Making a Difference Through Real Estate Investing – Sam Sells: NYN E5 Transcription:
Steven Pesavento 0:00
I'm Steven Pesavento, and welcome to the name your number podcast presented by the investor mindset. As someone who comes from a challenging childhood, I've spent my life seeking financial security, personal growth, and ultimately freedom, the freedom to not wake up worried about the next paycheck, but rather, with the confidence of knowing that my passive income pays my bills without the need to think about it. When you name your number, that you will learn passively, that creates your ultimate quality of life, that I believe you've achieved real freedom. Welcome to my show, it's time to name your number.
But when you actually just can sit down and ask yourself a series of questions, what are all the things I need to do? What's the most valuable outcome that I could create for my company, or my business, and then do that even if you're an employee, when you go about doing that, when you go about figuring out a way that you're going to bring the most value to the company, even if you're not paid based on commission, they'll notice and if they don't, somebody else will. And that's really how you start really increasing the money that you make, so that you can then turn around and start passively investing in the type of opportunities that allow you to get to that place of financial freedom.
Welcome to the name your numbers show presented by the investor mindset, we're on a mission to create financial freedom for over a million investors. And when you name your number, the number you want to earn passively, every month that creates your ultimate quality of life, then I believe you've achieved real freedom. If you're ready to name your number, and create your passive investment plan that you'll follow step by step to get there, then head over to investor mindset.com/number. To download your free guide to get started. And for those of you who are ready to build this plan together with me, and a community of investors, just like yourself, you'll be invited to schedule a call with one of my top advisors. Now let's get into the show. today. I'm excited to have Sam Sells in the studio. How you doing today, Sam?
Sam Sells 2:04
Hey, Steve, I'm doing fantastic. Thank you for bringing me on the show. It's good to be here.
Steven Pesavento 2:10
Yeah, I'm excited to have you on to really kind of talk about your life and your journey towards creating financial freedom. For those of you don't know, Sam, he's a retired US Air Force officer. And he's using the strategy of running an active operating syndication business to be able to make an impact within the community and generate active income. I'm really excited to kind of dive in and kind of hear a little bit about your story about how you built your business and what you're doing to create financial freedom for you and for your family. So before we dive in all that, let's start off on a personal note by looking back at earlier in your life. What events or influences from your childhood shaped who you are today. And how did that play a role in your money journey?
Sam Sells 2:57
Yeah, thank you. Great, great question. So I remember growing up in rural Oklahoma, my dad was always chasing different jobs. I mean, like ice cream, man, collecting pipe oil pipe on the road, I just rocks, sometimes selling rocks, whatever you could to make money. And we grew up, I mean, just super poor, I remember taking baths and a horse trough that was lifted up on cylinder blocks with, that'd be snowing outside, and he'd do a fire in the middle. And we would learn at a young age to get close to the fire, you burn your rear end off, if your whatever is not close to the fire is freezing.
But you know, we learned how to enjoy life, even though we were dirt poor. And I had no idea how to make money. You know, I was little my parents did not know how to make money. And if I could go back to myself that back then and for one thing, I would say, you know, keep hope and don't give up. And then the second thing is there's a whole world out there that you can access with very little money, you just need to build that you got to get to the point of freedom, like you just said, Steven.
And if not, you need to find a path that gets you to where you want to go. But if you don't know where you want to go, if you haven't named your number, you'll never get there.
Steven Pesavento 4:13
It's so true. And for many of us, we grew up broke. And we had a motivation to create something different. And for some of us, you know, they didn't grow up in that exact same kind of situation. But either way, it's a beautiful example of being able to understand where you come from, and then passing those lessons along to other people that are a reminder that, hey, there's a path here. This doesn't have to be your life if you don't want it to be. And clearly you've gone down that path and have created something very different. So talk to us a little bit about financial freedom. Have you achieved it? Is it a goal you're working towards? Tell us why or why not?
Sam Sells 4:53
Yeah, so, first answer is yes. The second answer is I just never ever quit. Because I just enjoy working, I enjoy producing, I enjoy making a difference. That's one of the things that really brings joy into my life as well as my wife and my kids. But you know, making a difference is what I get up to do each morning. And that's why I'm not sitting on the beach, enjoying the life of doing nothing, I am still out there working when I don't have to. I did residential real estate for you know, before 2008 crash, we made it through 2008 crash because our basis was really low. So we could sell at a discount and still make money, which was fantastic. We were flipping homes was, you know, but was also in the military. So I was doing that on the side, you know, a couple two, three homes at a time. But thing never made me happy. But being what I was doing the military, traveling the world helping foreign militaries and governments improve their healthcare system. That stuff made me happy. I really enjoyed that. You know, towards the end of that journey, I found out about commercial real estate, and was like, Why in the world? Have I not done this before? Oh, I have $0 and an officer in the Air Force. Now. How do I get there? You know, I paid my way through college, I got my bachelor's degree when I was 30 years old, you know, late bloomer, I guess in that sense, but just because I never knew how to get where I needed to go anyhow. So my second deal with my dad, just us two in that one.Both put us at about $6,000 a month in positive cash flow. And we had only collectively we had only had $110,000 between us. So we bought two projects. We got to financial freedom in seven months, eight months of work. And we just kind of stared at each other like, Oh, my goodness, man, I was like, okay, I'm good. I mean, I'm, I'm 6566 Got no retirement, and now I got passive income, I'm good. But like, Dad, we can do more?
Steven Pesavento 7:04
Yeah, well, it's so cool. Because a lot of people they get there, they get their first experience into real estate, doing it themselves, going down that path flipping houses, great way to make income, really a side business, if you will, you know, you're really making income. And, you know, thank goodness, you're able to survive 2008. I know a lot of folks who were flipping in 2008, and they still ended up being in a bad spot. But being able to come out of that and then apply some of those lessons, understanding this asset, this investment strategy of real estate, but then attaching it to an operating business that you're gonna go out and do the work, go and find the deal and be able to really take your money plus your time to create that income. Sounds like after only two properties, you must have found the right kind of property to be able to create that kind of income. And then you are financially free. I mean, what did that feel like to be able to say, Hey, I've got assets that now pay for my life that pay for my lifestyle.
Sam Sells 8:11
It was it was just kind of unreal. You know, we've been here flipped homes forever. I flipped homes together are forever and we just never got there. Single family homes is super hard to scale. I know people do it. There's a bazillion Burke books out there and do this all in 30 days or less and you'll buy your first 1700 homes and be Richard never. And that just the reality is that's really difficult is really really difficult doing it on just a couple of deals. We did mobile home parks and still today we have mobile home parks in our portfolio, dollar for dollar they produce, you know, a fantastic positive income is hard to scale unless you can put together a lot of cash and then go buy a lot of mobile home parks and you can scale it's much easier to scale and multifamily is much easier to professionalize the multifamily. So we did about
you know, after we got there and decided to keep going, we had $0. So we that's when I started finding out about syndication. And at that time, what's crazy at that time, I was, you know, in charge of redeveloping a 500 bed hospital in Korea, and I was living in Alaska, and my dad was in Texas. And we were I was just flying back and forth between Korea and Alaska. And it was
really challenging to keep workup with that and everything else but knowing then that when I got out of the military, no matter what I had this basis that I can live off of that changes everything I like to call it the point of choice. It's essentially the same thing as your freedom. That point in your life with your passive income overtakes your expenses. I can live for $6,000 a month. I don't need a fancy car. I don't need a fancy house.
I that just, I can live with that right now I make more than that I don't need much. And so now I have the point of choice, I can decide what I want to do with my life, I'm free to choose.
Steven Pesavento 10:12
Yeah. And coming out of the military, a lot of guys are transitioning, they're coming from military service back to the civilian world, they've got to get a job, they've got to start working in this whole new environment, it's very different. And what it sounds like that really gave you as a gave you the ability to choose, like you said, it really gave you the ability to be free to do whatever you wanted to do, and be able to find a path and have some space to figure that out. That's one of the things that's beautiful about passive income is that it really does give you that space to not have to do something right away.
Sam Sells 10:45
You know, if I wanted to go live on the beach, I could I could move to Costa Rica, I have friends with Costa Rica, and he's enjoying it. And it's great. He had a very hard life in the military. And so he's ready for some peace in his life. That's fantastic, right? Go get some peace, younger brothers, we went to Colombia, because he just wants to live in managing for a while he can do that. It doesn't matter where I'm going.
Yeah, just just go that freedom. It's intoxicating in a way. But the burden that comes off your shoulders is amazing. You won't realize how Pinta, you've been your whole life until you get to become free. And then you're like,
I don't have to go to work today. I'm going because I want to but I don't have to.
Steven Pesavento 11:26
Yeah, it is absolutely a completely freeing feeling. And then you actually have to learn a new skill of how do you actually create that internal motivation and drive to then move you forward closer to other things that you want in your life, because now you don't have to do it, unless you create like a new connection to something that's greater or more impactful, or surrounded by how you're going to impact other people. So for you, what is your kind of ultimate life vision? What is the life that you're building towards? And building right now? What does that look like? Who are you spending your time with? How are you making an impact in the world? How are you spending your time? And what does that feel like? What kind of things are you doing,
Sam Sells 12:10
I have developed just this really strong passion to improve to try and improve other people's lives. I saw, you know, working with a lot of foreign governments, militaries, healthcare systems, a lot of Americans coming over there and buying like this fancy machine, they deliver it to a hospital, and it's like a million dollar scanner, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And they're all super happy about it. And then they leave. And then the locals are like, does anyone know how to plug this thing? In? No, okay. Or they get three hours of power a day, and none that power is not sufficient to power this machine. It's just a waste. Right? So these, well, meaning Americans came over there and spent a ton of money and made zero impact. Yeah. And the impact really was margin is on the margin. A lot of times, it's just helping them understand that bacteria is on your hands, you really do need to wash your hands. And that is incredibly difficult to teach places that are gonna like your best voodoo science Get away from me. Yeah, bacteria doesn't exist. So I mean, it's just where can people go and the next iteration and helping them see that vision. And knowing I didn't have the funding to do that. But if we do commercial real estate, let's do it in a way that makes a difference in people's lives. So we're really focused on going into a distressed apartment community 150 units, 200 units, 250 units, and getting rid of the crime bringing meaning and, you know, safety back into people's lives, help them clean up the place themselves, bring governance and control and structure, and then do the outside of you know, renovate the outside and then renovate the inside. And it makes a huge difference, not only to the profitability of the property, but also to their lives, health outcomes, improve educational outcomes, improve mental health outcome improve is pretty dramatic,
Steven Pesavento 14:01
it is wild to think, you know, this is where somebody's living, right? It's an investment for many, but it's it's a home for, for everyone else. And so when you can actually go in and improve the quality of the lives of the people that are living within the properties that you own, you're gonna make a huge impact, while also being able to create a huge income that comes off of that for everybody who's involved in that. I mean, there's a ton of problems that are in the world today. And I think it's a beautiful opportunity for us as business owners and capitalists to be able to then also solve great problems while being able to create highly profitable companies, you know, where you're able to really make an impact. You know, so many people are living in apartment buildings today are lonely, like the loneliness epidemic is huge before COVID After COVID Even more so and so it's like when you can create community when you can improve the living standards for those people that
That sounds like a vision that would really, you know, get most people up and excited to go out and go after, you know, doing new things every day.
Sam Sells 15:08
Absolutely. When we've seen every property that we've worked on, particularly in apartment communities, because they're so close, and they're so tight, it's interesting. We bought an apartment community in Dallas Fort Worth, there have been a murder there, there was they couldn't have any community events because it would just result in fights. That bad. But guess what's happening there now community events, and there aren't any murders. And the day we closed, the SWAT team was there. And you might be thinking, holy cow, Sam, that's crazy. And it is crazy. But we're,
we're okay being there. We like those. We I mean, we love those people. We love being there. And we love making a difference. And you go to the community now and the staff or excited or happy.
There's, you know, there's a playground and you know, it's like soft stuff. But, you know, kids are safe, and nobody's getting assaulted anymore. And yeah, there's still problems that there's from everywhere. But the difference is palpable. And it's remarkable. And of course, we've doubled the net operating income, decreased occupancy financially has been great, awesome.
Steven Pesavento 16:12
And how does it feel, to live from that place of having this clear vision that's attached not only to your own quality of life, but to helping others? How does that feel compared to the place you were living before you kind of recognize that as a focal point for your life,
Sam Sells 16:32
it really goes back all the way to like high school for me. So not knowing where I wanted to go in my life, what I wanted to do, I thought maybe I wanted to be a doctor. But I didn't want to be a doctor because I felt like I was going to get paid too much. And I would get focused on money and prestige. And I probably would have. So I made three goals in the life one was to serve God. One was to serve my country. And the third was to serve my fellow man. So I just a really weird kid I mentioned, decides that like, I just want a nice car, right? And I was like, No, I want to serve my God and my fellow man, and my country. So I went on a mission for my church, I got lost again. And I decided to join the military when I was 23. Got into health care and Healthcare Administration got my Master's in, in health policy and global health. And then that's where I really found my passion was just really going back to the poorest places on Earth, Chad and Jimena chat, been there a couple of times have been Afghanistan. And when you go on those people's homes, that they got nothing, electricity, no running water, no, you know, stuff, they got their phone, they definitely got their little Nokia phone. But
that all comes back to the home. And if they feel safe in their home, they can go out to the world with strength. And they can make decisions, but they are solely focused on just trying to make it through the day. Life is a different place. And so
America where you are so amazing, because we're not focused on making get through the day or focused on what we want to achieve in life.
Steven Pesavento 18:09
And I think that's such a beautiful reminder of the gratitude we can have. I'm curious to hear, you know, as a military vet, you're coming back, you're leaving the military, what was that transition, like from you, being in the military being focused on the regimen and the process and the identity of being part of the, to then making a change a shift into the life? Post military talk us through that a little bit?
Sam Sells 18:40
That was hard. It was really hard. I, you know, I was part of a special community. And, you know, was selected for really important roles or responsibilities, because I had been part of that committee. And then, you know, leadership was, you know, had all these plans for me. And I had been in some really awesome leadership roles and enjoyed leading troops and making a difference in their lives. And I knew if I just focus on improving their lives, and they will make be, you know, my team's be really successful. And that's true, you know, you take care of the things that they need, and they go and succeed incredibly well. And so leaving that atmosphere and coming back and looking at all these properties that we have purchased and what we're doing in the work, and at first I got a little lost, to be honest. I mean, I went out and I started just like working at sites building, swinging a hammer and just helping to reduce the expenses so we could pass the savings on to our investors. And at the end of the day, I was like six months or seven months and I was like, You know what, this is not what I need to be doing. I'm not helping my investors by saving them. You know, money on this thing. I may save $500 But what I need to do is go back to being on the either like I was before going from that place of trying to fill time, right?
Steven Pesavento 20:06
Because it's like, if we're busy, we're feeling like we're productive. If we're busy, we feel like we must be making progress towards the thing that we want. But for so many of us, so many of the listeners, who are business owners, so many listeners are in their career, it's really about hey, thinking through what is the most valuable skill set that I have? Or most valuable action? And how can I spend as much time as I possibly can there and grow a team of people around me, so that you can be in that position of creating leverage, right? Because from your business example, right, if you're out swinging the hammer, there's only so many of you, but you can always bring on another guy to swing the hammer, sure, you can bring on another guy who does what you do. But when you're comparing those two roles, one is a 20 to $50 an hour role. And the other one has the ability to have value that could be in the 1000s of hours. And so there's so many of us. And I'm talking to a lot of the listeners out there that are really focused on filling the time. But when you actually just can sit down and ask yourself a series of questions, what are all the things I need to do? What's the most valuable outcome that I could create for my company, or my business, and then do that even if you're an employee, when you go about doing that, when you go about figuring out a way that you're gonna bring the most value to the company, even if you're not paid based on commission, they'll notice and if they don't, somebody else will. And that's really how you start really increasing the money that you make, so that you can then turn around and start passively investing in the type of opportunities that allow you to get to that place of financial freedom. So you know, as we're kind of getting near the end of the show, what I would love to wrap up on is really diving into this idea of, you know, the path towards making those decisions to start investing. If you're speaking to somebody in the audience, and they're in a shoes similar to where you were in, and they're earning money, and you know, they're busy doing the thing that they've they're the best at, what steps can they take in order to start saving money to invest and then actually start experiencing some of those feelings of freedom and control that that you've discussed?
Sam Sells 22:41
Yeah, absolutely. It is possible to have plenty of money and hate your life. Because you're so focused on generating money. It's happens all the time that people lose their their spouses, their family, respect to their friends, because they are so focused on achieving money. So stop doing that. And if I can go back to my old self 20 years ago, like Sam, you've had several people come to you and say, invest $20,000, or whatever you can come up with, into something, not stocks, because, you know, invest into something now, if I would have known about syndications, a long time ago, and if I would have done that there's beautiful aspects of syndication. So if I could tell my old self I'd say start investing to vest with someone who you are comfortable with and believe in will take care of those funds, who has a track record of success, or a track record of failure and overcoming that it's even better in my mind, because they've been through the worst of it. They made it through and now they know what to do, right? If there's it's all success, and it's beautiful, and sunshine and roses, sunsets and like improve your life, your future software. Thank you and stop focusing on the money focus on what you can do in your life this most fulfilling and let the money work on making more money.
Steven Pesavento 24:13
I couldn't agree more. That's a great place for us to leave it. Sam sells everyone. Thanks so much for joining us on today's episode, and we look forward to seeing you next time. Yeah, Sam, thank you so much. It's been a blast. Today's episode is sponsored by Vaughn Finch capital. If you're interested in investing alongside me in the same type of real estate opportunities that I personally invest in that head over to Vaughn Finch capital and join their private investor network, you can do so at Vaughn finch.com/invest. Join me on that next deal. I look forward to seeing you on the inside.
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