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Mark McGuire | Everybody Is A Lesson In Life

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Hosted by
Mike Ayala

On this episode of Investing for Freedom, Mike is joined by Mark McGuire. Mike and Mark discuss Mark’s early career and how he got to where he is now, the importance of maintaining your values as you become wealthy, rebuilding after failure, being a visionary, what type of people to keep in your life, and more!

“You are never too good to sweep the floors. When you’re the boss, when someone doesn’t show up for work it all falls on you.”

FIND | MARK MCGUIRE:

Email: mark@hfireholdings.com

HIGHLIGHTS:

0:00 – Intro
0:22 – When you find amazing people just go all-in on it
1:11 – Mark explains why his grandfather and his mom has had the greatest impact on his life
2:55 – A lot of laws that are meant to protect people, end up widening the gap
7:45 – Mark tells his greatest setback and what he learned from it
15:01 – You can build slow and steady over 30 years, but it really just depends on what you want
16:58 – Mike steers the conversation back to how Mark can have multiple successful businesses
21:56 – Mike asks Mark what the advice he finds himself sharing the most is
24:31 – “You can’t see it, until you can’t unsee it”
26:35 – When you watch someone’s thought process shift, it’s like the traffic on a highway clears and it moves so much faster
27:15 – So many people are the bottleneck in their own organization
30:38 – Mark gives insight into what he’s really focused on right now
33:10 – Mark tells Mike that everybody and everything in life is a lesson and explains how he filters out people he doesn’t want to be around
38:09 – Mark tells a story about a friend and how he was telling him about his journey and he ended up attacking Mark’s success
43:23 – Mike asks how Mark filters hiring/making relationships
46:26 – Mark is excited that he closed on his 6th storage facility and is spending a lot more time with his family after putting them aside for so long

FULL TRANSCRIPTION:

Mike Ayala: Thank you for joining me on the Investing for Freedom podcast. Today, we have a good friend of mine, Mark McGuire, and this guy, and I have had some great conversations over the last few months. What I really love about life, in general, is just getting to know new people. And what I’ve found recently is when someone’s reaching out to you or you’re reaching out to them, our time is so valuable. And so number one, we’ve got to protect that. But number two, when you find amazing people just go all-in on it. And so Mark and I have talked a couple of times and I’m like, dude, we need to do a podcast. And he’s like, I love podcasts. Let’s do it. And so Mark, thanks for showing up and adding value, man.

Mark McGuire: Absolutely Mike, it’s an honor man, really pumped and hoping to drop a couple of bombs. Knowledge bombs.

Mike Ayala: Not actual ones.

Mark McGuire: Not actual bombs today.

Mike Ayala: Well, let’s dive into the four questions we’re going to get right to it. You guys are going to be in for a treat today. Mark’s a high-energy guy. He’s done a lot of cool stuff. He’s actually working with, which I’ll let him tell this story when we get into it. But he’s working with another dear friend who was on the show a while back Sergio, and that show just was crazy. It went where I wasn’t even considering. So just the fact that you two work together, says a lot about both of you guys and I’m super excited to get into it. So Mark, who has had the greatest impact on your life?

Mark McGuire: Yeah. So the person that I would say that comes to mind immediately definitely was my grandfather. My grandfather was a real estate guy. They built RESPA laws for him because he had a hand in every aspect of real estate. But he’s had a huge impact and you know, how I think, and you know, he taught me to, he always used to have this saying where I make money when I sleep. And it was a joke when I was 17 and now it’s like my mantra. I want to make money when I sleep. But yeah, so my grandfather, and honestly, you know, at this point, like my mom has really had a big impact with who I am because my mom has been just an example of someone who just works their butt off and is incredibly hardworking, gifted at their job. But she works at a job that’s just tapped and I never wanted to be tapped. I always wanted to control my own destiny, control my own income and she crushes her job. And unfortunately, just, she doesn’t get to control her income and I just never wanted that to be me.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. Well said, what is RESPA laws just for our audience?

Mark McGuire: So RESPA is the real estate settlement procedures act where these real estate companies have all these vested interests and title companies and mortgage companies and insurance companies. And my grandfather at one point had five real estate offices, a tax practice, insurance business, title interests, and basically every facet of real estate, he was monetizing it. And the government has created rules and regulations to try to protect and inform consumers about the relationships that someone’s suggesting.

Mike Ayala: You know, what’s crazy. And I’m not saying that I agree or disagree with it either way, but I’ve found a lot of times too, that like, you know, a lot of times these laws that are meant to protect people actually like even just the, I’m going to go on a soapbox, but even the accredited investor, I get it. Like we want to protect them. But at the same time, like it just widens the gap for everyone. It’s so crazy to me. But anyway, I don’t know.

Mark McGuire: I totally agree. It’s like the accredited investor rule, like protects, I would call it cream puff deals that really would be phenomenal offerings to investors who maybe don’t meet that requirement. It just allows you to make money while going back to work. And you know, they are loosening it a bit. I will say that the government is loosening some of that. But you know, then when you loosen it, then some shyster comes in and lets you have it on the backend.

Mike Ayala: I literally just got off a podcast recording before this with my CPA. Who’s very smart and forward-thinking and yeah, I don’t know, I can almost get, you know what, and it’s not, those of us that take advantage of what the laws that the government put in place. We just, I’m not going to complain about it because it’s actually, you know, I’ve done very well. But the reality is I feel bad sometimes for people because the government puts these laws in place that restrict so many people from being able to take advantage of amazing things. So it’s interesting. If you could narrow it down to one thing that has had the greatest impact on your success, what would that be?

Mark McGuire: Honestly working for my grandfather while I played in a band professionally, I was the maintenance guy for 130 multi-family C-class apartments while I was playing in a band professionally. And we were touring the country and we were doing originals. So we weren’t playing covers. I’ll never forget the disparity of playing. We opened up for a band called the script which, you know, if you look up the script, you’ll know, play the songs, you’ll know six of them. And we played at this show in New York city, and then I went, that was on a Friday night. And then I went back to work on a Monday night or Monday plunging a toilet at a C class apartment building. And it was just like the most humbling experience where you were like at the top of the world and you could do no wrong. And then you were just like an average guy just plunging the toilet. So yeah, it’s been a gift, but I never wished to go back to that place.

Mike Ayala: What’d you learn from that?

Mark McGuire: Don’t be too, you are never too good to sweep the floors. You know, when you’re the boss, you’re the guy who has to, you know, someone that doesn’t show up for work and guess what it falls on you. And you know, one day you could be the King and then the next day, you know, you’re the peasant. And so treat everybody with respect just because, you know, you could be worth $5 million, $2 million, you can worth a hundred thousand dollars. You worth a billion dollars. It doesn’t matter. You’re still a human, you eat the same food. You go to the bathroom in the same place. And just be nice. Just be genuine to people because you just never know when you’re going to be asking someone for a hand and you don’t know when someone’s going to asking you for a hand. So just be genuine and be nice to people.

Mike Ayala: That’s so good. I remember one time you just reminded me, I was with my father-in-law having coffee and I was whining and complaining a little bit about this guy that I was working with, who was genuine an asshole. And he was also my boss. And anyway so I’m talking to my father-in-law about this and he’s like, well, you know the thing that, I’ve always number one, I mean, you know, you work for him, he’s your authority. You got to do what he says and be respectful. But my father-in-law said, you know, the thing that my grandpa taught me years ago is that guy puts his pants on the same way I do. And I’m just like, it was I’m like, what the heck does that even mean? But it’s like what you just said, like we’re all the same and you’re going to be on one side or the other. And it’s just the basic human, I guess, rule is just it’s respect.

Mark McGuire: Just be a decent person, man. It doesn’t matter whether you got a $1, a billion dollars, just be a decent person and decent people who have the billion dollars, you’re going to see a decent person who has $1. And they’re like, Hey, I like that guy. I want to help him. That’s it.

Mike Ayala: Well, I’ve thought about this so many times and I don’t even know where I first heard it, but the reality is like money doesn’t change you. It just magnifies you. And so you could have an that’s worth $10. And if he had a million or a billion, he’s still going to be a probably.

Mark McGuire: It’s just going to be a bigger asshole.

Mike Ayala: An asshole with money who controls a bunch of people.

Mark McGuire: There is nothing more terrifying than an asshole who has too much time and too much money. There’s nothing more terrifying than that.

Mike Ayala: I agree with that. I love it. What was your greatest setback and what did you learn from it?

Mark McGuire: Oh boy. So a couple of years ago. So before I got involved with self-storage, actually I still have a real estate team. And that was really my, technically my second business, my first business with the band. But my greatest setback was actually, I got too big, too fast and I didn’t understand the value of people and systems. And those are broad generalizations for a lot of complex steps in between. But my systems weren’t as good as they needed to be in order for my business to grow to the level, I felt it should grow to. And your systems are only as good as the people who implement them. So I didn’t have the right people in the right seats. And they could do things from a skill perspective, but culturally the place that they came from, and the place that I came from were two different places. So when you put it all together, while they might’ve had the capability to do what the job required, they weren’t coming from the same direction that I came from. And Mike and the rest of the people came from. So we just got to this place where the entire thing just came to a head and just combusted. And I watched this business that I’d built for, you know, five years basically just go up in smoke overnight. And I just, it just went up in flames. And I literally was like left in the ashes, kind of like looking around. And I had the grenade in my hand and my finger was on the pin. And I pulled the pin out, but kept the spring clip. And I was like, you know what? I don’t need this. I’m going to blow this whole thing up. I could just, I could throw this grenade and I don’t need it. I’m better than that. And from that, I didn’t let the spring clip go. I put the pin back in and I said, if I make this decision right now, it’s going to make me feel good today. But six months from now, I’m going to hate myself, because I’m going to say, you know what? You just blew up a good thing that was still there. There was still a skeleton that was left, and you just completely decimated it. So I put the pin back in the grenade. I put the grenade away and I had a level set conversation with everybody. And I said, guys, this isn’t what we want it. This isn’t how we envisioned it going, but we now know what we don’t want. So now we can build, got skinny, got intentional, and like build it back. And we’re on track to double where we were two years ago.

Mike Ayala: Wow. And that’s your real estate team? Is that, that business?

Mark McGuire: Yeah. So the real estate team is still in existence. I’ve basically brought on somebody else as part of my real estate team to, you know, into the ownership fold and have vested a couple of key people who have really made the growth possible. I realized in that moment who was loyal and who was in it to support the business, not just who was in it to make the most money, because I found when you attracted people with money, they left you for money. And I had to learn that lesson the hard way, but it’s still there. And I’m now backing out gradually from that. And on the day-to-day, I’m just doing more of the business management and some of the personnel and the business, like higher-level business items, but on the day to day it’s more a couple of key people in my organization that have been there through it all.

Mike Ayala: I love it. You know we can come back to this too if we want, but I have a guy that’s a dear friend of mine. He’s worked with me in multiple businesses. He’s been on the show before. His name is Tyler and he’s the CEO of our mobile home park company park place communities. And this guy has, he worked for me back in the day. And then he bought an insurance agency, and he owns mobile home parks. And he retired at the age of 32, I think, and then came to work with us as an operations guy at first. But now he’s the CEO. And I get asked this all the time. Like, we’ll be out on the golf course. And somebody’s like, what are you doing? And he’s like, I work for Mike. But then they find out that he owns insurance companies and mobile home parks. And I’ve heard this over and over and over. I’ve heard people ask him and I’ve heard people ask me the same question. Well, if you’re so successful, why are you working for Mike? And like, it’s just such a, so I’m listening to you. And I hear the same question, like, okay, well, and so you’ve got this successful team. So number one, how did you attract? Because like you said, if you hire somebody for a dollar, an extra dollar, they’re going to leave you for an extra dollar. So number one, question number one is how did you attract this guy? Cause you’re obviously out doing self-storage now and you’re partnered up with Sergio and Hearth Fire Holdings, right?

Mark McGuire: Yeah.

Mike Ayala: So you’re doing this thing, but yet you’ve got this other successful business, like blow their minds. Like how does that even possible?

Mark McGuire: Well, first of all, it comes from hiring the wrong people and finding who doesn’t work. So, unfortunately, spoiler alert you have to mess it up before you could find out how to do it right. I don’t know if you can skip that stage because at some point in the game, if you haven’t been through the stage to appreciate how, appreciate the development of the lens to assess the right fit, then you’re going to get there. It’s just a matter of like what stage in your scale process do you hit it. So who knows if you don’t hit it, like you’re a unicorn, congratulations. I’d like to meet you and tell me how you do it.

Mike Ayala: Well on that and I don’t want to detour you, but I agree. The majority of people that I talk to that are really successful and have done multiple businesses and ventures and they’ve blown something up. So I agree with you, like conceptually, I would say 90% of people that I talked to have gone through what you did, but I’ve also found recently, especially, you know, we’re in GoBundance together and there’s like a, you know, there’s a big surge of guys coming in and I’ve had a lot of amazing new conversations. I’ve had a lot of conversations lately with guys that are 45, 50, 55 years old. And they have very, very successful businesses that they’ve never blown up or almost blown up, but they’re not, they haven’t reached our potential either. And so I think the other side of that, I’m with you, I think you’re a hundred percent right. Most people that are young and aggressive and have done multiple wins and exits and everything else have had challenges. But I have been talking lately to these guys that, you know, they’ve ran their businesses for 30, 40 years, but this has never reached its potential. They’re doing a million dollars a year in revenue, you know, they’re profitable, but it’s just slow and steady. They’re bored. And so I agree with you. I think if you’re going to have any level of major impact and reach your full potential, you’re going to learn the hard way.

Mark McGuire: I totally agree. I mean, you can build slow and steady and build it to a large gross number over 30 years. It just depends on what you want, right? And I’ve actually learned this the hard way because I used to want this big monolithic thing where it was going to be huge. And you know, and there’s a lot of ego driving that. And a lot of ego attached to that. And then I was like, you know, I don’t care so much about how much I gross. I actually care about how much I net, cause I realized how much I was grossing and how much I was netting. There was a massive disparity. It was a giant sieve that just leaked out all this cash. And so I had no control over my expenses at the year that my world went into oblivion and I was like, gross, gross, gross, gross, gross. And then when push came to shove at the end of the year, I was like, I did all this gross. I like almost doubled my gross and I made 5,000 more dollars. And we’re talking gross like 250,000 to 500,000. Like it was astronomical the growth year over year. And it was just like a mind shift from like, how could I have made that much more money in theory, but like not really made that much money. And it wasn’t until I sat down with my accountant at the end of the year and was like, so my AGI adjusted gross income. And I was like, I just started laughing. Like, I was just like laughing incredulously at how I sacrificed my life for 5,000 more dollars. And I was like, I really got this whole thing wrong. Like I messed this whole thing up. I’ll just never forget. I was like, my account was like, I don’t understand what you’re laughing. I’m like, if only you knew.

Mike Ayala: Yeah, totally, totally. I kind of derailed you there. But so back to you know, you got this guy running your business and you said the way to not do it, like, how do you do that? Like how do you go on and work on something else and have this amazing team in place in place, what does that look like?

Mark McGuire: The key is to find people, you have to assess what values are important for you. So you can have multiple businesses when you leverage them correctly. I went to a Tony Robbins’ business mastery seminar, and I’m going to save everyone in here at $10,000 and give you the one nugget I took away that still sticks with me today. And he said, if you can’t figure how to raise one kid, don’t go have three more. And so as an entrepreneur, you go and say, Hey, I like built this business and it’s like, kind of functioning, but I’m like, I’m kind of bored over here. I haven’t really figured it out, but I’m kind of bored. So it’s like, you had your first kid, you like, they kind of grew up a little bit and then it was like, ah, yeah, that, kid’s kind of cool. He’s good. He’s going to figure it out. So like, I’m going to have another kid. Meanwhile, this kid is like off the reservation. Totally out of control, just throwing temper tantrums all over the place. And then you started the second kid. That’s also throwing temperatures because it’s an infant. It doesn’t know any better. So you have a toddler who should know better if it was parented correctly, but then you have an infant who doesn’t know any better. So your attention has to be on the infant. And so what I realized is I had a toddler, totally misbehaving, wasn’t taught correctly. And by that, I mean, I didn’t have the right people. I didn’t have the right systems. And so this was misbehaving, over here I’m doing this company, I’m doing this company and they weren’t companies. They were just like side projects. That seemed like a good idea at the time, until I realized my core business was absolutely fucked. So I got to a point where I scrapped everything, but the core business. And I said, okay, I’m going to figure the core business out. And I’m going to find, you know, I have to go back to my core people within my core business and make sure that we align and make sure that we are coming from the same place in the way we approach our business. And that is like the, you know, the core values and all that, you know, the business stuff that everyone talks about. And it’s like kind of and like, oh yeah, it’s just like, you know, business stuff that corporate wants to initiate just because it makes us feel good. It doesn’t make you feel good. It actually helps you hire qualified people who are going to stick in your organization. So that’s what we did. We went back to that and said, I want people who are long haul, team first, you know, value, wealth building that they, you know, do what’s best for the client, even if it’s not as best for them and really define those couple of things. And then we define what we did it well, people who were flashy, people who were you know, that joined for money because they left for money and people who, you know, it was, whatever the best net result for them was the best decision for them. And so when we really looked at those two things, you know, kind of pulling them apart, anybody else who comes to potentially be considered for organization, we put them up, we put that lens over top and say, where do they fall here? And since then I’ve had two hires and they’ve been phenomenal hires. And like, I’m not looking to hire people. People are attracted to who we are. It’s totally different ball rack, recruiting versus attracting. That’s my new game.

Mike Ayala: I love it. So you blew it up, you regrouped, how, like, tell me, did you just go like on top of a mountain for five days and came down with the plates on the manual? Or like, how did this evolve? You have a mentor, somebody teach you, you hire a consultant. What happened?

Mark McGuire: I journaled, I journaled for pages. I journaled all of my life lessons that I would take away from all of my mistakes. I summed them into one page and made 10 bullet points. And if it would be helpful, I’ll send it over to show notes.

Mike Ayala: So it kind of was like going up on the mountain and getting the 10 commandments.

Mark McGuire: Dude, I was in a dark place, man. I was like questioning five years in my life. I’m like, what was all this for? Cause I let my health go. My relationship was on the rocks on a good day, because my relationship was not a priority at all. And my wife tried to help bring it back into view. And I was just too far off the reservation and it just wasn’t until my whole business went up in smoke that all of a sudden, I was like, well, if I die, like they’re not going to be at my funeral. My wife’s going to be at my funeral. And then it was like, Oh, well, I should probably pay attention to that. Cause she like has given a shit and has been trying to help me the entire time. And I’ve just been casting her side. So it just really took me to get to a really dark place of like my ego was gone. Like I was not the superhuman, you know, rainmaking lead-generating behemoth that I thought I was in my mind and just was like, okay, it’s time to be, it’s time to reevaluate what’s important.

Mike Ayala: Wow. That’s powerful. Good stuff, man. What is the piece of advice you find yourself sharing the most?

Mark McGuire: So, I read a book that really changed, I can’t unread. The book is called Rocket Fuel and, in that book, and it’s a pretty short read. I mean, it’s like a must read for anyone who’s trying to start a business or who has a business. People naturally have, you know, there’s two skillsets. If you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re, you know, someone who wants to do a business, there’s two ways of like two essential roles that need to be filled in the organization. You have the visionary and then you have the integrator. And when I read that book, it really started to frame some things up for me that like I watched happen and then kind of like archived over the years, but I couldn’t articulate why. And it framed that up in a way that I couldn’t unsee it. And I was like, all right, so I’m kind of a visionary, but I can kind of flex integrator. But I really need an integrator because I can’t live in integrator. So it really helped me get intentional about like, who do I need in an organization to really level it up? Cause you need both. And without that, you’re just going to kind of go in circles or you’re going to keep the lid on your potential because by nature, your skill sets aren’t all the way integrator or all the way visionary. And you just want to play where you’re strong and stop trying to like work three times as hard to just get back to flat where your strong suits are.

Mike Ayala: You know, it’s interesting, even just back to the comment that I made about, again, agreeing with you 90%, 95% of, I think, 90% to 95% of those people that I was talking about that have blown their business up. They’re probably visionaries that didn’t understand they needed an integrator, but the other 10% that I was talking about that have, you know, plugged away in their business, they’ve done well for 40, 50 years. They’re probably an integrator that doesn’t have any vision. Which I’m a huge fan of Rocket Fuel and traction as well. We’ve had a lot of great conversations around it, but it’s funny just like personality tests, you know, like when you say you can’t unsee what you saw in Rocket Fuel, it’s the same with like personality types, right? Whether it’s disc or whatever, like the minute, like when you work with that long enough, the minute you see somebody who’s a high eye, like I just can’t unsee that. But same thing was like Rocket Fuel and traction. Like once you start going through that process, I love the way you said that you just can’t unsee it. It’s just like so ingrained in our thinking.

Mark McGuire: It’s challenging. Like you can’t see it until you can’t unsee it. Like, honestly, that’s the way it is. It’s like, and then like the things that, you know, I remember there was, the guy who was, you know, stepping up in my organization. I wanted him to kind of like be me, which is totally unrealistic and was totally wrong, like my thought process was wrong and I lean more visionary and I have this gap in my own skillset where I assume people see what I see. And so I would assume that he would see these things that was so crystal clear to me and he couldn’t see them. And so when I finally realized that his brain just doesn’t function that way, but there were things that were very crystal clear to him that I couldn’t grasp. It was just like this like sweet surrender of like, all right, you do that. And I’m going to do this and we’re just going to stay in our lane. And like, I hate that, and you hate this. So like, let’s just do our thing and we’re all going to have a better life. How about that?

Mike Ayala: That’s so good. And so many times, like, you know, we feel like I was literally having a conversation with a guy yesterday that’s in mine and Kara’s couples mastermind. When they’re in the mastermind, they get a call with us once a month and I’m talking through this and he’s like, he’s evolving into his visionary role. And I’m just so excited, like watching him do this yet, he’s going through all these same emotions that we went. And I just want to get your take on this. He’s going through all the same emotions, because once we, you know, you were just talking about the fact that we think people see things the way we do, but now he’s evolving into his visionary role and he’s feeling guilty and he’s feeling like, you know, like he’s leaving his integrator and like your integrator wants you to get the hell out of the way, but you know, you can’t like, you just got to go through the process. I mean, somebody can tell you 15 times, but until you get it, but it’s kind of fun watching other people go through it and have their visionary, like epiphany and journey. So thoughts?

Mark McGuire: I feel like it’s really amazing. If I’ve shared rocket fuel, once I’ve shared that book freaking 60 times, because it’s just totally evolved my thought process. And when you watch someone’s own thought process just shift and they start to value what they’re capable of. And then they start to leverage what they struggle with and their life just open. It’s just like the freaking traffic clears. And it’s just a fricking four-lane highway and there’s no one on it. And you just stay in your right lane and you let the other dudes stay in the left lane. And everyone just drives that much faster. It’s just like, it’s incredible. And the hardest part is getting people to let go, people are often the bottleneck in their own organization. And I was the bottleneck of my organization, frankly. I mean, I was this guy that was trying to like, you know, do everything. And what I realized was I couldn’t be in the business management side and the production side, because it takes different skill sets. And like, I was doing both things poorly instead of doing one really well. And so since I’ve just transitioned to doing one really well, like I know my schedule, I know my responsibilities. I know where my targets are that I need to hit to move us forward as a collective, instead of just trying to like spray a little here, spray a little here, spray a little here, and then I’m just coming in, like clogging up everybody’s workflow because I’m inserting myself and just creating an absolute mess for everyone. Visionaries are phenomenal roadblocks. Like they are the gift and the curse to growth in the organization.

Mike Ayala: I resonate with that so much. And I think, you know, even back to, you’ve got this other organization that’s running, you’ve got, I’m assuming an integrator there, and now you’re off doing some other things. I think when you say visionaries, like, I mean, we’re famous for this. Because when we don’t lean into our visionary role and we don’t move on to something new, different, higher, even if it’s in the same organization, it might be a new division. It might be a new, you know, clientele or whatever. We try to blow shit up because we get bored. And like literally like companies get to a point where you know, they’re good. And you know, we want 20%, 30%, 50% growth. And really like, you know, you get to a point where this machine’s buzzing and you were talking about, you’re only as good as the people, the systems are only good as the people who implement them. And you’ve got all this stuff that’s working right. When a visionary gets to a point where our child is grown, meaning like our business has grown and it’s like an adult and it’s functioning and it’s efficient. Like we’re looking for things that are broken. We’re always trying to make things better. And sometimes you just need to get the hell out of the way, as you were saying, that’s like how I feel about it.

Mark McGuire: I totally agree. It gets to a point where your involvement actually hampers the future. It hampers the growth. It doesn’t go and, you know, help it. Like your involvement actually holds, it holds the organization back. So you have to, you know, get it walking, get it talking, get it, you know, and hold the hand as it’s going through those phases. But at a certain point, just get the fuck out of the way, man. Like just gather away and let people do their job. Like, let people do what you hire them to do, because if you don’t trust them to do their job, you should probably fire them and go find someone else who you can trust. And then that’s like the whole conversation of right people, right seat. Like, do they know how to do it? Are they able to do it? And do they want to do it?

Mike Ayala: Yeah. Yeah. So good. I love it. You were talking earlier before we started recording about, you know, just, I’m not even going to try to paraphrase the way you said it, but just basically doing life with amazing people. Let’s talk about that. Cause I was like, so what are you really focused on right now?

Mark McGuire: So I’m focusing on only dealing with people that I genuinely enjoy being around. And like, that’s not like on a Friday night, Saturday, Sunday, or, you know, on a social basis. Like this is on an all day, everyday basis. If you’re good at your job, but you’re an asshole. I’m going to find somebody else who’s good at their job who is great to work with. I don’t need any more assholes in my life. There’s plenty of assholes in the world right now. I don’t need to patronize. I really just want to do work with good people because then you enjoy it. And then like, no, one’s yelling at people. I mean, things will get tense. You know, mistakes will happen, and you’ll be frustrated. They won’t always go as you intend, but if it goes poorly and then someone’s an asshole about it, that experience is that much worse. So I really try to surround myself with good people in all aspects of life, personally, professionally. And if someone is great at what they do professionally, but they’re just terrible as a human, like I’m at a point in my life where I’m like, you know what, I’m going to go work with someone who maybe isn’t quite as good at what they do, but they’re just genuinely okay. And they’re a joy to be around and that’ll be my bridge until I get where I really want to go and find the person that I ultimately want to work with. It’s just, life’s too short, man. Like it’s too short to be upset. It’s too short to be miserable. It’s too short to work with people who suck.

Mike Ayala: I think a lot of people fill that Mark. I want to dive into this a little bit because you’re in the middle of it and I resonate a hundred with everything you’re saying. My wife always says there’s actually a sticky note on my mirror that showed up like six months ago. And it said, if the energy exchange isn’t equal, I don’t have room for it. And I’m just like, wow. Like this is just totally like brought into words. Cause you know, sometimes you’ll be like, dude, that guy’s just kind of a Dick and you just, you know, you’re like, am I being just ego or what? But when she repositioned it to like energy, if the energy exchange, if I’m not, if I’m putting more energy and effort into a relationship than somebody else’s, I don’t have time for it. So anyway, I want to dissect this from your perspective. So I think a lot of people feel and believe what you’re saying, entrepreneurs, business owners, even coworkers at work, which they don’t have a lot of control over that. But how do you build that into an ecosystem? Is it just like filtering people out as they come? Is it like filtering it out before they come? What does this look like for you?

Mark McGuire: Everybody in life is a lesson. Everything in life is a lesson, everybody and everything is a lesson. A lesson of what you want, lesson of what you don’t want, a lesson of who you wish to become or a lesson of who the hell you never want to be. My grandfather always used to joke with me only pick up my good traits and I’m like, thanks, don’t appreciate that. That’s not a joke by the way. So as it relates to people and energy exchange, if I find someone to be toxic, man, like it’s so important and crucial to like preserve your mind space and your mind share. And if people are toxic, like, dude, I’m just so quick to be like, I’m done with you. Like I’m not going to interact. I don’t care what happens to you. And maybe that makes me cold and awful as a person. But like, if you’re just bringing bad vibes because you’re existing in my ecosystem, like that’s bringing me down and I care too much about what I want to do for everybody else that if you’re bringing me down, I’m bringing everybody else down. So if someone’s just got bad vibes, I do that. I’m like, see you later. I’m done. I clip them right out, man. And I’m not forgiving with that. And I mean, I’ve been at it with my parents where I’m like, you know, there’s certain people in my life I’ve cut out. And my mom and my dad are like, you’ve known them for forever. Like how can you cut them out? I’m like because they don’t want in their life what I want for mine. And I watched this documentary with Jimmy Ivy, it was on the history of Beats and when he was working with Dr. Dre and they talked about one of his gifts is that he just continually shed the people who pulled him back to molt into the new version of who he needed to be, to grow into where he wanted to go. And I forget the name of it, it was on HBO. Like, look it up. It’s Jimmy Ivy in HBO documentary. It’s phenomenal, there’s a quote in there that says, let fear be your tailwind. And I have let fear be my tailwind my entire life. Cause I’m so afraid to understand what life is like unfulfilled. I’m terrified.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. That’s such a good point. As you were saying that too. I think most people are scared or fear is like a headwind, right?

Mark McGuire: Fear drives me man. Fear fuels me. I never know, I’ve never grown up without being able to, you know, wondering where my next meal comes from. And I know people who have, and I never want that for me, for my friends, for my family, I will go way out of my way to make sure anyone that I care about is forever okay. Like I will work 18 hours. I will. I don’t care because none of them that I care about is going to be without.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. It’s interesting. Cause my coach has been working with me for, I’ve been working with this guy for a bit and I love, I really enjoy working with them. It’s more about me. It’s not a business coach or anything, but he talks about, and I’m just seeing this the way that you said that. So he talks about a way goals and most of us are really good about talking about, you know, like when we say I want something or I want to be this type of person or whatever most of us are like, okay. So why do you really want that? Well, I don’t ever want to have to worry about this and I don’t ever want to have to do that. And so it’s a way goal. And then we need to reposition that to toward goals. Like I want to be a giving person. I want to be generous. I want to be a great friend, toward goals. But when you’re saying fear has been a tailwind, it flips that because most people fear is a headwind, which actually keeps us from moving forward. But we’re scared of, you know, all the things that we don’t want in life. But you flip that for me. And I really appreciate the visual because fear being a tailwind and I’ve said this. So when I left at 24 years old and started our first business with three young children, my wife had just had our third. This was the question my wife’s like, so are you feeling good about this? Like she had total peace. I did. And I literally thought to myself, I’m like, well, what’s the worst thing that could happen. I have to go back there. Like I have to go back to my $22 an hour job. Like that was, it wasn’t even that fear was a tailwind for me, but you’re repositioning it for me a little bit because I don’t, it’s not even really about going, but I just don’t even see myself going back there. But I think most people fear is a headwind. I think that’s the big, most people don’t do anything because they’re scared. And you’re like, screw that. Like fear’s a tailwind. I love it. It’s pushing you.

Mark McGuire: And I don’t want to take any credit for fear is a tailwind. And that is totally Jimmy Ivy. That dude is far more intelligent, far smarter, far wealthier than I am. But I’ll tell you, like, I heard that I wrote that in my journal the next morning and I haven’t been able to unhear it. And so, you know, I look at it and say, I don’t ever want to be in that place. So whatever I have to do. And you know, when I say whatever I have to do, I’m not going to step, I’m not a step on people to get where I want to go kind of guy. Like that doesn’t make me feel a little bit inside. I want to collaborate to get where I want to go. I want to pull people up with me, but whatever you got to do to get to that place on a moral, legal, ethical stance, like dude, that’s what it’s going to be. And I think most people want to get to see people in a certain place, actually just had a really good friend of mine, I wasn’t going to tell the story, but I’m going to tell it now because one of my closest friends, you know, I was kind of talking through some things with him and kind of telling him about my journey. And we were talking about you know, just where, you know, the evolution and, you know, he lives, you know, he moved in central Pennsylvania and you know, he’s just like he and I were like Frick and Frack. We were neck and neck, and he was a couple of years older than me, but super motivated, super talented. Like he could sell ice cubes to an Eskimo, just a genuine relationship builder. He would kill it in sales, in any way in any job he could sell it. And you know, he’s like just been the dad on the spot. I mean, just been a phenomenal father, phenomenal husband, and, you know, had some challenging life situations with his kids. And you know, he’s just been forced to pivot. And so I was over his house. He come home and he said some stuff that was just like, he like basically attacked my success and I’m like, dude, out of anybody I know, how the fuck can you attack me? Like, you know, where I’ve been, you know, the sacrifices I’ve made to get to where I am. And I was like, it’s like one of my closest friends going up like would have been my best man in my wedding if I didn’t have a brother. And so I remained curious instead of doing the first thing I wanted to do, which is to say, how dare you fucking say that to me? And I just remained curious, and this was like 2:00 AM we’re talking, white claws were involved, but it wasn’t enough where it was substantial where I think it would have impeded total progress. But you know, we had a really powerful conversation. And since then, like, he’s totally just like he had a mind shift and it’s just got his wheels going. And I just talked to him two days ago and he was like, thanks for letting me be jealous of your success and thanks for not yelling at me and just allowing me to be angry so I could get curious enough to figure out how I could be better. And I was like, that’s what it’s all about. Like, that’s it.

Mike Ayala: That’s so good, man.

Mark McGuire: Like that was one of the coolest things that’s ever happened in my life. And like talk about impact. Like I was like, I was so pissed. I was so angry in that moment. And I just bit my tongue and said, there’s something more to this than what I understand right now. And I just remained quiet and curious.

Mike Ayala: That’s so good, man. I’m thinking back to years ago, I hadn’t even thought about this statement for, I don’t even know how long, but there’s probably 20 years ago. This guy made this comment and he said, most broken relationships are just misunderstandings. And then like what I’m hearing too. And I just want to, I like honor you for a second for leaning into that. Something flipped in my head. And so number one, you love this guy. And so you knew there’s something off here, right? But what flipped in my brain and I’ve learned this the hard way. We also have to be really careful. Like if there’s not a deep love in a relationship, we have to be really careful about the advice and the comments and the input that we give. Because when he said that to you, you leaned into your feelings and curiosity and love around him. But if he was just some guy off the street like that probably maybe wouldn’t have, well, maybe you wouldn’t have even cared, but the reality is like most broken relationships are just misunderstandings. And when you said that, like that just brought that back to my mind. I haven’t thought about it for years. And so I just honor you for the way you pulled through that and the lesson on the other side of it, because now look at where he’s at.

Mark McGuire: Dude the outcome is like, I would take 10 times the pain if I knew the outcome on the other side was going to be what it’s going to be. I mean, it’s just like cool to see his breakthrough and what that’s, you know, it’s not settled yet, but it’s just like his, just the tweak in his mindset and what that’s going to do ultimately for his family and just his overall happiness. I’m like, dude, that’s the impact I want to have in this world. Like helping people like that, like that is cool. I mean like doing that for people, man, it’s just phenomenal.

Mike Ayala: Okay. I got about five minutes left. We could probably go all day here, but so question that I want you to answer and then we can talk about whatever you want. I know you guys are working on a lot of great stuff right now. But here’s my question for you. So back to, you know, the people that are in your sphere, how do you, I know none of us are perfect. We can never make a perfect hire. We can never make a perfect partnership, but how do you filter that on the front end? Because we talked about, you know, if somebody is already around us, if they’re already in our world and they’re going to be an asshole, they don’t get to stay, but how do we to the best possible, cause I know nobody’s perfect. How do we filter that on the front end?

Mark McGuire: Having a clear understanding of what you value, what is critical to the success, to the success of your vision. If something, you know, requires a sprint and it’s like monetized and it’s going to require 12 months of just pure brute force. And that might be one person. There could be a whole another one where, you know, in the real estate game and even with and you know, our self-storage operation that we’ve been building out, you don’t really get paid any real money for three, four, five years. So if you think you’re getting some, get rich quick scheme. Like dude you got another thing coming. So I would just say like having crystal clear understanding of your non-negotiables of your company, like what are the things that your employees value and they better all value it. Whether you are the CEO or you are the janitor, you better all value these certain things. And it’s only like three or four things, but you have to go from a list of a hundred to get to three or four. And that’s only the person, only the leadership team at the top can set that. So it’s when you have that clarity, you will find the right people on the front end. And I mean, look, you’re going to make bad hires. I have a book of them, but the people who thinks that like there’s some magical thing of hiring, the people who have hired more good talent, have just hired a lot more bad talent. That’s it, that’s really all it comes down to.

Mike Ayala: That is good.

Mark McGuire: They’ve just been screwed by a lot more people. They’ve just had a lot more people come and take them for what they had and then leave. And if you think you’re exempt, I mean, maybe you are, God bless you. I’d love to meet you. Cause you were once again a unicorn, but anyone I know who’s really successful has had, who’s been screwed. Who’s had people go back on their deal. Who’s had people, you know, steal. Who’s had people cheat. Who’s had people lie. And like it’s the people who go and build something great are the ones who choose to be the beacon on the Hill and say, Hey, you know, I’m going to shine no matter what.

Mike Ayala: I love it. I love it. So what are you excited about? Let’s bundle this up and put a bow on it. What are you excited about right now?

Mark McGuire: I’m excited about the fact that my, we just closed today on our sixth storage facility today. We’re at over 150,000 square feet now. And I’m actually taking this call from one of our self-storage operations offices. I just had a guy come in here to pay his rent. I’m like, I don’t really do this, but here’s the receipt. And the other thing I’m really excited about is like, I’ve been spending a lot more time with my family and I have put my family to the side. They have been so patient and that includes my wife, my mom, my dad, and my brother and my sister. I’m like doing, I like went fishing five times in two weeks. I haven’t gone fishing five times in two years. Like all of a sudden, I’m just doing a little bit more for me. So it’s really cool to, you know, have gone through that whole like, mess that was 2019, rebuild it back with the right people, with the right attitudes, with the right values and come out on top and people are like, dude, don’t take off. Like, you’ve worked your ass off, go do something for you. And it’s like, my people who are pushing me out. That’s cool. That’s the right hire.

Mike Ayala: That’s awesome. I love it, man. So you’re going to share your 10 things with us. Is that what you said? You willing to do that?

Mark McGuire: Oh, dude, for sure. I got to dig it up, but I will gladly send, I’ll send the journal entry that I wrote. I also wrote another journal entry that was some of the values that I had that are people that I would want in my company. If that would be cool, I took a couple of photos of both of those things.

Mike Ayala: That’d be amazing. Yeah, so if you want that, just text me the word TEN to (480) 531-7519. And I’ll get that over to you and make sure that we get you connected with Mark as well. Mark, if people want to find you what’s the best place.

Mark McGuire: Yeah. So mark@hfireholdings.com. That is the best way to reach me. Email is kind of my thing, Best way. I have socials and stuff like that, but I really don’t use it a whole heck of a lot. I try to avoid it as much as possible.

Mike Ayala: Well, yeah, if you want to have a conversation with Mark, just reach out to him and email there and you guys are raising capital, not currently, but you guys are always kind of looking and you’re acquiring self-storage, right?

Mark McGuire: Yeah. So we’re acquiring self-storage facilities in Northeast Mid-Atlantic and you know, if you know anyone who owns any self-storage facilities in those areas and or anyone who wants to, you know, invest passively as a limited partner you have to be accredited, but you know, we’re always building out the bench of people who want to join us.

Mike Ayala: Very cool. And you’re partnered up with Sergio Altomare who was on the show, I don’t know, probably 10 or 12 episodes ago. And go back and listen to that too, cause phenomenal team that you guys are putting together. So you two are a great combination. I love it.

Mark McGuire: Yeah, no, he’s a great dude. It’s been a blast so far, man. It has been a journey.

Mike Ayala: That’s cool. Yeah. Well, thanks for coming on the show and being so open and transparent. I don’t know. We got into a lot of good stuff, so probably have to have you back at some point.

Mark McGuire: I’ll be glad too.

Mike Ayala: Cool. Thanks Mark.

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Episode 133