Michael Marra is 26 years old, is from Pittsburgh, and he studied Civil Engineering. He quit his job and got into entrepreneurship and investing. He spent over a year in Miami investing in Real Estate, then moved back home to start his own company called Millennial Entrepreneur Group.
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1) Don’t wait for the perfect time – start your business now!
2) There will be a lot of difficulties and trials in starting a business; what matters is how you get through them.
3) Going through tough times makes you stronger.
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(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
[01:13] – Michael is 26 years old and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
[01:18] – He was a civil engineer before he became an entrepreneur
[02:06] – His area of expertise is in helping new entrepreneurs get connected to like-minded people, and find partners and mentors easily
[02:40] – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: Entrepreneurs think that starting a business is a very long, thorough process, but in reality getting started needs to be a quick process – it cannot be delayed
[04:25] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Michael left his job as a civil engineer. He went to Miami with his mentor and a few others to start a real estate business. The moment he got there, everything started to not work. His mentor’s coaching business was shut down overnight by Facebook and Google. Michael worked 12-20 hours per day without results. He was down to his last few thousand dollars and started driving Uber in his spare time to get by. One night when he was driving, his bank account went negative just as he ran out of gas…
[06:54] – If entrepreneurship was an easy thing, then everyone would be doing it
[08:10] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: When Michael was helping re-launching his mentor’s business after it got shut down, they rebranded it overnight. The next day, they were literally set up. He realized then that most entrepreneurs don’t know that they can do the same. Another ah-ha moment was when Michael didn’t feel good even though the business started thriving — he knew he needed to realign himself and went back home
[10:21] – The best thing about having difficult times is getting stronger after getting through them
[12:02] – Having a fall back plan is a comforting feeling
[12:42] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “It’s got to be growing this platform (Millennial Entrepreneurs)… it’s insane how fast things have taken off”
[17:21] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “It was really just lack of knowledge”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “A definite purpose is something that you must create for yourself; no one else will create it for you, and it will not create itself”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I only do things that I actually enjoy doing and I continually follow my curiosity”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – ClickFunnels Edison Suite and SEMRush
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Zero to One and Poor Charlie’s Almanack
[20:16] – “You cannot love yourself and judge yourself at the same time”
Michael Marra: Oh, yes, JLD, I am on fire!
John Lee Dumas: Yes! Michael’s the CEO and founder of Millennial Entrepreneur Group. He’s created a community and platform for entrepreneurs and startups to easily connect, collaborate, and learn.
Michael, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
Michael Marra: Thank you, JLD. I am super excited to be on here. I’m a big listener to the show, and I just want to say thank you for your service and everything that you’re doing in the world of podcasting and helping entrepreneurs all around the world.
John Lee Dumas: Thanks, brother.
Michael Marra: You got it. So, myself, I’m 26 years old. I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I used to be a civil engineer, and then I got into entrepreneurship and caught the bug of entrepreneurship and got into real estate, and that just led me down this journey to starting a bunch of different online businesses and everything. And once I really figured out that civil engineering and then real estate wasn’t my thing, I really wanted to start something that could help a lot of people, and I know a lot of entrepreneurs have trouble connecting with each other, so that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing now.
John Lee Dumas: With everything that you’ve been through in these 26 years you’ve been walking on this earth, Michael, what would you say your current area of expertise is?
Michael Marra: It’s definitely helping new entrepreneurs get connected to other likeminded people, find partners and mentors easily and then just get them on the first step to starting and growing their business.
John Lee Dumas: Well, let’s break that down a little bit. Let’s get tactical. Let’s go deep here. Don’t give me some surface-level answer about what you want us to know about that area of expertise. What is something that you don’t think that we’re doing, Michael, or what’s something that you see a lot of entrepreneurs make a mistake in that specific area?
Michael Marra: Well, a lot of it is they think, especially when entrepreneurs are just starting out, they think that starting a business is a very long and thorough process, which a lot of times it is, but getting started needs to be a very quick process, and you cannot delay it. A lot of entrepreneurs, when they’re starting out, they’ll take months to write a business plan, and then try to get a perfect domain name and a perfect logo and a perfect name, and all of these things, and then, two years down the road, they’re finally setting up their website.
So, what I try to do is get people through those steps a lot faster and really just narrow their focus down to getting things set up in a few hours a day. It really depends on how quickly they can do it. And I can go into the steps even further if you want me to break it down for everybody.
John Lee Dumas: No, we might get into that a little bit later in the interview, but one thing I do want you to focus on, Fire Nation, is you don’t need to see the whole staircase to take that first step. So many people are waiting to take that first step because they think, mistakenly, that they need to have that whole plan in place. Believe me, the future will reveal itself as you’re moving forward, so take a step into the mist. The mist will part a little bit, and you’ll see that next step and just keep on going.
So, Michael, we are gonna shift into a personal story that you have had at some point in your life that you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment, so take us there. Tell us that story.
Michael Marra: So, when I first left my job as an engineer and got into the real estate and everything, when I went down to Miami to start this real estate company with my mentor and a few other people, everything from the moment I got there was just not working out. We were launching my mentor’s coaching business, and literally got shut down by Facebook and Google, and had to totally rebrand everything overnight. I was working anywhere from 12 to 20 hours a day and not seeing any results. And after a few months of being down in Miami, I pretty much ran through my last few thousand dollars that I brought down to start this company.
So, I was literally driving Uber in my spare time while starting this company to just make enough to get by. Literally, every week, my account would go negative. It was really bad, and the rock-bottom moment was when I was driving, my account was negative and I was out of gas. And I was just sitting there at this gas station, and everything over the last three years, it was like a flashback moment, like, “What am I doing?” It was one of those moments.
And I just sat there, and it was crazy, and I just searched through my car and found like $2.00 in change and put that $2.00 into my car, and thankfully, I got another ride and was able to cash out and get my account positive again to buy gas on credit. So, I knew my account was gonna go negative again.
So, it was a crazy time period for me, and I know when you step into your journey as an entrepreneur, you go through these crazy moments and times in your life, and that was, for me, the worst moment. There’s nothing that has compared to that in my life.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, the reality is this. We have to just understand this. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. Everybody would be doing it. Of course, everybody wants to be an entrepreneur. We have this lifestyle independence. We have this financial independence. We have this freedom independence. We have all these great things. Those that are successful entrepreneurs have those things, so of course, everybody wants that.
Nobody wants to get up, and have to drive to a cubicle, and sit in a job that they hate, and then drive back home, and just be like, “When is Friday?” Nobody wants that. You’re a human being. You don’t want that. And guess what? If it was easy to be a successful entrepreneur, everybody would do it. So, when the tough times come, realize that, recognize that, and just say, “You know what? This is just one of those times when the other 99 percent gives up and goes away, but I’m gonna be that 1 percent.”
So, Michael, let’s shift to one of the greatest ideas you’ve had to date. Being 26, you haven’t had that much time for a lot of great ideas in your life. I don’t, frankly, think I had one good idea for the first 26 years of my life, so you’re already ahead of me. But you’ve had some good ideas. You’ve had some aha moments. Take us to one. Take us to the story. Tell it to us.
Michael Marra: So, it came when I was down in Miami going through all of these hard times, and like you said, you have to go through these difficult times to really see the beauty and to understand yourself. And going through that, now nothing scares me, and I know that I can pretty much do almost anything.
So, my aha moment came when we were launching this business, and like I said, we got shut down by Google and Facebook, and had to rebrand everything overnight, and by doing that, and the next day, I was like, “We literally set everything up. We have a whole business that this is everything that anyone would need to have a successful business. We set it up in a day. Why is this not a system and shared with more people?” So, that was a really aha moment like, “I understand how to start a business in a day, and I need to share this with other people.”
And then, the other aha moment for me personally – so, that was business, and then personally came when, after we went through the hard times of business, it was the other side of it where we started closing deals in real estate. And as I’m sure you know, in real estate, when you start closing deals, they’re six-figure-and-above deals.
So, it changes a lot of things, but I still did not feel like I was being myself, and I knew that I had to change things up because when things were going good, I still did not feel fulfilled. And that led me to realizing who I was as an individual and in getting realigned with myself, so I decided to move back home and start this company because I know when I was first starting out as an entrepreneur, it’s hard to find other likeminded people to connect with.
John Lee Dumas: Well, I’m glad you said “move back home” because, Fire Nation, I’m gonna be honest with you right now. The best thing about having really bad moments, about having the lowest of the low moments, of having these worst entrepreneurial moments is that when you get through them, it makes you feel invincible because you’re like, “You know what? That was the worst, and I made it. I survived through it, and honestly, if I got back to that point, I could survive it again.”
Honestly, and now I’m talking about myself, Fire Nation, if I was to wake up tomorrow and I had lost everything – if I lose my house, my entire bank account somehow goes to zero – I’m just saying, hypothetically, if I lose everything, I promise you, panic mode would happen for maybe 30 seconds, but then I would take a deep breath, and I’d be like, “I have nothing right now.” I would go back home, I would move into my childhood bedroom, and I would say, “Mom, Dad, I hopefully am only gonna be here for six months because I am a 38-year-old male, but I am gonna be here.”
And then, you know what I would do? Personally, this is me right now. I would get to know Amazon ads because, frankly, I know there’s an amazing opportunity for the foreseeable future about those that know Amazon ads. And I don’t wanna do that today because I don’t have a passion for ads, and I don’t have the time. I want to do other things, and I am doing other things, but if I had to get my feet back on the ground, that’s how I would do it. I would learn that route, and then I would probably end up building some kind of physical product empire off of Amazon or maybe just running an agency, helping other people with their products on Amazon because that opportunity’s massive. That’s something that I just see in this world.
So, what is something that you see in this world as a huge opportunity, Fire Nation? And guess what? That could be your fallback plan. If you know you have a fallback plan, it’s a comforting feeling. I know, and I honestly believe this, that in six months from moving into my parents’ house and executing on that Amazon plan, which would be not that difficult to execute on, I’m positive I would have generated six figures in revenue from that point. Positive. So, what is it that your fallback plan is?
Now, I want to move forward, Michael, for you into today. You’re doing some really cool things, brother. You’ve got the Millennial Entrepreneur Group going on. You’re building platforms. You’re doing this. You’re doing that. What fires you up right now more than anything else?
Michael Marra: It’s gotta be just growing this platform that we’re doing. It’s insane how fast things have taken off, and we’re really excited about the future. At this moment, there’s already over 3,000 entrepreneurs in our platform, and by the time this goes live, we should have over 5,000.
John Lee Dumas: Give me something specific. What’s something really cool, specifically, that’s happened in the Millennial Entrepreneur Group?
Michael Marra: In ME Group, because that’s how I’m branding it because we’re not just focused on helping these entrepreneurs start and grow businesses but helping them figure out their ME first before getting into everything, but we have ME Social, which is our social network for entrepreneurs exclusively. So, instead of entrepreneurs going on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook and all these other social media sites, we’re creating a social media site for just entrepreneurs.
And then, in addition to that, we have ME University, which is our eLearning platform for just entrepreneurs, where they can not only take courses and get mastermind sessions, but also we have a whole coaching and mentoring dashboard where entrepreneurs can book a session with a mentor coach, a free 15-minute session with a mentor coach right through the platform, and get that advice or get that help and get that one-on-one mentoring to ask a quick question or just hire or get to know a successful entrepreneur.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, this is an example of a guy that just had an idea and then put one foot in front of the other, and now he has a 3,000-plus person group that probably by the time you’re hearing this is over 5,000 and growing, all because he took one step and then another. What’s your one step gonna be today, Fire Nation? And then, what’s it gonna lead to? Who knows, but it’s exciting.
Now, Michael’s gonna be dropping some value bombs coming up here in the Lightning Round when we get back from thanking our sponsors.
Michael, are you ready to rock the Lightning Round?
Michael Marra: Let’s do it. I’m excited.
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Michael Marra: It was really just lack of knowledge. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. It’s one of those things where if I knew how to start a business or if I knew these things that no one teaches you in school, I would have been an entrepreneur probably long ago, and I would never have jumped into engineering and all this stuff.
John Lee Dumas: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Michael Marra: A definite purpose is something that you must create for yourself. No one else will create it for you, and it will not create itself.
John Lee Dumas: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Michael Marra: I only do things that I actually enjoy doing, and really just continuing to follow my curiosity, and just make life interesting, and do things that catch my attention and I really am curious about and excited about. Those are the only things that I do, and those are the only things that I focus on.
John Lee Dumas: Recommend one Internet resource.
Michael Marra: So, I think ClickFunnels is amazing, but I would recommend their Etison Suite to get their email marketing software and affiliate program. And in addition to that, a great just tool for keyword research and everything is SEMrush.com, and you can look up keywords. You can look up ads. It’s a great tool to just do some research on like topics to write blogs about or things to buy a domain on, your name, all that stuff. It’s a great tool.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah. And, Fire Nation, if you wanted to see a great joint webinar that Russell and I did for free all about the Etison Suite, etc., EOFire.com/Click.
Recommend one book, Michael, and share why.
Michael Marra: One of my favorites for business is Zero to One by Peter Thiel. As far as a couple others, as you mentioned, Russell Brunson, I have his Expert Secrets sitting right here. And then, I also have Poor Charlie’s Almanack, which is just an amazing research –
John Lee Dumas: That only comes in the physical form. That’s a huge book.
Michael Marra: Yes. Yeah, it’s actually massive. It’s probably the largest book I own.
John Lee Dumas: Oh, crazy stuff. Well, Fire Nation, if you love audiobooks, you should, and you can get a free one if you’re not currently a member at Audible by going to EOFireBook.com.
Michael, I want to end today on fire with you giving us a parting piece of guidance, sharing the best way that we can connect with you and your brand and your business, and of course, we’ll say goodbye.
Michael Marra: So, one of the things one of my other mentors always says is, “You cannot love yourself and judge yourself at the same time,” so really focus on loving yourself and understanding who you are, and then, you can create any business off of that. So, that is the most important thing.
And as far as getting in touch with me, I made a special gift for Fire Nation. You can get access to our social platform to connect with entrepreneurs. You can get free access to our university to take courses, and get content, and get access to coaching and mentoring at MEGroup.tv/Fire. So, that’s just M-E-G-R-O-U-P.tv/Fire, and you can find all that there. You can even set up a free call with me. I’d love to talk to everyone and figure out a way that I can help anyone who’s starting or looking to grow as an entrepreneur.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, whenever a guest offers a free call, jump on it. Have a conversation with Michael. You won’t regret it. And you’re the average, Fire Nation, of the five people that you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with JLD and MM today, so let’s keep up the heat. And of course, head over to EOFire.com. Just type “Michael” in the search bar. His Show Notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz – timestamps, links galore.
And, Michael, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Michael Marra: Thank you, JLD, I appreciate it.
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