JF1664: How To Get Started In Real Estate Investing #SkillSetSunday with Rock Thomas
As a previous guest, Rock already shared his Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever. Today he’s back for a Skill Set Sunday episode because he wants to help more people. We’ll hear Rock discuss how people can get started in real estate investing. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
Best Ever Tweet:
“You could make $1000 passive-ish income” – Rock Thomas
Arvin (Rock) Thomas Real Estate Background:
- Owns over 6 real estate franchises with over 270 realtors selling over $1 billion annually
- Certified NLP Practitioner
- Has increased sales and revenue every year for 17 years years in a row
- Listen to his previous episodes:
- Based in Montreal, Canada
- Say hi to him at https://rockthomas.com/
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Theo Hicks: Hi, Best Ever listeners. Welcome back to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m your host today, Theo Hicks. Today is Sunday, which means that we’ll be doing Skillset Sunday, where we discuss a specific skill that will help you better your real estate investing business. Today we’ll be speaking with Rock Thomas, and the skill we’ll be discussing is how to get started as a real estate investor.
How are you doing today, Rock?
Rock Thomas: I’m doing great! Super to be here, Theo.
Theo Hicks: We’re glad to have you as well. If you guys don’t recognize Rock, he was actually a guest all the way back in mid-2015, so check out his first interview, which was episode #314, where we discussed how to find a millionaire mentor to guide your career.
Before we get started, a little bit about Rock – he is the owner of over six real estate franchises, with over 270 realtors, selling over one billion dollars annually. He’s a certified NLP practitioner and the world’s number one Whole-Life-Success expert; we’re definitely gonna be talking a little bit about that. He has increased sales and revenue every year for 17 years in a row. He’s based in Montreal, Canada, and you can say hi to him at rockthomas.com.
Before we discuss today’s skill, do you mind telling us a little bit more about your background and what you’ve been up to since we last spoke, including what it was like to be on a Netflix documentary?
Rock Thomas: Wow. Well, I’ll start with where I came from. I’m a farm boy that grew up in Canada, and I learned essentially the value of a good work ethic. Most of the people I know that are successful value a modicum of discipline, morning routines that get them to win the day… And I had the advantage of learning that because animals don’t care whether it’s rainy or the pipe bursts, they expect to be fed and they need to be fed… So you learn to make things happen no matter what, and that served me in my career, becoming a resourceful person, finding a way to utilize what’s around you, and I’ve learned to teach that to people, because people aren’t taught that; we live in a soft world, where people are always looking for the easy path. So it’s been one of the things I’ve been able to help people, whether it be [unintelligible [00:04:37].02] since I last was on the show. I’ve got your traditional real estate investments, commercial and apartment buildings, but I started to foray into Airbnb through a friend of mine who joined one of my mastermind groups and he was like, “Dude, you’ve gotta get into this. This is gonna grow, this is gonna be the next wave.” I’m like “I don’t know…”
But I travel so much, so I tried renting my house though while I was gone, and I was surprised – because I was in a ski location – how much I could rent it for, up to $1,000 a night. And in one year I brought in a revenue, while I was away, of $168,000. So lived in the house completely free. Then somebody knocked on the door and offered me $250,000 more than I had paid for it, and I sold it within a year… So it was a really, really good experience.
And guess what? My mom is watching me, and we’re all affected by people around us, and around the time I was on your show for the first time, I was looking to flip a property, I found a home, she loved it, I bought it for her… She moved out of her senior citizen home, into this house; lost 30 pounds gardening and running around the house, taking care of it. She’s like ten years younger. She’s now 84, and she started Airbnb-ing a room. She goes to my son, she goes, “Andrew, the Airbnb thing… How does it work?” And he’s like showing her online, and everything… So she rented a room for $6,250, and bought herself a Honda Accord; she’s thrilled, she meets new people…
So I just thought, for some people that don’t know about Airbnb, it’s a really good entry point to get started in real estate. It can be fun, it can be cute, it can be interesting, you meet good people…
There’s also headaches. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the easiest thing in the world. I had some people trash my house. But the property gets repaired and you move on. So those are a couple of the things I’ve been up to since we spoke.
Theo Hicks: So for Airbnb – you airbnbed your entire house, but your mom just airbnbs a room in her house, right?
Rock Thomas: Yeah. For her it’s more like a bed and breakfast, and then she has people actually live with her, and she hangs out with them. I don’t wanna do that. But what I also learned is that you don’t have to actually own a property. Me and my partner now teach people how to rent an apartment, or a condo, or a one or two-bedroom, or a house if you want, and then to re-lease it. And people often say, “Yeah, but why would somebody rent you a house and then let you Airbnb it? Wouldn’t they be concerned about it?” There’s actually advantages to it that we can teach the landlord those advantages to people, versus a long-term lease to somebody that’s gonna live in it and use all your equipment, and the microwave…
Because a lot of people that airbnb – they don’t actually cool in your house. They usually do very little, so they don’t wear and tear the house the same way a long-term lease would. And then if you don’t have the money to buy an apartment, you wanna step-stone your way there, you can rent a place for $1,500, probably rent it out for $100 a night, and by the time it’s all said and done, from one apartment let’s say in Orlando, Florida, or Phoenix, Arizona, or something like that, you could make $1,000 of passive income – or passive-ish – in a month. Then you go on and get your second, and third and fourth.
We have people in our group that are bringing in $200,000 just from airbnbing. They don’t own any of the places. They furnish them, but they don’t own them.
Theo Hicks: Now, that’s an interesting strategy. As we’re interviewing right now, the Best Ever Conference 2019 is going on, which is why I’m filling in for Joe… But last year I had a conversation with three people at a table who were talking about that exact strategy, where you rent out a home from someone, and then you furnish it and then you – in this case, you just re-lease to someone else… But this is a little bit different, where you actually airbnb it, where I’m sure you make a lot more money.
Obviously, the first thing that comes to my mind is – as you’ve said – why would an owner lease to you their house for you to airbnb it; why don’t they just airbnb it themselves… So what are some of those advantages that you would wanna communicate to the owner?
Rock Thomas: Well, the owner wouldn’t airbnb it because they’ve got a perception of the hassles and the uncertainty of it… Because there’s no guarantee; you’re gonna have vacant nights. Most people come in and they rent on weekends, you’ve got vacancies during the week… But once you get into it, there’s strategies for everything.
You can assess the competition, there’s software that will assess the competition, look at the vacancy rates, and then you can set up your system so it automatically reduces the price that you’re asking online as you have vacancies come up… So you’re four or five days out and nobody’s booked your room – the software will automatically drop you from $129/night down to maybe $109, or $99, so that you become the most interesting product in the market. But for the average person, they don’t have access to those tools. There’s a whole toolbox that’s being created by people that have been doing Airbnb for many years. We avail ourselves of those practices.
How do you convince somebody? Well, if somebody’s going to rent, how many people have had bad experiences where people don’t take care of their home, where they call up all the time and they’re like “The sink is leaking. The toilet is broken. The shower doesn’t work properly. They don’t cut the lawn properly.” What we tell people is “We’re not gonna call you. We have a crew that takes care of everything, and we obviously want the property to be in tip-top shape, otherwise we’re not gonna be able to make it available to people. And we vet the types of people, and we go for five-star ratings and super-hosts etc. So in order to do that, we have to make sure that we attract a quality person, and we have to make sure that we provide a quality product, so we’re actually gonna enhance your property. If there’s little things that are broken, we’re not gonna call you.”
And then depending on the product, you choose a range. You say “Anything under $150, we’ll never call you. Don’t worry about it. We’ll fix the leaky faucet. We’ll fix the toilet. We’ll paint the room, we’ll do whatever we need, but by the time you get the property back, it’ll be better than the way we get it from you.”
People aren’t used to hearing that, and for most people that want certainty, they want their $1,500/month, they don’t wanna have to worry about it, they don’t want any calls, this is music to their ears. They’re like, “Giddy up! Where do I sign?”
Theo Hicks: I had a debate – it was more of just a conversation – with someone who does short-term rentals… Kind of similar to Airbnb. I’m pretty sure she used Airbnb and a couple of the other providers… And she was mentioning how you can do the short-term rentals really anywhere, whether you’re in an urban area, or a rural area; it just kind of depends. For example, she said that she bought a piece of land in a rural area and she short-term rented it to someone who wanted to just use it to drive their ATVs around town…
Rock Thomas: Yeah.
Theo Hicks: When you teach your Airbnb strategy, how important is the location of the actual property you’re renting out? Or does it not matter at all.
Rock Thomas: No, it’s very important. It’s like anything in real estate – if you’re gonna buy an apartment building (and you guys are the pros at this), there’s certain criteria that are gonna give you the edge; if you’re close to transportation, buses and trains, if you’re close to universities, if you’re close to hospitals… We all know that the government institutions give you a sense of security, because there’s always gonna be demand.
In Canada, our capital is Ottawa, and I think it’s 32 of the last 34 years the real estate market has gone up, and the vacancy rates have remained virtually the same, because there’s a stability of the employment from the government. In Washington I think it’s the same, or very similar. So you wanna do your homework.
My home that I had was in a ski resort town. So what we had was 5,800 square foot home, a 2015 construction, 13-foot ceilings, five bedrooms, but we could sleep up to 21 people. So we had our basic fee set at 12 people, and then anything above that, we were charging an extra $10 or $25/person, I can’t remember. But we were getting people coming in, two or three families that would come in for the weekend. We would charge $600/night during the week, and $1,000/night on the weekend, plus $300 cleaning fee, and we ended up making $4,000-$5,000 per person, which made it really easy… Versus booking a whole bunch of people at just $100/night. So it was niche, but we had a lot of difficulty renting it out from Tuesday to Thursday.
You just have to be willing to look at the numbers, and if you can make your money — you calculate making your money mostly on the weekends, and anything else is a bonus. So during that time you could rent it out at a lower cost, or you rent it out to friends, or you get creative.
But if you’re in a regular town, in a city, close to work etc. you’re gonna have a different kind of clientele… But we help people discover that. We have ways to run the analytics and look at the demand, and then help them feel secure that when they’re gonna go into that they’re not gonna own $1,500 lease and not lease it to anybody.
Theo Hicks: Yeah, exactly. What about the team? If someone wants to start from scratch, wants to implement this strategy, what team members do they need to find before they can go out and rent that first property?
Rock Thomas: That’s a great question. One of the things I teach when I put on my personal development hat is “Say yes and figure it out later”, but you wanna have — the crucial team is going to be your cleaning team. You need to have access to a team that can repair things, so that if a lock breaks, or little things go wrong, changing light bulbs if the cleaning crew can’t do that… And then what we do is we set it up so it’s almost automatically controlled, where you have digital locks on the doors, and you can open them from anywhere by your phone, and you can change the code every time for a different guest. That way you minimize the picking up of keys and dropping off, and things like that.
The technology has really made it super-easy to operate even remotely, from out of town… But if you don’t have good people on the ground that can open doors if need be, or troubleshoot for you, then you’re gonna run into problems for sure. So if you’re a novice, I would start with something where it’s in your town, and then build from there. Build your team, and then you can expand that.
Theo Hicks: Yeah. It’s like, when you first start out, unless you’re not really handy, you can just do the cleaning each time, and cleaning the towels, and whatever else you need to do. For the cleaning team, are you just contracting out someone from a major cleaning service, like a Molly Maids, or do you find one person who’s independent to clean?
Rock Thomas: In my experience, we’ve found usually somebody local that is a cleaning service. When you go bigger, like a couple of the people in our group – what they do is they’ll go also with a reputable cleaning firm that can do it. When I had my property in Montreal, I was really lucky; I had a great cleaning crew, and her husband was a handyman.
Theo Hicks: Oh, nice.
Rock Thomas: Yeah. When she would go to the house and the shower door was leaning sideways, or whatever happened, she would just call her husband, he would come and fix it, and she’d send me the bill. The biggest thing is developing relationships with trust with people… Because the cleaning lady would come to me and she found in the house pot, cocaine, cellular phones, different things, and if I didn’t trust her, then when people call back and they go “I left my favorite pair of sunglasses” and the cleaning lady was to go “Well, no, there was none.” “Those Gucci glasses are worth 800 bucks.” “Sorry, I didn’t see them.” But my cleaning lady was really good, she brought me all kinds of stuff, including stuff that I’m like “What do you want me to do with that cocaine? You keep it, I don’t want that stuff”, you know?
Theo Hicks: [laughs] Yeah…
Rock Thomas: It’s interesting what people leave behind… Of course, the typical power cables and stuff; and then if they’re out of town, they call you, and then “Can you mail it?”, is it worth it? …and all that sort of thing. But there’s a lot of details to it, and here’s what I say to people – don’t worry about the details; the details are falling into the category of administration, and administration is always doable. The big thing is are you willing to invest the time and energy to get educated on learning how to acquire the properties and attract the customers? Once you do that, all the other problems are solvable with talking to people that have already been down that path, if that makes sense.
Theo Hicks: Yeah. So for someone that doesn’t have access to the fancy software that can calculate daily what the Airbnb rate would be, what’s a good way for someone that’s starting out to determine “Okay, so I’m renting this house out from this landlord for $1,500/month. How do I know how much I should rent it for?”
Rock Thomas: The easiest way is you just simply go onto Airbnb like you want to rent a place that’s right beside your place, and you search, based on the location. You’re like, “Okay, I’ve got a two-bedroom in Wichita, Kansas”, so you search all the two-bedrooms in Wichita, Kansas for the next several months, you put in fictitious dates, you look and you start to get a feel, just the same as if you were gonna buy a house in a city, or you want to sell your house; you can actually go “Okay, similar homes like mine are asking $550,000, or $575,000.” And you look at some of the criteria – one’s got a finished basement, one’s got a two-car garage versus a one”, and you can make some general assessments. That’s the easiest way to start.
When I did my property in Montreal, I was really a novice and I was not willing to, at the time, be overly coached… So I put my house up for rent for $300, and the first guy saw it and he rented it for 9 days at $300, only for me to discover that the value of it was between $600 and $1,000. So not asking for advice, not willing to take the full course for $1,200 that my buddy was teaching and take action, cost me, say $400 times 9… $2,700.
Theo Hicks: And then you took the course and you realized you were significantly under rate?
Rock Thomas: Yeah. That’s when I’m like, “I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so why am I trying to be penny-wise and pound-foolish? Let me take the course, let me learn from other people”, and that’s when I rapidly learned a lot of things and made a lot less mistakes.
Theo Hicks: Okay. So when you’re reaching out to property owners to rent their home, do you tell them that you’re going to be using it for Airbnb?
Rock Thomas: Yes, we do. Sometimes we tell them that there will be some long-term corporate rentals… And there are sometimes, but sometimes it’s a little bit of stretch of the truth, but sometimes they like to hear that, so we tell them what they want to hear. We know that we’re gonna take good care of it, but sometimes you’ve gotta let people relax a little bit, because some people have a perception of Airbnb… So we give them that perception as well, and say it’s deceiving them, because we know the quality of how we’re gonna take care of the property… But sometimes people need to hear what they wanna hear, based on their filters, if that makes any sense.
Theo Hicks: Yeah. I mean, as a landlord myself, if someone came to me asking to rent my unit for Airbnb, and it’s all they said, I’d kind of be like, “Meh, I don’t know…” But if they came in saying “Any maintenance issue under $150 we’ll take care of, we vet all the renters, your property life will be enhanced…”, then I’d probably be a little bit more willing to allow that to happen, for sure. It has to do with the way you position it to the owner.
Rock Thomas: 100%. And it also has to go with your rapport skills, and your reputation, and what you can present to them as your past history… If you have nothing to show and you’re 22 years old and you’re coming in and you’re trying… So what we do with some people is they’ll partner with me to get them started…
Theo Hicks: There you go.
Rock Thomas: …because they don’t have the credibility, and I wouldn’t rent to a 22-year-old that’s getting started. I’d be like, “Forget that.” But then they see my old, bald head, and they’re like, “Okay, sign me up.”
Theo Hicks: Yeah, that’s a big thing we talk about… That’s even more important for apartment syndication and when you’re raising money from other people. If you’re this 22-year-old, just out of college, that has no business experience, no real estate experience – why would someone give you money? But if you have that person on your team who can be your mentor and you can leverage their experience, then that’ll help you out a little bit.
Rock Thomas: Yeah, do you want 20% or 50% of a whole lot of business, or 100% of nothing?
Theo Hicks: Exactly. One last question on the Airbnb strategy – I know this is gonna be kind of a tough question to answer, but what percentage of owners that you reach out to actually end up allowing you to rent their property, versus which ones just say “No, I’m not gonna let this happen”?
Rock Thomas: I don’t have the exact number because I don’t do the reaching out; I hire somebody to do the door knocking and the soliciting, and I don’t have that number… My team manages them. But it really also depends on who you’re approaching. If you just go wide net and you just knock on every single door, obviously your numbers are gonna be worse than looking at people that are a little bit more niche. But it’s like anything else – the more you do it, the more you get better at it, and the more you present it in a way that is win/win for everybody; your numbers go up.
I wish I had a number for you, Theo, but I don’t have a precise number.
Theo Hicks: I figured that’d be something tough to narrow down… But just like anything, if you just reach out to everyone, then obviously you’re gonna have a lower success rate; but if you’re very specific and you know exactly what type of property you want, and exactly what type of owners are typically interested in renting to you, then your numbers are gonna be a lot higher.
Rock Thomas: Yeah, it’s about getting out there and taking action, and learning along the way. I say to people, there’s no winning and losing, there’s winning and learning. So take action… You respond to the feedback that comes to you from the world, take notes, journal on it. I’m a big fan of Tom Brady and Belichick – they’re constantly evaluating the feedback from their attempts at success, and then tweaking, and making it better and better, and therefore their success rate goes up. I think that’s a big mistake people will make – they make a mistake, but they don’t do the autopsy on it… And they’re like, “Oh, I called ten people to airbnb. Everybody said no.” Yeah, but you didn’t look at what your approach was, you didn’t really analyze why they were not saying yes… But when you break that down, which I’m really good at, my team’s really good at it, and we talked before about 17 years of sales growth in a row, you’ve gotta do two things – you’ve gotta break down what’s happening in the field of your endeavors, and look at it so you can strategically make it better, and you have to break down everything that’s happening in your own personal.
I say there’s the three P’s that are gonna stop you from success. There’s Process – do you have the right process? Do you know the methodologies or the strategies in order to succeed? What are the Patterns that are holding you back? A personal pattern of maybe you’re not a morning person, or you procrastinate, or you are an introvert and you don’t like talking to new people, or maybe you have a pattern of hating rejection, so prospecting is difficult for you.
Then the third piece is the Personal. When I evaluated the 270 salespeople I had in my business for ten years, and did the statistics, because I’m a bit of a numbers guy, the number one reason that people did not increase their sales year-over-year like I did was always, every single time, it was not the competition, it was not the process they had, it was not their sales funnel, it was not a pattern they had personally of coming into the office late and working late (night owl), it was always personal. It was always their inability to handle something going on in their life or the life of the people around them. Their child got addicted to cocaine, or they went through a divorce, or what have you.
During the 17 years that I was in the real estate business with that particular franchise I got divorced, my father passed away, I had three children, I moved nine times, I broke four bones, I had several things happen, but never did I let that personally, because of my work I did with Tony Robbins, and understanding how to manage my state, make better decisions, and be a resourceful person. A resourceful person looks around like McGyver – most people are probably too young to know who he is… But you utilize what is. Most people – what do they do? The flight is delayed by two hours and you can just watch the room when they make the announcement. Next time you’re in the airport and you see an announcement for the flight delay, just watch the physiology of people in the room; their shoulders slump, they’re “Ahhhh…!”
I remember six months ago I had that happen, the flight was delayed by two hours and they were changing the gate, and I literally stood up and threw my hands in the air and said to myself – I didn’t say it out loud – “I guess I’m gonna need somebody amazing in the next two hours. I wonder who it is…!? This is so cool!” And I got up and I started to walk to the other gate; as I’m walking along, I notice this guy and I go “I know that guy. Who is that…? That’s John Assaraf.” Do you know who John Assaraf is?
Theo Hicks: I do not… But if I saw a picture I might, though.
Rock Thomas: Yeah, you probably would. He was in a movie that came out years ago called The Secret, and he’s a guy that teaches online about NeuroGym, and the mental powers, and stuff like that. He has written books… He’s well-known in the niche of personal development. And I had the intention of meeting somebody, so as soon as I saw him, did I have a hesitation, “Should I go up and bother him while he was talking to two other people?” No. This was divine intervention, this was what was supposed to happen. I went up to him and I said, “John, we were supposed to meet. This is so cool!” He turns to me, looking at me kind of like, “Who the hell are you?” and he goes “We were?” and I go “Yes! My flight was delayed, and I knew I had to meet somebody, and there you are!” And he goes, “Wow, that’s cool! I met you at an event, right?” and I go “No”, and then we just struck a conversation; I had him come on my podcast, and I met his two sons, and it was super-cool… Because in life, if you intentionally decide to use what’s available as the road bends and turns, then you’ll optimistically find things that are useful, versus pessimistically looking for what could have been or should have been and feeling bad, if that makes sense.
Theo Hicks: That makes sense. That’s really solid advice, and I think everything you’ve just said drives back into what we were talking about, with that Airbnb strategy, and how that’s a really useful way to get started as a real estate investor, especially if you don’t have a lot of money, and just making sure that you are putting that process in place, evaluating those patterns, and kind of just making sure you’re taking care of your personal life, so that you can focus your energies on the strategy, or whatever strategy you’re doing; that kind of applies everywhere.
I like that example of the flight being delayed, and how obviously most people when their flights are delayed they’re boiling with anger, you can just feel it in the air… Whereas for you, you use that as a time to just “Oh, this is great. Now I get to meet someone new”, and then you got to meet this guy. And I do recognize him, because I did watch The Secret… I got him up right now, I do recognize this guy from that movie.
Rock Thomas: Yeah. But the point being, Theo, is that how much time does the average person spend wishing things were different? Way too much time, in my opinion. Way too much. They wish it wasn’t raining, they wish the flight wasn’t delayed, they wish the deal went through, they wish they made a better decision, they wish they bought Google 20 years ago, they wish they bought Facebook 10 years ago, they wish this, they wish that. I say to people, the word “wish” to me is almost useless. I say it sometimes like “Hey baby, I wish that I wasn’t three days away from you in this business trip, and I was spending time with you” as a form of demonstrating the feelings of love and connection and loss of not being with that person. But generally, I don’t use it at all, because it’s really saying to the universe “I’m unhappy with what you’ve provided for me.” I think you should be grateful for even your challenges, your problems, the deals that don’t go through… Because if you come at it with a perspective of “There’s a better opportunity, there’s a bigger reason why this is happening”, then you’re actually living more in gratitude.
When you live in gratitude, Oprah says that you’ll never attract more to your life if you’re not grateful for what you have. And it’s not always easy to do in the moment, I get that. I’m pissed at some things, too. I’m not saying I always immediately go “Oh, yeah! Great! My girlfriend broke up with me!” or “I lost $100,000 in a deal, somebody frauded me!”, I’m not saying I jump for joy, but I’m much quicker, I think, than most people to go through those five steps… I think you probably know them – shock, anger, negotiation, sadness and acceptance. If you’re conscious of those, you can work through them, versus a lot of people are stuck. I think we all know somebody who is still bitter about a divorce ten years ago; they’re still pissed off on their partner, they still talk about the story of the partner who screwed them over five years ago. When are you gonna let that go, and accept the lesson the Universe sent you, and live more in peace and harmony, and experience what’s available to you, versus wishing things were different?
Theo Hicks: For the wishing part, I blame Disney movies… You know, “When you wish upon a star…” [laughter] It’s Disney’s fault.
Rock Thomas: It is, I agree with you.
Theo Hicks: Alright, Rock. I really appreciate the conversation; I did wanna ask you before we got off – you mentioned Tony Robbins, and I can tell that you listen to a lot of his stuff and probably work with him, just by the way that you talk and the words that you use, and I remember [unintelligible [00:29:45].19] when that Tony Robbins documentary came out on Netflix I saw you, because you really stood out in the documentary, for sure. You were there a couple of times. And when I looked you up on the website, I instantaneously was like, “Oh yeah, he was in the documentary.” So what was that like? Were you involved in that in any way, or were you just kind of in the background there?
Rock Thomas: Yeah, so I guess I was going through a tough time in the 1990’s. That was a difficult time in my relationship. I was actually doing well in real estate, running my offices, and I started to party a bit too much. You know, when you’re looking for the next high, and you’re looking for things… And I reached out for a book, and I found Tony Robbins’ book, and I immediately, just on listening to his audio programs, was able to quit smoking and doing some other recreational stuff just by listening to his audio program. It absolutely blew my mind that you could change your thoughts that way.
So I signed up for his event, went to his event… Blown away. I signed up for his personal coaching at $100,000/year and I did 19 events in 19 months, and became a trainer for him. I’ve done 73 events, I’m going to my 74th event in Los Angeles next month, and I’m a trainer for him now. So yeah, I was at that event in a teaching and facilitation role, supporting him at those events.
I would say that of all the personal development I’ve done, Theo, Tony probably represents about 50% of my thought process. Of course, I have other people like Deepak Chopra and John Gray and niche people in different areas… But if you can’t manage your state, then everything else is affected. You can have the best strategy for investing in apartments or what have you, but if you can’t get yourself up off the couch, or if a relationship thing happens and you’re depressed, it’s not gonna matter. You’re not gonna apply the information.
So that’s why I’m a big fan of Tony’s. Tony has been doing personal development – I don’t know if people know this – for 41 years. He does an average of about 150 events a year, private and public. He’s never in 41 years, ever, canceled an event.
Theo Hicks: That’s impressive.
Rock Thomas: It’s ridiculous. And when you go to his events, you see he goes 10, 12, 14 hours a day, you’re like “How does he do it?” So that’s what I drink from – his ability to get himself to take massive action, and I give him credit for my ability… Today I have 36 streams of income, I have investments in real estate, I have products of other people I promote… All kinds of things that have come from a lot of the skills I’ve learned from him. People who haven’t been to one of his events – put it on your bucket list, man.
Theo Hicks: Yeah, that’s good information. The biggest thing I took away from that documentary was he just seemed like he was very regimented. Everything was scheduled. When he woke up, he knew exactly what every minute was gonna be like. Not exactly what was going to happen, but what he was going to do. Like, “I’m gonna wake up, I’m gonna jump into this little square pool thing, I’m gonna bounce on my trampoline…” It just seemed like he had tweaked his routine over the years to perfection, which is probably what allows him to be super-energized for 14 hours straight.
Rock Thomas: We’re all human beings with patterns, right? You don’t stop a habit, you replace it with something else. So if people made it a goal to upgrade their patterns – like, you’ve got a shitty routine in the morning, then just look for a way to make it better. Instead of getting up and moping around for five minutes, get up — I’m 56 years old, and the first thing when I get up, probably 4-5 days of the week, is I get up and immediately drop down and do 57 push-ups in a row.
Theo Hicks: Nice.
Rock Thomas: To me, it convinces my brain — who’s in charge? Is it my body, or is it my mind? And I think when you keep on selling yourself on that, when the going gets tough, then you can command and demand that you show up. Most people are like, “Yeah, I’m gonna join this gym and work out”, and then three weeks later they don’t. So the next time they go “Yeah, I’m gonna build this business; I’m gonna knock on doors and find some revenue property”, and their brain goes “Bullshit!” Because the track record sucks.
So when I say something to myself, I follow through because I wanna have the references, so that the next time I say I’m gonna do something, I have the confidence to carry it through… And that’s what leadership is all about. I think there’s little tricks for people to get better, 1% at a time, but we could talk about this all day long.
Theo Hicks: Yeah. Well, fortunately for me I’m only 28, so I’m gonna wake up every morning and do my 28 push-ups…
Rock Thomas: [laughs]
Theo Hicks: I don’t think I can do 57 right now, but I could definitely do 28. Rock, I really appreciate it… As you said, we could definitely talk about this for hours, but just to kind of summarize what we’ve talked about – the main topic was how to get started as a real estate investors, with little money to invest, if you can’t put 25% to buy an investment property… We talked about Airbnb, and we discussed how to position Airbnb without even owning the house, so actually renting a house from an owner.
We talked about how to position that to the owner, what to look for as it relates to location, who you need on your team, as well as how to determine what the Airbnb rates should be for your rental. Then we also talked about some personal development habits, routines, success habits, and things like that.
Is there anything else that we missed about Airbnb?
Rock Thomas: There’s tons of little things, but I think the first thing is get around a bunch of people that are doing it. Like I say, the way to be hugely successful is the three M’s – find a mentor, model them, until you’ve mastered it.
Theo Hicks: Nice.
Rock Thomas: Too many people, I think, try to meddle on their own, because they’re afraid to admit that — like myself, “I’ll figure it out. It can’t be that difficult.” We don’t know what we don’t know. Find somebody that knows what they know, like you guys teach, work with them, get 50% or 20% of something to learn, and then go out on your own if that’s what you wanna do.
Theo Hicks: Alright, Rock. If Best Ever listeners wanna say hi, where can they reach you at, or what’s the best place to find you?
Rock Thomas: Yeah, they can go to rockthomas.com. If they go there, there’ll be a little pop-up and they can get my book for free in a PDF… Or any social media handle. I do some Facebook live for free and share some information, so they can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… And maybe we’ll see them out there in the social media world.
Theo Hicks: There you go. Again, I really appreciate you coming on this show. Best Ever listeners, thanks for listening, and we will talk to you soon.