Raymond Aaron, has committed his life to teaching people how to dramatically change their lives for the better. Raymond transforms lives by helping people tap into their own potential.
He is the author of 10 best-selling books, including Branding Small Business For Dummies, Double Your Income Doing What You Love and the co-author of New York Times best-seller Chicken Soup for the Parent’s Soul and author of the Canadian best-seller, Chicken Soup for the Canadian Soul. He is also an avid adventurer having completed one of the world’s toughest races, Polar Race (a 350 mile foot race to the Magnetic North Pole). This trek to the North Pole has inspired his newest title, How You Can Get Rich Without Getting Cold.
Find out more about Raymond Aaron online at:
Stefan Aarnio: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the show, Respect the Grind with Stefan Aarnio. This is the show where we interview people who have achieved mastery and freedom through discipline. We interview entrepreneurs, athletes, authors, artists, real estate investors, anyone who has achieved mastery and examine what it took to get there.
Today on the show I have a dear friend of mine, Raymond Aaron who was well-known for being a New York Times bestselling author. He’s a world-class speaker. He’s an educator, a trainer, a real estate investor, and a absolute mentor to me, one of my original mentors who really got me going on my rise. Raymond, welcome to the show, Respect the Grind. Thank you so much for joining me.
Raymond Aaron: I’m honored to be on your show Stefan. We’ve been, we’ve known each other for a long time, 10 years of more. And I’m happy to help you. We help each other. It’s a great relationship.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, it’s unbelievable. So Raymond, for the people at home who have not heard of the great Raymond Aaron yet, can you tell us a little bit about yourself in your own words for the people who just haven’t heard of you yet?
Raymond Aaron: Yes. My name is Raymond Aaron. I am a New York Times top ten best selling author. I’ve given 5,000 speeches in most countries in the world. I’ve created programs that have helped people dramatically increase their income. I have purchase, in Canada, 1,100 pieces of real estate, and resold most of them. I have indeed bought and sold in my own name over half a billion dollars worth of real estate in today’s money. But it wasn’t always like that. I graduated from university as a physicist at roughly age 19, the youngest graduate of the School of Physics, that the 200 year history of the University of Toronto had ever experienced. And then from age 19 to age 39, I went straight downhill and had a life of failure after failure after failure. At age 39, I was a complete 39 year old life loser, $100,000 in debt. My wife left me. My boss fired me. And I was 50 pounds overweight.
And so I decided to devote my entire life as I have from age 39 to now to help other people like you and your wonderful listeners how to create wealth, how to overcome their obstacles, how to get branded by writing a book, to do all those things that I wish I knew how to do when I was 19 instead of waiting til 39.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. Raymond, that’s tremendous. Now, when you were at the bottom at age 39, which is amazing. I mean, I think about this. I’m 31 today, and I think, “Oh man. It could all go downhill at 39.” What was it that you, I guess, took your eye off the ball that made you go from being a successful 19 year old, smashing in school, doing great. 39 at the bottom. What made you go down like that over those years?
Raymond Aaron: I didn’t take my eye off the bal at all. I just didn’t know what the ball was, or where the ball was, or who the ball was, or who. So I excelled in mathematics and physics and computers. I never got under 90% on any math test ever. And then I got out into the world and had no idea what to do. I noticed what other people were doing. They were setting their alarm. They were getting up, they were eating breakfast, they were driving to work. So that’s what I did, but I just forgot to notice that almost every North American dies broke. So what was I doing copying most people? But I didn’t know what to do. If I wasn’t copying, what, I shouldn’t have breakfast? I shouldn’t drive to work? I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what I was doing that was wrong. I had nobody guiding me. I wasn’t distinguished I was drowning in a sea of sameness. I was like everybody else. It was horrible.
Stefan Aarnio: So what was your turnaround point, where you looked at the sea of sameness and you said, “Okay, time to change. Time to transform.” What was the turnaround point?
Raymond Aaron: Well I’ve been wanting to change from age 19 to age 39. So that wasn’t new. But what was new is a coach took me under his wing and said, “If I can turn you around, I’ll have the greatest testimonial of any coach in the world, ’cause you’re such a loser.” Honestly, that’s what he said to me. And I said, “Listen, if the description is right, I’ll take it. I am a loser.” Now, of course you know that I’ve made it so you’re not, nobody, none of your listeners are really sympathetic towards me. But at age 29, sitting on a park bench, a coach said, “Listen, you’re exactly the same as anybody else. There’s nothing to distinguish you. If you were applying for a job, you look the same as everyone else who applies for that job. You’re just look the same. And I says, “Well how do I not look the same?” And he say, “Write a book.” Very few people have ever written a book, but all famous people have. All wealthy people have.
And I said, “What are you … That doesn’t make sense. I don’t believe it.” He said, “Well name any wealthy person.” “Donald Trump, Warren Buffet, Sir Richard Branson, any of the movie starts. He went on and on and on. I said, “yeah, of course they’ve all written a book. And then he said, “And name 10 of your friends,” and I did. Well none of them had written a book. He said, “You understand the Scientific Method. You make a hypothesis, and then to test whether it’s true or not you try it.” So I wrote a book. My income skyrocketed. It was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen.
Stefan Aarnio: So tell the people at home a little bit about, you know, that very first book. Raymond, you know, you’re a guy. You’re 39. Life is in the dumps. Suddenly you publish this book. Tell the people about the first book, and was it a good book, was it a bad book, was it a mediocre book. What was it about?
Raymond Aaron: Well here’s the funny thing. You Aarnio, you Stefan know a great deal about real estate. But even when you first started, your very first house, investment house, you actually knew more than a lot of people. I mean, now you know much more. But even way back then when you bought your first house you knew a lot. People think they don’t know much, but actually they do. And if I take any one of your listeners, and let’s say they’ve been on, at a job for 30 years, or maybe even one year, if I brought a brand new person in to sit beside them to do their same job, that new person wouldn’t know as much as them. In a few short months at a job you know a great deal. So people actually know a great deal, but they don’t think that they know enough to write a book, which is unfortunate.
But actually it’s good for you and me because we write books and everyone thinks they can’t, and so we get rich and they don’t think they can. But here’s the biggest thing. Every single one of my real friends, all my friends are wealthy. Jack Canfied who started the Soup For The Soul series of books, Dr. Ivan Meisner who started BNI, Dr. John Gray who wrote Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus. All my friends have not only written a book, they’ve written many books. Joe Vitale who was in The Secret wrote 57 books. Jack Canfield’s up to 170 books. When you talk to my friends, they think it’s weird if you haven’t written a book. When you speak to my friends, if I say, “Listen, I have a friend who hasn’t written a book.” They say “He has nothing to offer the world. Why should I listen to him?”
So your listeners haven’t written a book and don’t know anyone except you that’s written a book, so they think it’s okay to not write a book. But my friends think they’re weird. My friends think they have such low self esteem that they don’t have anything to say to the world. If you have nothing to say to the world, why should a rich person listen? If no rich people will listen to you, then good luck trying to get down payments. Good luck trying to get investors. Good luck trying to get wealthy people to do joint ventures with you. And so I help people write books. I teach them exactly how to do it. I have 19 videos. They’re brief. They’re like 15 minutes. You play the video, do the homework, play the video, do the homework. I assign you a coach to make sure you totally understand it. And then I host your official book launch to make sure that you get it, and make sure that you have the pride in getting out of the sea of sameness and climb up onto the island of individuality and float effortlessly for the rest of your life down the river of relevant differentiation.
Stefan Aarnio: So Raymond, you know, you have tools today for people who want to maybe get into publishing. Maybe they wanna put out a book. The tools you have are so much better than what you had back in the day. But what remains the same for back then or today is this personal resistance that people feel. And I even felt it. You know, I took your course in 2011, I probably purchased it. 2012 I did it. And that thing, I let it sit on the shelf. I told myself actually in a moment of low self esteem, I told myself, “I’m not gonna publish a book,” even though I paid the money. But what do you say to people who have that resistance, that inner resistance. Maybe they get it or they start it but they just, they have that resistance to finishing or resistance to putting the product out there?
Raymond Aaron: Well, I have coaches that I assign at no extra charge to everyone who registers for my program. And my coaches call you and cajole you and help you and say, “Well if you just do this little bit, just do this little bit. When can you do this little tiny bit? And congratulations. They congratulate you. They help you. They cajole you. And it gets everybody going. If you’re on your own … See, I didn’t have that service when you joined way back then. And I have it now because of people like you. [crosstalk 00:09:47]
Stefan Aarnio: [crosstalk 00:09:47]
Raymond Aaron: Who are gonna wait a year worrying. And so they all get their books done now. And by the way, I don’t want them to get into publishing. I want them to get into authoring. I’m the publisher. I publish their book for them. They don’t have to do anything. I do everything for them. I get their ISBN number for them. I find them an editor. I find them a formatter. I find them a graphic artist for the cover. I do everything. They just have to keep nodding.
Stefan Aarnio: Absolutely. I love that. And one thing I learned from working with you Raymond, in that course. Now I say it’s publishing. I probably say it wrong. But inside of that, there’s all the elements of a book and all the things that someone has to put together. Now one thing that you said to me, and it was probably on stage way back in the day when I was just getting started in this, was that there’s a thing called the book lottery. And if you write Harry Potter or you write The Hunger Games, or 50 Shades of Gray, you’re gonna win the book lottery. But that’s such a slim chance, don’t bother. And then you say, “Hey, well why don’t we write a book around your product or service and position you as an expert?” Why don’t you talk a little bit about the book lottery or piece of art versus building a platform for you.
Raymond Aaron: Stefan I’m really glad you invited me to do that, ’cause that’s what’s holding people back. They think if they’re not JK Rowling, if they can’t write 50 Shades of Gray, if they can’t write about Harry Potter, then there’s nothing for them. You have to be a brilliant writer to write fiction. You have to be a brilliant writer to write fiction. But to write non-fiction, you already know the stuff. If you know, here are three things that I did wrong. Here are the four best things to say on a first date. Here are the six things never to say to a tax auditor. Here are the nine things never to say to someone whose home you’re trying to buy. Here are the four things to always say to a realtor. But you just write it, ’cause you know it. You just write it. There’s no flowery words. There’s no great ability at the language English that you need. Many of my clients, many of them, English is their second language. And so you just need to know a little bit about your subject, and that’s what’ll get your book up.
Now let’s talk about selling a million copies. Your book, your non-fiction book will not sell a million copies. Nobody’s non-fiction books, except maybe Jack Canfield and Tony Robbins. But almost no non-fiction books sell that numbers. It’s only the fiction books. But you know what? Stefan got fabulous recognition. Stefan got amazing branding because of his first book. Not ’cause of the sales of the book, but because of the branding and the credibility that he got from saying that he has a book and holding it up. When you say you have a book, that’s 90% of the branding. The next five percent comes from people glancing at your table of contents. And maybe five percent comes from people reading it. So it’s not, you’re not gonna make a million selling a million copies of your book. You’re gonna make a million because, if you’re a realtor for example, more people sign up for your services. You’ll get more commission checks. If you’re a butcher, people will come in and buy meat from you. Whatever it is, whatever it is, if you wrote a book on it, they want to use you.
Stefan Aarnio: I love it. I think the platform is everything. And it’s amazing Raymond. You know my very first book, Money People Deal who I did through you back in the day, that, I think we sold 4500 copies of that at the beginning. And then I just sold out of the second run, 7000 copies. And I just signed the quote, or the paper to get 10,000 copies which is coming to my office next month.
Raymond Aaron: Wow.
Stefan Aarnio: And it’s amazing. That’s the first book. And I got a second book, third book, fourth book, fifth book. I’m building a major platform. That’s my goal. Now, for the people at home, what is the most important part of a book? Is it the title? Is it the cover? Is it the subject? Is it the interior? What would you say, ordered from most important to least important are the parts of the book, and how do they play out?
Raymond Aaron: Okay. I oversimplified it a moment ago. Let me expand it. 70% of the branding from a book, 70% of the credibility, 70% of the increase in your income comes from simply saying you have a book, just saying it. “Hi. My name is Raymond Aaron. I wrote Double Your Income Doing What You Love.” “Wow. Can you really help me double my income?” “Yes.” “How do I know that?” “I wrote the book.” “What?” “Double Your Income Doing What You Love.” “Wow.” 70% comes from just saying it.
Another 20% comes from the cover. When they see the cover, like when they see Money People Deal, and it’s all pretty, and it’s hardcover, and it’s thick, people go “Wow. That’s impressive.” So 20% comes from the cover.
Five percent comes from the table of contents. And only five percent comes from the words of the book, only five percent.
So saying you have a book and or showing the cover is 90% of it. The Table of Contents brings you up to 95%. So whether English is your first language or not, it doesn’t matter. 95% of your branding comes from just saying, cover, and Table of Contents. So if you’ve written a dazzlingly great book, that brings you up from 95 to 100. Big deal. If you write an average book, you go from 95 to 99. It hardly matters. Now, I don’t mean you should write a bad book. What I mean is, you think that the five percent of writing the book is the whole thing. That’s an almost inconsequential extra.
Anybody can write a book. You just sit down and I teach you. If you stare at a blank screen, you’ll go crazy and you’ll do nothing. But I don’t teach you to stare at a blank screen. I teach you exactly how to do it. You play the brief video, you do the instruction. You play the brief video, and you do the homework.
And in fact, let me do something special for you Stefan. I’m gonna give everyone my executive assistant’s, my own personal executive assistant’s email address, and if they’re interested in writing a book, just email her. And her name is Helen, with one L. H-E-L-E-N @Aaron.com, two A’s. A-A-R-O-N. Helen@Aaron.com A-A-R-O-N. Just say, “Hi. I wanna write a book.” “Hi. I wanna write a book.” And she’ll collect them all, and then I’ll do something special for you.
Stefan Aarnio: Awesome. That’s fantastic, ’cause it’s always how to get started. People always wonder what’s the first step. And that’s really powerful.
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Stefan Aarnio: Raymond, you have succeeded over multiple decades now. I’m 31. I think last time I saw you, you were saying you wanna live to be 120. That was the goal on stage. I don’t know if it’s still 120. Do you believe that success is more about talent, or is it more about hard work?
Raymond Aaron: It’s absolutely hard work. Absolutely. A dear friend of mine, Mark McCoy says he’s average in athletics, and yet he won a gold medal in the Olympics and set two world records because he works harder than any other sprinter. I work really hard. But I work hard cleverly. People think, “Oh, you’re so rich. You must take it easy.” No. Tomorrow I’m heading off to Costa Rica to do a seven day retreat. I come back and immediately fly off to London, England to do a weekend workshop. I fly around the world. Now, I keep in touch with my daughter and my wife. I respect my family. But I work hard. I sometimes take a red eye, which means I get on the plane at 11 o’clock at night and I arrive the next morning, another day, in another city. And sometimes walk straight onstage.
But I love it, because I love what I do so much. I know that your clients and my clients enjoy learning from me. But just because they’re honored to learn from me and from you, Stefan, doesn’t mean that we also don’t need them. Teachers need students. It’s the symbiosis. So I love my students. They love me, and you. It’s a wonderful, wonderful relationship. And I’m just so honored that for 35 years, people have wanted to learn from me. May of 19, what is it, May of 1983, May of 1983 was my very first professional speech. And right around now is May of 2018. 35 years. Who knew?
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. That’s amazing. Now, here’s a question for you Raymond, with that. So 35 years is, that’s a long time. I’m only 31, man, so I’m not even, I’m not even alive long enough as your career’s been going. Did success change you, or did you have to become successful and then success followed?
Raymond Aaron: Yeah. Success did change me. I became a real, I don’t know if I should say nasty words. I became an A-hole. I was-
Stefan Aarnio: We can say asshole on the show.
Raymond Aaron: [inaudible 00:19:34].
Stefan Aarnio: My employees think I’m an asshole sometimes. So it’s okay.
Raymond Aaron: Well, I wasn’t nice. I know that in Hollywood, when movie starts go from waitress’s income, like $10,000 a year, up to $10 million for a movie, they just don’t handle it well. They get into drugs. They get into affairs. They get into overeating. It just, it’s horrible. And I didn’t do well. My income went from maybe $50,000 to $70,000 in today’s money to millions, millions, almost overnight. And I didn’t handle it well. I thought I was a big shot. And it took me a while. It took me a couple years. One of my friends that I really love brought me aside and said, “You know what? They sign up for your programs in spite of you. You’re very nasty, and it’s not nice. You need to stop it.” And I did. I did stop it. And I’m glad I did.
But thank you for asking the tough question, ’cause that’s who you are. You ask tough questions, and that’s why people love to follow you on this Grind Podcast, Respect The Grind. And I didn’t respect myself, and I didn’t respect other people. And I apologize to everyone who is listening, but I learned my lesson. Everyone, life isn’t sweet, sweet, sweet. Life is things screw up. Bad things happen. Get hit by a truck. Things happen. It’s not the hand you get dealt, it’s how you handle the hand. And I didn’t handle it well, then I did handle it well. And that was a tough answer for me, and I don’t think I’ve ever said that publicly.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. Well this, that’s one of the things I like to do on this show, Raymond, is get, you know, we really get down to the essence of things, and it’s powerful. Now, I don’t know if you’ve read Robert Green’s book, Mastery. He wrote 48 Laws of Power. He wrote 33 Strategies of War. In Mastery, he says that mastery is a blend of creativity and discipline. Do you believe that creativity is more important than discipline today or is discipline more important than creativity in today’s market?
Raymond Aaron: Well, I don’t know if it’s discipline. It’s definitely hard work. And if you’re disciplined with no creativity, I don’t know. You’ll just dig ditches all your life. And if you have creativity but no discipline, you will come up with an idea and not follow through. You will come up with an idea and not follow through. And your life will be a series of books in which you’ve written the first page only and nothing else. And it’s called the shiny penny syndrome, where people say, “Oh, there’s a shiny penny,” and they pick it up, and they decide to buy real estate, or they see another shiny penny. “Oh, I’m gonna do stock market.” Another shiny penny. “Oh, I’m gonna get rich in internet marketing.” And if you have discipline without creativity or creativity without discipline, you’ll go absolutely nowhere.
But the first thing, the very first thing, is deciding. You first must decide. Once you decide you’re gonna go for it, then the things you need, the universe seems to bend to give you the things that you need. A person will apparently randomly show up and say, “I have something here. Do you want it?” And you’ll say, “Oh my God. I need it.” And so we’ve all had the experience where we thought of somebody we went to school with and the phone rings and that’s them. And we say, “I was just thinking of you.” And of course, they don’t believe you. But you were just thinking of them.
So the first of all, there has to be a decision. When there is a decision, the earth turns. The physical universe changes, and bends to your will. And then all the things that you need, hard work, discipline, creativity, the right people showing up, the right tools showing up. You have this beautiful microphone with a fuzzy thing in front of it so that your S’s don’t blast people’s ears off. And you’ve got a quiet room that you’re in. Well that all had to get pieced together. And you’ve got a T-shirt that says, “The Grind.” Well, all those things, you probably were walking by a shop, and it was a T-shirt shop that said, “We’ll print everything and anything,” and you said, “Oh, I should have a Grind T-shirt.” And the things just started falling together. It all starts with a decision. When you decide to do it, man, the world changes.
Stefan Aarnio: I love that. I always say to my students that reality will bend to your will. If you believe it in your heart, mind, and your genitals. If you believe it in this whole post that we have going through our body, you can bend reality to your will.
Now Raymond, here’s a fun question for you, and I love asking this to successful people because everybody has a different answer. What is more important, having a great brand or having a great business?
Raymond Aaron: You can’t have a great business without a brand. You can’t. For example, if you’ve ever driven by a strip plaza, and the top sign, the top company will be a branded company, like Shopper’s Drugmart, or [inaudible 00:24:41]. And then at the bottom, it’ll say “Chiropractor,” who can’t have a successful business, ’cause he’s just a chiropractor, or a realtor. If you’re not branded, you cannot be successful. If you look at any successful … Look, Jennifer Lawrence. She’s the highest paid female actress of all time.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow.
Raymond Aaron: There are other actresses that are prettier than her. They’re all waiting tables at restaurants. There are maybe other female actresses that are better actresses than her. But she’s got the brand. So if you and I are talking, Stefan, and I say, “oh, there’s a new movie out. I saw it, and I really liked it.” Your first question is, “Who’s in it?” And if I say, “Oh, some no-name girl, but she’s really pretty.” You say, “Eh, maybe I’ll go. Maybe I won’t.” But if I say, “Jennifer Lawrence is in it.” You say, “Jennifer Lawrence. I remember her from Hunger Games. Oh, I respect her so much. I’m gonna go.” So if she can be counted on to bring $100 million worth of ticket sales, it’s easy to pay her $20 million, because she’s branded. Her face is recognized. Her voice is recognized. The memory of the movies she’s previously done is recognized.
I’m recognized. You’re recognized. Maybe your brand is The Grind. Maybe your brand is something about helping people buy real estate. Maybe your brand, whatever your brand is, you must have a brand, and it must be done purposefully. Because the funny thing is, if you don’t do it on purpose, you do have a brand, but it’s a bad one. Like if you always show up late, just ’cause you couldn’t be bothered, everybody knows you as the guy that shows up late. So if I’m giving a speech and I say, “Put up your hand if you know someone who always arrives late,” everyone puts their hand up. That’s a person’s brand. They think, oh, they’re very sympathetic and they’re very heartfelt and they always dress nice. They think that’s their brand. Bologna. When I say always late, all that person’s friends know, “Oh, I know. That’s Bill.” If you don’t do it on purpose, you actually do have a brand, but it’s a bad one. You have to have a brand. It has to be on purpose.
I’ll give you an example. I have a client in London, England. His name is [Alif Moussari 00:27:00], Dr. Alif Moussari. He’s a dentist. And his chair was half full. I told him to write a book. He says, “You say that to everybody.” I said, “Of course I say that to everybody, ’cause it works.” So he wrote a book and I called it The Smiling Dentist. And he said, “Does that mean I smile more than other dentists? Does that mean my patients smile more than other patients?” No, I said, “It’s just a brand.” Well as soon as he, as soon as I published his book, people switched from their own dentist to him. A mom would complain to another mom, “My kid hates going to the dentist.” “Well why don’t you go to my dentist. He’s the Smiling Dentist.” “Oh my God. I’ll switch.”
There is no realtor on earth. A realtor should be whipped if they don’t have a book. I just published a book called Sell Your Home For More Than It’s Worth. This girl’s listings skyrocketed. I mean, if she can sell your home for more than it’s worth, my gosh, list with her. She is no better than any other realtor. Every realtor wants to sell your home for more than it’s worth. But she wrote the book on it. Her listings went up, I don’t know, two, three, five times. Her income skyrocketed. I’ve helped lots of real estate investors, lots of appraisers, lots of home inspectors, lots of mortgage brokers, lots of realtors, lots of investors, lots of renovators in real estate, in every area of real estate. Indeed there’s 185 industrial categories. I publish books because my clients [inaudible 00:28:26] in every one of 185 industrial categories, ’cause if you don’t have a book, you’re drowning in the sea of sameness, and good luck to you. All the hard work’s not gonna work as well as if you’re branded.
Stefan Aarnio: Random question I just went through my mind. You said 185 categories. Have you ever done one for a guy with a poop business, like an outhouse business?
Raymond Aaron: (laughs)
Stefan Aarnio: Not yet?
Raymond Aaron: Maybe I haven’t.
Stefan Aarnio: Okay. I was wondering, ’cause I had to rent an outhouse once for one of my properties. We were renovating with people inside of it. The city came at me. We had to get an outhouse. I think it was like $500 for this outhouse, or like $200 plus $50 a week. I thought, “Man, some guy’s making money in poop.” But they don’t do any poop outhouse business seminars because it’s just a business people don’t want. But I’ll wait for the poop book to come out Raymond. I’m waiting for that.
Raymond Aaron: I have a question for you.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah?
Raymond Aaron: You could be thunder or lightening. Which one would you choose?
Stefan Aarnio: I think lightening.
Raymond Aaron: Really?
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah. How about you?
Raymond Aaron: I won’t choose. I’ll take both.
Stefan Aarnio: A trick question. So Raymond, every high achiever has an obsession. What is your obsession and to what degree?
Raymond Aaron: I love teaching, my friend. I love teaching. If I couldn’t teach, for some reason, I don’t mean I would commit suicide. I don’t mean that. But I wouldn’t know what the purpose of my life was. I’m a teacher. I’m just a teacher. When my daughter comes over to stay with me, my wife grabs me by the shoulders, looks me in the eyes and says, “She’s your daughter, not your student. Go play with her.” And she’s right. I was thinking of what I would teach her. I just, I love teaching so much. And you know this. Every teacher goes overtime. When you hold an event, you say to the teachers and the instructors, “Please stick to the schedule. I’m giving you 30 minutes. Take overtime, it screws up everybody.” We say the same thing over, I’ve been saying it for 35 years. All teachers go overtime. We don’t get paid for the overtime. We just go overtime because we love it so much. I love, that’s my obsession.
And I love overcoming challenges. I have a wonderful favorite expression. The grass that grows up through the cracks in the sidewalk doesn’t need watering.
Stefan Aarnio: Mm.
Raymond Aaron: That’s, the ones that overcome the incredible odds. They’re six inches under light, and with no light whatsoever, total darkness, they have this crack and they somehow squeeze up through the crack, that one doesn’t need watered. All the wimpy grass in the lawn, that needs watering. And so it makes you strong, Stefan. It makes me strong. The challenges make us strong. And we overcome challenges and you and I teach our clients how to overcome challenges. You got a house. You go firm on it, and then the mortgage company changes their mind, and doesn’t give you a mortgage, and you’ve got four days to closing. Hello. Figure it out. And you figure it out. You figure it out somehow.
Stefan Aarnio: But you decided and so it shall be.
Raymond Aaron: If you decided I’m not gonna crap out on this. I’m gonna figure it out. I might have to pay a higher interest rate. I might have to get a shorter term. Who knows, but I’ll figure it out.
Stefan Aarnio: Let me ask you this, Raymond. I’ve been teaching people myself for some time now. Never wanted to be a teacher, but my mother said to me when I graduated from University with an English degree, she said, “Steffy, go take an education degree. Be a teacher just like me.” I said, “Mom I’m never teaching. I’m never gonna teach anybody. Forget it. No, sorry.” And now she comes to my events and says, “You’re a teacher, just like me. See. I knew it.”
Now, if you have 100 students. And I’ve seen the math on this because we contact our students after the fact, and we wanna collect the testimonial. We wanna know how they’re doing. I’ve noticed this. If 100 people sign up for something, half of them just do nothing. And I don’t know why that is. It’s human nature. People just, you go to the university, you go to the engineering faculty, half people drop out. I don’t know why. Then about 45% of the students will do a little bit. They’ll do one or two real estate deals. They’ll try it out. And then you’ve got five percent who is just the superstars, and they’re doing all the business. They’re doing all the deals. They’re doing everything. Why do you think that breakdown is across the board in just about everything? I was just speaking to Mark McCoy right before you. He said five percent of people succeed at anything, and the 95 is everything else. Why is it that there’s 5, 45, and 50. Why is that the case?
Raymond Aaron: Well first of all, it’s worse than that. If you have 100 people showing up at an event, it’s ’cause 200 people registered, and only 100 showed up.
Stefan Aarnio: You’re right.
Raymond Aaron: It’s cut in half before you can even start counting. And I think the reason is this. Just because someone comes to a Stefan Aarnio event on let’s say property management. Doesn’t mean they actually want to buy an apartment building and manage it. But they like you. They like the sound of your voice. They like your humor. They like buying from you. They like the people who come to your event and they recognize a lot of them, so it’s like a bit of a reunion. And so just because someone comes to a buy real estate or a property manage real estate, or whatever the different real estate events are that you host, doesn’t mean they wanna do it. Guys might be coming to pick up girls. You don’t know why they’re there. And so you shouldn’t be so harsh.
And another thing I wanna say to you is there’s a gradient, like a slope. And some people might need to hear your workshop two, three, four, five times before they’ll even contact a realtor. Nevermind buy a property. And that’s completely okay, and they may not get it this lifetime. They may get it next lifetime. It’s okay. It’s totally okay. I’ve asked this question before to my spiritual leader. And what he said to me was as long as I’m describing the course honestly, as long as I’m honorable in my selling of it, as long as I’m describing it correctly, then let anyone who wishes to purchase it buy it and come. And if they don’t actually do anything, if they don’t buy stocks or write a book or buy real estate for 10 years, or five years, or this lifetime, it’s their slow gradient, and that’s completely okay.
So some people aren’t there. So my first comment is some people aren’t there to buy real estate even though you call it a real estate seminar. And some people need way, way, way more time than you imagine. You think, “I’ve given the three-day course. What the heck? Why don’t they just go and buy real estate?” ‘Cause they’re not ready yet. So let yourself off the hook and let them off the hook.
Stefan Aarnio: Hmm. I love that. I think that’s very powerful Raymond. It takes a real maturity to realize that, because there’s two incompatible ideas I think with teachers and training and education. And one side of the incompatible ideas is let’s qualify and have the best students possible. And then the other side is everybody deserves a chance. And part of me always says, I have people sign up, and I might look at that person and say “They’re never gonna make it.” They turn out to be a superstar. And then I have other people sign up, and the guy’s wearing a suit and he looks great, and you think he’s gonna be amazing. And he turns out to be just a total dud and a deadbeat. And you just don’t know where that is, so you almost gotta, as Robert Kiyosaki says, you gotta leave the door open and the light on as a good parent, and when they’re ready, they can walk through the door, you know?
Now, Raymond, what motivates you to be great at what you do?
Raymond Aaron: I love it so much I wanna keep improving. When I’m at an event, I’ll show up a few hours early, and I’ll listen to the couple speakers before me and the couple speakers after me. They’re usually considerably worse than I am. And I’ll notice all the mistakes they’re making. Sometimes, they’ll surprise me and they’ll have a really interesting way of delivering. And I’ll say, “Oh, that’s clever,” and so I’ll learn something. But I love what I do so much I want to be great at it. Now, I always wanted to learn how to ride a unicycle, and I did learn. And I was one of the oldest people ever to learn how to ride a unicycle. When you’re 16, you can get it in two weeks. When you’re 45, it takes a year, ’cause it’s all muscle memory. And I have no interest in being great in unicycling. When I’m on my unicycle, and the road slightly turns, that’s when you notice my inabilities, ’cause I can’t turn. So I go on straight roads only. And I just laugh about it. I don’t care, ’cause it’s just a fun hobby for me. But in teaching, in speaking, man, I wanna be great. So you have to look at what you’re passionate at, and that’s what you wanna be great at.
Stefan Aarnio: So let me ask you a passion Raymond. Some people say that passion has a base ingredient called curiosity. Do you have a curiosity beneath the passion? Do you have something that you’re always trying to figure out with teaching to get to the next level? Is that something that fuels passion is curiosity?
Raymond Aaron: I love that. Underneath passion is curiosity. Like I don’t care. If I’m at an event, and I learn 50 things, I’m as curious the next day as I was the day before. I don’t care how many things I learned. I’m still curious. I wanna know, how does this work? How does that work? How do they do this? How does this work?
Stefan Aarnio: Right. And the reason why I use those words is ’cause you go to somebody and you say, “What are you passionate about,” and they say, “I don’t know.” But then you say, “What are you curious about,” and if you follow curiosity, eventually you get to passion.
Raymond Aaron: Thank you. I haven’t given curiosity enough respect. I like that. Thank you.
Stefan Aarnio: Okay, well it’s in your tool belt now. You can use it. That’s the brilliance of teaching.
Raymond Aaron: And I will give credit.
Stefan Aarnio: Well thank you very much. Raymond, in your life and your journey, what was one moment where you thought you were gonna fail, and everything was gonna be over for Raymond Aaron?
Raymond Aaron: Oh my God. From age 19 to 39, I had dozens of them. I opened up a cosmetics distribution business and it failed. I opened up a chain of women’s weight reducing salons and it failed. I became a private I, got one client, never got another client. Had a sports car importing business which failed. I opened up a soft drink manufacturing company which failed. Oh man.
Stefan Aarnio: Oh boy.
Raymond Aaron: Failed. In fact, the great American industrialist, Henry Ford, called his very first car, as we all know, the Model-T. Well why would anyone call their first car the Model-T. And the answer is, he failed in business 19 times. I don’t know how many times he went bankrupt. But he failed 19 times, and he named his first car from his first successful business, which is the 20th letter of the alphabet, after his 19 failures.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. So when the model A didn’t make it, the model B didn’t make it, the model C didn’t make it. We’re at T. We’re just going up to double A on the next alphabet.
Raymond Aaron: And all are completely unrelated businesses. His 19th failure was imitating Swiss watches. He wanted to manufacture something and he thought, “A watch is small. The shipping would be inexpensive.” So he tried to do it. But Americans didn’t have the digital dexterity to do fine tuning. So he said, “Well, if I can’t create something that’s like an inch in diameter, let’s do something that’s 10 feet long.” And so he came up with manufacturing cars.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. So Raymond, you know you talked about some of your failures in life, especially when you were younger. You talked about Henry Ford’s failures. I’ve got my own. I say I fail at 80% of what I do, but the 20% is so much better, it takes care of the 80. What do you believe is the biggest cause of failure in people?
Raymond Aaron: They’re not branded. They’re not branded. Like, if you, Stefan, came to my city of Toronto, and you said, “I wanna buy some real estate,” and I lined up 10 realtors and said, “Choose one,” you couldn’t do it. I mean, you could interview them. But if you didn’t interview them, if you just looked at them, even you couldn’t see who’s the good one. You couldn’t tell. And if they talked for one minute, you still couldn’t tell. ‘Cause one of them would say, “I won the Chairman’s Club.” Next one would say, “I won’t the President’s Club.” They all think that we know what they’re talking about. But if one of them said, “I wrote the book on getting rich in real estate in Toronto,” you’d say, “Oh, I’ll use that guy,” because he’s branded. He’s branded. That’s the deal. When someone’s branded, they have success. When they’re not branded, they struggle. And I have nothing against hard work. Respect the Grind is the name of this podcast. Hard work is fine. But if you’re hardworking in the sea of sameness, gosh life is tough.
Stefan Aarnio: Right. Well they say you can’t caterpillar your way to being a butterfly. And you can’t Blockbuster your way to being Netflix. And you can’t Walmart your way to being Amazon. At some point, there has to be a transformation. So why don’t we talk about that for a second, where you’re not necessarily just doing the same thing transactionally every day, but we have something that transforms what we do. Let’s talk about transformation Raymond.
Raymond Aaron: I’ve dedicated my 35 years of teaching to transformation. I have a week long transformational retreat in an exotic place in the world. All my workshops are transformational. People walk, at the end of the workshop, I’ll say, “What’s the biggest thing you learned? And 90% of what people say I didn’t teach.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow.
Raymond Aaron: But it’s not a fantasy. They’re, in their mind, they’re thinking, “Oh, yes.” One woman said, “My husband has been beating me for years, and I got the courage from you to leave him.” Well I didn’t tell her to leave her husband. I didn’t say anything about … I talked real estate and branding. And yet, people in their own mind have transformational experiences because of what I teach. People who have been too shy to buy a piece of real estate, or they are even too shy to contact a realtor for gosh sakes. And then they have that ability afterwards. I love transformational change.
It’s not to put down transactional change. You and I, when we’re 16 or so, our mommy and daddy signed us up for a school to learn how to drive a car. Purely transactional. Put your gear here. Of course, there’s no gear shift any longer. But put your foot on the brake if you wanna stop. We just learned how to do it. It was just transactional. The world needs transactional teaching. But I don’t have to teach it. I teach transformational work. And because of that, people’s income doesn’t go up by three percent. It goes up by 300%.
Stefan Aarnio: So inside of the magic of transformation, what is it that happens inside of that seed for the transformation to grow? Can you even say what it is?
Raymond Aaron: Wow. I speak in such a way, I use certain words, the tone of my voice, the humor, the images, the choice of topic, all comes together, all comes together. If someone else could repeat word for word and slide for slide what I do, it may not be transformational. There’s some, there has to be some magic to transformation. That’s why a great filmmaker will take $100 million and produce a dud, because they need to transform you in your seat in a movie theater, and sometimes the magic just doesn’t happen. The greatest actors, the greatest director, and $100 million, and they produce a dud. How is that possible? Because transformation can’t be done by edict. We can’t say, “I will produce a transformation in the next minute.”
Stefan Aarnio: Right. It’s something, it’s almost intrinsic. It’s almost connecting to the infinite intelligence of the universe, or God, or whatever you wanna call it in a way.
Raymond Aaron: Yep.
Stefan Aarnio: Okay. Raymond, if you can go back to age 18 Raymond Aaron, what’s a piece of advice you’d give yourself?
Raymond Aaron: Get branded my young friend. Get branded.
Stefan Aarnio: Get branded. Love it.
Raymond Aaron: I wasn’t.
Stefan Aarnio: And inside of that, what are the top three books that have changed your life over the last seven years?
Raymond Aaron: I’m just gonna tell you one. It takes 15 minutes to read. It’s the most important book ever, ever, ever written, and your clients can get it for free. A Message To Garcia. A Message To Garcia. If they go to Gutenberg.org, G-U-T-E-N-B-E-R-G. G-U-T-E-N-B-E-R-G. Gutenberg.org. It’s in the public domain. A Message To Garcia. Download it for free. It takes 15 minutes to read. It’s the most important book ever written.
Stefan Aarnio: Okay, I’m looking it up right now. We can just get it. I’ve got it open on my window. So I’ll have to take a look. I’m sure there’s gonna be lots of people checking out the book. Why would somebody want A Message To Garcia? I’ve never even heard of it actually.
Raymond Aaron: It’ll change your life. That book, 15 minutes, I guarantee it. It will change your life. It’s a rant. It’s the author’s rant that where is the person who can take a message to Garcia? Where is the person who can just take an order and go do it, instead of saying, “How do you spell it? Do I get paid overtime? Is there danger pay? Can’t Bill do it instead? I’ve got a vacation coming up.” Where’s the person who can just send a message to Garcia? It just, it’s so compelling. I’ve read it so many times. I’ve recommended it to thousands of people. That’s my transformational end of this fascinating podcast is you and your listeners gotta read A Message To Garcia. And if they wanna write a book through me, and I’ll even publish it for them, contact Helen@Aaron.com. Helen@Aaron.com.
Stefan Aarnio: Great. One more question before we wrap up Raymond. Right now, we got a young group of people, the Millennials. We got generation Zed. I was mentioning to you before the podcast, when we were just getting ready that Respect the Grind, I remember when I put that up, you said, “Nobody wants grinding.” This is years ago, because every generation, like my mother’s a baby boomer. They grew up with grinding. Grinding was the thing they did. My generation, the Millennials never grew up with grinding. We didn’t have hard work. They bought us ice cream when we lost the soccer game. They gave us trophies for not winning. It’s a totally different group of people. What’s a piece of advice you give to these Millennials, the Generation Zeds who don’t really know what grinding means?
Raymond Aaron: Sign up for Stefan Aarnio’s podcast.
Stefan Aarnio: (laughs) Alright, we’ll leave it at that. That’s kind of like preaching to the choir. If you’re on the podcast, they’re gonna sign up.
Raymond Aaron: [crosstalk 00:49:04]
Stefan Aarnio: Great Raymond. Thank you so much for being on the call today. How can people get ahold of Raymond Aaron?
Raymond Aaron: Helen@Aaron.com and you can talk. And then we’ll talk about the book. If you want to download my book, Double Your Income Doing What You Love, just go to Aaron.com and download it for free. Aaron is A-A-R-O-N. Aaron.com. Top right corner, download my book for free. No strings attached. No price. Just download for free and enjoy it.
Stefan Aarnio: Awesome. Thanks so much Raymond.
Raymond Aaron: Thank you my friend.
Stefan Aarnio: Hi. It’s Stefan Aarnio, and thank you so much for listening to my podcast, Respect the Grind. If you enjoyed this podcast, I want you to get a copy of my original book, Money People Deal. Money People Deal has been the key for me for raising millions and millions of dollars for real estate and has helped people all over Canada and the United States raise money for their real estate deals. You can get a copy at MoneyPeopleDeal.com/podcast for a special offer just for podcast listeners. Once again, go to MoneyPeopleDeal.com/podcast to get your special offer. We’ll see you on the next episode of Respect The Grind.