What the NFL, NBA and NASCAR Can Teach Us About Real Estate

According to HuffPost, the average career length of a professional athlete is only 10 years. That means that by their late-20s, earlier-30s, a professional athlete is forced into finding another career path and, more importantly, a revenue source.


Unfortunately, even with the multi-million dollar contracts that are standard today, the statistics aren’t on their side. A Sports Illustrated analysis found that 78% of former NFL players were bankrupt or under financial stress within two years of retirement, and an estimated 60% of former NBA players were broke within five years of retirement. However, the athletes that do overcome the odds and successfully transition into the business realm have done so by using skillsets that are valuable to real estate entrepreneurs of all stripes.


On my daily podcast Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show, where I interview and extract the best tactical business advice from investors and entrepreneurs, I asked four professional athletes about their keys to success. Here’s what they shared.


Explore New Ideas Fearlessly


Carl Banks, a former NFL linebacker, earned the football equivalent of the Holy Grail twice, winning two Super Bowls with the New York Giants. What you may not know is that while still playing in the NFL, Carl was the first athlete to host a post-game radio show, The Carl Banks Giants Report, where he provided an insider’s analysis of his games. Consequently, he was the pioneer of the plethora of pre- and post-game sports panels led by athletes and coaches today.


Additionally, upon retirement, Carl took the business world by storm with his involvement in G-III Sports, the largest licensed sports apparel company in the world. However, when starting out, Carl and G-III lost over $3 million worth of licensing business to Reebok. Instead of throwing in the towel, he hustled to gain the business of mom-and-pop retailers. By providing them with such a high level of service, after 18-months, G-III was re-awarded the licensing rights, which – in combination with his newly won mom-and-pop customers – doubled G-III’s business.


Carl attributes both his radio and licensing success to his willingness to fearlessly explore new ideas. He told me, “As painful as it can be, don’t be afraid to fail, because entrepreneurism is about exploring every idea you have. It’s about blazing a trail, breaking new ground and having a better idea.”


Click here to listen to my full interview with Carl Banks.


Give 100% Effort


Another Super Bowl winning former athlete who found similar success in the business world is former defensive end Marvin Washington. After he exited the league, he delved into a relatively new business endeavor – a hemp-derived CBD product company Isodiol, where he leads the promotion of their IsoSport line – a hemp-based nutrition line that supports both mind and body wellness in training and competition used by high profile athletes.


Marvin became a Super Bowl winning athlete and navigates the ever-changing cannabis industry by his ability to put forth maximal effort, even when things aren’t progressing as quickly or as smoothly as expected. He said, “You have to give 100%. You have to really work hard and apply yourself, because if you think you’re going to work 9 to 5 and have success, you’re misleading yourself.”


Tactically, this is accomplished by sufficient planning and visualizations. Marvin writes out a plan for his days the night before so he knows that if he adheres to his schedule, he’ll have a successful day. Additionally, on the weekends, he reviews the previous week to see what he could have done better, which he then incorporates into the next week. Finally, whether it was before a big game or an important business meeting, he performs visualizations. For NFL games, he visualized himself making the right play in specific situations. For business meetings, he visualizes himself going over talking points and getting the proper narrative across to his audience.


Click here to listen to my full interview with Marvin Washington.




Unlike most professional sports, there isn’t a defined career progression for becoming a NASCAR driver. Nonetheless, Kurt Busch was not only able to become a NASCAR champion, but he’s also a self-made millionaire through his racing brand. The key to his success was persistence.


Kurt told me, “When people are telling you to do this, do that, and yet you know what you’re focused on – that’s persistence. When it takes over your life, that’s when you know you’ve got to go that route.”


Similar to NASCAR, there isn’t a predefined blueprint for real estate success. Moreover, real estate investors can face a lot of resistance and negativity from their family and corporate career driven peers. Kurt wants you to know that you aren’t alone. When he was in college, everyone told him that racing was taking over his life and he needed to study more. At his first job, he was told that racing was taking away from his focus and work ethic. Yet, he persisted, which ultimately led to him winning 27 NASCAR races and counting, including the 2017 Daytona 500.


Click here to listen to my full interview with Kurt Busch.


Empowered by Failures


Jay Williams is considered one of the most prolific college basketball players in history, which is reflected by his 2nd overall selection in the 2002 NBA draft. However, his career was ended prematurely after a devastating motorcycle accident. Yet, against all odds, Jay owned this negative experience and used it as something empowering. He pivoted to become a multi-talented ESPN college basketball analyst, motivational speaker and best-selling author.


Jay told me, “I think a lot of people run away from bad things that have happened in their life, instead of documenting it, recognizing it, thinking through it and then using whatever experience they’ve been through as a positive driver in their life to push them to be more.”


It’s about not letting failures define you and instead, analyzing what went wrong and applying those lessons to the future, which reminds me of a powerful goal setting technique. Instead of a goal’s success relying fully on the outcome, 50% is based on that and the remaining 50% is about identifying systems, skills, techniques or lessons learned from the process of striving for that outcome and incorporating those into your approach for pursuing future goals.


Click here to listen to my full interview with Jay Williams.


Question: Which of these four lessons can you attribute to your current level of real estate success, and why?


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3 NFL Lessons That Entrepreneurs Can Bring to Their Businesses

Originally featured in HuffPost


We’ve all heard this story: small town guy is drafted into the National Football League and has an outstanding career in the spotlight, making a boatload of money. Then, they retire and lose it all. However, we sometimes hear the exceptional tale of an athlete who made it big in the league, retired and then leveraged the skill sets acquired from the NFL to launch a career as a business person, achieving similar or even higher levels of success.


Most people have trouble mastering one area of life, let alone two. So, what is it that differentiates these two types of athletes?


As the host of a real estate podcast where I interview guests and share advice, I’ve wondered what some of the sports superstars turned business titans would attribute to their attainment of the highest levels of success in multiple industries. Here’s what they shared with me.


Start From the Ground Up


Undoubtedly, one of the most famous plays in NFL history was the “Immaculate Reception,” which was caught by NFL Hall of Famer and four-time Super Bowl Champion Franco Harris. After a legendary NFL career, Franco transitioned into the business world. Harris believes that the main reason many NFL athletes fail after retirement is that they try to purchase companies, as opposed to starting at the bottom and building from the ground up. “The advice I provide to NFL players when they’re transitioning out of the league is don’t buy your way to the top. Learn the business. Learn every aspect of the business,” Harris told me.


He attributed this philosophy to his ability to successfully scale superfood. Instead of just buying his company and immediately assuming the duties of a CEO, he started off by learning the day-to-day operations. He spent time working in the warehouse, delivering products and unloading trailers in order to truly understand the job duties that made the business function properly.


Unless you have access to a large amount of capital, you won’t be tempted to buy your way to the top of a company. But Harris’s experience shows us that going through the day-to-day grind of a startup is meaningful and necessary to scaling and maintaining a business. Moreover, once you do assume a higher-level role, you’ll have a more humble and gracious perspective of the lower-level roles in the company, which will ultimately make you a better leader.


Always Stay the Course


Former San Diego Chargers running back Terrell Fletcher has cultivated a skill that enabled him to successfully make the arduous transition out of the league: the ability to overcome adversity and stay the course. After a brief stint as an NFL coach and sports commentator, Fletcher found his new identity and purpose as a motivational speaker, author and Senior Pastor of the City of Hope International Church.


He said, “Barriers, enemies to our success, whether they’re external or internal, are guaranteed to show up on the journey. But don’t give into them. Fight them, because those barriers are not there to stop you. They’re designed to make you stronger.”

Facing and overcoming challenges is a vital part of growing as an entrepreneur. In fact, if you aren’t running into barriers in your business, that means that either your goal isn’t big enough or you aren’t taking the risks that are part and parcel of every business person’s journey towards success. And in the long run, you will look back with gratitude on these barriers because of the skills you obtained and the person you’ve become from gaining victory over them.


Don’t Underestimate the Value of Teamwork


Emmitt Smith is arguably one of the greatest NFL players of all-time. After setting three rushing records (career yards, touchdowns and attempts), winning three super bowls and being inducted into the Hall of Fame, he began to build his off-field legacy as the owner of a real estate investment and development company.


A trait Smith learned in the NFL that he’s applied to his business endeavors is teamwork. He said, “Checking your ego at the door and understanding that you do not become successful by yourself. I did not hand the football to myself. I did not block for myself. I did not call the plays. And the same thing applies to business.”


Each employee on a business team has their own unique abilities and responsibilities, and when in harmony together, it results in a smooth and successful organization. Moreover, one superstar cannot carry you to the promise land.


Additionally, in today’s competitive landscape, having key people who can competently perform multiple functions is extremely advantageous. In football, the best running back can convert on a one-yard fourth down play, but when called upon, he can also catch a quick swing pass or throw a block to avoid a sack. Having a team member who can do high-level strategy and understand the day-to-day operations is a beautiful thing.


Interestingly, something that none of the NFL players stated as the main contributor to their business success was the money they earned while in the league. Instead, they found success by learning the day-to-day ground level operations, never giving up and surrounding themselves with a stellar team, which is something that the novice entrepreneur with little or no capital is capable of acting upon immediately.


If you transitioned from a full-time, 9 to 5 job into real estate entrepreneurship, what skill sets did you obtained from the former that you successfully applied to the latter?


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Secrets to Starting a Company: Q&A with A-List Celebrity Leeza Gibbons

Leeza Gibbons is an all-around business success. In the entertainment industry, she’s won an Emmy as a daytime television host, has been the co-host for Entertainment Tonight for 16 years, won Celebrity Apprentice in 2015 and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As an entrepreneur, she’s been inducted in the Direct Response Hall of Fame and won the Icon Award for crossing the billion-dollar mark and is a New York Times Best Selling author. And finally, as a philanthropist, she started a nonprofit, Leeza’s Care Connect, which supports family care givers.


In our recent conversation, Leeza offered up her best practices for not only building and maintaining for-profit and nonprofit businesses, but for becoming a stronger, more resilient human-being as well.


How did you come up with the idea for creating your non-profit organization, Leeza’s Care Connect?


After my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my family and I realized that we didn’t have the education required to effectively battle the disease. And we felt as if we should have been prepared because my mother’s mother died due to the same condition. Therefore, I was determined to create in the world what we wished we had.


Common entrepreneurial advice is to create products and services that you yourself want. In following this advice, the creation of Leeza’s Care Connect was able to fulfill our wish and our need for an Alzheimer’s educational service. It is a place for people to learn what the challenges are, where to find support, where to learn the skills to make life easier. Ultimately, it’s where we could really connect people to their own strengths in such a difficult time in their lives.


Navigating such a trying time as your mother being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s must have required a lot of resilience on the part of you and your family. What’s your secret for staying motivated in the face of a seemingly all-encompassing challenge?


For me, the key component and driver was to really engage my optimism. This advice is applicable to all challenges – both personal and business related. Being optimistic is going to give you the ability to find answers and solutions. You’ll be able to bounce back and fight back quicker than most people who throw in the towel and are pessimistic and negative. And when facing a crisis, such as Alzheimer’s, you’ll be willing to engage with the tools and technologies out there that are designed to help you overcome the challenge at hand.


Additionally, I used – and continue to use – mantras. They really help you deal with your feelings when you’re completely overwhelmed with negative emotions. For example, when I was on Dancing with the Stars and surrounded by other female contestants with near perfect bodies, my mantra was “My body is strong and healthy. My body is strong and healthy.” When my mom was sick, my mantra was “I’m doing the best I can. I love my mom. I’m doing the best I can.” Since my family has two generations of Alzheimer’s, my ongoing mantra is, “My brain is sharp. My brain is sharp.”


I am a huge fan of Tony Robbins. He says that you always get what you focus on – end of story. If you focus on how you’re failing and how you’re underwater and how you’re overwhelmed, that’s what you’re going to attract. That’s why I believe it’s important to engage in day-to-day life with optimism and build yourself up with positive, affirming mantras.


How do you work towards increasing your resilience and bouncing back from challenges or failures quicker than others?


Aside from engaging with optimism and utilizing mantras, you need to edit the toxic people out of your life. The truth is that we become like the five people we associate with the most. So, surrounding yourself with the right, handpicked people is very important.


Business, and really life in general, is not a solo sport. You really need to form a team and find coaches that will not only help you achieve your goal, but also help you overcome the challenging times. In doing so, you’re to be more invested in your outcome than you’ve ever been before, in part because of the benefits of those with which you’re associated and in part beause you don’t want to let your team, your coach, and yourself down.


What advice do you offer to entrepreneurs who want to start a for-profit or nonprofit, philanthropic organization?


Often times, when attempting to start something new, we stop ourselves because we convince ourselves that we don’t know enough. So, my advice is to not wait until you know everything – which is never going to happen anyways – and don’t wait until you feel ready.


The saying “getting your ducks in a row” is instructive, but it is not true. The mother duck never waits for her ducklings to follow behind her. She just starts walking and the baby ducks fall in line. Similarly, I think that whatever journey you’re starting on, it’s never going to be perfect and you’re never going to feel 100% ready. But just launch it anyways.


What is your Best Ever advice for entrepreneurs?


Talk less and listen more. Typically, if you look around the room in committee meetings, boardrooms or negotiations, the most powerful person in the room is often not the one talking the most.


There’s a lot of strength in silence. There’s a lot of power in the things that we don’t say. Therefore, instead of talking, listen intently. In doing so, you can analyze situations, you can analyze your role in the situation and you can get to know the players around the table a little better.


What tips do you have for confronting challenges with resilience and optimism?  


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The Fundamentals of Scaling a Business: Q&A w/ BiggerPockets CEO Josh Dorkin

Josh Dorkin knows a thing or two about growing a business. Not only is he the CEO of BiggerPockets, which boasts more than 825,000 members and landed at #400 on the Inc. 5000, but he also produces the top-rated real estate podcast on iTunes, which raked in $7 million in ad revenue last year, and founded a publishing firm.


I had the opportunity to pick Josh’s brain (part 1 and part 2) for his Best Ever entrepreneurial success habits.


Read on for Josh’s advice on growing a company, his Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever, his morning routine, and more.



Is there one person that sticks out in your memory as having been helped by BiggerPockets in all the work that you have done?


The one person that sticks out, the instant answer to that is Brandon Turner. Those of you who are unfamiliar, Brandon Turner is co-host of The BiggerPockets Podcast. He works for us, and initially, when I came to know Brandon years and years ago, he was a user on our platform; he was trying to find financial freedom and used the BiggerPockets platform to get there.


He was the pure representation of who we were and what we strived for. He was this guy living in the Pacific North-West who had been kind of floundering around in his life. He was trying to figure it out, like the rest of us. He came across BiggerPockets and the idea of real estate, and used BiggerPockets to help him build this passive portfolio of real estate.


Of course, living in the area that he lived in, he was at a point where he no longer needed a job. He had created that freedom for himself. He was writing for BiggerPockets, and at that time I was in need of help. I needed to hire somebody to come and join me as my first employee, and we got to know each other and I brought him on.


Brandon really just is that pure representation of who we are, but there’s countless stories. Not a day goes by where we don’t hear from somebody who’s like “You guys are transforming my life. You guys are helping me out. You guys have helped me quit my job” or “Helped me retire” or “Helped me build income for my family”, or whatever it is. That’s why we do it. We’re here to help people succeed.



What are the 3-5 most important things in your experience to growing and scaling a company?


One, having a good idea that’s scalable – start there.


Two, having some kind of plan, whether or not it’s written… I don’t think you need necessarily a written plan from zero (I didn’t).


Three, your business has to solve some kind of need for the customer that somebody else is not serving. I say that out loud and I think about McDonald’s versus Burger King. Burger King is solving a need, McDonald’s is solving the same need, but now it’s flavor choices, right? So, do you like A or B better? But having a USD (unique selling proposition), something that is unique or that you believe to be unique about what it is that you’re doing – you’re building, you’re offering service, products, you name it.


Four, being passionate, or having a team of people that are absolutely passionate about that idea. It’s pretty rare to see successful companies get to a point of success where the founders or creators or people running the show that don’t have some kind of passion for it, it’s too hard; it’s too much work, it’s too difficult to struggle through that without having that passion. Also, having a dedication to people and to your own people. You can’t build a scaling company without taking care of people, and I’m saying that and I can think of examples of companies where they have a really crappy culture and I’m like “Hmm, maybe not…”, but at the end of the day I think what goes around, comes around.


Five, I think something that we didn’t do in the past – and by “we” I mean businesses in general – is becoming very data-oriented. Metrics and data and understanding your business from a data perspective. I think you often see small businesses where they don’t get it struggling a lot. Knowing your numbers — let’s take real estate investors. If you’re a real estate investor and you market by mail, if you don’t know your send and open rates and your cost per send and your funnels, you’re just throwing money out the window. You don’t know what you’re doing, you have no way to measure whether or not what you’re doing is successful or not.



What feature of the BiggerPockets platform do you think is most underutilized?


I would have to say the member notes. Here’s what member notes are – you can go to anybody’s profile and take a note on them. I can go to your profile, Joe, and make a note and say “Yeah, Joe and I had a conversation about X, Y and Z.” Only I can see it, nobody else can see it on the platform. It’s almost like a mini CRM, right? The next time I come back and the next time I interact with you I can be like, “Hey, Joe… Remember we talked about X, Y and Z the last time we connected?”


I think partially that’s due to people not knowing what it is. We have not updated that in a very long time; we are working on some really nice and sexy redesigns of certain parts of the site, including user profiles and our onboarding, and as part of that, I think we’re going to be creating a little more clarity in that tool. I think it’s extremely useful, I use it all the time. I talk to you about whatever I talk to you about, I put it on there, and the next time I come back and I’m ready to talk to you again, I know exactly what we chatted about.



When you were considering starting BiggerPockets, what was a number one fear holding you back from starting?


There was no fear that held me back from starting. I didn’t start BiggerPockets to create a business. I started BiggerPockets to help me stop screwing up in real estate. So, my biggest fear was continuing to screw up in real estate.


There was nothing that was kind of “Alright, if I create this thing and nobody shows up, then nobody shows up. I’ll figure something else out, I’ll find my answers in some other way.”



How has podcasting enhanced your business and opened up doors and connections that you wouldn’t have had otherwise?


I think by having a big show that has a big audience, it gives you the ability to talk to and reach out to people who you may not have had the opportunity to do that with. So, it builds your name, it builds your brand, and especially if you do a good job and stay true to who you are and what you’re doing, then ideally that continues.


I’ve gotten to talk to authors that I may have not otherwise met. There’s not a show that we have where I don’t learn something. So, for me as a person not affiliated with BiggerPockets, it’s so powerful. And as the CEO of BiggerPockets, obviously having those people and those stories inspire other people is also so powerful.



What are your morning routines or daily practices that you do on a regular basis?


I go back and forth with a miracle morning – or non-miracle morning – routine; it depends how spent or burnt out I am. I don’t ever get up and then go to my phone, or go to my internet or anything like that. I like to get up, I like to stretch. On the good mornings, I like to exercise. This is all before anyone else in the house is awake.


Then get up, get dressed, do my thing, take care of my kids, get them ready for school, driving to school, and then at that point I will look at work. I don’t do work before my kids are off to school; I’m there, I’m present… I’m not playing on my phone, stressing about e-mails, dealing with any of that stuff. The morning is for me, followed by family, and then I head to work, and then work begins. After work, when I get home – four, five, six o’clock, whenever it is, I’m present again; phone’s away, not working. I may jump on social media from time to time, because it’s a hobby, but I’m not doing work per se until my kids are asleep. Family time is family time, and then when the kids go to bed, I usually like to thaw for a little bit, and then maybe I’ll do some work, as needed.


It’s very different than had you asked that question four years ago, which would have been “I get up, I work, I take a shower, I work some more while my kids are getting fat (or whatever) and then I leave to work, and then I come home and I work, and then I work through dinner, and then after dinner I continue to work, and even though I’m with my family, I’m not there.” I came to the realization that I was doing that, and hated myself for it, and said “This is just not who I want to be. I am a father first and foremost, and my family is the most important thing to me and my life, so I’m not going to let anything, especially my company, get in between that.”.


On those good mornings, when I’m fully miracle-morning-ing, I don’t actually do the full miracle morning, which refers to a book called The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, for those of you who don’t know… But I’ll stretch, I’ll do some meditation, I’ll do some exercise, and I’ll do some reading. Those tend to be the four things that I do.



What’s your Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever?


Figure out your why. Why is it that you’re getting into this for? If you don’t have a strong why, then you’re not ready to begin. If you’re already an investor and you’re thinking about scaling your business or growing your business, what’s the why? What’s driving you? What’s motivating you? Because if you don’t have it, do you know who’s not going to have it? Your partner, your spouse, your family. So, you’d better have a solid why that everybody can buy into, because otherwise there’s going to be opposition at every step from those people who should be supporting you.



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How to Start Up a Business w/ Pittsburgh Steelers Legend Franco Harris


According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start business fail within the first 18 months. Or, for every 5 business ideas you attempt implement, one will hit and four will fail.


How can you increase your odds of success? Well, I great place to start is to learn about how entrepreneurs who’ve been successful in starting up a business were able to do so.


Franco Harris, NFL Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Steelers running back, has two booming businesses in completely unrelated fields – the food and silver industries. In our recent conversation, he offered tips, based on his experience, on how to successful startup a business from scratch.


Q: After 13 successful years in the NFL, how did you smoothly transition into a new career field?


A: When football was over, I said to myself, “Franco, you need to get busy.” Upon retirement, one thing you definitely don’t want to do is stay idle. Even if that meant I’d go work in a fast food restaurant, I had to do something.


I decided to start a food distribution company, and I called it Franco’s All Natural. I wanted to serve all natural food products. And I dove in feet first. I loaded and unloaded trucks, delivered, and partook in all the day-to-day operations. Eventually, we rebranded the company to Super Foods, and it has been beyond my wildest dreams where we’ve taken that.


Q: Are you actively involved in all the businesses you’ve started?


A: Yes. I prefer building businesses from the ground up, so learning the lowest level operations of the business is advantageous, and I believe a requirement, to scaling a business. That philosophy really helped me grow Super Foods.


This is also the advice I provide to NFL players when they’re transitioning out of the league. I say, “Don’t buy your way to the top. Learn the business. Learn every aspect of the business.” As I said before, that really helped me scale Super Foods. I delivered the products and worked in the warehouse, so I knew every aspect of the business and how it feels to perform the multitude of duties. I know how it feels to unload the tractor trailer. I know how it feels to drive an hour to deliver something or drive three hours for a business appointment.


Q: Since you have such a hands-on approach to your businesses, in order to make the most out of your time, how do you determine which business ideas to pursue and which to push aside?


A: The first thing I look at is if the idea is unique enough and if there is space for it. For example, when I started Franco’s All Natural, all natural foods were not the norm yet, but it is obvious today that there was space to grow.


I also co-founded SilverSport, which incorporates the odor killing properties of silver into clothing and paints. That is another area that was kind of new and not saturated, but in demand. Everyone wants a product that eliminates their body odor, right?


So, I’ve been successful by looking at unique things, things that are different, and things that have potential.


Q: What is your specific as the co-founder of SilverSport?


A: I focus on the company’s long-term strategy. I try to build the culture to align with what the company stands for, which is to provide the best odor-free clothing and paint lines in the world. I strategize to determine what the company needs to focus on to accomplish that mission, and make sure we have all those pieces in place.


I love this creative part of the business, doing new things, and exploring new ideas about how we can be different and the best. When you talk sports, that’s one of the things that you always work on. You want to be the best player on the team, right? I was fortunate enough in sports to experience that, and I leverage the experience to continually improve my businesses.


Q: Based on your business experience, what is your best advice ever?


A: I think you’re lucky enough if you’re able to do what your passion is, what you love to do, and really jump into it. But, a lot of the time, we hesitate. So, my advice is if you have something that you love to do, jump in. It doesn’t matter where you start, but if you do the right things and you put the time and effort into it, you can really make great things happen, and at the same time, do something that you really love to do.


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How to Successfully Overcome an Identity Crisis w/ NFL Running Back Terrell Fletcher


Imagine living your entire life performing at the highest level, losing nearly everything, and then discovering your true purpose on this Earth?


That’s exactly what happened to Terrell Fletcher, NFL running back turned Senior Pastor, motivator, and best-selling author.


In my interview with Terrell, he shared his journey from losing his NFL superstar identity after retirement to finding the true meaning of life.


Read on for lessons on how to bounce back from crises of identity and unlock your life’s mission.



What were you doing during the three-year transition period between retirement and becoming a Senior Pastor?


Soul searching.


Football is such a time-consuming activity that you don’t have a chance to find your true self. You inherit a stock identity – an NFL player. Upon retirement, you lose that identity and are left with the unpleasant feeling of emptiness.


So, I spent that period not looking for a new job, but searching for a new identity. I finally had time to explore the parts of myself that my football identity had suppressed.


As you began the search for your true identity, what did you gravitate towards?




I rediscovered the meaning that came through altruism. What non-professional athletes don’t understand is that the world centers around the team and you. Then, there’s your secondary world that includes your “handlers” – your agent, financial advisors, friends, and family. And you are the center of that world too. Without even realizing it, you become selfish.


Did you work during this transitional period, and did those jobs impact your soul-searching process?


I went into the sportscaster role, but my heart wasn’t connected to it. I also went the coaching route, but my heart wasn’t connected to that either. There wasn’t a feeling of purpose, even though I was still deemed a success in the eyes of others. That’s when I realized that people will root for you at the level of their expectation of you. If their expectation of you is lower than the level of expectation to which you hold yourself, then you feel insignificant. People will applaud you for average, so I learned that you can’t go off of what everybody else thinks.


How do you determine what brings you a feeling purpose and significance?


You have to find that thing in your heart and chase it. That’s where you find real satisfaction.


I always had a love for real estate, public speaking, and inspiring people. So, after failing to find purpose in sportscasting and coaching, I tried to hone those skills, hoping one or two of them would shake out.


But I knew that before I could find true purpose, I needed to performed deep introspection. That required addressing existential questions, like ‘Who am I? What do I have to offer this world. What core tenants of life am I going to operate in?’


What were the takeaways of this introspection process?


A life’s mission. My purpose is to motivate, educate, inspire, and entertain every person I come across. No matter what business venture I pursued, that mission would be a part of my job.


You mentioned the need to disregard other’s expectations of you. How did you shed these expectations to start living your new mission?


At first, I was giving into those expectations. I was following the path I thought I was supposed to follow. And it was a very predictable path – underdog athlete reaches his dreams, and now he becomes a sports announcer or a coach.


But through my introspection, I determined I didn’t want to be predictable. I didn’t want to be normal. Nothing about normal inspired me. I knew my core competencies lend to more than what people were expecting of me. I could have done it, and I probably would have attained some level of success. But I learned along the journey that I didn’t just want success. I wanted significance. I wanted meaning. And to do so, what I did needed to count towards somebody else’s life and not just my own.


How did this need to be altruistic and giving manifest in your life?


I began to understand that my pursuits had to be more than a money grab or a fame grab. So, I needed to find the underlying purpose for why I wanted all of those things. To discover the root of why I wanted to build wealth, why I wanted to be a household name, and why I wanted my face on TV. Once I deconstructed those, my “why” became clear and I found my true identity.


Through real estate, entertainment, faith, and inspiration, I fulfill my “why” and feel a sense of significance while giving back to the world.


Based on your journey, what is your Best Ever advice to real estate investors and entrepreneurs for finding and completing their life’s mission?


Always stay the course. Often times, we spend too much time focusing on our end goal and not enough time preparing for what’s going to show up between now and the end. Barriers, enemies to our success, whether they’re external or internal, are guaranteed to show up on the journey. But don’t give into them. Fight them. Do battle with them. Get victory over them. Because those barriers are not there to stop you; they’re designed to make you stronger.


How do we overcome these barriers to success?


You must realize that as long as you’re on the right path and have a goal in mind, every barrier that arises is meant to make you stronger, wiser, and more compassionate.


The thing that seems disastrous is actually going to be for your benefit in the long run. I wish someone would have told me that the troubles of my life were actually going to be what helped make me the man I am today. I would not have run from so many things. I would have embraced the journey, understood that barriers were a part of the process, got victory over them and kept on moving.



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How Former UK Great Tony Delk Reached the Highest Levels of Success in Multiple Fields


Through hard work and surrounding yourself with the right people, anything is possible. Those are the two factors that were main drivers of success for Tony Delk, whose resume boosts a NCAA national championship, 10 years in the NBA, and a multitude of entrepreneurial endeavors.


In my interview with Tony, he shared the life lessons he learned from legendary coach Rick Pitino and how that help him not only become a basketball star, but also prepared him for creating a star life after the NBA.


If you want to learn the lessons that helped Tony achieve uber-success in multiple differing fields, read on.


You played college basketball at the University of Kentucky, and then went on to have 10 successful years in the NBA. Out of all your coaches, which one had the biggest impact on your career?


Coach Pitino while I was at UK. He taught me the game – the mental aspect and the physical aspect. But most importantly, he prepared me for life after basketball. In fact, as a senior, Coach Pitino set me up with a really good business manager who’s been with me since 1996.


What’s an important lesson from Coach Pitino?


The most important thing that he taught me was to not let money define who you are, and to always stay humble. Because of that advice, once I began making a lot of money, it didn’t change who I was as an individual.


The money that comes in, in tandem with the fame from being on TV, results in an extreme pressure to change and let it go to your head, but my foundation in which Coach Pitino helped to create kept me grounded and humble.


What did this foundation consist of?


Mostly, it was surrounding myself with a good circle of friends, which was something else Coach Pitino provided. His circle of friends became our circle of friends. That’s one of the things I enjoyed most about him. He didn’t allow us to go out and meet new friends that that could take us away from being who we were, or give us money or some other thing we thought we wanted.


What characteristics should we as entrepreneurs look for when determining whether or not to accept someone into our circle of friends?


If someone is in my circle of friends, it’s because they’re an asset and not a liability. Liabilities are the people that when you go out, they never get the check. They’re always mooching. They want free clothes, free gear, and never pay for gas. In other words, they like everything if it comes for free.


An asset is a friend that I know is willing to get out and work, and it’s someone I don’t need to take care of as if they were my kids. Assets are the friends that rarely ask you for anything, but when they do, you know they’re either going to give it back or are in a desperate situation.


Also, it’s important that they are truthful, offer constructive criticism and feedback, and hold you accountable.


Does this asset/liability concept also reflect your overall business philosophy?


Absolutely. Coach Pitino used to say “when something is given, it can be taken away. But when it’s earned, it’s yours.” I’ve always taken that dictum with me wherever I’ve gone, and it’s the motto I pass on when offering advice to others, especially when I speak to kids. I always tell them – listen, the most important thing is hard work. You have to put so many hours in, and when you put those hours in, it’s earned, not given to you. So, it’s important to not only surround yourself with assets, but to also be an asset yourself.


Tactically, how do you apply this concept when screening investment opportunities or partnerships?


Well, initially, I didn’t. When I was in my 20s, if someone brought me an exciting business opportunity, I would jump on it without conducting much research. Or if it was a friend, I would invest to just help them out.


For example, in 1996, I gave my brother $15,000 for a business idea. I knew that it wasn’t going to pan out, but I made the investment because he was my brother. He had mentored me growing up, so it was sort of a payment of gratitude. However, the business idea flopped and I never got that money back. So, I also learned a valuable lesson – don’t invest with family or friends.


How did your approach to business opportunities evolve as you got older?


For my early investments, a common thread was that the only money invested in the deal was my own. So, now there needs to be an alignment of interests financially.


I also conduct a lot more research, specifically on the other people involved in the deal. I want to know if they’ve ever gone bankrupt. And if they have pursued other business endeavors, and if so, if they were successful. And to have an understanding of their business careers and where they are to this day.


And then of course, I study the business itself. But not just the financials. I want to get to know the employees, and the family and friends of the owners. You want to have that financial alignment of interest, but you also want to know if they are family-oriented and treat their friends and employees properly. If they don’t take care of their employees, they won’t take care of your clients.


Based on your successful NBA and business career, what is your Best Ever Advice for real estate investors and entrepreneurs?


When you’re investing in a deal or in a business, have equity. That way, you will personally benefit from any financial gains, but you are also creating generational wealth for your children and grandchildren.


Also, I would advise to only pursue opportunities that you love. If you love it, you’re going to be all in and want to see the project grow.



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6 Ways to Increase Your Website Traffic: Q&A w/ Online Marketing Expert Neil Patel

If you could snap your fingers and be granted one wish for your real estate business, what would it be? An endless stream of deals? More customers? Something else?


Since you aren’t finding a magic lamp anytime soon, the next best course of action is: what is the main driver of all the things on your wish list (more deals, more buyers, more private money, etc.)?


The answer: your website. If you can increase the visibility, viewership, and conversion rate of your website, then your wish list should take care of itself.


One of the best entrepreneurs out there that teaches business owners how to optimize their website is Neil Patel. He is a marketing and online guru with many distinctions, including Top Influencer on the Web (Wall Street Journal), Top 10 Online Marketer (Forbes), 100 Most Brilliant Companies in the World (Entrepreneur Magazine), Top 100 Entrepreneur (President Obama).


In our recent conversation, Neil provided his sage advice on how to drive more traffic to your website. In the following Q&A, you’ll learn when to focus on increasing traffic vs. increasing conversion, how to increase your unique visitors and optimize conversion, what to do when starting a blog, how to increase SEO ranking, and the common mistake made when establishing an online presence.


Be sure to visit Neil’s blog for even more marketing and online guidance.


1: If I had to pick between the two, which should I be focusing on: increasing traffic or increasing conversions?


“It depends. If you don’t have a ton of traffic, then you should focus on traffic. If you have a lot of traffic, then focus on conversion.”


“I usually say if you’re under 10,000 [unique visitors per month], focus on traffic. If you’re over 10,000, focus more on conversion. Unless you’re in a B2B segment in which each customer is worth hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars. [If that is the case], the moment you’ve reached 3,000 visitors, focus on conversion.”


2: What is an easy way to increase my number of unique visitors?


“One of the simplest ways [to increase unique visitors] is go look up all of your articles that you have written, or podcasts or videos that you have produced, go put in competitor ones or ones that are similar – you can google to find them – and put in that URL into search.twitter.com. You’ll see everyone else who shared it. Message them and try to get them to share yours. They already shared similar content, why won’t they share yours?”


“Little things like that work extremely well, and if you do those over time, you’ll get more social shares, you’ll get more readers, more repeat visitors, and your overall traffic will go up.”


In other words, find the competition, see who is sharing their articles, and ask those accounts to share your content too.


3: Once I have over 10,000 unique visitors per month, how do I convert those visitors into customers?


“The way I drive conversions is I use tools like Hello Bar, I do e-mail pop-up sliders, modal [window]


“I also do things like running A/B tests, I do user recordings to see mouse movements [to identify] where people are getting stuck, to see where the drop off is within your funnel, and that’s the area you probably want to focus on first.”


Related: Secrets to Increasing the Conversion Rate on Your Website


4: I want to create my first blog. What advice would you give me for maximizing my success?


“I would actually say use WordPress, and make sure URL structures don’t have dates in them; a lot of times WordPress likes putting dates in URLs. With one click of a button you can get rid of that.”


“When a URL has dates – I used to have that in 2016, and when I removed the dates, my search traffic went up by over 50% in less than 30 days, the reason being when your URL… Mine is NeilPatel.com, and then it’s /date/coast-title, Google associates it with the date, so then over time it doesn’t continually rank well. When you remove the dates, they realize that ‘Hey, this article is related to marketing (or real estate or whatever it may be) and not a specific date,’ then you rank better.”


“The biggest thing other than using WordPress is just focus on content and focus on what’s popular. You can put in competitor URLs on Ahrefs and BuzzSumo and you’ll see what terms and what content that your competitors are writing are really popular.”


“From there, what you want to do is write similar articles, but that are just more detailed and better. But the key is if you see what other people are.”


 5: What are the best practices for increasing my SEO ranking on Google?


More detailed and better content, and then from there, reaching out to everyone who shared all the other online marketing articles on Twitter and asking them to share mine.”


“Then cross-linking for my own posts. Anytime I reference online marketing, I link to that main ‘cornerstone’ content, which would be that guide on online marketing.”


“With cross-linking, what I mean by that is let’s say you write an article on how to sell a home and make money as a realtor. Let’s say you have a detailed guide called ‘The Beginner’s Guide To Being a Realtor,’ but now you’re writing this new blog post called ‘How To Make Money Selling Homes.’ Let’s say you talk about ‘Yeah, right when you get your realtor license and you’re just starting off…,’ you may want to link that ‘Hey, when you’re getting started as a realtor and you just got your license and you’re starting off’ – whatever that phrase may be, link it to that guide on ‘The Beginner’s Guide To Being a Realtor.’ That’s an internal cross-linking.”


6: What is a common mistake you see entrepreneurs make when they’re establishing an online presence?


“A big mistake that I’m seeing when people are trying to [establish an online presence is] they expect results right away and they don’t stick with things… The reason being is marketing in general – content marketing, or any form of online marketing – takes time to see results and build that brand. To build that brand you have to do different types of marketing; you can’t just be like ‘I want to build a brand,’ right?”


“Whatever you’re trying to do and you’re trying to market, it takes time, and its consistency. Most people, when they’re trying to build that personal brand or get more traffic or grow their business, they’re doing it for a month or two and then they just stop.”


“It takes six months to see some decent results, one year to see good results, two years to really start seeing it flourish and grow.”


“You need to be writing content multiple times a week, you need to be sharing posts on the social web multiple times a week, you need to be participating in the community multiple times a week. You can’t do everything; you should do SEO every week, content marketing, social media marketing… But pick one or two channels of those and then go from there. So whatever it is, do it multiple times a week and just pick two or one if that’s all you have time for, and then as you have more time, expand into two, and then expand into three etc.”



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How Skateboarding Legend Tony Hawk Accomplishes the Impossible

We’ve all heard it in some fashion or another. “It’s 80% mental and 20% physical” or “It’s 90% psychology and 10% tactics.” However you say it, it means the same thing: Success ultimately comes down to having the right mindset and mentality.


I recently interviewed professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, and he is a true believer in this mental vs. physical concept.


Tony was the first skateboarder in history to land a 900-degree air, or more famously known as The 900. “A 900 is basically a two-and-a-half spin in the air when you leave a ramp,” Tony said. “It’s a trick that I did in the X Games in 1999 for the first time. I’ve done it a few times in my life since then, but I hadn’t revisited it for about five or six years, and last year I decided to do it on the anniversary of the first one ever.”


Only 14 other people on the planet have ever successfully completed The 900. How was he able to accomplish something that for most would be impossible? Because he understood that success would be dictated by not only his physical ability, but by his mental skills as well. “I had the physical skills to do it for years before I really figured out the mental aspects of it. The mental aspects are [believing] it’s possible,” Tony said. “And so much of it is having confidence. I use that analogy to all kinds of things, but really the idea that you have the confidence in the skill set to make something happen – that’s just as important as doing it, or as the idea of it in itself.”


How does this apply to our real estate businesses, or our lives in general? Whether it’s making the decision to purchase that first deal or transitioning into a new real estate niche, you must move forward with 100% certainty that you have the resourcefulness, the will, and the skill sets to successfully navigate your situation.


That’s how Tony approaches a new trick or a new business idea. “If I have an idea of something, I believe it will work,” he said. “I don’t go out thinking ‘I really hope for the best. I hope this catches on.’ It’s intuitive.”


Over the years, Tony has seen many skaters come and go, and many of them had the physical ability, but were lacking in the confidence to see things through. Their approaches were haphazard and had an inner dialogue of I’m going to give it and try and hope for the best.


In skating and in real estate, hoping for the best isn’t enough to succeed. I believe that is one of the main reasons why would-be investors never pull the trigger on a deal or give up after completing a deal or two. They don’t believe in themselves and set themselves up for failure.


When I set out to become a billion-dollar multifamily syndicator, I didn’t simply hope it would happen. Rather, know it will happen because I believe I am the most resourceful person on the planet and I will be able to overcome any obstacle I face as long as I don’t give up. However, it’s important to note that this didn’t happen overnight. Overtime, by completing one task at a time, I built up the momentum that I am riding today.


To build up this positive momentum and have the true confidence you need to succeed, Tony said, “I’d like to think that there’s a technique of baby steps in doing that. With me, just in terms of skating, I learned some very simple techniques early on, and I learned some tricks that maybe didn’t really interest me, but benefitted me in the end.” He said the same goes for business. “The stuff you learn about the business, even if it seems mundane and it’s not what you got into it for, it’s going to help you later. I’m talking about all the minutiae of how the business works, of doing reports and sourcing materials and things – those are the kind of things that you wouldn’t think you’d need to concern yourself with if you’re the CEO. But at the same time, it’s going to help you in the end because you’re going to understand that process and you’re going to see when things are going awry very quickly.”


The only thing I would add in regards to creating this positive momentum is to begin implementing daily practices. The best place to start is with a daily journal. I have been journaling every day since 2015. There isn’t much structure to it – I simply write out bullet points of what happened that day. However, if you want a stricter routine, then at the end of each day, answer these two questions:


  • What good did I accomplish today?
  • Who did I help today?


Writing out daily wins, no matter how small, is a great way to build up positive momentum in your business.



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Friday Fast Facts – NFL Legend Emmitt Smith Edition

On June 8, 2017, I interviewed NFL Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl Champion Emmitt Smith (click here to watch the full interview).


After building a legacy on the gridiron, he retired and is now building a real estate empire through investing and development.


For this exclusive interview, Emmitt answered 5 questions that were submitted by the Best Ever listeners.


Question #1 – What is your Best Real Estate Investing Advice ever?


“One of the simplest forms of investing advices I’ve ever received came from Jerry Jones himself. He told me years ago, he said “Emmitt, have a big front door and a small back door.” A big front door and a small back door. Now, how does that play in the context of real estate? Well, obviously, from a development standpoint, I obviously want to do big projects. And the more projects that you do that are of quality and size and the more that you are capable of getting done, then you have a big front door… In other words, take in as much as you can, and let out little on the back side.”


Emmitt’s applies this big front door, small back door concept to his overall business approach through risk mitigation. “How can we set up our contracts where there’s brokerage service or development contracts to the point where we can alleviate as much of the risk as possible and try to be as fair as possible with our contractors as well? So that’s important… Whether we utilize an architecture firm that has technology to find collision in the drawings that we may have and mitigate those things before we’re on the job site, which is absolutely huge, because it saves us money on changing orders and everything else. All of that is important.”


“Those are some of the things that we try to do – contracts for language and risk mitigation in terms of design criteria.”


Question #2 – How do you identify which opportunities to pursue?


“Number one, from a real estate development standpoint it’s about an eye for a piece of property… What does this property want to be? No matter if it’s an old redevelopment play, or if it’s a piece of land that’s vacant, but it wants to be something. Then figuring out how to make it happen.”


“Some people see challenges and don’t want to touch it. Other folks see challenges and they want to run right to it because it’s those creative minds that pull off something that someone else doesn’t want to do, which is a lot more riskier, but yields a much larger return.”


“I’ve got to be passionate about what it is that I’m trying to get accomplished. But then I extrapolate that from the site standpoint to the demographics and the trade area around it. What’s in that trade area and what’s not in that trade area? And I try to move the things that are in the trade area off the table, and figure out who really needs to be here and how does the demographic stack up with that tenant profile.”


Questions #3 – What separates the NFL players who leave the NFL and lose all their money with the NFL players who leave the NFL and make more money?


“I think we all run the risk of doing things that we’re not aware of. One thing I’ve learned is it’s better for me to invest in myself than to invest in others, because I’m not going to cheat myself. What happens when you invest in others, others sometimes (again) claim that they can do XYZ, until the rubber meets the road and you find out that they can’t, so you’ve made a significant investment in the person just for them to let you down. Not only that, but then the actual management, who you’re investing in and how you’re investing in these people, also their credibility becomes critical, too.”


“I just think that often times we are excited about being in business and not really taking the time to understand the business. Everything that I’ve done, I’ve tried to immerse myself in it to understand the business and how the business actually works itself, and asking questions, versus being an absentee owner, being an involved owner from start to finish. So you learn that lesson one time, versus having to learn that lesson three or four times.”


Question #4 – What are you most proud of?


“That’s hard to say, outside of just my kids. I’ve got two kids now that are going off to college; one’s already in college, one just graduated from high-school, and she’s off to college going to Texas A&M to play soccer. And I’ve got three other kids coming from behind them, and they all are good kids. I think I’m most proud of my children in terms of how they’ve been able to handle not only the success of their parents and who we are, but just how they carry themselves as young men and women.”


Question #5 – What’s a trait you learned in the NFL that has been applied in business?


“I would say teamwork. Checking your ego at the door, and understanding that you do not become successful by yourself. It involves a lot of people in terms of helping you become successful. Like I said before, I did not hand the football to myself, I did not block for myself, I did not call the plays, and the same thing applies in business. I’ve got people that help keep me on time for my schedules, I’ve got folks that are in the marketing side, I’ve got folks on the executive director side, I’ve got CEO’s and everybody else that has a job and a responsibility. Doing your job and doing your responsibility protects everybody else, and in some cases I’ve got people that have the ability to do more, a lot more bandwidth than others, and that’s a beautiful thing. To me that’s a first, second and third running back. Not only is he there to run the ball, but on third down he can go out and catch the ball and he can also block, which is also extremely important for key people and key personnel in any organization. If you’ve got somebody that has the ability to not only be a broker, but also has a law degree too, so that expedites certain things too, that covers your back.”


“Having engineers that have the capability of not only being a CEO, but also seeing your estimator too, so when it comes down to creating processes and procedures for your organization to run off of and run in the most efficient way, all of that is great knowledge to have. Then you have folks that just handle one piece, but they do that one piece very, very good, and that’s a wonderful thing to have.”


“Teamwork becomes such an important thing in every aspect of what we do. In my household it’s the same way – teamwork. My wife and I have got to be on the same page in order to raise all five of our kids and keep them all humble, hungry and knowledgeable in terms of their growth. That is an important aspect of who we are as people, to not only have the ability to share knowledge with one another, but to establish that team environment.”



Watch my full interview with Emmitt Smith here and learn:


  • His screening process for finding trustworthy team members
  • How he prioritizes his time
  • How he overcomes the unique challenges he faces being who he is
  • Why he is willing to take the higher risk developing real estate


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