#140: Strategic Leaders Grow Bigger, Stronger, Faster

Welcome to The Accelerated Investor Podcast with Josh Cantwell, if you love entrepreneurship and investing in real estate then you are in the right place. Josh is the CEO of Freeland Ventures Real Estate Private Equity and has personally invested in well over 500 properties all across the country. He’s also made hundreds of private lender loans and owns over 1,000 units of apartments. Josh is an expert at raising private money for deals and he prides himself on never having had a boss in his entire adult life. Josh and his team also mentor investors and entrepreneurs from all over the world. He doesn’t dream about doing deals, he actually does them and so do his listeners and students. Now sit back, listen, learn, and accelerate your business, your life, and your investing with The Accelerated Investor Podcast.

Josh: So, hey, guys, welcome back to Accelerated Investor. I’m so excited to be with you today. Today, I have a special guest. His name is Alex Charfen, and I’m about to interview him for the podcast. And I think you’re really going to love this interview. Alex is a real estate entrepreneur, a real estate investor who’s been in real estate investing, since he was 21 years old. However, he also started and sold his very first business when he was 16. He then dropped out of college and sold another venture when he was 21 years old. He also went bankrupt in 2007 and within 12 months became a liquid millionaire, twelve months after filing for bankruptcy.

Josh: He also, after the real estate market collapsed that forced him into bankruptcy, his wife and Alex turned their knowledge of real estate into what’s called the Certified Distressed Property Expert Designation. The CDPE which is still widely known as the most adopted real estate designation in the real estate investing industry. Today, Alex mentors and coaches real estate entrepreneurs as well as entrepreneurs from other niches, including yoga practitioners and e-commerce investors and business owners. And today in this interview, we’re going to talk about Alex’s process for helping you go from busy real estate investor, busy real estate entrepreneur, busy entrepreneur to being able to be a CEO with a passenger seat to watch and observe your business grow.

Josh: We’re going to talk about concept number one, how you’re not the unicorn that you think you are. Concept number two, doing a time study. Concept number three, building and creating your core team. And concept number four, building your leadership team so that you can look at your business outside and above your business. We’ll also talk about things like self-care and how self-care is a gateway drug to success and how to make important decisions in the middle of COVID-19. I think you’re absolutely going to love this interview with Accelerated Investor and Alex Charfen. Take a listen.

Josh: So, Alex, so excited to have you on Accelerated Investor. Thank you so much for joining me.

Alex: Thanks for having me. Josh, I’m super excited about being here.

Josh: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Alex. As we kind of jump in and think about what’s going on today with our economy, obviously Coronavirus, COVID is very real, but it’s also, as many people think, it’s very politically charged right now. And that is, of course, impacting how business owners and entrepreneurs are pivoting and building their businesses in today’s economy. So I want to ask you two main questions. I guess the first question is for you personally. Tell me, Alex, what is something that you’re working on right now that is challenging? That’s exciting. Even with COVID and all this political stuff going on. What are you working on today that you’re most excited about?

Alex: You know, I think that’s probably internally in our company, Josh. So we started the business that we have now in 2017. We like shut down one information products company and started another one to make a clean break for two reasons. One. When you’ve owned a business for 10 years, there’s a lot of stuff that happened in that business. We kind of wanted to leave it behind and start over. But really, just as importantly, we wanted to prove that our systems. We wanted to show how our system would work if we use them to grow and scale a business. And so from July 2017 till now, we’ve gone from zero revenue to about two point to two point three million and recurring revenue. COVID actually knock this down about 50 percent. We built it back up.

Alex:So we went down about half of that came back to it. So now we’re right back at that. And we’re in the place where as we approach three million a year, we’re taking our leadership team and breaking out our company departments. And when you, as a CEO in our systems, the way we coach people, when you break out into departments as the CEO, you actually move into a passenger seat. Let me explain what that means. It’s internal language for us.

Alex: But the way that we show entrepreneurs how to grow a business is to assemble a team, assemble a leadership team, and then move into a passenger seat, which means you don’t run meetings, you don’t run the calendar, you don’t make all the decisions. You are the company’s coach and guide and leader. But you no longer are in the front of the room for every time that there’s a meeting or anything else. And so I’m now firmly in that passenger seat position. And here’s what’s interesting to us.

Josh: You’re making me smile, this passenger stuff, because I’m there to and kind of morphing into it. I’m not totally there. But this whole concept is like, that’s when I was getting ready for this interview. I’m like, all right, let’s talk about that, because everyone wants to know how to be the CEO and build a business, but then have the leadership team that really can run it. And you can be outside and above your business, to look down at ideas and strategies that can help but not be at the front of the room. I’ve been at the front of the room for a long time brother.

Alex: Well, you know what, Josh, most entrepreneurs have been in the front room for way too long. In fact, when you look at it, running a meeting, that’s a tactical, that’s tactical, it’s completely tactical, not strategic at all. Unless there’s something you’re trying to accomplish in the meeting that’s very specific. So like your weekly meetings, your monthly meetings, your quarterly’s, your annual.

Alex: All of those are run by somebody else when you’re in our system. And here’s what’s interesting, Josh. So as we work with entrepreneurs and they move into the passenger seat, the noise in their lives goes down by like, you know, exponentially. It’s like almost a vacuum of energy is created. And one of the specific areas we coach people on is as you move into the passenger seat, you’re still valid, you’re still worthy, you’re still OK. We have members actually come to us and they’re like, dude, everybody in my business has needed me for nine years. It’s been two days and nobody’s asked for anything. I’m freaking out.

Alex: It’s interesting, as I approach this transition, I was like, I don’t think that’s going to happen to me. I think I’m going to be OK. I’m looking forward to this. I’m going to get to the passenger seat. Well, dude, as I transition into it, I’m going through all the emotions my members are. Like, there’s days where I get up and I’m like, nobody needs anything. What’s going on? So I have to remind myself Yeah. I have to remind myself, hey, this was the goal. This is how it works. So it’s been such an awesome experience to like to start over and go through the step by step that each of our members go through.

Alex: And what’s even more intense is now as I get in this passenger seat place, it’s creating massive empathy for our members because I’m like, whoa, this really does feel completely jarring and disconnecting and it feels like it feels insecure. But here’s what’s interesting. You know, I’ve worked with some of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet. I can qualify that, like, you know, Dave Lenegan from Remax, good friend of mine. And we did a ton of work together. Carlo Seline down in Mexico when I was younger, we worked a ton with his business.

Alex: You know, I’ve worked with people who kind of sit at the top of the food chain and they are in the passenger seat. They are firmly in a passenger seat. They really decide and run very little. If anything, there’s an environment around them that takes care of most of the decision making, most of the progress. So the way we work with entrepreneurs is to get you there really quick, like around three to 10 million dollars. And so this has been a really, really intense period for me.

Josh: Fantastic. When I talked with and interviewed Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank. He said, look, you’re building a business, a small business. If you get to five million. You can just muscle it. You can grind it out. You can just work extra hours. You can just talk with more customers. Sell more stuff. But you get the five million, which is interesting to you to hear you say three to 10, because that five fits right in that same path. Now, at five, you’ve got to be in a position to delegate to bringing a leadership team. Take things over. So that, again, as a CEO be slightly outside and slightly above your business. You can just kind of see what’s coming around the corner. What are these customers talking about?

Josh: I mean, the opportunity for business owners to actually have the free time to talk to customers, which you really don’t have when you’re just grinding it out, is amazing. So our real estate entrepreneurs that follow our podcasts and our membership. They’re all chomping at the bit like how do I build a big enough portfolio to do that? And so, Alex, I’d love for you to comment on. Put yourself in the position of a real estate entrepreneur today. Somebody that maybe already has. I know what you already are.

Josh: You already own a bunch of real estate. And if you’re at one hundred doors, maybe 500 doors, but you’re still getting up and grind the everyday work in those eight, 12, 16-hour days. And so based on your methodology and your systems, what are some things that you would specifically say to our real estate audience to say, how do you build the business and build your passive income to the point? And what do you do to bring in this leadership team so you can weave your way out of that passenger seat?

Alex: You know, Josh, what I see in the real estate investor world, like, very often more so than in a lot of other areas, you know, real estate investors is an expert-based business. Like I have expertise so I can go out and buy real estate and I can make money in real estate. The problem that I’ve seen in real estate is that most real estate investors think of themselves as unicorns. Now, let me explain what I mean. Here’s what I mean. You know, when you talk to a real estate investor, this is my experience. I’ll talk to somebody else. So tell me about your investment business. Well, I have 250 doors. This is how much cash I borrowed. And this is our flow and this is that. And I’ll say, how many people on your team are helping you? Well, Alex, you don’t understand.

Alex: Let me explain to you that my business is totally different than anything you’ve seen. And there’s no way I can get help for what I do, because what I do is uniquely special in this very miraculous way, never been created before on the human planet. And so I have to do everything. And, you know, Josh, we get this from most of the types of businesses we work with. We hear that from coaches. We hear that from information products people. We heard that certainly from practitioners. But with real estate investors, there’s like an edge to it. It’s like, no, no, no, you don’t understand. You know? And so we’ve helped a ton of real estate investors go from the person driving the business to the person managing the money.

Alex: Which is what, let’s get real, whether it’s real estate investing or entrepreneurship. A hundred percent of us get into this in some way to create freedom. And then the second we’re in, we wrap it around ourselves. So it’s like a prison and we can’t get out. You know, entrepreneurship is the only place in the world I know of that you, like, give up your 9:00 to 5:00 for freedom so you can work nine to 10 a.m. to p.m. seven days a week. And so the first switch is a mindset switch. Listen, you’re not a unicorn. And I know that sounds kind of derogatory, but it’s not meant that way. In fact, when we do three times in a year, we have events with all of our members. And sometimes there’s somebody who hasn’t been in our program for a while and they’ll do something. Like they’ll say, Alex, I can’t delegate this.

Alex: And as soon as someone says that you see everybody else around, oh get your popcorn. Because it’s as you know, with all the love that we can we explain. The second you say someone else can’t do this. It’s the biggest limitation you have in your business. And in my experience with real estate investors, that is the biggest issue, is that they won’t let go. They won’t delegate. And here’s the big thing, Josh. You know, one of the earliest things you have to do as an entrepreneur, right, when you’re in, like hitting that million-dollar place is build systems and process around what you do well. So when a real estate investor tells me they can’t do it, I always laugh about it because I’m like, oh, really?

Alex: Because I’ve done this for a few years. So there’s only a few steps in this. You’re seeking properties, you’re evaluating properties, you’re looking at the investment, you’re putting together deals and then you’re closing the deals. Dude, I just spelled out your process. So I think there’s something there we can delegate. And so then we look at the process and we say, what are the steps in this process that have the least pressure, that are the least critical? You know, oftentimes evaluating properties is not that critical. Oftentimes, making offers really not critical like that is a tactical step. You can do it a hundred times a day with an assistant. And so we break down and we say, first, let’s document the process. Now let’s figure out where you get help. And Josh, we have a second tool that we use, and this is one that we use with our members.

Alex: This is one that we use everywhere. It’s simple. I mean, I know this is going to sound overly simplified, but we use a time study. It doesn’t matter what type of member we get, what type of business they’re in. For two weeks, we have them carry around sheets of paper where every 15 minutes they write down exactly what they’re doing. Here’s what happens in those two weeks. By the way, I know that as soon as I say this, you go, oh, come on. Two weeks? Paper? I hate paper. I can’t do anything for two weeks. Like, come on. That sounds like a punishment.

Alex: Everybody has the same reaction. But here’s what happens. By the third day of a time study, you are already more efficient than you were when you started. By the fifth day, you’re thinking, how the heck did I used to do all this lame stuff. At the end of two weeks, here’s what we have. Often for the first time in your life, you will actually have data as to where you’re spending your time. And let me tell you why that’s so important. Where you spend your time is how your business is going to grow if you’re an entrepreneur. Period. End of story, full stop. Your time grows the business. And as the business grows, we have to upgrade strategically where you use your time.

Alex:So we do a two week time study. At the end, we have entrepreneurs label each line item is either S, which means strategic. I have to do this right now or T tactical. Somebody else can do it. Here’s what we find in a hundred percent of cases. Like I want to. I want everyone to understand this. We have never had a time study where somebody does it and goes, I can’t delegate anything. Never, never happened under present at the time. What happens is this. We end up with some mix of tactical and strategic. And we take this to tactical. We build it into a job description. And that’s exactly what somebody comes in and does. And here’s what we know will happen, because we’ve done the data.

Alex: We’ve looked at the data. As soon as they start doing that, you get all that time back. And if you’re in real estate investment and entrepreneur, time is money. If you can go out and do the thing that you need to do and do more of it while somebody else supports the other things, that’s how we increase the growth of your company. And that’s how we get you into a place where you’re not doing everything. And the way we did this with our members is every 90 days, the first two weeks of every quarter, you do a two-week time study. You spend that quarter transferring all the stuff away. Getting more strategic. And then you do it again.

Alex: And again, one hundred percent of the time, regardless of what stage of growth somebody is in, when they redo the time study, we offload a whole bunch more stuff. So what that does is we now have a closed loop where we can evaluate where you’re spending your time. First, we we quantify where you’re spending your time. We analyze, then we look at it. We prioritize by saying strategic or tactical. And then we look at and say, let’s get the tactical off of here, because if we can make your time more strategic, your business will do better.

Josh: Yeah. Fantastic stuff. So some takeaways there, I love the fact that you said, first of all, we’re looking at the time study. But you used the word least amount of pressure. I have never heard somebody say that before. I thought that really stuck out to me the least amount of pressure. Take that stuff. That’s probably tactical work. Off load that in our own business. We’ve got one of our partners is one of our acquisition’s managers. He’s just looking at deals all the times we’ve successfully outsourced. Outsource that for me. I love raising capital. Right? I love managing the money. That’s what I spend most of my time. And I really enjoy working with investors, both active and passive, coaching the active investors, working with passive investors in our deals. It’s really, really exciting stuff.

Josh: We’ve gotten a lot of this stuff right that you’ve talked about, but I’m sure it’s a little bit scary for me to think like if I did this for two weeks, God, I’m sure there’s so many times, so many hours that I’m still wasting. Just could still take that time back to spend with my kids, spend with my wife. So what’s the ultimate goal, Alex? When you look at somebody and you work with an entrepreneur, whether it’s an e-commerce, real estate, that’s a practitioner, or a lot of those people that you work with. Are they taking time back to invest more time in their business?

Josh: Or are you finding people that are taking time back to sit outside of their business so they could spend more time with family doing things they’re passionate for outside of work with all the hundreds, thousands of people that you’ve worked with? Where do you find them taking that extra time? And the reason why I ask is because I want people to understand. If you’re strategic about where that extra time is going to go, you either have more time to put in your business or more time for fun. What do you find people doing with that time?

Alex: We really see a combination. But to be honest with you, one of the biggest categories we encourage is that we get time back for self-care. Here’s one of the biggest issues here is entrepreneurship. Is it entrepreneurs? You know, here’s an equation we share with our members. When you can lower the pressure in noise in your life, everything in your life actually gets easier. And that that sounds obvious like hey. Less stuff that’s causing stress. Everything gets easier. But here’s the problem in the entrepreneurial world today. If you look, and especially a lot of the thought leaders in entrepreneurship like Gary V. has done a time for entrepreneurship. I just wish he wasn’t so angry about it.

Alex:But the videos that he’s demonstrating that you have to be in this aggressive, highly charged cortisoled out kind of adrenal state. That doesn’t really make sense. We do not coach that way. What we what we talk about is self-care is a gateway drug to success. So if we can get some of the time back from your business, honestly, Josh, we have our members put that into EMDR therapy, into massage, into getting in shape, into getting a dietician or getting a cook out to their house so that they’re getting the right types of foods. You know, we don’t help people build small little businesses. We help people go from six figures to seven from seven to eight and help people go from eight to nine and beyond. And if you want to go on that journey, the most important thing is fortifying yourself, making sure you’re safe, making sure you’re protected, making sure that they’re systems and process and structure around you.

Alex: So, you know, I joked that I haven’t changed a light bulb or an air conditioning filter in my house for years. It’s not a joke, though. I would be really irritated if I had to change a light bulb, because as I’m changing light bulb, I’m thinking there’s 20 things I could be doing for my business. I could be calling one of our members. I could be looking at a marketing sheet. I don’t do those things. You know, I’ve offloaded anything that’s tactical so that I get up and I’m fully strategic. And then at the same time, I get to spend a ton of time with my kids, like yesterday afternoon in the middle of the afternoon. I had a block of time. We all went out to the pool and swam for a while. And we do that all the time.

Alex: And so, you know, I think there’s this misconception in the entrepreneurial world that being an entrepreneur is about pain and sacrifice and hurting yourself and staying up all night. And is there some of that? Absolutely. 100 percent. But I think we’ve crossed over this threshold where it looks like we’re trying to do those things rather than putting up with them and building systems to overcome them. And a lot of ways I see people like bragging about it. I got pulled another all nighter, did this other thing, did this. And I always think, do you have to? What is the diminishing return you’re actually getting from that?

Josh: Fantastic. Alex, you mentioned. So first of all, it’s the mindset of you’re not the unicorn. Yeah. All this stuff can be delegated. You mentioned another step of taking this time study of these two weeks identifying what’s tactical versus strategic, taking the stuff that’s tactical. Again, least amount of pressure, offloading that. The thing that you mentioned that I really want you to touch base on is this next step in your system is going to be to hire or bring in a leadership team, whether they come in as a partner or they come in as a W2 employee. But that is the key part of this, to allow the CEO to become and sit in the passenger seat. So what tactics and strategies are you working with your members to find and locate a leadership team? And what does that leadership team do?

Alex: Let’s take a step back, Josh, so first, I personally want you to hire your core team and here’s what that looks like. If you don’t have help right now, what I suggest in almost every case when we’re working with an entrepreneur is you need an assistant. Because here’s what happens to entrepreneurs. Do not fall into this trap. I’ll put this in real estate investor context. So here’s what will happen to a real estate investor. Like you’re doing a ton of business, ton of stuff going on and they go, man. I’m driving to all these properties. I’m going to hire somebody to drive the properties and take pictures. So they offload, like, one thing.

Alex: Then they’re doing all this work, doing all this stuff, and maybe they’re flipping properties. So, like, I’m going to hire one person who does the final inspection and puts my properties back on the market. And so then they have some help. But what happens is they’re not getting help for themselves. And what we will often do is entrepreneurs and I know this intimately. I did this in my twenties. I built a huge company, over 250 people, but it was 50 support people. I was 100 percent of the business. And if I didn’t show up every day, those 50 people didn’t know what to do. Not literally. But if I didn’t show up for two weeks, they sure wouldn’t have known what to do.

Josh: I was the same way. Me and my partner were here and all the other people on the one line underneath us.

Alex: Well, let me put it like this, Josh. I was here. And 50 people were here, you know. Org chart. I was monkey in the middle. It was like, oh, God, incoming, rerouting. Like, how do I make all this work? And it was the absolute worst thing I ever did. And so as I matured as a business owner, I got a lot more coaching, a lot more consulting. I read tons more. I read as much as I could. And here’s what I discovered, is that you offload one piece at a time. Oftentimes entrepreneurs are like, okay, I’m ready for the leadership team. I’m going to go hire three people.

Alex: No, no, no. That’s not how you do it. In fact, check this out. The strategy I just shared is how we show people how to build tens of millions of dollars company. You do a two-week time study. You bring on an assistant, offload all kinds of stuff to the assistant. Now, another three months later, you do another time study. Give the assistant even more. Now, you and the assistant are working like crazy and he or she says, hey, wait, I’m busy. Great. You have them do a time study, you do one at the same time, combine the two, bring on the third person, then you have three people. And now the two people that are working with you there, they’re working. You’re doing stuff you’re offloading to them. Three months later, they’re busy.

Alex: You do three-time studies. You say, what can we lose from all three of us? Bring somebody else on. And so we use data and analysis to hire every person on that core team, because here’s what I want. Everyone who’s listening to know is somebody can’t look at your business from the outside without analysis and tell you who you need. You have to look at the business from the inside and the specific needs of your business. Like, here’s what I can tell just from having talked to Josh for a few minutes. He and I invest completely differently in real estate. I’m going to need a certain type of help. He’s going to need a certain talk about Josh, you love raising money. I would rather not ever raise money.

Alex: I’m like the opposite. I don’t like to talk to the money people. Those conversations are like, they’re to me. They kind of feel the same. They don’t really feel like there’s there’s a lot of charge there. It doesn’t feel exciting for me. I can tell when I do real estate, I need you. I need to actually go out and find the person who’s like, I love making the deals and it’s so great when we get more money under management. Like, yes, I need you because it just doesn’t do it for me.

Alex: And so the way that builds your team, that first core team, is to just go through the process of time studies, evaluate what you’re doing. Look at your time and then bring in people over time who can support you. Then when it comes to a leadership team, as you build out the core team, one of the questions is where am I as the entrepreneur making too many decisions? There’s this concept. Decision making fatigue. It is real.

Alex: It is so real. And right now, with everything going on in the world with this Coronavirus and everything changed and everything kind of up in the air, decision making fatigue is at an all time high. Like, I will readily admit that there’s been days where I get up and buy like eleven o’clock. I’m like, holy crap, I don’t want another decision. I remember there was, it was either April or May when my wife came into my office at the end of the day and it was a rough day. We’ve got weird information. We had some members leave. We had we found out, like a lot of our members, businesses were closed. We had just had a terrible day. My wife came in and she’s like, what do you want for dinner? I wanted to cry to answer that question. No more questions.

Josh: Well, I’ve got a picture of that same time. I could imagine you making your decisions. And it would be like the same day for me, halfway across the country, made a thousand decisions that day. My wife took a picture of me or I have my head down and I got my face in my arm on the island of my kitchen. It’s a big island, six chairs. My wife walks in, I’ve got my head down, I’ve got my hand in my elbow. And she’s like, what’s wrong? I’m like, everything. You know, decision fatigue. Exactly what you’re talking about.

Josh: I probably made forty-eight hundred decisions that day. Yes. And I was like, oh my God. And it was just that was just I mean, I think every entrepreneur was making a zillion decisions that day. But the point is that was a unique, that was a unicorn moment in time. That was like mid-March, right? Yeah. When it was all happening. But you don’t want to be in that every single day as an entrepreneur when things are normal.

Alex: But you will be if you don’t fix it.

Josh: And many people are, they’re stuck in that process every day. Coronavirus or not.

Alex: That’s the key, Josh, is so when you start to build the leadership team, you know, the first question I always ask myself is, where am I making too many decisions? For me with every business I’ve ever built? It’s been in operations. So my executive assistant or my virtual assistant becomes an operator, then becomes an operations manager. And then typically for me, the next place where I’m making too many decisions is usually somewhere in the delivery of our business. So in the business I have now, it was in where it were a coaching and content company. I needed help in coaching. I didn’t want to do all the coaching myself.

Alex: Then we started evaluating where were we making too many decisions? It was in the I.T. area, way too much in I.T. and in the systems, the structure. We brought in somebody to run that. And then eventually my wife stepped into marketing and sales and we just hired somebody to run marketing. And so it’s where are you making too many decisions and where do you need a representative to come in and handle something for you? So for a team, it’s really tactical when you start hiring leadership. It’s really strategic.

Josh: That is fantastic stuff. Listen, last question that I want. I want to get this. You’re talking with a lot of entrepreneurs. We’re laughing about what that was like for us. Obviously, you’re coaching a lot of entrepreneurs, both in real estate and other spaces that have gone through that same thing. So what is some specific advice or some idea, some common themes that you’re talking with your membership about right now in today’s market? We’re getting close to this election. We all know COVID is real, but we also know it’s very politically charged.

Josh: I’m hoping that the election happens and then a lot of that kind of starts to subside. But for the next couple months, there’s a lot of decisions that people have to make. There’s a lot of things that they’re taking into account. What are some things that you’re teaching your members to still run their business, sort of fly the plane, do their thing and try to eliminate some of the noise that’s out there? So they can just still be a good entrepreneur because we’re all tempted, like, if you want to fight, you can log in to Facebook every morning and find a fight with someone. Or watch a fight between a Republican and Democrat? Left, right. Business owner, W2. There are fights everywhere.

Josh: And so how do we eliminate that stuff from our lives so we could do what’s important? You know, engaging in our business, engaging with our families and trying to eliminate a lot of the noise because there’s a ton of it out there right now.

Alex: OK. Two things. So two things. The first one is you have to convince yourself you’re going to grow in this crisis. You have to beyond a shadow of a doubt, convince yourself you’re going to grow. Here’s the issue that happens to entrepreneurs in a crisis. We start thinking I’m going to maintain. Well, guess what? If you think maintain, crises is going to push you into going backwards. And it’s the wrong way to look at it. I want everyone to understand something about crisis in the world. The world can be in crisis and you can be in momentum. Like that should be your mantra. The world can be in crisis, and I can be in momentum. Because I want you to understand something.

Alex: That’s actually how it works. If you look at every crisis in the history of the U.S. economy during crisis periods, more millionaires and billionaires were minted than at any other time. If you look at the Great Recession, you know, sorry, the Great Depression. Companies like Revlon and FedEx and all these other companies came out of the Great Depression. When you look at the recession, look at all the companies born out of the most recent recession. I mean, Katie and I put a company twenty-one on the INC 500 list after going bankrupt in 2007. We were back to liquid millionaires within 12 months and then number twenty-one on the Inc five hundred in four years.

Alex: And so convince yourself you’re going to grow. You have to. Here’s why. Here’s what happens in a crisis. We get distracted by the crisis. We think, oh man, you can’t grow. And then your mind stops looking for growth opportunities. The second you think it’s not there. You’re right. And so you have to convince yourself you’re going to grow. You’ve got to convince yourself. You going to be like the other people who’ve done this in crisis and then you will see those possibilities out there. That’s first.

Alex: Now, here’s a big second one. You can’t get distracted by the subject matter of the crisis. You know, Josh, you were kind of mentioning it. Early on, I made a couple of posts early that I didn’t realize were political. They became very political, got hundreds of comments on Facebook. And I’m like, geez, I don’t want to do this again. It’s taking way too much my time. When I’m in a crisis scenario and I’ve lived through a ton. I went through the dot com bubble in my first business. We went to the Argentine economic crisis. We actually went through other bird flu virus crisis because we were doing so much business in Asia. And when there was stuff going on over there it would shut us down. I went through it like 9/11.

Alex: Every crisis I had been through has been growth periods in my businesses. And here’s why. The rest of the world gets distracted by the crisis. And I focus on one thing. What’s the most likely scenario that’s going to happen? What’s most likely? In 9/11, you could tell what was most likely to happen. During the foreclosure crisis, I figured out the most likely scenario, and that’s why I was on television four or five times a month, because I was sharing. Here’s what’s probably going to happen. When you look at this crisis. It’s pretty clear what’s going to happen. And I want to make a caveat. You can believe whatever conspiracy theory or political thing or anything else you want to believe. But here’s what I’ve seen so far. This virus has acted like a virus and where people have been close together, numbers have gone up. Where people have been pulled apart, where there’s been measures put in place, numbers have gone down.

Alex: And we’re going to kind of see that keep happening for a while. And so don’t get distracted by the subject matter of the crisis. Understand what’s most likely to happen. Focus there. And then you can go and spend the time growing your business. Because here’s what I’ve seen so far in this. We’ve had four of our members hit their first million-dollar months since March. We had one of our members hit their first two-million-dollar month since March. Most of our membership, I just got the numbers this morning, of our members that are reporting numbers to us out of over 220 companies. Those who reported, seventy eight percent are growing right now. Then their rate of growth is over 28 percent annually. So our membership is convinced they’re going to grow, so they’re finding the opportunities for growth.

Josh: Absolutely. I love it. Number one, convince yourself that you’re going to grow in the middle of the crisis, not maintain.And number two, you can’t get distracted by the subject matter. I think that’s fantastic because you can throw up almost any political post on Instagram or Facebook and you’re going to get dozens or hundreds of likes and dislikes and comments. It becomes addictive. And if you think, well, that’s where I’m spending my time. How is that serving your business in your family? It’s not. It’s easy to get distracted, gets sucked in by that because it’s attention and every human wants and needs attention. It’s just not the right attention that’s going to serve your business or your family and stuff. Absolutely not. Alex, listen, fantastic stuff today. Listen, if our audience wants to reach out to you, learn more about how engage in your coaching work and they find more information.

Alex:So there’s a couple of places, jobs. The one you can go to MomentumPodcast.com. I do a podcast couple of times a week. It is short, less than 20-minute interviews. It’s usually just me. Every once in a while, we’ll have one of our members on. But each episode solves an entrepreneurial problem. So MomentumPodcast.com is a great place to go. And then I’m really excited about this event we have coming up in October. So October six, seven and eight. We have an absolutely free event called Momentum Masterclass. And here’s what I’m doing in three days.

Alex: I’m going to be sharing our business content on how to determine exactly where you are in your business. Then the second day, we’re going to build a plan around where you should go next. And the third day, we’re going to get incredibly clear about how you’re going to execute this. Our goal is to add several thousand people in this course. And so if you got a MomentumMasterclass.com. register for the course, my team will start sending you reminders in late September, early October. And I’d love to see you all there.

Josh: Fantastic. Alex, listen, thank you so much for joining us today on Accelerated Investor. This was fantastic.

Alex: Yeah, same Josh. And you know what? I love this market. I’ve been an investor since I was 21. Love to come back. If you ever do repeat guests, I just want you to know I’m in.

Josh: Awesome stuff, Alex. Thanks so much.


Josh: So, listen, I hope you absolutely loved that interview with Alex Charfen of the Charfen companies. I absolutely had a blast interviewing him and talking about entrepreneurship, leadership and how to get outside of your business and sit as a CEO in the passenger seat of your company. Don’t forget to visit MomentumPodcast.com and MomentumMasterClass.com. And if you love this interview as much as I did, please go share it on social media. Share it on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. Go to iTunes and leave us a five-star rating. Some comments and reviews. And don’t forget every single person that leaves us a rating in review. We’re going to send you out a free Accelerated Investor T-shirt. Thanks so much for joining me today on Accelerated Investor. 


Hey, Josh here. And do you want to win a free Accelerated Investor T-shirt? All you have to do is give Accelerated Investor our podcasta rating and a review on iTunes. OK. Do that now then send us a screenshot on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. What we’re going to do then is every week we’re gonna pick our favorite rating in review and we’re going to send that person a free T-shirt and maybe again, some other cool fun stuff as well from Accelerated Investor. So, again, don’t forget to take a screenshot, leave a rating review, take a screenshot, send it to us so we know exactly who you are. And then once a week, every week on the podcast, we will announce a new winner. Don’t forget to take a screenshot and send it to us so we know exactly who you are. We’ll announce a new winner every week.

You’ve been listening to Josh Cantwell and the Accelerated Investor Podcast. Leave a comment on our iTunes channel and let us know what you want to learn next, or who you’d like Josh to interview. While you’re there, give us some five-star rating and make sure to subscribe so you can be the first to hear new episodes. Follow Josh Cantwell and his companies, the Strategic Real Estate Coach and Freeland Ventures on all social media platforms now and stay up to date on new training and investment opportunities to start your journey toward the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. Apply for coaching at JoshCantwellCoaching.com.

Most of the entrepreneurs have been at the front of the room for way too long. They want to drive their business, but what they’re really doing is letting the business ride roughshod all over their lives. Alex Charfen coaches entrepreneurs and busy real estate investors how they can move into the passenger seat and watch their business grow.

There are four key concepts that Alex is going to cover today:

  • You’re not the unicorn you think you are.
  • Why you absolutely must do a time study.
  • When it’s time to build and create your core team.
  • How to build your leadership team so you can take a step back.

This is seriously one of the most amazing interviews I’ve done because I feel the same way that a lot of incredibly overworked entrepreneurs do right now. We’re making so many decisions every day, and COVID only makes decision fatigue happen faster.

If you can’t get enough of Alex, he also has a podcast where he solves an entrepreneurial problem in twenty minutes. And coming up on October 6th, 7th, & 8th, he’s hosting an absolutely free event called the Momentum Masterclass. In three days, he’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to determine where you’re at in your business, build a plan about where you’re going to next, and get incredibly clear about how to execute your plan.

You can choose to spend all of your time on the technical parts of your business, or you can offload tasks onto your team so that you can focus on your business strategy. Are you ready to level up your business?

What’s Inside:

  • How to build a big enough portfolio to step back from your business.
  • Where you spend your time is how your business is going to grow.
  • How you can spend more of your time working on your business’s strategy.
  • Why you need to look at the business from the inside to choose what to offload.

Mentioned in this episode​

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