Now, we have an absolutely special guest on Elevate Your Equity podcast, Mike Ayala. Mike is an investor, speaker, podcaster and founder of Investing for Freedom. Mike helps busy professionals and business owners find true freedom to live their best life. On this show, we talked about:
• The skillsets and mindset that helped him scale his business.
• How he'd been able to surround himself with the most incredible people and how they've made an impact on his life and career.
• His best practices to fellow investors to get better in their businesses.
More about Mike. Mike is also co-founder of Four Peaks Capital Partners, LLC. His scope includes operations, management teams, development, and chief people officer. He also co-directs the overall investment strategy along with Andrew Lanoie. Mike has over 22 years of experience in finding freedom by building teams and streamlining operations.
By age 24, Mike founded his first construction company and has been involved with over 2,000 projects totaling over $1 billion, including hospitals, courthouses, federal buildings, casinos, mills, gold-processing facilities, civil projects, multi-family homes, and shopping centers. Of the companies he started, the most notable is the construction company that scaled quickly to more than 100 employees and sold at a $12 million valuation, making it onto the Inc. 2009 “2500 Fastest Growing Companies in America” list.
Thanks a bunch Mike Ayala for coming on the show!
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Welcome to the Elevate Your Equity podcast, where we, as married busy professionals, leverage real estate investing to unlock the three plus one degrees of freedom, health, location, time and financial.Derek Clifford:
Today, we've got a true powerhouse on the show with us. Super excited to have Mr. Mike Ayala on the show. How are you today, Mike?Mike Ayala:
Man, I'm so excited to be here. And I'm just happy that I'm getting to spend some time with you when you could be out in Santorini exploring. SoDerek Clifford:
Yes, sir. Thank you so much. Well, this is a very a trade that I would do gladly. Just because you know, talking with someone that has done so much in such a relatively short period of time, even though it's been a really long term type of success pattern, definitely, I'm excited to learn some pearls of wisdom and ask you some very pointed and related questions that may or may not apply to our current situation right now. So in a way, it may be a little bit selfish, but hopefully the listeners and you will be able to take something away from it as well. So for the people that don't know you, Mike, you're an investor speaker podcaster and founder of investing for freedom, Mike also helps busy professionals and business owners find the true freedom to live their best life. And he's the co founder of four peaks Capital Partners, LLC, his role includes operations, management, teams development, and being the chief people officer. And he also co directs the overall investment strategy, which is super cool, we're probably going to be extracting some pearls of wisdom there too. And Mike's got over 22 years of experience in finding freedom by building teams and streamlining operations. That is quite a mouthful, Mike, but I know that you've definitely deserved it. Because you have a long resume, I want to try to keep it as synced and as focused as possible. So there we go. So you know, Mike, the first thing that we like to do with a lot of our guests is to basically ask, how did you get inspired? Or how did you start in real estate investing in general?Mike Ayala:
You know, I started my real estate investing journey started with my business journey, I started a plumbing and heating company at the age of 24. And I've always been, you know, even the intro, like, I didn't write that I've always been the dumb kid in the corner, like, honestly, and everybody's always like, guy, you know, but the reality is, like, I'm always looking for someone smarter than me, I'm always looking to be in that bigger room, that smarter room. And I actually think that's the key to success in general. So when I started our company, at the age of 24, I realized like, I was a plumber, but I had no business experience, I didn't know what the heck accounting was, I didn't even know what an accounting software looked like. And so from the very beginning, I was so in over my head that I just constantly was looking for the best coaches, the best mentors, and getting the real estate, I actually found an HVAC and plumbing industry coaching company called business development resource. And we can circle back to all of this, but I went to a three day planning event, probably after coaching with them for six or seven months. And this was probably 2005 at this point. And the entire first day was all about, you know, achieving your goals in my head coach was actually speaking to this room of 100 business owners, and he said, If your business isn't helping you achieve your personal goals, you just own a job. And that entire first day was all about like, what do you really want life I designed to look like. And at the age of like 25 I'm like, kind of just getting exposed to this whole thought process. You know, Karen, I had set goals, like we want to get a new couch and that kind of stuff. But they really forced us to think about, you know, if money and time wasn't an issue, what would your life look like? What would you have? And this, this is where the real estate comes in, we set a goal of two income producing properties a year for 10 years. That was kind of like in my mind at that point in time. I'm thinking, Man, if I could just get 20 properties over the next 10 years. By the time I'm 65 years old, they'd all be paid for and I could retire, right? So we came back that year, we bought two income producing single families. And then the next year, I fell into this mobile home park deal. And it just kind of set me on on this journey of buying real estate. SoDerek Clifford:
Oh, that's awesome. So it sounded like a lot of this is preceded by mindset. I like how you started there, just because that seems to be the common theme that we hear from a lot of our guests as well. And that seems like that was one thing that you really kind of settled into. So can you talk a little bit about the mindset shift that you had at age 25? And how long it took to build that mindset up? Or was it more of like an instant thing can talk a little bit about what it was like in the early days?Mike Ayala:
Yeah. So you know, the crazy thing is, and this will sound counterintuitive, but the reality is like the more ego that you have, the less you're willing to ask for help. And, you know, there's like this preconceived idea that, you know, the more successful we get, like people are egocentric and wealthy, successful people are greedy. And I think it's the opposite. Like the most egocentric people that I know are the ones that don't want to ask for help. And that's a downward spiral and getting stuck exactly where you're at. And so the mindset around I think growth and performance and wealth building, successful business successful real estate all of the above is laying your ego down on the table and asking for help. And there's two things that I can really say, number one, I don't have a problem offering help. And I also don't have a problem asking for help. It's harder for me to ask for help, especially when it's like, Hey, can you do something for free for me, but I love the Zig Ziglar quote, you can have everything you want in life, if you just help enough other people get what they want. And I didn't know that quote back then I actually, the quote that I would have said before is, you know, a scripture out of the Bible that I really love with the same measure you give, it'll be given back to you good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, shall men give back to you. And so I've always just kind of adopted that mindset. So back to the mindset thing, the reality is, the more we think we know, the less you're going to gain, the shorter your your distance is going to be in life. And so when we get curious, and we start telling ourselves, what don't I know, what am I missing? Like? Who do I need in my life, all of those types of questions. That's the most important thing when it comes to mindset and success, in my opinion.Derek Clifford:
It's such a profound, and it's just gold right there. I really, really appreciate you saying that. Because, you know, for me, what it reminds me of is, whenever you're having a conversation with someone that maybe you just meet, maybe that's in a peer group of yours, there's always one person that's doing a lot of the talking, and not really listening. Another quote that I heard is that we were created with two ears and one mouth, so we should be listening two times more than we're talking. And I found that always to be true. The people that want to sound intelligent, are the ones that are trying to hide behind some of these barriers of puffing their chest out and trying to become or put the illusion on that there's someone bigger, and the people that are really going places are the ones that are genuinely curious and able to put their ego aside. And I just absolutely love that you said that. So thank you for bringing that up. That's good stuff there. Let me ask you to so you know, you've had a very diverse career, you've gone through a lot of you've grown a lot of different businesses. And I don't think that there's any end of that coming. And I just don't think that that's in the cards for you, I think that you're going to continue growing. And what would you say the one skill set that you have leveraged throughout all of those businesses in the past 22 years, I know there's a lot there. But what one skill set would you say has been the common thread across all of your ventures and helps you come to scale?Mike Ayala:
Everything that you need in life is on the other side of a person. And it took me a while to anchor this. But even starting that business, and part of this was luck. Part of it was timing. But a big part of it was knowing where my limitations were. And so when we started that business in 2004, you fast forward four years, five years, we're on the eighth fastest growing companies in America in 2009, even when we started that business, so we actually got our contractor's license in May or June of that year. By the end of that year, I think we had 19 employees, and we were doing almost a million dollars in revenue in like six months. And so we were on this explosive, I didn't know it was explosive. At that point in time, I really had no, again, I was the dumb kid in the corner. And I don't say that facetiously. Like, I just didn't know what I didn't know. But I was just doing like, when my coach would say do XYZ, I'll never forget going to you know, trainings and conferences, and I can't tell you how many people and it's the same people that want to talk that you were just talking about a few minutes ago, I can't tell you, we'd be in a room of you know, 60 or 80 business owners and you'd be sitting around a table. And I can't tell you how many business owners would be saying to the coaches, the experts, the top one or two coaching companies in the world in their trade, I can't tell you how many owners would say, Oh, that'll never work in my market, or that my customers will never go for that. And it's what you think, you know, like Mark Twain says, that really isn't. So that'll get you into trouble, right. And so, from an early age at that age, like I was on this explosive growth trajectory, I didn't know like I said, I was just doing exactly what my coach would tell me. And this is a horrible way to say it. I don't say it this way anymore. But what I was doing at that point in time was stalking bodies. I was just looking for, you know, anybody with a heartbeat. I have learned so much more since then about you know, hiring slow and firing quick. And just, I love the dream manager book. It's probably one of my all time favorite books, because it's really about and we can circle back to this because I think it's important. You know, when you really think about empowering your employees and figuring out, you know, what they want out of life, that's kind of the thread of dream manager. But when I look backwards, those are kind of the the one thing like you were talking about, if you put it above everything else, if you hire the right vendor, coach, employee, whatever it is that you need, business partners, even I'm a huge fan of partnering. Because you know, if you got two people that have equity in the game, or three or five, or 10, or 100, we can get so much further faster. So if you really come down to it, everything that you're missing is on the other side of a human, it might be advice, it might be wisdom, it might be needing their time, it might be needing their money, it might be needing their connections. And when we get into that frame of reference, again, this comes back to ego and scarcity mindset. I'm an open book I'll share with anybody. I was on a call the other day with a guy who's fastly scaling in the mobile home park space. There is so much abundance like you can't I've always heard this thing a long time ago, but you can't outgive God. And it's true, like just the abundance. But again, everything you need is on the other side of the human. So when you really show up and just add value with no expectation back, that all continues to come back to you. So everything you need can be summed up on the other side of a person.Derek Clifford:
Yeah, I love that. I love that. Is there anything that you can add in terms of processes behind people to help empower your people? Like, is there anything that you do from a process driven standpoint to help automate things? Because I know that you can always add someone to help with your business? But how important is it also to have processes involved with the growth that you're incurring?Mike Ayala:
So this is kind of an interesting question, because it does come back to a who for me, because I'm not opposed. I'm a visionary guy. And so I do believe huge in process, but I've had to learn the hard way. Because personally, I'm not a process guy. I'm a visionary. And I just like fly by the seat of my pants. But I've realized that that doesn't work for you know, 90% of the population. And there has to be preset expectations and consistency, etc. And so I'm a huge fan of traction, and EOS. If I had found traction, and the EOS process 23 years ago, or whenever it was that I started really venturing into this. I've often said this. I'm a visionary. And my first business partner was an integrator, we just didn't know that language. We were amazing together. But we were also really bad when it was really bad. And it's because we didn't have that framework and expectation. And it's not just the visionary and the integrator, it's that process for the entire organization. And so if we had to come down to one single thing that I think every business from the size of you know, eight or 10 employees to, I think they say 250 should integrate in their organization, it's probably traction and Eos, that would be probably the one thing that has really changed our organization in the last couple of years. I have an implementer her name's Jessica that, you know, we work with consistently. I've actually I'm trying to get her on the podcast because it's so powerful, but I love I love love, love EOS. You know, you mentioned virtual assistants, our team, we have a team of probably 5055 employees, but we utilize virtual assistants and we use a company called mo D, it's a to go abundance brother named Daniel Ramsey, Ramsey who really, and that's again, that's a person, but also their process is so amazing for, you know, bolting on and helping us and but again, I don't want to get too off on a tangent, I think EOS would be the number one processing system. Obviously, there's a ton, you know, rent manager, and we use asana and all the tools that we use, but I think it all comes back to having a centralized operating system that your team can speak the same language be organized around, it doesn't have to be EOS. But a lot of times I think what happens is we try to implement too many different internal operating systems. And I think that's probably part of the challenge. And so EOS has kind of streamlined that for us.Derek Clifford:
Right, exactly. Now, it sounds like you're a visionary. And one of the visionaries most important roles is finding the right people that understand the vision of your company. Can you tell us a little bit about how you know, when you found the right hire? Or when you're looking for people? What is it that you're looking for, that maybe matches with your values, and the company's values and their values? Would love it? Maybe this is something that's covered in traction, but I just want to hear your take on it as well.Mike Ayala:
Yeah, and it's definitely covered in traction. But again, traction is a process. And I think a lot of times, especially as visionaries, we're like, you know, okay, how do I condense this three or four or five year process down into like, three months? And it's just not, it's not doable? It is covered in there. And I think the key to that, and you already mentioned values, but I think the hardest thing for us is really, values are not a set of words that are on a wall. It's like, how do we get to the point where, you know, we're going to create the system of values that we're really going to live by, and they're consistent. And so getting that narrowed down is one thing, but then it's really hard to flush out, I read A Harvard study that said it takes eight months, for even the best of the best employees to really get settled into their job and be performing at peak. So eight months is like kind of minimum. And so when you think about that, from a values perspective, that's like a process and job description, you know, perspective, when you think of it from a values perspective, it's really challenging, and it just, I think it takes time. So one of the things, I'll give you a few practical for me, it's about energy and alignment. And honestly, I used to feel bad about saying this, but if I don't like being around you, and I don't feel energized, and now this is not every single day, all day because we all have down days and everything else, but that's my first values filter. Like can I see myself working with this individual day in day out? And then as they start, you know, interviewing and working with the team, same filter, and we've got some words that you know, really, I mean, do we bring high energy? Do we bring commitment, these are the things that and again, they're not just things that we put on a wall, because when things get hard, that's when you really see the writing on the wall with people it's not in the good times, it's in the bad times. And you know, the last couple of years of really, I'll tell you one thing I'm proud of, after the last couple of years, our team, we had to make cuts and changes just like everybody else during COVID. But the team that's with me right now, has been with me, you know, some of them have been with me for over 10 years, and other businesses and organizations, but the team that we have currently today, has made it through, you know, some really challenging times the last couple years. And I think it's because of making sure that we're aligned around those culture fits that, you know, the internal values, and they're different for everybody. But for me, it's, that's really my filter number one, like, do we see ourselves working with this individual day in and day out? Do they bring a positive energy? Because again, all of us, I have a pretty positive energy. But I'll tell you what, when things are tough, you'll see the worst of the worst in anybody. And that's the time that you want to make sure that your team is flourishing.Derek Clifford:
You said there was energy and alignment is the two things that you look for it right. Is that are both of those things that you mentioned. Is that covering both of them? I just wanted to make sure we hit both those things there with that.Mike Ayala:
Yeah, well, there's a couple others. I mean, we're Yes. So energy is part of it, like bringing a positive energy. That's what that's actually our word, alignment around the mission, which we that's that's more of a long term thing. But you can see that Parsh part of that is part of that is a resume thing. But part of it is also do you buy into the vision? Can you see where we're going? And that's part of the filtering process up front being in alignment? How is somebody going to know if they're in alignment with you if they don't get the vision? So I think being slow on the hiring side is important. Curiosity is a big another one for us that I didn't throw out there. But I think remaining curious, it gets us out of roadblock a lot of times because when we just look at a problem, whether it's an employee, whether it's a business owner, or a manager, it doesn't matter. When we just look at the problem. And we stop right there. That's a lack of curiosity about okay, well, we have, I used to get so frustrated about this, when one of my technicians would come back when they were in the field. And they'd say, I couldn't solve the problem. Well, who's going to solve the problem? If you don't solve it? Like, why didn't you get curious, ask questions, call me accelerate the problem, because if you don't solve the issue, they're going to call another company out. And that curiosity is what keeps us engaged. And it sounds weird. But when you come up against a problem that you can't solve, we have to get curious. And we have to start asking questions. Okay, if we can't solve this through the third current thought process, how do we escalate this to the next level? And if it's something I can't solve, being curious about? Okay, who could help me solve this? And how do we brainstorm about it? And so curiosity is another big one for us.Derek Clifford:
Very cool. It sounds like these values and everything this, I think I'm understanding what you mean by alignment, in your words, because you're trying to express all of these things, on a day to day basis. Like you got to have the energy, the openness, the curiosity, the engagement, that all has to be there on a day to day basis. And if this employee, right, that came to you and said, I don't know how to solve, they clearly missed something. And I can tell that if this happens over a consistent period of time, then you're creating this culture, right, which is so hard to create a culture of people that stick together and help each other out, right? And you're really creating this, this incredible microcosm of that. So obviously, you've done this before, what advice do you have for people who are starting out that maybe only have a couple employees early on other things that people can do in preparation for scaling to help get this lined up to be ready for that type of business that comes on in team.Mike Ayala:
Now there's my, my brain just went like three different directions, because I want to give something tactical, but I think the first thing again, especially on a, well, I shouldn't say especially because it matters all the way through. But being in alignment at a small scale, one of our other things is teamwork. And, you know, following up teamwork, it's everyone's job. And that, again, comes back to, you know, a part of just everybody jumping in. And so for somebody that's got a smaller organization, I think it's more important at a small scale, that you get these things filtered out for you. And for me, it's like, you know, when you've got a small group of people, a lot of times they're working harder, there's more stress, getting those back end processes is extremely important. But getting aligned around the mission, and getting everybody together is super important. So I don't know that this becomes less valuable. But I think at an early phase, or stage, I think you really need to spend a lot of time with your core team members a lot, because that's how you're going to flush out things. That's where, you know, they're going to have a lot of ideas that you maybe are not seeing on a daily basis and that kind of stuff. And so, when organizations are smaller and growing, I think being really connected, is even more important. And I'm not saying it's not important when we start to scale, but you're going to start seeing that like right now. It's really important in my organization for me to be really connected to three people. My CEO is named Tyler, my business partner, Andrew and my controller Lisa. And so again, I kind of look at that as my small group. And if you're, you know, a small business just getting started, whether it's your VA, or you know, a couple of core team members. I really believe at the end of the day that one person especially me and this might not apply to everybody, but the fact that I'm a visionary and not very You know, organized and process driven, I can really only when I start getting to six or seven people that are, you know, my core team, I start getting really overloaded. And so that's been kind of a base measurement for me. When I start getting to that, it's really time for me to scale and bring in another level.Derek Clifford:
I love that. Now, just out of curiosity, are you allowing your core team to start affecting the values that you have as a company? Or is this something where you're like, This? Is my company? These are the values that I want? And let's figure out a way to make it work together? Or do you actually give them input to help affect the vision and the direction of the company? Because not all companies stay the same for a long time, right? Like if, for instance, if Toyota, if you read a book, the book Good to Great, right? The company, Toyota, they ended up winning, because their vision was big enough and broad enough, because of input from their core team to say that we should be in the not in the car business, we need to be in the business of helping move things right of transportation. And and then you know, now they're diversified into almost every type of transportation business there is. So I guess, going back to the question, how much input do you allow your core team members to have into the entire vision for the company itself?Mike Ayala:
Huge, huge amount of input. Okay. So I'll say this real quick, Good to Great, by the way, classic, probably top five books on the hedgehog concept, transformed my first business, probably read that a year into it, and, and that whole concept really sets it apart. So just a little side note there. As far as input, here's what I love about the EOS process. And this will answer your question. So I think a lot of business owners think that Well, let's go into our annual planning. And, you know, we get our values on the wall, and all that kind of stuff. And then it's done. The reality with EOS. And this is why I was saying it's a commitment to the time process. You really bring your core leadership team in with EOS. And that's probably a one to two year process, depending on how fast you move through it. And then you start moving it down through the organization. We built our values as a team. When I first started doing Eos, I self implemented. EOS has some tools called Basecamp, which gives you all the tools that an implementer would basically come in and take your team through. So we started self implementing, but what I realized was, I couldn't be objective, because I'm an equal on the team. And that's when you know, after about seven months, we decided to bring in an implementer, which you know, cost somewhere between five and $8,000. A session depending on you know, who you're working with, because everybody needs to be objective. And we all need to be an equal voice. And the fact that I'm the leader of the organization, and also trying to lead an implement EOS was a challenge for me, because I think everybody needs to have an equal voice. And the thing that I love about EOS is that we're all created equal. It doesn't matter what your title is, yes, there's an organizational chart. They call it an accountability chart. Yes, there's an accountability chart. But we're all equals in this organization. And so the answer to your question is, yes, it's an iteration that's constantly happening. As a leadership team, we built that together. And then we start rolling it through the organization. But also, we're constantly iterating, you're reviewing those. There's a process around all this too, but you're constantly reviewing our core values still in alignment, we're constantly asking, in fact, there's a, you constantly have a scoring methodology in EOS around the values. And so they keep it pretty simple. But does this person gets it? Do they get it? Want it? And do they have the capacity to do it? So G WC. And then there's a values formula that we rank against, right? Anyway, I'm kind of getting in the weeds on the process of it. But yes, the answer is it's a constant iteration. And the team has total input. And as you go through the l 10. Process and weekly meetings, we have our we call it the PPC leadership team, a level 10 meeting. And then each division kind of has its own l 10. meeting as well as you roll that through. But again, this is a one to three year process. So it's not like you just as visionaries, we want to just roll it out. And it's be prepared for the long game because it is a long game.Derek Clifford:
Yeah, these things go at the very core of what it is to be in business and the people behind them, right, which is just as important as the business itself. Because in the end, we're all doing business with each other. And we're serving other people as well, you know, when it comes down to it, so everything is all people based. And I completely get that there. And I have so many follow up questions here. But I have to move on to some other topics that I want to hit on to while we're here. And one of that concerns also people because that seems like a very good talent of yours is that you're able to basically surround yourself around the most incredible people. I know that that's not an accident, right? You just don't walk into that that's either something you do on an intentionally or you're seeking it out or you're getting help. Can I ask you, you know how it is that you've been able to do that to surround yourself around some incredible people and then draw them to Towards you over time, like, what is it that you do? Or how do you think about that in terms of either seeking people out, or just being there to serve others? I want to hear your process on this. And if you have anything at all,Mike Ayala:
So this was probably 2005 as well, I started the plumbing and heating company and I looked around and I was like, Okay, well, which one of my competitors is not selling us Which brand is not being represented in my market, and it was trained, the HVAC company train, and so I reached out, I became a train dealer, and my territory rep. Her name was Andrew Coleman, she taught me a ton, I need to reach out to her and tell her how much she actually taught me. You know, it was because of her that I got connected with BDR, we became a Trane Comfort specialist. And I learned so much through that process. It's another example of who. But anyway, the reason why I'm saying that she made a comment, she said, you're always hiring. And you know, GE has this process where, you know, every year they would literally fire a bottom certain percentage of their employees and then bring on new employees. And I think there's a kind of a mix there between always hiring, I'm always looking for talent, every conversation that I'm getting into, I'm thinking through a lens of, you know, is this a potential partner, I'm making mental catalogs, and I believe our subconscious, this is where we get a little woowoo on this, but I believe our subconscious is so powerful, if you know what you're looking for. And for me, if truly if I had to narrow it down to one thing, which is the question you're asking its people. And so if you're constantly looking for people, then your subconscious is constantly keeping a catalogue of, you know, that interaction, that type of person and what this goes back to the person that's talking too much at the table, by the way, because if I'm talking, and I'm not trying to understand, you know, what drives Derek, what really motivates him, I'm not going to be able to catalogue at some point in time when I can connect you with the right person, or you're the right person in my life or whatever. And so I think it's mentally cataloging that, you know, first and foremost is the most important thing truly being curious, around, you know, who are those individuals, but to bring it back to Andra, she was saying, you're always hiring. And so you know, I would say, when you find the right human, like, do everything, you can potentially get them on board. And I'll tell you, one, as a real estate person, also talking about humans. This is crazy, because a lot of your listeners are probably real estate people, I'm guessing. Here's the thing, if I told you, hey, Derek, if you invest $100,000, in this asset, it'll bring you 10 or $15,000 a year, you know, it's a 10, or 15, or 20% return, you do that all day long. Like, that sounds like a great investment. I'm gonna get tax benefits all the above. That's awesome. The minute I say to you, Derek, invest $100,000 In this person, and they're gonna bring you a $10,000 or $15,000 return every year, our brain goes, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, yeah. You know, and this is why we love real estate, it's tangible. It's consistent, we can count on it. Humans are different. They're not tangible. They're not necessarily consistent. We can't always count on it. So the more we can create that filter in our life to figure out, you know, how do we narrow down to try to find people that are consistent, that we can count on. And it's through those conversations, like if I've talked to you and known you for three or four years, and I've watched your track record, and I'm taking this mental catalog in the back of my mind, and then all of a sudden, I'm looking for a human. I'm like, oh, Derek, I've watched him, he's consistent. I can count on him. He's credible, all of these things, right. And so I know that's not a simple, you know, something, you can just plug into a CRM, one of my mentors, Dan Sullivan always says the eyes only see in the ears only hear what the brain is looking for. It's that reticular activator conversation. And I'm just looking for good humans. I'm looking for connection, and I'm looking for talent.Derek Clifford:
Man, this is there's so much gold here. Mike, thank you so much for sharing all this. A lot of this stuff is things that you inherently know. But to hear someone like you that's implementing it, to listen to the like the way that you're saying this makes total sense to me. And I think that this is something that for some reason, I haven't been doing up to now. So again, thank you for sharing all this is really great stuff here. Hopefully all these listeners out there are listening to the advice that you're giving. And one thing that I would add on to this, and I'd love your thoughts too, is that maybe you're at a point right now where you don't think you're in business. But you really are, you're always going to be in business for yourself. As long as you understand that you cannot depend on your W two, which is that's a whole nother conversation. So that's something that you got to help yourself with. And as soon as you can find something that you're really passionate about, and you want to jump into to help serve others, you're going to always be in business for yourself and for your family. And even if it's someone that is you're not going to hire, maybe you want to find someone to partner up with, right, Mike, you mentioned that you're a big fan of partnering and I am as well, maybe you'll find someone that really impresses you. And maybe you want to jump onto their rocket ship with them grab a seat on the rocket ship, right. So this philosophy of your thinking that oh, you know, this isn't for me because I'm not a business person yet. I really encourage you listeners out there to think again, because what you're saying Mike is that you're one person snuck away from solving the problems that you even never thought you had in the first place.Mike Ayala:
Yeah, I love it. And I completely agree with it, number one, number two, I'll just throw out one more little filter that I use all the time. I'm constantly looking at my energy level. So we're talking about energy with the people that are around us. But we have to get really clear on what brings us energy, what we love, you know, my show investing for freedom, that's been the thing that's driven me from the beginning. That's why I surround myself with amazing talent, because there's only a few things that I'm really good at. And so even bringing it back to what you were saying, with, you know, a lot of your listeners might be saying, I'm not a business owner or whatever. I think there's a forest that's been sold by gurus and the real estate, the whole idea of, you know, real estate easy, and you're just going to real estate's a long game, just like building the businesses and building your passive portfolio, or active portfolio wealth building. wealth building is a long game, investing in the stock market can be a short game, and yeah, you can make good money in and out and it's quick. But also, like the majority of people that invest in the stock market are looking at it as a long game. That's how we need to think about real estate too. And so when we bring it back into what we're really talking about here, I think what you just said is extremely important, because even if you don't want to build a small or a large business, the same principles apply, like who am I going to team up with? And what vendors can I bring into my life and honestly, here's a great little example, my assistant that I hired in 2007, became my property manager. Ultimately, she was my assistant in my business, but then she started managing my properties. When I sold that business in 2014. She came with me and she continued to manage my properties in Nevada. And then she started scaling, she was doing my bookkeeping, we taught her how to be a bookkeeper, she now owns a consulting company called Stanfill consulting, she has like 25 employees, she's skilled, I'm so proud of her. But guess who still manages my properties and does all my personal bookkeeping. Elizabeth does through Stanfield consulting. My point in saying that was like, even if you just want to be a professional investor, which she handles all of my stuff on the professional investing side, she doesn't do anything with my businesses. But even if you just want to be a professional investor, hopefully you're going to scale to a point where you need to start outsourcing, whether it's a vendor or an assistant, internally or whatever. And so again, it's the same principle, like you were talking about, even if you want to be a passive investor, and you love your W two job, which by the way, I'm a huge fan of the W two, not everybody needs to be an entrepreneur, not everybody needs to be a business owner, not everybody needs to scale a Real Estate Organization. So if you love your W two job, and that's, I said this for a long time, make as much fake money as you can and invest it in real assets. So if you stay right there, it's all good.Derek Clifford:
Yeah, yeah, I love it, at least partner with people who know what they're doing. And then that will help they'll get you there just as fast, right? The point is to be in alignment with you, your family and what gives you energy, right. And I think that just making it full circle here, Mike going all the way back to the energy piece of this right? What is it not only with the people you're working with, but with what you're doing with your life that's feeding you and giving you energy right to do what you're doing from day to day, and being intuitive and super sensitive to that is going to serve you in heaps and bounds. And, and one thing too, Mike, that that I keep saying that I want to add something on top of this, because it's just it's just gold, but the awareness piece of your energy. Let's say that you're standing in line in Starbucks, right? And there's that one employee that serves you every day, like, you know, you go to the same Starbucks, let's say you're a coffee drinker, and you go there, and you notice that employee that just, there's something about that employee that you just like, you really think that there's a ton of potential there, that could be your next partner, that could be someone that works with you. That could be someone that eventually you could work for who knows, right? It's just a matter of stepping into that, and just coming from a point of true value and curiosity. So I just love everything that you're saying there, Mike, I think it's super powerful for people to listen to this.Mike Ayala:
That's that cataloguing in the back of your brain, right? Yeah, ever, no. And then that alignment around the energy is important, too. And I think I was having a conversation with Brian Lubin this morning, just about this. And I think being conscious and aware of that energy, if you get energized by going to Starbucks for an hour, every morning. And that's where you're like, you know, your brain is like growing, and you're getting the vision and everything else. And then all of a sudden, you find yourself in a place where you're so busy that you can't do that anymore. You need to think about that's the check in on that energy level, and what brings you alignment. Because if you can outsource, you're so busy. And you're buried in your business that you can no longer go do that one hour thing that brings you energy, find a VA or somebody that can take one hour off of you and get back to it. There's really only one or two or three things that I'm really good at. And I tried to focus on that.Derek Clifford:
Yeah. And obviously it served you very well, Mike because you manage a lot of assets. And you have a lot of team members and people that look to you for advice, and they're helping each other out and you just built a really strong culture. So just want to commend you on all the things that you've built over a long, consistent steady track record. It takes a lot of time and effort to move the flywheel but once it's going now, it's kind of like I don't want to say Fun and Games, because there's always down days, and there's always updates. But I'm just really impressive what you built in the short time that I've known you through abundance. It's really fun to watch you grow. So I just want to say that there. Thank you. I appreciate it. Yeah. So one last question that I have for you before we enter into the Rapid Round, which is the same five questions that we ask every one of our guests on the show is a very tactical based one, because I'm really into tactical things. Because if I can do the things that you do, that kind of bleeds into being and thinking the same way that you do, and my question is, what do your morning and or evening routines look like?Mike Ayala:
You know, I've gone back and forth. I think you're gonna hear a common thread that I've been saying throughout this, I'm not a process guy. Okay, yeah, I actually think that the evening routine is something that I'm really working on right now. Because I like to stay up late. And therefore you don't get up as early and I am a morning person to which this is crazy. My wife jokes around and laughs about this. But early on, I would stay out, you know, after church, like literally, we'd stay out after church till one two o'clock in the morning with everybody. And then I go to work, I'd have to get up at 4am. As I get older, that's not healthy, and it's not good. But I can survive on a limited amount of sleep. And I'm trying to get away from that. So I'm trying to put boundaries on the evening. Like, honestly, I'm trying to go to bed by 10. I have to like force myself to get in bed by 10, which sets me up for a better morning. Honestly, I like just kind of not a consistent. I love David Osborne's book, Miracle Morning for millionaires. And I've implemented a portion of that. But I don't have a consistent routine where I'm like, I have to do these eight or 10 things every single morning. To me, it's kind of fluid. I love connecting with people in the morning, morning, I probably connected with four or five different people. I'm very fluid. And like I was saying earlier about just being kind of open to the process. And what gives me energy. I really tried to connect in the morning, I tried to get a little bit of workout in but honestly, that's another area that I'm really escalating my health to the top because as I get older, it's not been a priority. And I'm working on that now. So to me, it's it's fluid, though it's really trying to connect. It's true. I do read most of the time. You know, a lot of it's some thinking time. I love Keith Cunningham's whole process around thinking time, I usually do get some meditation in, but it's throughout the day. So a lot of the things that people would do in a morning routine, I'm stopping when my energy levels, I'm very cognizant of my energy level. And I'll stop and I'll meditate for 10 or 15 minutes, and that'll just that'll trigger it back. Sometimes I'm reading throughout the day. So a lot of the things that people would normally do in a chunk in the morning, I do throughout the day.Derek Clifford:
Okay, that's that's good advice. I think it's more about intuition. And I think that that's what I really respect about, you know, your approach to business is that you're using your intuition and how you feel to help guide some of the decisions that you make, obviously, you're doing due diligence, and you're making all of these things that need to happen. But the big decisions that really matter a lot, whether it's day to day, or whether it's a hire that you're making, I get the feeling that you're using your intuition and your energy. And you know whether things kind of feel right, just because you've been there, like you've done a lot of things before and you're trusting in yourself to do that. And that also applies to your morning routine, which I very much respect. And I think for me, I do the same thing as well. I'm just looking for, you know, common patterns, or if there's anything that you absolutely don't go without, to make sure that I'm doing whatever that is, so I can follow in your footsteps there.Mike Ayala:
Yeah, I think for me, it's coffee and tea and some just some thinking time, that would be the I can't go without that.Derek Clifford:
Got it. That sounds great. Well, hey, Mike, this has been awesome. I could, I could sit here and talk with you for hours on all of this stuff and ask you a million questions and really appreciate your time here. We're gonna head into the Rapid Round, which is the same five questions that we asked every one of our guests, and they're meant to be answered in about 30 seconds or less. So if you're ready, we'll head into it. Yep. All right, cool. Number one, what book has had the biggest impact on you and why? And we ask that it not be the Bible, or the purple Bible, which is Rich Dad, Poor Dad.Mike Ayala:
Richest man in Babylon, read it over and over and over. And it's just, it's simple. It's timely principles. My very wealthy uncle gave it to me with a $20 bill and a $2 bill in the, in the front. And you know, it took me probably a year and a half, two years to break into that. But it's one of those books that I guarantee I read 120 times, and I'm taking it on my trip to Lake Powell next week to read it again.Derek Clifford:
That's fantastic. I also love the audiobook version of that too, as well. But yeah, I think that's a super powerful read. Do you give that also to your kids? Or is there any kind of gifting that you do with this book, too?Mike Ayala:
I give it to a lot of people. I've given it as graduation gifts with a 20 and a two just like my uncle did for me, and I love it.Derek Clifford:
It's cool, man. Great book. Number two, if people want to emulate your success, what is the first actionable thing that they could do right now to follow in your footsteps?Mike Ayala:
Get really clear on what it is you really want and why you want it because you know the app Do you take the methodology I just told my daughter that she's 18 and graduating, she's my youngest. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. So we take it too seriously about, you know what, what it's going to be in the long term commitment. Just figure out what you want, why you want it. And then always be open to adjusting because your desires are going to change the world is going to change, everything's gonna change.Derek Clifford:
That's huge, right? There is just, if you guys are listening, right now, those two sentences are well worth the entire time, you're listening to this podcast. Thank you very much, Mike. That was awesome. Big stuff. Number three, what one tool process or hack in the last three months that you've implemented, helps save you time and or effort right now in your personal or your business life.Mike Ayala:
Asana, project management tool, and really turning that over to, you know, my operations manager, because I don't spend a lot of time in there, she does most of it.Derek Clifford:
But you're seeing a lot of things like you're seeing more visibility, and you're kind of able to if you have any questions, you can go in there and look at things or you can just talk with them and trust that they're using it well, right?Mike Ayala:
And actually step foot yes to that. But also, it's eliminating a lot of the things that I don't need to see, and a place to capture it. Awesome.Derek Clifford:
Okay, number four, if the people that you know how to describe you with one word, what do you think that word would be?Mike Ayala:
Yeah, I could see that. I kind of got that feeling when I first met you in person out in Austin. So very, very cool. And number five last question. What small thing do most people not know about you? This question is particularly hard for podcasters because, you know, things come out.Mike Ayala:
Yeah, there's there's a lot I, I like to dry aged beef.Derek Clifford:
That's cool. I love that. That's neat. So where do you get that? Like, do you hunt it? Or? Like, how does that whole thing start?Mike Ayala:
Yeah, so I've got a I got a dry age, or just right over there. And, you know, I mean, I buy a whole primals like, you know, whole look kind of like a like a prime rib, but I buy the whole ribs in New York's etc. And just hmm. And then yeah, I'm a I'm an avid hunter, too.Derek Clifford:
That's cool. So there's a science behind that too, right? You gotta like season it. And there's a certain like heat, and I don't know, I'm justMike Ayala:
Humidity. It's all very important.Derek Clifford:
Very cool. All right, awesome. Well, hey, Mike, thank you so much for coming on the show. But before we go, why don't you tell the listeners a little bit more about how they can find out what's going on in your world? Or maybe work with you or work for you? How do you How can people reach out?Mike Ayala:
Yeah, so I first and foremost, the investing for freedom podcasts. Probably one of my favorite things I've ever done. And it's because we get to connect, this is why I love it. We just get to connect with amazing people. So you know, go find the show Investing For Freedom. It's on any of the platforms that you listen to. And then the other thing, just text me 480-531-7519. Great, great place to connect.Derek Clifford:
Awesome. Mike, thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate we had a blast and man, people are gonna take away a lot of wisdom from the show. So thank you for coming on.Mike Ayala:
Yeah, thanks for having me, man. Been looking forward to it.Derek Clifford:
Absolutely. And for you listeners out there who've listened all the way to this point. I want to thank you as well. So please, wherever you're listening or watching this, please like, subscribe, comment, just engage with us in general so that that way we can appease the algorithm gods and get more and more exposure to other listeners and also to be able to allow other guests to come on just like Mike and continue to add value to many, many folks out there. So once again, thank you so much for listening and Mike really appreciate you coming on. It's been a blast. This is Derek signing off.