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The Tale of Two Decades
I absolutely love all our fans and friends and extended #NoteFamily out there. I have been thinking about this episode. We had a great episode previously with an amazing speaker, Dan talking about his upcoming Multifamily Investor events. We’ve got a great guest with the Founder of Podfest, our buddy Chris Krimitsos. Our topic is something I’ve been thinking about. I had the good fortune of going down to one of my old college stomping grounds in New Braunfels, specifically the Gristmill Restaurant and Gruene Hall. It is Texas’ oldest operating dancehall and the Gristmill Restaurant where I worked at for basically three years. Gruene Hall which I hung around and did some special events at is this little historic district on the north side of New Braunfels which is north of San Antonio. It’s almost midway between Austin and San Antonio. You have San Marcos and New Braunfels. That was a big area.
I went to school at Texas State University, which is now called The Southwest Texas State in San Marcos. It was a twenty-minute drive south to New Braunfels, which is a little German community. It’s growing leaps and bounds and San Antonio and Austin get closer and closer together for the most part. I spent three years. It was a great time. I don’t think there’s a better college experience than going to school at San Marcos. It was a teacher school. I studied business there. I’ve got a business degree. It’s a small town feel to it. It was once known as one of the top ten party schools out there years ago. That’s not considering LSU on there, but great place. Girls outnumber the guys usually three to one. It’s a high target rich environment actually if you’re a single guy. Steph and I took some friends down to Gruene Hall. We had dinner at the Gristmill and we were able to listen to one of my favorite country music stars, Pat Green, three-time Emmy Award nominee is probably as big as this Wave On Wave. It’s one of my favorite songs. I got a chance to see him there years ago when I first started there at the Gristmill.
The Gristmill is this big open-air restaurant. It’s in the remains of an old gristmill where they go out and grind their corn. It’s on their side of the Guadalupe River. You see tubers going by, it’s open air, it’s 100 degrees in the summer. No air condition but they have one of the best margaritas. It was a great time working there, and I made a lot of money and a lot of great friends there. It was about twelve couples that while I was working, they all dated and married and stuff like that and divorced. They have a lot of stuff and kids growing on. It was always interesting to go back to that place. I haven’t been back in a couple of years, maybe two years before I had dinner there. I always like to go by. It’s funny, I ended up running to somebody who’s still working there after twenty years. It’s sad, the way I look at it. If they love what they do, great, but I don’t think anybody loves working twenty years in the restaurant industry, especially when you work such tough hours. A ran to a buddy of mine at Gruene Hall who’s still popping tops at Gruene Hall. I think he’s more of a manager role there now at Gruene Hall. It’s a rough life to think about. Working weekends, working holidays, working late nights. It made me start thinking about twenty years goes by from when I first started there.
When you think about the evolution of things, one of the big things at the Gristmill, they don’t talk to you until you get through training until a week or two weeks to get through training because there’s so much turnover. I was one of the twenty people in my training class there. I was the only one who survived my training class after six months. I was one of five that survived the first week. I made great money. It was a lot of fun. Probably one of the best things in college I’ve ever had and I had a lot of perks going over and drinking cold beer at Gruene Hall, hanging out with great people some amazing people: Willie Nelson, Dixie Chicks, Pat Green, Vince Vaughn, Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, to name a few, Merle Haggard, Little Richard, Jerry Lewis.
I did some interesting jobs in the town, but I started thinking back, twenty years have gone by since I worked at that restaurant in the hall. We all feel younger than we actually are, and we’ve been being now 41. The last twenty years have flown by, you think it goes by pretty slow but looking back now, it does go by pretty fast. I started thinking of the two decades because of the two decades, my first ten years there, 21 to 31 then 31 to 41. I look back at all the changes that have taken place, the mistakes that I made and then I look forward in the next twenty years. We always wonder what the next twenty years hold. Many of us get so bogged down in the day in, day out monotony. We often forget that we’re going to be around a long time and we’re going to be around for a while. I have a lot more gray hair now. I was going to go get a haircut, but I decided to wait for this episode just for the gray hair side of things. I still have a baby face. I get it. I don’t look my age. It is just fine.
I think back to what has happened in the last twenty years. We’ve all been through ups and downs. From the last ten years, a lot of people have gone through ups and downs with the house and short sales and foreclosures and the note market. We’ve all had to reinvent ourselves whether it’s been through a divorce, bankruptcy, short sales, sickness, and death. We all have gone through some things. The biggest thing I would like to say out there is it’s okay if you’re going through a tough time. It’s okay if you’re struggling. I only spent three years there. It got me through college. I did not want to wait tables after I graduated, and I’ve done that once in a short-term period when things were struggling in 2004, 2005. I was going through a bit of a difficult time, but I look back and when you bend in the service industry, you have the utmost respect for your waiters, your staff, stuff like that.
Everybody should be in the service industry at least once. It gives you a much more respect and if you have never been through that and you’re rude to your waiter and they’re not rude to you, you have a place in hell. What I’m trying to get at here is if you look back at the last ten years, last twenty years of your life, what did you accomplish? For some of us, that is cool. We’re like, “We’ve done some big things while others don’t but we haven’t accomplished anyway and we’re still trying to find ourselves.” We’re drifting from one thing to another. I saw something when I stayed home. Somebody was talking about another part of their real estate business that they’re doing. I was like, “You’re pitching some multilevel thing. Why don’t you focus on the note business? You found a million-dollar deal with your note business and it’s paying you on a monthly basis. Why are you wasting time on something else?” I don’t see you at other things. I don’t see you making offers. I don’t see you on webinars because I know you’re not doing deals.
I look back and the last ten years has been an amazing rollercoaster ride. I think back to where I was this time of year, ten years ago. I was a couple months out of a divorce. I was living in Pflugerville, if I remember correctly, figuring out what I was going to do. I remember exactly, I bought a house out there with me, a dog and a cat and I was still in the mortgage business or was getting out of the mortgage business at that time because everything was starting to hit the fan. I was basically a full-time real estate investor. I remember literally that Christmas, I hosted Christmas for my family, but I knew I was going through a bit of transition of, “What am I doing? The mortgage business has been good, but I might be full-time real estate investor. What’s going to happen with the market?”
I was doing what a lot of what people were doing. I was trying to figure out multiple things, doing multiple things, four, five, six things at once trying to figure out what my calling was. The tough times can be the greatest times in retrospect. They totally can be the greatest times because I think you learned the most when you’re going through a tough time. If things are good, then you’re not learning as much. You’re not pushing yourself forward. I looked back and a lot of times we get so bogged down on where we’re at right now, we stop thinking about where we’re going to be in a few years, five years, ten years, twenty years.
In twenty years, it will be 2038. I’ll be turning 60, 61. What do I want my next twenty years to look like? I take a retrospective of the last twenty years. It’s been up and down and the last ten years have been an amazing, crazy rollercoaster ride. I will be in the note space. I hope so. I know I’ll bring some real estate investing for sure. Who knows what will be going on at that point? We’re podcasting, we have YouTube videos. It will be crazy. You look at the technology that’s come around, Facebook will be a thing of the past I believe in twenty years. What we see on social media websites is fading off, especially some of the things that they’re doing. I think so much technology we have is going to be instantaneous with our phones and our phones get smarter and smarter and they started getting bigger and bigger again. They’ll probably be back down to the smaller phone and back to flip phones again. It’s all the indicators from the Star Trek days. If you’re struggling right now, what I want you to think about is where you want to be in twenty years because twenty years can change your life. You can start right now. I don’t care if you’re in your 40s or 50s, even 60s, you can change your life.
If you’re earlier than that, you have no excuse you can change your life. That can be a variety of things. Maybe you don’t like what you’re doing, then go back to school. If you want to go get a job, that’s fine. Go to school and we still live in one of the easiest ways to find information and educate ourselves through all the things that are online: the Khan Academy, Lynda.com. There are so many ways to learn, so many things to take yourself to the next level. I don’t think many of us want to work for a job but a lot of us want to be entrepreneurs and then we struggle with what we need to be doing on a daily basis. Twenty years from now, where will you be? I know ten years from now, twenty years from now, it sounds a little scary. What will we be doing? Are we working? Will we be broke? Will we be rich? Will we have real estate? Where will we be living? I’ve been around a lot of places. Central Texas has been home for a while, twenty-plus years and I love this area. Start painting that picture. What do you want that picture to look like? I’ve been talking about the things that I want to accomplish to friends, to family members the things I want to accomplish.
I see myself somewhere tropical. I paint that picture. I know it won’t be Hawaii, but I know it will be somewhere on the water here. Probably the next couple of years is the plan. Think of what your mind can achieve. If you think about it, put it out there. I look back at the last two years, I would never have thought I’m at where I’m at now. My goal twenty years ago was I was going to be the next ESPN sportscaster, “Welcome to the SportsCenter with Scott Carson and Stuart Scott. He’s in Fuego. I’m cooler than the other side of the bill,” and I joke with it. In the last months, Steph and I have joked about that this has become my podcast. These daily videos have become my SportsCenter, and then my itching of being in journalism as a speaker. I would agree to that to some extent, definitely. What I would think you have to look at is what do you want to accomplish?
Ultimately, if you had to do something that you love that would pay the bills, it’s not something that’s going to cause you strife. Maybe you will have to sit down your dream to get to accomplish that. Maybe you’ve got to sit down trying to be the best widget maker right now to pay your bill or maybe to learn a skill because there was a law there that I jumped from job to job for a little bit in the first ten years to get to where I wanted to be, where I was constantly moving up, climbing that ladder personally for a lot of reasons. I don’t really talk about this aspect in the first ten years. I graduated from college, the first job I had right out of school was working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car that lasted 90 days. That was not fun. I knew that’s not where I wanted to be. I wanted to go back to school. I started going back to school at Lutheran University here in Austin for about a year for my MBA. That didn’t work well because I left Enterprise Rent-A-Car and started working for Verizon Wireless for a little while. I started working in the financial industry about a year and a half later with my buddy Boyd. That worked for a little while and then I got into a tough time there.
I worked for a little while at Cirrus Logic here in town, a tech chip company six months just to get my foot on anything back into banking at JPMorgan Chase. I moved to the mortgage company. I worked for a month at Palm Harbor Homes, selling mobile homes. I don’t talk about a lot of those things as they were small little blips on things. I learned something from each place that I went, and I knew that this was something to learn from and it’s probably not where I’m going to be, but it’s going to be a paycheck for a while. It will help me get to where I need to be. We all go through those. If you’re going through that right now, do not stop. Keep on going. I worked for the modular division of Palm Harbor Homes. It was a presentation home but it’s a division of Palm Harbor Homes and mobile homes. I worked for them for a while exactly, back in the day. I learned the ins and outs of the mobile home industry.
I have always been a hustler. I will outwork anybody. I’m not afraid of hard work. I have to thank my dad for that and my mom as well, but what I want to get at talking about is looking at where you want to be in twenty years. What are the things that you want to accomplish? Do you want to have a podcast like Keith Baker, myself or our guest, Chris Krimitsos? What do you want to accomplish? That doesn’t mean maybe dropping everything cool you’re doing but maybe start the evolution to get where you want to be. Start speaking, start practicing in front of the camera. I look back to when I had my first YouTube account and some of the videos on there were downright horrible, but they were videos. It helped me hone my craft.
I won’t say I’m polished now, but Steph gives me a hard time sometimes like, “I can’t do my podcast because I can’t be you.” I’m like, “You don’t have to be me.” Nobody wants to see me. Be you. Your audience wants you out there. We all have an audience, every one of us. As long as you’re Christina Fuller, to Keith Baker to Aaron Young to Dagmar on there, to Robert Bangs, to Shannon Flynn, all of those that are out there that I could see. We all have our own audience. You don’t have to be Scott Carson. You’re not competing with me. That’s the biggest thing I can tell you. As a sales guy, you’ll always have numbers. You always have KPIs. You always have the numbers to accomplish and I’ve talked about that on some of my previous shows.
What are your KPIs? What are your numbers? If you don’t have your numbers, you never know how you grow from one month to the next or one year to the next year. I look at our numbers now where we were at last year, I looked at our download, I look at all that stuff. The profitability, what we sold, the number of students. I look at this thing, so I can help chart where I want this next year to go. It helps me lead to my schedule. Then your schedule then leads you to be where you’re going to be, so at the end of the year, if you look at your schedule, is your schedule full? I look at my schedule, my schedule is pretty damn full. It’s also leading me to where I want to go. You look at some things out there. What does the future hold? Things can change like that. Things can change in six months. It can change in a year. It can change in six weeks if you do the things you need to do. One thing that is going to increase dramatically. I was watching a documentary on HBO, which fell into what we’re talking about how the killer robots documentary, talking about all these automation and AI and how important that is. It all comes down to marketing your skills, marketing your experiences, marketing your expertise in whatever niche that you want to choose.
If you have a niche of loving red wines and talking about red wines and sharing that, great, just make sure you drink plenty of water. If you have a niche for helping private investors, keep sharing it. Keep going to things that are going. Look at where you want to be in 12, 24, 36 months and start working towards it. When I started doing what I did ten years ago, I saw an opportunity and dove into the note space a decade ago and started buying and selling, wholesaling, flipping. That has changed dramatically, especially in the last six years since I started teaching and traveling especially all across the country. What I want you all to do is take some time between now and the end of the year. Think about where you want to be. Think about where you want to go. Share that with your spouse. Share that with your children. Where do you want to go?
For some of us that have kids or have family or spouses, maybe it takes a little longer to get there than you expect but still keep working towards it. Just keep working. You’re going to have twists and turns along the way. I’ve had my share of twists and turns in the last twenty years, but I’m damn glad that I stepped out from the comfort of popping tops and two-stepping at the Gristmill years ago to be where I’m at. The gentleman that owns the Gristmill in Gruene Hall, Pat Molak, they made a killing. He bought those two things basically in 1977 for $25,000 and the Gristmill does that on a Saturday night in the summer. You have to look at those things and realize whatever you’re investing in yourself will pay off long-term. We are all not flash in the pans. If you want instantaneous success and you don’t have the patience for this, I’m sorry, you’re going to have to develop some patience.
Things don’t always happen on your speed. They happen on the speed of which you plant the seeds, give it water, feed it with fertilizer, give it air and give it sunlight. Don’t let those seeds go unplanted because in twenty years, in ten years, in five years, what are those seeds are for you? To market, to buy assets, to speak more, to have an amazing podcast, to be rich, to be living somewhere else, to making what you want to make. Start with you planting the seeds on a daily basis and nurturing those seeds. That’s one thing I always kept in mind, especially this last decade, is finding the opportunity and looking at long-term.
Maybe things that immediately workout as I thought it would, but long-term worked out well. I may not have had an instantaneous success at a sudden event. I may not have people sign up, may not have people opt-in, may not have investors come up to me in specific events but long-term, three, six months it paid out. I had to rephrase my mind and expectations that when I’m somewhere, I had to look at the people that I’m talking to, everybody that I’m talking to, speaking, people listening on the podcast, people listening or watching the video replays or on the Note Night in America or reading this right now. Some of you I’ve known for years, some of you I had barely met. Who knows where you’re going to be? What changes are you going to see take place? What changes are you going to see in our side take place? I don’t know, but I know it’s going to be interesting because we keep working and keep hustling for that final goal. Whatever that final goal for you is, that’s your goal. Whatever it is, be proud of it.
Don’t ever be embarrassed by what your goal is because there are opportunities everywhere to this day. I don’t care about religion, I don’t care about the political party, I don’t care about being male or female, age, sex, I don’t care what it is. There are opportunities everywhere and if you start putting actions in place, maybe not a lot, but if you worked to get 1% better, a little bit percent better every day, not every day, sometimes you’re going to lose a little bit. You took it in lumps, but it’s allowing you to come back stronger. It’s like a muscle. How do you build muscle? You’ve got to tear the muscle down. I pulled a muscle in the gym here and right before I was wrapping up for the day. Right at noon, the last set with my trainer. I pulled a muscle in my hip and so I’ve been hobbling around. Then I got feeling a little better. I’m feeling better now. I’ll be back fine and be stronger in the long run because how do you build muscle? How do you get muscle? You have to work those muscles. You’ve got to tear them down a little bit and then feed good stuff into them. Food, vitamins and they come back stronger as you continue to use them. Many of us are trying to be bodybuilders without ever doing any workouts.
How am I going to go set the world record in pushups without ever doing a beginning pushup? That’s not the way the world works. You’ve got to put in your work a little bit at the gym in front of the mic, in front of the camera, in front of your audience, in front of your email spaces, in front of your social media. You’ve got to put it in a little bit of work in each day to get where you want to be. Even those that are successful. Most successful people I know struggle with things they want to do, but they don’t want to put the little work in and I understand that. You’ve got to put the work in a little bit at a time each day to get where you want to be long-term-wise in business or if you’re evolving to something, it’s even more so to take time away from your downtime to be implemented.
We all talk about the 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM hustle. I’m talking about doing not for five hours or seven hours each day but taking an hour. There’s 5% of your day and put it toward your future, put it towards your dreams. I’m going to bet if your dreams and goals are big enough or worth it to you, 5% is a small drop in the bucket each week, each day to help you get where you want to be. Who knows where you’re going to be in twenty years? I just hope you’re not in the same spot that you are now in twenty years from now. That’s one of the biggest things that I look back going down the Gruene Hall looking at the people that I used to work with and seeing them still doing the same monotonous things that they did not like twenty years ago.
It could be a variety of reasons. On one hand are kids, I get that. One person may not have marketable skills like a lot of the people, but the whole point comes down to what they want to do. Are they settling or can I go out and do some amazing things? I know everybody is capable of something amazing. It’s whether or not you take the action. That’s the first A in amazing is taking action and without action, there is nothing that can happen out there. Go out, keep your hustle rock and rolling. I know that you’re all capable of doing amazing things if you keep doing it one step forward. If you look at where your last ten years has been, it’s just a precursor to help you get where you want to be these next ten years. That’s all I’ve got for you. Hopefully, it was helpful. Go out and make something happen. We’ll see you all at the top.