TIME, Leave Nothing to Chance, and Risk vs. Ignorance

            The concept of time was something that was created by us; it gives us a sense of where we’re at in the world. Time in itself is your single most valuable depleting asset that we all have. During one of our meetings at the Investors Association that we have monthly, a friend of mine was taking notes and the topic for that day was TIME.

            Everyone that has a job, that is an employee, is trading their time for money and the concept of money is a complicated concept all in itself; it is just an idea that we created to facilitate what essentially is trade. You no longer have to bring your pigs and chickens to the market to trade them for corn and other vegetables, you just sell your chickens in one place and take that money and go buy whatever you want to buy at the market. As we evolved that’s essentially why we created currency.

            So when you’re talking about time, everybody has 24 hours in the day, time does not discriminate, time doesn’t treat anybody special, everybody has the same amount of minutes in the hour or same amount of seconds in the minute, you get it. The difference is what you do with your time versus somebody like Warren Buffett. In case you don’t know who Warren Buffett is, he is like the Michael Jordan of stocks. The reason why I bring up Warren Buffett who’s also known as the “Oracle of Omaha” is because of the theme we’re talking about today, were talking about the value of time, don’t leave anything to chance, and what is risk calculated risk vs. ignorance. Warren Buffett says that don’t ever buy a stock that you’re not happy to hold onto for the next 5 to 10 years if the stock exchange were to close tomorrow.

             Now Real Estate Investing is my investment strategy and has nothing to do with stocks. I am a real estate investor. However just like how everybody knows that Donald Trump is one of the most successful Real Estate Investors in the world and now our president in the United States, Warren Buffett is the pinnacle of success when it comes to buying and selling stocks, he’s a buy-and-hold kind of guy.

            So Warren Buffett and Donald Trump, what they have in common with you and me is that we all have the same amount of time in the day. Think carefully what you did yesterday that took up most of your time: were you spending it on getting ahead and a step closer to accomplishing your goals? Did you spend it on entertainment? I’m not judging you this is not about that; this is for self-awareness or perpetual happiness which is our focus in this program. I want to help you get to the life in which you do what you love all day and you find a way to get paid for it! So when I ask you: “what do you spend most of your day on?” its only to bring it to your attention; just to make you aware that if you could spare more time, and started to get closer to where you need to be at, consider that for the future as an option.

            We exchanged time for money that’s what we do as employees and it’s the simplest thing to do because you go to a place of employment for some time, you carry out the tasks that you’re asked to do, and you go home. Very simple there’s not a lot to consider, not a lot of things that can change, and for the most part we’re fine with that. Just tell me what I need to do, where to go, and give me a paycheck at the end of the day; or twice a month or monthly, however you get paid. That’s not the point; the point is that essentially you’re trading your time for money.

            When you’re going to the store and you have a $1 dollar coupon and the coupon needs to be used right now or else it’s going to expire tomorrow; well you don’t have to go to the store today but for that $1 coupon you’ll get the whole family in the car, and packed up and ready to go, and you go to the store just so you can buy the item that you don’t really need so you can save a dollar. You just spent more money on the gas that took you to get to the store then the dollar that you saved on that item!

            So nowadays we have two types of currencies and this has probably been true for the last few hundred or few thousand years; but essentially money which is the currency, the hard currency that we have that we carry in our wallets with us is one of them; and the other one is time.

            While we were in our meeting listening to the presentation what my friend did is that he wrote down in one piece of paper TIME in the entire sheet of paper he just wrote word and he folded the paper and put it in his pocket. At the end of the presentation the take away from it was we all have the same amount of time during the day and we all have the potential to accomplish whatever we want to accomplish; to get to our goals so you can either: Take Initiative or Make Excuses. And the only person that can say they’re excuses is you. There’re things that I would not trade for the world like time with my family; I can spend a few hours with them in the park or have a nice conversation with my wife over coffee, and if you asked me: “Well, if I really consider you so important that your time is worth $400 an hour — in case of a lawyer or an architect — you just spent three hours bin-watching Game of Thrones! So essentially you spent $1,200 just to watch a show!”

             So you can pay for your own time so you can sit in front of a television for 3 hours or so. It’s difficult to convey this message with the right words without it sounding negative; it’s not about that; there are things that you should not trade for all the gold in the world which is especially time with your family. Now we must have a balance for everything, especially if you work at home, if you have a home office, if you’re a writer or journalist, or it you have an online business at home. It’s important to have boundaries, to let everybody know what those boundaries are, and the exceptions to those boundaries; which leads us and to our next point … cheating on your family.

            A friend of mine who was giving a presentation was also active duty in the military at the time, so when he started his investing ventures, obviously he had to find a time during the day where he could just dedicate himself to everything that a new business requires. Any business is a very jealous mistress; it will take all the time that you give it. So after working all day, he would come home and then continue to work either doing research or making plans on where he’s going to take his next step.

             As entrepreneurs we have to be very careful with that, because it’s really exciting to undertake this adventure in which you realize your dreams one way or another; when you actually set out to do what you mean to do, and know the result that waits for you at the end. It’s very exciting! And you just want to get there, so you start by picking the name of your company, and you open a PO Box so you can have an official address and then you can register the company with a Department of State. Then you want to start ordering business cards, and think of a slogan and a motto, and your mission statement. It’s really exciting; there is a lot of things to do when you start a new business.

             Well he fell for what I want to warn you about so his experience is, serving you and I today, as a cautionary tale. So not only did he have a full-time job, he also came home and he would lock himself up in the office; his wife was involved also obviously

— and you should have that “home team advantage” that’s what we call when both the husband and the wife are in the business together, they both understand the terms, the process and the contracts and all that; just in case one of them gets sick, the other one can pick up the slack — so the “home team advantage” doesn’t come for free, you have to spend some time with your spouse talking about the business; but be careful in not allowing all the time that you spend with your spouse talking about the business.

            Boundaries.

            Boundaries should be set on yourself as well as other people when you’re working, when you’re pursuing your dreams. Let me clarify what I mean by that: nobody dreams to be on a “property manager” — nobody is a kid and says “when I grow up I want to be a property manager and I want to buy and sell houses!” This is a means to an end.

            The means of buying real estate is the most secure way of accomplishing passive income; and once you have passive income then you can do whatever you want. That’s the end goal, is to have enough money coming in passively whether you work or you don’t, so it can release your time — going back to the value of time — so you can spend it doing more things that you want to do. Like spend time with your family, you can go jet skiing, go fishing, whatever you want to do, that is the point of this.

            Do the most tolerable thing you can do, because I’m human too so I understand, to want to get to the end of this phase so you can reach the next step immediately; or to just get there! However remember mindfulness: enjoy the journey. I want you to really think about that because that excitement of initially opening up a business, it wears off once you have your business. You’re not starting a new business anymore, you’re just helping your current business grow and prosper. Having your own business is always going to be exciting, but the excitement is going to be different.

            That excitement is also what can get you in trouble, and by trouble I mean just that, is that you stop spending time with your family. And if you’re single, you stop taking time for yourself, that’s also just as important; take time for yourself!

            What personally happened to me was that I caught myself reading nothing but books on investing and real estate, and more books, and the psychology behind it, and sales. And while it was really good for the learning process, I didn’t leave any time for my mind to unwind or to take a full day off and just spend it outside, or read a novel, or watch some mindless television … you know, your mind needs to rest. I’ve said it before in another episode that: thinking is a hardest work there is, that’s why so very few people actually do it.

            So whether you are married, have a family, or your single, it doesn’t matter, you need time for yourself; you need to enjoy this so you can continue on. “Boundaries” if you tell yourself that you’re going to stop working at 5 p.m. then at 5 p.m. you stop answering your phone — unless it’s an emergency, you have an emergency line for that — you stop answering emails, you do not ever schedule an appointment for after 5. In a very rare occasion that somebody is coming from out-of-state you can discuss it with your spouse or you make an exception to yourself; but just that one time! If that’s the schedule that you want, that’s the schedule you stick with.

            I used to take Wednesdays off out of all days, because the weekend is usually the time where people are looking into renting a house or buying a house, that’s when people are out and about looking at houses so I needed to be available. So what I did is that I dedicated Wednesdays, which was my slowest day, to just spend it with a family. I wouldn’t answer the phone; I wouldn’t even turn on the computer. Wednesday was just for my family and me. I would take time for myself as well, so this cautionary tale, or the moral of the story if you will, is don’t cheat on yourself or your family by taking that valuable time away from them or yourself because you will never get that time back.

            And in consideration of mindfulness and self-awareness how would you choose to spend your time if you only had a year left to live, or 6 months, or 2 months. If you ever wanted to go to a foreign country there’s never going to be a perfect time but right now; right now start figuring out a way how you can afford to get that trip that you want to take; to accomplish that dream, check it off your list, whatever you want to do.

            Now I understand there’s limits to this like if you said “well I want to be in space in a month and I have no training and I’m just barely going to start my journey on that”, yeah come on. You know this is probably not going to happen… or maybe it might, if you have enough money you can just ask Elon Musk to sign you up in one of his shuttles, I don’t know. So the point is to get started, take a step forward every day so it can get you closer to accomplishing that goal or that dream.

            So is it risky to start a new business? Yeah, yeah it is. Is it risky to change the way that you live just so you can spare some time to visit that foreign country you wanted to visit? Yeah, it’s risky. It is risky but it’s a calculated risk there’s a huge difference between calculated risk and ignorance and it’s my opinion that ignorance is worse and a lot more expensive!

            I’ll give you a quick example: I’m a huge advocate for getting mentors, get somebody that’s already where you want to be at and then have them teach you how to do it. And there’s a couple ways that you can pay this person; it could be either money, cash, you have a lot of courses out there, people selling courses; or you can pay them with your time. It’s like an apprenticeship or an internship and wish you work for that investor or that person for free, in exchange of being immersed in their world, in their business, learning straight from them, and what they do on a day-to-day basis. That’s what an internship is and all it takes is for you to ask “can I work for you for free?” and “can you teach me what you know?” That’s the exchange, that’s the currency, either money or time, so pay them with your time.

            A lot of people fear investing because it has a reputation of being risky, is it risky yeah, everything is risky. But don’t let that stop you from opening a business, from investing, don’t let that fear stop you. Let’s talk about risk for a little bit: statistically you are probably 70% more likely to get hurt or lose your life the moment you step outside of your house. Now don’t quote me on that, I’m not basing that on any study and I don’t want you to become a recluse, alright? It’s a calculated risk that is my point. Will that stop you from going out of your house every day? No! You just accept the risk, but you’re careful, you’re aware of your surroundings, you have that situational awareness.

            So that’s a calculated risk. If I were to tell you 1 in every 10 vehicles will get in an accident, will that stop you from getting your driver’s license? No! You just accept the risk. Why is it any different than if I told you 1 out of 10 deals that you make is going to be a bad deal but the other 9 are going to be great? You know how you can guarantee yourself that they will be 9? It’s to invest in yourself so you can reduce that risk, and you invest in yourself by educating yourself, by practicing, by seeking out more knowledge.

            To go back to what I originally started saying in this topic, the topic of risk, ignorance is a lot more expensive, believe me. A real life example could be overpaying for a house or overpaying for a vehicle. I use a house and a vehicle because they’re the highest ticket items that most people would buy in their entire lives. So think about it for a moment: have you ever bought a brand new car? It’s an experience that everybody should have at least once in their lives. A car with 0 miles on the odometer, you’re the only owner, it smells like fresh new car; and if you can make it custom-made to what you want, even better! It’s great, it’s a great feeling but it’s also very expensive. I’m not talking about it’s more than $50,000 or more than $100,000; no, what I’m talking about is that it’s expensive relative to the other cars that are just a year old.

            They’re probably still new, you are considered its first owner; it doesn’t have zero miles on the odometer because people like to test drive it. But brand new, a car that’s $20,000 you could get the same car that is a few months older — because if you know, this next year’s cars are coming out in like June or July of this year — so you can buy a car that is just a few months older for $15,000. So think about that for a second, had you only known that little tidbit of information you could have saved yourself $5,000. So if I were to tell you “hey for a hundred bucks I’ll teach you how to buy a new car”, do you think it’s worth it? Would you give me $100 in exchange for saving $5,000? Of course! I mean it’s a rhetorical question but it’s logical; it’s a win-win situation, those are the kind of deals that I like! The kind of deal where we all get what we want and that is the calculated risk that I like, and I don’t leave anything to chance.

            If I don’t know for a fact that it is a good deal, I just won’t make it. I won’t do the deal. And you might ask “well, Tony how do you do that?” Well, it is by educating yourself, that’s how you do it. You figure out what you want to do, find out who’s already doing it and is available to you, and just go do it! Here’s another example like I’ve said it before: kids have it right, you know, what they do is they just go through life just gathering experiences; they feel like doing something, they do it. They’d feel like investigating something, and they go investigate. If you see them in the playground, they’re on the monkey bars, and they’re jumping down a slide; and if you were to ask one of those kids “hey, did you consider the possibility that you might get hurt by using those monkey bars? do you know the amount of risk that you’re taking just by climbing on that slide?” — What do you think he’s going to say? – “No, of course not! I just saw the monkey bars there, I saw other people using the monkey bars, and I made a decision to take action and go do it.”

            Well that is exactly the same thing as starting a business: you have an idea of a business, you see other people doing it, and you just go do it! You don’t ask people what they think because everybody has opinions and everybody will readily give you their unsolicited opinion. The problem is that most people are not qualified to give you advice. So you might be hanging around the coffee break area or lunch table and you tell your friends “hey, I’m thinking about starting an online business” — that’s it! Not “what do you think?” not “should I do it?” — Just “I’m thinking about starting an online business”. I can guarantee you that one, or two, or all of them, are going to jump and say “you don’t want to do that because it’s super risky”, “I knew somebody that he lost his shirt over it”, “I heard you have to know Chinese to get the best deals”, “like a buddy of mine, he got sued from his store because of some out-of-state problem”.

            What just happened there? What they did was crush your dreams, or at least they planted little seeds of doubt in your head; and it happens to all of us and it doesn’t matter what level of the game you’re in. It will happen to you and when that happens, learn from it, but like “alright, that’s the last time I’m sharing that with you guys!”

            So with the mantra of “I don’t leave anything to chance”, what you do is you start surrounding yourself with people that are doing what you want to do, and they tell you “yes, you can do it, and this is how!” instead of surrounding yourself with people that say “no, you can’t do it, you’re going to get sued and you’re going to lose”. That’s the difference, and I make this reference because I mentioned this in the previous episode that if you want a surefire way of never getting sued ever, in your life, one hundred percent guaranteed, move to Mars, that’s the only way you’ll do it. Suing has a terrible connotation, but don’t let it stop you. At the end of our lives, we regret more the things we didn’t do, than the things we actually did do.

Thank you