Today we're talking about Trump, real estate as an income stream, starting a business on $500 a month or less, and we'll look at a travel accessories brand.
Thank God the election is finally over. I've been asked my opinion on how this affects entrepreneurs, but really what this means on a grander scale, I've been mostly quiet about this because honestly, I just don't want to add to the noise of it all, but there are a couple things that I don't think are being addressed in the wake of the election of Donald Trump that I think we need to start talking about. The first is a piece of good news that I see out of the riots or the protests that are happening in the response to the election of Donald Trump. I hope and I think, it appears that there is a now responsibility of those particularly on the left and those who disagree with Donald Trump to be more active, apart from government.
It should be the case that we take matters into our own hands when we want to see change in the world, and that if we're waiting for the right politician, the right guy or the right girl every four years, to get elected, that's a really bad strategy for creating the world that we want. So I feel very encouraged by the response of those who disagree with the election of Trump in their ability or their desire now to become more involved outside of influencing government, by volunteering more, by sharing their opinions, by getting more involved. That's the way it should be because we create change in this world not through government but by you taking responsibility for the things that you want to change, especially in the case of defending those who you want to be a champion to. A lot of this election was, talked about those who didn't have a shot, those at the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder, those who are minorities, and the fear of what would happen if people felt emboldened to discriminate against those individuals, and that leads me to the second piece of good news that I hope comes out of this crazy combative election season, and that's this.
And this is coming from a white, successful, straight male that has no idea what it's like to be discriminated against. I have no idea what it is like to be bullied for anything else than being a dork, a 29-year-old dork. I know what that's like. But that does not compare to being discriminated against because of race or sexual preference or ethnicity or whatever it is. So it's my job, first of all, I had the luxury of looking at the election based on policy, so I preferred the policies of Donald Trump versus his opponent, but it's my responsibility, and it's people like me who have the responsibility to say, "Yes, I hope we have a flatter tax system. "I hope we have less regulation. "I hope we get rid of a terrible healthcare bill "that was passed a few years ago." But it is also my responsibility to say if there are individuals who are disenfranchised, or if there are people who are discriminated against because of any reason, it's my job to say, "I will stand with you." if there are individuals who feel emboldened to discriminate against my neighbor, my friends, whoever, it's my job to stand with that person. So I hope that Donald Trump is a successful president in a lot of the things that he set out.
Until or up to the point, if people feel emboldened to discriminate, it's my job and it's your job to stand up for that person, to speak for those who can't speak for themselves. That is our responsibility to do something about it, and my hope is that we all take more personal responsibility out of it, rather than just hoping that whoever you elect four years from now will create a healing environment. It's your job and my job to stand up for those who are discriminated against. That's how we'll create change in this world.
I believe the fastest way to financial freedom is to build a business and invest the profits, so let's jump into some questions on how to do exactly that.
Q: "If you only had an extra $500 a month, how would you start a business?"
A: So look, real simple, this is an easy one. If you've got a limited budget and you have no idea how you're going to launch a business, every dollar of that budget needs to go into some sort of audience building. If you have the eyeballs, you have everything. The reason why some businesses just launch out of the gate is because they can pull a lever and put their message, put their business in front of hundreds or thousands of people and the right people. I don't care if you're blogging, if you have an information product, if you're selling physical products, if you sell service, if you've got a, I don't care what it is, the biggest thing that determines if you're going to succeed or fail is, can you get whatever it is that you want to monetize in front of the right people? So if you're on a limited budget, the best thing you can do right now is to be able to put all of the right people into one place.
When my buddy Shawn and I launched our yoga business, which we sold a couple of years ago, we had this question of, okay, what do we do to make sure that we can take sales from day one? So all we did was run Facebook ads to a Facebook page. We spent like $10 a day and built up a few thousand likes, and this is back in the day when likes actually meant something and people saw your posts, but we had a few thousand people in there, and that's why, day one, when that product hit Amazon shelves, we were able to take sales right away. Now if you don't have a product yet, if you've only got $500, you're probably not going to do a big inventory buy, so still, the best thing you can do is put the people that you want to serve into one place. Run Facebook ads to an email list and start promoting affiliate products to them. Start advertising one video on Youtube to build up the audience, so when it comes time for you to do the information product, you can put up a video, and you've got 50,000 subscribers that you built up from that $500 that you spend for six months building up the audience. You pull that lever, now you've got the eyeballs and you can send them wherever you want. You could have the ugliest sales page in the world. You could not even have the product made yet, but you could pre-sell it on an ugly sales page if, of course, you have the eyeballs in the first place.
So that's the chicken egg issue, and my recommendation, built up the eyeballs and then you can pull the lever, make the sales however you want. I just recorded a podcast today with Kirsten Ross. We were talking about Kickstarter. She said the number one thing that drives Kickstarter success is if somebody has an audience. If they have the eyeballs. So heck, build up the audience, figure out what the product is later. You can run a Kickstarter, send the audience to the Kickstarter, you get all the funding that you need for the business roll out, you buy the inventory and now you're in business because you spent $500, you lost $500 a month building up the audience. That's the work that most people aren't willing to do. And that's the work that will put you ahead of everybody else.
Q: "Would you advise buying an investment property with a mortgage, or would you wait until you had the cash already in the bank?"
A: So first thing's first, I never recommend investing money that you can't afford to lose, but from a strategy perspective, I'm going to be a little bit hypocritical here, but I believe that debt, one of the most powerful things that you can do in a good investment strategy. Now, I buy real estate, I make my money in business, I park a lot of it in real estate. I tend to pay cash for the properties that I buy. The only reason I do that though is for speed of execution. I hate details. I'm really bad at details. So going and getting a mortgage on every property drives me crazy. So I'm more likely to pay cash for a property, refinance it later when I'm in the mental space of pulling that cash out, so I want to invest it somewhere else. But if you can get anything to ROI with debt, you're way better off getting the mortgage or getting the debt to buy the investment.
We call that ROI arbitrage. You're going to pay four and a half percent to the bank on your mortgage but if the property gives you 9-10 percent, you're benefiting from that spread. It's absolutely what you should do. You also get the benefit of an additional tax write-off because you get to write off the mortgage as a tax write-off, so you actually save some of that money on your taxes. Plus, you don't tie up $100,000 in a house. You tie up $20,000 in the house as the down payment, which gives you $80,000 of potential money that you could put into the next property and the next property. So anything that you can do with debt, usually, if you can make the ROI work, that's usually a better financial decision, but I'm speaking as a hypocrite because I usually pay cash for things, but only for the speed of execution. But anything that you can invest with debt, as long as you can predict the ROI, it's usually a better idea to go with debt.
So to answer the question directly, no, you don't have to wait 'til you have the cash in the bank. You can do it as soon as you can prove that the ROI will cash flow even with the debt in place. If I could go back in time and talk to my 22 year old self, the amount that, I bought real estate during the crash, but I only bought a little bit, and the reason for that is because I waited until I had the cash, I did not go out and utilize debt to buy real estate when it was down here, and I wish I had. I mean, if I could go back and tell my 22, 23 year old self, "Look, I know you have the cash, "but instead of buying three houses or four houses "with the cash, go out and buy 15 and leverage some debt." Oh. The net worth that would have created today, I wish I could go back and do that.
In today's environment, everything is so, the market is here. I don't know if I would do that now, but if I could go back when I could have really doubled down in my holdings, I would be in much better position now, so I recommend going, like, leverage somebody else's money to make the investments you want to make, because if I could go back six years and do that, I'd do it all day long and twice on Sunday.
This is the part of the show where we look at one of our student's businesses and find out what they're doing well, where could they make more money, and where there greatest opportunities are right now. So today's submission comes from Darren Hutchinson, he's one of our tribe members. Our tribe is our incubator, where we take brand owners, audience builders, investors, partner them together. We help people get funding if they need funding, we look at their businesses, help them grow, and create networking opportunities for them. And Darren's company is called Lockwood. They sell leather iPhone cases. He says his ideal customer are male professionals and entrepreneurs age 25 to 45 who appreciate versatile tech and travel accessories inspired by classic and minimalistic design. Right now he's selling between 10 and $20,000 a month. He's hoping to grow to about 300 to $400,000 a year, which would be about a doubling or a tripling of his business. All right, Darren, so I am looking at your business.
First of all, I want to give you kudos for having a really clear idea for who it is that you serve, rather than the products that you sell. Big, big difference identifying who you sell to and what you sell. Problem I see, however, is there's a disconnect between those two. You're very clear about who it is that you're selling to, but you've really only got one product. I'm looking at you on Amazon, and all of your products are leather iPhone cases. They look great, by the way. They're perfectly tailor made to the person that you described, but it's really hard to see Lockwood as anything more than just a leather iPhone case company. If you really want to serve the male entrepreneur who travels, let's look at, what are the three to five products that individual might buy? That's how we're going to create a brand out of this. My guess is that the thing limiting you right now is a lack of capital. iPhone cases are super cheap to source, they're super easy to roll out, because you could have one for the 6, the 6S, the iPhone 7, that's an easy, predictable product to sell.
My question to you is, what other products can we roll into that line and if capital is the problem, this is the type of business that if you are very clear on who you are marketing to, it might be worth going out and getting a capital partner who puts out 30 to $50,000 so that you can roll out product two, product three. So what else does a traveling male entrepreneur want to buy besides just a leather iPhone case? You're sitting on a really cool opportunity to basically be a high-end travel accessory company. I think the name Lockwood is an awesome name for what it is that you're looking to do for that target market, but we've gotta increase the number of products and the perception that the marketplace has of us, and it's not going to happen if you have just iPhone cases. I'm looking at your website, lockwoodco.com. There's nothing for me to be able to say, "Ah, this is for me." I am a male entrepreneur who travels. There's nothing on your website that makes me say, "That's for me." There's no picture of somebody who looks like me, there's no obvious buy button in the top right. I don't even know what the product line is, and my guess is, product line's not on here because right now it's just iPhone cases. So my recommendation, again, I think you are heading in the right direction with who you serve, and the types of products that you're going to serve to them because the iPhone case looks awesome.
My recommendation would be, make a list now of the next three products you'd roll out to that person, and if capital is the biggest restraint, go out and get a capital partner, and I would start featuring the products that will serve that target market here on the website so people like me, who are your target market, come to your website, see your store and say, "That's for me, I want to be part of this business." Then you can go out and advertise on the podcasts that service that market, the Youtube channels that service that market. The blogs that talk to that market, and that's where you're going to have your audience to drive into your business and really set you up as a legitimate brand. The hidden lesson in that analysis is that your ideal customer hangs out somewhere, and that could be on blogs, it could be following certain people, and if we know how to get in front of those people, we can make any type of magic happen.
So what Darren is doing really well is, he knows who that is. There's just a disconnect between the products that service that community and who he wants to serve. So we can bridge that gap by expanding the product line and then going out and finding the audience members that are hanging out on other channels or following certain individuals, and we make our money by bridging those two together. We take the audience that's hanging out following somebody and the products that you have, and that's where business happens.
So if you run a business and you're not sure how to scale this thing to where you want, the question that you simply need to ask is, who is it that I'm serving, and where do they already hang out? And if I could get in front of them, would they want to hang out with me? Does my product line clearly communicate who it is that I serve and how I make their lives better? And that's what marketing is, it's bridging those two gaps together. A lot of business owners are sitting on goldmines and they don't know it just because they're not going out and putting their stuff in front of the right people. We can do that very easily by spending the $500 a month, whatever it is, to get in front of those people, or making the strategic relationships that we need in order to bring our product in front of our ideal customers.
If you're a tribe member, you can submit your business to be analyzed here on the show, or if you are a brand builder, an audience leader, or an investor, you can apply for the tribe at freedomfastlane.com/tribe.
• GENERATING UNLIMITED PASSIVE INCOME THROUGH REAL ESTATE INVESTING WITH J MASSEY
• VIDEO: PROFIT MOTIVE IS MORE USEFUL FOR SOLVING PROBLEMS THAN GOVERNMENT
• 5 EMOTIONAL DECISION MAKING MISTAKES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM