Linda McKissack is an entrepreneur, investor, realtor, trainer, speaker, and business owner. Her greatest passion is helping others create and leverage passive income.
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Worst Entrepreneur Moment
- We don’t know what we don’t know, Fire Nation, and Linda found herself $600k upside down in a fluctuating market. She talks about the importance of extending the runway, and how YOU can do just that!
Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- Linda thought she had a business, but in reality she just had a sales job. When she finally realized wealthy people invest in people, leverage their money, and valued their time, EVERYTHING changed.
What has you FIRED up?
- Her new online platform, which you can find at LindaMcKissack.com
Small Business Resource
- New RainMaker: We know about the power of content marketing to build audiences, inform what products and services to develop, and ultimately connect the two together.
Best Business Book
- HOLD: How to Find, Buy, and Rent Houses for Wealth by Linda McKissack
Linda: Absolutely, John.
John: Yes. Linda is an entrepreneur, investor, realtor, trainer speaker, and business owner. Her greatest passion is helping others create leverage in passive income. Linda, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse into your personal life.
Linda: I’d love to. Actually it all started kind of in the late ‘80s. I'm 20 something years old. I'm trying to figure out who I am and what I can do, and how do you make a living, and how do you make money? I've always been a hard worker. I've worked since I was a young kid. And I just couldn’t figure out what I was good at or what would actually pay me what I thought I was worth. My husband was in the restaurant and nightclub business, and the economy was starting to tank a little bit in Texas at that time. He had a Pee-Wee coach that had suggested to him one time when he was younger that if you want to make a lot of money, real estate is the way to do it.
And so we kind of laugh today because I think my husband misunderstood. The guy probably told someone to buy some real estate, not put your wife to work in it. But you know what; it actually turned out to be a great fit. He suggested I get into real estate, and I did get in, and quite honestly John in the beginning I had a hard time figuring it out. I didn't know which things would make me money and which things wouldn’t, so I only made $3,000 gross the first year. My husband said that was real gross. I went and found the best. I went and found mentors and coaches. I started reading books.
I went and found people who were doing very well in this industry and I just started asking them what do you do and how do you do it? And then whatever they told me I did it. And so very quickly my new problem was I was extremely successful, but I was very overworked. I literally was working 60 to 80 hours a week. I had no quality of life left. I very quickly had to start figuring out how do you get leverage in this business? I went out and learned how to hire assistants and bring people on to my team, which quite honestly back then no one was really doing that, but I had to get some kind of leverage in my life because I just couldn’t constantly keep putting in those kind of hours.
Even though I was being very successful at it, it just wasn’t worth what I was sacrificing with my family. so once I learned what was the leverage points, what are the dollar productive activities that you can do in the business and make the most money, then I started being successful enough that my husband’s businesses weren’t coming back like we thought they were, so we decided it would be a good idea for him to join me, so he joins me in the real estate business in the early ‘90s, and we've been working together ever since. We've been married for 33 years. We have four wonderful kids.
Our youngest just graduated Bailer and came and joined our organization. We have four really fun grandkids. And so we just have a great life. We spend as much time as we can in our beach house in San Diego on Mission Beach. I love being able to do that. And I just really am blessed with great businesses and great family.
John: You know, I can probably see where that beach house is Linda right now because I'm right across the bay. I'm on the Crown Point side and I just love the view I get of Mission Beach, and the ocean and bay every day. It's gorgeous out here. I'm definitely looking forward to your next visit because I know it's a happy place for you as it definitely is for us. And one thing I really kind of want to focus on before we dive into some specific stories that you’ve gone through in your journey, is the fact Fire Nation that you heard Linda talk about the mentors that she sought out both just via books, course, conferences, then actual people.
Now what Linda did is she went to those mentors who were where she wanted to be, and that’s so critical. So many people just go after the people who are successful in this world. For instance like Richard Branson would not have been a great mentor for me when I was starting, but a successful business podcaster was and that was key. So take what Linda is saying here and really realize that mentorship is huge, but it has somebody who is where you want to be going towards.
What I really want to get into now Linda before we dive into the stories is revenue, because we are entrepreneurs, we're looking to make money, so today what are your main streams of revenue?
Linda: Well, by design John those – we've created multiple streams of income. We kind of look at it like whatever we're doing, let’s just pretend in ten years we either won't like it anymore, or just won’t want to do it, or maybe the market changes. We've been through enough market and economy changes in our life to realize that things do change. And so we just kind of think like that and always create multiple streams of income, and walk through the next natural door. We still have that stream of income from that very beginning sales business.
The only difference is we've done something that a lot of people haven’t done in the industry. We've actually turned that over to someone who keeps that business running, but gave me the – my time back to go out and create some other revenue stream, so we have that beginning sales business still runs today after all these years. And then what that lead to was us owning multiple real estate franchises. We actually own multiple real estate franchises across the United States. And then along the way because we really started seeing the value of having some passive money coming in, we created an investment company.
And that investment company now owns over 108 single family properties. We have six commercial buildings. And inside those commercial buildings we actually own the business that’s inside of them, so we are the major tenant for those commercial businesses, and then buildings. And then we also have something kind of fun, we have 12 nightly rentals in Bramston, Missouri. So we just kind of kept investing over the years. We also have an online platform.
And we have bestselling books out there where we sell our intellectual property to help other people kind of do what we've done, create those multiple streams of income and get that freedom of time and money that people want so badly. And that’s one of the reason we actually go into business in the first place, right?
John: Yeah. And I love that phrase that you used, let’s pretend in ten years we won't like doing this anymore. And hopefully you will Fire Nation, whatever it is you're doing, but it’s so great to have that mentality because number one ten years is a long time. You might not like what you're doing anymore and it's great to have other streams of income, other businesses that you’ve been building upon and adding to throughout, so you have options. And also there's the opportunity or potentiality I should say that whatever you're doing right now isn't going to be viable in the next ten years.
I mean, that’s unlikely in the real estate industry, that’s always going to be something that’s there's on some level, but in other industries, like social media, who knows where the world is going, things are changing so fast. Always having that diversified stream of both income and businesses are absolutely critical. And Linda, what I really want to do right now is have you tell us a story. This story is going to be what you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date. So spare no details reveal that shame and just get into your worst entrepreneurial moment.
Linda: Absolutely, it's still very vivid in my mind. As in most worst entrepreneurial moments John, because of the credentials you kind of have to create and get to get out of those situations, it actually winds up becoming one of the best blessing usually that ever happens to you. I can say that now. It certainly doesn’t feel like it at the moment. But mine came in the late ‘80s. My husband was in the restaurant and nightclub business. And he came to me and he said, “Linda, we're $600,000 upside down in debt.”
Our economy was built on savings and loan, real estate, and oil and gas, and they literally all crashed over night. And matter of fact, most people don’t know this, but inside your loan documents there's a phrase that says if they ever feel insecure or unstable they can call your notes due. And we just closed on a property yesterday by the way that that got scratched out, but when you don’t know that’s there, that’s what happened, our economy got so unstable the bankers got really nervous and they started calling notes due whether they were actually in default or not in default. And so that really cause us to be upside down and in a panic.
And so my husband said to me you're gonna have to help me figure out how to claw our way back and pay this money back because neither one of us wanted to file bankruptcy or not payback money that we had actually borrowed. And so that’s the moment he said to me, you know, why don’t you try real estate, someone told me that that’s a good thing to do, and so I said sure, how do I do that? and so it seemed awful at the time, because here I had been a stay at home mom, plus I had been going to college trying to figure out what I could do, and now all of sudden the whole weight of the world kind of gets thrown on my shoulders.
But what a blessing it was because it made me dig deep into my entrepreneurial abilities that I didn't even know I had. And get credentials, and the credentials that it took for us to learn how to get every bit of that money paid back, really caused us to have such a great platform to launch us forward into bigger and better commitments, and bigger and better opportunities, but at the time it certainly felt like a horrible horrible place to be, but it turned out be one of the greatest – again, the greatest launching pads into what we now have today.
John: Fire Nation, we don’t know what we don’t know, that’s just a reality. And that’s why there's so many important things. You know, important thing number one, you're never gonna know everything. There's just gonna come a time when you're gonna have to just take that leap, get in there, make mistakes, have those crushing failures, and as Linda just shared learn from them, learn from those failures. But what's also important here is doing exactly what you're doing right now.
Everybody that’s listening to my voice and just heard Linda’s story, guess what, now you do know what you previously didn't know. And Linda, I thought you told that really great story about how because you have the experience now you were able to adjust future contracts that don’t allow that opportunity for people to take out just because they're feeling insecure and nervous about it. So that power that you didn't have before, you’ve now taken back because of your experience.
And Fire Nation, you now going forward have that knowledge and can use that to your benefit and that’s the point of these interviews, that’s the point of learning, of investing in yourself time wise throughout these interviews, so I love that. And that’s my huge takeaway Linda, but I would love for you to share with Fire Nation the one thing you want to make sure our listeners get from that story.
Linda: Well, the main thing to get from that story is your business has to be built on good solid basic business principals. You know, no – we were riding a market at the time quite honestly. And if your business is built on a market or a marketplace that just kind of happens to be there, then you don’t have those good solid principals of putting some money away in reserve, so that you have it should you hit a bump, or understanding the key principals of having the right key people in the right spots. And also just realizing that you need to create multiple streams of incomes because you just never really know when things are gonna shift or things might happen.
And so the only way you're going to have security is that you’ve created it for yourself. And so learning from each of those lessons of how do you find your way out of a situation that seems like such a deep hole? Well, you do it by just getting up and figuring out one step in front of the other. What do I do next? And that’s exactly what we did. We started next businesses we built were built on good solid business principals. We put money in reserve and away for rainy days. We always know that the market will shift. I mean, it just you're either in an up market or you're headed in a down market, that’s always the way the economy works.
And so what are we doing to prepare for that even though our businesses may all be flourishing right now, what are we doing to prepare for those times when they're not – it's not doing as well or maybe they make a decision or they make a policy that changes our industry a little bit. So just being able to have those good solid business principals of money and reserve, leading with revenue, you know, learning how to lead generate because every business is a lead generation business, and if I don’t figure out how to lead generate, then I'm not going to have a very successful business.
John: Fire Nation, as Linda just said we are always in a fluxuation market. Markets simply do not stand still, they're always doing something, just you know realize that and as you put it, saving for that rainy day Linda. I love saying extending the runway because as entrepreneurs we need time, and the more that we can have as a cushion, the more we can have in reserve financially, the more time we give ourselves when those tough times do hit we can extend that runway out to succeed in the end: outlast, outwit. So what I really want to dive into now Linda is you just shared with us your story about being $600,000 upside down.
The struggle you went through to crawl and to claw your way back to where you are now, but let’s tell another story. Let’s tell a story of you having an epiphany, an “ah-ha” moment, a light bulb that went on, take us to that moment Linda and tell us that story.
Linda: Yes, okay, I have had many “ah-ha” moments, but this one really stands out to me because it really made me start doing things differently. And it was a moment when we were at a Mastermind group. We had a business psychotherapist. And he actually worked with the top one percent of many different industries. And he had just come to work with the top realtors in the country. And so we were working with him. Everybody in the room is a super high performer. They're very successful in their real estate sales business at the time.
And what he did one day was he actually took us through and started pointing out all the holes that our industry had and that our business had. And so one of the first things he pointed out to us was, you know, you walk around and say you have a real estate business, but the truth is you have a real estate job. Because the last day you took your last sale would be the last dollar you would ever make. And so for the first time ever I realized that what I thought I had was a business, and what I really had was just a good sale job that was a job for myself. And so that made me start looking at things differently.
It made me start thinking about how do I turn this real estate practice into a full fledge business, and also how do I create other businesses? It made me start studying wealthy people. And what I discovered about wealthy people is number one they know how to go out and get talent and bring talent into that organization and turn the business over to them. The other thing I noticed is they took their money and they leveraged their money into something. And so that caused us to really start looking at investing as an opportunity to create a passive stream of income that was large enough that we could live off one day if we wanted to.
And it just made us start really redesigning. It also made us realize that if we don’t design our lives, somebody or something else does because we were just following the people in front of us. And the people in front of us we're doing 200 or 300 transactions a year, and then you think: okay, well, I'll just do 500 transactions a year. And the reality is that wasn’t going to solve any of our problems. Until we learned how to take this real estate job and turn it into a business, we were always going to have that problem. And so what a gift he gave us by doing that exercise because it really opened our eyes, and we just kind of started redesigning our whole life.
And from that redesign we started really looking at things in a bigger light and a bigger picture, and maybe even in ways honestly that most people had not looked at the real estate business. No one had ever thought you could take your real estate practice and turn it over to someone else and keep it running. And so it really caused us to kind of think outside the box a little bit and look for solutions to those now – you know, they say once you know something you can't pretend you don’t, and that was great because now I couldn’t pretend that I was gonna solve all my problems with just 15 more sales.
What I needed to do was figure out how to have some great businesses that were running, that weren’t running because of me, they were running because of someone else.
John: Fire Nation, I love how Linda said she thought she had a business, but in reality she just had a sales job. Something that I'm really gonna encourage everybody to take a step back and say: hey, let’s look at this. Let’s give myself some space. Do I have a business or do I just have a sales job? And I love your points about how wealthy people invest in other people. They leverage their money and they value their time. Huge takeaways, I love every one of them. Linda, what's the one takeaway in just one sentence that you want Fire Nation to get?
Linda: There are people out there that have the ability to replace you, not just support you. And with that kind of talent, you can really build big big things, but you have to be willing to have an opportunity big enough that these people that have big dreams and big goals, they can actually reach their big dreams and their big goals inside your vision. And so you need to learn how to let that business be as big as it can be, not just as big as you can be. And that takes a whole different set of skills to go out and bring people, or a talented person into your organization that actually could replace you.
And you even bring them in with the – you know, you even go out and look for the person that you know could replace you for that reason. And that’s a hard thing sometimes for us entrepreneurs to do because we're so good at what we do that we kind of hang on to it a little bit too long. But have opportunities big enough that some great talented people can actually get all their dreams and their goals accomplished inside your vision.
John: What is your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur?
Linda: It would definitely have to be disorganized. Where is my, and then just fill in the blank with anything you want to, that is my mantra.
John: Keys, computer, car, husband?
Linda: Yeah. So I have to keep a lot of people around me that their job is to keep me organized. And God bless them because they do a good job, but it's a hard job.
John: What is your biggest strength as an entrepreneur?
Linda: My biggest strength, it wasn’t my biggest strength in the beginning, but I've purposefully have spent time and energy and learned to master it, and that is that ability to go out and find talent that you can bring into your organization that are more of an empire builder type behavior, in other words they can build big things and they're willing to build your organization. And being able to spot those people and also bring them in with some type of equity opportunity, not just – you know, these kind of people aren’t gonna work for just a paycheck.
They really need to have a big upside in the opportunity. And so I've learned that skill of going out and finding those people and bringing them into my organization.
John: Linda, what's the one thing that has you more fired up right now than anything else?
Linda: I'm real fired up about our online platform. We have entered that arena this year, created our first online product to help people to use our very simple strategy on learning how to invest. We think everybody is gonna need multiple streams of income. And a good natural second stream for almost anybody is investing in real estate, so we've created an online product on LindaMckissack.com to help them do that. And we're getting ready to launch a leverage product for business owners to learn how to figure out the leverage inside their business. And then late this year we’ll be launching our advance course in real estate investing.
So just real excited to get to actually reach a lot more people, and be able to help them create those multiple streams of income like we have. And get that freedom and margin for what matters most to them.
John: LindaMcKissack.com, Fire Nation, we’ll have that linked up in the show notes page for sure. And we're about to enter the Lightning Round, but before we do, let’s take a minute to thank our sponsors. Linda, are you prepared for the Lightning round?
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Linda: You know, just knowing that being an entrepreneur was a choice, I had no idea that you could either choose to create a vision and an opportunity big enough for other people to be involved in it, or you could be a part of someone else’s. And so once I learned that that was a choice, I really realized that that really matched my soul and my spirit and who I was just born to be.
John: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Linda: Well, the best advice I've ever received is from a mentor and coach that I've had for over 17 years. He is a best-selling author and his latest book is called The One Thing. His name is Gary Keller. And no matter when I went him, no matter whether it was an opportunity I was looking at or whether it was a problem that I was trying to overcome, his answer was always the same and that was you're one great hire away.
And so now almost before I even go to him on anything I think: okay, I know what the answer is gonna be, it's you're one great hire away. And so that is the best advice I’ve ever gotten is no matter what situation or what opportunity I got to think of who first, who’s the who?
John: What is a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Linda: I think my personal habit of lead generation. You know, every business is a lead generation business, and I think sometimes we get into business and we like all the other things like the websites and all the other things, but the reality is nothing happens until lead generation does. And so I naturally think in the form of lead generation, so whenever I start a new business or launch a new business, the first thing I want to figure out is what's that key lead generation system that we need, that’s gonna need to get in place because without lead generation we don’t really even have a business, so I naturally think lead generation.
John: Do you have an internet resource like Evernote that you can share with our listeners?
Linda: We're real excited about New Rainmaker. It's an all inclusive website platform where we can run our podcasts, and our memberships and everything all in one, and so we're real excited about that.
John: If you could recommend just one book for our listeners, what it would be and why?
Linda: I would have to say our best-selling book Hold, on how do you find buy and rent real estate to build wealth. Because I truly believe that almost everyone could pick real estate as their second stream of income to create that passive income, to give them some type of freedom later to either do what they love or just have that security that that money is coming in passively, so I would have to say Hold.
John: Is it available via Audio Books?
Linda: It is available on Audio Books also, yes it is.
John: Nice. And Fire Nation, I know that you love audio, so I teamed up with Audio Books, and you haven’t already you can get an amazing audio book for free at eofirebook.com. And Linda this is the last question of the Lightning Round, but it's a doozey. Imagine that you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world identical to earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge that you currently have. Your food and shelter is taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Linda: Well, the first thing I’d do is I’d use that laptop to reach out and find whoever is the best in whatever industry or field I wanted to go into. And so I’d make those connections. And then I’d use the $500.00 because I'm all about leverage through great people. I’d use that $500.00 to go out and get somebody really really talented with a very small base since I only have $500.00, but I’d sell them on a really big upside if they help me grow this opportunity or come along side me with this opportunity. So yeah, I’d have to use it to leverage some great talent.
John: Linda, let’s end today how we started on fire, with you sharing one parting piece of guidance, the best way that we connect with you, and then we’ll say good bye.
Linda: The best bit of advice I would have is just remember there are some talented people out there that believe it or not, they could build something big, but you can show them how coming on with your organization and your opportunity. The greatest form of leverage honestly is talented people. And so go master that skill of identifying talent, recognizing talent, and being able to have such a big opportunity that you can bring them in and they can get all their dreams and their goals met inside your opportunity. And just learn and master how you go identify and find that talent, because when you have them, your competitor doesn’t.
John: Love it. How can we find you?
Linda: You can go to LindaMcKissack.com and find me there. I'm there most days.
John: Fire Nation, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you’ve been hanging out with Linda and JLD today. So keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Just type Linda, L-I-N-D-A, in the search bar, her show notes page will pop right up. You can go directly to her website LindaMckissack.com and checkout that online platform. Don’t forget about Hold, her great book that you can checkout as well both audio and just read it normal. And Linda, I want to thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation, for that we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Linda: Thank you John.
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