This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Aaron Walker. Aaron is an almost 40-year entrepreneur veteran. He started his first business at 18 and sold it by his mid-20’s to a Fortune 500. He went on to start over a dozen other businesses and started Masterminding 20 years ago with people like Dave Ramsey, Dan Miller and others.
This led him to start the Iron Sharpens Iron Mastermind group – one of the most renowned and successful groups of its kind. Aaron is also the author or the best-seller “View from the Top – Living a Life of Significance.”
Aaron has seen it all, done it all, and has succeeded through grit and determination. But what also has made him so successful and one of the biggest reasons I wanted him to come on the show and to share his wisdom with you, is his straight forward authenticity. Aaron teaches in way to easy to understand, learn, and implement. And it’s the lessons he’s learned in building businesses and Masterminds that I've asked him to give you in this episode.
Aaron has lived in Nashville his whole life and has built all his businesses from there. He grew up poor in an 800 sq. ft. house with 4 kids. His dad was a general contractor, but not a great business man. Aaron started working at 13 and fell in love with business and decided that he was going to be an entrepreneur. He put in extra studies and night school and graduated at the beginning of his junior year.
He met some people with money to invest and opened his first store. He got married 2 weeks out of High School and he and his wife went on to build several success companies – selling the first one at 27 years old to a F500 company. That gave him the ability to do some other things and set him up financially. He then went back and bought the company he worked for at 13 and grew it by better managing it and better selling the services.
He was 40 years old, working 3 days a week. He had it made. One morning he was driving to the office and a pedestrian stepped out in front of Aaron’s truck and was killed. His life came to a halt. Aaron wasn’t at fault, but when you are responsible for the death of someone, it changed everything.
It devastated Aaron. He couldn’t handle the stress and the knowledge that, even though it wasn’t his fault and he was not arrested or anything, a man died by his truck. It ate him. Over the next few years, he sold the business, took 5 years off, moved to a different area, sought counseling, and really changed most of his life.
One day, his wife came in and told him he had to get going and do something. Aaron had gained almost 50 pounds. So, he did. He started a construction company, built it to great success and sold it at 50, retiring.
At that point, Dave Ramsey and Dan Miller suggested that he coach. He started helping other entrepreneurs and doing Mastermind groups and is now launching his 15th Mastermind in 8 different countries.
What do you think is the reason God/the universe, etc. put you in the situation with killing the pedestrian? What was your biggest takeaway after years of thinking about it?
Define what significance means to you and for others…
At the 25 min mark, Aaron talks about “Gratitude Day…”
What are your best principles and thoughts on how to succeed in business?
There is real truth in the statement that you are the sum of the 5 people you spend time with. The wrong people are an anchor around your success – get rid of them. Get people around you that encourage you, hold you accountable, point out your blind spots, give you the truth, and support you and help you.
Great minds talk about ideas, small minds talk about people!
What are some of the key components of a successful Mastermind Group?
How does someone start a Mastermind group and find the right candidates?
At the 49 min mark, Aaron shares some final pieces of wisdom…
Best Quote: “Can’t couldn’t do it and could did it all...”
Aaron's Misfit 3:
Hello Misfit Nation! Welcome to another edition of "Lessons for Hannah!"
In November of 2016, we introduced a new format that we are putting alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life….even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of "Lessons for Hannah," I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives.
"Lessons for Hannah" are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I have learned which I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives. Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share it.
This week’s Lesson for Hannah
Hannah, I want to share with you a perspective and way of thinking that is not very popular or prominent in today’s world – but it is a secret of the most successful and for living a great life.
We live in an instant society. Most of everything we want, or need is at our fingertips with the push of a button. So, as you can imagine, when something takes time or is not instantly available it can be frustrating. Believe it not, there was a time not long ago where we went to the video store to rent a movie to watch for the evening. That idea seems so foreign and like it was so long ago – but 10 years ago we were doing it. Now almost all those companies are out of business and we have every movie we could ever want on our smart phone and we have changed as a people and society. With all this at our finger tips, we get angry if it doesn’t download fast enough! As I’ve often said, “We stop the microwave with 3 seconds left – we can’t even wait 3 seconds anymore…”
This “instantness” has conditioned us to have little patience and to not practice the secret I want to share with you. The secret? The ability to play the long game and practice long term thinking. Almost every successful Misfit Entrepreneur that I have interviewed on this show, at some point, during the episode, talks about how they had to wait for their success. How they had to play the long game. How they had to keep going when everyone else wanted them to stop or was stopping. How they didn’t know if they would ever reach their goal, but they knew that if they kept at it, eventually they would find some form of success.
It can take a long time for the big opportunity or big break to happen. Recently, I was reminded of this when one of my smaller side businesses, one that I have been active in for over a decade, finally got the opportunity we had been waiting for. We have a good product and have had some small success with a loyal set of users, but what we were missing was the right marketing partner to really take it to mass levels. And because it is a side business, I am only able to put a certain level of effort into it vs. the level of full-time focus I have on our much larger businesses. There has been enough time to make sure the product was excellent and to do a great job with it, but I was always looking for the right partner or partners to help it realize it’s potential. For over 10 years, I stayed with it, yes because I enjoy it, but also because I knew the potential, and in the last few months, through a simple coincidence, I was introduced to the partner I had been looking for. They immediately saw the value and now we are embarking on realizing the product’s true potential and value. Overnight, this could become a 7-figure business and by partnering, I am able to put about the same amount of effort in that I have been doing, which also very exciting. It is always magic to find leverage between great partners.
Now, I can tell you – most people won’t stick with something for over 10 years, being patient, and looking for the right alignment to come together, but I learned this lesson early in Grasp Technologies. When we started the company, both uncle Erik and I promised each other that we would focus on long term thinking and ride it out as we knew that if we did, we could make things a success. And we, along with our incredible team, over the years, did. I have a feeling this other business will now prove that out as well.
This is the power of term thinking and long term patience. You can accomplish just about anything if you take this view. And that doesn’t mean that things won’t happen fast either. I might have waited 10 years to find the partner, but within 6 weeks, we were going to market together. So, some things will happen quickly, but maintaining that steady pace long term is the underpinning that reaps benefits. As they say, it’s more about the journey than the destination.
There is strategy in that you have to be in the right market or at least understand the changing trends and keep up with them – a thing the video store businesses did not do. In fact, I would argue that the largest video store chain, Blockbuster, did not follow the rule of long-term thinking. Instead, they were very short-sighted on profits today instead of setting themselves up to own the future. In fact, the story goes that Blockbuster could have acquired Netflix for $50 million before it really got going. Now they are out of business and Netflix is worth billions. Wow, that may go down as one of the biggest business blunders of all time.
It is not just business, but life as well. “Great things come to those who wait,” has been a phrase echoed through time. I don’t necessarily agree with that. If I could rephrase it, I would say “Great things come to those who are patient, take consistent action, and not lose sight of their end goal.” But, the truly great things in life take time. It took me years to find your mother. And in turn, it took us years to find you. You and mommy are the greatest things in my life to date, and every moment that it took to bring us together, not matter how long, was worth it. So, understand that it’s worth it to wait and take action toward your goal in life too. The principle and secret is universal and has been echoed since the beginning of time.
Hannah, learn and put the power of long-term thinking to work for you and you will see the benefits throughout your life.
I love you,
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneurs are Jeff Bishop and Jason Bond. Jeff and Jason are the co-founders of the trading and investing education powerhouse, Raging Bull. Jeff and Jason started out in completely opposite directions. Jason went from school teacher and being $250,000 in debt to becoming a self-made millionaire trader and Jeff failed building 4 business, even trying his hand at being an online poker player, and became a multi-millionaire at age 35.
Together, Jeff and Jason have taken Raging Bull from idea to an over $50 million a year business teaching people how to invest and create financial freedom worldwide.
I’m really excited about this episode, as a lot of you know that I have my own trading and investing strategy that I teach and I’ve wanted to bring on some of the most successful traders in the world to open your eyes to the possibilities that exist for you – as well as have you learn from two guys in the trenches every day of not only trading, but building a massive business.
Jeff and Jason started in totally different paths. Jeff started in Texas and Jason was in New York. About 15 years ago, after failing in a few businesses, Jeff got started in internet marketing. He always thought that working online would be his path to success. He was writing online articles on financial websites and built a few financial related businesses when he came across Jason. Jason was a teacher that hard started a small trading education business and reached out to him to collaborate.
Jason was a school teacher working on his 2nd master’s degree to be a principal. His wife was a teacher as well. He was 7 years in when it really hit home that with the $250k in debt that they had and the minimal raises they were getting, that it wasn’t going to cut it. He started dabbling in stocks and quickly lost some money, so he started searching for someone to teach him how to trade. That is how he found Jeff. He had seen him as a professional trader online.
Jeff and Jason made a deal that if Jeff taught him how to be a professional trader, then Jason would use his skills as a teacher to teach others how to do so.
It took 3-4 years to get things off the ground together, but then turned into something big.
Jason, you went from being a school teacher deep in debt to building this $50 million+ business with Jeff in 3-4 years, what have you both learned about building a successful business that is critical for entrepreneurs to know?
At the 12 min mark, Jeff talks about how the internet changed the game and allowed them to really carve out the niche.
What is your best advice for entrepreneurs starting out today?
Can you talk about the mental side of succeeding as an entrepreneur?
At the 20 min mark, we have a discussion about the ways people look at wealth.
At the 32 min Mark, Jeff and Jason talk about the systems they have created that help grow and sustain their business.
What does it really take to be a successful trader? What is most important for people to know?
At the 54 min mark, Jason and Jeff explain the world of penny stocks and how it works as well as insight into trading options…
Biggest trading mistake and the lessons learned from it?
#1 Quality traders should develop?
Best Quote: You cannot become successful just by copying someone else- but you can by learning from them and taking what works best for you and making it your own.
Jeff and Jason's Misfit 3:
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur Tamara Loehr. She is a serial entrepreneur and creative powerhouse. She is the owner of Mitara Impressa, one of the most renowned digital advertising agencies in Australia. She is a real estate investor, singer/songwriter, who went by the name Claire and was featured throughout Australia and the world. She retired from music at 30. After retiring, she met her husband and began a family and then started her first business in the wellness space growing the business to over $10 million in less than 2 years with no capital investment.
She went on to go through the Entrepreneur Masters Program at MIT and then with the help of her mentors went to her next level investing and leading global businesses. She invested in Gutsii and vegan haircare brand, Hot Tresses, and oversaw the companies growing into hundreds of stores in 6 weeks of their launch date.
She then started Dollar Beauty Tribe. And most recently has released a new book called Balance is B.S. which empowers female breadwinners to play a bigger game in business. Throughout her life, Tamara has basically done the opposite of what everyone thought or expected her to do and it has led to amazing success and incredible impact and I squeeze every bit of wisdom and business advice I can from her in this episode.
Tamara leads with passion and likes to evolve constantly. From the passion comes the business. Whenever she chooses something – it needs to serve her and have an impact. She thinks every 5-10 years you should re-invent yourself, not changes your values, but re-invent and evolve yourself.
As she says, “In her 20’s she wanted all the “stuff” and the big office,” and nowadays she wants nothing to do with that.
You grew up in the outback in AU…How did you get to become an entrepreneur?
She got a fine arts degree in university. She is a painter by trade. At the same time, she was writing music and that got her into the business. She began to travel. She then went into marketing and started her first business helping companies grow. She wouldn’t just give them a brand, but figure out the why, how to disrupt, etc.
She was very good, and someone told her she should do it for her own products which lead her to some of the businesses she still has today. Over the years, she has really figured out who she is in that she is a creative who doesn’t want to deal with the heavy details. She likes to be in early stage start up and build them to a point, hand them off to be run, and then go to the next one.
Out of everything you have seen and done, what is the one key ingredient entrepreneurs need to succeed?
“The last thing most people work on is themselves, where it should be the opposite. You must operate at the top of your game. And when you have the energy and you show up and you are clear on your vision – that’s where the magic happens. That’s when magic happens to Misfits!”
To help you in working on yourself, Tamara asks you to think about and define out your values, beliefs, and “non-negotiables.” What are those for you?
At the 15 min mark, Tamara tells us about her book, Balance is B.S.
What are some of the myths that hold us back?
Talk to us more about blending instead of balancing…
You must create a space where you can blend is very important
Making sure you communicate and people understand your values and what is important, so they know how to help you blend.
Can you give us your top piece of advice from the other areas of the book?
What are the principles and strategies that you use to build companies?
At the 50 min mark, Tamara talks about how and why she built Dollar Beauty Tribe.
Best Quote: “The last thing most people work on is themselves, where it should be the opposite. You must operate at the top of your game. And when you have the energy and you show up and you are clear on your vision – that’s where the magic happens. That’s when magic happens to Misfits”
Tamara's Misfit 3:
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Moe Abbas. Moe is the founder of GenM, a sponsor of the show and an absolutely amazing company that pairs students looking for internship credits to graduate with the companies looking for them to intern. At nineteen years old, he founded his first two companies. Since then he has founded or co-founded over a dozen startups which over the last 10 years have employed thousands, in industries ranging from real estate, construction, web development, marketing and mobile applications.
At 26 years old, Moe won the NKBA 30 under 30 award and was the youngest recipient ever of the OBJ 40 Under 40 Award. He also won the Immigrant Entrepreneur award from the City of Ottawa and is the youngest ever Board Director for both the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Ontario.
He is also the Co-Founder of the Canadian General Contractors Group of companies. In 5 years, he led the group from a basement office into Canada’s leading residential design build company with 20 million in sales and design centers across the country. Needless to say, Moe has seen and done it all and there is a lot we can learn from him.
@RealMoeAbbas on Instagram
Moe immigrated to Canada from Lebanon with his family as war refugees. They were very poor and he grew up in subsidized housing. There were 5 children and his dad worked and was gone much of the time. Moe was a very curios child and liked to explore. This was fostered by his mother.
When he got into his teens, he wasn’t happy with where he was. He was overweight, poor, and got to a point of rock bottom. He decided to do something about it. He started with what he could control – his body. He started going to the gym every day, changed his diet, and became very fit. This transformed him, not just physically, but mentally as well, and showed him how he could create the world he wanted for himself.
At 18, he hustled his way into fixing phone lines in the Palm Beach area. Doing this job opened his eyes to real wealth as he worked at mansions with yachts, etc. He was surprised that what a lot of the older, wealthy valued most was their youth and health. It taught him that money is just a tool and altered a perspective.
He went back to Canada with a new ambition to create wealth and the life he wanted through entrepreneurship. He began to self-educate and immerse himself into studying business and entrepreneurship. He started some landscaping companies, sold them, and found his way into construction – even though he knew nothing about it. He lost his money on his first job and didn’t even get paid.
Moe pushed through it, learned from it, and ended up doing a million dollars in sales in the next year, basically running his business out of Starbucks.
Your mother was a big influence in your life, what is the #1 lesson that you took away from her?
Talk to us about the power of suffering…How has that been an ally in helping you succeed?
Talk to us about routines and how important they are to keeping you on top of your game….
Explain your thoughts on “State, Story, and Strategy…”
Anything else we should know?
Best Quote: “As you build your pain tolerance, you increase your ability to suffer through the bigger challenges and this allows you to grow and attain new heights. It allows you to level up.”
Moe's Misfit 3: