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Mindset & Money | One Connection Away From Achieving Our Dreams

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Hosted by
Mike Ayala

On this episode of Investing for Freedom, Mike talks about the importance of building relationships. Mike explains that we are always just one relationship away from achieving our goals and that oftentimes “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Enjoy!

“What’s keeping you from going to where you need to go is a relationship. I guarantee you, it’s a relationship with someone that is going to have what you need.”


0:00 – Intro
0:53 – There’s truth to the saying that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know
2:30 – We’re not great at building authentic genuine relationships
5:53 – Mike hired people who are smarter than him, which helped him grow
7:00 – Using the coaching company, Mike went from a profitability margin of 6-8% to 18-20%
10:16 – If it took someone 10 years to learn something, they should be able to teach you that information in just a one-year mastermind
13:08 – What’s keeping you from getting where you need to go is a relationship
13:43 – In the next 12 months, what is it I want to accomplish? Narrow it down to 3 things
14:33 – Who do I need to become to accomplish these things?
15:53 – Who do I need in my life to help me get there?
23:23 – Chet Holmes talks about putting together a list of his dream 100 clients, but what if you put together a list of dream people?
25:16 – If you’re interested in the marriage mastermind, text the marriage to (480)-531-7519


Thank you for joining me on the Investing for Freedom podcast. Today, I’m going to share with you what I believe is the one thing that all successful people have in common. And this is what it is. I believe that successful people are really good about getting strategic people and relationships in their lives. You’ve probably heard that saying it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and I believe there’s a lot of truth to that. But I’ve never really liked the ring of that because you know, it kind of devalues what you know, and I don’t think that that’s necessarily true. I do believe that part of success is what you know. But driving this home, I do resonate with what the core of that saying is actually coming at. I mean, if I had to pick my knowledge and experience over my network and my relationships, I would take network and relationships all the time. But the reality is you know, what you bring to the world in value, in conversation what you have to teach, the skillset that you have, whether you’re a doctor, you’re a lawyer, you were a plumber, like I was by trade. It is about what you know because people are wanting to trade your time or your product or whatever your experience is for something that they need. And so what you know is important, but again, I think who you know is much more important, and again, I think that’s the one thing that you could, if you had to narrow it down to success in most people’s lives, it really comes down to their network and their relationships within that network.

Now, that being said, I don’t think that just because you have a big Rolodex, or you have 11,000 people in your CRM that doesn’t make you successful. I mean, how you nurture those relationships, how you show up and add value in those relationships. That’s what matters. And I really, I really want to get you guys thinking about this because I think if there’s one thing that you really had to key in on your life, the majority of us are not great at this. We’re not great at building genuine, authentic relationships. And I heard a statistic at one point in time that basically said that we can have like 120 relationships within our life at any given time. And, you know, in this day and age with social media and the tech that we have, and the ability to, you know, use our CRMs, I’m not saying that we can have 1,000 or 10,000 authentic relationships and go deep with them. But we are at an advantage that, you know, people in the previous times have been in that. I think we can manage relationships better. And so, here’s a couple of things that I want you to really take away from today.

Have you ever heard the saying when the student is ready, the teacher will appear? So, I’m going to ask you guys a series of questions. And again, I would argue that what separates you from where you currently are today and where you want to be, or where you want to go, whether that’s a career target, whether that’s a dollar figure of net worth, whether that’s a cash flow figure of net income for the year, whether that’s increasing revenue within your business by X, I don’t care what the target is. I’m going to argue for a second, that it’s probably someone or something in your life that you need to get there, right? Can we all agree that you need to leverage something that you’re not currently leveraging in order to grow and gain? And I’ll take it a step further. Somebody has who, or somebody has what you need. And so, no matter what, even if it’s a tangible product, you know, it’s a service that we need, or it’s a certain product line that we need to get you know, our hands on it at a cheaper rate in order to grow our construction company, whatever it is, someone has that something that you need.

And so again, I think no matter how many times we went around this, I think what this really comes down to is human resource. And I’m not talking about the HR department, but human resource relationships are really what we need to focus in on life. And so, here’s some, a couple of questions that I have for you. If everything you need, someone else has, like I said, a product, a service or whatever maybe you could get that directly from them and you need somebody to introduce you to them. Or maybe someone has the knowledge and information. I’m big on coaching and mentoring. Kara and I spend a lot of money and we always have, I mean, when I was 24 years old and we started our first company, we spent a lot of money. This is no joke. Within probably two or three months of starting our first business. We brought in a consulting company that cost us $130,000. And they came in for six weeks and they helped us with our processes. They helped us with our accounting processes. They coached us along the way. Literally, a guy would come in Monday through Friday and be in our business, helping put systems and processes in place. And, you know, you’ve heard me tell the story about being on the Inc fastest-growing companies in America list in 2009 and double-digit growth every year. And we basically went to over a hundred employees. Listen, you don’t scale companies like that at the age of 24 with no degree in college. No, I was a plumber by trade and yes, I was a good leader in the field and yes, I became a good leader in the office. I became a good organizational leader, but what I really did is I hired people who were smarter than me. And that’s why I’m so big on coaching and mentoring.

Quick story in 2006, I believe it was we had done a couple of furnaces because again, our company was primarily plumbing. And then we brought in an employee who became kind of a, in Nevada, it’s called the qualified employee. So, he went and got our state licensing around HVAC, heating ventilation, air conditioning. And so, I think in 2006, maybe we did like $10,000 of furnace and air conditioning replacements, and little, very little service. And then you fast forward the next year we hired a coaching company called business development resource that really helped us build out our service department on the HVAC side and helped us go from basically zero in revenue to almost $800,000. Just in that one little HVAC division, we went from zero to $800,000 the next year in service and replacement revenue.

Now, you know, some companies would love to do that kind of revenue just on their own, but that was just our HVAC service department. And then we continued to grow that. And by the way, using this coaching company, we also went from an average profitability of 6% to 8% back then in our service departments to producing 18% to 20% margins just by following their coaching and guidelines. Here’s the thing, I could have bought a manual, but I didn’t need that. I needed human resource. We actually hired coaches that came in and I think we worked with BDR for four or five years. They basically, they provided us with three coaches. I had a general manager coach. My service manager had a service coach and then our accounting team had an accounting coach. And that team of coaches worked together with us and it costs us about 50 grand a year to run this, this coaching program. And again, I think we did it for five or six years. Mike, you’re crazy spending that kind of money. Listen, if you want to take any, anything in your life to the next level, you’ve got to be prepared to invest in it.

And so, let me bring this back to the core conversation here. So, I’m going to argue that it’s someone that you need in your life. And just bringing it back to the reason why I brought up all those coaches, Kara and I, when I first started talking about wanting to launch the podcast and starting to build my personal brand and just share my voice and message with all of you guys, I didn’t even know where to start. And there’s so much stuff, you know, you can go download Pat Flynn’s, you know, start a podcast. And it does a pretty good job. And in fact, I did download a lot of that, but I took it a step further through a series of events, the who that I needed in my life, Chris Harder, he showed up and wife had actually met his wife and got connected through a couple of other people.

And that’s what I’m really getting at. Someone knows someone who knows someone who knows someone that has the experience and the program and the mentoring that you need. And by the way, as a side note, I’ve been getting asked this a lot lately, like Mike, what’s the end game of Investing for Freedom? Are you going to go, you know full into coaching and all this stuff? No, I have, that’s not my core business. As you know, my core business is real estate investing. We do a lot around the manufactured housing and the affordable housing spaces. We have a fund around that. We have investors that invest with us, and by the way, if you’re an accredited investor and you’re interested in our fund, just go ahead and shoot me an email at And just say, interested in learning more about your passive income fund. I don’t spend a lot of time talking about that here because this isn’t my primary avenue. We nurture and develop our relationships with the majority of our investors. You know, direct through groups and events that we participate in and all that. But there’s probably people out there listening right now that do need access to passive income, and they’re a high net worth, you know, business owner. You know, maybe you’re a doctor, you’re a lawyer, you’re a successful business owner and you want to just stay focused on what you do. That’s what we help people do. And so, if you are an accredited investor, just reach out to me, shoot me an email and tell me you want to hop on a call and discuss it. It would not be fair to you if I didn’t at least mention that every once in a while.

And so, bringing this back, I met Chris Harder because I wanted to build out my personal brand. And again, my wife through a series of other people that knew him, introduced me to him. I applied for his mastermind and we invested a lot of money in our growth last year. And it’s really helped me collapse timeframes. One of my mentors, Russ Gray is always talking about collapsing timeframes. And if you just think about that, if it took somebody 10 years to learn something, and then you team up with them, they can teach you the majority of the tips and tricks that they learned in 10 years. If you collapsed that those 10 years, if you stacked them on top of each other, instead of having a vertical run of 10 years, and you just took each year and stacked it, and you took the best information from those 10 years, and just look through that lens, instead of being 10 years tall, you could get everything that they know, well, not everything that they know, but the things that they collapsed or brought down to the most important, you know, 10 fundamentals that helped you do XYZ. You can learn all that in one year being in a mastermind like I was with Chris Harder. Of course, Chris can’t teach me everything that he knows, but he was able to teach me quite a bit about the things that mattered in a one-year timeline.

So that’s what I’m really getting at about human resource and nurturing your relationships. And again, as a side note, don’t underestimate what investing in yourself and where you want to go can get you because I can guarantee you, yes, you can buy a book. Yes, you can read it and learn almost anything today by yourself. YouTube is full of it, but the people who are successful, the thing that they have in common is the relationships. And by the way, I’ve said this before many times, it’s a thing we also call pay to play. Not only are you buying into the room and the knowledge and the understanding and whatever program that you know, you’re signing up for. You’re also getting to meet the relationships that are going to be in that room. More peers, just the peers that are in the room.

In most of these masterminds that I’ve been in, have a ton of answers that you’re going to find just from your peers in there. And then as you go to the leader of a mastermind, like let’s say Chris Harder, any time that I actually have a challenge or a problem that I can’t solve, and I don’t have that connection, I just have to reach out to him. And he’s probably got the connection. We were just on a Zoom call today, which is part of Chris’s coaching program. What an amazing, amazing call that we get once a month. And the one today was just mind-blowing. I took so many notes they probably thought I wasn’t paying attention to the Zoom meeting, because my mind was just getting blown. And so, I have access to Chris’s relationships too, by the way, as a side note, if you’re like sitting here saying, well, Mike is Mike pitching to Chris. No, if you want an introduction to Chris and you think that, you know, he’s got a couple of different levels of masterminds. If that’s something that you’re interested in building your personal brand, building your network, understanding how to build a personal brand, launch a podcast, build a brand online, build a community online, his fast foundations or the elite level mastermind could be a good fit for you. But no, that’s not what I’m here. Yeah, I love everything I got from Chris, but I’m not here to pitch that. I’m here to tell you that whatever room you need to get in, what’s separating you. What’s keeping you from getting to where you want to go. Whether that’s a revenue number, whether it’s a new business idea you want to launch any of that, what’s keeping you from going to where you need to go is a relationship. I guarantee you, it’s a relationship with someone that is going to have what you need.

So, let me ask you these questions. If you’re driving, you obviously can’t do this. Come back to this, but I want you to literally sit down and write these questions out. So, in the next 12 months, what is it that I want to accomplish? And it could be in multiple areas. You know, it could be in your personal life. It could be around work. It could be your W2 job. It could be your investment portfolio. It could be quitting your job. I don’t care. It could be becoming a better father, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. So, what do I want to accomplish in the next 12 months? And I’m not talking about a list of 50 things. If you just narrowed it down to, you know, the top three things that if you got to the end of 2021, and you only had three things that you accomplished. And if you want to focus on one, do it. One’s enough. But what are the one to three things that looking forward at the end of 2021, if you achieve these one, two, three things, you would call 2021 a success. Write that down. What do I want to accomplish in 2020?

Then, here’s the next question. Who do I need to become in order to accomplish these one, two, three things? Because again, as you’ve heard me say so many times, unless you’re new to the podcast, we always focus on, you know, what we need, what relationships we need what five new friends do I need to hang out with in order to increase my average. But I’m constantly asking the question, who do I need to become in order to get in that room with those five people, or if I want to become someone like a new version of myself, I want to start a new business, or I want to increase my portfolio 10X in the next year or two years or whatever, who do I need to become? And that could be around education. It could be changing my mindset. It could be literally; you know who do I need to become to get into certain types of rooms. It could be any those, so who do I need to become in order to accomplish that one to three things? And if you wrote down three things, that might be the same thing, maybe you need to become more confident. Maybe you need to network more. Maybe you need to drink less because when you drink too much alcohol in community events, then people don’t take you serious. I don’t know. I don’t know what any of that is, but who do you need to become in order to accomplish those one, two, three, three things?

And here’s the important question. Even probably the most important. Who do I need in my life to help me get there? Here’s an example. So, if you’ve been listening, then you know that Kara and I are doing a marriage mastermind, we’re going to take 10 couples in 2021. And we’re doing this because number one, it’s been something that’s been on our heart for a while. Nobody’s perfect, but we feel like we’ve got a pretty strong marriage. We’ve been married for 21 years. Our children are amazing. We’ve worked through some pretty good stuff. We’ve also got some tools in our lives, things that we’ve learned that we want to share. And so, we’re taking 10 couples into a marriage mastermind through 2021, but listen sometimes, and there’s nothing wrong with this. And if this rubs you wrong, then I encourage you to just step back and just think about what about it rubs you wrong. But sometimes you do things, and you should do things that energize you. So, like us doing a marriage mastermind with 10 couples, that’s something that energizes us, and we’re excited about. We’re only going to take 10. And by the way, if only five people want to sign up, that’s fine. We’ll take five. It doesn’t matter. We’re not doing this, You know, we’re not full-time coaches, we’re not doing this as, you know, our only source of income, etc., etc., we’re doing this because we’re passionate about it number one.

But also, the things that we’re going to be doing in this couple’s mastermind group are things that we want to do. We’re doing a goal-setting retreat at the end of January, probably the beginning of February, actually. And then we’re going to have monthly calls where we get together. And we track certain things for each couple in each relationship. And then we’re going to do a couple’s bucket list, adventure, which has all the things that Kara and I would want to do with amazing couples. And just imagine being with, you know, 10 amazing couples through the year growing together. And like I said before, the peers that are in the room, you get just as much out of the peers as you do the people leading it, sometimes more. I’m excited for the group that we’re going to put together. So anyway, bringing this back to the question, who do I need in my life to help me get there? The reason why I’m bringing that up is it could be an example. So if you guys are saying, if you find yourself saying, you know, I want to work on my marriage next year, I see these power couples that are out there just doing amazing things. They’re on the same page. It seems like they’ve got it all together, which by the way, they don’t because we all have challenges. And that’s why we need peers to, you know, help us get through those. But if you guys want to grow as a couple, this could be an example. And so the, who do I need in my life to help me get there, if you’ve been, you know, you have a great marriage, by the way, this marriage mastermind is not for, we’re not doing couples counseling, we’re not counselors, we’re not therapists. Any of that. These are for couples who want to take their relationships to the next level. You’ve already got a pretty good relationship, but you just want to work on that. Maybe it’s in finance, maybe it’s in business. Maybe it’s aligning around, you know, just your love languages, maybe it’s you know, growing together as parents. I don’t know what all those reasons would be, but we’re going to assemble a group that is amazing. And so, when you ask that question, who do I need in my life to help me get there? This could be an example for that.

There are so many ways to think about this. The one that I brought up with Chris Harder in Fast Foundations. I mean, if you really want to work on building your personal brand, which by the way, literally the Zoom call that we were on today, the guy that was on there said something that’s resonated with me for the last couple of years. If you’re not building your personal brand, you’re going to get left behind because the day and age that we live in, you can’t live behind the scenes and everybody should be working on building their personal brand. And I’ve been saying that for a couple of years, and that’s what finally got me moving. And yes, you’ve got something to say and you have value to add. We are all here for a purpose. We all have a reason. We all have a gift, and you should get moving on that. But anyway, I know, bring up like the Chris Harder scenario. I mean, if you really want to start building out your personal brand and you’ve got a successful business, maybe you’re doing, I think with fast foundations, it’s up to making $500,000 a year. And that doesn’t even necessarily mean that you’re already in business. You know, I think if you make $250,000 to 500,000, I don’t know exactly what the number is, but if you want to build a personal brand that would be a good way to do it.

Kara is going through a coaching program right now with one of her mentors that she did a mastermind with this year, she’s getting certified in the methodology that this particular coach uses and not because Kara wants to be a coach, she’s not going to like be a one-on-one coach and use this program. Like she could, she wants to use it in her personal life. And some of the things that she’s building out and that’s why she’s taking it, that’s why she’s investing in it. So, who do I need in my life to help me get there? So, you should have gone through these three questions, but what do I want to accomplish? Who do I need to become to accomplish whatever that is and who do I need in my life to help me get there? And I want to wrap this up.

The one thing that I will say is the majority of successful people that I’ve met are very, very, very generous. They’re very giving people it’s like Zig Ziglar’s quote. You can have everything you want in life, if you just help enough other people get what they want, but here’s what inherently happens with successful people. They give and give and give. And we get to a point where we only have so much time. And so successful people will typically build filters in their life that you can figure out how to get there. And so, you got to start getting strategic about it. When you start asking that last question, who do I need in my life to help me get there? You might be able to narrow that down to one specific person, and maybe it’s not even a mastermind or a coaching program. Maybe if you just said, man, if I could get to the number two person at this winery, because, you know, I sell whatever bottles and I want to get, you know, I want this biggest winery or I’m making this up right now, but the biggest winery to buy our bottles, maybe you just need to meet the number two person. And so maybe you need to get a little bit more strategic about how you’re approaching that and play the long game.

Kara and I have literally wrote down before. And actually, Chris Harder just asked me this like a month ago. If I could meet anybody who would I want to meet? It’s an interesting conversation, right? Because sometimes you would say certain people just because they’re, you know, a hero of yours or whatever, but if you really think about it and you really go through this process of what do I want to accomplish and who do I need to become in order to accomplish that? It usually comes down to a who, so who do I need in my life in order to do X. Successful people are very generous and you’re going to probably have to get strategic at times about the introductions. And even though we’re generous, we’re pretty protective over you know, our relationships as people in general, not just successful people, we all are, our endorsements. You know, basically when you say to one of your friends, Hey, you should talk to Mike. You’re basically given an endorsement and if too many people come and talk to me and find out that I’m an asshole, excuse the language your endorsement’s not going to go very far, very long with them. And so successful people are generous with their time. But also, like I said before, I mean, they’ve built boundaries and buffers. And so, you’re really going to have to get strategic on that.

So, you know, it’s not all about who, you know, obviously it’s about what, you know, too and what gifts you’re bringing back into the world, because it’s again, just like Zig Ziglar says, you can have everything you want in life, if you just help enough other people get what they want. And in order to do that, you’ve got to be really good at something. So, dig in on what that is. And I would really encourage you to just think about this. The one thing I can’t say it enough, the one thing that I believe successful people have in common is they’re good about getting the right people in their lives. And I’ll leave you with this.

Chad Holmes in The Ultimate Sales Machine, Chad passed a couple years ago, but one of the first sales books I ever read and it’s actually not even just a book on, it’s called The Ultimate Sales Machine, but it’s really about, you know, building a business in a marketing machine. He talks about a dream 100. So, you put together a list of your dream 100 clients. Well, what if you put a list of dream 100 people, like who would you like to spend time with? Who would you like to meet? And you don’t have to start with a hundred, just put top three people you’d like to meet. And again, maybe that’s you know Hillary Clinton because of whatever, she did something that you love, and you would like to meet her. She’s not on my list, but good for you, if she’s on yours.

Just start with three and maybe it’s through this exercise and process. Maybe you’ve got it narrowed down to one or two or three people that could really move the needle in your life if you had a relationship with them. I can’t tell you how many times and I won’t even try. There’s certain people in my life that I’ve wanted to meet. And it’s weird how, when you just start throwing it out there and you say it and you put it on a vision board, or you write it in a journal, things come along. There’s that old saying, you know, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. It’s the same with relationships. So, encourage you to go through this exercise. And again, if you want to just narrow it down to one, figure out what it is that would move the needle for you. But I bet you, if you really think about it, it comes down to someone. You need some human resource to get you where you want to go.

And by the way, if you find yourself interested in the couples’ mastermind that Kara and I are going to be launching in 2021, we are going to have a ton of fun together guys. I’m really excited to do this year with up to 10 amazing couples, I think is just going to be an awesome time. And we’re going to use the same process that Kara and I’ve learned over the years. We’ve taken some of it from other people. But you know, some of its stuff that we’ve compiled and just going to be a great year together. We’re going to do a couple awesome trips. And so, it should be a good time. If you’re interested, text the word marriage to (480) 531-7519. That’ll get you on the waitlist. And then as soon as the applications are ready, we’ll get them sent out. And if it seems like it’s a fit for you and us, after you see the application process, then Kara and I’ll each get on a call with you and your significant other. And we’ll just have a little conversation and see if it’s a good fit. So again, text the word marriage to (480) 531-7519 if you’re interested.

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