, this show is about you and especially today’s guest. Today we’re talking with Rock Thomas who is a rock star, no pun intended.

He’s one of my favourite people, he’s just an awesome guy. And of course there’s a garbage truck driving by right as I’m talking. We’re actually recording this on the front deck of my house because it was too echoic inside because I have no furniture. But anyway yeah today’s show it’s fantastic. Rock I mean super successful real estate agent, super successful real estate investor.

And while we do talk a lot about real estate investing today, the bulk of today’s show is different. It’s on the mindset and the kind of little shifts and the change in operating system that we have to go through to become financially independent. It’s just fantastic, I love everything he said today.

You guys are going to love this interview and hopefully you’re going to leave this thing just fired up and inspired. But before we actually get to the interview, we got a few things of housekeeping to take care of. So let’s cover today’s quick tip. Today’s quick tip is very simple and David Greene has it. Go.

David: Today’s quick tip is going to be, pay attention to what frustrates you in life, okay. So if something is frustrating you, that is a key that there is a tweak in your operating system that needs to happen. Frustration should not stop us, frustration should fuel us.

Every single time something is frustrating you, I mean something is getting in the way of you and your goal, and you have to change something in yourself to overcome that obstacle which makes you that much better. That’s actually the path that weightlifters take to get stronger is they lift heavier weights.

And this is the same way it work with being successful. So quit saying, “Oh I’m frustrated that didn’t work, that’s my excuse to quit.” That’d be like saying, “Oh that weight is heavy I refuse to lift it, I’m not going to go to the gym anymore.” And start saying, “Hey the more that I overcome these obstacles the stronger I will get and the better life will be.”

Brandon: Boom, I just threw that at you on the spot. Do you like that that? That was good, you did a good job though.

David: Yeah that’s why I’m here.

Brandon: That’s why he’s here because he’s-

David: To put out the easy stuff.

Brandon: Yeah he’s quick on his feet. Alright guys, so let’s head over to today’s show sponsor.

Today’s episode is brought to you by our friends at realtyshare.com. I love these guys. RealtyShares us a real estate investing platform that allows accredited investors to invest in pre-vetted real estate deals online. Basically it’s a way to be a real estate investor without actually being a landlord. As a RealtyShares members you can browse debt and equity investments across a variety of property types and geographic markets.

Keep in mind the investments are illiquid and have a high degree of risk. Security is offered through North Capital Private Securities, member FINRA SAPC. To learn more and to get started with an account you go to biggerpockets.com/realtyshares. That’s biggerpockets.com/realtyshares

Brandon: Alright let’s get back to today’s show. Again today’s guest is Rock Thomas, he is like I said a real estate agent, a real estate investor. He’s a member of GoBundance which both David and I are part of. He is the leader of a group called M1 which a group that helps people who do not have a million dollar net worth become a million dollar net worther.

He just is like on top of- he actually had a video go viral like a few months ago, has 70 million views of his story. We’ll put the link to that in the show notes. And without further ado, let’s get to our discussion with Rock.

Alright Rock Thomas welcome to the BiggerPockets Podcast. How are you doing?

Rock: I’m excited to be here, man.

Brandon: Good. Alright. So today we’re going to go through your story kind of how you got into real estate. I know you got a really unique cool story, to kind of share. So I’ll just let you jump in and start like who are you? How did you get into this whole real estate thing? Walk to the beginning I mean like who you are.

Rock: Yeah well the quick story is Brandon is Farm Boy to Financially Free by Forty. And I grew up in an environment that created a lot of stress and a lot of strain. And my out was mentally to become a millionaire. I didn’t know how I was going to do it but I started selling hotdogs and coffee to the rich folk that came out to our farm.

While they were watching their kids ride, I set up a little stand and I sold this food to them and the entrepreneurial spirit was born. I went on to drive taxis, to wait on tables, to cut lawns and to hire my friends. And I even rented a room in a house when I was about 19 or 21 where I had to be in the house at 10 o’clock at night till seven o’clock in the morning to take care in case there was a fire of this 88 year old woman.

And every day she would put five dollars on the table and I would pick it up in the morning. And it was the first house hack that I did believe it or not I didn’t know I was doing it. But I didn’t pay rent. So I had no rent and $150 a month, you’re talking 30 years ago which is maybe $600 today. And I went on to realize that real estate was fascinating to me.

I was intimidated by it. So I still stayed in what I knew growing up as a farm boy which was two by fours and goats and painting and carpentry until I was 28 when my father got diagnosed with cancer and I lost everything taking care of him. I had no passive income and I didn’t know about Robert Kiyosaki’s Cash Flow Quadrant or anything like that.

So I just started to work hard. And my life changed when I met my first mentor Wayne Jordan. And I’ll tell you something about mentors that fascinated me is I think a mentor you have to admire them and you have to want to be them. This guy wore beautiful back in the day three-piece suits, he drove a Mercedes 500SL he had a superhot wife.

And I’m like, “That’s who I want to be.” So I hang around with him and he looked at me and he says, “You have the two characteristics that I see and I want to work with when I mentor somebody. Number one, you got to a great work ethic. Number two, you’re passionately curious. You like to learn and you listen and you apply.”

“I bet you if I work with you, I can turn you into a great person.” Now I don’t know about you guys and I know David you kind of went through this evolution is I had massive doubt. I didn’t have anybody in my life tell me that they saw something in me that was beyond what I saw in myself. In fact I had the opposite growing up where my brothers bullied me and my father told me I was never good enough.

He was the first person who said, “I see something in you that I didn’t see in yourself.” I remember literally looking around like, “You’re talking to me? Like you believe in me?” and he says, “Yes.” Long story short, I went from one sale in my first year to 101 sales four years later.

And then he mentored me to buy the company, 94 agents and I brought it to 274. We sold a billion dollars a year and I bought the bought the building that I was in and that was one of my first tastes of major real estate. Although I had an experience before if we have time I’d love to share with you.

David: I think man you made such good points especially about the nature of mentors and how you have to want to be that person and you have to respect them. We can all find somebody that we’re like, “Man I’d love to be that guy,” but we don’t really respect their character or their values or their work ethic.

And then on the other side you could say, “Man I really respect that person but man there’s nothing about his life I really want, right. I don’t want to stay a farm boy forever.” You might respect the guy in the farm that works for everyone but that doesn’t mean that’s the life you want, right. And a lot of people on BiggerPockets understand they need a mentor, but they don’t understand enough about people work to approach them the right way.

Like you’ll get a message from someone or Brandon will that will say, “Hey can you look over this deal for me?” and then it’s like a 20,000 page note that you’re getting like with all the details of it from someone you’ve never talked to. I think that’s really important is that your mentor needs to like you too.

Right you want to find someone who has the life that you want and see something of themselves in you because they’re giving up a lot to want to work with you. And you want to do that when you see a piece of yourself in someone else. So that’s a great point is it’s not enough that they’re successful and you say, “Oh they’re successful I want to be them,” right.

The way they’re successful or how their life looks and if you respect them is very important. And then you mentioned too a bit ago that you understand I had mindset problems. It wasn’t until I kind of got around some of the guys in GoBundance that Rock and I are both a member of and Brandon as well, they started saying, “Man you are so smart, why are you working as a cop?”

“Why aren’t you doing more with your real estate investing?” and I did not understand that I was. To me that was just common sense, I just worked hard and bought rental properties with it, I didn’t know there was much to it. And I had all these guys that I respected a lot that had lives that I wanted telling me, “You should take another step and you should become a real estate agent and you should become a real estate investor.”

And before people planted those thoughts in my mind, I just never would have occurred to me. I was like you Rock just out there, my version of like picking up two by fours and carrying them from one side of the farm to the other. I was working 20 hour days, sleeping in my car thinking this is the only way you get ahead.

And then my mind got opened because I got around people that are a little more successful than me and had been through a little more than me. And they understood it was a mindset issue, like David’s problems are not that he won’t work hard or he doesn’t want it. His problem are that his mind’s in the wrong place and they kind of helped pull me out of that. And I see that’s exactly what you’re alluding to.

Rock: There’s nothing more important than deciding consciously to put yourself in the VIP room as I like to call it, is the room that the smart people are in, the wealthy people are in, the hungry people are in. you’re going to be uncomfortable. When you step in a room and you feel like you’re not the smartest guy, you’re in the right room. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and watch your life open up.

Brandon: Yeah I love that. I think that for a lot of my life I found myself like I was the guy that was yeah I was the hardest working in the room or I was the smartest in the room. Because it was comfortable there, right we like to be in that spot because it makes us feel good it’s not challenging anymore.

When you push yourself, yeah that’s when you really see a lot of change. So alright let’s move back to real estate a little bit. You started building this real estate agent business, you started working-so the mentor he was the agent guy, is that right?

Rock: Yeah I mean I’ve had several mentors along the way but he was the guy that taught me about business, financial statements, how to read them, how to think bigger and took me under his wing yeah.

Brandon: Okay so you had this big agency which you eventually bought, you were doing you said a billion dollars in the sales I mean that’s just massive. When did you start shifting some of that money into some kind of investment of some kind like or did you? Walk us through that.

Rock: Yeah so I was in a building where we were renting half the building for the real estate office, doctors in other half of the building. And I started to look at the numbers and I thought if I own this building I’m going to start to build real wealth. When I was younger, I was 23 I borrowed $20,000 from my mum to get into the restaurant business because of course I knew so much about the restaurant business.

Brandon: That’s funny.

Rock: And six months later, bankrupt lost everything and in fact I’d worked the last three months for free. So I had absolutely nothing just a rickety red Toyota Corolla and I left there with my tail between my legs. And out of desperation was offered a job in the airlines from the guy who partnered with me and I moved to Quebec City in Montreal which is 100% French.

And fortunately I was brought up on a farm where integrity is a big thing, and the number one thing for me to do was to pay back my mother. She was a social worker, she never made more than $20,000 a year and she’d saved her entire savings and loaned me the money. And I just felt terrible inside I mean I was devastated.

There wasn’t a day I didn’t wake that I just thought, “I got to pay mum back, I got to pay her back.” Pain can birth incredible passion. Pain is actually something that people cover up with pills and drugs and medication and they rob themselves of the richness of transformation. So when it gives me pain I turn on it and I go, “What do I have to learn?”

“How can create and use this to drive myself?” So I went to Quebec City, I rented a room in a house from an old woman who was wealthy, down in the basement. I got this job as a flight attendant and I dated a little bit I was making $13,500 a year as flight attendant.

Brandon: Wow rolling in it.

Rock: Rolling. And I started parking cars at night for a hotel to make a little extra cash and bought my very first real estate book. And even though when I bought it I didn’t believe the concept, I was so desperate I thought because I didn’t have a choice. And some people may remember this book if they’re as old as I am, it was called Nothing Down by Robert G. Allen.

David: Yeah.

Rock: You remember that?

David: I do. I mean not from when it was originally published but I’ve read it, it fits.

Rock: Right, you heard of the concept, right. So I started driving around following the instructions and I came across this For Sale by Owner and it was on a terrible street. It was an ugly house and had a little rickety sign and I thought, “This is perfect for me, yes. Nobody wants it maybe I’ll qualify.”

So I walked in and I made them an offer of $62,500. I negotiated them all the way down from $65,000 and with a $2,000 payment from my credit card and a $60,000 approximately mortgage from the vendor I was in the business of owning a piece of real estate. Which by the way a revenue property, it was four people in there that were physically handicapped that I had to figure out a way to take care of them.

Brandon: Oh wow.

Rock: But again I was so desperate I thought, “Okay I can learn how to give some shots, I can learn how to wash an older person. I mean I’ll do whatever it takes.” So I hired somebody to take care of them during the day while I was working at the airlines and I did the carpentry and cut the grass etc. and took care of them at night. And the numbers worked and it was a really great start for me.

David: One thing you mention in there is you originally talked about how pain has the power to transform you but we rob ourselves of that when we just numb our pain, right. And then you refer to desperation which could be a form of pain. It does not feel good when you feel desperate at all. But that desperation is what drove you just to I’ll do whatever it takes to fix this problem.

And I love that because I don’t think you would have gone through it if you weren’t in pain. If you were just bored, “I got really nothing going on, maybe I’ll buy this thing,” and then you see that come up you’re like, “Never mind I don’t want to deal with that,” right. But when you’re desperate you’re like, “Whatever it takes I’ll do it.” Tell us like how that deal ended up for you and how your desperation paid off.

Rock: Yeah. So one of the things that I believe as a concept is that you can do anything you want in your life as long as you’re committed and creative. As long as you’re coming with that mindset, it doesn’t matter what the obstacle is, you turn into an ant. The wall comes up you just go in a different direction.

Another wall comes up you go in a different direction. You dig a hole, you go up it doesn’t matter. So I come from that. And I came from that fortunately because when you’re on a farm, when the pipes freeze and you can’t have the pipes deliver the water to the horses in the field, you carry buckets to the field.

You make it work no matter what. So I developed that resolve and I used to sometimes say to my dad, “Well it doesn’t work, I can’t do it.” And he’d lock the door and say, “Get out until you figure it out.” I thought, “What in A-you know what” but he gave me something that most people don’t have. It’s called resourcefulness.

The greatest gift a parent can give a child is resourcefulness. Don’t do the homework for them, ask them questions so they can get it done. Don’t do the deal for them, ask them questions on how they can get there come to the conclusion themselves. There I am, I’m looking at this opportunity and I said yes to it.

So now I had to find somebody to take care of them during the day. Well when you’re in it and you’ve got that situation, you become resourceful. I found somebody for $1,000 a month to take care of them during the day. I babysat them at nights, the mortgage was $410 a month, the taxes and insurance was $150 which puts me at $560 plus the payment of the staff puts me at $1,560. My revenue, $2,400.

Brandon: Nice.

Rock: Now what were my living expenses? Zero.

Brandon: Zero. It’s like house hacking in an adult home. So adult home hacking I guess we’ll call that.

Rock: Yes exactly.

Brandon: I’m writing a book on doing that.

Rock: I’m telling you it’s brilliant.

Brandon: That’s funny.

Rock: And it gets better because all the food that I consume now became a tax deduction. So I park at night and I had the money from my job and I was able to pay my mum back and now my confidence went up.

Brandon: That’s awesome.

Rock: It was a very good first step for me into real estate.

Brandon: What I love is that just perfectly shows that you’re talking about resourcefulness. Tony Robbins says, “You don’t lack resources, you lack resourcefulness, right. Like I’ve always loved that quote because people are always saying I can’t do it. That’s like was probably the biggest mind-blowing thing when I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad back in the way.

He said, “Poor people say I can’t afford it, rich people ask, how can I afford it?” Now that concept of I’m going to figure it out no matter what, that you said committed and creative. I wrote that down in here because I’m like I love that I want to get like a sign in my office that says, “Committed and Creative.”

Because yeah if you got those two things you can do everything. So many people they’ll just give up way too easy on everything right. Like they say like even right now people are listening to this probably and going, “Well that worked out great for Rock but I don’t want to work at an adult group home to get started. I have a nice house right now or nice condo.”

And they’re not willing to do what it takes in order to get there probably because they’re not committed right. What do you say to those people who are like, “Yeah that sounds great for you Rock but for me that’s just not going to work”?

Rock: No I get that a lot. Mark Twain said that there’s two day that are the most important days in your life, is the day you’re born and the day you figure out why. And for me I believe my belief system is something that serves me. A belief, we make them all up, you believe that real estate is difficult or you believe that you’re skinny or your fat or you’re smart.

It’s just a belief it’s an accumulation of references that either serve you or enslave you. So I choose to believe that in this life my journey is about evolving my soul as far as I can, so that when I get to the next iteration of it I get to be in the VIP room. And that’s just a belief that serves me, so I show up in every environment trying to add value.

That’s how I think. How do I leave the spot of that? How do I put a smile on somebody’s face? Compliment them, make them feel good, serve them. And that’s why Wayne Jordan mentored me because I added value to his life. When I was in the restaurant business, the reason they offered me partnership although it didn’t turn out I got a lesson, is the guy that ran it had young kids.

He didn’t want to come in the restaurant early in the morning or late at night. So I said yes to those shifts. I said yes to everything he didn’t want to do. He mentored me, taught me how to deal with people, spoke five languages, helped me learn languages because I solved a problem for him. If you want to attract brilliant people into your life, find out what pisses them off or bothers them and solve the freaking problem for them, right.

Brandon: Yeah I know, yeah David’s like mic drop just like right there. I love that. Find what pisses people off and solve that for them. That is so incredibly true. Anyway fantastic. Alright, so let’s go back to your real estate a little bit.

You bought these first four or was it like four bedroom situation your adult home hacking. Which by the way I actually started in a similar way. I won’t go into it long but I worked at group home for mentally challenged adults and I would work overnight there. So I didn’t have to live and I didn’t have to have a bedroom.

So I worked like overnight there and I worked all my way through college that way. So I rented an apartment, rented out all four bedrooms and I just slept at work while I was working. So I did a similar adult home hacking in a way. So yeah you do what you got to do.

Rock: Yeah brothers from another mother. And I think the point we were talking about is how for some people that don’t have what they would call is the energy, the drive or the passion that some people may look at you or me and say, “Well I can’t be Rock I don’t have his energy, I don’t want to work. I don’t want to learn how to give insulin or wash an older person.”

“I just don’t want to do that.” So how do you get to that? Because 80% of the population don’t like their job. 77% are pay check to pay check. These people actually are so unhappy with their 40 hours during the week that they spend what they have left over to numb the pain of hating their life. And then they have no money to invest.

So you have two ways out of that in my opinion. Number one is you turn into Justin Bieber and you find something that you freaking love and you do it endlessly and you get lucky. Or an athlete or something but that’s like for the 1% of the 1%.

Brandon: Sure.

Rock: So for the rest of us regular people, here’s what I tell people, whatever you’re doing; cleaning toilets, scrubbing the road, whatever the job is, the position you’re in is develop the passion to do it at 100%. And as you do that, you build your own muscle of integrity, self-respect.

And then when the next opportunity comes along, you’ve now got momentum. A lot of people unfortunately say, “Oh I hate my job, I’m just going to go through the motions.” Then they get to the job that they really like when they’re on stage when it really matters, they don’t have the muscle.

So what I do is I have the habit of paying the price of practicing in private so I can perform in public like a pro whether anybody is watching or not. And that creates a congruency that I think a lot of people never give themselves a chance at.

David: I’m a huge fan of what you’re saying. I articulate it very similarly I just tell people, “You need to crash it where you are before you worry about where you want to go, right. And I feel like when you do that, when you know I’m the very best of all my colleagues at what I’m doing, you give yourself permission to take the next step.

Like you mind doesn’t hold you back and say, “You don’t deserve that,” because you know you do. It kind of removes some of that blocks we’re all putting on ourselves. People are always saying, “Oh you got to believe you deserve it,” and that frustrates me sometimes because I can’t just flip a switch and make myself believe I deserve it.

But I can trick myself into believing I deserve it if I know I’m giving so much value to my boss. I’m giving so much value to these people. They’re getting out of me the work of three other men at the job I’m doing, I deserve to go to the management position, then I deserve to go to ownership position, then I deserve to open my own franchise whatever it is.

But you never get that if you’re looking to climb the rank and file without working hard and doing well at what you’re already doing. I feel like your mind will fight you and say, “No, you don’t deserve that. It should go to Bob, Bob works harder than you, he gets up earlier than you, he cares more than you do.”

So I mean it sounds like it’s cheesy advice but I swear it changes your life when like Rock I know when you were working on that farm and you were working so hard, you knew when I get an opportunity that doesn’t involve me being out here in this hot sun lagging this stuff around, I’m going to take advantage of it, right.

I don’t want to go back to this anymore. And then when you got to that job they probably said, “This dude is just an animal, he works so hard.” And you were like, “Well my dad wouldn’t let me in the house if I didn’t work this hard. So this easy, I’m in air conditioning doing it now.”

And it just took off from there. What I’d like to ask you is how did you apply those principles to your next real estate deal? Like can you talk to us and help our listeners see how this very simple concept led to huge results for you in your own portfolio?

Rock: Yeah. I think that the answers are in the questions you ask yourself. So when I was working in airlines, I thought what’s the next step for me? How do I get further along the road?” and I remember when I was 13 years old, my brother who was two years older than me, stepbrother at the time he had this little QA50 motorcycle and I wanted to drive it like crazy.

It was so cool. And he would taunt me, he would be like, “You want to drive it?” and I go, “Yes.” He’s say, “Come sit on it,” so I go sit on it and be all excited and he’d go, “Pull the throttle,” just like Brrrr while it’s in neutral the feeling of that. And I was like, “It’s so cool.” He goes, “Do you think you can handle it?” and I’d be, “Yes.”

And he goes, “Okay hold on a second.” And then he’s shag me off of it, jump on it, spin literally the sand in face while I’m lying on the ground and peal off laughing. And I was like lying literally in the dirt thinking, “Oh my God what a-you know what.”

Brandon: Wow.

Rock: So then a week would go by and he’d say, “No, this time I’ll let you do it. This time no problem, this time I promise.” I’m like, “No, I’m not getting sucked in.” and I think you know where this story is going. Over and over and over again until one day I said, “No more. No more, that’s it I’m done I don’t care what you say.” And I took every moment and I worked at jobs to save up money and by the time I was 14 I got my own motorcycle.

It taught me to be resourceful. It taught me to use pain to propel myself forward. So when I sold that property in Quebec City, I thought, “What’s the next iteration?” and I looked for a big property and I bought for $165,000 and it was two families that had merged. And they had six kids so there were six bedrooms in it with the potential to convert the garage if I was creative.

Eventually I made nine rooms, we put nine seniors in them. I lived in the basement. My mother who was in social care took care of the older people and cut their nails and chit chatted with them. I hired somebody to cook the food again and I took care of the lawn and the renovations because that’s what I was good at.

And voila we had a team and now I was making $110,000. And my day job which I’d gotten a promotion too to run the entire on flight department because I showed up a work ethic and a willingness to learn to say yes to everything. And I was making $40,000 there, $110,000 in my house. And I went on to buy a townhouse and another home.

And I rented all those out. But I didn’t know what I was doing and that’s when my father got sick with cancer and I went through a divorce and liquidated everything and ended up on my mum’s couch before I reinvented myself into real estate.

Brandon: Wow. Alright. So you basically started by almost like building a business, I mean like technically it is real estate investing right because you own the property. But really it was like a business that you owned. Can we talk about that for a minute? There’s people listening to the show right now who’re trying to figure out how to get financially free.

And again we talk about financially free by forty, right. So do you think going that route, the business route whether it’s a restaurant or something like a group home like that an adult home an older folk home, do you think that’s a good way or should they just start with real estate right now and just go that way; buy rentals or flip houses or something?

Rock: It goes back to how badly they want it. I was desperate I was motivated and I was going to become a millionaire no matter what. So you got to check in with your mindset and you got to have rituals. I remember that the day I met Diego if you remember Diego Corzo you know him.

Brandon: Yeah

Rock: One of the reasons I mentored him was because he had a willingness to do whatever it took. We were at this event and I don’t know if I could say this on the air but we were at a spa and one guy had to whip off in one of the cars to go do a conference call. And the only way we could get the rest of us home was by putting Diego in the trunk.

Brandon: I’ve heard this. This is great.

Rock: Yeah. And the interesting thing was that there was no hesitation on his side. He said, “Yeah no problem whatever to be part of this group.” He knew he was hanging out with millionaires and how often would he get that chance so he said yes. So I can’t decide that for people Brandon, people have to decide what they’re willing to do.

Here’s what I can tell you, is if you’re willing to do whatever it takes you won’t have to do whatever it takes. But the moment you say, “Well I don’t work Fridays I don’t want to work with seniors I don’t do that.” You’re going to be a lot longer till you get to the top of the mountain.

Brandon: That’s really good. There’s this common theme I get from you is the idea of saying yes to things, right like so many people out there are afraid of everything, or they question everything or they just don’t want to do it. Can you talk about like just the power of yes? Like why is that such an important thing?

Rock: Yes. So great question. And here’s the deal, is your brain will say no to you to protect you. That’s its strategy. So no, what if, be careful, it might not work or she might say no blah, blah, blah. So that’s a given. When you say yes to things your brain immediately goes, “But what if you do succeed?

All the responsibilities of owning all those properties and then people aren’t going to like you anymore. You’re going to be a big wig and blah, blah, blah. So the brain will always try to find a way to try to keep you from the unknown, the new.

When you understand that, the say yes and figure it out philosophy is to get you past the initial barbed wire protection for your safety that is two million years old, your brain. Once it says yes and like yes I want to be on the podcast, yes I want to buy my first property, yes I put an offer in. there’s always to get out of things in life.

Brandon: Yeah.

Rock: But if you never say yes at the beginning of the conversation, you condition yourself to not take action. So I condition myself to take action and when you do that opportunities come up. Your confidence grows and you push past what 99% of the population never get past. You’re sitting on the couch waiting for the perfect deal. Waiting to know how to do it without having a reason why to do it. And I know it’s cliché but it’s something that you got to learn in your core.

David: Yeah and the best things in life don’t come with an instruction book that tells you how to do it. I mean that’s just the honest-to-God truth. In fact if you look at what does come with an instruction book it’s usually a very simple job that I can pay someone $10 an hour to do because they’ve already figured out all the hard parts.

And you just have to follow the ICEA instructions to build this couch but that’s not going to be a great couch. When you were mentioning earlier that you built this like business and the senior care home and then the second thing you did where you were cutting the grass and everyone was playing a role in this, you said you lost it because you had to care for your father.

And I know there’s a lot of people that would hear this and say, “See, that’s why you don’t want to do it because you could all your hard work.” You could lose the asset you had, you could lose all your money. But what you didn’t lose was the confidence you built doing that. That’s what I love about the story is you said I have a blue print, I’ve done this twice now, I know how to do it.

And like damn it I’m going to go do it, right. Like no one can take that away from you and that’s what’s really important. Much more than just your balance sheet or like your net worth at that moment is your ability to go create it and make it much bigger. If Elon Musk lost Tesla and lost Space-X in a huge accident today, he could build another company that’s probably be even better in like a couple of years.

And that’s what I wish people understood is that the process of what you’re going through is so much more important than just what you have in that moment. Brandon and I were talking yesterday about a Jerry Seinfeld skit where he’s talking about weightlifters. And he’s like, “I don’t get what the point is of picking a weight up and then putting it right back down again.”

Like you should pick it up and put it on the wall and show everyone like look I picked up that weight and I stuck it right there for everyone to see, right. Because the fact is it’s just doing this- like you can pick up a weight and then you can put it right back down again. And you can lose what you had but the muscle that build is what’s going to stay.

And that’s going to make it easier to lift the next weight. And that’s what I hear when you’re talking right-

Brandon: Perfect analogy right there, that was a stretch of an analogy, we’ll give it to you.

Rock: That was good.

David: Yeah that’s what you’ve done Rock is you’ve built up these muscles and you’re like, “Okay if I lose, if it doesn’t work out, I just got smarter, stronger, better and I’m going to come back the next time to do it that much better.

Rock: Yeah I mean we’ve all seen the rookie quarterback come into the league and do well for a year or two, and then under pressure he just pancakes. We’ve seen a golfer lead for two or three rounds and then on the fourth day he just collapses. It takes years to develop the references of what it’s like to be under the gun.

The journey as cliché as it is, is what we want. Life is about growing actually it’s not about creating results. Somebody want to win the Super Bowl because everything is going to be required, team effort, analysing film, staying in condition, eating the right food, that provides them with the obstacles of choice.

The person who lives an average life the obstacles are chosen for them by their boss or by life. What I try to do is say, “Listen, if I’m going to live a big life, my choice is to learn about investing in real estate. I’m going to study that and learn it better. I’m going to have to look at 100 deals to buy one. That’s a choice of obstacle I choose because it lights me up and I’m interested.

You wouldn’t be in Hawaii Brandon if you didn’t choose to go and look at properties out there and deal with all the obstacles required. And some people are going to look at you and go, “Oh poor Brandon in Hawaii boo-hoo.” But you paid the price and did what you were willing to do to get the vision that you created in your heart and in your mind for your family to make your life better.

And people should applaud that. They should celebrate that. They should look at that as an inspiration. And unfortunately most people go, “You know what, I can’t be him,” or compare to you and they compare your outer to their inner. And they end up going, “I can’t do it.” And it should be the exact opposite.

Brandon: Yeah that’s true. I mean I think there’s kind of like two reactions people have when they see something somebody else has that’s awesome, right. Some people are negative about it, right. They’re like, “Well that person must have cheated or lied their way there, or yeah maybe it worked for them they got lucky or look at them.”

And other people are like, “Oh that’s a model if they can do it I can do it.” Actually Grant Cordon we had him on our show years ago. The first times he was on our show he talked about that about how like when he sees somebody else he’s never angry at a competitor who does better.

Because if they can do it, it means that he can do it too. And I love that mentality. Yeah just looking at that and saying like that’s where I want to get to. So very cool but yeah I mean definitely there was a ton of hurdles in getting to Hawaii.

Rock: That’s it I can say that in any result whether it’s winning the Super Bowl what have you, there’s a strategy that was employed that was the winning strategy. Buying a property and getting it for the right price and flipping it or rehabbing it whatever there’s a strategy. The thing that stops people is the story they tell themselves about why they can’t do that strategy.

I’m not rich enough, I don’t have the contacts, I don’t know the deal etc. the way that you change that or one of the best ways is to put yourself in an environment with people that have overcome those circumstances mentally. If you hang around me, you are going to be working out. You are going to be having more energy. You’re going to reach higher because I live my freaking life in that energy.

Brandon: Yeah.

Rock: It’s going to happen through osmosis. If I stand beside you-I’ll use a graphic example- and I fart, you’re probably going to through osmosis have a new experience.

Brandon: That’s the best analogy yet.

Rock: Osmosis is the transfer of energy, liquid in any shape or form, oxygen right without your defence against it. So I purposely surround myself with people that through osmosis are going to make my life better. Most people hang around people and I’ll give you this for reference, is your friends are comfortable with your presence and your mentors are comfortable with your future.

Brandon: I like that.

Rock: You want to be around mentors that go, “You know what Brandon, you could do more.” The same way Wayne Jordan did it for me, and that’s what shifted. And the same way that through GoBundance some of the people turned a police officer into a real estate bad ass. And that’s what you need.

Brandon: Yeah that’s so true. I was looking back on- I don’t want to sound like I’m giving like an advertisement for GoBundance but like when I was looking at my life and like what has changed in the past like two and a half three years has been part of- and it’s not necessarily it was just being around people who are way better than me.

Being the dumbest guy the poorest guy in the room, right. Being around these people like I was looking at my life and like how much has happened in the last few years. And I attributed a ton of it if most of it to being around that peer group, of people that are pushing me to get to the next level and saying, “Well we’re here, why don’t you come up here?”

So whatever way you can get into a group like that is so important. It doesn’t mean you have to be in that group or this group, it’s just get around people who are crashing it, that are doing good things. And stop being happy with the people that you’re above. I don’t want to say above like hierarchy wise but that you’re beyond.

Like you’ve passed them up in terms of either education or whether your personal development or whatever. Yeah get around those people. So let’s give some tangible example like how can somebody who’s listening to the show right now do that? How do they get into the group like a peer group around their area, how do they find a mentor, how do they find people that are crashing it?

Rock: Well the way I did it and the way that worked for me I went to a Tony Robbins event and then I went up to Tony and I said, “I want to spend time with you.” And he goes, “Well then cut a cheque for $65,000 and you can hang with me.”

Brandon: Oh wow.

Rock: So I did. And I became a platinum partner and I worked out with him his gym and I’ve been a trainer for him for 15 years.

Brandon: Wow.

Rock: But when I met David Osborne he was doing a talk at a conference and I went up to him and I said, “You’re super cool, I want to hang out with you.” And he kind of looked me up and down and went, “Who the heck are you?” and long story short, he says, “When are you in Austin Texas?” And I said, “In about three weeks.”

He said, “Book your flight one day early let’s go golfing.” Because David is looking fort talent, he’s always looking for a way to fit people into his world. And GoBundance was born. Today if you want to be part of a group there’s many organizations. But I say going to events is the best way, you can certainly look online.

And one of the things that happened at GoBundance was we just found a lot of people that had a great work ethic and were passionately curious. So we created a mastermind of helping people march to their first million. So there’s lots of groups out there, it just depends on what resonates with you. And like we talked about at the beginning I said, it’s really important that you respect the person and you admire them.

And then delivering credible value. Find out how you can solve their problems and you will find that they will then pour into you and it will be a win-win relationship. You bring the work ethic and the curiosity and somebody will pour into you. And over time you may have a partnership and we’ve had a lot of that happen at GoBundance actually where we’ve mentored people to work with them.

And you guys have helped a lot of people in the group with your leadership and through your books and things like that. I mean at the end of the day life is about growth. Choose which vehicles you want to overcome to grow and real estate to me is the best vehicle for overcoming having to work.

Brandon: Yeah I love that. Alright so let’s go back to the real estate. Like maybe can you summarize the next like after the beginning of the bankruptcy the next 20 years like getting to financially free by 40, like what did that look like in terms of real estate investing? Did you focus on the agent business for the bulk of that? Did you also invest in real estate during that time? What did the next 20 years of your life look like?

Rock: Yeah I mean Gary Taylor wrote a great book called The One Thing and in that it’s really about zoning in. and I’ve worked very diligently most of my life, so a lot of people hope to get lucky, I say look, in life if you do what is easy, life will be difficult. If you do what is difficult, life will be easy. So you might as well get the difficult out of the way.

So I worked many times 60, 70, 80 hours a week and from 1997 to 2006 I spent 10 years building my real estate business from 94 agents to 260. I served them at the highest possible level when I was a broker in the office. I said there’s no problem that I cannot solve for you, bring me every problem you have.

And every problem for the 10 years I ran that office, I solved every single one of them. Did I have the solution? No. did I give a crap? No. I found it. It was not one that was my value proposition to my client. I will solve every problem you have. So guess how many people wanted to work for me? Everybody.

Brandon: Yeah.

Rock: Right. Industry has a 30 to 35% attrition. When I ran the office we had 7% attrition because I gave incredible value, right. And we taught them how to change their mindset. I’d agents that had made $80,000 a year for 14, 15 years. And I started to teach them what allowed me to sell 101 homes and I noticed nothing changed.

Because I gave them the strategy. When I realised that the story they had around the strategy is what had to change, I started to change this belief systems, their habits and their rituals, expand their money blueprint about what they were worth and what their delivery to their family value proposition was.

We watched people go from 80,000 to 140, to 250 and never looked back. We completely and radically changed their blueprint. I was the number one office in my area forever and then in 2006 fortunately I had written a book and started speaking. And I started to feel because I was travelling around, people suffering. So I went back home and I sold my office for $4 million in October 2006.

Brandon: Alright.

Rock: And I was very fortunate and I took that money, I moved to Florida I went golfing 150 times a year with my son. Got my handicap down to three and then two years later I got back into speaking and travelling and I bought a lot more real estate. That’s when I got more into the investment piece; commercial real estate, revenue properties. Unfortunately I thought I was so hot that I put a million dollars in the stock market and lost it all.

Brandon: Wow, real estate has been better.

Rock: I had to pedal backwards. Yeah real estate honestly there’s nothing better.

Brandon: Alright so I want to touch on that I want to move into the bigger stuff that you’ve been doing lately. But before we do you mentioned that you changed people’s internal beliefs and their money blueprint I think you said. Can we talk about that for a minute? What do you mean by that? People might be listening going, “That sounds lofty, what does that mean?” Can you go into that a little into depth?

Rock: Sure I can. So there’s four money personality types. You’re either a spender, a saver, an avoider or a money monk. So we have these patterns that we learn from our parents. So my mother, she would go through people’s garbage to get cans because she never made more than $20,000.

She was a money monk she believed that if you worshipped money you couldn’t be spiritual. So that was her patterning that she downloaded to me. My father on the other hand made a lot of money but he was an avoider. He didn’t look at his taxes, he didn’t take care of his money so that we always had the wrong strategies with money and we always lacked money.

So I learned from them that money doesn’t grow on trees that you have to work hard for your money. So you’re only your programming. It doesn’t make it right or wrong or good or bad. You are just garbage in garbage out. 95% of the population are indoctrinated by society. You go to university or school, you’re taught to get a good education, get a job, work hard and hopefully retire and blah, blah, blah.

That doesn’t work in today’s world anymore. So what you have to do is you have to change your blueprint by being around people that think differently. And it starts with an abundance mindset because most people are in scarcity and it starts with changing your education. So what I do is I help people understand, what are the beliefs below that they’ve been taught by their mum or dad?

What have they witnessed or whoever raised them, or their broke uncle. And then we install new beliefs like real estate is a great vehicle. When people understand that you can easily make 25-33% in real estate through education in a year or maybe an infinite amount using the BRRR method that you guys talk about.

Brandon: Nice.

Rock: And they understand that and you teach them that, then now their belief system starts to shift. So I work on the unconscious belief systems to elevate their mindset so that they can think like a millionaire which is only 3% of the population. It’s an inside job. You got to change the inside before you change the outside. The invisible is much more powerful than the visible.

Brandon: That’s really good. Alright yeah that’s fantastic and again I think it almost like reminds me and maybe I even got this from your book. I’m not sure but like there’s an operating system we have, almost like a computer has an operating system.

And many people have-I don’t call is faulty, but an operating system that won’t lead them to the results that they’re trying to get to. Right so their operating system will only give them what their parents had because their parents installed the operating system or their background whatever. So when we install that new operating-which is hard work, right.

Rock: Yes.

Brandon: So how does somebody install a new operating system in their life?

Rock: Well I mean you can use David as an example. The culture of a police officer as an operating system, there’s an ecosystem that exists there on how hard they’re going to work. My ex-wife was a police officer and when she became a police officer she started to get more arrests than anybody else. Then she got bullied by the other police officer because they wanted to sleep at night and they wanted to take it easy and she was making them look bad.

There’s an operating system wherever you are. So the first and most important thing if you’re going to create a lasting transformation is to find a peer group. People that are living and vibrating in the level that you want, that’s number one because of the osmosis we talked about before. Number two is to examine your own programing and that is a little bit of hard work.

But when you start to dig into it, it actually can be exciting because you’ll notice that joy comes from-and you guys have bought many properties. It’s not the property, putting a deal together. It’s what it gives you when you look at your portfolio and you look at their numbers that gives you the sense of pride. And the emotional payoff is what we’re after. So the work that we get to do is actually fun once you roll up your sleeves and you commit to it.

David: Yeah. That process of like recoding your operating system to make it work the way you want it to can become addicting and it’s so much better than anything that people think they’re addicted to right now. The thing I tell people is when you catch yourself really frustrated like why isn’t this working the way that I want?

In psychology we learn that the definition of frustration is interference with the desired goal. So you have a goal something is stopping you, you’re experiencing frustration. That’s basically revealing errors in your code. Right there’s something wrong with the way you think and that’s why you’re experiencing frustration.

And then you have the opportunity to recode it or ignore it and let the code take you in the direction that you’ve been going that you’re not happy with and that’s why you’re in this new situation. And that’s just what I wish people would kind of understand is that highest chance of how you’re living is that the operating system that you have was developed to keep you safe because you were hurt as a child, as a teen as a youth.

And you developed a system of thinking around preventing you from being hurt. It’s not like, “Man this would be the best way to live and let me go put that life together.” It almost was as a response to something negative that happened.

And do you really want that to be controlling your life? Do you want to be living a life that’s controlled by an operating system that was put together just because you got hurt? Like it’s kind of cowardly to continue living that way. So I love what you’re saying, I love it.

We would be so much better if we spent way more time talking about this and less time talking about how to analyse ROI because a spreadsheet can do that for you. This is different. Can you tell us a little bit about now Rock like what are you working on right now? What’s the new stuff you’re putting together? What deals are you looking to do? What are your goals? That kind of stuff.

Rock: Yeah I want to piggyback on that too is we all go around updating our computers and our phones with a new operating system and we’re like, “What that’s an iPhone7, you didn’t get the 10 yet? What’s the matter with you dude? Are you broke?” Right. Yet people are like, “Well I finished college, I got a PhD I don’t need to learn anything else.”

Brandon: Yeah.

David: Yeah.

Rock: It’s ridiculous, right. The best thing you can do is to pour into your brain with new ideas and to remain passionately curious. But for me the things I’m working on now my son is 26 years old, he works in my real estate office. And the deals we’re looking on a lot are purchasing properties that have the possibility of either knocking them down or adding square footage to them.

So we’ll buy a 2000sqft property that some old lady happens to own with a parking lot and the backyard and we can apply for a permit and we can now add 5000sqft and take it from the million dollar we buy if for and sell it for five million in a year and a half.

Brandon: That’s cool.

Rock: So those are the projects that we’re looking at, I’m really just the capital behind it because my passion is around the mindset piece.

Brandon: Yeah.

Rock: With my mastermind groups and helping people change their mindset from struggling to that of a millionaire internally. So that’s where I spend all my time.

Brandon: Okay yeah. So and that makes sense right. You have somebody in your team who is the one responsible for like doing the nuts and bolts and like putting things together. You’re kind of driving I don’t know if you call it the spiritual or like the emotional side of things like making sure everyone’s on track.

But I’m curious like when you talk about this property like are mostly I mean are these office buildings are these multifamily like residential? Overall like what do you like to focus on or what do you like to buy?

Rock: So we have one building actually that we’re building micro units because that seems to be a bit of a new wave here in Montreal where you have units that are literally somebody is buying 180sqft.

Brandon: Wow.

Rock: And we’re selling it for like $99,000 so that the kid who wants to finally leave home, who had a tough home environment but he wants to own something, he can now actually afford it. So we have a building that we’re redoing there in an area that’s up and coming. But a lot of it is student housing areas.

Brandon: Okay.

Rock: So we’ll buy places that could be turned into student housing. I don’t mind commercial real estate either so I have a few commercial properties so I’m into that. But anything where the numbers work and I do hard money loans as well. So at my stage I don’t want to be out in the field looking for the deals.

But I have enough experience that when I look at them I know what to look for and I can go, “Yes I’ll put the money into it and I’ll build up some equity.” I was doing an event in Regina Canada and they had me on a Shark Tank panel and I bought a nine unit building on stage.

Brandon: Really?

Rock: And partnered with-yeah. I was doing it as a joke I was like, “Let me be a little bit of a spirited character on here and go hard on them. No I’ll never do it for that, you want to give me 25% equity I want 50% and eight points and I’ll do the deal.” And they go-

Brandon: Okay.

Rock: Okay. I’m like, “Oh shit I’m in.”

Brandon: That’s awesome.

Rock: So we went an hour later we looked at the deal and we’re halfway through it and looks like we bought for 855, put 110 into it. And it looks like we’re getting an offer for around 1.3. So I put 400,000 probably make it close to 40 or 50% of my money back in about six or seven months. So I’m okay with that.

Brandon: Yeah that’s not a bad thing. So are you buying mostly in Canada or do you guys do US stuff as well? Because don’t you live-?

Rock: No I don’t.

Brandon: Or so you’re down in Phoenix right now right?

Rock: I’m down in Phoenix, I have a place in Santa Monica in LA and a place in Montreal.

Brandon: Okay.

Rock: I just actually bought a place in Montreal last year and was very lucky because the agent that sold it to me knocked on my door, I paid a million 35 for it. Then I came across a buddy of mine in my M1 group that teaches how to Airbnb. I took his class last year, I started Airbnbing my place $300 a night before I took his class. And realized when you do a market analysis, duh and I got up to $1000 a night.

Brandon: Wow.

Rock: I earned over- it was a 5700sqft place up in ski resort and I ended up making in the 13 months I owned it I generated $156,000 of revenue.

Brandon: Wow.

Rock: Netted I think 121 while living there during the times that it wasn’t rented for free. And I just sold it for 1.29. The agent knocked on my door and says, “I have an artist that wants to buy it.” And I’m like, “It’s not for sale.”

And she goes, “I’m going to make you a crazy offer,” and I’m like, “Yeah people say that.” But God’s been on my side lately and so I made a quarter of a million dollars there. And life’s just been pretty good I mean if you just keep on getting in the game eventually you’re going to hit a homerun.

Brandon: That’s awesome, I love that yeah. I mean like eventually they’re not always homeruns we talk about like are awesome deals. But the truth is like when you’re in the game you eventually do hit them just like you said. Like if you’re always swinging sometimes it’s a base hit sometimes it’s like a homerun. But you’re not going to get anything if you’re sitting there idle.

Rock: I can tell you about my turkeys. Gosh man, they’re plenty.

Brandon: Well because I want to shift here and head over to the next segment of the show which we lovingly refer to as our Deal Deep Dive.

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Brandon: Alright with that let’s get to the Deep Dive. Alright so these are seven questions we’re just going to ask where they’re just like quick fire; fire-answer, fire-answer. Number one, you have a deal in mind, right? I always forget that.

Rock: Yes.

Brandon: Alright how did you find this real estate- actually I had another question here. What is the real estate deal? Like what was it?

Rock: So it was a commercial building 1100sqft that was renting in.

Brandon: Okay, oh you were renting in the property and then okay.

Rock: Yeah I was a tenant in the property.

Brandon: Perfect alright. So how did you find it?

Rock: So I just kept on paying rent to the landlord and thinking to myself, “It would be really nice to be paying myself.” And developed a relationship with the landlord and found out that he wanted to move back to the Middle East.

And I just said to him, “Whenever you’re ready to sell, give me a shout I don’t think I have the money but I’ll find a way.” And about 18 months after I started that first conversation, one day when I handed him the rent cheque he goes, “you know, I think I’m ready. So it’s just ask, ask, ask and keep on asking.

David: Okay, and how much did he want to sell it to you for?

Rock: So he was asking 895 at the time and it was 1999 that I bought, it was 1997 that I’d started the real estate company. I was still paying the balance for sale on the real estate company. I was just kind of making things work and I had very little cash.

So we worked it down to 781,000. I put $150,000 down and the rest of it believe it or not again was owner financed. At the time the interest rates were somewhere around 11 or 12%, don’t ask me how. He felt sorry for me or something, I got vendor financing at 5%.

Brandon: Wow that’s awesome. That is amazing. I mean I’ve heard like you can maybe do that today when rates are down to four and 5% maybe but back when they were up that high especially. Even today that’s really hard to find. That’s supercool. Alright looking back was there any negotiation like the question is how did you negotiate it? So was there anything that you did there that got him from 895 to 781? That’s a big drop.

Rock: Yeah. I got down on my knees and begged.

Brandon: The best negotiating strategy ever.

Rock: I mean here’s the deal, is that every once in a while again if you’re going to do enough real estate and you create a relationship with people, there are some people that eventually they want the legacy to continue. And he really wanted to see me succeed. I was hungry, I was enthusiastic I paid my rent on time.

When I bought the real estate business that was in that business, I prepaid my real estate bill as an agent six months in advance. And I had this habit of treating people responsibly and somewhere along the line I think karma, whatever you want, eventually people are like, “You know what this is a good kid I want to help him out.”

Brandon: Yeah.

Rock: So I wish I could tell you there was a better strategy in that particular case. But in this case it think it was just one of those things where he’s like, “You know what if I’m going to help anybody I’m going to help this kid and I would just consider myself fortunate.

Brandon: That is such a good tip, like I wish more people realized, and I say this a lot but like realized that when you’re young and new to real estate and ambitious, that is a skill. That is a strength because you’re going to attract people, mentors and other investors who want to help you out. Like your age is not a bad thing.

It’s not a liability, it’s a huge asset to you but only if you’re enthusiastic and you want to learn and you’ve proven yourself kind of gone full circle on today’s show. You’ve proven that you are willing to work hard and hustle and do what it takes to get things done. Like I love helping out people when I feel like this sounds like they’re worthy but when they like I know they deserve it because they’ve been working so dang hard.

I want to help them out even if it means me losing money I want to help them out because I just love to see young people getting started. So supercool. Alright so what did you do with the property? I’m assuming you just continued renting inside of it.

Rock: I still own it today, I’m very proud to say that. About four or five years after I owned it I was able to go to the bank and remortgage it and get a traditional mortgage and get an additional $600,000 and bought another property with it. About four or five years after that I got another $600,000, bought another property with it. And recently I just took out $900,000 and bought a few properties with it.

Brandon: That’s awesome.

Rock: I have $1.8million on it right now. I literally just renewed about last week. It’s worth between 3.5 and four million and I make about $10-$15,000 cash per month plus the pay down. So maybe close to 20 grand a month and that was all with the original $150,000 investment. So if you do the math on that, it’s limitless returns, I’ve bought other properties.

It’s been an ATM for me, it’s a place of pride and joy. And I have an office that’s still in it. Now not Remarks it’s Keller Williams, I have a chiropractor and a bunch of different people that rent space and a gym and all kinds of cool stuff. So one of the greatest investments I’ve done.

David: Yeah I have an analogy for you if you don’t mind.

Brandon: We got to get a button like somebody tells us, there’s an analogy button when…

David: Analogy alert. What you did was you bought this tree that grew much bigger than it was when you bought it. And now these birds are paying you rent to come sit on your branches. And it’s dropping off fruit that you’re like able to eat, right. And then every once in a while you cut off a couple branches and sell them for firewood.

That’s like when you refinance it. And you go buy a bunch of new trees and then the branches grow back again because as time real estate becomes worth more. Like that one move Rock could be a life changing thing for almost everyone who’s listening to this. And when you put several of those together you start to realize that I don’t really have to be very smart to make real estate work. I just have to be like dedicated and persistent.

Because I’m sure when you did this, you knew that could happen but you were not believing that was going to happen, right. You were probably worried about I have to find $150,000 for a down payment. You probably borrowed that someone or did something that you were scared like well what if something goes wrong, right.

Rock: Yes.

David: And now you never even remember that that’s what you went through. You’re like, “Oh do I want to pull $900,000 out and turn that into another 12 grand in passive income from a property that’s going to grow bigger and I’m going to go refinance that one?”

I mean that’s why I love this story so much. So I hope I didn’t just steal your shine because my next question is what lessons did you learn? And I kind of just talked about that for the last five minutes.

Rock: You pretty much stole them all, damn David. I mean that’s perfect and the perfect analogy. I don’t think I need to add anything to that other than the sense that I’ve told my children that this is one property that our family should never sell. If you just keep on keeping it in the family, old money ain’t cold, giving your opportunity to live like a rock star.

And you need to. What I love about your point I’ll just highlight it is you don’t really have to be that smart. And it was scary as hell when it happened. That 150 was the hardest 150 to come up with in my life, I had three kids under the age of four. I scrapped, I borrowed, I screamed I was scared out of my pants.

Every day I woke was like what if I fail? What if I fail? What if it goes south? What if I can’t make the payments? I’m going to lose everything I’m going to be the biggest loser in the world, my wife is going to leave me my kids are going to abandon me. I mean it was all of that and more.

But if you’ve read The Millionaire Next Door it says that every millionaire has taken virtually a calculated risk. And you’ve got to take those calculated risks. You’ve got to have some faith in yourself and then go for it. And you will figure it out. So yeah it was awesome.

Brandon: That’s so good. Alright well that was fantastic I love hearing stories like that. But we’re not quite done yet, next segment of the show we’re moving on to is going to be the world famous Fire Round.

It’s time for the Fire Round.

Here’s a quick tip for you. One of the easiest ways you can protect your properties is investing in a great security system. By far my personal recommendation and the one I use in my own home is SimpliSafe. SimpliSafe is awesome, it’s incredibly reliable with really fast response time which is huge.

It’s really easy to move between properties and there’s no contracts either. I really like it, I’m not alone it’s C-NET’s editor’s choice and the wire cutters call it “The best home security.” So go to simplisafe.com/pockets to learn more. That’s simplisafe.com/pockets.

Brandon: Alright let’s get to it, these come direct out of the BiggerPockets forums. We’re going to fire them at you and you’re going to fire us an answer right back, sound good?

Rock: Yes.

Brandon: Alright. Number one, hey friends I’m 22 years old I’m from San Antonio. I want to start investing but I don’t really have a lot going on for me right now. Any ideas how to get financing for my first deal? I want to start soon.

Rock: Yeah find somebody that’s experienced and solve a problem for them and then partner with them on the deal that you find. And take 50% of something instead of trying to give 100% of everything. And learn to earn.

Brandon: Learn to earn I like it a lot. Alright. Question number two.

David: What qualities define a great mentor? How do you know if you have a great mentor or if you should keep searching for one?

Rock: So somebody that walks their talk. Somebody that’s congruent and consistent and that you admire and respect. Somebody that when you look at them you go, “I would like to be that person.” And when you communicate with them they ask you good questions. One of the things that always amazes me is I mentor people, I go playing golf with somebody is learning.

And then they don’t take that time to ask me 1000 questions. When I coach people I charge $1500 an hour. If you’re going to spend 45 minutes with me you should be asking me all the questions. You should not be talking if you’re not as far down the road as me. Now when I’m sitting around Robert Herjavec or Robert Kiyosaki, I’m the one that’s not speaking.

I’m asking the questions. So if your mentor is talking all the time and not asking you questions, then probably he’s not a great mentor. You should be asking the questions and they will answer but they’ll probably also ask you questions too to see are you a good student?

Brandon: Alright, good one. Alright, next one. I’ve got a few good real estate deals in front of me but I’m always nervous to pull the trigger and I’ve been doing this for years. How do I finally get over that fear and do it?

Rock: The words of Follow I am Follow You, how are you defining yourself? Are you saying I’m a bad ass investor or are you saying that I’m always nervous? I’m afraid, what if this one fails. Change your language, your internal dialogue.

Say look back on your past success and say, “I’ve had massive success. This next one I’m going to win or learn. It’s going to be amazing I can’t wait to get into it.” And again surround yourself with people that are going to echo that for you.

Brandon: Alright, last question. You want to take it?

David: No, you go ahead.

Brandon: I’ve got literally no time to invest, to learn, nothing. I’ve got kids, I’ve got a fulltime job I’ve got a fulltime life. How do I make time?

Rock: So everybody has 24 hours in a day. Saying you have no time is a mindset so I don’t believe in no time. If you’re saying that, you haven’t learned how to prioritize. There’s a thing called NET Time, No Extra Time. Look at the time you’re spending in your car waiting in line, brushing your teeth.

I would listen to audiobooks, podcasts, etc. in NET time which accelerates it. And that’s where you’re going to start to maximize your time. It’s a mindset, find a way to leverage things you shouldn’t be doing. If you’re worth $30 an hour or $40 an hour, why are you cutting your lawn when you could pay somebody $10 an hour.

So find a way to get somebody to do things you shouldn’t be doing and move from a scarcity mindset to more of an abundance mindset. I have a Do Not Do list. There’s things I no longer do that I shouldn’t be doing that my old me that got me there wants me to do still because I think smaller. But today I have a chef, I have somebody that gases my car fills my car up.

I couldn’t always do that. But now that’s not the best use of my time. So everybody has that Why in the road where whether its eight bucks, $10, $15 leverage it out to somebody else and step into your dollar productive activities.

Brandon: Yesterday I went to Target and I bought two chairs like bar stools right. And of course on the rack it’s like that’s a nice chair, right. But then I get it and it’s a box it’s like a shoebox, right and there’s 100 little parts in it. So I’m sitting on the floor for like I don’t know an hour and a half and the entire time David here, I don’t know if your guys notice but David is in the same place as me.

He’s sitting there watching me put together this chair and he just is mocking me for a good 90 minutes while I’m putting together this chair. And he reminds me that my time is worth I don’t know let’s call it $1000 an hour. So that chair cost me $1500 to put together. And I’m like, “Yeah well maybe a friend could come and help me put it together maybe we’d get it done faster and he said he’s not going to enable me.

David: Yeah I love Brandon too much to enable him and his horrible behavior or putting together his own chairs when we talk about leverage all the time Rock. And I just love what you said and in my opinion this has nothing to do with Brandon. But most people the reason they don’t leverage things off is it puts pressure on you to now go make something out of that time you would have been gassing your car.

Rock: Yes.

David: And you don’t want to bet on yourself. You’re afraid of the expectations and pressure that it creates. If I leverage this off from me well now I got to go perform and I don’t really believe I can do it. So we say it’s about oh I don’t need to do that or whatever the case may be. The reality is we don’t want the spotlight on us.

We don’t want to be in Game7 of the playoffs where everybody is relying on us and so we play smaller. And I do that too it’s not like I’m immune to this type of thing, there’s a lot of thing I do I shouldn’t do. And you made a great point rock that it’s what the person who got you here thinks that way and it’s hard to let that person go and trust that the person who’s going to take you where you’re going thinks differently.

But I at least like to be honest with myself when I’m doing it and say you know what I’m playing a coward right now. I don’t want to leverage off this part of my real estate business because then I got to go regenerate and find more leads. And what if I can’t do that? Then I’m going to look like a failure in front of everybody.

Brandon: Yeah.

Rock: Yeah number one is that it’s sometimes nice just to tinker around and put a chair together and be with yourself and have your own thoughts and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Brandon: Yeah Dave.

Rock: It’s when it consumes too much of your space. It’s consuming 30% of your space because let’s face it, you’re going to lead generate there’s a risk that you get rejected, that somebody tells you something you don’t want to hear where that chair isn’t going to reject you. The antidote to that in my opinion is massive vision of what your life is about.

When you keep on going back, I would dare I mean I remember once an interview on Tom Brady and they go, “Hey Tom do you want a beer?” and then he goes, “No I’m training.” He goes, “It’s March dude, you don’t start training for four months.” He goes, “No, I’m in training.” He has a vision for what his freaking life is about.

And it doesn’t make it difficult for him to decide what he’s going to do. Lack of a vision creates doubt. You’re like, “Should I do the chair, should I not?” so if it’s part of that five or 10% where you have your time with yourself and you’re just kind of downloading and you’re pansying around, I mean I used to like to cut the lawn. I took my shirt off I got a tan, I enjoyed it. But as my properties got bigger and bigger I enjoyed it less.

Brandon: Yeah.

Rock: So it shifts.

Brandon: Yeah that’s so true, very true. Yeah I had a buddy when we were growing up, I think I’ve told this on the podcast before but I’ll say it again- who his parents owned a plumbing company and they made good money. And my buddy once admitted to me that his parents hired a house cleaner. And I just thought that was like the most pompous like you cannot clean your own house?

Like freaking rich people that can’t even clean their own house. And I realize now like just what an idiot I was. I’m like, “The reason they own a multimillion plumbing business is because they didn’t clean their own house because they were out there making money, owning the largest plumbing business in town.

David: Yeah and I’ll take it one step further and say your friend is actually helping somebody else put food on the table for their family by being a house cleaner, right. And maybe that house cleaner gets good at cleaning houses and gets a lot of houses and they can start a business and they can employ more people.

This whole concept of leveraging things off does not make you selfish or pompous. It actually means that you’re contributing to more people’s lives. And that’s something that when you grasp that, that the bigger I get the better I do, the more opportunity I bring to more people. And I can help their lives better through letting them help themselves.

The more you start to realize it’s not just you and your fears that you’re struggling with, it’s like all the future people who will never get where they were going to get if you didn’t give them. Like that trees that you build allows these other birds to come nest there, right and now they can have babies.

And those other birds can go and do things. And you’re giving opportunity to people that wouldn’t have been there if you wouldn’t have taken that risk. So that’s one of the things I remind myself when I start to struggle with these same things, is it’s not just me I’m letting down it’s everyone who wouldn’t have done it if David wouldn’t have taken that first step and created the world for them to live in.

Rock: Yeah and it’s an ecosystem right. The birds poop and the grass grows and there’s shade for people. And all this system that happens and that’s why I think that if you’re going to really be successful you want to spend a third of your time with people that smarter, faster ahead of you.

A third of your time with people that you’re running with because you’re like, “Yo bro what’s up yeah. We got two miles to go let’s go.” And a third of your time mentoring other people. And a lot of people say, “Well, why should I help somebody else?” And I’ll give you a couple of points I think that are important.

Number one is it’s an amazing feeling when you see somebody light up with the lessons that you learned. Warren Buffett said that you got to learn from your mistakes but if you can learn from other people’s mistakes, you accelerate success.

Brandon: Yeah.

Rock: And people don’t realize that you can tap into the oldest principle which is mentorship. And the other thing is that when you teach, what happens? You remember the lessons. You groove them in. you have moments of going, “Yeah I am a bad ass.”

“It’s true, I forgot how bad-ass I am.” Because the person’s like if they’re really they’re like, “Really you could get 100% return, what?” And you’re like, “Yeah my wife doesn’t tell me that every week but it’s nice to hear it from your kid.” So there are so many benefits.

If you chose to lead an epic life and you choose to give back and grab everything you possibly can, the obstacles now are just merely toys and opportunities which sculpt your soul and to give back and contribute. And this journey can become so fascinating if you’re willing to be vulnerable and open and just really put yourself out there.

Brandon: Yeah that’s so good. Rock I love that. Alright well before we get out of here we got a last segment which we lovingly call our Famous Four. Famous Four, question number one; what is your favorite real estate related book?

Rock: I’m not going to have anything sexy for people here. I think Robert Kiyosaki’s Cash Flow Quadrants. I’m a big believer in fundamentals. And it’s something that you really dig into it, I got to stage with Robert about a month a half ago and he wrote a new book called Why the Rich are Getting Richer. That might be a good follow up if you haven’t read that.

And combining those two I’m like I knew the concepts but you got to refresh yourself and go into them and really become that professional investor. Not just an investor, a professional investor. Understands cash flow, financial statements, bad debt, structuring companies, taxes. So I’d say for people it’s not the next book you read, it’s the book you re-read that gets you deeper into the context and get you the mastery.

David: That’s really good. Okay how about your favorite business book?

Rock: As I built my companies I had to realize that I’m not a really good manager. I did it because I had to. And if you look at The E-Myth or Tony Robbins concept, it talks about the different personalities; the artist, the manager leader and the entrepreneur. And I’m an entrepreneur, I start things but I don’t like to finish them.

So I need to surround myself with people that are the manager leader type that can recruit and hold people accountable and guide the path and find all the artists that are going to do the work. So The E-Myth is a really good one for that and Rocket Fuel is a really good one for that. Because I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is they’re really good at say selling real estate.

But they’re not good at hiring, training and running a team. And then they try to do that and they get really frustrated. Know who you are, what the elements are and then surround yourself with the missing pieces and you can build an empire.

David: Wow that was really good. That might be like the best answer I’ve ever heard to that question. Okay, what are some of your hobbies?

Rock: So everything that has to do with movement. I believe that the first hour of your day creates two things; it enhances your body and it enhances your mind. So this morning I meditated, I worked out I swam. After this call I’m going to go play golf or ride my bike. I try to move my body four hours a day. It could be volleyball it could be kayaking, it could be just about anything. And hopefully a lot of sex is involved in that. So that’s a big hobby of mine.

Brandon: Nobody has ever said that in 300 episodes. I love that. Alright number four, it’s the best. Alright number four, what sets apart-and by the way for those people who’re now watching the YouTube version yeah our video here and you’re listening to the audio, Rock is like one of the most in shape people I’ve ever met.

David: That’s why we call him Rock.

Brandon: That’s why we call him Rock. That is your official real name though, right, Rock?

Rock: No it isn’t.

Brandon: Really?

Rock: I actually changed my name from Irvin to Rock because-

Brandon: Oh I didn’t know that.

Rock: Salespeople had difficulty hearing that. And when I learned that the strongest force in human nature is the desire to remain consistent with how you describe yourself, I decided to change my name. So that when I said it and other people heard it, it resonated and made me feel good.

Brandon: That’s awesome, I didn’t know that. I learned something new about you today. A lot of things new about you actually. Alright, the last question the final thing I want to learn from you. What do you believe-final question from me, David’s got more.

What do you believe separates successful people, investors or even we can go agents or whatever just people from those who give up, from those who fail and from those who never get started?

Rock: Yeah I would say, two things. Number one is that they don’t believe in themselves in other words they’re not able to take the initial step. They quit before they start. And the whole say yes and figure out later is the antidote to that is to build that muscle. And the second piece is that they’re unable to refrain themselves when the shit hits the fan.

So they get disappointed, the do an investment that they lose $20,000 and they mope on it, the look at it and they grind on that. I have this philosophy that there’s no winning and losing, there’s winning and learning. When I lost all my hair to alopecia when I was 40 years old I went into panic thinking I was dying of cancer and I was asking this question why me.

Feeling sorry for myself, I couldn’t focus on my work, and I was terrified. I couldn’t function. And then I remembered that focus creates meaning. And I started to ask myself the better question, well what could this mean? I started to research and found that alopecia is just an autoimmune disease that affects only your hair follicles.

And then I started to ask a better question; what’s great about this? Well I’ll never have a bad hair day again in my life. I don’t have to spend money on shampoo. My Greek friend has hair removed, that’s very painful and costly. I’ll never have that problem. So the ability to reframe and not be the victim- my brother who story of the motorcycle, I use that today to drive me and I’m incredibly grateful.

My father locking me out of my house, I’ve gone through the work. I’ve done the work to go from hating him and feeling completely unloved to going, okay forgiving him. And now incredible gratitude. Gratitude that he gave me resources. He loved me enough to teach me to be strong at a very young age. So the biggest reason people fail is they look at their problems as problems.

Instead of looking at them as opportunities to develop their soul and learn how to learn or win. Change your mindset on your problems. Look at them and go, “What’s the lesson? How grateful can I be? It makes me stronger for the next time I lose $20,000 or do something stupid, I’ll that much better prepared.”

David: That’s really good too. I’m sure there’s a lot of people who are saying, “I want to find out more about this Rock guy.” I know you’re involved with a group like M1 and you’ve written some books, can you tell us where people can find out more about you? And then maybe touch a little bit on these groups that you lead and how people can get around you more if that’s what they want.

Rock: Sure. I’ve written a few books. I’m happy if people want to, go to my website rockthomas.com you can get a free copy of my book, just trying to get information out there on people’s identity. The words of Follow IM Follow You it’s a big concept. They can go to gom1.com if they want to learn more about getting into an ecosystem or a mastermind group where we help people become millionaires.

Very passionate about that, I think there’s way too many people out there suffering doing stuff they hate, not having access. We say that access creates acceleration so we give people not just the content but the network to work with. I’m on Instagram, I’m all over the place. I had a Goal Cast Video that was seen by 70 million people so I think-

David: Yeah that was nuts. That was awesome.

Rock: So my message is really about your programming is generally messed up but you have a choice to upgrade that phone, you also have a choice to upgrade your programming. And if a farm boy from Canada became financially free, today I have 36 streams of income. I make more in a month than I did in some of the best years in real estate in a year.

And most of it’s passively, I just want to pass it on to people and give them opportunity to grab life big. And the only thing is you got to have a work ethic and a willingness to learn. And you can enter our ecosystem and we’ll take you to the next level.

Brandon: Man I love it. Alright Rock this is fantastic, thank you so much for joining us today we’ll see you around. Look forward to hanging out with you I think it’s Steamboat this year this coming January.

Rock: Yes.

Brandon: At the GoBundance event. So we’ll see you there.

Rock: We’ll see you there man. It’s been an honor and a privilege guys. Thanks for creating something great that’s changed a lot of lives.

David: Thank you very much Rock, this is David Greene for Brandon (I fix chairs) Turner, signing off.

You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio, simplifying real estate for investors, large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing without all the hype, you’re in the right place. Be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from biggerpockets.com; your home for real estate investing online.

[End of Recording] [01:21:43]

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Rock’s backstory as a worker on a farm
  • What mentors look for into someone
  • How he used pain to propel himself forward
  • Saying yes to opportunities, no matter how difficult
  • The importance of having what it takes
  • Why you should seek out people with energy
  • Being the guy who solves any problem
  • The 4 money personality types
  • The type of properties he invests in
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Fire Round Questions

Tweetable Topics:

  • “Mentors, you want to admire them and you want to be them.” (Tweet This!)
  • “When you step in the room and you feel you’re not the smartest guy, you’re in the right room.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” (Tweet This!)
  • “You can get anything you want in life as long as you are committed and creative.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Find what pisses people off and solve it for them.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Rock

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.