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Mindset & Money | Change Your Perspective on Investing in People

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Hosted by
Mike Ayala

In this episode of the Investing For Freedom Podcast, Mike discusses the importance of ‘who not how’. Mike references the book ‘Who not how’ by Dan Sullivan and Ben Hardy and explains how this ideology has been one of the biggest aiding factors to his success. Mike takes us through just some of the benefits finding a ‘who’ in your life can have with the aim of encouraging you to take his advice so that you can level up and solve some of the problems in your world. 

“Our brain disconnects when we start thinking about investing in who’s, whether these are employees, whether these are vendors, whether these are consultants, whether these are attorneys, whether these are you know, accountant, I hear it all the time.”


0:00 – Intro
0:53 – Mike talks about an ideology Dan Sullivan dropped on him of “who not how“, and this has been one of the top aiding factors of Mike’s success
1:50 – Mike expresses how no matter what, you understand the concept of leverage
2:13 – Mike advises you to go and get Dan Sullivan and Ben Hardy’s book ‘Who Not How’
2:30 – Mike states that if you want something different, you have to leverage something different and usually that is someone
3:19 – If you’re an accredited investor and you’re interested in manufactured housing, Text MHP to 480-531-7519
4:06 – Raising capital for manufactured housing is a great example of ‘who’ not how
5:37 – When we get stuck we often look at how to fix it, Mike gives an example of this and shares a story from when he was mentoring a guy who wanted to purchase a hotel
7:45 – Mike joined the real estate guys mastermind when he decided he wanted to raise capital
8:41 – Instead of him going to figure out how, Mike connected him with the ‘who’, which saved him time, effort and money
9:13 – Mike explains how Casey Meyers is his ‘who’ for saving taxes
9:32 – Mike expresses the opinion that a lot of times we become small minded and become loan rangers
10:00 – We understand the value of investing a dollar in asset that’s going to bring us cashflow, but our brain disconnects when we start thinking about the ‘who’
11:09 – We have to start thinking about what the ROI on the ‘who’ is
12:29 – Mike poses the question of how much money is someone going to save you by freeing up 20 hours a week
14:00 – Mike speaks on the importance of the ‘who’ and explains how they should end up paying for themselves
16:22 – Mike expresses how you can’t even quantify the fact that a ‘who’ could come into your life and reduce stress and potentially give you an extra 5/10 years to your life or even just give you a better quality of life so you can travel with your family more
18:40 – Mike sums up his point by stating that leveraging someone else to do things for you frees up stress and time in your life and can help you to level up and solve some problems in your world 


Thank you for joining me on the investing for freedom podcast. Today I’m going to discuss with you something that I think is one of the main principles that has helped me over the years to achieving success. And that could be success in relationships, that is success in business, that’s success in investing etc., etc.

You know, Dan Sullivan when I coach with Dan Sullivan strategic coach a few years ago he dropped this I guess it was a phrase, but it was more of like a methodology or an ideology. And the concept was who not how, and you guys have heard me discuss this before, but I recently read the book that Benjamin Hardy wrote along with Dan and they just talked about a lot of scenarios and examples of you know, who, not how relationships and I just thought it was timely. And, you know, as I was reading that book and just thinking back to, you know, coaching specifically with Dan, I just realized and reinforced that this has been one of the things that has literally been probably one of the top keys to my success.

I think from an early age, I realized that I could only accomplish so much myself. And I’ve talked a lot about this in the past. You know, leverage is not only leverage and money. And a lot of us that are listening you know, we’re investors, or we want to be investors or we’re business owners, or we want to be business owners, but no matter what, no matter what stage you’re at, even if you’re a W2 employee, even if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you understand the concept of leverage, at least in concept, right? In order to have something that you don’t currently have, you’ve got to leverage something different than what you’re currently leveraging. And that could be a tool, that could be a person, individual, someone else’s time, someone else’s money, someone else’s knowledge, experience, etc.

Well, when it comes to the concept of who not how and again, I would just encourage you to go out and get the book. It’s written by Ben Hardy, Benjamin Hardy, and Dan Sullivan. It’s called who not how. Go get the book, read it, listen to it. But I’m just going to give you my take, because again, as you’ve heard me say before, if we want something different, we have to do something different. We have to leverage something different. And a lot of times that’s a who. And it’s interesting because anytime we’re up against a problem in life, we’re always thinking about how do I fix this? How do I get out of it? And the concept that Dan brings to the table is it’s never, ever, ever about a how, it’s always about a who. A lot of times we tend to think about, you know, how, and in reality, getting a who to fix it for us, most of the time is really where the answer lies, especially in exponential growth and doing things, you know, 10X type growth, doing things beyond what we’re currently doing, getting outside of, you know, just us doing all the work. A lot of times that’s a who, and again, that’s been the key to really my success.

You know, even just back to raising capital, I mean, we’re in the middle of a raise right now on the manufactured housing side. So again, if you’re an accredited investor and you are interested in manufactured housing, we’ve been at it for a while. I think Kara and I bought our first mobile home park in like 2007, owned and operated a bunch of ourselves. And then we started syndicating, we’re in the middle of a raise right now. We’ve repositioned a lot of our portfolio and you know, we’ve kind of restructured everything. We’ve sold off a lot of outliers and brought a lot of the assets into a single portfolio that we’re just going to hold and continue to stabilize and probably eventually refinance or sell. If you’re an accredited investor and you’re interested in that, just text the word, M H P, or the letters MHP to 480-5317-519. Again for accredited investors only, if you’re interested in the manufactured housing space, we’ve been at it for a while. I’ve got a great team in place, but this is a great example of a who not how.

You know when we go out and raise capital that’s a bunch of who’s coming together. It’s, who’s who have money that need a return that don’t have time to go out and get that return on their own. We need a who, because we need more capital in order to grow at the speed that we want to grow. You know, that’s just, that’s how it works. It’s you know, rather than us just trying to go to a bank, which also by the way, is another form of a who, how am I going to get this financing done? How am I going to get this capital? Those are the questions that we ask ourselves. But the real question we should be asking is who do I need to go talk to, to help me get this deal done? And if you’re a new investor or you’re an early investor, or even if you’re a seasoned investor, and you’ve gotten to the point where you’ve ran out of your own money, the question isn’t, how do I go buy more deals? It’s who do I go to, to invest with me in order to get more deals done? Does that make sense?

So this is the concept of who not how, and it relates to so many areas, you know, when I had my first business at one point in time, we got up over to a hundred, up over a hundred employees. And the reality is, you know, you can’t get there without finding the right who’s, whether those are, you know who for to run a division or a who to run a leadership team or who’s to go out and do the work, or who’s that are dispatchers. And a lot of times we undervalue, you might be thinking right now, Mike, this is so obvious. I mean, obviously you have to hire employees and obviously you know, we have to borrow money and obviously we have to raise capital, but I want to drive home the thought process because a lot of times when we get stuck, we’re looking at how do I fix this certain problem?

Or how do I overcome this? Or how do I, you know, grow my business to the next level. I can never get past 10 employees. This is one that I’ve heard a lot lately. I’ve been you know, as I think you guys probably know I do some one-on-one mentoring. I take five clients at a time, which by the way, I do have room for one more, if you’re interested, just reach out to me. I take five clients at a time and you know, a lot of these clients are high performing business owners. They’re high earning W2 guys that are, or girls for that matter. I don’t have any actual women that I coach at this point in time, but it’s not necessarily selective to women or men. But you know, they’re hiring W2 people, they’re business owners, they’re investors, but I’ve had this conversation over and over and over recently, a lot of times, what we really need to do is identify who do we need to hire or leverage or engage. It doesn’t even have to be hiring in terms of a full-time employee. It might be a strategic partnership with a certain marketing company. It might be a strategic partnership with a legal team or a marketing team. I recently, a friend of mine, his name is Brandon. I’ve actually been on his podcast. I don’t think he’s been on this one was having a conversation with him. And you know, he’s kind of going to the next level is super, super successful investor. Has flipped a lot of houses. Like I think a thousand plus houses, very smart guy. He teaches real estate investing, has a lot of short-term vacation rentals, etc., but he wants to go to the next level. And he reached out to me and he said, Mike, I want to buy this hotel, how do I put together a syndication?

So, you know, he was coming to me saying, how, how do I do this? You know, he was looking at me as his who, and I said, Brandon, like, you know, I could point you in the right direction, but if you really want to go far and you really want to go fast, let me refer you to a company that I think is one of the best that I know that can help you with your marketing strategy, with your capital raising strategy. They can help you with your PPMS. They can help you with raising capital and staying out of trouble, and they can advise you on how to set all this up. This is an example of a who and not a how, when I first started you know, when I first decided that I wanted to go out and learn how to raise capital, I went and joined the real estate guys mastermind, which is a phenomenal organization. They have an event called the secrets of successful syndication.

And so I started going to that and I paid to be, I paid to be in their mastermind and, you know, we would travel and we would meet once a quarter. And I would go to all these events and I would do the real estate summit at sea, they had an investor summit at sea. So we did all that, right. And over the course of two or three or four years, I learned how to raise capital. And we built out this you know, this MHP fund and all this stuff. It took me four years to learn that. And what Russ Gray from the real estate guys would say he said, you need to collapse timeframes. So you find a who, who has already done something and can make your life easy. And so anyway, when Brandon called me, I referred him over to this other company and he like, you know, they got on a phone, I think it was that same day. And he texted me later and he said, dude, these guys are a game changer. And you know, so the point of all that is like, rather than him going and trying to figure out, like, how do I do this step? And how do I do this step? And how do I do this step? I just connected them with the who, who has an advisor and he’s going to engage them. And they’re going to save him a ton of money, even though they’re going to charge him money or save them a ton of money, they’re going to save them a ton of time. They’re going to save them a ton of headache. And that’s the example of a who, so it doesn’t have to be an employee. It could be an outside firm. That’s what I was getting at. It could be a marketing company. It could be a legal team. It could be an accountant.

You know, I had Casey Myers from Pro-Vision on the show a few weeks ago. He’s my, who, when it comes to saving taxes, you know, as he said on the show the best way to increase your income or your revenue is to save more of what you make and not pay it in taxes. So, you know, he happens to be my who. Here’s what I’m really trying to drive home here. I think a lot of times we get small-minded and it’s, you know, we become lone Rangers. I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine the other day. That’s actually, he’s one of the guys that’s in the couples mastermind. And, you know, we were talking about being lone Rangers. A lot of times we want to go at it alone. We think we can handle it all alone and you can, but the reality is if you want to go far and you want to go fast, you need to find a who.

This is the point that I really want to drive home that I’ve been you know, hearing and seeing a lot lately as real estate investors or investors in business, or even people that are looking to begin investing. We understand the value of investing a dollar in an asset. That’s going to bring us cashflow. It’s a language that we learned early on, you know, when we first started studying investing and everything else. So if I invest a $100,000 in a $500,000 commercial property, and I get $400,000 in debt on it, put a $100,000 of my own cash in it. And it brings, you know, after all the debt service and everything else, let’s say that it brings me $10,000 return. That’s a 10% return on my hundred grand. I’m pretty happy with that. If it brought me $20,000 or a 20% return on my a hundred thousand dollars invested, that’s a 20% cash on cash return. I’m pretty happy with that.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Our brain disconnects when we start thinking about investing in who’s, whether these are employees, whether these are vendors, whether these are consultants, whether these are attorneys, whether these are you know, accountant, I hear it all the time. Gosh they’re so expensive. Why are they so expensive? And what we really have to shift is what is the ROI on a who? So if I go out and I engage, you know, let’s just say that it’s January of 2022. And I decide that I’m going to hire let’s say a COO of a marketing company that’s going to help me, you know, grow my podcast, and help me reach more people. And we’re going to build a coaching platform, hypothetically. And so I go out and I hire a hundred thousand dollars a year position on January one. Now, number one, I’m not paying a hundred thousand dollars out the gate. It’s not like I’m paying this person a hundred grand up front. I’m paying them a hundred thousand dollars over 12 months. And so each month, you know, you’re paying him 80, whatever the number is, I think is 8,300 or whatever the math is, irrelevant. So you’re paying him X amount of dollars every month. And what we really need to think about when we start thinking, changing our mindset around again, when we think about investing in assets, we’re a hundred percent okay with investing in assets, we can calculate the return. We’re okay taking the risk. But when it comes to investing in assets, who are people, who are whose we have a harder time with that, and what I really want you to think about, and again, this is in every area. I want you to analyze this all the way around. If you’ve been thinking about hiring, you know, maybe a transaction coordinator, if you’re a realtor, if you’ve been thinking about hiring, you know, a personal assistant for that matter, and man, it’s going to cost me so much money, it’s going to cost me $60,000 to get a personal assistant.

Well, that’s true, but how much money are they going to save You by you being able to free up yourself 20 hours a week and go do something else. And so again, when we look at putting a hundred thousand dollars into a real estate asset, that’s going to bring us 10 or $20,000 a year, we’re totally cool with that. But when we look at investing a hundred thousand dollars into a person, all they really have to do is bring us a 10 or $20,000 return per year, for that to be a 10 or 20% return on our money invested in that who asset. We just don’t really think of people as who is. In fact, a lot of times we think of them as liabilities. And I think we need to shift that mindset. And again, I’m not going to go too far in the details on this. I think you get the principle around it, but if I go hire a HVAC technician, that’s costing me a hundred thousand dollars a year, but he’s billing me you know, $400,000 or $500,000 to the customer and we’re netting you know, I don’t know, let’s say we’re netting $80,000 or a $100,000 of that at the end of the day. That seems like a pretty dang good investment. I mean, there’s a hundred percent return on your money. So even if it’s bringing you $50,000, you know, net at the end of the year, that’s a great investment, 50% return on your capital. I mean, even if he’s only bringing you $10,000, we just don’t think about it that way.

We put all these KPIs in place. Like you got to do X, you got to do Y you got to do Z, but if we could really, and those are important. We need those, those have to be measurements. Cause we can’t only measure people based on money. So you got to have those KPIs in place, but as business owners, visionaries, dreamers, when we’re talking about who’s even, you know, an accountant, if I hire an accountant, it is going to cost me 50 grand a year, that’s a wealth strategist, they’re an accountant. They help me, but they also save me, you know, 50,000. And this is literally sometimes it’s a one for one thing they should pay for themselves. But even if I was going to spend 50 grand a year on a CPA, if they could quantify that

They could save me $10,000 a year, that’s a 20% return on my capital. So yes, we need KPIs and yes, we need all these measurements and yes, we need performance reviews and yes, we need to, you know, have regular conversations with our vendors and people in our who’s in life. But the reality is I think we need to really sit down and start quantifying what is the return on investment on people’s time in my life.

And here’s, what’s gets interesting too, because sometimes you can have a direct correlation to what that ROI is from someone’s time. But the next quantification is quantifying how many hours they’re freeing you up and what your hourly rate is worth. And then you could also compound that into your investment. So if I’m investing, you know, a hundred grand into someone and they’re literally bringing me another $10,000 or $20,000 or $50,000 or a $100,000 in business obviously you got to, you know, subtract your cost out of that and then get to the net. But if I’m paying them a hundred grand and they’re bringing me in a hundred grand of additional revenue and my margin is 10, they’re bringing me in another $10,000 a year. They’re bringing me a 10% return on my investment on them. But here’s what gets even more interesting if they’re freeing me up 10 hours a week and my time is worth $1,500 an hour or $500 or a $100 or whatever your time is worth. If my times were $1,500 an hour and they’re giving me 10 hours a week back in the sense of an executive assistant or whatever, whatever that might be a salesperson that’s taken over a sales role or raising capital or a marketing thing or whatever, if they’re saving me 10 hours a week and my hour, my productive average per hour is $1,500, that’s a lot of money. That’s $15,000 a week that person is making me by allowing me to go do something better and leveraging their time by finding a who and stopping to worry, like, how am I going to get all this done? We’re so overwhelmed. We’re so stressed and you couldn’t even quantify this. But the fact that a, who could come into your life and reduce stress in your life and, you know, maybe even give you another 5 or 7 or 10 years or a better quality of life, so you can travel with your family more. You can’t even quantify that.

So I wanted to dig a little bit deeper on the who, not how concept, like I said, at the end of the day go get the book. It’s an amazing book. The principal will blow your mind, but I think you can get the gist of it here. What I’m really trying to expose is the fact that We’re really, really good at getting a return on investment when it comes to assets, stock market, Bitcoin, gold, silver, real estate, whatever. But when it comes to people, we look at people a Lot of times, as a necessary evil, we have to have this person. We have to hire 10 more people because if we don’t hire 10 more people, we can’t hit our revenue numbers. And if we don’t hit our revenue numbers, then you know, we’re not going to be profitable. And that’s how we tend to think about people. When in reality, if we just looked at, okay, look, if I invest a hundred thousand dollars in this person or position, they’re going to bring me $10,000 a year, over 10 years, and that’s going to compound and continue to, you know, they’re going to get better and better. And they’re going to be able to free up more and more people. And I mean, the compound effect on people’s time is just huge. So we’re really good at looking at this when it comes to money, return on assets, return on time, all that kind of stuff. But when it comes to return on people there’s a little disconnect there.

So I hope that’s something that will cause you to go out and think in areas of life, where you need a who, whether it’s, you know, somebody to do laundry. So you have more time with your kids somebody to do laundry, so you can go on date night with your husband. Somebody to cook dinner for you. Kara and I literally just hired a person to bring us in meals three nights a week, and it’s been a game changer. Number one, she’s a great cook. She’ll do it the way, you know, the meals designed around the way that we want it. But it totally frees us up to. And one of the things that Kara would have guilt around is when we’d go on date night and I had a little bit of this too, but you know mom has a little bit more. When we go on date night. A lot of times the kids would, you know, they fend for themselves. Unfortunately, we have Uber eats and all that kind of stuff today, Postmates. But you know, we still, there was a little bit of guilt there. Like, hey man, every Thursday we don’t, you know, we don’t make dinner for the kids and our kids are older. It’s not like our kids weren’t eating. They’re older teenagers, actually. Two of them are out of the house now.

But anyway, the thing that I’m really getting to the point is like leveraging someone else to do something like that. Frees up stress in your life. I’ve heard so many times lately where people are like, oh yeah, we don’t have time for date night. We can’t do date night, too busy, too many kids, too much dinner, too much laundry, bad excuse. That’s a great example of where you need a who in your life.

And that’ll help you figure out how you can get more time with your wife or your husband and quit making excuses. So anyway, that was just a little example of how you can apply who not how into even your personal life. So again, I hope that helps. And I think you really should take some time and just think about that. Maybe make a list for yourself. You know, what areas could I begin to outsource, create some who’s in my life, who is the person? That’s the question you really got to ask, instead of saying, how am I going to get this done? Starts saying, who can I find that can help me get this done? Or who can I find that has the answer to this? How can I solve this problem  can be better answered with, who can I go talk to that already knows how to solve this problem.

So I’m grateful, grateful, grateful for Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy for writing this book. I’m super grateful for being able to coach under the man himself for a while. This concept totally changed my life along the way. I think I’ve been good at this you know, naturally for a long time realizing my, there’s not a lot of ego when you’re trying to do huge things, because when you know you can’t do it all yourself, you’ve got to set the ego down and really go find the people that can. So I had a concept of it, but coaching under the man himself really helped you know, hone this in and get clarity around it. And then the book who not, how has just totally transformed the way I think about this.

So you know, if you could, I would say, go find a who that could read the book for you, but you can’t. So go pick it up, see where you need some who’s in your life. Hopefully, that’ll help you level up and solve some problems in your world. Go make it a great day.


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