Life Unplugged In Ecuador With Patrick Martin
Having a passive income for the sake of helping others brings in great rewards. Today, host Mitch Stephen talks to Patrick Martin – also known as Coach Pat – one of the members of The Martins Unplugged. Coach Pat and his family have dedicated their lives helping those in need specifically in Ecuador. By living an unplugged life and using real estate investments as their income stream, Pat has helped numerous families and homeless people gain back their purpose in society. Tune in to this episode to learn about living the unplugged life and what Pat is doing in the real estate investment space.
I’m here with Patrick Martin. We’ll call him Coach Pat because he got the name a long time ago and it stuck. He was coaching wrestling and soccer with the kids. He’s been known as Coach Pat since we can remember. Coach Pat, how are you doing?
Mitch, I’m doing fantastic. Thanks for having me on your show.
I enjoyed being on your podcast. You’re an interesting person. We have a few people in common. I love the people I’ve been trying to learn more from here in the past you seem to have known for a long time. We have a certain amount of stuff in common, but you’re over in Ecuador? What’s the name of that town?
When it’s the rainy season, we moved to the mountain city of Cuenca, which we get sun every day. It’s beautiful and gorgeous. During the sunny season, we head back to the beach in a little town called Olon. It’s a little surf community. I like to surf. I like to scuba dive, jog on the beach and play soccer. I still compete and play on a couple of men’s teams here. I love it. It’s a great lifestyle.
Is this more for unplugging, tax reasons or a little of both?
It’s for unplugging. My wife and I a few years ago, we came here on vacation, fell in love with it and helped out in an orphanage. We have a foundation that we started that provides free medical services for the refugees, the Venezuelans, there are a lot of refugees here. Also, opening up a café and the proceeds of the café go towards the free service system that we have. We came down and God spoke to our hearts and said, “What impact are we having in the States?” We’re doing real estate. My wife is a holistic doctor of nutrition. Our kids are going their way. We all have our cars. God got ahold of our hearts and said, “Why don’t you go there to make an impact because you’re not making one up here?”
We sold everything. We sold the Porsche. We sold the BMW. We sold everything, downsized to two suitcases, a backpack, a dive bag. We came down and we said, “God, what do you want us to do?” We do our businesses online and we give back. Live a life unplugged means for us being minimalist and not having all the stuff because the stuff had us, the cars, the big homes, the swim gurus, all that stuff had us. We thought, “We had it.” We live life unplugged and that freedom to pick up and you’re like, “We’re going to go to the beach and live at the beach here. We’re going in another month, we’ll be there for three months. We’ll come back here to Cuenca.” It’s being able to unplug at a moment’s notice and go where we want to go, where we feel God’s leading us, and being able to give back to those things we’re passionate about.
A good friend of mine and mentor once said to me, “The only thing money will do for you is allow you to be where you want to be when you want to be. That’s all it will do for you.” Let’s talk about that, the unplugged life. Also, before I forget, is there a link or someplace someone can go if they want to donate to your cause?
If you want to help the Martins’ cause down there, send a donation. It’s a 501(c)(3). I’m sure they’ll send you your paper so you can get your deduction. Unplugging, a lot of people dream about that. What does it take? How big is that decision? I’m going to guess you were set financially or were you not set financially when you unplugged?
We’re set financially to a certain degree. If we don’t continue to market and stay in business, then we’re not set financially. I still have to do my real estate where I get to do my real estate. We have passive streams of income. Eventually, those passive streams of income will dry up if I don’t continue to farm the ground. It’s the same thing for my wife.
I wanted to point out, were you wealthy when you went there and you’re living off the interest of collections or whatever? Do you go there and you still have to function? It’s the way I know most people go. Besides that, if you did nothing, that would be scary. What would we do, Coach Pat, if we didn’t have any business or any game to play, the monopoly game, I’m not sure we would do well.
We’d have to trade hours for dollars. We’d have to do something. To give you an idea down here, I have my beachfront home was $875 a month and that was a four-bedroom, five-bath home built a few years ago right on the Pacific Ocean. This is a luxury condo that we have with the doorman. This place was built about a few years ago. I have a beautiful balcony here. I’m looking out at Inca Ruins. It’s a three-bedroom, three-bath condo for $575 a month. I have to work, but can I survive on the one house that I get up on the States for $2,500 a month? You bet. For me, that’s great to have rental income coming in for one house. I have multiple homes, but could I survive in one home? Yes, but I wouldn’t be able to go and do the things that I want to do, going out to the jungle, to the villages and stay out there for a week or two. Having those passive income streams affords me to live that unplugged lifestyle.
Also, it probably helps in your efforts to do your giving back to that community that you’re working with. It’s hard to take care of yourself if you’re broke, much less help other people. It goes a long way. What are you doing down there to help all these other people?
My wife and I have a business. My wife has an online superfood store. Superfoods are wheatgrass, alfalfa, spirulina, workout. She has a vegan protein that’s clinically proven to build muscle without exercising. The 100% of those proceeds go to our 501(c)(3). From those proceeds, I got a foundation house. It’s called Casa Grace, which means giving refugees a chance. Now, we’ll be completely putting in that ceramic tile. I’m raising money now for a little commercial kitchen. The kitchen area, all that’s been redone, put a window in to pass the plates through. We renovate it. It’s only $450 a month on the rent, but that’s a big two-storey, beautiful edifice. On the garage side, which I’ve got to get a garage door opener, which they don’t have down here.
I’ve got to get one shipped in from the States and that garage area will be our clothing area. Walking through there, I have a staging area with hot showers and fresh clothes and so forth. Upstairs is our dental office. We have two medical offices, one for children and one for adults. We also have a pharmacy. This is all grottos. This is for anybody. We won’t turn anybody away. I’m there almost every day at Casa Grace. We’re almost done with the renovations and we should have our opening soon. In the meantime, our doctors and dentists are going to make house calls because we can’t have people in the facility while we’re trying to lay tile and paint and all that other stuff.
You’re serious about this. You’ve got a team of people, it sounds like. It’s not you by yourself, and you’ve got some momentum going. People are helping you. You’ve been a giver your whole life. I know coaches don’t get paid all that well and they work their ass off. They do it for love or passion. How blessed are people that know what their passion is and are in the middle of it?
Mitch, you know better than probably anybody. There’s a Bible verse which says, “It’s better to give than to receive.” It’s great when somebody brings you a receiver. You have to be an excellent receiver, but you also have to be an excellent giver as well. When you see somebody that has a need, I’ve got little ones, we’ve got little babies to little guys that I get to kick the ball around with and put food in front of their faces, little bowls of soup, bread, and sandwiches. I get to serve them. I get to bring the plate to them. I get to sit down and talk with these little guys in Spanish and I love them.
When you’ve done 2,000-plus deals and yet the first deals that you start making a profit, you flip it, everything goes. I’ve had some multiple six-figure flips. Those are great deals, but when it’s all said and done, the greatest joy I have is God’s blessed us with the finances to give back. I get to sit down with some people and make an impact. One of my guys that I was feeding him and his family and giving them some food, some soup, sandwiches, juice and bananas. His name was Saul. This guy probably weighed about 120 pounds. It looked like his arms were skinny. His eyes were sunken in and escaping Venezuela with his clothes on his back, two kids and a wife.
This young guy, he’s 26, 27 years old. Mitch, you take somebody to disrupt 25, 30 pounds. He’s looking terrible. My wife was able to get the mom baby formula. I was able to take Saul out on the soccer field on the LA Concha and play some indoor soccer. He didn’t have $2 to pay for playing soccer. I get to go out and I stay in shape. I play 2 or 3 times a week. Mitch, it’s like taking somebody hunting for the first time. They get that first kill. They’re overjoyed. I’m taking Saul for $2 to kick the ball, to do something he’s passionate about. He loves to play football. It’s a religion and they love to play. We can do deals. What’s the purpose of doing business? The purpose for me is we can make a bunch of money, but if we don’t give back, if I don’t take the opportunity to give back. I can be sitting in Florida, on the beach sipping Mai Tai’s, whatever it is, doing nothing and being greedy. For me, I don’t think that’s why it got put in this year and put you here, Mitch.
You are probably inspiring a lot of people. You’re inspiring me. There’s got to be a higher reason after a while. Money is not enough. Money is just money. I know when you don’t have money, it’s cliché. Money doesn’t buy happiness or whatever. You’ve got to address that. If you don’t have enough money, you need to address that and get a handle on it. If you’re fortunate enough to go out and get way more than you ever needed or expected, you find out soon that more of it doesn’t do that much. It’s not exponential. It doesn’t do that much more for you. There are other things to do or other rewards.
I’m coaching probably for the same reason you coach. I want to be on a winning team and help some people change their outlook on life or the way life is happening. Consequently, it’s hard to figure out if I want them on the team or not because it’s too easy to get on a losing team. I’m trying to find someone that I can help cross over the mountain. I don’t want to take on the someone that I’m going to have to carry back down the mountain. I don’t want to get halfway and have to carry him down. I want to find someone that we can get over the top and get where we’re supposed to go. What’s your wife’s name?
My wife is Doreen.
Is she there now?
She is not. We love doing business. She and my daughter are taking care of our Airbnb, which is in the same building. We had somebody that got booked.
How challenging is it sometimes to do business from these places? Is the internet a challenge? Do you have good internet there?
Here in Cuenca, we have fiber optic. It’s high-speed. It’s the best. We seemed better in the States. At the beach, the beach is challenging. Our internet is cable. We have a saying, “Tranquilo, gringo.” If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. We have not to get upset and like, “I’m going to lose sales. I missed this.” We’ve learned the flow and there must be a reason. If the internet goes out or the power goes out for an afternoon, for a day or whenever, in the middle of a meeting, webinar or whatever we’re doing, we flow because it’s out of our control. What’s not out of our control is how we respond to it. If we make the best of it instead of the worst of it, that’s the key.
In other words, “Gringo, relax. It’s going to be fine.” I’ve been a songwriter for many years. I’m going to get good at it any day, but apparently in 2005, which is almost too long to talk about. I wrote a song called Hey David, Who’s That Gringo? It won Crossover Song of the Year. The main reason it was because all the Hispanos could use the word gringo, which is politically incorrect. It’s a dirty word. They could use it because it was in the song. It was in the chorus. They could sing gringo all they wanted to. When you said, “Tranquilo, gringo,” I thought, “There’s another song waiting to happen right there.”
Mitch, down here, gringo is not a bad word. In Cuenca, they even have Gringo Landia. We’ve got 25,000 ex-pats that are here. Down here, it’s not offensive.
Let me ask you this. Do you mingle with the ex-pats? Are you among the native people?
Lots of the ex-pats here are financial refugees. They drink a lot of cheap beer and gossip, chisme. It’s Cerveza and chisme. I don’t like to hang out with that crowd and they’re older. They don’t go to the gym. They’re not on the soccer field. For me, I use that as a ministry. The seed level professional team here, the owner’s a friend of mine, we play together. When they’re in season, I go to the game and I get to pray with the guys beforehand. It’s a simple, short prayer, but I’ll give them a scripture like, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives a prize? Run in such a way that you might win.” The Apostle Paul wrote that, maybe someplace in Corinthians.
Are you a minister by any chance?
Yeah, I’ve been a pastor for many years in my last church that I was employed with. I’ve been unemployable for many years. The last church was for several years. Several years ago, I was no longer employable. Have you ever heard of Bishop TD Jakes up in Dallas?
Yeah, I have.
I was one of his pastors. I was the street pastor from the homeless there for a few years. I’ve been a youth pastor before that and pastored my own church after that.
I don’t want anyone to take this question wrong, but we can help everybody no matter how dysfunctional someone is, we can always help them. My question is and take it the right way. What’s the percentage of people that you can help get back on their feet and get going and the ones that are going to need help forever? What is the better way to say that question? I don’t like the way it sounds because there are people you can help transition and get on their feet, get the wind under their wings. They can go sail again. A lot of the homeless, at least the ones I witnessed, they have mental disorders that I don’t know can be fixed at all. They need to be taken care of by the grace of God and by the grace of the people around them.
Here’s a better question, Mitch. How many of them want to get off the streets? If they don’t want to get off the streets, our goal and desire for them is not their goal and desire.
How many people are stuck there for temporary? You can help them get out and how many are going to need help every day or get off the street?
I would say over 50% of them in my experience. They’re okay. They don’t mind staying on the streets. They want to live there because they don’t have any responsibilities other than to take care of themselves. It’s selfish. They can do a little bit, do some drugs. They can hold a sign. It’s called hanging a sign so they can get some donations. People giving them money on the streets so they can go get a pack of smokes, get a beer, get some wine, get a bottle of tequila or whatever and they can trek. They’ve got their favorite places under a bridge, loading dock, even up into the big billboard sides that are up. I have one of my guys figured out a way. He climbed up there and he called it his condo in the sky. It was safe. Nobody bothered him and he slept up in that area. It was protected and nobody saw him up there.
If the weather’s nice, I call it being a boy scout. They can go out, be a boy scout, live outside and survive outside. They have zero responsibilities, nothing. They don’t have a job. People can come and give them clothes, give them food, they know where they can take showers and so forth. They can get by. It might be for a season and for others it might be temporary. A lot of them do have mental issues and so forth. You help the ones you can. The guy that may not be ready, he might be ready a few months down the road. I was able to help guys get to the place to get ready to transition to get off the streets and into their own apartment or in getting a job.
I helped a lot of guys get jobs and not just with the church. We had a beauty shop, barbershop, hot showers, hot food and good food. I got Starbucks to sponsor me in the morning and we prepared a nice, beautiful chicken or garnished game hens and cornbread and good stuff. I hated that the church administration would tell me, “Here’s some bologna and some white bread and make them some sandwiches.” You tell me, “God bless you.” While on the other side of the church, they have a cafeteria serving amazing food. I’m like, “No.” I raised the money to serve an amazing breakfast, Starbucks and an amazing lunch. I still took the sack lunch that the church gave me and I gave that to them, but take it back with them.
Who are some of your biggest donors? Do you have any big donors?
It sounds like you’re bootstrapping it because you started a restaurant so you can fund some of this stuff.
It’s called a CLOD Cafe or A Cup of Heaven. The café was not even up and running. My daughter, Hannah, ran a cafe, managed a cafe in the surf town for a couple of years while we lived out at the beach. She’s got some amazing recipes and so forth. My daughter, Hannah, she’s going to head up the little cafe. We’re going to serve breakfast and lunch. We probably close it at 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. The proceeds from the restaurant will go to help fund free services.
Will any of the homeless people help you there?
Absolutely. I’ve got guys that are helping me. A day’s wage down here is $15. I’m paying a guy $20 a day. He’s painting for me and helping me out. I do have other guys that come and volunteer. I feel like if they volunteer, I need to feed them. I got to do something to help them.
What deals are you doing? How are you making a living from afar?
I do have a real estate course. I finished it and it’s called Pre-Foreclosure Cash Cows. With that, it’s simple. We go and find online. I can do this from anywhere. I can do it from here in Ecuador or at the beach in Florida or the mountains at Sandpoint Idaho at Schweitzer ski area. It doesn’t matter where I am if I’ve got the internet. I skip trace and track down homes that are vacant in pre-foreclosure, in which the homeowner walked away, given up, and they’re going to let the banks walk over the top without putting up a fight. They don’t have the money to hire an attorney. The process from when they quit paying on the mortgage for whatever reason, a divorce or health issues, it’s months and sometimes years if they don’t do a thing or if they don’t hire an attorney to jam up the foreclosure process or negotiate on their behalf.
We find these vacant properties, put them under contract and my $10 binder fee in most cases in California, it’s $100. My $10 binder fee in my contract gives me an equitable interest in the property. I don’t have to be a realtor or mortgage or a broker to be able to manage the property and put a tenant in that property. We create a passive income stream, full disclaimers and disclosures. I’m not an attorney. I don’t give legal advice. We disclose to the tenant that we’re doing foreclosure defense and we give them a deal not on the price of the rental. I can get a little bit more, but I let them in first and last, so they don’t have to have first and last security upfront to get in.
We jam up the foreclosure process for years. The benefit to that tenant, if the tenant is the lucky one that is in the house when the property is lost to the foreclosure auction one day, then the bank is going to pay them Cash for Keys. As a rule of thumb, they can get equivalent to first-class security. They’re renting the house out for $2,000 a month. As a rule of thumb, the bank will give them about $5,000, $6,000, maybe a little bit more and 90 days rent-free. The benefit to the homeowner is we profit share it with the homeowner. We can’t take advantage of the homeowner. The homeowner can never be out a dime one pocket.
Morally, legally and ethically, we can put some cash in the homeowner’s pocket over thousands of dollars over the next 2, 3, 4, 5 years. We can provide a good deal for the tenant. We can also make a passive income stream as well. We’re cleaning and maintaining the property so it benefits the neighborhood. I don’t feel about the banks, Mitch. The banks had been made whole. They’ve cashed in on private mortgage insurance. For every mortgage that’s put into a trust, which is put into another trust, each one of those trusts has what’s called credit default insurance. The bank has been made 2 or 3 times before they foreclose and take the property and then sell the property and make even another profit.
You have a giveaway. You have a video series on how to unplug, de-stress and live your wildest dreams. I want you to go to REInvestorSummit.com/Unplugged. Also, if you go there, you can learn about the course Coach Pat is talking about. It goes to show how many niches there are. I haven’t quite heard of this niche. I used to be surprised, but now I’m not surprised because there are many different angles in the creative real estate investing world. Why go and have to learn that angle all by yourself? Coach Pat here has been doing it. He’s worked out the kinks, knows how to do it, is doing it from afar for heaven’s sake. I want you to go to that website, get your video and check out these courses. Also, check out his podcast, The Martins Unplugged. For a long time, he’s been consistent.
We’re on Spotify. Spotify picked us up. You’ll hear our stories of living life unplugged.
I sent you some Christian music, but if you want to use any of that stuff, I give it to you for your cause.
You have to like it first. If you don’t like it, don’t worry about it, but if you do like it, you got to use it. I’d like to thank you for coming on. You’re making me dream a little bit. I appreciate the fact that you took your time. I hope people send you some donations to help with your cause.
Mitch, thank you for having me on. It was a joy and a pleasure.
I’d like to thank my audience for stopping by to get you some Coach Pat, Patrick Martin. We missed his wife, Doreen, but we can probably catch her another time. Please, if you’ve got a full heart and want to donate, go to TheMartinsUnplugged.com and check under the little section in there called his mission of love and give what you can. I feel strongly that this money will get where it’s supposed to go. That’s one of the most important things when you’re donating. Thank you.
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