The Fastest Way To Build A Six Or Even… Seven Figure Real Estate EMPIRE!
What is the difference between an entrepreneur and someone who is self-employed? In my latest interview, I have the perfect guest to help us answer this very question.
Gino Wickman is the Founder of EOS, The Entrepreneurial Operating System, which helps others run great businesses. He’s been an entrepreneur since he was 21 years old and has sold millions of copies of his books, including Entrepreneurial Leap and Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.
In this episode, we dig into the six essential traits of a successful entrepreneur, why people have to be born with these traits as they cannot be taught, and how Gino has been able to have such incredible success while taking up to 12 weeks off each year.
You’ll definitely want to check out Gino’s Entrepreneur in the Making Assessment tool by visiting E-Leap.com to find out if you have the same traits that most successful entrepreneurs have. I think you’re going to absolutely love this episode.
Key Takeaways with Gino Wickman
- Gino’s definition of an entrepreneur.
- The six essential traits of a successful entrepreneur.
- Determining whether or not you can make the entrepreneurial leap from employee to entrepreneur.
- The difference between an entrepreneur and someone who is self-employed.
- How you can find the “Entrepreneur in the Making Assessment” tool.
- Why the six essential traits of a successful entrepreneur cannot be taught.
- Gino’s definition of a true risk-taker.
- How someone can tell if they have the traits to be a great problem solver.
- Why Gino focuses on industries that aren’t susceptible to constant change.
- How taking time off can actually be helpful to grow your business faster.
Gino Wickman Tweetables
- Entrepreneurial Leap Website
- The Entrepreneur in the Making Assessment
- EOS – Entrepreneurial Operating System for Businesses
- Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business
- The EOS Life: How to Live Your Ideal Entrepreneurial Life (The Traction Library)
- Entrepreneurial Leap: Do You Have What it Takes to Become an Entrepreneur?
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Josh Cantwell: So, hey there, guys. Welcome back to Accelerated Real Estate Investor with Josh Cantwell. I’m your host. And today, man, I have got just an absolute bomb of a show for you today. My guest is a gentleman named Gino Wickman. Gino has been an entrepreneur since age 21, and he is the original founder and creator of what’s known as the Entrepreneurial Operating System, otherwise known as EOS. He is also the bestselling author of the book, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, which has sold over one million copies and also has five other books in the Traction library that have sold almost 2 million more copies. Today, he is the most recent writer and creator of what’s known as the Entrepreneurial Leap. You can find the book, Entrepreneurial Leap, at Amazon.com. It’s got thousands and thousands of ratings, and it’s an amazing, amazing book. And in today’s episode, we’re going to talk specifically about the six essential traits of an entrepreneur and we’re also going to talk about how you can assess yourself to see if becoming an entrepreneur is for you. We’re also going to give you a free test, a free sort of guide, if you will. You can find that at E-Leap.com. There, you can take the assessment to find out how you would score and if it’s in your best interest to become an entrepreneur, especially a real estate entrepreneur.
In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about the six traits of an elite entrepreneur, which include visionary, passionate, problem-solver, driven, risk-taker, and responsible. You’re going to absolutely love, love, love, love this episode of Accelerated Real Estate Investor with Gino Wickman. Here we go.
Josh Cantwell: So, hey, Gino, listen, so excited to have you on Accelerated Real Estate Investor. Thanks for jumping on.
Gino Wickman: Josh, I am looking forward to this, brother.
Josh Cantwell: Absolutely. You know, my favorite topic of them all is entrepreneurship, and my audience knows I’ve been an entrepreneur since 20 years old. I’ve never had a boss, right? I’m very proud to say that. I’ve never had a W-2 income other than the income I paid myself out of my own businesses. But I’m curious right out of the gate, help me understand your framework, your definition, your thought of what is an entrepreneur. What’s the backbone of an entrepreneur? What makes somebody an entrepreneur?
Gino Wickman: Yeah. Well, two things very quickly, we are cut from the same cloth. I too am unemployable and haven’t been employed in a long time. And number two, thank God you’re passionate about entrepreneurship because I can’t teach this audience a thing about investing in real estate, so we pick the right topics. So, my life is entrepreneurship. My life is entrepreneurs. I’ve spent the last three decades of my life obsessing about entrepreneurs, giving them amazing lives, figuring out how to crack that nut, and helping them run great businesses. And so, for 30 years, I’ve been doing that. Two years ago, I decided to go to the front end of the entrepreneurial journey and help people who think they might be entrepreneurs that want to take an entrepreneurial leap, that want to start a business, help them do that. And so, to answer your question, because that’s kind of the context, the content we’re about to talk about is in three parts: confirm, glimpse, path. And confirm mean before we even talk about you starting a business, we got to confirm whether or not you’re even an entrepreneur. So, it’s right to your question now, my discovery, my beliefs, my learning, and it’s now been validated for 30 years is that a true entrepreneur has six essential traits.
And as I share them, I always urge and ask your audience to just scan your body as I share these six. I am convinced, Josh, that you have these, but scan your body as well and tick each box and we can do a deeper dive. I can do a two-minute riff but I’m just going to give you the high level right now. And those six essential traits of a true entrepreneur are visionary, passionate, problem solver, driven, risk-taker, and responsible. And so, those are the six.
Josh Cantwell: Love it.
Gino Wickman: One last little point then I’ll turn it to you to dig as deep as you want into that is I have a very strong belief that you are born with these traits. They cannot be taught. It is nature over nurture. And so, that’s why I specify confirm so importantly because you got to confirm that you were born with these. And if you weren’t, we’re going to talk about what that means today but if you are, look out, baby, we’re going to show you how to build an empire.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah. I love it. So, Gino, we had talked before kind of prepping for this that we have a group of people who are residential investors looking to scale into apartments and commercial deals, larger apartment complexes. That’s one group. Then we’ve got a lot of passive investors, folks who are really W-2, high-income earners, doctors, accountants, high professional salespeople, guys who’ve built businesses, e-commerce companies. But in some cases, a lot of them start as employees, W-2, and they say to me all the time, “Josh, I would love to do what you do. I would love to be an active operator in commercial but I can’t do it. I’m trapped by my income.” So, a lot of people you say are born with this but they get into W-2. They love it. They’re making multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, sometimes millions of dollars a year but they’re an employee. And making that leap, your book, The Entrepreneurial Leap, this is what this is all about, making that leap. You start with vision, right? Vision the number one trait. How does somebody know if they’ve got vision for that? How does somebody know and how do they peel back the onion and say, “Well, God, I’ve been a W-2 wage earner of really high-income earner for 20 or 25 years. I’m 40 or 50 years old. How do I know that now is the time? Do I even have it in my blood?” Vision, you start as the first. What’s the definition of vision? How does somebody know that they’ve got it?
Gino Wickman: Yeah. Well, so I want to do three things to kind of create a last bit of context, and then I think it’s going to indirectly answer it, okay? And so, the first thing is I’m just going to do a little one-minute riff and a deep dive into each of these six and it’s going to answer your question about visionary. But there’s a reason I’m doing this first, and this will lead to the context. And so, here we go again. Please scan your body because the visionary trait means that you are a person who has lots of ideas. You’re able to connect the dots, you have a sixth sense, you see things others don’t see. You’re able to see around corners. You have this way of just kind of putting things together in the world but bottom line is you just have a lot of ideas. Your mind is kind of always having ideas. Passionate means that you have an undying passion for your product, your service, the thing you do, the work you’re doing, the thing you’re bringing to the world, a strong belief you want to fill a void. Problem solver means that you are a creative problem solver, so you love solving problems. You’re an optimist by nature. When you get hit with a setback, you lean into that setback. You see solutions where others see problems.
Driven means that you have an internal fire, you have a sense of urgency, you are competitive, you want to succeed, you are self-motivated, you love the hustle, and you love working hard. Risk-Taker means you don’t freeze when you’ve got to make a tough decision. You make the tough decision. You are rebellious by nature. You’re willing to fail. You don’t want to fail. You don’t choose to fail but you know failure is part of the process and you tend to beg for forgiveness instead of ask for permission. And then number six, responsible means that you blame no one. You take total responsibility for the outcome. When something goes wrong, you look at yourself, you look in the mirror where the other half of the world blames everyone every time something goes wrong. So, I start there because and this will get right to the heart of your question that you’re asking, there’s something I teach in the book called The Entrepreneurial Range. And so, for those of you listening out there, you can either just draw an arc in front of you or picture an arc in your mind. And on the right side of that range or arc are the words true entrepreneur and on the left side of that range in that arc are the words self-employed. And so, anyone that owns their own business is somewhere on that entrepreneurial range.
Well, the point I’m making is if you have the six essential traits and one of the best ways to do it, I offer a free assessment on the website, you’re going to take ten minutes, answer 25 questions about yourself, you’re going to get a score. You score 90 or higher, you probably have these six essential traits. But the point I’m making is anyone that scores 90 or higher is on the right side of that range. And so, if you picture redlining that range to the far right, these are the greatest entrepreneurs of all time, Elon Musk, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Sara Blakely, Henry Ford. Well, on the far left side of the range, the other half, if you don’t score high and you don’t have these six essential traits, it’s okay. You can still be self-employed. And so, self-employed means that you’re a one-person show. You have a side hustle. You’re a consultant. You’re a freelancer. Maybe you bought a franchise. Point is you can still be self-employed. What I love about speaking to your audience and there’s just something about when I speak to this real estate investor audience, it resonates because what I’m trying to help you do is make a choice for yourself but be honest with yourself in that where are you on that range? And so, I literally ask you put a dash on the line right now. Guess right now, whoever you are listening.
So, picture that entrepreneur range. Where would you think you are? So, for me, I’m at like the 75% mark. I’m not an Elon Musk but I certainly have all of these six essential traits because the point is there’s no shame in being to the far left, being a one-person show because in your industry, you can be a one-person show and build an empire. And in some cases, some of you just need to remain an investor. Some of you are envious of your friends that have built real estate empires with 50 to 5,000 people running those empires. If you’re not on the right side of the range, if you’re not a 90 or higher, if you’re not possessing those six essential traits, you’re going to be miserable if you try and build an empire. So, I’m not trying to break your heart. I’m trying to save your life because you’re going to be miserable for 10 years, trying to build an organization with people if you don’t have these six essential traits. So, what I’m trying to give you is the freedom to choose, “What are you?” In other words, are you a true entrepreneur or are you somebody who just wants to be self-employed? And it’s okay to be one or the other. So, you be my litmus test, Josh. Did that make sense?
Josh Cantwell: Absolutely made sense. And I think what you’re saying is, is that it’s okay based on your score to be a different type of entrepreneur. There are entrepreneurs that are truly, again, self-employed, kind of a one-man-band. There are entrepreneurs that can build a business with five or 10 employees or maybe 20. There are guys that have massive businesses like you mentioned Sara with Spanx and all the business that she built and she’s in the news, all kinds lately because she just got bought up by Blackstone with hundreds or thousands of employees. It doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. Does it mean that one is greater? It’s just where do you fall in this range? What makes the most sense for you based on your score, right? And then, of course, you can build that to the point where you think, “I’ve got 10 employees. This is pretty cool.” That grows up to 25. That’s pretty cool and that keeps growing and growing. But we’re all growing, right? We’re all changing. And I think the big takeaway for me so far, Gino, was to say we’re not judging somebody one or the other of how good of an entrepreneur they are by saying maybe you are just going to start off as a solopreneur by yourself and then see where that goes. But if you don’t score at all on this, if you have no vision, no passion, no responsibility, you’re not a risk-taker, then just making an entrepreneurial leap to begin with is probably not for you.
Gino Wickman: Yeah. And I would urge you to maybe keep your day job and just keep investing in Josh or whoever you’re investing in. And then here’s another way to share it. And let’s take it completely out of the real estate context and just give you another example because if you score low and you have handy skills, you could literally go out, become a handyman or a handywoman, charge $60 an hour, make a six-figure income, be self-employed on the far left side of that range and literally be completely free and independent, make a six-figure income for the next 30 years and you’ll be busy forever. And that ain’t all bad. The point is that’s for somebody whose score is low. But if you do that and you do have all six essential traits, you will not be able to stop yourself from building an empire because what’s going to happen is your brain’s going to go, “Wait a second. If I hire somebody for $25 an hour, I can go get another job and do another job,” and all of a sudden you start to build a construction company. So, now that’s the outside the apartment investment world example. Let’s bring it back now. So, to your point, yes, you can start out as a one-person show, start investing, and just see if you’re drawn to building the empire that you and others have built. So, yeah, you can start out as a solopreneur and go from there. But once you realize it’s not for you to build a 100-person organization, it’s okay. It’s absolutely okay.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah. No doubt. Listen, the test, I’m sure can be found at E-Leap.com, correct?
Gino Wickman: You got it. It’s called the Entrepreneur in the Making Assessment.
Josh Cantwell: Perfect. Yeah. E-Leap.com. Go take that assessment, guys. It’s a free tool that you can find on Gino’s website and you’ll find where do you score on this range that we just described? Gino, let’s back up for a quick second and talk about responsibility. I think we’re in this world today where people seem to want to take less and less responsibility, you know, and this is probably the case where my parents probably said about my generation, “God, they’re so spoiled. They don’t take any responsibility.” Now, I have younger kids. I have a teenager and I’m like, “Man, I hope she’s going to take a lot of responsibility,” because, ultimately, the people who are most successful in my world for my take are the people that take 100% responsibility for their life, for their decisions, for their relationships, for their financial well-being, their faith, their family, their friends. Everything is on them. So, give me your take about trait number six because we’re in this world that everybody’s offended. Everybody is not agreeing. I’m okay with people not agreeing with me because this is who I am. Take it or leave it. Everybody else seems to be in this kind of muck of wanting to be right and be okay and everybody agrees. You can’t really have all of that and take 100% responsibility for yourself. What are your thoughts on that?
Gino Wickman: Oh, so many thoughts. And I’m not going to go where you and I could probably go for two hours into culturally what’s happening, so let’s not go there, but all I can tell you is what I know, okay, and what I’ve experienced. And so, I said this already in the beginning of this conversation is that you are born with these six essential traits. They cannot be taught. And so, what I love about sharing these six essential traits or one of the things I love is when I get to number six, it surprises people because the first five are like, “Oh man.” It’s like, yes, that’s an entrepreneur. And then all of a sudden, responsible, it almost feels like it doesn’t fit. So, I would say a few things. Number one, it is vital you will not succeed as an entrepreneur building an organization if you don’t have this trait. So, what that typically looks like is you’re blaming everyone and everything in your life, your people. It’s a turnstile. They keep leaving you because they’re so tired of you blaming them for everything. But the point in this is you either have it or you don’t, and you can literally think about every single person in your life. You can put them in one or two camps. Half the world takes responsibility when something goes wrong. Half the world blames everyone else when something goes wrong. And the way that I know you’re born with it and it’s nature over nurture is, so everyone listening out there, think about your brothers and sisters. You can literally put them in two camps.
And so, there’s a household with four kids. How is it possible that two take total responsibility and two don’t take any and blame everyone else? They were raised in the same household, the same parents, the same everything, yet they turned out different in the way they take responsibility. So, it is absolutely a trait and it is vital. Again, as for the social issues around that, holy cow, we could go way down that road, but let’s please not do that for your audience’s sake. But as an entrepreneur, because that’s my expertise, you got to have it and you need to look at your life because if you’re sitting there right now and you’re 18 or 25 or 35 or 65, just look at the last one, two, three, four, or five decades. And when something goes wrong, what is your first reaction? Looking at yourself or looking at others? And I know since I was three years old, everything that happened to me, I looked at myself first. And if you blamed everyone else, “Look what they did to me. Woe is me,” sadly, I don’t think you have this trait.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah. I think that temptation is always because we’re human, right, is that it is somebody else’s fault or this happened to me or this person stole money. This contractor didn’t do the job they were hired for. This tenant didn’t pay the rent that they were supposed to pay or the bank never told us that they could call the note due. There’s lots of different ways you could deflect responsibility. And I think for most people, even for me as an entrepreneur, it’s always at the beginning you’re kind of like, “Oh, damn, I wasn’t expecting that,” and you kind of look around to see you could point the finger at. But true entrepreneurs that have a lot of success, even with the temptation of looking at everybody else and what they did wrong, immediately revert back to, “Well, I should have read the loan documents. Maybe that tenant, we shouldn’t have screened them or we shouldn’t have placed them in our building. We shouldn’t have hired this contractor. Maybe we should have had a better scope of work.” So, there is this temptation. I would think most of the time to say, “Well, what went wrong? Whose fault was it?” And ultimately, an entrepreneur comes back and says, “Well, look, there are so many things I could have done differently. It’s my fault. It’s my responsibility.” That’s a real, I think, applicable day-to-day application of what you’re saying because we’re going to be faced with those.
Let’s talk for a second, Gino, about risk-taking and I think this relative to entrepreneurship in real estate. We can underwrite deals all day. I have a 220-unit I just made an offer on. The offer just got accepted, $14.65 million. We’re buying the building. We’re going to raise $4 million from investors. But what many people say is I’ve got analysis paralysis, right? I have a great deal. I think I should make the offer but I can’t do it. So, ultimately, to be successful as a real estate entrepreneur and in apartments, we’ve got to underwrite, underwrite, underwrite but we’ve ultimately got to take the risk, right? So, how does the book? How does Entrepreneurial Leap? What are some thoughts you have on doing your due diligence, doing underwriting on any business, whatever business you’re in, but ultimately having the cahones to just take that risk and say, “Yes, I’m going to make this offer, or yes, I’m going to start this business, or yes, I’m going to hire the employee?” Because everything comes with some risk.
Gino Wickman: Hear, hear. So, I promised a few things. You know, the first is I love how you framed the question because most people’s default is that risk-taking means that if I go start a business, I have taken the ultimate risk and I’m a risk-taker. But quite frankly, that’s one of the easiest risks you’re going to take because the real risks are the 1,000 excruciatingly difficult decisions you’re going to make over the next 10 years that each and every one of them can put you out of business. So, if you say, “Wow, I started a business, I’m a risk-taker,” no, no, you’re missing the point because you’re going to make a decision to fire your best employee because they’re doing something that you don’t like, firing your biggest client, investing $25,000 into marketing when you have $30,000 in your account. I mean, you literally have to. So, that’s what we mean by risk-taker, point one. Point two, there are some real interesting studies that are done on this and where it talks about successful entrepreneurs. At the end of the day, they’re really not taking risk because they know their craft so well that they can assess the situation, make that investment, buy that whatever, and they’re so savvy, it’s not as much of a risk. And then the third thing I think I would say is bring it to your world. So, now let’s look at every time somebody buys an apartment building, it’s absolutely a risk.
So, I kind of laugh when they say that entrepreneurs not taking risk because they know their stuff. It’s absolutely a risk. But there is truth to the fact that you know your stuff and you know how to do that due diligence and you know how to assess that situation. But at the end of the day, nonetheless, it is taking a risk, and you know what a bad deal looks like and you know what a good deal looks like. So, as you get better at your craft, you will make better decisions, invest in better deals, have a better track record than maybe what you had in the early days because you developed a comfort, but nonetheless, it is still risk. So, those are the three things that that question prompts for me and you tell me if you want to dig deeper into that.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah. Well, let’s move to one of the other traits, which is problem solver, right? And so, again, guys, you’ve got to get the book, if you don’t have it already, Entrepreneurial Leap. You can get it on Amazon. Get it on Gino’s website. Take the assessment, E-Leap.com. Make sure you jump into all those free tools and resources and buy the book. Problem-solving, right, I would argue that the world’s best entrepreneurs for sure have all the traits that you mentioned. No question, those six are essential. But the best entrepreneurs are probably the world’s greatest problem solvers because you look at people like Elon Musk or you look at John Rockefeller, Standard Oil, you look at Carnegie, you look at Sara Blakely, you look at all these different entrepreneurs and ultimately, there’s going to be massive challenges. It could be a supply chain challenge, like a lot of people are facing today. It could be labor challenges a lot of people are facing today. And ultimately, the best of the best become really good asking questions, learning, finding solutions, solving problems. I tell my people, “Look, the greatest way to solve problems is to ask more questions.
The answer is probably there. You just haven’t asked enough questions.” So, ask good people good questions and problems sometimes and often will solve themselves or at least the solution will reveal itself. So, just would love to hear, you’ve spoken to tens of thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of people. You’ve dealt with amazing problem solvers. How can we become better problem solvers?
Gino Wickman: Yeah. So, this is going to sound like I’m going on a tangent but I’m making a point with this. So, if you have 10 employees or more out there, maybe five or more but ten’s the magic number and I’m sure you covered this in my introduction but I create a system called EOS and wrote a book called Traction. And that’s not at all what this is about but what I’m going to with this is I call an entrepreneur that starts and runs a business, a visionary. That’s the term I like to use is visionary. And the five major roles of a visionary, again, who is an entrepreneur, one of the top five are creative problem solver. So, this is beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the greatest traits of a true entrepreneur. So, point one is that’s what shows up in every accountability chart and every one of our clients because that’s one of your gifts to the world. That’s one of your greatest responsibilities. Number two, the way that you know because to teach someone to be a problem solver, you can’t because it’s a trait and you’re born with it. And so, here’s how you know if you have this trait. When you get hit with a big problem, do you light up? Does your energy go through the roof? Do you lean into that problem? Where most of the world runs for the hills, gets exhausted. All energy in their body leaves their body. That’s how you know you don’t have this trait.
And so, I want to be really careful to say, you know, here’s how you do this. Now, back to the people that have the trait, again, you’re going to light up, you lean into it, you get energy but then you said one of the most important things. People with this trait tend to be curious. And so, they lean into that problem with a bunch of questions but they just have a wiring. I mean, it’s truly genetic. It’s DNA. They just have a wiring that they love that. Give them a complex problem and they’re very inquisitive. They want to understand why. They want to solve it. So, hopefully, that indirectly answers your question.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah. Well, look, there’s very few things that we’re creating today, especially in apartments that haven’t been done before, right? Most of the investments that we’re making, the way we syndicate deals, the way we raise capital, the way that we’re funding these deals and acquiring them, that’s mostly been done by somebody else. We’re not creating a new category like Spanx or electronic cars like Elon Musk. In my world, we’re doing something that’s already been done but can the entrepreneur just do it for themselves? So, solving problems and saying, “Well, I don’t know how to do this or I’m not sure where to get started,” to me, being a problem solver comes with or starts with asking more better questions. That curiosity factor, being comfortable asking questions, being comfortable saying, “I don’t know the answer but I want to know,” is such a big trait to have. Because we also have to understand we’re not creating a new category. Somebody has the answer that we’re seeking in my business anyway. Somebody already has the answer. So, I guess I’m just trying to encourage the audience by just taking a note of that by saying, “If you don’t know, it’s okay.” In our world, somebody’s already done it. Maybe I’ve already done it. Just ask more questions. Be comfortable not knowing and be comfortable asking more questions. Have the passion. Have the drive. But, man, ask the questions, right? That’s where it’s going to come from because the answer’s out there in the ether somewhere. I just have to sell that to everybody.
Gino Wickman: Yeah. You know, I want to add one more thing because this is so important and I don’t know if this is going to piss you off or make sense but there’s something that I share. So, this term visionary that I talk about, okay, that’s a big word. That’s a scary word for somebody to be called a visionary. But again, when your company has 10 or more people and you’re running on EOS, we urge you to call yourself a visionary. Go find an integrator and that’s a big word. And so, what I teach and I share for what this is worth, because you trigger this and it’s so important, I then talk about the varying degrees of visionary necessary in each company. And your audience, you have a luxury because we have a ton of clients in the apartment investment and management business, and I use this contrast and I say to manage apartment buildings requires less visionary than making cell phones. Okay. So, cell phones, every year your technology is obsolete and you literally have to reinvent every single week, every single month, every quarter, so if you’re in high tech in technology. Apartment buildings, it’s a much slower change. Things change. Nonetheless, you still have to be a problem solver. You still have to be a visionary, but not as extreme.
So, I would suggest – I’m not saying that to be insulting. I’m saying that because it is a unique advantage because I choose the business that I’m in helping entrepreneurs, it ain’t going to change much. It changes every decade or every three decades because human nature is human nature. So, I purposely choose industries that don’t change every week for that reason. So, hopefully, that makes sense. I just wanted to throw that little tidbit in there for what that’s worth.
Josh Cantwell: I love it, Gino. And I’m not insulted by that at all. Frankly, I chose an industry and I’ve been doing real estate now for almost 20 years, but I chose it. And when I saw you got away from resi and got into apartments, the reason why I was so sold on it and continue to build our portfolio is because I had a vision for where I wanted to go, and I knew that this would solve that that sort of thirst for building a business but I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel every year. You know, when I was doing a lot more digital marketing, digital marketing changes every day, right? Facebook ads, the Facebook algorithm, Instagram ads, conversion rates, opt-in pages. We still do some of that but the apartment business is like, “Man, can we market a building? Can we create a great product? Can we turn a unit? Can we have a really nice new unit? Can we raise the rent? Can we hit proforma? And can we just do it on one building after another, after another, after another?” So, although many people say, “Wow, Josh, you’re so successful,” I’m like, “I appreciate that but I chose a pretty simple industry, pretty simple model to achieve this success.” So, I just think I want to encourage our audience, you don’t have to get wild and crazy and do something in the technology space and be a category starter. You don’t have to do that to have a tremendous amount of success.
Gino Wickman: Amen. Exactly right. And certainly, you’ll add technology when it enhances everything you just said, when it helps you lease a unit faster or market a unit faster or process something faster. So, you’ll add things that will be somewhat innovative to make what you do better as somebody who owns and manages apartment buildings but every single word you said, I couldn’t agree more. So, you said it perfectly.
Josh Cantwell: Thank you. Appreciate that. So, Gino, listen, I have a couple of questions that I’ve got to ask, really hard-hitting fast ones as we kind of round third here and head for home.
Gino Wickman: Fire away.
Josh Cantwell: I love when I meet a leader, I love to know who inspired them. So, who’s been maybe the mentor in your life that’s had the biggest impact and why?
Gino Wickman: Yeah. So, it’s a top 3. I can’t get it down to less. So, number one, first and foremost is my dad, Floyd Wickman, an incredible entrepreneur, built a real estate sales training empire. And he taught me everything I learned about leading and communicating with people, be it one or 1,000. He’s an incredible platform speaker. Hall of Fame speaker in the National Speakers Association. Zig Ziglar was his mentor. Number two is Sam Cupp, my business mentor, a man who built his companies to over $200 million and he taught me everything I knew about business. And then the third is Dan Sullivan. You already brought him up. I’ve been in his program for 24 years. He absolutely changed my life. I’m still in his program. Love him to death. And those are my top three.
Josh Cantwell: Love it. Gino, next question is, listen, as a leader and as an entrepreneur in your own right of you teaching entrepreneurship and helping people make this entrepreneurial leap. You’re a founder. You’re a CEO yourself. What I find myself doing and the more I can do it, the better we operate is to get away from my business, to get outside and above my business and think. What is your favorite way or your hack to get away from your business, to think about your business, to have new ideas that can take your company to the next level?
Gino Wickman: Yeah. Hear, hear. So, I call it a clarity break. And so, I urge every single leader to take a clarity break. It’s a different formula for everyone, but for me, it’s two hours a week, typically in a coffee shop. And so, that is my precious time to rise above work on the business, think on the business. So, that’s the first one. The second one is to take time off. So, I just published a book called The EOS Life, which kind of gets to the kind of personal side of things. But one of the things I urge and teach is you got to figure out your work container, how much time you can devote to work, and how much time you’re going to take off. And so, I work 40 weeks a year. I take 12 weeks off a year. I take the month of August off every year for the last 21 years. Those things recharge my battery. They make me better. They make me sharper, more creative. I have better ideas. And so, those two things keep me operating at a very high level, getting outside of the fray, and coming back into the business, laser-focused, very sharp, and a much better leader for all of my people.
Josh Cantwell: I love it. Now, some of our audience is going to say, “Gino, there’s no way you take a whole month off,” because it’s so foreign to most people. So, when you say you take a month off, describe that. Like, what is that? Are you literally like leaving, going out of the country, going on vacation like you leave your phone and your laptop at home? Or is this a time that you’re getting away to come up with new ideas? And maybe you’re writing, maybe you’re writing your next book, you’re coming up with your best ideas. But when people hear, “I take a whole month off,” that is so foreign. Like, describe that for us.
Gino Wickman: Sure. Yeah. And I’ve done it 21 years running and it’s…
Josh Cantwell: So, you’re good at it.
Gino Wickman: It’s helped me build my businesses faster is the irony. So, I would say a couple of things to that. Number one, we’re issuing the one-month sabbatical challenge to all leaders. So, I wrote it into this new book, The EOS Life, and we get into how to do it but I would give you a couple of high-level points. Number one, everyone in my world is conditioned that you can’t find me in August. Okay. So, that’s point number one. So, everybody leaves me alone in August. Number two, no, I don’t go anywhere. I just don’t work for the entire month of August. I don’t think about work. I don’t do work. So, no, it’s not to write a book. And my goal is to leave on day one, forget what I do for a living, and then hope on day 31, when I come back, I still want to do what I do for a living. And so far, 21 years running, I come back even more energized to do what I do. Okay. And so, that’s why I try to turn it off and check out. And then the third thing is I have great people that protect me from the world that do all the work. I haven’t checked an email in 15 years, so my assistant checks all of my email. So, I’m not constricted and bound by all of this technology. I will tell you, though, the first text that came through my phone 12 years ago, I said, “Oh man, here’s the one chink in the armor because the world figured out how to pierce the shield.” But even when I get a text during the sabbatical, again, everyone in my life is conditioned, they get an immediate response that says, “I’ll be back on September 1, so send Karen an email. Call me then.”
I don’t even think about it. I just see something come through. They get that response from me and then they say, “Oh, that’s right, you’re on sabbatical.” And then my voicemail says, you know, “I’m gone and not checking voicemail. Please call Karen.” So, everybody in my life knows Karen. So, she is my business manager, my assistant. She covers everything for me. And so, that enables me to just totally turn the world off and recharge my batteries.
Josh Cantwell: Love it. Last question, Gino, is for those people who have already made the entrepreneurial leap and they’re in growth mode, they’re in building mode, they feel like, “God, I’ve got to work,” like I’ve watched a number of your videos and you said, “Look, I work 40 weeks a year. I work 55 hours a week. That’s my box.”
Gino Wickman: Yep.
Josh Cantwell: Some people I’ve worked with, they work 90 hours a week. That’s their box. Whatever they decide is okay but just have a box.
Gino Wickman: You got it.
Josh Cantwell: Somebody who’s in this growth phase, like in the first two to five years of building a business, is it still possible for them to take this sabbatical and can they do it? And if they can, what are the benefits that come from that that you’ve seen?
Gino Wickman: Yeah. So, again, I can only speak from experience. Okay. So, 20 years of building EOS Worldwide, I sold it three years ago. I still own 12.5%. I still own all the books. I’m still the EOS guy. But for 20 years, building EOS Worldwide at a 30% growth rate every single year consistently for 15 years before I sold, I took the month of August off. And the other important thing to understand, so you said the perfect point. You got to figure out your work container. What is your work container? Once you commit to that, you delegate all else. And so, what’s happening is the person that thinks, “I’m growing a business, therefore I’m a prisoner of that business for the next 10 years,” it is a fallacy. You need to work your ass off but you need to figure out what’s the timeframe you’re going to work your ass off in. And you’re right, some people will choose 90 hours a week. Some people will choose 30 hours a week. And so, in building the EOS Worldwide, told my partner, Don Tinney, “You got me 45 days a year as your visionary.” So, I was doing sessions, writing books, speaking, lots of other things but 45 days a year, I was his visionary. He was the integrator. So, that’s how much time I had to devote to building EOS Worldwide and I delegated everything else. And so, I have great people that carry the load.
And so, here’s the best way to describe it. So, you that entrepreneur out there that thinks you’re prisoner of your business, next 10 years you got to build it, there’s no time to take time off, okay, well, where does it end? So, then work 24/7 every day for seven days a week. At what point are you going to keel over and die? It will be right around week two. So, you got to sleep one hour. So, now you’re working backwards. You can just keep working it back to an hour a week if you wanted to. I don’t entirely subscribe to that, but literally, and then you just delegate all else. So, what I would suggest to you is you’re a terrible delegator if this point doesn’t make sense to you or your economic model is not great, if you can’t afford to bring on people to free up that capacity. Now, it is rare that someone can work 45 days a year and build a great company like I and we did. But I promise you, you can do it working 50 hours a week or 48 weeks a year. You can take four weeks off. You can take some weekends off. You can take every weekend off and still build an amazing company. So, at the end, that you decide because some people just love being consumed by it as well. So, there’s my answer.
Josh Cantwell: Unfortunately, there’s this whole idea of hustle, “I’m going to hustle, hustle, hustle,” and that work will expand and for whatever the box is, the amount that you allow it to expand. So, I love, Gino, that you’ve said, “I’ve got this work container, this box that I’m going to keep my hours in. I’m going to get the work done in that and I’ve got to commit to that and I’ve got to find the people to delegate to,” because there is a lot of work. You can certainly work more hours, but you’ve got to keep the frameworks around it and delegate to those folks. Gino, we could go on and on and on and on and on forever. I love this conversation. I can’t wait to have you back. But there are so many resources that you’ve put out for our audience. Again, just tell us where we can get some of those resources. Take the assessment. I mentioned E-Leap.com but there are so many other resources there for my audience to consume. Just tell everybody where to go.
Gino Wickman: Yeah. I’ll try and simplify it. So, you already said it, E-Leap.com is the epicenter for all things Entrepreneurial Leap, which is most of what we’ve talked about. And so, you will find some amazing content. It’s all free, free tools, something called a 1-2-3 Roadmap to help you start a better startup. It’s a one-hour exercise. I have you fill out three tools and you’ll have absolute clarity for the business that you want to start. If you want to become a collaborator with Entrepreneur Leap and you love teaching this content to other entrepreneurs in the making, hit To Become a Collaborator button. I put out a video every week, I write an article every other week, so just a wealth of content. If you’re curious about some of the other stuff that you and I talked about, my book, Traction, EOS, The EOS Life, just go to GinoWickman.com and you’ll kind of see all of what goes on with me from that standpoint. But from an entrepreneurial standpoint, most of what we talked about, E-Leap.com is the epicenter of everything.
Josh Cantwell: Love it. Gino, listen, you’re an absolute beast. I’ve had a blast in this conversation. Thank you for carving out some time for our members today.
Gino Wickman: Had a blast, Josh.
Josh Cantwell: Well, there you have it, guys. Listen, that was an incredible, incredible interview with Gino. I had an absolute blast interviewing him and learning more about him. He’s impacted hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs around the world over the last 21 years. Really, an absolute, you know, kind of honor to have him on the show today. So, let me ask you these kind of five questions, these kind of five frustrations to kind of wrap up the show. So, if you are building a business, let me know if you’re experiencing any of these. Number one, a lack of control. You know, you don’t have enough control over your time, your market, your company, your income. Number two, you’re frustrated with people. You’re frustrated with your employees, your customers, vendors or partners. Number three, you’re frustrated with your profits. It’s just simply not enough. Number four, you’ve hit a ceiling. You feel like your growth has stopped. No matter what you do, you can’t kind of break through that. And lastly, number five, nothing is working. You’ve tried various strategies. You’ve gone to seminars. You’ve done weekend boot camps. You’ve tried quick-fix remedies. Nothing is working.
If that’s the case, if you’re any one of those five, you’re frustrated with any of those five then, of course, this interview was for you, and you absolutely need to take the next step. Download and buy Gino’s book called Entrepreneurial Leap. You can also buy the book, Traction, and these are all resources for you to be able to help you take the next step in your entrepreneurial journey whether it’s going from a W-2 to an entrepreneur, whether it’s going from a startup solopreneur to someone with your first five or 10 employees, or whether it’s going from five or 10 employees to hundreds and hundreds or thousands of employees and having a big business. Regardless of where you’re at, if you’re experiencing those frustrations, make sure you go back, listen to this episode again, and make sure you engage with Gino in his books.
If you enjoyed this episode, this is one of my favorite episodes we’ve done in a long, long time. I certainly would be giving us a five-star review, and if you feel compelled, please leave us a five-star review. We so much appreciate that. Otherwise, guys, I really look forward to helping you along your journey in your entrepreneurship and in your apartment investing. If we can help you out in any way, let us know. We’ll see you next time. Take care.