BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast

BiggerPockets Podcast 445: When to Quit Your Job and Pursue Your Dreams with Rapper Manafest

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The BiggerPockets podcast has quite a diverse group of guests that come on the show. We’ve had writers, speakers, businesspeople, and actors, but this may be the first rapper we’ve had with us. Chris Greenwood AKA Manafest is in the studio, and instead of recording beats, he’s recording the best lessons he’s learned through his music career, real estate investing, and online business.

Chris started out like many of us, working a stable job for a large corporation. After years of doing music on the side while working his full time job, he decided to take the jump and make rapping and rocking his career. Chris is the first to admit that this may not have been the best financial decision, and staying on the job for a little while longer could have relieved him of a lot of headaches. That being said, Chris didn’t just survive, he actually thrived in the music scene.

When Chris and his wife decided to move out of their condo to upgrade to a larger home, they brought up the idea of renting out the condo instead of selling. This opened Chris up to the world of real estate investing, and as he saw the checks start to come in, he realized that this was a money maker that could help bring in stable income, passively while he worked on his music.

Now Chris owns various properties and mainly buys from turnkey companies. Brandon, David, and Chris all have their own opinions on turnkey real estate investing, but they all agree on one thing: for those that don’t have much time to be an active investor, it’s a great way to start or stack up rental properties.

Aside from rentals and rapping, Chris developed his own online course to teach other musicians how to successfully market their music in an industry that has such a high barrier to entry. Chris talks through how he separated himself from all the other “course gurus” and how you too can serve as an authoritative figure in your own community with knowledge, experience, and perseverance.

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Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Brandon:
This is the BiggerPockets Podcast show 445.

Chris:
It’s not just the idea, it’s an idea acted upon that is the powerful thing. That’s another thing, successful people don’t procrastinate. They take massive action while other people take action. They don’t just think about it.

Intro:
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. It’s Brandon Turner host of the BiggerPockets Podcast here with my co-host, Mr. David Greene. David, how is the Maui condo search going? I know you’re looking for something.

David:
Yes. It’s been fruitful. I got to meet with Josh Dorkin actually. We had a good little talk walking around Hawaii and I put one place under contract. I have a couple more. I’m closing in on number two, and then there’s a whole nother complex I’m going to start looking at. So I’m going to be in Hawaii a lot more it looks like.

Brandon:
Fancy, fancy, fancy. I’m looking forward to having you out here more because I really enjoy doing the podcast with you in person. I mean, obviously right now we’re on Zoom, which is great, but man, in person, it’s a lot of fun. But even if we only get to do it on Zoom, we still get amazing guests, like today’s guest. You like that transition?

David:
Very nice.

Brandon:
Today’s guest is a buddy of mine who, when I first met him, I was total fangirling because he is a musician that I actually listen to quite a bit. He is a … I want to call it hip hop/rock. He’s got several kinds of genres that he does. His stage name is Manafest, M-A-N-A-F-E-S-T, Manafest. I’ve heard him on the radio many, many times. He’s worked with a lot of big other artists. Anyway, a super cool guy. I met him because he was at a real estate event that my buddy Seth put on down in Tennessee. We got to talk in and then after an hour long of conversation, I figured out who he was and then I was like, “What?” Anyway, now here we are two years later and I’ve been begging him to come on the show to talk, and he finally came on the BiggerPockets Podcast to … BiggerPockets Podcast. I said that name, right? I think I did. To-

David:
You’re still in fangirl mode.

Brandon:
I guess I’m still in fangirl mode. Enough talking for me. David, yeah, today’s show it was fun.

David:
Chris does a lot of good for other musicians. That's one of the reasons we wanted to bring him on. Is he's really figured out how to solve the problem of musicians not being able to earn revenue from other income streams. He's also very good at teaching. He does some online work where he shows people how to do stuff. And, big surprise, he invests in real estate. We got a lot of really good mindset stuff, a lot of really good business stuff and some good at real estate advice specifically when it comes to turnkey verses not turnkey, or cashflow versus equity. I thought that there was some good content there.

Brandon:
Yeah, really good stuff there. I’m pumped to get into it, but before we get there, let’s get to today’s quick tip.

David:
Quick tip.

Brandon:
One of the topics we spent some time on today was knowing your highest and best use when it comes to investing in real estate. Meaning, Chris makes a lot of money as a musician, also in online education space. His way of investing is very different than what maybe mine was at the beginning when I didn’t make any money. I was working at a Cold Stone Creamery in the very beginning. The way to … The quick tip today, is ask yourself, are you currently focusing on your highest and best real estate use? That’s the question I have for you? If you don’t know what that means, listen to today’s show you’ll figure that out. But that would be my quick tip. Anything you want to add to that?

David:
That’s a good question for anything in life. In your business are you-

Brandon:
It is. Yeah.

David:
… your highest and best use? In your relationship are you your highest and best use? I know this year I’m planning on putting some money into Brandon’s fund, as well as a couple others, because I don’t have enough time-

Brandon:
Well, thank you.

David:
… to look for deals specifically for myself, and I’m going to make money through your work. Thank you for offering me that, but that’s a great example of how-

Brandon:
Well, thank you.

David:
… you use your highest and best use.

Brandon:
Yeah, exactly. Some people should be out there pounding the pavement, going door knocking. Some people should be sitting there putting their money with somebody else. Some people should be buying turnkey. Some people should be investing in a REIT. Some people should be only doing the stock market, not even touching real estate. Everyone’s got a different path. Only you can know yours. The quick tip is, figure out what your path is, and today’s show should help with that a little bit. Now, I think it’s time to get into this interview with Chris Greenwood, also known as Manafest. Chris is going to share a ton of great stuff today. Again, a top 40 Billboard charting artist. He’s got 10 studio albums. He owns almost a dozen rental properties. Lives in Canada but also lives in the US or had lived in the US and invest in US real estate mostly. You’re going to hear a lot of good stuff today. Without further ado, anything you want to add, David?

David:
No, just check out his music maybe right before you listen to the interview. It’d be kind of cool if you heard one of his songs before we [crosstalk 00:04:43]-

Brandon:
Yeah. Pull Spotify real quick and listen to something from a Manafest, M-A-N-A-F-E-S-T. Do you have a favorite song from Manafest?

David:
I like Impossible, Avalanche and No Plan B.

Brandon:
My favorite, probably Every Time You Run, I think. I really like that one a lot. Check it out everyone. With that said, let’s get to today’s interview. Chris, welcome to the BiggerPockets Podcast, man. It’s awesome to have you here.

Chris:
Yeah. Super stoked, man. I can’t wait.

Brandon:
Yeah. You and I have been talking now for the last several years, we’re in a little accountability mastermind group together with Seth Mosley, who’s also been on the show. We’ve been talking about this day for, I don’t know, two years now. I’ve been like, “We got to get you on the show.” Because you’ve got some cool stuff going on in your life and you’ve got some cool stuff figured out, and that’s what we’re going to dig into today. I’m honored to have you. With that said, who are you, man? What’s this rapper or hip hop? What do you call what you do and how’d you get into that?

Chris:
You know what funny, man, I’ve always been in the entrepreneur niche kind of trying to create stuff from the paper route to shoveling driveways. Which I should go shovel some driveways right now because there’s so much snow. But I’ve been doing music, I guess full-time, for over 15 years. I was an IT guy before that. A lot of people didn’t know I was a Microsoft certified systems engineer. [crosstalk 00:06:02]-

Brandon:
I remember that.

Chris:
… south, the Bay Area, David. But I did that for a long time. While I was living at home, I had a really good job and it was making good money. I funneled that into my music career to kind of really get it started. I went from … I had such a cool place that I worked for. They allowed me to go from five days a week to let me have Fridays off so I could go play more shows. This was a salary job. I was the network engineer guy. I had Fridays off. Then I remember I had the guts to ask for another day off and went to three days. Then I think I asked for leave of absences. I really tried to slowly leave. Then of course I eventually quit my job and went broke trying to be a musician and make it in music. I figured out a lot of stuff, signed a really bad record deal. Learned how to market and sell my music on my own and just figured it out.

Chris:
Went to radio. I had some success. Wrote some great songs. Our first success was actually in Japan, believe it or not. I was this close, so close, coming off a tour broke during Christmas time because it was a tour we bought onto. A lot of people don’t know when you see an artist tour, they might not be getting paid. They might’ve actually been paying [crosstalk 00:07:17]-

Brandon:
I had no idea.

Chris:
In this tour I was paying $150 a night for a 15 minute set. But it wasn’t even a 15 minutes set, they cut it in snippets. I was the MC/performing a song in between the artists. I didn’t even get a full set, but it gets even better. They made the time margins so small that dudes were setting up behind me while I was singing, bumping into me. Who knows? Because we were chatting before, this is David, my song Impossible, that was one of the songs I was performing. People bumping into me while I’m singing this hit that wasn’t a hit yet. I’m like, “Get off that tour.” Just like, “What am I doing? Making no money.” I could have been making whatever I was making at my job. It’s like, “I don’t got to be here. Why am I here?” You’re here for the dream. Push fast forward four or five months, we blew up in Japan selling 10,000 albums a week and breathed new life into my career.

Chris:
Things took off and I was able to continue to write better songs and learn how to market my music and keep doing this thing, which I’ve been so blessed to do.

Brandon:
Before we get into the world of real estate and personal development and what you've learned about debt and leverage and all that stuff that I want to cover today, I've got a whole list of things to talk to you about. I'm curious about this idea of quitting your job to pursue your passion, because that terrifies most people. Whether they want to start a real estate business, they want to go flip houses, they want to go start a YouTube channel, whatever that thing is. How did you overcome that fear? I guess, how did you overcome that fear? Then what advice do you have for people today that are in those shoes of like, "I have a stable job right now. I like this money." I guess what do you have to say to those people?

Chris:
Well, I’ll say that I was married too at that point when I quit. I’d just gotten married. We bought our first property, which is a condo. A little one plus den. So I had that on the back of my mind. All I did before quitting the job was, I hired some managers and said, “Hey, as long as you can make me this amount of money, I’m going to do it.” I wanted it so bad, dude, that it was like stupidity, whatever it was, I kind of forced the dream to almost happen. There wasn’t any fear because it was just like, I just wanted it so bad. But if I could go back, I would not have quit my job so fast, man. I would’ve stayed three days. I would have taken a few more leaves of that leaf of absences and just slowed it down a little bit. I encourage people to quit their jobs and stuff, but make sure that other income is there first. I think it was Grant Cardone, you don’t kill one income or you don’t try and build another one until this other one is built but also sustained.

Chris:
I cut that income off plus I went into debt and I also bought another vehicle as well too. I bought it on a credit line. I bought all these things that weren’t making me money. Then I signed a record deal which signed all my rights away from my music. So instead of getting paid every week, the label would pay me twice a year if I sold albums. I encourage people, sometimes you got to feel the fear and do it afraid, but be wise, be prudent. Plan it out, but still jump, man. You still got to jump. Don’t procrastinate. There’s a difference.

Brandon:
That’s a really good point.

David:
I want to jump in really quick before Brandon keeps going. Brandon, hold your thought. Chris, I want to ask you, do you feel like the decision to take the deal with the record label, which you’ve later described as not a good deal, might’ve been influenced or affected by the emotions that came from, I don’t have an income stream. I left that job too soon. I need to jump in and do this? Or were they unrelated?

Chris:
The label didn’t give me even an advance when I signed. That’s the other crazy thing, we paid for the record and I thought I was going to be a rock rap star. I thought because I signed … That did open doors. It did open doors to Japan and stuff like that. But I thought once I got signed that that was the end of the journey. But what I realized, that was the beginning of the journey. A lot of people think that’s the end, now everything is going to work out. But there’s just so much more.

David:
But would you have taken more time to read through it, maybe sought counsel from other people if you still had your job and you still had income coming in, do you think?

Chris:
Man, I think I was driving around to construction sites installing networks and stuff like that. I remember listening to Switchfoot’s album, The Beautiful Letdown.

Brandon:
Yeah. [crosstalk 00:11:51]-

Chris:
[inaudible 00:11:51]that big song was (singing)-

David:
It was a meant to live. Yeah.

Chris:
I remember just driving and just being like, “I don’t want to be here. I want to be doing music full-time.” I remember a manager even said to me, he’s like, “Dude, you’ve got a great job. You can put it in your music career.” I’m like, “No, I have to be doing a full-time. I have to be doing it full-time.” I bet you people are listening to this right now as far as real estate, they’re like, “I got to quit my job and do real estate full-time.” But then they are so stressed out about trying to find deals and then they start making poor decisions as opposed if they had that income and built it slowly without the stress and the headaches. That’s basically what I did with music. I made it work, man, but dude sleeping on the floors, skipping meals, sleeping on hotel room floors and in the car driving through the nights, I would do it differently if I could go back in time. I just …

Brandon:
Yeah. It’s interesting because on one side, it’s the whole jump and build your parachute on the way down. Some people will say, “Just burn your ships, jump and do what you got to do and that will give you the motivation to continue.” But then the other side of it, that only works … I feel like those stories of one that works oftentimes are the exception, not the rule. You don’t hear about the guy who quit his job, built a real estate empire. I mean, we don’t bring them back on the show here on the BiggerPockets Podcast when they come and tell us that they quit their job and then a year later they’re back working at KFC. We don’t bring them back to the show to be like, “Tell us how you got that job at KFC.” We don’t go there. We only hear the highlights of the people who actually succeeded. It’s almost like a … What’s that phrase? I don’t know.

David:
Success bias.

Brandon:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, success bias. We hear that successes. I love that point you're making, like you don't have to quit your job. Most jobs … I don't want to say … Man, I don't know. man, I'd say most. If you're good at your job, most jobs would allow you to be a little bit flexible with the hours, aa little bit to a certain degree. If not, that's where we're like, "Okay, fine, go get another job that is flexible." Even if it pays less money, at least you have the income coming in. Go be a real estate agent if that's what you're into. Go sell, I don't know, vacuum cleaners. I don't know. Whatever it is. Something that you like, but that gives you flexibility.

Chris:
Yeah. Try borrowing money self-employed as opposed to with the job, all right. I’ve been on both sides of it and some reason when you have a salary job, it’s just like, “We’ll give you as much money as you want.” [crosstalk 00:14:09]

Brandon:
Yeah, they’re just like, ” sure, take it.”

Chris:
… they assume that you’re just … Then it’s like Fort Knox, man, and you got to provide every single report and document possible, your second child and …

Brandon:
That’s so true.

David:
It’s funny that you’re saying this because Brandon and I both constantly … This is like … What would you call it? A pet peeve, Brandon, when we have to deal with banks and they’re just-

Brandon:
Hey.

David:
… I just need 97 pages.

Brandon:
Yeah. Last November, a year and a half ago you spent $12.17 at a 7-Eleven out in New York City. We’ll need to see that receipt and figure out what you bought for that. You’re like, “It was nachos. I got some nachos at the gas station.” They’ll like, “Yeah, we’re going to need to see a receipt for that.” Yeah, I totally feel you there. It’s horrendous.

David:
Well, what would I love about what you’re saying is it doesn’t have to be a binary option. Something about when we’re in a fearful place, your brain wants to take everything and turn it into we’ll, do I live my dream or do I just get stuck in a cubicle and kill my soul? As if that’s your only two options, and that’s not really reality.

Chris:
Yeah, totally, man. I was just reading this book talking about how you choose to be happy now. Having success isn’t going to make you happy. When you’re happy, that is success kind of thing. It’s like, we think that this destination is going to make us happy. It’s like, no, enjoy the journey. I kind of miss the fight sometimes, and you sometimes get jaded. It’s the same thing with everything, like your first deal and the excitement and whatever. Then now you’ve done it all the time and now it’s numbers. It’s just different. It’s like hearing a song for the first time, it’s like, you only get that one listen. Right?

Brandon:
Yeah, that’s a good point. On that, let’s talk about the first deal. You mentioned first deal. What was your first real estate deal? What did that look like?

Chris:
The first I guess deal we did was our condo when we moved into it. Instead of selling it, we got this idea, I think it was David Bach or some story of this fan. I think start late, finish rich or something. I read this story about this family. They would buy a house, they lived in it and instead of selling it, they rented it out. I think I got that idea from that. I remember we wanted to move into something bigger and we just rented it out. It was easy and it was so cool. It was our banker’s ex-husband rented it out. We got a great tenant and he was just awesome, dude. The only time he called was to give us more checks and we had that condo for forever. Then we did it again when in the next house when we moved from Canada to California. That was a little scarier and we had a manager for that one. That was rough. The first tenant in there was rough.

Chris:
They put everything down like a doctor and this dude’s legit income, but he didn’t say he had two kids. For some reason when they moved in, they had five or seven or something like that. Just he was out pretty quick.

Brandon:
Wow. Then what could you have done differently in that first deal that went wrong? Because a lot of people … Or not the first deal that went wrong. The second deal, I guess you did that just was rough. A lot of people are afraid of getting into real estate because they’re like, “Well, what if something goes wrong in my first deal or second deal?”

Chris:
Yeah. You know what’s funny, I was saying to Kevin earlier is that, horror stories and the bad stories, the bad news travels faster than the good news. I think that’s why there’s this rap about old toilets and all this stuff. I’ve been doing this for a long time, barely anything has ever gone wrong. It’s really not. But these stories of stuff goes wrong. Our management company that got these guys on, he’s like, “Look, they look good on paper.” Everything was perfect. I remember he was like, “Sometimes you just get that rare oddity of a person. You just can’t help it. No, what you do, you can check it all, but …” I remember him saying, “Chris, this is the story we tell at campfires.” We still talk about that one, bad tenants. He’s like, “Chris, I wouldn’t sell that guy a million dollar home.” He’s just like, “I don’t …” Honestly, there isn’t anything we could have done different because they moved out pretty quick and then we got a new tenant in there and then it was just smooth sailing after that.

Brandon:
Well, I want to make this point because I think it’s … You just made it, I’m just going to add onto it. Is that these stories that you hear, the toilet stories or whatever, even I’ve told a couple of toilet stories here on the show before. I’ve got two stories over a 15 year career. That is because I put myself first of all into those positions. Second of all, in the moment they weren’t that crazy because they didn’t happen in a 32nd story. You know what I mean? Bad stories, even bad tenant … I’ve had tenants I’ve had to evict and I’ve had a tenant that once threatened to … She wrote a note that said, “If you touch my stuff, I’m going to murder you.” She was a crazy lady. But even stories like that situation, I’ll tell you that, that’s probably the worst tenant I ever had. Was this crazy lady, stopped paying rent. She was on Section 8, but then she wouldn’t let the Section 8, which is our, government’s program whatever-

David:
Housing.

Brandon:
Yeah, housing program. Anyway, they wouldn’t let the inspectors in. They canceled their Section 8. So now she wasn’t paying us. She went nuts. There was government’s listening to her through the wires in her walls, kind of nuts. Then we do evict her. They moved out her stuff. She threatened us, whatever. Then my wife had actually cleaned that house of so much mouse and cockroach poop ourselves, and then we emptied it out. We brought it up in the dump. We got it re-rented, it looks beautiful, and today I think cashflow is crazy. Now that took me 30 seconds to tell that story. That was over the course of a month though and it wasn’t that bad when I was in it. It was just like, “Okay, we just … What’s the next step? We got to do this. What’s the next step? We got to do that.” Honestly, I wouldn’t have had to clean that stuff. I could have hired someone to do it. I just was young and scrappy at the time. That’s my equivalent of you saying you slept on the floor of cars while you’re traveling.

Brandon:
When you’re in those moments, they’re not really usually that bad as the story might make them be. But they make you into the kind of person that you later become when you do have to go through them. I don’t know. I just want to encourage people like, don’t get scared off by that stuff. It’s really not that bad.

Chris:
Absolutely not. It’s nothing compared to the advantages of the appreciation and the income and the risks are so nothing. Just because I read this the other day and I just thought it was so cool is that, the reason why you don’t hear successful people winning the lottery is because successful people don’t buy lottery tickets. People will say, but yet unsuccessful people buy them and the risk and the chances of winning are so small. Yet when we say go invest in real estate, like, “No, that’s too risky.” It’ like-

David:
I was thinking when you were talking about the toilet thing, we say that because that’s just the stereotypical, what are you going to do with the toilet breaks at 2:00 in the morning and the tenant wakes you up? I just thought for myself, “Why doesn’t that stop anyone from a house for themselves?” Toilets would break in your house the same as they’d break in the tenant’s house. Not one person has ever said, “I don’t want to buy a house …”

Brandon:
Because of the toilet.

David:
… “my toilet could break at 2:00 in the morning.” But that becomes the excuse for why we don’t … It just doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know why I never thought about that. It’s never stopped anyone from buying a primary residence. Why would it stop you buying a rental?

Brandon:
That’s funny. All right. What came next? Then you got … I know at some point you got heavier into real estate. How did that happen?

Chris:
Yeah. Well just from reading books and just diving into it and just getting inspired. Music took over for a little while, but then I was like, “Okay, making some money. I really believe it’s a good place to put money in and to grow your wealth and protect it.” The last few years, we started buying more properties. Whether that was the turnkey stuff. Being in Canada, buying stuff here, buying stuff in the US and just learning strategies of doing it . B it’s like, I’m not an active investor. I’d say I’m definitely more passive with whether it’s the turnkey or just a few here and having different management companies handle it. Which I’m realizing my time is so much more valuable. Having people where the deal is already done, because I’m not going to run all the numbers and all that stuff. I need it kind of handed to me and figured out, “Okay, just tell me the ROI. Just give me the basic numbers and I’ll make my decision based on that.”

Chris:
I’m sure we’ll get into it, but it’s just like, I’m not a big debt guy. I’m definitely good debt, bad debt. But there’s always risks with everything, and so it’s just really being prudent and not putting myself too much at risk and risking my portfolio off of being too hungry or comparing how many doors I have compared to someone else and overleveraging. Right.

Brandon:
Yeah. Let’s go to that because … Well, let’s go to the debt thing in a minute. First. I want to hit turnkey in case people don’t know what that means. I want to talk about that for a minute, and then we’ll go into the idea of debt and your views on that. But what is turnkey real estate? Why did that attract you?

Chris:
I like the turnkey one, because just the easy, quick turnaround. I don’t have to get my hands dirty. I don’t have to look at … I can’t believe I’ve bought properties now without even looking at them. That’s like … It took us a while to get to that. I remember talking with my wife and we started doing it. The first one just went so well, they got a tenant in there. They handled the management, they handled the rehab. The checks were coming in clean. When there was problems, they handled it. It was very hands-off and I liked that because I wanted to work on songs. I wanted to work on my other parts of my business. Where real estate was just something where I just wanted to put my money into something. But then some of the turnkeys and people will say, and obviously you guys will have your input on this, but it’s just like, I find with those that you don’t … Not that you don’t get the best deals, but I find as far as my experience so far, there hasn’t been as much appreciation as there has been ROI on dollar for dollar invested.

Chris:
The appreciation hasn’t been as good, but the ROI of what I put in versus what I got back was was really good.

Brandon:
Yeah. Turnkey, and of course we're talking about these companies that they find the property, they fix it up, they put a tenant and they manage the whole thing. You just basically get the loan. That's the majority of your active work. How did you find a trustworthy turnkey company to go with originally? Did you jump around to different ones or did you have this one and how'd you go navigate that?

Chris:
Well, when you were speaking at Music & Money, I think it was in Nashville and I was chatting with Seth and he brought them up and started talking about them. It was kind of like, “Well, if he’s buying with them, then I’ll buy with them.” I mean, that’s the trust of referral and signing off on, I mean, in-

Brandon:
100%.

Chris:
… with you guys at BiggerPockets and referring stuff that you trust, there’s just so much power and integrity in a referral.

Brandon:
So much.

Chris:
In someone that I trust. If they’ve got results in their life, then that is very strong for me to make a decision if my trust is in them. When you refer me to something it’s like, “Okay, well, if Brandon’s doing it, or David’s doing it well, then it’s got to be good.” I listened to some podcasts. I listened to some … Got some referrals to different things and then made my decision. But I made it. Then the first one went good, then we did another one. There’s another turnkey company that we did, but it’s interesting, their systems weren’t as smooth, communication wasn’t as good. But what’s interesting is, is you don’t know until you kind of get into the weeds and you got to test stuff and you got to know. Then you find your team and you find what you like and what works for you. I don’t know if I’m fully sold on the turnkey. I like it, but there’s the pros and cons.

Brandon:
What are are some of the cons?

Chris:
There hasn’t been as much appreciation as far as I can see. I didn’t find the deal, so I don’t really know if I got it at the best market value or not because they’re the ones fixing it up. There’s not as much control. That that’s kind of the main ones. Because the ROI is good, but that appreciation, man, is just, that’s the gold. I think kind of doesn’t that really outweigh it? I think it does.

Brandon:
Well, David, I want to ask you, David, this question because as a real estate agent and somebody who's really good at knowing this stuff and you're the long distance real estate investing guy, why do you think appreciation is typically not as good on turnkey and just your general thoughts on turnkey.

David:
I’m so glad you asked. You must have read my face as Chris was talking, and I was thinking like, “I know why that is.” When we say turnkey, what we’re saying is the property is in such good condition all you have to do is turn the key, open the door and you’re ready to go. That is what Chris you were looking for. Is I don’t want the time and the headache having to figure this thing out because my time is better spent doing other things with my family, making money, the stuff we’re going to get into in the rest of the podcast. The problem here, well, first off I’ll say appreciation is a much bigger component of building wealth through real estate than what most people would think. We talk on the podcast a lot of the time, like, “Don’t bet on appreciation.” You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you can lose money because you were counting on appreciation, but it is still a factor in this piece.

David:
If you weigh over a 20, 30 year period, how much wealth you built from cashflow versus that property appreciating, in most areas, appreciation is going to dominate. It’s not a either or. Just like we were saying earlier, there’s a spectrum that you want to be on. The problem with why those properties that Chris is talking about don’t appreciate, I’m guessing, Chris, were they buy in the Midwest?

Chris:
Yeah. They were on the Midwest and that’s what you … You just nailed it too. You made me think, I’m not adding any value. They’re already adding the value. They’re finding the places-

David:
Yeah. It’s tapped out.

Chris:
… to add values. So it’s like, I’m not going to be able to do anything else. Right?

David:
Yes.

Chris:
I can’t get creative.

David:
Because they … The turnkey companies tend to exist in the Midwest because that’s where the cashflow is the greatest. You’re inherently sacrificing appreciation in order to get cashflow because … There’s nothing wrong with it. That’s just where those turnkey companies operate because most of their buyers want the cash flow. It’s not that turnkey doesn’t create appreciation … I mean, it hurts in the sense that you’re usually paying market value or a little bit more. But even long-term Midwest does not create appreciation. As you move into the next phase of your investing life, where you’re like, “Okay, I’ve got cash flow. Now I want to get more appreciation.” My advice would be you focus on turnkey properties, meaning for the most part, they’re already in pretty good shape. They’re not a total fixer upper. That have a little bit of meat on the bone and you can make them nicer, but you buy in an area that’s more likely to appreciate. That would be the next stage on there. I just wanted to clarify. It’s not that turnkey doesn’t appreciate, it’s that usually they’re in the Midwest and that market doesn’t appreciate.

Brandon:
Well-

Chris:
That’s good.

Brandon:
… and I'll make this point too. I think, when you buy through a turnkey company, like you said, you are sacrificing a couple of things. You maybe are not getting a great deal because they've already maxed … They're going to get their big profit. Let's use you some simple math. The turnkey company goes and finds a property for 50 grand. They then put 30 grand to work into it. Now, they're at $80,000. They sell that property to you for 100. Now, it's all fixed up and ready to go for 100. Again, very simple math here. That means the turnkey company just made $20,000. They basically flipped it to an investor that they didn't have to pay a real estate agent for it. It's a phenomenal business model. I would love to be in that model. Amazing. But if you were just to go buy that property on the MLS, if you're just going to get a real estate agent, you'd probably pay $100,000 for a similar property. The question is, why won't you just go do that yourself?

Brandon:
Like David’s even saying, you’d go buy one maybe for 90,000. You can put a little work and do 80,000. Get a little of the equity yourself. For many, many people, that is a great idea. But for you, Chris, I look at you and I say, that would not have been a good use of your time is my assumption because you make way more money doing what you do, which is music and teaching people how to make money in music. Which is kind of your business stuff, than trying to get the best deal. There’s a balancing act for everybody. This is why we can’t tell you, you should do it this way or you should do it this way. Your highest and best use was probably not trying to get a $20,000 discount on a piece of real estate. You’d need real estate as an investment, not as a generator of money or profit up front. Where me and David when we got started, we definitely wanted the money as a profit, to generate money. We need it in.

Brandon:
Again, I think it just perfectly illustrates how everybody has to take a different approach to real estate. I think your approach is phenomenal. Make money doing what you love to do in business, entrepreneurship, whatever, and then dump all your money into real estate in a way that works for you and your time availability.

Chris:
Yeah, that’s good. Yeah. Because it’s like you got to be passionate about it. You got to want to do it. Not everybody wants to hunt the deals. Sometimes I’m like, yeah, I do want to do that, but I don’t want to do it as much to drop everything else I’m doing. But I know my wife likes fixing up stuff and we were trying to fix up something the other day to get it rented. We didn’t rehab. We just … What’s the word I’m looking for. We just set it up, and just-

David:
Cleaned it up.

Chris:
… bought furniture-

David:
Staged.

Chris:
We staged it. That’s what it was. We staged it to move it. It was fun. But I don’t know if we want to do that all the time or not. It just depends.

David:
Yeah. Well, to further that point before we move on, I’ll say I, myself, don’t buy real estate the way I did six years ago.

Brandon:
Yeah. Same.

David:
I was the deal guy. I was hammering to … I was scouring. It was so fun getting a great deal because I was comparing that to work in 20 hours a day as a cop. It was much more fun to go find those great deals. Now, I’ll make more money, have more influence over other people, be much more fulfilled in the businesses I’m working on. I still buy real estate, but I’m not killing myself to get another $11,000 on that property. I’m like, “Well, where do I buy the best land, the best area and find a deal to make it work there?” Brandon, you’ve kind of seen it. I’m just saying that to give everyone else permission, like we do this too. We’ve progressed along that same scale.

Chris:
That’s good.

Brandon:
Yeah. That’s really good. All right. Let’s talk about a little bit what else do you do. When you’re doing music, but you also have a music business that teaches people how to do music. What’s that all about?

Chris:
Yeah. When I was on the road in the green rooms or behind the stage before we’d go on, I’d get asked a lot of questions. Like, “How are you making money with your music?” Because I was always entered it where … At first, it was like, I thought the label was going to do everything, but then I went broke. So it’s like, “Okay, I got to figure out how to make money with my music. How does this work?” I dived into the marketing of it and was very hands on. I started getting a lot of questions from artists like, “How are you doing this?” I’m like, “Well, have you set up this? Do you got Merched? Do you got drop shipping? Do you have print on demand? Do you have … Are you using Facebook, Instagram ads?” It’s all these different things. Like, are you making money from YouTube? I decided one day … I’ll never forget it. I was driving back from surfing up the I-5 there from Dana Point. I was listening to a podcast about online business. I heard these guys making money and stuff doing courses and stuff.

Chris:
I was like, “Man, I got to just do this. I got to help some people and got to do this.” I pulled over to Starbucks outlined this online course. Next thing you know, my pregnant wife is filming me as I’m recording this course. I’m just giving it my all and feeling like an idiot. My wife’s like, “Just do it. You’re doing great. You’re doing great. This is going to help so many artists. You’re doing great.” I was like, “Okay.” So we do it and I remember we put it up online for sale. I remember we went to this Bible study and when I was at the Bible study, all of a sudden I started getting ding, ding and I was making sales on this course. You got to understand, all it took was a microphone, a camera and an idea, my computer. All of a sudden we’re making sales and they’re a lot more than a 99 cent song on iTunes or Spotify, and it costs me nothing. Where a song, to get it done, it takes thousands of dollars.

Chris:
To get in this business, to … I write songs to inspire people and to help them and rock out whatnot and make a difference. But I’m also now making courses to help other artists get their art out there and making a living. But the entry level to get in was completely different. This whole model of teaching what you know and people paying you for it … I spent tens of thousands of dollars on my brain from courses to books, to masterminds and stuff. It’s like, I can’t assume just because I know this stuff that everybody else does. But yet we devalue what we know and so that’s where we, me and my wife as well, we both have our info product businesses where I teach musicians how to market sell their music online. My wife teaches artists how to sell their art online. It’s something that we’ve started to do together.

Brandon:
Yeah, that’s cool. It’s cool because you addressed it from the standpoint of like, “I’m legitimately going to help people. By putting together this course, I’m legitimately going to help musicians who are making no …” I mean, musicians make no money. They’re constantly making terrible deals with the labels and it’s a rough life being a … Even people you think are super successful musicians, I know that COVID just decimated them because they couldn’t … All their money was from touring.

David:
Touring.

Brandon:
From touring. All of a sudden these people that you think are massive musicians and country stars or rappers or whatever, all of a sudden they’re broke. They have no money whatsoever because all the money was just like, it was a job and as soon as the speaker turned off, they had no money left. You’re like, “Hey, here’s some of the ways that we can make money, not just from touring or not just from this, but different things like that.” Right?

Chris:
Yeah. There’s just so many different income streams that you can set up. Just like how real estate, you get the appreciation, you get the cash flow and you get the write-off. We can go off the different … From one asset, well, one song has all these different income streams. Like from putting it on the Merch, TV and film, YouTube, Spotify. There’s just so many different things from one song, but you don’t know what you don’t know and that’s why people perish for lack of knowledge. It’s just like, one thing I didn’t know, and I could have negotiated it, cost me 50,000 bucks on a deal. I could have just asked for it, and I didn’t because I didn’t know.

Brandon:
Yeah. I’m curious who you think is the ideal … I’m going to ask David, you the same question to you David, but there is a glut of really terrible online courses out there, in the real estate space and in every space pretty much imaginable. Because everyone who read The 4-Hour Work Week and was like, “Whoa, I could just build a simple course and then make a ton of money right away.” Who should be looking into this kind of thing, this world of creating money online and who shouldn’t? What’s the best way to attack that?

Chris:
For me, it's about having your heart in the right place and wanting to help someone get a result. I was on tour with Saving Abel, is this a mainstream tour, this club bar tour. I'm always traveling and going into thrift shops to buy inspirational books. I found the book Millionaire Messenger by Brendon Burchard for 50 cents. That's what got me into wanting to teach online. It was all about making money, but making an impact, helping people. Get your … If you just want to help people, the money will come. Let's just help people and make a difference. If you do that, then you're going to make money.

Brandon:
Yeah, that’s a good point. I made this point, I think it was last week on the podcast or a few weeks ago on the podcast here. But I’ll say it again for people that didn’t hear it. As I was on another show recently, I think it called Perpetual Traffic. It was all about getting traffic to your business and stuff in your online business. I was talking about BiggerPockets and we were joking about how terrible BiggerPockets is at a lot of internet marketing things. We’re just not that good at like SEO and we’re not technical at a lot of different things. We don’t do the ClickFunnel stuff that I know you … We just don’t do a lot of stuff that we should be doing. Why is BiggerPockets the largest real estate investing website on the planet? Why are we the largest podcast? Because Josh, when he found it, was like, how do we just provide real value? How do we actually help people?

Brandon:
When you come at it from that standpoint, it’s just a different game versus how do I make the most amount of money possible with the least amount of work possible and get people to give me their credit card so I can just quit my job and lay on a beach? That mentality, I think just it only takes you so far. But when you just go, “I’m going to provide massive value and help to people and teach what I actually do …” You weren’t also making things up. I mean, how many times do you get irritated from people who are like, “I’m going to teach you guys …” David, you see this all the time. “I’m going to teach you guys how to get rich through estate.” “Yeah, what have you done?” “Well, I’ve done two deals.” Okay. Great. It’s easy to teach-

David:
I took four courses from other people that were making these.

Brandon:
But you were an active musician.

Chris:
Yeah, that’s the question, right. Are you actually making money with this? Do you actually make money from your music or are you just teaching it? That’s the thing too, is like even me, where’s it’s just like, yeah, I had done this. We toured 22 different countries. We’ve had success, and so it’s there. But I had my own doubts in my mind. But it’s just like, that’s where you just got to have the right heart and want to help people. I love with what you guys is like, you guys are giving away so much amazing value and you’re giving away for free where people are not even teaching is giving away as much value, but trying to charge for it. It’s just like, how can you compete with that?

Brandon:
Yeah. I would argue that if you want to compete with BiggerPockets, which is great … I hope people do. I hope you go and come and compete with us. We could use some competition. You got to do a better job than we’re doing. In a lot of areas, we teach a lot of value. How do you provide more value? Find that area that BiggerPockets is not doing that you are currently doing already in your life and then go teach that. If you want to go teach that online and make a little bit of money, fine. I think you can make a lot of money that way. But you got to be able to bring something different to the table. This is a big thing I see with online entrepreneurs of every store. This is when I tried to start a wooden sunglasses business. I was one of 1,000 other people selling wooden sunglasses six years ago. Why was I different? I wasn’t. I had nothing different. David, what do you think on this?

David:
I think I’m glad you don’t sell wooden sunglasses first of all. A terrible idea. I think I told you that when you were doing it.

Brandon:
They were awesome looking glasses though, all right? They looked cool and I still wish I had a pair.

David:
I still don’t get the appeal of wood on your face. That never, ever made sense to me.

Brandon:
It was lighter than plastic. It felt-

Chris:
Light, yeah-

Brandon:
It was light.

Chris:
… you can feel the light [inaudible 00:40:18].

Brandon:
It floated in water.

David:
You get that amazing feeling like when you rub your face against tree bark and you just wanted that every day?

Chris:
Oh man.

Brandon:
It was pretty smooth wood. It felt like plastic. Anyway, keep going.

David:
Yeah. I would say my pet peeve is when somebody makes an online course and it’s a pet peeve because there’s vulnerable people that will pay for it. That’s the problem with our business, is they’re so desperate to get out of their cubicle at Microsoft as a systems engineer that they’ll pay a lot of money to someone with the hope that they can get out of it. Then that person doesn’t deliver but there’s no accountability because you don’t know that person. You don’t have a relationship with them. You’ll never see them. They clicked on a ClickFunnel, they paid their money. If they get ripped off, well, that’s not your problem. That’s what we don’t like. That’s why it’s so important that the person who’s selling that course, if that’s what you’re paying for does this. It’s very easy to not do it, and you’re never going to really know much about them until after you paid for the course.

David:
There’s many people out there I’m saying that are doing this for the wrong reason. They want to look like a big deal. The Instagram factor has made its way to these online courses. I think that the BiggerPockets model has been, give value, teach other people, help them and then good things will come your way. BiggerPockets is a very successful company at this point. I ascribe personally to the whole, take a leap of faith, give first, see what comes your way. Then if you’re someone like Chris, I mean, Chris, I honestly don’t know anyone else who’s doing what you’re doing. The reason it’s so important you did this is, I don’t think anyone else is helping musicians avoid getting taken advantage by record labels where they’re vulnerable. You’re literally empowering people that are vulnerable, that are being taken advantage of instead of taking advantage of the people that are vulnerable. Does that make sense?

Chris:
Well, it does. This is the thing, the music industry is known just for taking advantage of people, whether it’s labels, managers, whatever. You’re skeptical just as an artist. I’ve spent a lot of money marketing my music, or getting it out there. I haven’t received nearly as much hate from that as opposed to trying to help musicians because they’re just so skeptical. It’s just like, “I don’t believe whatever, whatever.” Saying some things that are pretty colorful language online. That’s why I … Man, I’ve already got thick skin because of my music, but it’s just like, “Dude, I’m just honestly, just trying to help you, bro, girl.” You know what I mean? So the walls slowly come down. I think that’s what’s so cool about the podcast that you guys have, like get to know you and build that like and trust. I think it was Frank Kern who said, if you want people to buy from you, get them results first.

Chris:
Share something. Get them a result and build that trust, and then they’ll want to buy from you if they know you and like you and trust you.

Brandon:
That’s-

David:
You’ve earned the right to sell them the course when you’ve done it. We keep using this phrase all the time and it’s a good way of thinking. To me, it’s a carrot that motivates you to get somewhere, “Hey, I want to make courses for people.” Great. What have you done to earn the right to be able to sell them that thing? Where’s that tracker? It’s a healthy way of improving.

Chris:
Yeah.

Brandon:
Yeah.

Chris:
So good.

Brandon:
I have a question about thick skin. You are a white Christian rapper, do you get … You probably get a lot of flack for that because you’re not the cliche what people think of when they think of hip hop. You had to have a lot of thick skin. I’m sure you probably got a lot of hate. Then you sell an online course, which is also going to get a lot of hate. The question I have is, how do you deal with that hate, whether it’s online, whether it’s on stage, whether it’s wherever you are? How do you deal with that?

Chris:
In the beginning stages, especially because I did mostly hip hop, I kind of do the rap and the rock now as well. Honestly, I wish I just focused on one genre or didn’t bounce because it kind of hurt me. That’s the power of needing to focus. It’s funny [crosstalk 00:44:05]-

Brandon:
I like that you’ve gone between them, but anyway, keep going.

Chris:
Yeah. The rock stuff has actually done better than the hip hop stuff. But I remember getting up on the open mics and going up there and the DJ would just spin a beat and you just got to rap, and you don’t know how fast the beat is going to be. I remember the first time I went up to do that, to rap, I was scared out of my mind. I did it and I rocked it and I just ran back to my seat. Like hide me behind a drink. You know what I mean? I remember the MC goes, “Yo, Manafest get the beep, beep back up here, man. That was hot.” I started … That encouraged me and so I went and did another verse. I started showing up every week. But I’ll never forget, one time I went up and I stood there and I was just awkward. I said, “Hey, I’m feeling the vibe. Are you guys feeling the vibe?” I remember these two chics just laughing, making fun of me. I remember just walking down just feeling like such a loser.

Chris:
But honestly, any hate, any discouragement, I think, honestly, it’s more in your head than it actually has been. I haven’t really had that much where people are just so rude. We run a lot of Facebook, Instagram ads promoting our music and some people will say stuff. But I don’t know if it’s just that I’ve just built up the thick skin or whatnot, sometimes my mom will be like, “I can’t believe those things people are saying about you.” I’m just like, “Mom, I don’t look at those comments.” I don’t read that stuff and just try to be so mission-minded, so wrapped up in your dream, so wrapped up in your calling that you’re too busy on your dream to be worrying about that or to be concerned about that. Because I think it was Seth Godin who says, he never reads his Amazon reviews on his books because how is that going to help them or encourage him? Am I looking for an ego boost? Or what’s my purpose. What’s my why? Is it because of the comments?

Chris:
Is that going to lift me or tear me down? I feel like I’ve just … It’s more of, sometimes it used to be the industry people when someone would say no. But I’ve learned how to turn those nos into maybes and those maybes into yeses. That’s by just perseverance and coming from different angles and making a better product. Which for me is sometimes a better song or packaging it in a different way and learning how to sell, learning how to sell yourself and overcoming that stuff.

David:
Yeah. That’s really good. You said something earlier in the podcast that we didn’t get into too hard, but it really caught my attention. That you were so driven to get out of your job at Microsoft that it almost didn’t matter how you were going to get there. Looking back, you realize you could have made it a smoother transition. That is something I wanted to ask if you think that will that you have, the drive, “I want to make this happen.” Seems like it’s what got you out of the W-2, it’s why you didn’t care about hate that could have come your way. It’s why, if other people didn’t support you, it didn’t deter you. I was curious if … This is a tough question that I’m asking you on the spot, I know.

David:
If you can isolate why you wanted it so bad and maybe give advice to others who have a dream, but there’s a piece of them that holds back, they’re afraid of failing or they have pieces in them that don’t let them really let that inferno go. Because as you’re saying, man, that just burned through anything that would have gotten in my way for moving forward.

Chris:
Yeah. Well, I’m going to get heavy with you guys if that’s all right.

David:
Yeah.

Chris:
But I lost my dad to suicide when I was five years old, so I didn’t have this father figure to look up to and be that role model in my life. I’ve always sought out godly businessmen that were successful. Whether that was in books, movies, actual mentors. I’ve just always looked up to successful men and sought that out. I really believe that there was always this hunger in me because it was there because I wanted to be a pro skateboarder at one point too and I got hurt. I wasn’t … I feel like nothing’s ever been handed to me, and I always had to work at it, whether it was music, real estate, business. I really feel I had to … It wasn’t necessarily natural talent or ability and I had to like work on it to make it happen. But I believe that drive came from not having a dad and wanting to be a success. I don’t know if it’s prove them wrong or I have to achieve this or be here because I didn’t have that.

Chris:
Maybe it was anger inside, but something God put in me to want to be as successful and kind of prove them wrong. Because I was also bullied as a kid as well too and called, you’re not a leader, you’re a follower. You’re never going to amount to nothing. It’s kind of this desire to say, “Look, no, I am going to be something great.” I failed music in school as well too, and so maybe prove my teacher wrong. There’s always been this desire to just push through the crap.

Brandon:
Being somebody who you talk to a lot, I know you’ve written books about this topic, about … I don’t know if depression is the right word, but people who are just going through hard times, especially younger people. I know you came from a family, I mean, your dad’s suicide obviously affected you and you learned a lot from that. What can you say to people listening to this right now who maybe are just lacking hope in this time? Maybe they’ve had a really bad year, maybe 2020 was just terrible on them, maybe they’re … Again, I guess just people who are just struggling right now, what can you tell them?

Chris:
Yeah. As a believer in faith and stuff, and I like to get really raw. I’m always not ashamed of my faith and I go through hard times. I have some pretty gnarly thoughts sometimes. Something we always say is, look, a fighter isn’t someone who never fails. A fighter is someone who never quits. I would encourage you just not to quit. Even the fact that you’re listening to this podcast right now means your story’s not done yet. So write through those tough times, write through that pain. Instead of trying to numb it with drugs or alcohol or whatnot … I get it. I know sometimes having a nice glass of wine at the end of the week or to kind of just relax or whatnot, I encourage you plug in the podcast, plug in the a teaching at BiggerPockets, get around the community. Get around people that are going to encourage you and want to see you win. Because I know without a doubt you guys’ hearts are and desire to want to see people win with real estate and change their life and you believe that that’s an avenue.

Chris:
So just say to people, “Hey, your story’s not done yet. Keep writing it. You’re still here and you’re still here for a purpose. There’s a light at the end of this tunnel as long as you don’t quit and you stay in the game and you push through this messy middle that you’re going through.”

David:
Yeah, messy, middle, it’s a good way to put that. Because it is the middle, it’s not the end. It’s just one part you’re going to look back in your life if it is a hard time right now, and you’re going to say, “Yeah, that was a hard time, but it made me who I am today because I’m a fighter and I got through this thing.”

Chris:
Yeah. It’s going to make you stronger.

Brandon:
But one thing I heard you say too there is, don’t waste your pain. Pain is a very powerful motivator. You mentioned painful things and that numbing them is a waste of the pain. I don’t want to feel this, so you numb.

Chris:
That’s so good.

Brandon:
But it’s the fuel that’s going to get you over those hurdles and those obstacles.

Chris:
Yeah. Paint that pain. Use it as a motivator. Get angry and move. Don’t get angry and self-destruct, self-sabotage. Do something with it because that is such a powerful emotion. I forget what someone said, like, it’s almost like, don’t let a good crisis go to waste. Don’t let … Because when you’re under that pressure of finances, money, trying to figure it out, don’t wait until it’s over because your neurons and everything is fired up. Now’s the time to get to work and create and get yourself out of this spot.

Brandon:
Yeah. That’s really good. Well, I want to shift here as we’re moving toward the end of the show, kind of the downhill slope here. I mean that in a good way. That’s all downhill from here. I want to talk a little bit about the book that you recently wrote. I think it’s From Red to Black: A Short Journey from Debt to Liberty. What’s that about?

Chris:
Man, it’s all about getting out of debt, first of all, bad debt, building wealth. I hired a mentor in Australia, Peter J. Daniels really inspired me as a billionaire. He’s a gold bullion dealer. I flew out there to be coached by them and just to get my money right, different things and just be inspired and coached about my business, trusts, all kinds of stuff that we’ll get into. But I remember saying like, “Look, I love this business stuff. I love this entrepreneur stuff. I love the BiggerPockets Podcast. I love this stuff. I love talking about this stuff today. But I’m an artist, I’m a musician. How can I talk about this stuff?” They were like, “Chris man, you’re wealthy. You’re successful. Who else is … If not you, who’s going to talk about this?” I remember … This is a couple of years ago that we came up with that title From Red to Black: A Short Journey from Debt to Liberty. That’s the idea of getting out of debt, building wealth, not just for you, but for your family.

Chris:
So you pass it along. Just talking about everything that I went through these last … I’m 41 years of building a successful business. I didn’t fail. My wife, my relationship is still together. We have a kid. Sometimes we use all these different excuses, crutches of why we can’t be successful and it’s kind of like, look, with all this stuff going on, my marriage didn’t fall apart and I was able to build success. Now it’s kind of like I want to hang down the ladder to the next generation and help build them up and avoid the mistakes I made.

Brandon:
How do you view debt right now? You used the word good debt and bad debt a couple of times. How do you view those differences?

Chris:
Man, I struggled with that whole thing. I’ve read Rich Dad Poor Dad before I read Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. I believe that using other people’s money is a very powerful tool and debt whether it’s to buy real estate, start a business, using that to get started. But I just am leery of the trap in overleveraging. You know what I mean? Bad debt to me, that was obviously credit cards. Stuff that’s not making you money. But if you’ve got debt on a piece of real estate or a business that’s making you money, I think that is an extremely powerful leverage and you should not be afraid of using that. But just don’t get lured into overleveraging it to expose yourself because there’s always risk and so you’ve got to measure those. But I’m all about getting out of that bad debt, whether that’s credit card stuff, loans on things that are liabilities, things that aren’t making you money. Good debt is debt that’s on assets, things that are producing cashflow like a business, real estate. I’m all about that, but just not over leveraging yourself because look what we just went through, man.

Chris:
Thank God properties and everything worked out well for me, but I’m sure there’s a lot of people it didn’t work out so well for and tenants not being able to pay. We don’t have a crystal ball, we don’t know what’s going to happen, and so that’s why it’s important to have multiple income streams and things to protect you through these turbulent times. Who knows what’s going to happen next? It’s important to make sure that your portfolio, your risk level, you’re prepared just in case something else does happen.

Brandon:
For those who are in a lot of debt and a lot of our users might … I mean, what’s the average credit card debt in America now? I don’t know. It’s like 16 or $20,000, something crazy like that. For those people who are struggling through that, what’s the first step to try to move out of that, to move from red to black, you use that terminology?

Chris:
My favorite thing is to increase your income, man. Increase your income. Don’t don’t lower your prices, add more value and charge more. How can you increase your income? How can you get a second job? How can you create something, sell something, get that income up? Can you sell something that you don’t use that’s not making you money? Can you create something? Me and my wife always loved the idea of creating your way to freedom. That’s something we talk about in the book. But I think that’s … Obviously you can always sell something and lower, but I prefer to increase the income and that’s by creating something, selling something, adding more value.

Brandon:
Yeah. That’s cool. I’ve been a big attendee of the conference called FinCon every year. I haven’t gone in a couple of years now with the little ones. But I went for a number of years and it’s the financial bloggers conference, FinCon. You get around these people and there’s thousands of people that attend this thing. There are some really frugal people there. I mean, you guys know the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. Mindy is a huge part of that. Scott’s a big part of FinCon. There are people who are just really frugal at that event. I’ve always like … They outdo each other with who can be more frugal. Like, “Great, I make my own cups to put my water in.” They’re like, “Well, yeah, well, I make my own water from the rain.” You’re like, “Yeah. Well, I make my own rain from …” It’s like everyone [inaudible 00:56:48]tell each other, how frugal and how little they can spend. I have always been … Now, I think, I think there is a time and place for sure, for frugality.

Brandon:
There was a time in my life where I was spending $1,000 a month, more every month that I was bringing in because I was just buying whatever I wanted, I wasn’t keeping track. I didn’t have a good foundation. At the same time, I was making three grand a month and spending four. It probably wouldn’t have been that hard for me, and it wasn’t. I mean, I ended up doing it, making four grand a month then five. Now I still needed to get the foundational issue handled of I was spending more money because I didn’t know what I was spending. That was the first thing I had to do, was know what I was spending money on. Then realizing just that I was in control of this, and all of a sudden everything changed. But I am much more of a, how do I generate more money? Because I think trying to save $5 on a latte or $20 on … I’m going to say $30 a month. I’m not going to Starbucks. Well, great. Or I’m going to make my own drinking water. What could you build during that time? What could you take that mental energy and go put into the world that will pay you a whole lot more?

Brandon:
For example, “I’m not going to invest in real estate until I get all my student loan debt paid off in the next 12 years.” Okay. You do realize one house flip could pay your student loan debt off in the next three months. You could do one house flip and pay off your entire student loan debt just by generating that income. “Well, I don’t have any money to do that.” If only somebody wrote a book on investing in real estate with no money down. The answers are out there if you really want it. Just people love to not do it. I don’t know. Thoughts.

Chris:
Yeah. Cutting expenses is definitely, for a time, sure. Cut your expenses, go through it. You can probably find an extra $500 a month, and we talk about in that book, if you go through everything. I remember we found different insurances, different things that we could lower negotiate. You could find that extra 500 bucks. That’s great. But what you can create, like you said, by doing a house flip, by getting more business, reaching more people … One of my favorite concepts that really changed my life was the idea of instead of selling one-to-one, how can you sell one to many? Sure. I’m going to use something so silly, is like shoveling snow. I can walk to each door and offer to shovel their driveway, or I could walk to a business and shovel a whole bunch of businesses or something like that. Get a bigger contract or something as opposed to just this small thinking, but think bigger.

Brandon:
Yeah. David?

David:
Well, if you’re really trying to get deep about it, this principle applies in every form of business, including real estate. Getting your expenses under control is like plugging the leaks. You don’t want to keep dumping water in a bucket and having it leak out. But if water in the bucket is wealth, plugging holes, isn’t building it. It’s just stopping you from losing it. You can play sports and play great defense and just hold the ball to the last second of the shot clock and shoot it at the end and you’ll do a great job stopping the other team from scoring, but you won’t be scoring yourself. I see this principle apply in real estate investing as well. Where people look at cashflow like that’s what’s going to make them wealthy. “I’m going to get rich $200 a month at a time buying all these properties.” You need so many to do that. Cashflow is meant for defense. It stops you from losing the property. But like we said earlier, the wealth you’re creating is typically the equity that’s built in appreciation plus loan paydown over a long period of time.

David:
You’ll never get through that long period of time if you lose the property because it didn’t cash flow or you didn’t cash flow. But playing that defense isn’t building your wealth. That’s just … I hit this point a lot because you can get into making your own soap and think you’re doing everything right and living on $35,000 a year. You’re never going to hit the good life that people are looking for. The second piece is I would say, when you’re just focusing on defense, if Chris just said, “Okay, I’m going to keep my expenses low.” We’re losing all of the unique creativeness that we each have that comes out of you when you set a goal that you want to go achieve. If Chris has to save $10,000, he could make his own soap for 12 years and get there perhaps. Or he could go make an awesome song that we all get to benefit, one to many, and now his creativeness comes out.

David:
He does something really good. He evolves as a musician. All these other benefits come out of the aggressive or offensive style. Please don’t hear us saying, don’t play defense, it doesn’t matter. It’s so does. It’s the first step. You plug those holes. But don’t stop at that. That’s not going to get you what you want.

Brandon:
Yeah.

Chris:
Yeah. That’s so good, man. A mentality shift, complete … I remember driving to a show with my wife, just hoping or praying we’d sell five CDs that night and just hoping there’d be people there. Now we run Facebook, Instagram ads that are going to be selling 50 CDs a day while I’m in the studio. It’s just happening and I’m not shipping it out anymore. It’s delegated out. Again, this is all with growth and leverage and adding value. Instead of me just being in one city, by going online, I’m now global. It’s this mentality. A lot of people still local, but you got to start thinking global. That’s why we have the internet and more people online than ever. It’s just thinking differently with that.

David:
Yeah. That’s really good, man. All right. Well, one more question about the book. In the book, you talk about some of the habits of the wealthy or the rich. I’m wondering if you can explain any of what you meant by that. What are some of the habits that wealthy people seem to follow?

Chris:
Well, one of them is reading and I’ve always been constantly learning and growing. I’m reading a really good book right now called The Slight Edge, which I really like. It’s challenging the idea of 10 pages a day and just let these small things add up to a big thing. But yet we think they’re nothing, reading 10 pages of something inspirational each day. But you do the 10 pages, after a long period of time, you’ve read all these books and you’ve got all this knowledge. It’s constantly learning and growing. I don’t work out or do the dishes or go for a walk without something inspirational in these ears and mind. That’s my mobile university. If I’m going to the drivers license place, I got some … I’m prepared because I want to keep growing and keep learning. Just one idea, like you spend 10 bucks, 20 bucks on a book and you get to tap into a millionaire’s mind for 10 or $20. That’s power. That’s one of the big habits. The second one of wealthy people is the idea of who they hang around with. Hanging around positive people.

Chris:
Their circle of influence and hanging around people that influence them. Like, you show me your friends, I’ll show you your wealth. It’s true that if you were hanging around negative people that are always shooting down ideas, it only takes one negative comment to destroy a great idea. That’s why we got to be careful who we share our dreams with, who we surround ourselves with, because we want people that are going to … I’m always already doubting myself. I’m already killing the optimism myself and I fight in my own negative thoughts. I don’t need haters or negative friends to pull me down anymore either. Right.

Brandon:
That’s such a good point. Yeah. I mean, because we are … The enemy to our success is somewhat external. There are people that may want to drag you down, but it’s also mostly up in here in our own heads. Try to limit those battles like surround yourself with people who are going to build you up and support you in that fight with your head because you’re going to need them. There’s times where I just feel down and I don’t want to do anything and David’s like, “Hey man, buck up.” I’m like, “All right.” Hopefully I do the same for David and my other friends. Is we build each other up because that’s what … Because we need that. Because it is a battle and it’s mostly a battle that takes place in our head.

Chris:
Yeah. Big time, man. This whole lone soldier trying to do it on your own, it’s like, no, we need community. We need friends. We need to be around each other to lift each other up. We were talking about you were doing the jiu-jitsu instructor, now I’ve got a boxing trainer, and it’s changed my life just by moving. It’s just these one little ideas that were that whole mastermind, iron sharpens iron. You get an idea from a bro and that … It’s not just the idea. It’s an idea acted upon that is the powerful thing. That’s another thing, successful people don’t procrastinate. They take massive action while other people take action. They don’t just think about it because we all … Now successful people, I feel like now it’s like, we have so many ideas, but it’s like, which one do I act upon? Now it’s … But it’s just taking that action first.

Brandon:
Yeah. It makes sense, man. All right. Well David, anywhere else you want to go before we head the famous four?

David:
The only thing I would ask you, Chris is, do you have advice for the people that want to get into a community and they don’t know where to start? Or maybe what Brandon and I get a lot is, “Hey, I heard you guys say that you need to increase the people you hang out with. Can I just hang out with you?” Someone you don’t know. That comes up a lot. There’s a way to get yourself into that or build that community. Is there anything you can share about what you think people need to do?

Chris:
Well, yeah. I know you guys have the BiggerPockets membership, join that first. Get on the webinar and connect with people and be in that group of like-minded people. I have a membership area of artists where I coach every month and they get access to me twice a month. But then I always say, connect with each other. I always say that. Connect with each other, exchange emails, encourage you, feature on each other’s songs. I think it was Brendon Burchard had a Facebook live again and he always talks about his membership and stuff. It’s like, who do you think you’re going to meet there? When I went to Funnel Hacking Live with ClickFunnels and stuff, some relationships and stuff, Brandon that’s how I met you at-

Brandon:
Yeah. At Seth’s event. Yeah.

Chris:
… buddy investors and we found a common thing with surfing and faith and different things, and a relationship is started. But it’s by getting out. I know we can’t right now because of COVID to some extent, but go online. I have another friendship where I literally paid for his coaching, got to know him, and now he’s one of my best buds. You know what I mean? It’s just like, if you want to be around people [crosstalk 01:07:14]-

Brandon:
Be around people.

Chris:
… hire the coaching. Yeah, be around people.

Brandon:
Yeah. That can be the quote of the day, like if you want to be around people be around people. It’s like be intentional about it. Actually, I really like … I’m going to make a T-shirt that says that.

David:
When people take that approach, what I like the most is instead of someone going to … I mean, it’s good to go and say, “Hey, I want to accomplish this. Can you help me?” There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s better to go to someone and say, “What do you want to accomplish, and how can I help you?” That tends to open the door to get … Now with that person even wants to hang out with you. I’d say, that’s the mistake a lot of people make. Is they go, “Well, Brandon and David said, I need to do this. Hey, can you do this with me?” And you didn’t bring any value to that person.

Chris:
Yeah. Don’t be a taker, be a giver. Go to give, how can I help people? That came from the idea with the online courses. It’s like, how can I serve people? How can I connect people and offer a connection of some sort? As opposed to, what can I get out of this person?

David:
Yeah. So good. Absolutely. All right. Well, let’s move on to the last segment of our show. it’s time for our …

Speaker 5:
Famous four.

Brandon:
All right. Let’s get to the famous four, Chris. The same four questions we ask every guest every week. Number one, what is your all-time favorite real estate related book?

Chris:
Well, besides Rich Dad Poor Dad, I'm going to say I read this book in Mexico last year and it's Money People Deal by Stefan Aarnio. Rest in peace. I really liked that. He's a Canadian guy, but I found him through Grant Cardone and different stuff and sadly he just passed away. But I really dived into his stuff. Just his story about … I don't know if it was a triplex or something like that, but his stories were so good. He got into this deal, the contractor did him wrong and it took longer, way over budget, spent all his money. He was always the soup business guy. It turned out just to save this deal so he didn't lose his shirt he had to end up putting on overalls and he showed up every single day until that property was freaking done. Then he got it done and just … I don't know. It was just kind of, not a rags to riches story, but it inspired me.

Brandon:
It’s awesome.

David:
Isn’t it cool that the stuff we tend to, the most isn’t necessarily the best content, but it’s the best story?

Brandon:
Yeah. No-

Chris:
Seriously.

Brandon:
… stories. Yeah, stories matter so much.

Chris:
Yeah, they do.

David:
All right. What’s your favorite business book?

Chris:
I mentioned it earlier, I’m going to mention it again just because it really inspired me. It was Millionaire Messenger by-

David:
Brendon.

Chris:
… Brendon Burchard. Because I got it for 50 cents and I’d say it’s made me over a million dollars on one book.

Brandon:
I’ve not read that one from him. I have High Performance Habits, which I’ve read probably four times.

Chris:
That one is awesome-

Brandon:
It’s so good.

Chris:
… too.

Brandon:
Yeah. Millionaire Messenger.

Chris:
Yeah, that’s good.

Brandon:
I also have the manifesto. What’s it called? The … Something [crosstalk 01:09:51]-

Chris:
Motivation [crosstalk 01:09:51]-

David:
The Communist Manifesto?

Brandon:
No, Motivation Manifesto. Motivation Manifesto is fascinating because it’s written like the … It’s like a manifesto like the Declaration of Independence. It’s like, we find these truths to be self-evident. The whole book is written that way. It’s unlike any book I’ve ever read. But anyway, Brendon is an awesome dude. We’re in chatting with him to get him on the show. I mean he wants to, we just haven’t nailed down specifics yet. We’ll get there. Yeah. We’ll get Brendon on the BiggerPockets Podcast because he’s a cool guy.

David:
All right. Thanks for sharing that. What are some of your hobbies?

Chris:
Surfing, skateboarding and now boxing. Not because I want to fight, but just because it’s fun hitting things and it’s also getting me in shape man. My wife is [crosstalk 01:10:32]-

David:
It’s freaking exhausting.

Chris:
… now too.

David:
It is what it is.

Chris:
Yeah, dude.

Brandon:
This is going to sound super lame. But have you ever done the boxing on the Oculus Quest, on a virtual reality boxing game?

Chris:
No, I have not.

Brandon:
It’s the best workout you can do and on a virtual reality game. I mean, I’ve done a lot of different workouts on my Oculus because I have an Oculus Quest, but the boxing games, there’s one called The Thrill of the Fight, you are just pouring sweat. I’m assuming if you’re actually hitting something, it’s even better. That’s …

Chris:
Dude, it’s so good. It’s so good. Then my trainer is like, he’s like, “Okay man, you’re going to try and hit me. Seriously, full-out try and hit me.” This is like, I’m just learning. I’m learning like, “Okay. Really? You want me to try and hit you, dude?” I started trying. I got him once in the stomach and he’s like, “You’re listening.” But then he went at me like that, and I was like, “Whoa, whoa, what, tap out, tap out.”

Brandon:
That’s funny.

Chris:
It’s like-

Brandon:
That’s awesome. All right. My final question then. What do you believe separates successful real estate investors and anybody successful from those who give up, fail or never get started?

Chris:
Man, resilience, perseverance and taking action. You just got to take action. You got to get in the game. You got to start. Me and my wife, this one condo that did so good, it more than doubled in appreciation. I’ll never forget her saying, “We should’ve got two of those.” I’m like, “I should’ve gotten three of those.” It feels like I should have went more all in, just go all in and start.

Brandon:
Yeah. That’s funny you say that. This is totally unrelated, but I’ll say this anyway. When I moved to Hawaii, we had a house in Grays Harbor, Washington, where we lived. When we bought it, it was the most expensive house in town. It was $280,000. It really pushed me to buy that house. I mean, it stretched me to buy it. Then we sold it, two and a half years later, whatever, for … It was 380,000. Right when I moved to Hawaii, I sold it. At the time we were debating, should we keep it? Should we sell it? This is two years ago now. Should we keep it? Should we sell it? We were like, “Let’s just sell it.” Top of the market, 380 we got for it. We were like, “We made 100 grand.” Then it went on the market again. The people who bought it from us now, two years later, just put it on the market for 595 or something. I’m like, “What? So much money.”

Brandon:
If I would’ve held it two more … There’s no way of knowing that, but yeah, it’s … They always say, I’ve heard that many old real estate investors say, “I regret every deal I ever sold.” Now I’m looking I’m like, I regret every property I ever sold. Now, I’m like, “Yeah, I regret …” I think I … I forgot most of … There’s one that I just hated. But even that one, 20 years from now, I’ll probably be like, “I could have survived. I could have held that one and had a quarter million dollars.”

David:
That’s true.

Chris:
Oh man, that’s so good [crosstalk 01:13:08]-

David:
You never, ever, ever hear someone that’s done it for 30, 40, 50 years that are like, “Man, I really wish I would’ve sold that thing in the ’70s.”

Chris:
Dude, that’s good, man. That’s so much wisdom in that right there. It’s so true. I can think of another condo that we wish we didn’t sell. We sold it before and then … We had it for years actually. It was the first condo, the one we moved into and then we sold it. Literally, two or three months, the market just goes [inaudible 01:13:35]. I’m just like, “But we had it …” You just don’t know.

Brandon:
Yep.

David:
I also have never heard a person who a house that didn’t think it was too expensive when they were buying it. That’s the other piece. Brandon, you said that when you in your story [crosstalk 01:13:47]-

Brandon:
Yeah, it’s always expensive. Yeah.

David:
… like, “This is the most expensive house in town. I could never …” I mean, every single time people say, “Well, isn’t the market going to crash?” Or when it’s crashing, “Isn’t it going to go down more?” It’s all the way down. “Well, how long should I wait before it comes back?” There’s always a reason not to buy real estate. Even though we’re experienced, I tell myself this all the time, I’m looking at new houses now and they’re expensive. They’re somewhere between 1.5 and 1.8 and I have those same thoughts in my head and I fight every day. “Nope. Shut up, David. It’s get … When it’s worth 3 million, you’re not going to be worried about the fact it was worth 1.5.” That’s a struggle everyone has to go through in this game, and you just got to remind yourself that holding it for a long period of time is the best thing you could do.

Brandon:
Yeah.

Chris:
Yeah, man.

Brandon:
Cool. Chris, where can people find out more about you?

Chris:
They can find me on Spotify if they look up Manafest as far as music wise or my website manafest.com, M-A-N-A-F-E-S-T.com. We’re on YouTube, a bunch of our music videos and songs and stuff and go check out some stuff.

Brandon:
Very cool.

David:
I also really like your music before we ever interviewed you. I’ve been listening to it for a long time, so I’ll throw in my seal of approval there.

Brandon:
Yeah, I’m not going to lie. When I met you in Nashville, I was fangirling in a little bit. Sorry. Yeah, I might not have made it … I didn’t want to make it seem that way at the time, but I was like, “Oh my [inaudible 01:14:58].” I called my wife later I’m like, “You have no idea who I just met.” Yeah, it was a big deal.

Chris:
That’s so funny.

Brandon:
Yeah, you’re a good musician and a good friend. I appreciate you. The book, Red to Black, where do they get it?

Chris:
Yeah. You can go to manafest.com/fromredtoblack or just manafest.com. It’s free. Actually just pay the shipping and handling. You’ll be in our little funnel there or whatever. But, yeah-

Brandon:
Perfect.

Chris:
… we just want to get this message out there.

Brandon:
I love it, dude. Well, thank you. I appreciate you and-

Chris:
Thank you, guys.

Brandon:
… I appreciate all the help you’ve given me over the last couple of years of us been talking regularly. It’s been nice just to get to know you better.

Chris:
Yeah, you too, man. I hope to visit out there and hang out. It’s been too long.

Brandon:
Yeah. We’ll go surfing and you can show me how good you are compared to how bad I am. But it’ll be fun.

Chris:
Yeah, I don’t believe that.

Brandon:
All right. Take care. David, you want to get out of here?

David:
Thank you very much, Chris. This is David Greene for Brandon fangirl Turner, signing off.

Outro:
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.

 

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How Manafest got his start in music (and why he made the jump to full time)
  • The struggles and benefits of working a full-time job and pursuing your dreams
  • Renting your primary residence instead of selling when you move out
  • Not getting sucked into the “you’ll have to fix toilets” fear of real estate investing 
  • Turnkey rentals and why they may (or may not) work for your investing strategy
  • Having the drive to help people before you ask for money or a sale
  • Chris’s book From Red to Black
  • And So Much More!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show:

Connect with Chris:

Real strategies that work for real people seeking to build wealth through real estate investments. Co-hosted by Brandon Turner and David Greene, this podcast provides actionable advice from investors and other real estate professionals, who chat about failures, successes, motivations, and lessons learned.
    Charlie Cooper Investor from Lehigh Valley, PA
    Replied 10 days ago
    I heard his music years ago and really enjoyed it. Good episode. His story is pretty good, wish he had more of a chance to talk about his relationship with mentor Peter Daniels. Talk about a guy with an awesome story! I believe another book mentioned in the podcast was The Slight Edge, which is great mindset.