Harnessing Self Awareness for Financial Success in Business with Shawn Thomas Transcription:
Steven Pesavento [00:00:00]:
For you, you found a way to use operating businesses to pay for your life because you know how to do that. Other people, they may wanna go the route of real estate or investing in funds or syndications or hard money loans. But the key is you found something that you're comfortable with, and you're using that knowledge and skills and expertise to continue to run your life without necessarily dipping into the wealth that you've created. Welcome back to the name your numbers show presented by the investor mindset, I'm Steven Pescevento. And today, I've got Sean Thomas in the studio. How are you doing today, Sean?
Shawn Thomas [00:00:34]:
Fantastic. Thanks, man.
Steven Pesavento [00:00:36]:
Yeah, I'm excited to get into your story a little bit, Sean, because, you know, you built businesses. You had success. You've had failure. You had exits, and now you're living life investing, making moves, making community connections. So I think that's gonna be really exciting to talk about. Before we get into where you're at today, let's talk a little bit about going back early days. What was one of the first things you named? One of the first targets you set that was moving you further away from kind of that traditional model of, I have a job, I earn a paycheck, and put you on that path towards creating the good life.
Shawn Thomas [00:01:12]:
I wanted to be a professional singer and become rich and famous and get on
Steven Pesavento [00:01:17]:
MTV. The music life. And what what was happening in that world? Like, what what were you doing, and what did you take away from that?
Shawn Thomas [00:01:27]:
Well, I grew up in a small town in Alaska, and MTV came out 53 years old, so showing my age there. But MTV came out and dance party USA and all these shows around music Madonna and Michael Jackson and George Michael and what have you. And I just I don't know why I just got enthralled and I said, I wanna be in that world. And when I was in high school, a couple of my friends and I that were on the basketball team, we were choosing our electives, and there was this line filled with a lot of really cute girls. And we said, we need to be in that line. So I went over to the line and said, what is this line for? And they said, choir. And I had never sang a lick in my entire life, but I was like, yeah. We're gonna be I think we're taking this class.
Shawn Thomas [00:02:07]:
So we got in that class, and I immediately fell in love with it. And then when MTV came out, I said, you know what? That's what I wanna do. I wanna get on MTV, and that's what my first passion was.
Steven Pesavento [00:02:18]:
It's interesting because you think, like, going the music industry route that you're gonna make a ton of money, but I have a lot of friends in the industry. And unless you make it into a top tier, the very, very top people, it's not really that lucrative. What what was it for you?
Shawn Thomas [00:02:34]:
Well, I didn't wanna be a professional singer necessarily to get rich. At that moment, you know, when I was young, I didn't understand rich, really didn't understand anything around money because I didn't grow up with a lot of money. It was more about just that I wanted to be famous, you know, so I just tagged the rich and famous in there. So I really wasn't getting into it for the money. You know, I've moved down to Southern California. So the 1st learning lesson I kinda learned just in anything is to go where the opportunity is, and I knew I wasn't gonna get there living in a small town in Alaska. And I didn't realize that moment how big of a deal that is in pursuing and trying to achieve because I do mentor a lot of different people from different walks of life in small towns. And when I hit them with that, Well, maybe you need to move thing.
Shawn Thomas [00:03:21]:
You really see how bad people really want, to pursue something in their life. And so I didn't realize at the time it was a big deal. It wasn't until later that I really realized that it was a big deal to just pack up my bags and move to Southern California to pursue a dream of becoming a recording contra artist. And Unlike a lot of people that you hear on social media, Steven, I didn't have a lot of naysayers who said, oh, you can't do it and try to talk you out of it and, you know, that's too much risk. I never had people like that in my life growing up. My parents were always very supportive. They just said, hey. We're here if you need me.
Shawn Thomas [00:03:54]:
You got you got your room. If you ever do need to move back home, go for it. You know, my parents are really supportive that way. But I didn't really get into the financial part at that time. I moved to Southern California when I was 18. Fast forward 3 years, I got a 3 years later, I did get a record deal on Warner Brother Records, in a boy band called In Motion, which nobody would ever hear of, but we travel with Ringling Brothers and Barnaby Circus for a year. And we got on MTV. We played Madison Square Garden then all the major arenas got in the team magazines, and man, it was freaking insane amazing at 21 years old to be traveling the country that way and living like a rock Star.
Shawn Thomas [00:04:29]:
But in all of that, we may be made about, you know, $100. But, you know, to me, that was 1,000,000 of dollars at that time. It wasn't even a Totally. Like I said, about the money. It was about just the lifestyle. So at that
Steven Pesavento [00:04:42]:
time What like, what an accomplishment, though, to make as a young person, you're going after your dream. You see that it's possible. I think one thing really, really powerful to underline in what you mentioned is the importance of proximity, being in that community. A lot of people are unwilling to go and make those hard decisions to leave the place where they're comfortable to leave the certainty of the town that they live in because they're saying to themselves, hey. Well, on this online Internet world, I don't need to be there, but that's false. I mean, it's possible for you to make it, but the the the from a from an opportunity standpoint by getting into the community, by having proximity to record labels and managers and and other artists who are doing it, you're around these people, and that helps you grow and become that identity of that person who is actually going to go and have that
Shawn Thomas [00:05:33]:
success. Yeah. Exactly. There's everything is about The who you know is very, very important. And I've and I'm like I said, when I was younger, I didn't realize all of these natural learning lessons that I was getting, I was just following my dreams. I didn't really appreciate it and understand it until later. And I'd tell you, it's very different today than it, you know, than it was back when I was 18, you know, because I might have taken a different route, back, you know, back then if social media had been around and what have you. So but, yeah, the the power of the community is is very
Steven Pesavento [00:06:07]:
important. But even, you know, I see these fuckers, I see these YouTubers. I see people in real estate. I see people in every single niche. There's a certain area of the country where there's these pockets where lots of those types of deals or opportunities are coming together. And when you can get into proximity, when you can get into community, you really start to see motion happening. I know for me personally, one of the the first things that I did when I made the move out of tech into real estate was I went to a meetup, and I found a mentor, and I found someone who I could learn from. At the time, I didn't believe in spending money, so I traded my time for those lessons.
Steven Pesavento [00:06:45]:
But it was not until I actually joined a mastermind, I paid money to be in a community, to be in a network, to be in an association that I was surrounded by, all these people who are doing the thing and having the success I wanted to have, that actually led me to being in that position to believe that it was possible, to borrow their belief, and then actually go and prove to myself that I can do it. And I know that that that's critical no matter what part of the economy you're trying to work
Shawn Thomas [00:07:13]:
in. Yeah. You know, it's a tough one because, you you know, I didn't really belong to any communities like that when I was growing. But to the same point, you know, you've you we've all heard that term r and d, and most of us think of that's research and and development. But one of the things that I got really good at and I still use in my life today is I just call rip off and duplicate. Mhmm. I take a look at what somebody Successful is doing, and I just do that. So whether it was getting on Instagram and creating an Instagram channel or business or anything that it might be.
Shawn Thomas [00:07:52]:
I just look at who doesn't who doesn't really well and just copy what they're doing. Especially if they're really successful, they probably have money, and they probably have a team, and they have all these things. So they spent the, you know, tens, if not 100 of 1,000 of dollars putting together the website or the social media or whatever it is, and you get you get to just copy what they did. And so that that's what I did when I was younger and I've kinda carried that through is I just always try to do what successful people
Steven Pesavento [00:08:22]:
do. Yeah. Well, it's
Shawn Thomas [00:08:23]:
And they do talk about all those things. You know? They talk about, hey. Go to masterminds, network, get to know people. You know? All of that's kind of kind of in that equation.
Steven Pesavento [00:08:33]:
Yeah. Well, it's just about getting around other people because it's like, we're gonna fast forward here. And spoiler alert, you had an exit, $20,000,000 exi, you walked away with 8, $9,000,000, 7, 8,000,000. You're in a position where you've made it. You've succeeded. But that business idea that business idea came because of proximity. It came because you were working on something else before where you saw an opportunity and a lot of people are trying to hustle. They're trying to do something, but they're doing it in this little box.
Steven Pesavento [00:09:02]:
You gotta get out because you gotta meet people. So tell us about that business. And then I really wanna dive into what that exit felt like because I know it can be exciting, but I bet it was also scary on what happens
Shawn Thomas [00:09:14]:
next. Yes. So the way I started the business was very interesting in that The business was hotel business center computer systems, Internet kiosks, lobby PCs, whatever it might be. And I was coming off what I call my decade of desperation, which I was literally broke and repossessions, bankruptcies, the whole typical, you know, Stories of many entrepreneurs, and I was just coming off of that. And I was down to, like, literally my last $500. My parents were sending me a couple $100. It seemed like almost every day so that I could pick you know, keep the lights on and not have my house get foreclosed. But I started that business literally with $500.
Shawn Thomas [00:09:56]:
Now I wouldn't say that I started that business with 500. It's kind of a you know, it's the weird way to look at it. Literally, I had $500, but I had a lot of industry Experience. I had sales skills. I I knew the you know, knew what I was doing when I did it. I didn't just didn't go, hey. How do I start a business with $500 and not have any experience Whether it's in the product or the industry or anything. So there's that
Steven Pesavento [00:10:18]:
Well, you had earned equity by going out and doing these things and going out and failing.
Shawn Thomas [00:10:23]:
Steven Pesavento [00:10:24]:
knowledge was equity.
Shawn Thomas [00:10:25]:
Exactly. With it. Exactly. So I started with 1 hotel at a time, putting a computer in the lobby, seeing that it worked, proved out the concept. I think that that's one things the one thing that a lot of entrepreneurs don't do is they get analysis process and try to get So prepared to launch that they never even launch. So I was the exact opposite. I just literally put a computer in a hotel, and I said, well, let's just see if this works. And it worked.
Shawn Thomas [00:10:53]:
And then I did a couple more and a couple more and a couple more. And we ended up having that business for 10 years, 11 years, and having the exit like you talked about. And a lot lot happened in between, but it was literally just going out there and always just saying, I'm gonna fill the need in the marketplace. And I actually recognized the need, and I thought, hey. Hotels need this, and I just proved out the
Steven Pesavento [00:11:15]:
concept. Well, this is such a reminder to all the people who are listening, who are building a business, or those people who are looking to begin investing and creating that recurring revenue in their life that is gonna pay for the kinda life they wanna create is that, you know, there's a bunch of challenges that we're not gonna get into today that you experience, but it's through each of those opportunities that gives you new knowledge, that gives you confidence, that gives you the opportunity to step through a new door, and then you exit with 1,000,000 of dollars. What what I'm curious about is after building a business, it becomes your identity, becomes the thing that you're focused on, becomes the things you know how to do. And, really, it is where you're putting all of your time. So at that moment that you made that sale, I'm assuming and you can tell me if this is true. I'm assuming it was both exciting to get that check and to exit. And I bet it was terrifying to try to figure out what's next. Was it?
Shawn Thomas [00:12:13]:
Yes and no. Definitely exciting and not terrifying at all. And what I mean is is, You know, every business exit is different. Ours happen to be that I exited the company in 2011 as the CEO and our Current COO at the time and my business my other business equal business partner, who was the president, they were tasked with getting the company sold, and I took off as the CEO. We had some major problems at the at the ownership level. We had just closed a huge global contract with a major hotel chain that set the company up for sale. And Because of the personality conflict issues, how much money we were all making, I made the decision to say, you know what? You guys go ahead and sell the company. I'm here as a partner, but I'm gonna take off, and I'm moving to Southern California.
Shawn Thomas [00:13:08]:
I'm gonna live at the beach for the next few few years, and I'm gonna I'm gonna work on myself and and and position myself for this exit. When and that was, like, October of 2011. We didn't close on the transaction until December 13, 2013. And so by the time, you know, that wire transfer for 7,800,000 hit my My account, I had already worked on overcoming what's called founder syndrome, which is that where you attach yourself to a company and you think, can the company survive without me? I started this company. I grew it. The customers know me. The Team knows me, blah blah blah blah blah. You start to realize in going through that transition that a lot of that is ego and pride.
Shawn Thomas [00:13:59]:
And ultimately, if you did the right job for the company as a CEO, then you should be able to leave and the company should be able to survive and thrive without you. And I did that, And I focused on the positives of the deal as opposed to the the negative zone that I could have gone into. And it was it was an emotional journey for that 2 years. But So by the time it got done, it wasn't terrifying that I sold or we sold and, you know, I was moving on financially. When you build a $20,000,000 company, whether it's yourself or, you know, 1 or 2 other partners, by the time you sell for that amount, you've already made a lot of money. And, you know, now when I say a lot, you know, that's subjective, but you've made millions. You know, at least in the last probably 2 to 3 years of owning a company that size, you've probably made millions. So you've already bought The things you wanna buy, you've already traveled, you've already you're already living kind of the lifestyle that you want to live.
Shawn Thomas [00:14:59]:
So the check that you get doesn't really have an impact on your life, you know, you know, as as you live and breathe every day. It's just kind of a nice little accolade. So it wasn't terrifying to me. It was ex and I tell you, it was exciting to say that I got it. But Yeah. What was more exciting is that the deal got done. You know, for anybody that ever does go down the path of trying to exit a company, especially one of that size, It is a very complex and complicated and emotional negotiation because you're dealing with sharks out there and vultures of the private world that their whole job is to screw you out of every dollar they can while acting like they're your best friend. So it's a very complex world selling a company of that size.
Shawn Thomas [00:15:49]:
And I I was fortunate That I didn't have to be in the mix of it because I have my partners handling the negotiation, and then they were just calling me and saying, hey. Is is this good for you? And I was like, yeah. It's good for me. Will start working on the emotional side of it.
Steven Pesavento [00:16:03]:
Well, it sounds like you you did the work. You had those 2 years of time to kinda let go. You are already burnt out, not on the business per se, maybe, but definitely on the partnership and the problems that you dealt with in that partnership. But you had that time and space to come to terms that you're no longer the guy who's running the company. You put somebody else in there. You gotta go through that experience of detaching, creating a new identity, and then stepping out. But the the reason why I would feel like there might be some fear is, you know, what's next? What's that next chapter? Right? And what did you end up doing after that? You exited. You made it.
Steven Pesavento [00:16:41]:
You already had 1,000,000 of dollars. You're financially set. What did you do, and how did you spend your time once you no longer were the guy, once you no longer were running that
Shawn Thomas [00:16:52]:
company? Yeah. And, you know, I'll touch on the the fear thing. It it definitely wasn't fearful to me. You know? You know? It's if if anything, After I did what I did when I was 18 and moved to California and got a record deal, I don't think that I've had a day of fear since then, because when you have that huge of a win when you're young, it's really difficult to say to yourself, Whatever you set your mind to, you're not going to achieve. So I I got really lucky and blessed to, you know, have a big win when I was young Because it set up my my mindset for overcoming challenges and and and living a fear based mindset. I was never and also, Like I was saying, when you've made millions, you know, in your business, you don't really have much to be fearful of because you've already got money, you've already got the knowledge and the the skill set to know that even if you lost everything, you know how to build Because you did. Yeah. You don't want to.
Shawn Thomas [00:17:55]:
Like, no one in their right mind says, you know, if I lost everything I could do we don't really wanna lose everything, but we could. You know, once you get to a certain age and a certain comfort level, you do go, hey, I don't really wanna go back. I could, but I don't want to. So I I I wasn't fearing for what I was gonna do next. But we got that check, that wire, I took some more time off, bought a bought a few more, you know, nice things and travel the world a little bit. And I got on Instagram and I created this moniker called ask a millionaire on Instagram, which is still around today. And it was Some I always loved Instagram because like you, I I cook, drink, travel, got my dogs, and, you know, I'm I'm a visual person, so I've always always been drawn to Instagram specifically out of all the social media platforms. And I started coming across these Accounts on Instagram.
Shawn Thomas [00:18:46]:
This was back in 2015. So this was a long time ago, but these accounts that were posting these pictures of gold watches and stacks of cash Ash and yachts and private planes and all these memes and stuff. I'm like, who the heck is running these accounts? Because I run-in those circles, and none of us live that kind of life as millionaires. Like, who are these people? So I started digging in a little bit because I was I was interested in in in curious, and I found out that the majority of them were just little kids And, you know, from even from other countries that just wanted to live that that millionaire lifestyle. Right? They were inspired by it, you know, and it was kind of like their little, vision board, if you will. But I did come across 1 guy who is one of the biggest, and he had a legit business and was a millionaire, and he's like, Sean, if you wanna get into this, I can teach you how to do this. It's super fun, and you can actually make money doing this. You know, people will pay you to advertise them on your account, and he started teaching me all about Instagram.
Shawn Thomas [00:19:48]:
So I started basically just like my other business. I was waking up in the morning, laying in bed on vacation, basically, in in Manhattan Beach, California. And I pull up Instagram and I'd have all these DMs of people asking me questions, and I just answer their question. And I would do that all freaking day, 12, 14 hours a day and started growing this this Instagram account. And Then then after about 2 years, I started investing in some companies as as an angel investor. And Finally, I started to get the bite that I wanted to start something new. And so I said, do I buy another comp do I buy a company? Do I start another company? And I started talking to a couple of my mentors and coaches. Jiz and I said they said, why don't you just, you know, find something within this Ask A Millionaire account? And so I I dug deep into it with with a couple people that I are kind of advisers, and they said the void in the marketplace is there's no official organization for small business owners like The bigger organizations like Entrepreneurs' Organization, and Vistage, and YPO, all those big organizations were myself and the other successful financially successful people belong, you have to have a business doing $1,000,000.
Shawn Thomas [00:21:07]:
Well, you know and I know That most business owners don't ever get to a1000000. So what do all those people do that are doing under a1000000? So I said, I'm gonna create That organization. So I created accelerators organization, and I didn't get through it.
Steven Pesavento [00:21:23]:
But before we get into the details of that, what I'm really curious about for myself, and I know a lot of other people who are high achievers feel this. What I can tell, especially in you describing the exit in describing getting to that point, you made 1,000,000. You're at this point. But the big word that I'm circling right in front of me is content. You've found a way to be content. You found a way to say, I have enough. I've made it to that point. And this really dawned on me.
Steven Pesavento [00:21:52]:
I went to Hawaii during the pandemic. I sold my house. I went out, and I was living. I found a backdoor, rented an Airbnb there with a bunch of great friends. But the owner of that, Airbnb, and he was grossing 100 of 1,000 of dollars a year doing this thing, retired. But he brought up to me is like, you're a hustler. You're going after it. You're building businesses.
Steven Pesavento [00:22:12]:
I can tell you wanna do big things. But he's like, what's your number? What's enough? And it really dawned on me. I was like, well, every time I create a number, I just I don't even enjoy the celebration of it. I just move on to the next thing. And so what I'm curious for you is, what is it? How do you recommend someone like myself or or the listener go about finding that way to being content, to saying, I've had enough. I've done it. I'm there.
Shawn Thomas [00:22:41]:
Lots of therapy and lots of coaching. It's it's an so, so I was I was talking with one of my clients today or yesterday, and I said, one of the things that we have to learn as Entrepreneurs in life, and this goes for anything, and it's gonna answer part of your question is you have to develop if you wanna maintain your sanity. You have to develop a strong sense of awareness. If you know that certain things are going to happen that you emotionally that when they do, you don't freak out. Because the entrepreneurial journey or any pursuit of real success, whether it's on the playing field financially, relationships, you have to be self aware that there's gonna be highs and there's gonna be lows. There's gonna be good times and there's gonna be bad times. You To prepare yourself that that's going to happen. And so knowing that, I did have a number once I kinda started to think about a number.
Shawn Thomas [00:23:43]:
I didn't come like I said, I didn't come from money, so I never imagined a number. I just wanted to be rich. What does that mean? Right? Yeah. So, yes, I definitely after after I got that wire transfer from that moment on, I have felt a 100% contempt. Pee at peace, happy. I don't I have not had the drive and the same feeling that I had before that that I need to go Conquer the world financially. I've got enough. I don't live an extravagant lifestyle.
Shawn Thomas [00:24:17]:
So I've that's never really appeal to me. I do it in the whole spectrum.
Steven Pesavento [00:24:21]:
What is it what is it that you believe that allows you to feel like, okay. I'm good here?
Shawn Thomas [00:24:29]:
Peace. It gives you peace. Yeah. It gives you peace to say, I don't have to worry about You know, I live on I'll give you an example. I live on 6 acres. It's not a lot, but it's 6 acres here in South Nashville. Anything, and I mean anything. My girlfriend and I joke about this.
Shawn Thomas [00:24:47]:
Anything that goes wrong in this house is $25100. It it it doesn't matter what it is. It's gonna be $25100. Now that was more than my rent payment back in the day, you know, But it seems like every week there's a $25100 bill due for something. Right? And so if Peace is Saying I never have to worry about just paying bills, having a medical emergency. My dogs having to go to the vet and it Costing $1,000 because something happened to them. There's peace in that in knowing that you've got the the financial backing to not have to worry. And there's also peace that comes from, like I said, knowing that you made it happen and you did it.
Shawn Thomas [00:25:27]:
And if something, God forbid, did happen, you know that you have what it takes inside to start it over again. And that just gives you this really strong sense of peace. Now Now I'd be remiss to saying that God's like the number one thing in my life, so that gives me the most peace. But we're not this isn't a religious podcast. This is a financial podcast, but That gives me my ultimate piece, but financially, it's it is I am not out there trying to conquer the world financially anymore. I am not going, I wanna 10 x, you know, my life. I am completely happy with my Life as it is today financially, I still like making money. I still like business.
Shawn Thomas [00:26:10]:
I like to earn. I'm a salesperson, you know, Entrepreneurs. So I like doing that stuff, but it's no longer about that. That's not the
Steven Pesavento [00:26:18]:
mission. I think the big the big lesson that I've been learning and developing for myself, what I'm hearing from you is really it was this shift. Right? The 10 x mentality, the idea of more, more, more is great when you need some motivation. You start from nothing, and you're gonna go create something. But at a certain point, you have to shift from what got you here to what's gonna get you to that next level of fulfillment, of happiness, and that's an identity change.
Shawn Thomas [00:26:42]:
Yeah. Let me tell you this. I forgot something. I'm sorry to interrupt you, Steven, but if I forget, I'm a I'm a squirrel. I'll forget to tell you this. So there's a guy, and you've probably heard of this guy. His name is Dan Sullivan, And he runs a company called strategic coach out of Canada. And I went through the strategic coach program.
Shawn Thomas [00:26:57]:
So to answer your question about living with a number. Right? I took his coach, and one of the things and this guy's his coaching program, it's been years since I've done it, but it was one of the best, and I still recommend his book. But he wrote a book called The Gap. And there's a story about the gap, and it's exactly about what you're asking, which is what I never feel satisfied when I hit my goal, you know, it's always changing. And he has this analogy that if you just imagine yourself In a boat. And you say, I'm gonna dock and we're gonna just settle in when we get to where the sun and the meets meets the water. That's where we're gonna stop. And you start to realize you never get there because it always keeps going out in front of you.
Shawn Thomas [00:27:42]:
And there's this gap that you'll if you live your life always saying that when I get there, that's when I'll be happy. You're never gonna get there. And so I am a firm believer in one of the core principles of the seven Habits of highly successful people, which is to start with the end in mind. And when you're in your journey in your twenties, You might only be able to think 2 years in advance. You don't gotta think 20 years advance. You might say like I did, man, if I could start and grow a business and sell it for 5,000,000 dollars on the happiest person ever. Well, just focus on that first and then evaluate. And if you don't, at some point, get some good therapists and some good people in your life that keep you from spiraling downward, if you will, on that quest for, you know, a never ending financial success story.
Shawn Thomas [00:28:34]:
You can live your life full of anxiety and unhappiness. And so that's where I found my piece was I had good people around me and said, hey, when's enough enough? And Dan was a big part of that. I never met him. He wasn't my coach, but the coach that was in strategic coach was like, Sean, you gotta know when enough is enough.
Steven Pesavento [00:28:52]:
They've got an incredible program gap. The Gain in the Gap, phenomenal book. It's so powerful to make that shift because it is very useful to focus on maximizing, on trying to get everything when you've got very little to work with. But if you're staying in a maximizer's mindset versus satisficer, being being content, being happy with what you have, looking at what's great about it. You can never actually be happy. And the problem is there's a lot of people out there who are very famous, and they're very motivational when you're in that I have nothing. I need to create something mindset. But if you stay in that, you you could be a billionaire and be unhappy, being you see that from a lot of people.
Steven Pesavento [00:29:36]:
For you, once you exited that business, how has investing played a role? I know you're an angel investor. I know you obviously are sitting on money. I can't imagine it sitting in a bank account, just just kind of hanging out there. What have you done to either, a, grow the money, keep the money or be able to kind of pay your bills off of the cash flow.
Shawn Thomas [00:30:00]:
Oh, you know, that's a tough one because I have not had my first Big exit as an angel investor. One of the things that my wealth manager told me, he was like, Sean, you're gonna invest in Somewhere between 7 9 deals, and literally you're praying that one of them is the unicorn that makes you the big exit. I feel like I'm invested in one that is going to be that. That's gonna be a bigger payday than the 11 hour 11 years of work I did, But it hasn't paid off yet. I have invested in some hard money loan type investments that that put out really good cash flow, like a 15% cash flow. I have had 2 small three x exits, but all of the other investments are still growing, they're they're somewhere between the 3 5 year range, so we're hoping some of them in the next 2 to 3 years will start to pop. That was, you know, one of the things and then plus, of course, I have, you know, interest just coming off just regular investments. I'm I'm a pretty safe guy, so, like, tax free municipal bonds, things like that.
Shawn Thomas [00:31:06]:
Jokingly, the easiest $1,000,000 that I've ever made in my entire life was in this
Steven Pesavento [00:31:14]:
Shawn Thomas [00:31:15]:
I bought it in 2016 for $1,600,000, and it's literally worth, You know, 3 +1000000 today, and it was like, well, that was the easiest $1,000,000 that I've made it in my Tire life. Right? Yeah. And so I'm not a real estate guy like you, Steven, but it was my 1st experience. I did do some hard money lending in real estate to some real estate guys. Yeah. I was on the investor side, the bank side, and then I got involved in 1 deal and had had a nice little exit, for a house Nanon Beach, but this was the easiest million that I've ever made. And so, when I started AO 4 years ago, AO is not this huge company, you know, or anything like that. And I don't have aspirations for it to be a $50,000,000 company.
Shawn Thomas [00:32:00]:
But, you know, for it's it's been a great cash flowing business. I do a lot of, like, mastermind type events here on my property, so I don't have to rent a hotel. And so we'll do 6 to 8 events here at my property here in Nashville, and it pays my mortgage, it pays my cash flow, it does everything it's needed to just just support the quality of life that I've got so that I don't have to touch my investments and can keep, you know, just having some fun.
Steven Pesavento [00:32:29]:
Well, I think it's a really good example, right, because you're in a place where you've got $10,000,000, maybe more just based on your exit. You've got some money. Your that money could grow dramatically when invested in the right way. But it's really important to understand that for you, angel investing, you understand businesses. You wanted to get involved in businesses. You're gonna take a small investment. I've invested in a number of very small, very small investments in some, you know, high growth startups from an angel perspective. And the hope is that, you know, when SpaceX sells, that that'll be worth, you know, 10 or 20 x or this one or that one.
Steven Pesavento [00:33:12]:
But that's the difference. Right? Because for you, you found a way to use operating businesses to pay for your life because you know how to do that. Other people, they may wanna go the route of real estate or investing in funds or syndications or hard money loans. But the key is you found something that you're comfortable with, and you're using that knowledge and skills and expertise to continue to run your life without necessarily dipping into the wealth that you've created.
Shawn Thomas [00:33:43]:
Yeah. I've always I have made more money and accumulated more wealth when I am in control of the investment than angel investing, real estate, hard money loaning. I so I've always said if I need to make money, I wanna build wealth, then it's gonna be in a business of which I manage. Now that's not to say that the investment that I am in that could be a thirty, 40, $50,000,000 payout Yeah. Isn't gonna be great and changes my mind about that. But I'll also say on the flip side, I've had my my losses. I mean, I invested in a in a guy that I knew for, you know, 5, 10 years, and it was the fastest $100,000 I've lost in my entire life Other than when I was stupid and got into little day trading thinking I could do that for a little bit, you know, so you just have to be careful as an investor. You know? You're gonna have your wins.
Shawn Thomas [00:34:39]:
You're gonna have your losses. But the the best investment I've ever made is in any business that I have some sort of ownership, some sort of control in kind of like, you know, Marcus Lemonis. It's like whenever he does a deal as an investor, he says, I wanna have control of the money. The ones where I have had more risk and said, hey. Here's just a check for a $100. Those are the ones I usually don't do as well on.
Steven Pesavento [00:35:01]:
Well and that's just because, you know, probably a number of things, but it comes down to picking the right operator, having the knowledge about the opportunity. And then if you pick the right operator in your passive and you're not I mean, angel investing is extremely high risk, right, unless you have some unique advantage. It's a 10 to 1 ratio for the best fund managers out there. But if you have a unique advantage, you can reduce that. Real estate, you're not gonna make a 10 x return. You might make a 2 x or a 3 x, but it's gonna take some time. There's gonna be some cash flow. It's a little bit of a trade off, but the risk is way lower.
Steven Pesavento [00:35:37]:
Yes. Again, if you invest with the wrong operator, if you invest with somebody who is slick and and they say the right thing, but they don't really have the experience, they don't have the team. They're not doing the right things. You can lose money. The opportunity to lose in real estate is much lower than in a business, but the side is doesn't have the same multiplier effect. So it's a trade off.
Shawn Thomas [00:35:57]:
Right? Yes. Like you said, Nance, in anything that you do, You gotta get with people that know what they're doing. And if you don't, you know, that's where it can be the most dangerous. So when you get into investing When I got into some investing where where I lost a couple deals, it was just because ego and pride. I didn't know what I was doing. I was I was never trained to be an investor. I was trained to operate a business. And so, you know, that's why I'm really careful on anybody getting into investing these days.
Shawn Thomas [00:36:22]:
I'm like, just make sure you get with the right people, do your homework, walk before you crawl, because there's a lot of there there are and social media has made it so easy to get duped by people who act like they who like you said, they're slick, and they're slick talkers. So it's just good that there's guys like you out there that really know what you're doing, and you guys are, you know, not those guys.
Steven Pesavento [00:36:46]:
Yeah. We have a very long focus. We give way more away than most operators, but I know once you invest with us, it's like, you know, once once you get a little taste, you're gonna be hooked. You'll be with us for 10 or 20, 30 years. You'll get all your friends involved, and will get the payoff in alignment with you versus trying to make the money quick and get out and exactly run off to some other business. There's so much more I I honestly wanna talk about, Sean. We're gonna have to have you back for another episode. Before I get into my last question, tell folks where they can get in touch with you, follow along, or, learn more about the the business and the accelerator program that you have.
Shawn Thomas [00:37:28]:
So for fun, an Instagram meme with a little bit of learning, at ask a millionaire on Instagram, for my business, for a professional organization, start up entrepreneurs, it's Accelerators Organization, which is at acceleratorsorg And Acceleratorsorg.com, and then there's a YouTube channel as well. We've got about 400 hours of content of entrepreneurs like you and me answering questions on our YouTube channel, it's hundreds of hours of just great Q and a type content. So if you just need if you're a small business owner and you're like, I've got questions, I promise you that somebody has asked that Question, and one of our mentors has answered it on our YouTube
Steven Pesavento [00:38:10]:
channel. Yeah. Couldn't be a better way to learn and grow other than following amazing people, getting in community, getting surrounded by others are doing the same thing, so I couldn't recommend enough going out there and and getting in and building community. So Yeah.
Shawn Thomas [00:38:24]:
You don't you don't and I'll say this one. I'm sorry. You do not want to be a small business owner and not be in a professional organization of some sort. Just like you got into something, I got into stuff. The biggest mistake I see people doing is not building the relationships and being in an organization. They just think that they're gonna learn everything self study on YouTube and podcasts and what have you. All of those things are fantastic, but There is nothing that's gonna bring you more value than the relationships because I think I've heard this on one of your things that people love to make introductions to other Successful people. And when you join an organization that's filled with guys like you and guys that are successful, it's you the power is to go to say, hey, Steven.
Shawn Thomas [00:39:12]:
Do you know somebody that can help me with this? And you're like, dude, I've interviewed 400 Successful entrepreneurs, I've got somebody in my network who does what you need help with. Absolutely. Let me make an introduction. You can't do that on YouTube. You can't do that listening to something or reading something. So if you're not if you're a small business owner or even a big business owner and you're not in an organization, That's my biggest piece of advice. Get in
Steven Pesavento [00:39:36]:
1. And so for the listeners, as we wrap up, who are looking to get to that point of financial freedom, to start taking that action, making them those moves, yet they feel stuck in place. They're fearful. They don't know they know what to do, but they're not doing it. What advice do you have for those folks?
Shawn Thomas [00:39:56]:
Be self aware. Know that you're not alone. If you feel like you're alone on an island and nobody understands you, it's because you chose to live on that island, move. Move to an island filled with people just like you who understand all the anxieties and the stress and emotions that you're going through that you can share your stories with, get support from, join an organization. You are not alone no matter how much you feel like it. There are a lot of you and me and Steve and everybody out there that love to support each other. You don't have to be alone.
Steven Pesavento [00:40:35]:
Amazing. So good. Thanks for joining us, Sean, and thank you for all for listening. Another great episode. Take some time to reflect and think how can you apply what you heard today in your own life. We'll see you on the next episode. Thanks for listening to the Investor Mindset Podcast. Make sure to hit that subscribe button.