Becoming A Leader With Chris Arnold
Episode 472: Becoming A Leader With Chris Arnold
Desiring to transition from success to more significance is a great starting point to becoming a leader. Mitch Stephen’s guest in this episode is Chris Arnold, co-founder of Multipliers. Chris shares with Mitch about his life-changing moment in high school. He used to be in a lot of trouble, but God stepped into his life, and everything changed. From that point onward, Chris dedicated his life to serving others. Finding great success in real estate, his heart tugged him to lead a life of more significance. That is when he had a vision of leading leaders and influencing influencers, especially great men. If you want to become a leader and make a positive impact, this episode is for you! Plus, learn more about Chris’ move to Tulum and how running a full-scale wholesaling operation remotely is going for him.
I’m here with Chris Arnold, my friend. I’m taking the hat off to Chris because he checked out of the rat race. He moved to Tulum. He’s doing everything he used to do, but he’s doing it from paradise on the beach. I know because I’ve been there and I saw it. This episode is called Doing it from Tulum. If you’re interested in how to do business from afar, maybe you should hang around on this episode because we’re all going to learn a thing or two from a guy that’s down there, in the thick of it, and doing it from Tulum. What’s going on, Chris?
Hanging out with you, you know it’s going to be a good time. We always have a great time hanging out together.
For those of you who don’t know, Chris is one of the Cofounders of Multipliers, a mastermind of about 50 businessmen. It’s a little bit different than a lot of masterminds. It has a lot to do with business and networking, but it also has to do with men and men issues, and how we can go through this world and become the leaders that we want to be or supposed to be, and not implode along the way, given the natural tendencies of men. The other thing I learned while I was there at my first mastermind session in Tulum with the guys, 45 of the men showed up. They said something I didn’t like, but it’s true and it is how life runs. We’re either going into a crisis, we’re in a crisis or we’re coming out of a crisis. That’s how it works. There are those three phases. You got to get yourself surrounded by some people that give a damn and can help. That’s why I ended up in Tulum with the mastermind group. He does that too from Tulum. You have a wholesaling operation in Dallas, Texas.
DFW is home-based for us so we do our deals around Texas.
Tell us from the beginning how you get into real estate, and then start doing the do and all of a sudden, you end up in Tulum.
My story starts at an interesting point. I was the kid in high school that got in a lot of trouble. My dad will tell you that most of his gray hairs came from me. I had a big life-changing point in my life in high school. I got pulled away from a lot of things that I had gotten involved in. Because of that change, God stepped into my life. I said, “I want to spend the rest of my life serving people. I don’t know what that looks like, but that’s what I want to do.” Being eighteen years old, it’s like, “What do you do?” I went to seminary. The challenge though that I realized going through seminary was I didn’t fit the conventional role.
I wasn’t going to go be a pastor of a church. I wasn’t going to be a missionary. I can remember I was eating at Chick-fil-A, eating a chicken biscuit, looking up on the mural of how Truett Cathy had built Chick-fil-A and utilized a for-profit company to take those resources and impact the world with it. I was looking up on this wall of all of these incredible things that he was funding through business. That was the first time that seed got planted that maybe my journey in my future is going to be the business route. At that time, I didn’t know much. I didn’t know anything about business. I got a Master’s in Theology. They don’t give you business courses there. At that point, the only vehicle that I understand that makes sense to me, that seems like it gives both that freedom of lifestyle as well as that capital to reinvest back into charity is real estate. I simply started by getting my license as a real estate agent. I went to work for CENTURY 21, calling expired FSBOs and taking listings. That’s how that whole game started for me several years ago.
You’re in there, you’re doing the traditional real estate thing. When does the investing light bulb go off?
That doesn’t go off for probably another 6, 7 years. I got caught up again. You know the brokerage world. We’ve got some solid brokerage players and multipliers. I went the MREA route. Gary Keller at that time had written this book, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, and how you could build this team inside of Keller Williams. I spent the first handful of 5, 6, 7 years focused on scaling my real estate team. I went independent and built a brokerage independent at a certain point. It wasn’t until I met a good buddy of mine. We were sitting down having a pizza at Neo’s Pizza out in Cedar Hill, Texas. He says, “I’m looking for something to do. I’ve got this construction background.” I’m like, “I got a real estate background. Why don’t we go flip a house?”
It was something to consider to do. Two weeks later, I came across the first deal. You know how it is. If you’re a broker, deals come across your table. I didn’t know what to do with it. We went and flipped our first house on Kalmia Drive and made $15,000 on our first split. We didn’t know what we were doing. I didn’t know I needed insurance. I didn’t know anything about hard money lending. It was a ready, fire, aim, but somehow, we made it out and made $15,000. It’s like, “Let’s go do that again a few more times.” That’s how the whole investment side started for me.
You started doing the investment side, but it doesn’t sound like you’re focusing on fixing and flipping right now. Are you still doing some of that or did you morph into wholesaling?
We morphed into wholesaling. We started flipping about 45 properties a year. If you’re at that level dealing with what it takes to manage that many properties with subcontractors, you go, “Is there an easier way to scale this?” What I realized is I’d rather take a fast nickel than a slow dime. That’s what I feel like wholesaling is. It’s a faster nickel. It’s more scalable. What we did was we shifted more of our weight and time into wholesaling. Fundamentally, we would flip the best and wholesale the rest became our model moving forward.
When did you get turned on to multipliers and start that?
I had set a goal for myself. Being young by the time when I got into real estate, let’s say in my early twenties, I said that I would devote ten years of my life to the success side. Every person and entrepreneur, men and women, particularly understand that I need to learn how to provide for myself. I’m going to need to learn how to provide for a family at some point when I get married. I’m going to put my head down for ten years. I’m going to do my best to become the best businessperson that I can be. In ten years, I don’t forget why I’m doing all this. In the meantime, we did things like homeless ministry and we’d go into juvenile detention centers, worked with integrity mentors, but I wasn’t giving a lot of my time to that. I was staying plugged in, but it wasn’t the majority of where my thought process was going. At ten years, I had marked it down and I put my head up.
At that time, I told my buddy, “We’re going to have coffee every Saturday morning until we figure out how we’re going to transition from success over to more significance.” That’s what we did. We had coffee for about nine months. We kicked around all kinds of crazy ideas. Finally, we got a vision for Multipliers. What we realized was we wanted to lead leaders, we wanted to influence influencers, and more importantly, we wanted these great men to finish the race well because there’s a lot at stake for a high-level entrepreneur. If they disqualify themselves, they leave a wake of bodies, whether that be family to friends, to employees, to everybody that follows them on social media and listens to their podcasts. From that, we birth this concept of making sure that our men finished the legacy that they were called to fulfill. That’s how I began. We launched.We want great men to finish the race well because there's a lot at stake for a high-level entrepreneur. Click To Tweet
How old is Multipliers?
It’s a few years.
It’s worth it. It’s life-altering for me. I’m glad I went. We started out saying it’s going to be about doing it from Tulum. When do you decide in this chain of events that you’re not going to do this from DFW anymore?
I’m a guy that knew early on that I didn’t want to stay in Dallas. I had this vision of living in the Caribbean. Maybe I saw too many Corona commercials, but there was something that enticed me about living in the Caribbean and being on the water. I’m an outdoors guy, I didn’t get much replenishment in Dallas. Even though it’s a big city, there’s not a lot to do, the typical grab a cup of coffee, go to dinner, see a movie. I had written that down on my vision board. Probably about three years before I moved, we made a pretty heavy shift into the virtual world. At that time, it was more of a newer concept. There wasn’t a lot of people doing this, but I knew that there are certain freedoms that exist.
We’re all into real estate for freedom of time. We also get in to have freedom of resources to be able to spend our money on the things that we value most. Another freedom that I’ve always personally held to is freedom of location. I don’t want to run a business that locks me into a geographical area because I believe that there’s value in changing our environments. People change us, environments change us. After as long as I had been in Dallas, by that point, twelve years, it was no longer challenging me. I don’t know, Mitch, if you lived somewhere so long that you don’t even look to the right or the left when you drive because you have everything memorized.
That’s where I found myself. I was like, “This environment isn’t sharpening me anymore.” At this point, we had pretty much 80%, 90% of our staff gone virtual. I was showing up every day at this big office with a few of us left. We had a big office with everyone in there and we had made that transition. I remember thinking to myself, “Why do I need to be in this office?” Everyone else who worked for me is like, “Chris, we’re all virtual. What are you still doing in Dallas?” At that point, I took a vacation down in Tulum. I instantly fell in love. My wife and I packed up everything and moved within 90 days of the first time we visited. Sometimes you got to go for it, make a decision and make it happen. We did. We’ve been down here a few years now.
That’s what you call being triggered right there. Pull the trigger and you jump down and go down there. Is your wife automatically on board with you or was that a little bit of a challenge?
One of the great qualities about my wife is she signed up with me to be along for the adventure. Usually, whatever crazy idea that I come up with, she’s either onboard to support it where she says, “That’s crazy, but I’ll let you go do that. Have fun jumping out of a plane or whatever that looks like.” Funny enough, my wife had never lived outside of DFW. She was born in Arlington and she moved from Arlington to Dallas, which is a whopping 35 minutes away when we got married. She was on board and said, “Let’s do it.” She’s nervous, but part of the reason she signed up with me is she knew she wasn’t going to get bored. I was always going to be up to something.
Do you have kids?
Are you a surfer?
Here, we don’t have big enough waves to surf, but we do paddle surfing. That’s a mixture of taking a pallet board out and hitting some of the smaller waves, but because they’re smaller and you have a paddle, you can ride the waves. I was down and paddleboarding at the beach, which was amazing.
What are the challenges of wholesaling from Tulum?
I don’t find that there are a lot of obstacles to running a virtual company. There are more benefits than cons. Few obstacles you have to overcome, you have to have boots on the ground. You have to have somebody that can check the mail, do some of the fundamental things that have to happen on the ground. You have to have an inspector, which we do have an in-house inspector that goes out to the properties, takes pictures, videos and writes us a report. If you have a couple of people on the ground to look at houses and do basic administrative stuff, you don’t need anyone else there. We do have a couple of salespeople that are located in Dallas, but that’s because they were around when we had an office.
We have virtual acquisition managers. Of all of our AMs, the one that outperforms all of them is virtual. She’s never been to Dallas Fort Worth. I don’t believe, even from a sales standpoint, that you need to do that. A lot of people will say, “What about culture? Can you maintain a culture without an office?” I feel like our culture is deeper and more meaningful virtually than it ever was in office. You can be in an office with someone and never talk to them. You can ignore each other. When you’re running a virtual company, communication has to be on point to get things done because you can’t walk next door to someone’s office and ask a question. We have a deep and thriving culture.
I’m curious because I honestly don’t know. Do you do teach this?
No. The thing that I help that has helped a lot of people is setting up the types of marketing that work best virtually. Certain pieces of marketing are much more labour-intensive, but the one thing that we’ve built our business on as one of our primary marketing channels is radio. Radio can be done easily virtually. That’s helped us a lot. I help people set up their radio advertisement.
You do have a course on that, how to take advantage of radio advertising or how to manipulate radio advertising?
Here’s the question that I always get initially when I say the word radio. They’re like, “Isn’t that antiquated?” I go, “What is your demographic? The primary person in the United States that we do deals with statistically is over the age of 50. They do not stream music via Spotify. They still get in the car and turn on their radio. When you connect that dot and you say, “That’s right. Most of the people, if I look statistically back through my closings, are over the age of 50. Why wouldn’t you do things that get you in front of them?” Does pay-per-click work? Yes. Does somebody that’s 60, 70 years old primarily use their internet at a high level? No. We know statistically that they use YouTube on how-to videos like how to use my iPhone that my grandson bought.
For the most part, they’re not behaving the way that we behave. They still do a couple of key things, that is they turn on the TV because they were raised that way, and they also turn on the radio when they get in the car. The other question I get is, “That must be pretty expensive.” I say, “No, because we buy radio like we buy real estate at a deep discount price.” What we’re fundamentally showing people how to do is buy radio at $0.25 on the dollar. The average spend for radio is about $1,000 to $2,000 a month for a station, which is mind-blowing to people. Most people think it’s going to cost $5,000 to $10,000 to get started. I hear $10,000 more. No, it’s $1,000 to $2,000 a month, which is affordable for just about everybody.
Is it the same theory with TV or not?
It overlaps with TV. They’re the same. Here’s what I argue right now. We’re on the topic of lead generation. Everyone is battling it out over the same methodologies. The reason they’re battling it out is because everyone has one thing in common. Everyone’s trying to build the greatest and the best customized list possible. Because of that, everyone then fights over the methods on how to get to that list because there are only certain ways. You can cold call them, direct mail them, door-knock them, do ringless voicemail and text blasting. Everyone is fighting over those lists. It’s creating a high level of saturation. What I believe in now, particularly more than ever, is that mass media is the way to go, which is TV and radio.
It’s because nobody’s playing at that poker table. I challenge you. I want you to ask yourself, who in your city do you know that is advertising for motivated seller leads on radio or even TV? You’ll be hard-pressed to ever find anyone. All of a sudden, the alarm bells go off. There’s nobody because it’s an absolute blue ocean strategy. Radio has been around forever, but the application of radio to find motivated sellers has been completely overlooked. It’s been overlooked because people think that people act like them, but you’re not your demographic. We’ve already established that. Your demographic is over the age of 50. Number two, you probably assumed it’s not affordable. Number three, it’s a big black hole. I don’t know anything about advertising on the radio. You can’t find anything online. I challenge you to and try to find someone that shows you how to utilize radio from an investment standpoint. There’s no content around it on TV. That’s why it’s so fresh right now. There’s been a massive success with it right now.
What’s the average age of the Baby Boomers? Is it 70 or 75?
Getting into that range, 60, 70, 75 years old. We have a good spread of years that those people are still around. When you start getting that age, you start liquidating those rental properties that you built up because you don’t want the headache anymore, or it’s time to get rid of that old house and move into assisted living. The house that you’ve probably lived in if you’re that age has never been updated. It still got the same wood paneling from the 1970s. These are the houses we buy. There is an absolute opportunity to capitalize on the Baby Boomer generation. One of the easiest ways to do it is through radio. That generation is a generation of trust. They shake your hand, look you in the eye, and a promise is a promise.
When you’re being a spam artist, you’re text blasting them and filling their mailbox, they don’t trust you. They’ll call you because they have to do a deal with you, but they already don’t trust you. If you’re on the radio, they assume a couple of things. Number one, you’ve got to be an expert because only experts advertise on the radio. Number two, you get celebrity status. When we deal with our clientele that comes off a radio, they’re so excited to talk to us like, “We always hear your advertisement on the radio.” We are way down the “know you, like you, and trust you” trail of a radio lead versus somebody that responds to a text blast. It’s like, “I don’t have any better choice, but I’ll reach out to the shark because I got to get this deal done.” For us, it has been the highest quality lead that we know how to generate now without question.
You’re in Tulum. You’re running a wholesale operation. What do the numbers look like per month or year?
We usually arrive on 125 transactions per year. Average wholesale for DFW swings between $14,000 to about $17,000 per deal.
Get your pencil out in your calculator, do the math. It doesn’t matter where you live as long as you’ve got an internet connection and a phone.
This has been one of the silver linings to COVID. There has been massive challenges and tragedy, but also pain teaches us things and it tests things. The world got long into virtual fast. The word Zoom now, who doesn’t know that word? If you went back pre-COVID, you’d be hard-pressed to find people who even knew what that word was. I live in Tulum now. We have had a massive wave of people come to Tulum because there are people that make that decision and they jump off the fence and they do it. There are others that need to be paying to require that. COVID allows people to step back and evaluate life and what am I doing. I don’t have to show up at an office anymore. Could I do this virtual thing?Keep yourself grounded on what you have and on how much you have to be grateful for. Click To Tweet
It’s not just real estate, it’s most industries at this point. It’s most people. Call them digital nomads. The world is moving heavily and more virtual because of COVID. You’re going to see a lot of it stay that way because people now realize this is doable. I do no longer have to live in the city in which I do transactions. It’s not necessary. The technology is there. Several years ago, it may be a little bit tougher, but now with the technology, particularly in the next 5 to 10 years, you can do whatever you want virtually.
Is technology challenging in Mexico or specifically Tulum?
Not technology, electricity is challenging. I live in a city where sometimes the power works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the Wi-Fi is on, sometimes it doesn’t. If you’re asking the challenge for me personally, now it doesn’t affect my team, but there are days that I can be in the middle of doing something and the power drops. I’ve learned through that process about flexibility. I’ve learned to be grateful because, in the US, we don’t ever be grateful for power. Even now I was thinking, “It’s been several weeks, I haven’t lost power. That’s nice.” Tulum is a beautiful place, but it’s also a place of poverty equally. Being in a place like this, I can go to the beautiful beach, but then I can drive through town and see how the rest of the world primarily lives outside of the US. It continues to keep me grounded on what I have and how much I have to be grateful for. It’s the power of the environment. Environment teaches you things that the environment in the US won’t always teach you.
Electricity can be expensive in Mexico too?
Here you can live like a gringo or you can live like a local. I have friends here that live off of budgets of $1,500 a month. They got $200,000 saved up and they never need to work another day. They earn a little bit here and there. If you want to live like a gringo, go down and eat at the expensive restaurants and different things like that. It can become as equally much as you’re paying in the US. What I tell people is it depends on what lifestyle you want to live in Tulum. You can have it both ways. I do a high-low approach. Some days my wife and I go and get $0.30 tacos at the local taco stand because they’re amazing. There are other days where we go down and we have a nice seafood meal. I bounced between both worlds because I like the variety.
I was asking specifically about electricity because I knew someone who went there and the real estate that they could lease was reasonable, but to have the air conditioner on 24/7 like we’re used to in America, the bill would be $2,500 for the AC. They found out they could live in this paradise, but unless they wanted to pay $2,500 a month for AC or electricity, they were sweating a lot of the time in some parts of the year.
The electricity here is about three times what I paid in Dallas. My power bill can run a few hundred dollars a month. My haircut is $8. The insurance for my car for the entire year is $325 for full coverage. The insurance for my wife and I for the entire year was a total of $3,000 and that’s why we can go back to the US and any country. It becomes this funny being that there are things that are way more expensive, and then there are things there that are so ridiculously inexpensive that a lot of it begins to balance itself out. It’s quirky with that.
Do you know a lot of Americans that are doing the same thing right down there in Tulum?
There is a lot that is coming here. I see a lot of the digital world. It doesn’t matter. The cryptocurrency people are the people that do internet backend websites. You get a lot of coaches here now. You get a lot of people that are lost. They’re coming here and find themselves. I meet people here that aren’t working. They saved up a little bit of money. I’m like, “What are you doing?” They’re like, “I don’t know, but I know I can’t go back to where I’ve been. There have been some particular places in the US that have been tough. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m not going to stay locked down in the US. I’m going to come down here to Mexico where I’ve got the freedom to get out and about and have a normal life. I’m going to try to find myself.” Our culture is transient here. A lot of people come and go, stay six months, twelve months, and then they leave. To live here, you have to be earning dollars and living off of pesos. I remember Tim Barry said, “Here’s the secret. Do you want to earn dollars? Live off pesos and compensate in rupees.”
Rupees is in India. You’re making your money in dollars, you live on pesos. When you got to outsource something, you do it in rupees. I know Tim and he’s funny. As a matter of fact, I picked his son up from the airport. His son mentors with us here in San Antonio.
I always tell people, if you’re going to come try to live and work in Mexico and make pesos and live off pesos, those are the people that I see don’t last long. Those of us that have established businesses in foreign countries doesn’t even have to be here. We’re a melting pot here. Americans are a small fraction. I had friends from all over the world, which is amazing, but they earn their money from other countries and then they live here off of pesos, which work well.
I’ve always wanted to do it. I’ve never found myself in the right place to do it. I should have been in the right place about now, but then I have some extenuating circumstances, but one of these days.
I have more friends moving to Puerto Rico than I’ve ever had in my life. It’s not just a Tulum thing. There are people that are getting out of the US for whatever particular reason, let that be. Even down in Puerto Rico, you can be down there for a 4% tax rate, which is mind-boggling. You’re seeing a lot of people going, “I had the dream.” If you’re ever going to do it, do it now.
You said a lot about it when you said people were leaving the United States to come to Mexico where they were free. That statement struck me. We have gone a long way around the horn to be talking like that, but it does make sense. I want everyone to go to 1000Houses.com/Tulum. We’ll have some contact information if you want to talk to Chris about taking advantage of the radio ads, which are off the beaten path. He has a course in that. Do you want to talk about Multipliers? It’s a great fellowship of 50 men. It won’t be more than 50 men ever.
That’s our saturation point. I figured 50 is just about right to make sure we all get to the top of Everest together. It doesn’t lose its charm.
There are a lot of things that you can talk to Chris about because the guy’s a wealth of knowledge. He’s friendly and nice enough to talk about anything you want to talk about over there. I would have some questions if I was coming to Tulum or anywhere in Mexico, I would be talking your ear off because there’s got to be some experience there. It can’t be as easy as it sounds because nothing ever is.
You have to learn to deal with an environment that’s not as efficient and convenient as the US. If you were to ask me what are the primary reasons people come and go, “I can’t do it,” it’s they can’t deal with the fact that everything down here is a little bit slower. It’s less than efficient. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Either your personality is adaptable and flexible, or you’re like, “I can’t handle it. I’m going back to where I got a Trader Joe’s and a Starbucks, and I know that every time I turn on my switch in my house, the power is going to turn on.” That’s the one thing where they don’t make it.
This concludes our episode of Doing it in Tulum. My guest, Chris Arnold, is here. I’d like to thank everybody for stopping by to get you some Chris Arnold here at the show. Go to 1000Houses.com/Tulum. Check out everything that Chris has to offer. Check out Multipliers. It’s a great place to be especially if you’re a businessman and you want to stay on the right track. Not just business-wise, but spiritually, mentally and emotionally, keep leveled out because there are some pretty big swings in entrepreneurialism and life in general. It’s there to help people go through those swings. It’s great stuff that you do. It is a service, Chris. I want to thank you.
I appreciate it. I love that you’re being a part of it.
I’d like to thank TaxFreeFuture.com for sponsoring this. If you want to roll over your retirement funds into a self-directed tax-deferred or tax-free account with checkbook control, check out TaxFreeFuture.com. Be sure you watch the 37 little video vignettes there. It will show you how you take little pieces of money and make them into bigger pieces of money pretty quick using some strategies and a tax-free IRA or 401(k).
About Chris Arnold
Chris Arnold is the Co-Founder of COSA Investments, one of the largest wholesale companies in the DFW Metroplex. COSA is operated and managed by a US virtual team which has allowed Chris to run his company while living in Tulum, Mexico.
He is also the founder of Arnold Elite Realty which is a cutting-edge boutique brokerage consisting of a team of seasoned agents. His passion for coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs has led to the creation of The Multipliers Mastermind.
Most recently Chris has launched his REI Radio coaching program. This program is designed to teach real estate Investors the Marketing stream that everyone knows about but NO ONE is doing!