Shawn began his real estate investing career in 2007, utilizing his private residence as his first rental. That same year he purchased his first property to be used as a buy, renovate and sell property. Since that time, Shawn has done many different types of Real Estate deals including rent to own, buy and hold, full scale renovations and even some more creative strategies. Through experience, Shawn has developed an in-depth understanding of residential real estate investing.
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Stefan Aarnio: Ladies and gentleman welcome to the show Respect The Grind with Stefan Aarnio. This is the show where we interview people who’ve achieved mastery and freedom through discipline. We interview entrepreneurs, athletes, authors, artists, real estate investors, anyone who’s achieved mastery and examine what it took to get there.
Stefan Aarnio: Today on the show, we have a friend of mine, Shawn Allen. He’s a well-known Canadian real estate investor, property manager, flipper, buy and hold, he does it all. Shawn Allen, welcome to the show, Respect the Grind. Thanks so much for joining me.
Shawn Allen: Thanks for having me, Stefan, appreciate it.
Stefan Aarnio: Shawn, it’s always great to catch up with you again man. I used to coach you in the platinum program. You spread your wings. You’re flying. You’re doing great. Now for the people who don’t know you, Shawn, at home, what was life like before you reached success?
Shawn Allen: Well I worked for a corporate gig for the last 18 years before I quit there four years ago. So it was constantly 12-hour days, working long hours.
Shawn Allen: I was human resources in an auto plant so it was demanding, long hours, weren’t able to do really anything except be there and I was trying to build business on the side.
Shawn Allen: So, very difficult to get anything actually done, and also I had a young family, so time constraint was a huge issue.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. So you worked in the corporate world. Now, forgive me if I’m wrong, do you have an MBA? I can’t remember.
Shawn Allen: I do have an MBA, yes.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. Several of my platinum students have MBAs. They got MBAs. Now let me ask you this Shawn, on my Instagram one of the hottest posts right now is why school sucks.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: They talk about why school doesn’t really prepare people for entrepreneurship or for the real world. You got an MBA why bother coaching with someone like or me or learning real estate? Isn’t an MBA enough? I thought that was the golden thing these days? Get the MBA everything is okay.
Shawn Allen: I tell you what, if I had known now or back then what I know now after coaching and after going through all this entrepreneur experience, I never would have got my MBA. It was a huge time constraint and it was a huge amount of money, and really I haven’t used it at all. It was a useless ticket for me.
Stefan Aarnio: What does it cost for an MBA?
Shawn Allen: It depends on where you go but anywhere up to probably, I think at the time it was 40,000 for me.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow, 40Gs. Is that two years or three years?
Shawn Allen: That was a two-year program.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow, okay. Well that’s cool. So you’re in the corporate world, got the MBA, go to school, get a good job, got the family. Now you have two kids?
Shawn Allen: I have two young boys, yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: Two young boys. So now let me ask you this Shawn, at what point did you say forget the corporate world I got to go out on my own? What was the moment where you felt like you were suffocating and you had to get some air and had to get into real estate and had to claim your freedom?
Shawn Allen: Yeah. I think it didn’t take long after … I was there like I said 18 years. But when I first got into real estate about 10, 11 years ago, I knew then that it wasn’t going to happen, it wasn’t going to work doing all that together.
Shawn Allen: And it really was just the fear of going out on my own and getting it done by myself that kept me in my job until four years ago when I finally had enough, pulled the plug and said that there’s just too much of a ceiling where I am and entrepreneurship and real estate really just has no ceiling. So I made the jump.
Stefan Aarnio: What was the exact moment where you were like, “Man, I got to pull the plug?” Was it like one of my other students, Mark, he says it was his little girl Sarah, eight years old saying, “Daddy, daddy, please don’t go.” Crying and every time he had to leave town, he works in the oil fields then she would cry and hug him. What was the exact moment where you were like, “Man, this is it.”
Shawn Allen: Yeah, I just woke up one morning and had to go to work. It was a Monday morning. Getting up at 5 A.M. and I just said, “This is it, I’m done.” Talked to my wife about it and we made a plan that day to just go ahead and end it.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. How did you get started in real estate, Shawn? There’s a million people out there who are at home, they want to flip houses or they want to be a landlord or buy and hold, or rent or own. They have this fantasy about living on the beach and having that free life, this kind of thing. How did you get started? Tell us about your first deal.
Shawn Allen: My first deal was an accident, kind of. I went to … Told my wife I was going to go to an auction. There’s a real estate auction happening, it was an old Victorian home, middle of downtown in Waterloo.
Shawn Allen: I went to just check it out and all I just wanted to see how it works and see if it was something that I could even do. Then a couple of hours later, as my wife likes to say, I called her and said, “Guess what? I bought the house.”
Shawn Allen: I ended up just buying it right there on the spot at the auction and that was my first flip.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. So you started on scene, you haven’t even seen the inside of this thing?
Shawn Allen: We saw the inside but really only had about 10 minutes to check it out before the auction started and had to make a quick decision, bought it.
Shawn Allen: Turned out it wasn’t really that great a deal and I made probably every single mistake you could make when you first flip a house, but I still made money. So that was kind of the impetus to keep going and that’s when I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
Stefan Aarnio: Let me ask you this Shawn, there’s a million different businesses someone can start. Why real estate out of anything?
Shawn Allen: I just think there is so many different avenues, there are so many different ways to approach real estate whether it’s wholesaling or flipping or rent or own or BAH strategy.
Shawn Allen: So there’s something for every sort of personality whether you’re high risk or low risk and there’s no ceiling. You can make literally as much money as you want to make if you do it properly.
Stefan Aarnio: I like that. I like that. So for somebody getting started in real estate, what do you think would be the best strategy to get started with just brand new guy, maybe he has a job? Think about you, if you could talk to you when you were in corporate, how would you get out of your job today?
Shawn Allen: I think the biggest constraint for me when I first started, I did the first flip and then I started watching the shows, I was reading books and they were always telling me that in order to be wealthy you need to have all these buy and hold properties. So that’s what I started doing.
Shawn Allen: But I quickly realized that hey, you run out of money really fast when you’re buying these properties and you’re not making any money from them because really you’re not making cash flow as you go or it’s very small.
Shawn Allen: I would say the constraint really is you need cash. So the best strategy is to flip and you’re generating massive amounts of cash that you can then put forward to buy and hold if that’s your next strategy.
Stefan Aarnio: Okay. Let’s shift gears a little bit here. I love what you just said there. When you do buy and hold real estate at the beginning, my book Self Made I talk about that stage number four is cash flow. Stage four or stage one is bird dogging marketing, stage two is wholesale and stage three buy and sell, stage four is buy, rent and hold.
Stefan Aarnio: Now we got some mutual friends, I’m not going to say their names, some Mr. Money mustache people, some guys who say, ‘I’m financially free and I own some rentals,” but they have a two dollar life budget to live.
Stefan Aarnio: What do you say to the guys who just … In Canada it’s a big trend. Go get some rentals, try to live on the rentals. What do you think is going to happen to those guys?
Shawn Allen: Sure. Again, you run out of money really fast and then what do you do, right? You have to always have cash on hand. When I was a student of you, one of the big things that stuck with me is you always told me, “Have a hundred grand in the bank at all times or if not you’re screwed.” Right?
Shawn Allen: It’s true because you run out of money fast. If there’s a cash call or there’s an issue, it goes quick, right? I think the flipping part is it just allows you that money to do what you need to do.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah. What do you think stops most people from flipping houses, Shawn? There’s … When you got started, there’s so many misconceptions people have about time, money, effort, energy, fear, what were some of the bottlenecks you ran into at the beginning when you wanted to get started?
Shawn Allen: Well for me for sure it was time. I’m not a handy person, so I know a lot of people work on their own houses as they do it. I think that’s a mistake. There’s no way to scale doing that.
Shawn Allen: But for me there was just time actually going to the properties, trying to find it. Man, when you’re working in a full-time job it’s very difficult to do things on your own.
Shawn Allen: On top of that it was fear. I was new to it so I wasn’t quite sure exactly what I was doing. Sure I was reading a lot and trying to educate myself, but it’s tough to do it on your own.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah. I love that. Would you say the solution to somebody who’s got the fear and the illusion of time, do you think it’s really getting a coach, a mentor, someone to help you, do you find that’s the best way to learn?
Shawn Allen: Well it’s funny. Back when I first started and up to about a few years ago, I was dead set against paying for a coach. I was dead set against paying for a mentor. I thought it’s a waste of money, I can do it myself, it’s something you can learn on the internet.
Shawn Allen: But if I was to go back knowing now, I would definitely say that is probably the first thing to do.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. I say the same thing too. I remember I was first two years in real estate I was like, “I’m not paying for anything. I’m going to read. I’m going to eat the free wieners at Costco but not buy the full hotdog. I’m going to do everything I can to be cheap.”
Stefan Aarnio: Now, I’m curious again, I want to bring it back to education because the MBA, that’s kind of the hottest thing in the business school. It’s funny because we got in Winnipeg with the Asper School of Business and they’re always showing their MBA program, “Come to the MBA, come to the MBA.”
Shawn Allen: Right.
Stefan Aarnio: Comparing, we did a big crazy 12-months coaching practice of platinum. Compare the platinum coaching to MBA, what’s the difference between those two schools, because I think that we’re in a time right now in history, Shawn, where education is going to get a big change.
Stefan Aarnio: The old education university is still going to be there. It’s like the horse and buggy, it’s never going away, but I don’t know if it’s relevant anymore. Whereas you and I did an alternative education and compare the two for me. What’s an MBA like versus doing the platinum program?
Shawn Allen: Well, I’m not, I don’t really know [inaudible 00:10:37] education. I think there’s a place for it especially if people have an aspiration to go to a certain job, right, or a certain location.
Shawn Allen: But if you’re going to be an entrepreneur, really your time is best spent learning about what it is you want to do specifically and paying for that knowledge whether it’s a coach or a mentor. You really want to take that time and crush it down as much as you can, right?
Shawn Allen: So, what I learned in a year with a coach took me four or five years to learn on my own, right? So, when you can condense that information, you are so much further ahead, right?
Shawn Allen: Can you imagine if you did one or two years with someone, well you can imagine obviously, but if you did one or two years and that translated to eight years of real world education, look how much further ahead you are from someone else, right?
Stefan Aarnio: Right.
Shawn Allen: I think that’s the school of hard knocks is something but when you can get someone to show you through that, it’s so much easier.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah. It was interesting, you were mentioning before we started this show, you missed the Capital Program in the week and we do the 100K Challenge Capital Raising.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: And like I said, Shawn, like, “Oh man I would have won, I would have taken home all the money.” We have some prize money for people who are the best capital raisers.
Stefan Aarnio: I was handing out the binders. We handed out the binders out to everybody, the capital raising pitch binder and I said to everybody, “This binder comes from a billionaire, his name is Bill Bartmann.”
Stefan Aarnio: And when I was 22, Shawn, I spent $10,000. I was making 10 grand a year, and I spent $10,000, my entire year’s salary, no earnings, to go Palm Springs and be in a classroom with Bill for five days.
Stefan Aarnio: There was 200 people in the classroom and we learned a business plan, loan proposal, we learned about the debt buying industry, that was his industry.
Stefan Aarnio: It’s amazing because here I am at 32, 10 years later and that capital raising skill that I learned from Bill, the billionaire, has now translated into a private equity job where I learned to sell, translate it into raising capital, becoming successful at flipping homes, translated into training, translates into everything else.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: What do you think about that? If you can go and train with someone who’s a billionaire, would you do it? Would it be worth it to spend your whole income to go spend a week with a billionaire?
Shawn Allen: Absolutely. You want to see success, right? So if you can shadow someone who, and again, if they’re doing exactly what it is you want to do, if they’re a master at flipping homes and that’s what you want to do, that’s who you want to hang around, right?
Shawn Allen: What you were saying before, school doesn’t teach you how to raise money. School doesn’t teach you how to do sales, right?
Shawn Allen: These are essential skills to get anywhere as an entrepreneur, right? You’re not going anywhere if you don’t have money and you’ve got to raise that because it’s a limited source for yourself but unlimited out there in the world with everyone else, right? You got to, it’s like when you-
Stefan Aarnio: It’s a gong. Shawn, got his first gong.
Shawn Allen: I got a gong.
Stefan Aarnio: Say it again, it’s a limited, say it again man, I got to hear it again.
Shawn Allen: It’s a limited amount of money that you have yourself but it’s an unlimited amount out in the world, right?
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah.
Shawn Allen: You’ve got to accumulate that money from somewhere and from other people to move your business forward.
Stefan Aarnio: Incredible, incredible. We just turned up the heat. We just turned up the heat here, Shawn.
Stefan Aarnio: Now, so you started out with one little flip and what’s your business doing today, Shawn? You got property management, tell us all about all the different things going on in the Shawn Allen universe.
Shawn Allen: Yeah. When I was working full-time, I was doing a few here and there and I thought I was pretty successful. I was doing maybe four or five per year.
Shawn Allen: Then when I went out on my own, I went full-time as a full-time real estate entrepreneur. I started doing 7, 8, I started working with you Stefan and then I got up to 20 last year. Currently as we speak, I’m doing 23 flips right now at the same time.
Stefan Aarnio: Whoa, 23 projects.
Shawn Allen: 23 projects, yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: Holy crap, that’s a lot of construction bro.
Shawn Allen: We’ll have approximately 30 flips done this year by the end of the year.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow.
Shawn Allen: We also just closed on a-
Stefan Aarnio: I’m getting you the gong for 30 flips.
Shawn Allen: Multitude, multitude.
Stefan Aarnio: That’s a lot. Two gongs Shawn, bro, good for you.
Shawn Allen: Yeah. Then we just closed down a plot of land, we’re going to build 28 condo homes.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow, that’s hot. So Shawn, and then you got other things going. So you got rentals and you did some wholesaling.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: I remember you said to me I think last year, you were in Hathaway, you said you made 100 grand in a week wholesaling homes.
Shawn Allen: Yeah. Yeah, we do a bit of wholesaling. I don’t do a ton of it, but when the opportunity arises, we’ll certainly do it.
Stefan Aarnio: Shawn Allen, the real deal in Ontario. People always say to me, “I can’t flip houses in Ontario. I can’t do it. It’s too hard.” What do you say to those people?
Shawn Allen: You can do it anywhere. The opportunities are there if you find it, if you look for it. It’s like you said to me many times, you can find it and it’s there but most people aren’t looking properly, right?
Stefan Aarnio: Right. So here’s what I want to hear, Shawn. So you and I we haven’t coached for a while.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: But I helped you expand from that six to seven a year, now you about 30 a year, which is a great pipeline.
Stefan Aarnio: What is the difference between a guy who is doing six or seven, because I notice I coach people all the time across Canada, I’ve got three coaches working for me now, big portfolio students.
Stefan Aarnio: People on their own cap out at about six deals. They just can’t do more than six on their own, six flips a year and now you’re doing 30.
Stefan Aarnio: What’s the difference between you now at 30 deals a year, which is a lot of buying, fixing and selling, that’s a multimillion dollar enterprise, versus someone who’s doing six flips. Tell us about the difference?
Shawn Allen: Well the difference is I think there is two different main differences. One is your network. To be able to scale to that volume you need to have a network of people and that consists of lenders that are going to lend to you, investors that are going to give you … but it’s also a network of people that are bringing you the deals, right?
Shawn Allen: So yes you can find a lot of them, or quite honestly a lot of them just fall into my lap from people that are in my network.
Stefan Aarnio: That’s hot man. I love that. I always say to people it’s networking, marketing and negotiating. You got to be a master of two.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: It’s funny because I don’t really like to poke around at homes but my goal is I’m buying 50 doors is this one neighborhood right now over the next three years or so.
Stefan Aarnio: So I just want 50 houses in this one neighborhood and I ended up calling a guy off Facebook. He just built a nine-unit apartment building. I called him I said, “Hey, congratulations. It looks great.” He said, “Hey, do you want to see it?” I said, “Sure.”
Stefan Aarnio: So we get in the car, we go look at this nine-unit apartment building, beautiful building, and he says, “Hey man, my friend’s got some stuff that he’s selling in the neighborhood, do you want to buy it?”
Stefan Aarnio: So we go look at two listings. Then he says, “Hey my buddy has got the house next door, do you want to buy that too?” So now we’re into the private deals.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: Then he says, “Hey, I got another private deal over here you could buy.” It’s just from knowing people and then last week he said, “Hey, I got these two more private deals for you. Hey, let’s go bid on this.” It’s amazing. It’s all relationships.
Stefan Aarnio: So how does somebody go, Shawn, from being Joe Blow to having all these relationships and getting into the private inventory?
Shawn Allen: Yeah. Well I think number one, you have to be able to close, right? So if you say that you can close and someone brings you a deal, that’s number one.
Shawn Allen: That builds the trust factor and then people talk, right? So someone brings you a deal, you’re closed, you’re known as the closer and other people can’t, right? So that quickly spreads and when people have deals they’re going to come to you because they know your reputation.
Shawn Allen: So I think just consistency and getting yourself out there. I do a lot of networking. I run a real estate investment club in London as well.
Shawn Allen: So there’s a number of different things and people just see what you’re doing and you’re putting yourself out there doing deals and they quickly know that you’re the guy to go to.
Stefan Aarnio: So Shawn, why would you want to start a club out of all things, real estate club? That’s something some people do in Canada and the US. In the US they call it real estate investment associations. Why would you start a club?
Shawn Allen: It’s about being with people with like-minded interests, right? I think there’s very few, in the general population, there’s very few people that actually invest in real estate. There’s even a smaller amount that do flips and wholesales and stuff like that.
Shawn Allen: So, if you can surround yourself with people that are positive about it, because let’s face it, there’s lots of people that say like you said, “Oh, it can’t be done. You can’t do that. It’s illegal.” I’ve heard that lots of times. “You can’t take money from people to invest in your properties.”
Shawn Allen: There’s so many misconceptions and so much ignorance it’s really nice to get in a room with a bunch of people all doing the same thing and all cheering you on. And it’s a great place to mingle with people and basically just set up deals and partnerships.
Stefan Aarnio: I love what you said there. It’s illegal.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: You can’t do that. You can’t do it. I love how people always say it’s illegal if they don’t know about it.
Shawn Allen: That’s right, yeah. If they can’t do it it’s illegal.
Stefan Aarnio: Right exactly and I always think it’s funny people think making money is illegal for some reason. Always making money must be illegal.
Shawn Allen: Sure, or immoral.
Stefan Aarnio: Immoral, yeah.
Shawn Allen: Yes.
Stefan Aarnio: So question for you, now, in my office we got this beautiful girl named Tara and she sometimes is in my posts and stuff. She’s a great girl, love her, she’s my assistant.
Shawn Allen: Tara is great, yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, you know Tara. She went on a date with a guy and he was a lawyer and I guess he found out who I was or who she worked for and he said, “Oh, I don’t like that. You’re taking advantage of people. Buying homes from people is taking advantage of them. It’s hurting them. It’s so bad.” Mr. Lawyer over here preys on nothing but problems all day that’s his money.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: Suddenly flipping houses and buying messed up houses from messed up people is illegal, immoral, unethical. Let’s speak to that a bit, Shawn. What do you think about guys who say, “Oh, it’s so wrong to be buying houses under market value?”
Shawn Allen: Yeah, absolutely. I get that a lot as well. Here’s the thing. There’s lots of different people with lots of different issues in the world and they may not … that might be something that’s ordinarily shown but we’re there to solve problems.
Shawn Allen: If someone has an issue, they don’t want to take it to market for whatever reason, it could be embarrassment, it could be because of major problems, it could be because of money issues, whatever it is, there is a number of different problems that you can’t really understand unless you’re that person.
Shawn Allen: If we’re there and able to solve their issue, give them exactly what they want so that they can be happy and move on, there’s definitely nothing immoral about that. In fact, I think it’s a great service to people.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, exactly. Well a lot of these homes just aren’t really sellable on their own.
Shawn Allen: Not at all.
Stefan Aarnio: I think it’s interesting in Winnipeg one of my students, I don’t know if I should say his name, I won’t say his name, but young guy, 21 years old, so successful with one flyer, he’s given out this one flyer, and was so successful with it he did 42 wholesales in a year in Winnipeg.
Shawn Allen: Wow.
Stefan Aarnio: And he got on the news, CTV News, Manitoba Securities came after him, all this bullshit. It just … He was so successful that peoples started attacking him.
Stefan Aarnio: It’s interesting because the realtors, the real estate people, the brokers, people with licenses, they started attacking home flippers and it went in the news. “We’re attacking home flippers,” and they said, “Home flippers are buying too low and they’re taking advantage of people.’
Stefan Aarnio: I said, “Well what happens when a realtor oversells a property and sells it too high to some bum that can’t sell his house, now he’s stuck.” So we’re going to all say, “Oh they’re buying too low but selling too high.”
Stefan Aarnio: Is there such a thing as a consent? Is there such a thing as anything wrong when someone’s consensual and they’re buying or they’re selling. We’re all adults here, right?
Shawn Allen: Absolutely. I think if you look at it the other way too, I got into this conversation where if we weren’t around to do this type of work, can you imagine the number of houses that would be in such disrepair that the neighbors hate it, the property values go down around it?
Shawn Allen: These houses if it wasn’t for people like us that are flipping them, would just disintegrate, right?
Stefan Aarnio: Right. I always say it’s like a fish tank. You go to the fish tank and there’s the gold fish and there’s some other types of fish, tropical fish, and at the bottom there’s this sucker fish that eats garbage.
Shawn Allen: Yes.
Stefan Aarnio: Eating all the garbage. That’s what … we’re the garbage man of houses.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: We go around, we clean up the houses, we fix them up, we beautify them and it’s funny because the city even they’re attacking home flippers here in Winnipeg. Attacking them because I guess they want their permit money and permits …
Stefan Aarnio: We both know that when you start pulling a million permits … I got a deal over here I’m doing, it was $100,000 budget, we go the city involved it went to 160,000, now it’s at $209,000. The city just kept adding fire proofing and fire proofing, windows, wired glass, more windows, more balconies, third floor balcony, second HRV, third HRV. Then take the third HRV out. Can’t have it upfront. It just went stupid.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: The city, I think, should be bringing home flippers and developers in on a red carpet but instead they treat us badly. Why do you think the city doesn’t treat home flippers so good as they should?
Shawn Allen: Well, I think exactly and you said it. If they can’t take money from something then it’s not in their interests, right? I think, back to what you were saying before, if you can solve people’s problems or solve anyone’s problems, then you make money from that, right?
Shawn Allen: Because it’s one of those things where the more you can solve someone’s problems, the more help you can give, the more valuable you are.
Stefan Aarnio: Man, we’re just taking it up another notch, Shawn Allen. So, the bigger problem you solve, the more problems you solve, the more money you make, is that what you’re saying?
Shawn Allen: Exactly, 100%.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. Shawn now, with success, you had a time where, I guess you were always a successful guy corporately and stuff, but then you got into the entrepreneurial world. Has success for you been more about talent or straight up hard work?
Shawn Allen: I think it’s a combination of both. I don’t really consider myself an overly talented guy. I just think that I’ve put the effort into it and a lot of people stop, right? They stop when it gets hard.
Shawn Allen: I’m a little bit hardheaded maybe when it comes to that and you want to keep to pushing through it. When the going gets tough most people stop and very few will continue and the people that continue are the successful ones.
Stefan Aarnio: Why do you think people stop, Shawn? I remember I was coaching you and even halfway through your coaching you were in the pit of despair, I call it, six months in, depressed, sad, “Oh my God, what am I doing?” I don’t know if you remember that. Maybe you blocked out your memory. Why do people want to stop at that six-month mark?
Shawn Allen: I don’t think that was just at that time. I think that might happen weekly with me but …
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah man, I’m hearing you, I’m counseling you weekly.
Shawn Allen: I think it’s just part of the entrepreneurial challenge, right? There’s ups and downs. Even in the daily cycle, you’ve got, in the morning you might be pumped up, “I got this deal, I’m going to do this.” And in the afternoon it’s like, “Oh my God I’m going to go bankrupt, what the hell is going on,” right?
Shawn Allen: So that’s part of fighting through it. I think you just have to realize that that’s the life, right? Entrepreneurship isn’t easy and it’s not for everybody and that’s why people find it so difficult to leave their jobs.
Stefan Aarnio: Right, right, it’s not for pussies, and that’s why we respect the grind over here. So Shawn, now let me ask you this, today I would say you are a pretty successful real estate entrepreneur, probably top 1% in what you’re doing.
Shawn Allen: Thank you.
Stefan Aarnio: Now, did you have to change for success or did success change you?
Shawn Allen: I don’t think I’ve changed personally but it certainly gives you a different perspective in life. I’ve changed in the fact that I want to pursue more. I want to pursue better things. I want to be a better person.
Shawn Allen: But I don’t think … Success really amplifies what you were before, right, and so does failure. So you’re always the same person but if you got more money, maybe your personality is a little bit more amplified but yeah, I don’t think it really changed but it’s really about hard work.
Stefan Aarnio: Right exactly.
Stefan Aarnio: Let me ask you this, Shawn, what’s more important, is it having a great brand these days or having a great business?
Shawn Allen: Brand is key. Brand is key, right? Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: Let’s talk about brand. Tell me about having a great brand. What’s it about?
Shawn Allen: Well, it’s about … So your brand is really who you are and how people see you, right? So, they want to identify with who that person is and what that brand is.
Shawn Allen: So, if you’re talking about Shawn Allen, usually an understanding is well he’s a real estate flipper, right? That’s key to what I do.
Stefan Aarnio: Cool, cool. Now, Shawn, this is one of my favorite questions I ask almost everybody on the show. Everybody I meet who’s successful at something has an obsession.
Stefan Aarnio: What is Shawn Allen’s obsession? The thing you think about in the morning, the thing you think about at night, you’re always thinking about this one thing?
Shawn Allen: Good question. I want to … that’s a really difficult question for me because I think I’m obsessed about doing more. I want to do bigger. I want to do more. I want it 10X, I want it 20X. And so I’m constantly trying to think how I can do that.
Shawn Allen: I’m more sort of the high level thinking of this is what I want to do and not so much putting that into action. So, it’s a … I think that’s constantly what’s really in my mind is how do I get bigger and how do I get better?
Stefan Aarnio: How do you scale up?
Shawn Allen: Massively.
Stefan Aarnio: Awesome. So Shawn, in your company right now, you’re scaling up all these projects, you probably got a couple of people working for you now, do you have some employees?
Shawn Allen: Well I’ve had some good employees. We’ve gone up and down in that but we do have a lot of different contractors working for us, I would say, that aren’t really under us but that we employee per project.
Stefan Aarnio: Awesome. Hey you know I don’t know if we invented this after coaching you, but in the system you got to check out the Top Sheets. We got a really nice management system in there called Top Sheets. You should go in there, you probably still have it.
Shawn Allen: Nice, awesome.
Stefan Aarnio: All the checklists, the acquisition checklist, the production checklist, the back office and then the rebuild. You should start using that system, it’s a new system.
Shawn Allen: Absolutely.
Stefan Aarnio: It’s really hot man. It takes all the thinking out of it and you will never forget anything now.
Shawn Allen: I’m on it.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, go check that out, make a note of that. Now let me ask you this Shawn, what’s a moment where you thought you were going to fail and this whole entrepreneurial thing would stop?
Shawn Allen: Yeah, there’s been a few times I guess especially in the early stages where, like I was talking about before, you run out of money, right? You kind of you’re struggling, you’re upside down, so to speak, and you really need to generate some cash.
Shawn Allen: There’s been a few times like that especially in the early days where I just didn’t think I had the money to move forward let alone pay some bills, right?
Shawn Allen: So, those are just things you got to fight through, and I knew it was coming but it’s difficult at the time and when you look back at it, you realize all the mistakes that you made.
Shawn Allen: Like I said before, trying to do all these buy and holds before making money flipping, you run out of cash quick and that’s a scary thing, right? Not having money at times is really stressful.
Stefan Aarnio: Absolutely. It makes … that’s why divorces happen.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: It’s usually money or sex. Not get any money, not get any sex, and sex could be changed for money and money could be changed for sex. That’s how people usually fall apart.
Stefan Aarnio: Now, let me ask you this, Shawn, talking about failure, what do you think causes most people to fail?
Shawn Allen: Lack of persistence. Like I said before, when the going gets tough most people will fault and they’ll revert back to their old ways whether that’s in getting a full-time job, or going back to what they’ve always known. But the people that are successful they persist and they go through.
Stefan Aarnio: I love that. You go to respect the grind. Now, Shawn, when you were switching from corporate to entrepreneur, did other people doubt you and say, “It’s never going to work.”
Shawn Allen: Absolutely. It’s constant and I still see it, right? People tell you that, “You can’t, again, you can’t make money in real estate, you can’t do this, you can’t do that.
Shawn Allen: Why are you leaving a cushy job with a pension and benefits and full-time pay? People are killing to get into this company and work here and you want to leave?” That’s the standard mentality for most people, right?
Shawn Allen: I understand it because that’s what they know, right? That’s why very few people are entrepreneurs and even fewer are successful.
Stefan Aarnio: Right. Right, I hear you. Now, if you can go back to the beginning, Shawn, and give yourself a piece of advice. Now let’s just say you’re Shawn Allen today, you’re not the youngest guy in the world. You’re going back in time to meet 16 year old Shawn.
Shawn Allen: Hey, hey.
Stefan Aarnio: Now hey man, you look great though, you look great. 16 year old Shawn Allen, going back in time in the time machine, what would you say to yourself at 16, give yourself a piece of advice.
Shawn Allen: Don’t blow your money partying and having a good time. Take all that money and invest it in real estate and just keep pouring it in there until, for the next 10, 20 years, until you are just set and pretty and then you can enjoy yourself.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, well it’s amazing. When you were 16 I’m sure real estate was like two bucks in Canada.
Shawn Allen: Yeah, not quite but close.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, the building I’m sitting in here is probably about half a million dollars today and about 15 years ago it was probably less than 50 grand.
Shawn Allen: Right, it’s amazing how that increases.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, as I bought it up probably having some needles and crack heads in it, now it’s hip.
Stefan Aarnio: Let me ask you this, Shawn, three books that have changed your life. Top three books. Everybody on this show, readers are leaders, top three for you.
Shawn Allen: I really enjoyed Think and Grow Rich. Rich Dad Poor Dad, and one that I really enjoyed recently is 10X.
Stefan Aarnio: 10X by Grant Cardone. What does 10X mean for you?
Shawn Allen: To me it’s about, and that’s what I was talking about earlier, it’s thinking bigger. The mentality is, really for me, it’s a struggle, right? Because you don’t want to think too, too big because it seems such an audacious goal but in order to actually build, you need to really think big because smaller chunks just don’t motivate you.
Stefan Aarnio: Well it’s interesting that you say that about thinking bigger. I think that’s one of the biggest things with coaching, is a lot of people …
Stefan Aarnio: There’s an interesting thing we did with our coaching students. We surveyed them and said, “What do you want?” Everybody in the basic customer survey said, “I want to make 10 grand in 90 days.”
Shawn Allen: All right.
Stefan Aarnio: Which is 3,333 a month, which is 40 grand a year, which is the average person money. So everyone aspires to be average, right? That’s the general population.
Stefan Aarnio: So to think big, put a zero on it. Instead of making 40 grand how about 400 grand?
Shawn Allen: Absolutely.
Stefan Aarnio: Instead of 400 grand, how about four million? What’s it going to take to make forty million, right? Add a zero every time, you got to do something different. What do you think about thinking like that where you just add a zero and see what happens?
Shawn Allen: Well actually, I remember you asking me that question when we first started coaching as well. I felt, honestly, a little embarrassed and a little silly saying I want to make a million dollars a year because at the time that’s not what I was doing.
Shawn Allen: It was a huge goal. But I think that’s what you have to do, right, because if you say I just want to make 40 grand a year, well really is that motivating, is that going to pump you up, is that going to get you out of bed in the morning to make an extra 40 grand a year? 40 grand now is nothing, right?
Stefan Aarnio: Right.
Shawn Allen: But a million dollars a year, 10 million dollars a year, that’s motivating.
Stefan Aarnio: Right, it doesn’t turn you on. Something that’s interesting about that thinking process is with myself, Shawn, I was doing all these seminars. I was planning to do a big seminar tour this year, and I went down to the States actually to 10X Growth Con, Grant Cardone, Tai Lopez, all the biggest dudes.
Stefan Aarnio: I love going to America and I recommend to everybody listening to the show, Canadian, American, we got people all over the world, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Africa, Asia, all over the place listening to this show.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: I recommend to everybody get on a plane and go down to LA, go to New York, go to the hottest, craziest conferences, that’s the best in the world because a really interesting thing happened.
Stefan Aarnio: You talk about 10X. I went to 10X Growth Con, flew down there, and I watched Grant Cardone fill a room with 8,000 people. Now I’m from Canada, dude and when we do our real estate club, Shawn at your real estate club how many people show up to that, like 20, 30, 40?
Shawn Allen: Yeah, up to 60 so far, yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: Okay, so 60 is the biggest in Canada, Shawn just left. 8,000 motherfucking people in this stadium at the Mandalay Bay.
Shawn Allen: Insane.
Stefan Aarnio: Now, I’m watching … Oh bro it was insane. Everybody was top notch wearing suits and dressed so well.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: Now I’m looking at this group and I go Grant filled this room with 8,000 people not by flying out to the Marriott and putting on a little teaser seminar.
Shawn Allen: Right.
Stefan Aarnio: He did it with an internet show. And then I saw Tai Lopez come up on stage, again, doing an internet show. Then they had Lewis Howes, again, doing an internet show. They had [Oneck Seagull 00:37:15], they had Russell Brunson. Every single guy, none of them was going out to the Marriott and doing a seminar.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: Then as soon as I saw that I said I’m canceling all my seminars and I’m going on the internet 100% hardcore, because I went to America, saw the guys doing it 10X bigger, changed the business model, changed everything because we live in a new age.
Stefan Aarnio: It’s like you were saying about the MBA. It’s cool, it has a place but in today’s world where everyone has to be an entrepreneur, you got to change the game, you got to transform.
Stefan Aarnio: What’s one way that you transform, Shawn, where you had to do something totally different, change the game, and had to burn the boats and give up what you were doing before besides quitting the job?
Shawn Allen: Yeah. Well you know what? I’m an introvert by nature, so it was very difficult for me at the start to go out and ask for money, go ask for people to invest in me and my business.
Shawn Allen: So I think the biggest difficulty for me was to do that and I’ve gone all in on that where I’ve started this club and I’ve raised this money and I’ve gone in front of all these people, I’m doing speaking engagements and I’m doing podcasts with you and I’m on a TV show coming up, all these different things.
Shawn Allen: I think that’s, for me, that’s a scary thing being an introvert and not really enjoying that sort of stuff and to put myself out there. I think that, for me, that’s a burning the boat moment.
Stefan Aarnio: That’s good. Well I was pushing you had to start that club.
Shawn Allen: You were.
Stefan Aarnio: I was like, you got to start ONREI, that’s the club.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: Ontario Real Estate Investors. I was saying, “You got to start, you got to start.” I remember you were like, “Oh, I don’t want to do it. I want to do it later. I want to cancel it. I want to push it back.” I said to you, “Don’t push it back. Just launch it, stop the complaining.”
Stefan Aarnio: Now Shawn what, couple of final questions here, what is the one thing that young people need to succeed these days? You got some young kids, young people coming up, let’s say before 18, before 20, what’s some things young people need right now to be a success?
Shawn Allen: Yeah, and I think you’re seeing that with the younger kids that are just crashing it making money on the internet, right? It’s all about, these days, it’s being on social media. Your money is made by making your brand like you were talking about and your brand’s made right now in social media, people identify with you. I think that’s the number one thing.
Shawn Allen: Then number two is you’ve got to be able to sell yourself whether it’s selling a product at the same time but just selling yourself and being confident and just getting yourself out there is huge.
Stefan Aarnio: Fantastic. I love that man. It’s crazy how the world is. It’s changed so much. I did an event in Calgary and there was 43 people and it cost me 75,000 to get 43 people in the room.
Shawn Allen: Wow.
Stefan Aarnio: A guy came up to me and said, “You are in a hotel basement and I’ve been standing in the foot of the basement, I think you’re a scam.”
Stefan Aarnio: Then the same week or same week within seven days, someone messaged me, they called me and they said, “Stefan I watch you on YouTube every day, you’re for real.”
Stefan Aarnio: We live in a world now where the guy or the customer is in bed eating pizza, naked, covered in pizza watching Netflix, got his phone out, and his girlfriend is naked in bed, she’s on her phone too.
Shawn Allen: Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: That’s the reality of the consumer. We’re not going out to things anymore, we’re on our computers and our reality is YouTube, Facebook, Instagram.
Shawn Allen: For sure.
Stefan Aarnio: All those things.
Shawn Allen: Well, in ideal the person who thinks it’s a scam is the person who’s not going to do the work, right?
Stefan Aarnio: Boom, that’s the two gong right there man. The people who think it’s a scam aren’t going to do the work. What do you think holds that guy back, is it fear Shawn?
Shawn Allen: Absolutely, 100% and you know he’s afraid of being successful and he doesn’t like other people being successful so he’s going to wallow in his own misery and that just makes him think that everything is a scam.
Stefan Aarnio: Boom, three gong right there. Damn it Shawn, I got to have you closer to me man. You got to call people out on their stuff. Shawn is there, if people want to get in touch with you how can they get in touch with Shawn Allen real estate maestro?
Shawn Allen: Yeah, I’m on Instagram and Facebook just simply Shawn Allen. And we’re also for the Ontario Real Estate Investor Association, it’s Onrei.com. O-N-R-E-I. Com. That’s for London, Ontario and yeah, you can hook up with me any one of those ways.
Stefan Aarnio: That’s hot man. Shawn, thanks so much for being on the show. You are money my man, respect the grind.
Shawn Allen: Thanks definitely appreciate that.
Stefan Aarnio: Hey, it’s Stefan Aarnio here. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of my podcast, Respect the Grind. If you love this episode, I want you to check out my book The 10 Commandments of Negotiation
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