Immigrant Hits Pay Dirt! With Ben Muresan
Episode 554: Immigrant Hits Pay Dirt! With Ben Muresan
Financial freedom. That is usually “the dream,” especially for people in financial difficulty or mediocre situations. But how do we really get there? With all the “how-to-be-rich” tips coming from already rich or extremely lucky people, what is the real deal in getting financial freedom? In this episode, immigrant Ben Muresan shares how he found his way from living under a nightmare to a path of financial and personal freedom. Tune in to know how he made it and how you can, too!
Watch the episode here
I’m here with Ben Humble. He’s over from Arizona, but he is a traveling man. He has been around for many years, moving and shaking. I was trying to narrow him down to the strategy he does, but he’s been in the business for a long time. He probably started with one strategy, at least I did, and perfected that to get my feet solid on the ground, and to make sure I had some finances and some cash in the bank and all that, but then I started branching out. I would try different strategies.
After a while, you get pretty good at all of them, or at least the ones that you’ll do in sub-to and the ones you won’t do in sub-to. If I’m going to do a sub-to, it has to have a big margin because I don’t want to build a fortune or tens of thousands of deals on something that could be technically called by a bank at any day. I don’t want to build my whole thing on that. With no further ado, Ben, how are you doing?
Thank you for having me. It’s good to be here. Let’s change the game for some of the audience members. Let’s help them out.
That’s the whole thing. I was telling him before the show in the green room. This show is about helping someone find their financial freedom if you haven’t figured it out yet. Let’s figure that out. If it’s real estate, great. Maybe we can help. If it’s not, I’ll help you, however. Sometimes with the episodes I do, the people that I interview don’t have anything to do with real estate. They have to do with someone who found their own way down a different path. If that’s the way you want to go, more power to you. I don’t care. The point of it is to get financially free and become the person you want to become. Let’s take you back to the beginning, Ben. Tell us about the start.
I was born in Romania during communism in ‘85. My dad had five little kids and he made a choice to escape communism by running across the border. He ran and he had to leave two kids behind in the process. A few months later, the Romanian president was killed on live television. On 1989 Christmas Day, Romanians were liberated from a dictator.
Shortly after, we reunited. He applied to come to North America, and Canada accepted us. My dad, my mom had a child in the refugee camp, so six kids came to Canada. They have three more children and we have the immigrant life. Mom and dad worked 2 to 3 jobs. We’re working as kids. I knew from a very young age that if you wanted something in this world, you go get it. It’s as simple as that.
I was a musician growing up and that’s what I wanted to do my whole life. At the university, I went to music for a couple of years. At one point my dad said something to me. He said, “Son, I wish I would have made more money,” as he was doing his life and his finances. I thought about it for a brief second. I said, “You don’t have to because you made me.” I realized that it was my time to carry the torch.
I went on a journey over the subsequent fifteen years of real estate investing and business ownership. That’s how I got into this whole thing. It was dropping out of the university, being a music kid, C-student at best. I didn’t give a rip about school. I just wanted to play my music. I’m very blessed now that I get to come back. I’m in one of my studios here and I get to play music, travel and do all the stuff I love to do. Real estate was always a vehicle for me to get to a point of financial stability for me and my family.
Are you taking care of your mom and your dad? Are they still with us?
Yes, they are. Mom is retired and dad is getting close. They live in an awesome house in Canada. I bring them out here. We travel and do stuff together. It’s an incredible thing to be a son. We all have something that we got to do. We all have an opportunity in life to define. For me, it’s the finances.
For my family, I’m the one who defines it and keeps the financial engine moving forward. My big calling in life is this Humble brand. Regardless of where you start, it doesn’t matter. You ultimately decide, based on choices, where you end up. Every single person can be financially free. You got to make a choice and you got to honor those choices when you made them.Every single person can be financially free, but you have to make a choice, and you have to honor those choices. Click To Tweet
One of the things that struck me the hardest was one of those revelations in life. I read a definition of financial freedom that said, “Financial freedom happens when your wants and your needs are exceeded by your passive income.” I quickly changed the word passive to cashflow because I don’t believe in passive. There’s no passive income. If you don’t believe me, be passive and don’t watch your income and watch what happens to it.
Financial freedom happens when your wants and your needs are exceeded by your cashflow. The first one of the first revelations was that at the time, to be financially free, I needed to make $3,500 a month to not have to have a job because that’s what my job was paying me.
I thought to myself, financial freedom is not wealth. It has nothing to do with wealth. It’s a stepping stone along the way. What I did figure out is if I were going to be wealthy, it would probably start by first becoming financially free so I didn’t have to have a JOB, so I could free up 2,600 hours a year that I could work on myself or my business. Did you ever have a job?
I had a job when I was at university. The last job I had was cleaning carpets and cleaning floors. When I dropped out of university, I didn’t know how to do anything but clean. Every immigrant knows how to clean. We can clean crap all day. I dropped out of school and started a cleaning service. That’s it. I got a loan from the bank to buy a cleaning machine. My very first customer was my mom. She let me clean my own room and paid me $100.
That’s how I started, cleaning. I had that cleaning service for a couple of years. I read a few books. Interestingly enough, one of them was Becoming Wealthy One Single-Family House At A Time. That book was dust. I read that book and it shaped the way that I thought about real estate. I was 21 years old when I bought my first property with creative finance. It was a duplex. By the time I closed on the deal and moved into it, I was paying $156 a month plus utilities to own this duplex. That’s how I got out of my mom’s basement and into real estate.
What gave you the nerve to buy this thing? What book were you reading?
I was reading every book. I read Rich Dad Poor Dad. I read single-family books and creative finance books. I realized that if I wanted to get ahead, I have to get around people who knew. I was going to these weekend workshops and conferences. I was going to Toronto traveling 3 to 4 hours to go back and forth to these events. I read in a passage somewhere and somebody reminded me one day, “If you want to get rich, you can become a millionaire if all you do is buy a million dollars’ worth of real estate.” I said, “Cool.”
You then have these people called customers or tenants who pay it off for you over 25 years, and you’re a millionaire. I instantly realized that I’m cleaning floors. I’m doing grunt work. That sounds like a better deal than the deal I had. I instantly decided that I’m going to be in real estate. I didn’t have any real estate professionals in the family. I had an uncle who was a realtor. I just got into it, whatever I could do.
I went to local business meet-up groups, talking about business because I was in the cleaning service. I used that to ask about real estate. Eventually, I met a mortgage broker who also owned a duplex and wanted to sell it. He’s the guy who sold me the duplex. He helped me get the financing.
I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I was getting in one day at a time, knocking on doors, talking to people, going to meet-up groups, and saying, “How do I get into real estate? I don’t have credit. I just launched my cleaning service. I can’t get bank financing. What can I do?” You learn by asking questions.
It’s important that we end the dilemma for anyone here. It takes money to make money. If that were the case, no one would be rich. I saw a survey that only 5% of all millionaires were given anything. They are usually self-created from zero. It’s the chicken and the egg thing. If you needed money to make money, then where do you start? If you don’t have any money, it’s an impossibility. You’re stuck. What you have to do is you have to find the strategies that will allow you to succeed with zero money. There are all kinds of strategies. You can rattle some off the top of your head right now, I bet. Tell us.
I did 100 vendors’ finance deals or VTB deals. That’s a way you can get into deals. You can get into deals with private secondary financing and joint venture partnerships. There are all kinds of ways to get into deals if you know what your worth is. You either need to be able to find the deal or find people. If you can find the deal or find people, you can do 100% financing deals. I’ve done it. I raised capital.
I raised over $40 million from private lenders in Canada. These are private business owners that I would door knock because I couldn’t get a banknote. I decided back when I was 23, that I wasn’t going to the bank anymore. I did most of my deals with private financing at 8% to 12%. That gave me access to 90% to 100% money.
There’s always a way when you got a will. You said it’s either the chicken or the egg. I think we got to kill the chicken or kill the egg. Stop having a choice, just go. One of the biggest challenges I see now is that there’s too much information, too many strategies, and too much analysis paralysis, and people don’t take action.
It’s happening to a lot of people. I think most people start wholesaling or you’re a professional deal finder. If you can find deals, you can eventually write your own ticket once you figure out what your worth is, and you’re worth a whole lot. Nothing happens without a deal.
You play music and I write songs. There is no artist without a song. It all starts with a song. Someone has to take a blank piece of paper and has to write a song from scratch. Nothing happens before that. It’s the same thing in the real estate business. It all starts with a deal. If you want to learn how to do something, learn how to find great deals, learn how to negotiate for great deals, and learn how to write a rock-solid contract, the kind of contract that you could sell to someone for a fee. That’s a good place to start.
Could I give your audience a big tip? This may help them. If you’re brand new to this and trying to figure it out, there are a couple of big things you must understand. Number one, this is a people business. Before you find a great deal, it’s understanding people. I can find an average deal and turn it into a great deal because I can speak with people. I’m empathetic. I understand them. If you can help people solve a real problem, listen. If they’re calling you and they have a house for sale, there’s motivation. We are in the people business. Are you caring enough?
My dad is a minister. I saw him my whole life helping people. Are you caring enough that you can sit with someone, hear their journey, their problem, or their story, and find a solution? If you can do that, you don’t have to be lowball Stephen, throwing out lowballs all day. Empathy is the greatest people skill. That’s number one. If you’re a left-brain person and you hate talking to people, the fastest way to win is to find somebody who’s not. Find a person who loves talking to people because somebody has to negotiate. Somebody has to talk with dust. Somebody has to negotiate the cost of funds.
This is a people business, and those people who are willing to have real conversations will always win. People who are looking for a tactical execution with zero human contact are going to be in a high-volume, low-margin business. I don’t think it’s that successful long term unless you’re one of the very few at the top that has figured out the formula. I say people, and then negotiations, and then deals. I don’t know if that brings some clarity, but I’m trying to serve the audience here and give them all I know.
I believe in what you’re saying 100%. There are two ways to go. I’ve done it both ways and there might even be a combination. On one side of my business, we’re shooting out an awful lot of lowball offers, just trying to get someone to raise their hand. On the other side, which takes way more time, we’re calling people and talking to them. We’re trying to get them to tell us what their issue is. The first step is to figure out what their issue is and what they are struggling with.
You have to figure that out before you can figure out how you’re going to solve the problem. What is the problem so I can help solve it? If you will approach your customers with empathy, with a true heart, trying to help them solve their problems and apply yourself to solve their problems, people see that. Nine times out of ten, you can’t solve their problem, but they don’t forget that you’re the one that tried. Everyone else threw crap at them and low numbers.
That’s exactly why I wrote The Art of Private Lending. I wrote this book to show people how they could lend money and make way above-average rates of return by loaning their money. I did an earnest job. I showed them all the work that it takes. Halfway through the book though, I say, “If you don’t want to do all this stuff and you just want to loan the money to me, I will do everything in the first 70 pages of this book for you so you don’t have to. You just loan the money to me.”
It’s the same principle. You’re just not going to make as much because you’re not doing the work. Instead of making 12%, 14%, or 15%, you’re going to make 8%, 9%, or 10%, but it will come in the mailbox and you can keep playing golf. I set out to write a book that would probably eliminate some people from my choices because they’re going to read this and get impressed.
They’re going to go out and do it, and they won’t have the money to loan to me. That’s fine. I’m not looking for them. I was looking for the people that I fit with, the ones that don’t want to go to work and that understand. You have a book called Real Estate Secrets Exposed. It’s a digital book, right? It’s downloadable.
It’s digital and physical. I got them both.
We’re going to offer you a free copy of that. I want you to go to 1000Houses.com/Humble. Anything we talk about on here, any bootcamp, any podcast, anything we mention on here will be over there. There will be a link to get this book, Real Estate Secrets Exposed. Talk to us a little bit about that giveaway.
I was in Canada in 2018 and the market is drying up, so I come to the US to try to ask bigger questions. It’s a bigger market over here, ten times the population, and way more deal flow. This is a secret for Canadians. For those of you that are struggling and can’t find the resources internally, go external. I came over here and asked.
At that point, I had bought and purchased probably 80 to 90 homes. I’ve done deals, flipped properties, and done some vendor financing. I found somebody who had done hundreds of homes. I said, “What’s the difference? We’ve been doing this business for the same period of time.” He said, “I do wholesaling.” I didn’t know what that was. What wholesaling is you go direct to seller. What I didn’t realize was that my very 1st deal and 2nd deal were direct-to-seller deals. I spoke with the broker, I put in the deal, I bought it from him, and he helped me with the financing. I went back to that philosophy.
The challenge was, in Canada, nobody was doing wholesaling. They didn’t know the paperwork. I came back. I spent about three months. I spoke with my attorney, and we figured out the paperwork. We figured out the process, and I wrote a book on it, Real Estate Secrets Exposed. It’s how Canadians can go out, find deals, do the paperwork, and contract reps. I put all these other business life lessons from real estate over the past few years in that book. That book was launched in 2018, and now wholesaling is a thing. Everybody is a wholesaler in Canada just like in the US, but it wasn’t a visible strategy prior to 2018.
That’s amazing, 2018. Wholesaling has been around here forever.
It has been under the radar I’m sure in some parts, but there’s never been a public book, any public resource, or training. Now we have content and training on this stuff to help people get their own deals. If you go back and look at Canada versus US growth in the last few years, there’s a chart on Google. I encourage your audience to go check it out. The Canadian market exploded far more aggressively than the US market. It is a very tough situation in Canada.
We were talking in the green room and you’re a first-generation immigrant. I don’t know if you know this or not, and I’m certainly not going to assume that you read my book. In my book, I was struggling with who I am, why I wasn’t being successful, and all that stuff. I read a book called Self-Made in America by John McCormack.
It asked the question of why can immigrants come here and not even know the language, and be wealthy within ten years, and Americans can be born here on the corner of opportunity and success, and die at 75 or 85, and never have achieved the real American dream. Why is that?
I assessed that I was not sacrificing to the level that these immigrants were sacrificing. The immigrants that I was reading about in this book came from genocide or communism. When they got to the United States, they could see clear as day, “If I sleep on the floor like I have been for the last eight years in my country on a rice mat in the store where I work, I could save enough money and buy the store, the franchise, or this guy out.”
I thought to myself, “It would never even cross my mind to do that.” I got to up my game. I got to give up more to get where I’m going. These immigrants sacrifice like nobody’s business for a while. Pretty soon they own their life. They own the store, and then they’re off to the races. It’s all about the level of sacrifice. Tell us about your sacrifice.
We were born in a communist country. Everything was a bread line. It was permission-based. There wasn’t enough food. Everybody had a job, but there was no opportunity. The doctor made the same amount as the janitor. Unless you are part of the Communist Party and you played by the rules, you aren’t getting any special favors. Even in communism, a few benefits, and the majority lose. It’s as simple as that. The people in the party, the comrades, are the ones who benefit.
That’s what life was like. Dad saw no opportunity in Romania. During that time, there was no American television and no American products. Nothing was allowed in the country. It was propaganda. It was bread rations. They turned the hydro off. In the middle of winter, they would shut the hydro off at 9:00 PM. We got all these people and the whole country freezing so that the guy in power could prove something to the world.
He was trying to kill the deficit. That’s what he was trying to do, among other things. He was like, “I’m going to kill the deficit and I’m going to get us back to financial prosperity at the expense of the people.” If you don’t come from that, it’s hard. I would simulate that in real life. Try taking all the activities we went through, and killing all your freedom of choice. That’s an example of what Romania was like.
There are a lot of ways to go here, so I’m going to pick one way to talk about this. I do want to talk to you about this a lot because you have this unique thing that I have never gotten on this show before, which is that you are from a communist country. First of all, I want the audience to think about this. My grandfather came over at 16 with his 2 younger sisters under his arm. He stowed away on a boat from Prague, Czechoslovakia, third generation.
Humble here is a first-generation. He left that country alive and came to another country to start a living. You think you have problems. You think you’re afraid to jump off and venture into a business. These tales that Ben can tell you will make you feel like a wimp compared to what you have fear of. I’m not trying to discount that you shouldn’t be afraid. I understand that your fear is your reality.
I get it, but you don’t know where you’re living at. You’re living still in the greatest country in the world. We may be seeing some things on the horizon, but it’s still the greatest country in the world. You would want to read the book, Self-Made in America by John McCormack. The other thing I wanted to talk to you about is that his last name Humble is not really his last name. He made his name easy to pronounce. Tell me your real last name.
My full name is Benjamin Muresan. My whole life has been tough. Immigrants go by nicknames. It’s our shortcut.
My grandfather wanted to be an American above all other things. The first thing he did when he hit Ellis Island was he dropped his last name, “My name is Joe Stephen. I’m an American.” That’s why I have two first names. It’s a first name and a middle name. How proud are your dad and your mom of you? Can you tell me the effect you’ve had on that life? It must have been brutal to make these decisions to leave two babies behind, for your mom to have a baby in a camp, and for all this fear and worry. When did he ever or did he ever feel like it’s going to be okay now?
As a 27-year-old man with five children, the only thing he had was faith in God. That’s it. He had faith that if he moved forward, God would provide where needed. My mom is pregnant. She has a baby and another baby, two more siblings, and then myself. I’m the oldest. I can walk. He took the most independent ones. My sister and brother went to a neighbor’s house the night before. He said, “Watch my kids for the night.” You can’t tell anybody in communism that you’re leaving.
He ran and took two and a half days hiding in ditches. We partnered with the small caravan of people that were escaping, and we had to cross the borders ourselves. At nighttime, the caravan would pick us up and drive us to the next bridge. We had to get through two different countries to get to Austria because otherwise, we’d be extradited back to Romania. It’s either prison or you’re being shot along the way. It’s as simple as that. They have guards, dogs, patrol, and all these other things.
Can you imagine you being 27 with five children and having to decide to leave the two behind? We’re in the refugee camp a few months later. As soon as communism fell, my mom came home with her new baby daughter, Elizabeth. On the same exact day, my dad was able to bring my brother and sister from Romania to the refugee camps. In the morning, they had three kids. In the evening, they had six.
Adversity to me is a superpower. It’s a weapon if you choose that it is. If you take your adversity and you turn it into a productive reason to move forward, you can do anything in life. Dad was determined to swim towards the rescue boat. For him, the rescue boat was North America. God gave him a vision, “You’re going to be a North America.” He went on faith. He pushed forward and he persevered. Of course, it was hard and he struggled. He was 27.Adversity is a superpower. If you take adversity and turn it into productive reasons to move forward, you can do anything in life. Click To Tweet
Most 27-year-olds that I meet today are sitting at their home, living in the basement. They don’t have five kids. They’re not trying to provide. Dad had to become resourceful. That I think is the secret ingredient. Resourceful people win. The underdog finds a way to win. When they shut off the hydro at 9:00 PM, dad built his own makeshift heating stove in the apartment building. He somehow got enough piping from work to create heat for us in the building. We are the only ones in the apartment building with heat.
Resourceful people succeed. That has been dad his whole life. I’m incredibly proud of dad. He’s my hero. That man showed me what was possible. Every time I get concerned or worried or I’m playing too small, I think about dad. I go, “I have to carry the legacy forward.” I’m the first multi-millionaire in our family, but my dad is the first hero. Dad is the one. He set it up.
All I have to do is make money. What’s the worst thing that can possibly happen to anybody in North America? You make money or you don’t make money. We have enough government housing, assistance, and programs. Even if got to sleep on the street, I understand that. I get that, but there’s opportunity. I don’t criticize Americans and Canadians for the way they think, but they weren’t just brought up with the level of adversity that shapes somebody’s character.
Anybody who’s a minority and had adversity that reads this, we have a very specific character quality. That character quality will drive you forward when everybody else gets complacent. I love dad and he’s incredibly proud of me. He tells me that all the time. I was able to carry something for the family financially. That was my calling. That was the thing I could do. I get to do things with dad, and we get to do financial stuff. I throw retreats and dad comes out. I have the greatest relationship with my parents. I love them dearly, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.
That’s what struck me when I read the book, Self-Made in America, talking about immigrants. I don’t have any problems. What are the chances that I’m going to starve in San Antonio, Texas? What are the chances that I’m not going to get enough clean drinking water? What are the chances? I thought there was no chance, so I should go jump off every cliff there is and see if I can catch a sail of wind so that I can get to a different place.
I started doing that because of stories like yours. You said that if you’re reading this and it’s striking you, then you have a certain quality. I had that quality too. I was scared to death, but I decided there are people out there that have been through way more and could have had a bullet in their head any minute, and here I am worried about not making enough money or trying adventure and failing. That’s when I left.
You hit on something powerful that I want to touch on real quick. What is death? What is fear? What is failure? Our relationship with fear is different. Death to me is the actual death. Other people look at losing $10 or losing $100,000 on a deal. They look at losing money and they have fear as if they’re back in the Stone Age being chased by a wilder beast. You’re not being chased by a wilder beast.
You can’t apply the same level of fear to death as you do to losing money. My perspective is that there’s real death. That death is far more significant and far more eternal than you losing a few bucks or you taking a chance. It’s this fear around losing money and being criticized for losing money. People are so busy conforming to complacency that they lose their identity. That’s what people do.
They’ve lost their identity because they become middle class. They become a certain breed of people and they don’t want to lose their class status within their community. They don’t want to lose their respect, but it’s just conforming. My dad did not conform. Immigrants do not conform. We move forward, we find opportunities, and we create opportunities that others can conform to. That’s the difference.
I love you. I love this show. I love this thing. I don’t listen to podcasts. I don’t read everybody else’s books. I’m not consuming. I’m creating. I’m building something every day. If I don’t create something today, then I’m just consuming and wasting the day watching TV or doing something else. I believe in mentorship. I believe in studying people. I believe in proximity to people, but I don’t believe in being a consumer your entire life.
Most people are so busy consuming that they create zero. They’re so busy conforming that they never build something that other people can conform to. I have this expression and I’ll kick it back to you. It’s this, “I don’t live in anybody else’s world. They live in mine.” That might sound like arrogance but for me, it’s a reality.
I don’t think so. I’m laughing because I’m looking at my background. People say, “You must read a lot of books.” I said, “No, I don’t read any. I write them.” I would rather write one. I might have to do some research to write some of these books so I am reading about some things. I do believe that a person would be a lot better off if they read at least 5 or 6 books a year. It couldn’t hurt you if you pick some things that you were passionate about, or even things you don’t know about.
When I was reading, I read a lot of autobiographies of successful men. I wanted to know what they had to go through. I read about POWs, in case I ever needed to survive that. I wanted to know how those survivors think. That’s what led me to the immigrant book. I picked it up there. I don’t like to read fiction or sci-fi because it’s useless to me. If I want to spend an hour in sci-fi, I’ll go watch a movie somewhere and it’ll be over with. I’m not spending a whole bunch of my valuable time on that. I want to learn from other people. Have you read a lot of autobiographies?
I have no problem with reading. I have no problem with learning. I have a problem with debilitating. I have a problem with excuse-based education, “I can’t until I read this book.” I’ve read some incredible books and I’ve studied some awesome people, but it’s never an excuse point. I meet people that watch hundreds of hours of real estate YouTube channels, and they still haven’t done a deal. It’s because you’re in your living room and the deals don’t happen sitting in your living room.
You have to leave your living room and you go find deal opportunities, “Yeah, but I don’t know this nuance and this nuance.” We create a narrative where we have to know everything before we can do something. That’s a fallacy. If you want to read, read as you do. Get out there and get dirty. Go talk to people, go build relationships, and then the information in the book becomes practical, not theoretical.
The problem with book knowledge is that its theory based. You’re super smart and super broke at the same time. That’s the problem I have with it. They are super smart and super broke. I meet people that are genius and have high IQs but are completely broke. They are mental millionaires. Stop creating more work for yourself. Grab a book and get on the road.
I push on proximity to people. Do you know what I love? I’m going to buy your books, but I also want to get to know you. If Mitch has an event, a course, or a meeting, the best thing you could possibly do is go visit with Mitch. I don’t know if you do that stuff. You got speaking engagements, I’m sure. Go see the man in person. Go get proximity to the person who authored the book. That is far more significant than just reading a book or taking a selfie with somebody and going, “I know them.”
The other thing about that is you go and get in proximity to that person, but the other people that are in the room are of like minds. They traveled there too. They paid their money to go there too. A lot of times at the seminars, I learn a certain amount from the guy on the stage, but I learn a crap load from the people in the audience that I go to lunch with, go to dinner with, and have drinks with.
I have found that the education in the hall is as valuable as the guy on the stage. It’s sometimes more valuable because sometimes, the guy on the stage is trying to sell you something. He’s only telling you the pretty piece of the puzzle. He’s showing you nice-looking girls, fancy cars, and big boats. You then get out in the hallway and you find out that you can do this strategy, but you better watch out for X, Y, and Z because if you don’t do all this other stuff, it’s going to bite you in the ass.
That was one of the reasons I wrote my first book. This is what happens after the get-rich seminar. This is what they’re not telling you. This is what I wish they would have told me so I would have been prepared, but I wasn’t. I got blindsided. No one even mentioned this. I come to find out that it happens every day. Why didn’t you tell me about this?
It’s because if they told me some downside of the business, then it wouldn’t be as easy to close as many deals out of the audience, of which I have a different philosophy. I’ll tell everybody the whole thing. If you don’t think it’s for you, then don’t do it. I’m not sending you out to war and not telling you about how the enemy is armed. You got to know this stuff. Did you spend a lot on education?
I probably have invested over $400,000 in mentorship, education, and courses.
In a fifteen-year period, is that what you’re saying?
Probably in the last 5, not 15. The first was just books and a couple of seminars.
That’s because you didn’t have any money.
I didn’t have any money. I learned how to grind my deals until I learn how to drive profit revenue for my real estate business. In the last little while, the reason I live on the road is proximity. I have some of the most influential real estate investors and stage communicators as close friends of mine because I live on the road. I join communities. I become a part of it. I read a book called Indispensable a long time ago.
This is a big tip for the audience. Find somebody like Mitch who is an absolute rockstar, and find a way to become indispensable. Buy every single book this guy writes. Be in the front row of whatever his speaking engagement is. Help him grow things that matter to him like perhaps his charity. I’ve learned to become indispensable to people that I want to be within proximity of. As a result, I get a lot of doors that get opened.Learn to become indispensable to people that you want to be within proximity. You get a lot of doors opened as a result. Click To Tweet
In fact, I’m speaking and hosting in Vegas a 700-person conference, which will be incredible MC-ing and being on that stage with very big names in the real estate industry. I got that invitation through a friend of mine who said, “You need to be on this stage” To me, proximity is powerful. It’s the secret weapon that people don’t see.
Do you offer education?
We do. We’ve got a community called CashFlow Tribe. We help people build successful real estate companies, focusing primarily on business building in the field of real estate, unlike most education companies that teach real estate.
Flipping a few houses and having a business is a whole different thing. It took me a long time to figure out how to make that into a business that I worked on, instead of one that I worked in. I worked in that business for a long time. I’m embarrassed to say how long. I can now proudly tell you that I haven’t seen the last 600 houses I’ve bought. I haven’t seen the last 600 people that bought my houses.
My job right now is to make sure that my partner, Mike, who was one of those indispensable people. He made himself indispensable to me. He hired me as his coach. I don’t normally train people in my hometown for a whole host of reasons. It’s probably not what you think, but there’s a whole host of reasons why I don’t. He convinced me that I should, and I found out a few things about him, which led me to believe I should make an exception. I made an exception with certain promises from him that he would not do some things that I didn’t want to have to mess with.
Before I knew it, he had run out of money to buy houses with. He was bringing incredible deals to me, and he had my attention because he was my student. He shows me all these deals and he goes, “Is this a good deal?” I’d say, “It’s a great deal.” He is smart. He goes, “Here’s the deal. I don’t have the money. Do you want to be my partner? You said it’s a great deal. I’ll do everything, just put up the money. I’m going to call you because I don’t want to make a mistake. You just need to coach me. Tell me what to do. I’ll do everything.”
I look up and I have 33 deals with him going on. They are long-term owner-finance deals. The office then calls and says, “You either got to be partners with this guy or you got to break off and get a separate LLC because you’re screwing the books up.” I looked at him and said, “Do you want us to be partners?” He said, “What do you think I’ve been trying to do all this time?”
This man had a plan from the very beginning. He was going to become indispensable to me, and he did. I was 61 and he was 25. I was tired and didn’t give a crap if I saw another house ever in my life. I was about to wrap it all up and send all my millions of dollars of private lender money home, put the whole business in a box, and go live off the storage that I had coming in.
I didn’t ever need to work a day in my life. He was like, “Please don’t throw that money away. Don’t throw those people. Don’t put those people on a shelf. You just maintain relationships with them. I will do everything else.” I’ve continued the business now for several years with him, and I don’t even have a desk at my office.
That’s the way to do that. Good for him. Good for you too.
Do you have partners? Do you do partnerships?
Yes. In all of the businesses that we operate, we have either a partner in that business who’s the complete operational head, or we have companies that we create, and we got very strategic people in those companies. Most of mine are focused on leadership. It’s the one skill that I love growing and developing, but I’m not a technician. I read the book Ready, Fire, Aim, The E-Myth Revisited, and Blue Ocean Strategy. I learned that in the first 6 to 7 years, I was grinding it out.
One of my mentors wrote a book called Magician Vs. Mule. His name is Mark Evans. He said that the mule is easy. Everybody sees the mule or the guy who grunts every day, all day, twelve hours a day, and never has time, and then there’s the magician, the person behind the strings who can orchestrate OPM, other people’s time, and other people’s resources.
I’m like you. I find young people or old people who want to aggressively pursue the opportunity. I find people that are brand new or people that are business-to-business and we cut out a deal. For example, we have $7 million of Airbnbs that we purchased mid-year in the Vegas area. That’s all with local partners who needed a mentor, needed some capital, and needed some guidance, and they’re crushing it. They do all of the work. I love that portfolio. I haven’t seen 3 of the 4 properties that they have. It’s relationships like that. We have the same thing in Canada. I love helping people.
From what I’ve learned in my level of experience, helping people fires up a business. Raise capital and go and deploy it into real estate deals in different strategies. That is my favorite way to do business. It’s with people. I’ll tell you why. I grind it out, and at 30 years old, I became a millionaire. It was the emptiest feeling because I had done most of it by myself. I was going to go spend it and buy all this cool stuff and do all these things, and I didn’t because I was so tired of working, grinding, hustling, and all these adjectives that people love to throw out there, a hustler and a grinder.
I don’t want any of this stuff. I want to live my life in peace. I want to collaborate with incredible people who are like your partner, and who want to grow. I’m in a different season as are you in life, where we can mentor and help people grow significantly. I would rather have, as my mentor says, a quarter of a watermelon versus 100% of a grape. That’s why I get to live my life and work a couple of hours a week. I’m not working.
I don’t want to say sell because we’re not selling, but that’s how we deliver our concept to our teammates in our house-living business. It’s like you want to go on your own. You want to go get an office. You want to have to buy all these desks, and you want to have to get all these people sitting in these chairs. I don’t get a 100% and I own the company because I’m giving a percent to you. I’m giving a paycheck. Why would you want to go start your own business?
Let’s just make this relationship. You do your piece and you get paid well. I’ll do my piece and I get paid well. The person over there does their piece and they get paid well. We don’t have to do everything. We can focus on one thing. My job is to get the money. I make sure that there’s enough money to buy anything that anybody drags in this office that’s worth buying. That’s my job. Other people have a job to drag the stuff in. Other people have a job to keep track of the stuff, keep track of the books, and on and on.
I got to open another business. I had to open a hard money loan business because I had too much money and I couldn’t get it out in time. They were going to leave if I didn’t get it out. I started a hard money loan business to loan money out in short increments of time until I could get to it. When I hired that partner, he was more sophisticated, more educated, and more talented at that business than I would ever be. I had already done my side of the job. I had the money for him to loan. His job was to loan the money, and he knew the business.
One of the tidbits I want to put out there is whenever you go to open up a side business or a business that’s running off the exhaust of your other businesses, you have to find the one person that it’s their job that they show up every day. They’re in the office every day. They’re driving that ship or that truck every day. If you decide you’re going to drive both trucks or run both ships, both businesses will suffer. You’re a professional in leadership. You’re a professional at finding leaders to run your businesses, right?
That’s the most important thing. I’ll tell you this. Every company needs a quarterback. If you don’t have one, it’s you. You can only have one company when you’re the quarterback. You’re only playing one game at a time. They say it takes 10,000 hours to gain mastery in something, 10,000 hours, 10 years, or whatever. You, me, and other people have maybe two mastery in our lives that we can achieve.
Most people are trying to become the business, the wholesaler, and the creative guy. That’s ten years every time you want to become a thing. Instead of you becoming a thing, I decided that I was a fantastic real estate operator. I was like, “Great. I did that. That took me X number of years to do.” The only other mastery I want in life is leadership. That’s it. If I can master leadership, then I can find people, motivate them, recruit them, and help them build a culture. From there, they can be a master.
I have a partner now who manages 2,500 apartment units in Canada. I said, “Dale, why don’t we start a company? You’re a master of managing apartments. I’m in leadership. Why don’t I help you cultivate and create an incredible team and go launch another division?” I do the same thing with different people, “Ben and Natalia, you guys are a master of high-end luxury homes.” They deal with celebrities. They deal with these properties. “Why don’t I help you? I’ll mentor you to go and build something incredible.”
I’ve chosen that leadership is the highest and best use of my time. That’s me personally. Every single person needs to be aware that until you hit mastery, you’re just going to struggle way more than you need to. Alignment happens in my world when a master partners with a master. One and one becomes eleven, not two. If it’s a brand new virgin investor with another brand new virgin investor, and they create a partnership together and LLC, it’s just two virgins messing around.
That’s a challenge. The desire in people is that they want to partner, but they’re lacking experience and skill, and they don’t understand alignment. I’m seeking people that are masters, and I only do what I can do. I have this moniker in my head that’s like, “I only hire thinkers that hire doers.” I never hire doers because I become a thinker. I never force my thinker to become the doer because I become the thinker. Every company that I launch has to have a thinker, and the thinker manages the doers. Otherwise, you are the thinker. For many of us self-employed business owners, we’re the doer and the thinker.
Let me back up just for clarity. If you’re not the thinker and you have a thinker managing the doer, what is it that you do for your part of the partnership?
I create. It is as simple as that. There are people that are entrepreneurial. They want to build and create. They want to risk capital, risk time and conceive or give birth to an idea. I then go find an incredible thinker. That thinker to me is an executive or a manager. Somebody who is in another work environment who’s an incredible employee, but they’re not fulfilled there. They’re not getting what they want to get.
Do you know how many disgruntled incredible people are working in America all over? That person doesn’t even need to be in real estate. I pulled in a VP of Operations from Enterprise Car Service. He was the person that would go in. He would rehab the stores financially and organizationally that were failing at Enterprise. He’s a professional ops person. He came into my education business and now, he’s our CEO.
It’s important for us to realize that there are intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs. Entres are you and I that want to take the risk. I want to put money on the street. I want to only eat what I kill. There are incredible intras that have families, love the idea of a pension, want to work for a company, and want to make a bunch of money, but do not take the initial risk of creating that opportunity.
I build the opportunity. I find incredible people that are always going to be entrepreneurs to a degree. I offer them an opportunity to win within my ecosystem, and then they get to hire everybody else. That’s a quarterback. I’m not hiring people who just want to do the work and never think. I need people who strategize. I need people who solve problems. They don’t have to birth the business. I give it its core values. I give it its vision, but without a high-level implementer who can think on the spot, they can’t grow it.
These are my favorite human beings, high-level implementers. I can be one visionary with ten of them. Most people got ten visionaries with one implementer. That’s why it doesn’t work. You don’t need ten visionaries. You need one, and you need a whole bunch of implementers that can execute the ideas and the visions that you cast. I have found a niche for myself that a lot of successful business people in my masterminds that I travel with have all figured out, which is to go find the implementer first before you launch the business.
There you go. Go to 1000Houses.com/Humble. Get your free copy of the Real Estate Secrets Exposed book. It’s digital and/or you can get a physical book. I suppose you’re giving away the digital version, is that correct?
That is correct.
They’re giving away a digital version. If you want to learn about education with Ben Humble, go to 1000Houses.com/Humble. It will be over there. Do you have a podcast or YouTube? What do you have?
All of it.
It will all be over there at 1000Houses.com/Humble. If you want to see the podcast, see his YouTube, learn about his education, or get a copy of this free book, Real Estate Secrets Exposed, it’s all over there. Before we wrap it up here, what’s the last thing you might want to say to the struggling person who hasn’t found financial freedom yet? They want to but they don’t know which way to turn yet.
There’s only one fundamental thing people need to do, and that’s to stop lying to themselves. If you want financial freedom, then let your actions be your words. Don’t talk about it. Do it all day. There are plenty of training, courses, and opportunities. Get with Mitch. Get his books and whatever he has available to you. If you’re on this show, you have an opportunity to win. If you’re reading this, you can win. We have to start taking immediate action and I promise you, you’ll figure it out along the way, but if you don’t take action, you’re just a consumer.There's only one fundamental thing people need to do: stop lying to themselves. If you want financial freedom, then let your actions be your words. Click To Tweet
Sometimes that doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and fly without a net. I burned the candle at both ends for a long time until I got some validation that this would work for me or that I could turn a buck here. I didn’t just jump off the cliff the first time. If you’re not burning the candle at both ends and, on the weekend, you got your job, and then there’s this new endeavor that you’re trying to become a pro at. If you’re screwing off on the weekends, you don’t want it bad enough.
You’re going to have to burn the candle at both ends for a little bit to validate your ideas. Once you validate, then it becomes a question of, “How long do I want to keep this job? Am I going to stay burning the candle at both ends until I equal my job? Am I going to stop right now because I already know if I put 100%, 24 hours a day, I’ll be done with this damn thing in two months? I’ll have it.” That’s your own decision to make, but I like that. Quit lying to yourself. You’re either chasing this financial freedom or you’re not. What do your actions say or do? I enjoy talking to you, Ben.
Thank you, Mitch. Me too.
You’re a great inspiration. I wish I would have met a person like you early in my career. I was so freaking lost. No one talked to me about anything. My school system didn’t teach me that. I find myself now, screaming, “Why didn’t they teach me this? Why didn’t someone ever say anything about this?” That’s all the education that I had.
I appreciate you being on. This is Mitch Stephen with 1000Houses.com. I appreciate each and every one of you. I’m going to have some opportunities to come and visit with me down at my ranch in Bigfoot, Texas. I’m also going to have a vacation pretty soon, and I’m going to invite all my friends to come if they want. It’s not going to be a lecture. It’s not going to be a sale. We’re just like-minded people in a pool somewhere drinking.
Guess what we’ll probably be talking about. We’ll probably be talking about real estate or business because that’s what we do as a community. That’s what we know and enjoy. It will be in education. I can’t tell you exactly how, but it always has been. We’re going to have some fun. Stay tuned for that. You can always get ahold of me or ask questions at Mitch@1000Houses.com.
About Beniamin Muresan
Beniamin (Ben) Muresan, was born in Romania in 1985, during a time of communism. His family escaped the country before the revolution and landed in a refugee camp in Austria in 1990. After immigrating to Canada, and finally being reunited with his siblings, Ben developed a passion for life and a gratitude mindset. At an early age he dreamed of building an empire and motivating, entertaining, and investing in other people. He attended school for music, then dropped out to pursue a career in business. Becoming a millionaire at 30 years old, Ben raised $35,000 off market and did 300 real estate deals. He created a sub-prime homeownership company that helped dozens of families change their financial future. He is the founder of an Educational Real Estate Company called Cashflow Tribe, helping Canadians achieve financial freedom through building successful real estate businesses. He continues to change lives through his passion for speaking, teaching and coaching. He feels that it’s his calling to serve people and create a massive impact. Ben believes in being a faithful steward and practicing abundance mindset. Ben considers his faith as his greatest asset and recognizes the power of always staying “humble but hungry”.
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