John Sofric from WealthyGardener.com [Financial Independence Forum, EP.009]

John runs wealthygardener.com and has a book of the same name as well.  He writes about lessons about prosperity, having reach six-figures in annual passive income himself and teaching others how to achieve their own Financial Independence too.  Financial Independence was modelled by the conversations he has had with his son, who had instilled into him the lessons of prosperity, FIRE, life-long lessons on wealth and the parables that makes wealth creation possible.

Podcast Transcript

Eugene / Host: (00:05)
Hello and welcome everyone. I’m Eugene Ting and this is the financial independence forum. This show is an open ended exploration of stories, methods and mindsets. How to better invest your time best in yourself and invest your money. You can learn more and please contribute your voice in story@financialindependenceforum.com my guest this week is John, so Frick, the wealthy Gardner John runs wealthygardner.com and has a book of the same name as well. He writes about lessons about prosperity, having reached six figures in annual passive income himself and teaches others on how to achieve their own financial independence. Financial independence was modeled by the conversation he has had with his son over the years who had instilled into him the lessons of prosperity, fire life on lessons on wealth and the parables that make wealth creation possible. We’re lucky to have John join us today. Welcome to the financial independence farm.

John Soforic: (01:07)
Glad to be here, my friend. Thanks for having me.

Eugene / Host: (01:10)
I know you’re, you’re a prolific, brighter. It’s, well, you have to have that one book out in audio form, but you also kind of space out the different, different quotes of, of wealth and prosperity in the book. And I’d like to start from lesson one about prosperity. Let’s start there. And what does that, what does that mean to you? What would, what would that word mean to you?

John Soforic: (01:29)
Prosperity. Wealth. What does it mean to me? What it means to me is, is the ability to not have to think about money. See, when I were, when I graduated from college, I jumped into the world had first. So I came out of college, I got married right away. I had a $100,000 worth of debt between me and my wife. Within our first year, we had a child. Within three years we had our second. I had my own business. So while all the people were having fun in their twenties I was trying to figure out how to survive. I learned in my twenties that life can be consumed by the worry of money and I did not want that. So for me, a big thing, a big why for me to get prosperity, for me to get wealthy was to overcome any kind of worry, to gain peace of mind and to provide and protect my family. Those were my driving, driving motives for prosperity. So for me, a lot of it was peace of mind and getting away from the edge of [inaudible] vulnerability. Quite frankly, that’s the word. I didn’t want to be vulnerable.

Eugene / Host: (02:33)
You could talk a little bit about the, the, you know, some of the basis for why you call it the wealthy Gardner, who, who’s the wealth be garner. I know. I personally know that maybe our audiences and know when we could, we could talk about that too.

John Soforic: (02:46)
I was going to write a book and I wanted to indoctrinate my son in the lessons I learned over the past 25 years. He was just graduated from college and this time in my life, my brother died instantly in a car wreck. So I’m motivated now to think about it a little more deeply about life. Like you would if your only sibling dies. My son’s graduating, and so I’m thinking that there’s certainly a time in life. I’m going to be in a casket too, so I’m going to leave my life lessons behind to my son so that he can take up where I’m, it took off. It’s pretty stupid for me to die without letting him know what I’ve learned because I had gained financial freedom by this point. I had a multi six figure income with passive income. I just wanted him to know how to do that.

John Soforic: (03:32)
So I like, I created this book, my life lessons, but I didn’t want to just preach it to him with a bunch of dry lessons over and over where you’re just hammering them with personal finance. So we created a parable. The parable surrounds a person called the wealthy Gardner. You ask why I came up with a name. I read it. When you put your mind on something, I think sometimes you start, you start to notice things. Seth Godin had a blog called the wealthy gardener. It jumped off the page at me when I was thinking about it, thinking about trying to get a name for this parable that we were writing this the fictional part of the book. [inaudible] And believe it or not you know, the website, the international websites are just taken. There’s no land out there for, for a name, for a book.

John Soforic: (04:15)
Well, the wealthy gardener was available everywhere and all of a sudden I wrote a book around that name around that character and I stayed with it because I you know, the classic metaphor of life life is a garden. Life can be compared to a garden. And so there is, there’s certainly interplay between the word wealth and gardener versus, you know, a person that lives a prosperous life. And so it’s stuck for that reason. I’ve funny ironically in, in the, in the past year we’ve had gardeners buy this book not knowing it was about finance and some of the best reviews you’ll see, there’s like, Oh my God, I thought this was going to be about gardening. This is about wealth. I love this. And I thought, boy, they would hammer me on our, there’s a kind of people, they’re the kindest people. So noise, that’s where the gardener came from. The wealthy Gardner story came from a name from Seth Seth Godin, but it revolved around the whole idea that you know, sewing and reaping life can be compared to a garden.

Eugene / Host: (05:12)
There’s, there’s a, another author I think in the personal finance space. It’s called the wealthy barber. And I don’t know if you’ve read his book as well, but you know, he’s, he certainly talked about the journey of himself being a barber and how he sort of engaged in saving and, and you know, the other, all the other financial independence, financial freedom type methodologies and how he became wealthy that way.

John Soforic: (05:33)
I am old enough to have read that book when it was first published. So yes. I’m very familiar with the wealthy barber. He, the author lives in Canada and yeah, I’m familiar with the story. So I, I’ve seen these kind of learning parables done before. I knew this was a risk going in. One of the greatest motivations you have the book like this is that you, you really just don’t want to embarrass yourself with a stupid story. You’ve got to bring a, you got to bring it to the table and have something that’s respectable or else you’re going to look silly out there. And thank God people have taken to the story and were back then and we’ve have fantastic reviews and if anything is just a big sigh of relief when it’s all over that we pulled this off, you know,

Eugene / Host: (06:21)
That’s it. That’s amazing. That’s always great to hear. So on, on that, no, I think let’s, let’s talk a little bit about passive income cause that’s something that I think you, you had mentioned that you’ve achieved yourself in a six figure kind of format. The book I assume is, is also one of the income streams, passive quote unquote passive income streams. Once you’ve created it, you can kind of leverage off as a, as another channel for some of the, the income that you can create passively. Maybe walk us through, like you mentioned, you know, you’re coming out of college with six figure debt, you know, what, what point did you kind of take it by its rains and kind of you know, thought of different income streams including passive income to, to kind of start your financial independence journey?

John Soforic: (07:06)
No question. I’ll, I’ll take you through that. I mean, it took me a lot of pain the first couple of years to realize that this wasn’t okay. Okay. I would say that the first couple of years for me just getting control of my, my mindset and, and fighting against all the forces out there where you’re just trying to survive and you have a family and wait a minute, I, yeah, look, I have white collar job, but in reality I am just, I am broker. Then the beggar on the street, I have a close to a six figure debt and I have bills coming in at me left and right. So I needed to, the first thing I needed to do is just get over the fear and get my confidence back again because that’s what happens. If you get out there and if you’re like an entrepreneur like me, there’s no, there is no given income next week.

John Soforic: (07:54)
Okay. So a big part of that was getting my mindset. I’m getting my beliefs about money straightened out from my past. I S I saw on your website you know, maybe you can relate to this. Like I come from the middle-class too as do you, and so I relate to what you’re saying there and I think that’s a story for most of us. We don’t, we don’t come from a Princeton university Harvard grads upbringings. Most of us are from the middle class. And so in the middle-class you do have to align and sometimes drop away for some of the beliefs about money. You know, and I had to lose some of my ideas. Get confronted. No excess money is good. It’s good to have money, but it’s important to have excess money. Cause if you don’t have excess money, you can’t protect your family.

John Soforic: (08:39)
You can, I had to get those things in my, in my head, right? So first thing I think was just getting congruent with money beliefs. When I was right out of school, all of a sudden I had to think about it for the first time in my life. Once you get that set down, I really had to just get clear what I want and what I and S, you know, set a goal on it and focus my faith on it. I cannot tell you over and over, it may look redundant in my book, my, my emphasis on my belief of focused faith. And I’m not talking religious faith. I’m talking about putting your mind on something you want very much. And focusing with confidence just like you would before a sporting event for an outcome that you desire. I really had to master that game.

John Soforic: (09:24)
And once that game is mastered, now you come into the world, you start, you start redefining your, your your time. I have no question. Time management is everything in this world. It’s how you express your potential in the world is how you use your time. So, you know, I had to find the actions. I would say through my twenties, I finally just, I wasn’t getting ahead the way I wanted to. I was getting my mindset right and when all that comes together now you’re going to see the changes are needed when you have a focused goal and you’re not going anywhere. So one of the things I did was I moved across the country back to my hometown area where the living cost of living was a lot cheaper, but my income was the same. So I, I did that. I made some very big moves that way.

John Soforic: (10:07)
I learned to not talk about a 40 hour week. You know, we have, we have a 40 hour work week, but what about the a hundred other hours we have to use? I think that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. When we say we’re stuck, there’s a, there’s a lot of other time in the week that we don’t use and that goes into it, even if it’s temporary and temporarily you have to sacrifice to get ahead. And so I learned how to put the right actions in those times. In those hours I had to work a lot harder and I had to give him more hours. And eventually I found that in the middleclass you better, it just wasn’t going to happen. If I was just going to S if I was going to invest a little bit here, a little bit there and get it into the stock market and I was maybe saving out of low $500 a month at the end of my twenties.

John Soforic: (10:57)
But it wasn’t getting me there. You know, I was back to being broken after paying back student loans at the age of 32. So that’s when a real estate became an interest to me in passive income. I saw that I could definitely invest in a duplex and let’s just try that. Just one duplex and let’s do that as an alternative to, to the stock market. Let’s try that. And so that’s how it all started for me to build a passive income. And I can tell you that this is day one of, one of my fondest memories is when you’re talking about fire, you’re talking about passive income. I can assure you that the day I received a rent check that wasn’t earned by my own work. That was a day I stared at that check. I didn’t earn it. Every other dollar in my life, you know, came from dollars for hours, dollars for hours, dollars for hours.

John Soforic: (11:50)
This one came without my hours and never forget that first check. But that’s how I built my life. After that, I started going into rental real estate while keeping my full time job. So, you know, that’s, that’s, that was important because the banks do like to see a job when they’re talking about financing things. So I didn’t just jump ship, I had a family responsibilities. I did it in, in that way, not just a single life where you could just jump off the cliff and learn how to fly. You can’t do that when you have a family, you know, other people depend on you. So that was my journey right there.

Eugene / Host: (12:26)
Awesome. Thanks for sharing that. You mentioned about the money beliefs like being congruent with those money to leaves. You also talk on other, in your book, but also in other parts of your site, how those mental sort of the mental things that you need to do in order to set yourself self up for success are also, if not as important to you. You kind of mentioned, and even as you’re talking through the journey that that was sort of the foundation that made the shift for you. Maybe, you know, expand on that a little bit for us. Like maybe what were some of the beliefs you had to, you had to do away with and maybe what are some of these you have to take on in order to to get to where you are?

John Soforic: (13:04)
I had, okay, fair enough. I was raised Catholic and while I had a great, a great middle-class upbringing, we needed nothing. We, we used to, you know, be taught certain things about money. And that came out of grade school and college and high school thinking that, you know, th the greedy people want money. [inaudible] I had to, I had to rethink that the greedy people want money or do does a person who’s responsible for their, for their family is, is, isn’t that the right thing to do for them? I had to just reframe that. First of all, I had to get over the belief that a 40 hour week work week was more than enough. That’s all I’m going to do. [inaudible] Oh, w well, who said that? You know you know, there’s a lot of free hours here, so a lot of people in the, in the middle class would, would keep me there.

John Soforic: (13:56)
You know, a rich man can’t get to heaven any more than what I [inaudible] Kendall can get through the eye of a needle. That’s a hard one to get around, right? People say, well, the Bible means this and that. I don’t know how you get around that one. That’s a pretty strong preacher against being rich. All I can tell you is that in my twenties, I w I’ve faced all of these beliefs. But it’s, it was you. You can stop preaching when you get hungry because money pays for food. You know, and that’s, and I, there was a point in my life when I didn’t know how to pay for the groceries. The next week I looked like a white collar guy. Everybody ended me. I had a clinic, I had, I had things around me. I looked good. I didn’t know how to pay for a pizza.

John Soforic: (14:40)
And if you don’t, if you ever know, don’t know where $20 is going to come from next week you’ll, you’ll, you’ll think a little differently about money. And so those beliefs had to go, I had to see money as something that was my responsibility. It was a virtue, not just to earn your, earn what you need, excess so that you’ll have a cushion so that you can have security in the future. You guys, you know, you talk about fire, the fire movement, I see that with the younger people behind me. Well, yeah, I love that idea. You know, financial independence, retire or don’t retire, you can, the point is money gives you options and that’s what you’re talking about. You’ll have freedom and power and you’ll have options. That’s what money is. It’s, it’s the ability to take a walk in the woods on a weekday.

John Soforic: (15:24)
So those were the kinds of things I had to start seeing money as, as a virtue. I had to start seeing money as this. I can only gain money by serving others. All right? You want to be Richards. It’s a fantastic, the free market society is a fantastic system. You want to, you want to get wealthy, well, learn to serve others. All right? Learn to add value because that’s the way you can’t get another person’s money without offering them something that they can consider a valuable contribution to them. So it’s a, it’s a really slick system. It’s what I love about business recruitment. It creates you to become a servant. You know, it’s not about greedy people. It’s about people who actually stent themselves and, and work and, you know, industrious people is for the people with ambition. Not, there’s not the TV Watchers, you know, so it’s I had to go through that kind of a mind shift and I think what you’re talking about however, with in addition to that is the mindset that [inaudible] I could put my mind on, on my outcomes in a focused kind of way.

John Soforic: (16:25)
And all I could tell you is I have a very rational mind. So this is good. This can kind of explode my brain even talking about it. But there is a truth to the uncanny coincidence is the show up in life when I could just create an absurd faith over the things that I wanted over the goals that I set for myself. I can’t tell you how many times I received lucky breaks that coincided with a faith I put in my goals. And so yeah, that’s, that’s definitely a belief of mindset for me. High, I’m a huge believer in knowing what you want, knowing why you want it and then putting it, just backing it with faith, faith, faith that can be developed. It’s a choice. If I were, if I were young and I was 25, well, okay, forget that. Let’s, I don’t want to take top, ah, to talk hypothetically here.

John Soforic: (17:19)
When I was 30, I set a goal for 220,000 in passive income. I wrote, I was one of those weird people who wrote a checkout and said, tenants, tenant income, 220,000 by my 50th birthday. That’s a fact. I still have that check. It’s still hanging in this room beside me and I hit that goal of my 50th birthday. But I missed every goal along the way to get there. But, and that’s the challenge with goals. You get beaten down and only the people that can maintain the mindset, the focus, the faith during the beat down get to achieve it at the end. That’s, that’s how it worked for me. And I, I do, I do go into my book with just the most personal stories that that really the, the coincidence is the show up in your life in relationship to that, which you think I’m a big believer of it.

Eugene / Host: (18:16)
That’s fantastic. I love that. Sorry, I think, I think I read somewhere that Jim Carrey also did a very similar thing with his career. Right. He had wrote himself $10 million I think, or something like that. And I think it achieved it in within a five year period or something like that. Right.

John Soforic: (18:32)
He is a fascinating story. Yeah. If you could YouTube the Jim Carrey story with the check of course his, you know, I, I you look at that, that achievement like, you know, mine certainly is his staggers what I’ve done. But nonetheless, you’re talking about the same power and I, and you, you realize like, keep in mind people say, well, you know, you might say that, but I have more, more to lose than to gain by saying such a thing. I don’t have to get out there and sell a book. I’m okay as it is. I have nothing to lose. Like Jim Carrey, he doesn’t have to say this either, but he did it. So you stick your neck out in a line and if anything improves that this guy must be truthful cause all he can do is lose and get criticism by saying such a thing. But no, I definitely believe, okay. I’ve seen it happen. I don’t understand it all. But if I put my face on something that I want very much I would say look out. Aye. Aye. I have that ability to, to command an absurd type of faith.

Eugene / Host: (19:32)
You know, you mentioned that, you know, that that feeling of holding that first check where you receive that wasn’t you know, earned income in that it wasn’t the hours that you put in, but it was earned income through a property that you had invested in the duplex. You mentioned and you, you also said, you know, from there I guess from 30 til, you know, you hit your 250 K passive income through primarily through real estate income. You know, how did, how do you take the next steps? I think for those of us in the fire community, either people are on the cusp of purchasing the first rental property or maybe even further along than that, you know, how did, how did you know, you, you said you kind of purchased it through the first split by still working full time, but how did you like get to that, you know, how did you grow that, that business if you will?

John Soforic: (20:21)
Okay. Well, you know, there’s, there’s certainly, for me, my story is that there was some nest money, you know, to start with maybe, maybe $60,000 to work with. So what I had the opportunity to do was to find a house, a rental that made sense with certain criteria that I was looking for, you know, return on ROI. To me, cash on cash is everything. There’s a million different form formulas you can find in real estate. Nothing to me is as valuable as cash on cash return because that’s exactly what we’re talking about in the stock market. That’s, that’s apples to apples and other investments that can also, that you can also put your money into. So let’s talk about those. In my neck of the woods, I could go cash on cash without, without loans. I was looking for a 12% return.

John Soforic: (21:09)
Okay? So let’s say I put 50, you know, if I’m going to put $50,000 in and not get alone, right? I better get $6,000 back on my return that year. That’s an annual return, right? That’s my minimum. Now, if you throw a leverage on that, you know, you can certainly if you’re a person with discipline like I was I’m, I’m okay with math, I’m pretty good at math and I, I’m pretty disciplined. All of a sudden I can get up to 25% returns. You know, you start to bring, bring in some leverage. You know, you buy it for 50, you take out a $40,000 loan. All of a sudden, all you have Intuit is 10. So things start to add up pretty quickly. I just repeated, I just did one. So if you think of the process from me, don’t think that, you know, I, I might have set a big goal, but you don’t go out there and swallow a, well, you know, like the first one, the first edition trip, you go out there and your, your hands, my hands shook.

John Soforic: (22:06)
I did this first deal. I’m praying to God that I’m not just an idiot. It’s going to look like a full from, from this investment just like everybody else. You know, I’m unfamiliar. This is, this is discomfort to the max. I got through that one and you know what, it’s sometimes I’ll, I’ll mentor some kids around as a, I call them kids. They’re adults, they’re young adults in our area. It’s, how do I get into this? It’s the same process. I see them going through. They just do one stop and then work that one for maybe three to five months. Okay, let’s get used to it. And then the next one, the next one, I know people that have built, built empires going one a year, I was a little more aggressive. I, I kind of went, I kinda went in all of a sudden I had four teams going on, four different houses, you know, my first couple of years.

John Soforic: (22:55)
But it’s if you get, if you get back to the idea of one concept, it’s always about cash flow. It’s always about the investment itself because you know, the fire community, we’re not talking about houses. This isn’t my house decorating. This isn’t a, this is just a means. It means a cashflow in real estate at his best. If you understand it correctly, all you are is a cashflow manager. Period. The vehicle might be these houses, the tenants come and go, okay, but they’re just a means of that cash flow. Your eyes are on the cashflow, you fall in love with the deal, not the house. Right? And so it comes deal after deal after deal and the skilling getting the deals is being patient enough for those deals to come around and sticking to your criteria and not being assisted because no deal come around.

John Soforic: (23:45)
I’m speaking for myself, I’ve done it, I’ve done this. I no deal has come come down the pipe for six months. So all of a sudden I’ll change my criteria a little because this one’s kind of okay and maybe the great deals are not there anymore. You’ll fall into that. And so as soon as you, you have to be mentally disciplined just like you do. If you’re in the stock market, you have to wait. You have to be disciplined, you have to stick to criteria. I mean, those, the same principles apply in investing right across the board. And the same is true for real estate. So I would say you do one and you fit in. If that works for you, you’ll find out that you did things right and you did things wrong and then do to, and eventually your understanding grows and you’ll find yourself and keep more capable of things that you weren’t capable of before you tried them.

John Soforic: (24:32)
That’s how you grow it. You know, if you think of me, I, I, I got up to 20 rentals. When I call rentals, I call them doors, right? So a duplex, those two rentals to me I got up to 20 without telling my anybody. I didn’t want to hear their opinions. It’s another thing. Stay away from the people you’re going to ask them for their opinions. Stick to people who actually have done this. They also tell you, Oh, everybody sells their real estate. I know. It’s one of the mindset things. Protect yourself. People want to drag you down to their level. Now you stick to people that have actually done it and still own those things. That’s who you want to talk to. I didn’t talk to anybody until I, it’s funny. So I did it one by one though, to be honest with you.

John Soforic: (25:14)
And it got with every consecutive house it got a little easier. So the key that the key to building a a hundred and a hundred plus, you know, rental building a business like me is to do one just to get started. It really is. And what you might find is you don’t like it. What you might find is that, well, this isn’t for me. This kind of sucks. I don’t like, I don’t like dealing with tenants. You have to try that kind of thing, you know, and find a, well maybe what, it’s another Avenue of a passive income for me that that isn’t real estate. So one step at a time, grow it one step at a time.

Eugene / Host: (25:49)
That’s great advice. Actually. This is, this is exactly where I wanted to go for the next question, which is, you know, other people certainly from our audience, like they, they’ve, you know, people just from the show, just thinking back on some of the, the, the recent guests that were on people were doing we’re flipping, whether it’s flipping houses or flipping furniture and, and, and doing a side business like that, side hustles like that. How did you know real estate was for you? I mean, maybe, maybe you answered that in the previous answer already, but how did you, how did you know that was sort of the area that you, you want it to be in or wanting to stick around for anyway?

John Soforic: (26:28)
I would say that I didn’t all right, like, and I think that’s an important point. Like, I think it’s important to sometimes, sometimes myself included. We’re, we’re so, we’re so prone to sitting and trying to figure out what will love hypothetically before we get get out there on the dance floor. Sometimes you got to get out there on the dance floor to know if you like to dance that tune. And so this kind of what the whole thing is like, I believe in trying things, experimenting. How did I know I was going to like real estate? That’s a great question because the answer is I didn’t, not until I tried one and I tried and I actually bought a single family house. You want to talk about an exit plan? I bought a single family house on my first one because I knew they sold quicker.

John Soforic: (27:18)
If I wanted to have a detour and get out of this business quick, I could sell a single family much easier than a duplex or a fourplex. So that’s where I started with a single family. If I don’t like this, I’m out. Simple as that. I don’t know if we have really had the ability to forecast the things we’re going to like and not like. I know we can kind of have guides that we, it’s certainly worth our time to contemplate and think. Don’t think, Oh, I’m not saying that I am a meditator. I will sit down with a pen and paper and ProCon everything in my life before I do it. I think more than most people that I know, at least however you’ve got to get on the dance floor to know. And I, I really just would say that if you, you, you got to do it in a way you can accept the worst case scenario if you buy the house right.

John Soforic: (28:03)
You always have an exit plan in that. And I’ll, I’ll just say this for one other, one other point here. There was a house, probably my third one where just disaster struck, right? So now I’m [inaudible] one, I mean, I did another, it worked [inaudible] number three, we’re coming down the pike. Oh my God. I mean I fired three teams of contractors. There’s not a thing that didn’t go wrong with that house. I am so far over my estimates, I’m about ready to have a heart attack. I can’t sleep at night. I knew I was an idiot and this has proven it and everything went wrong. Right at the end of the six months, it couldn’t be used for rental cause there was no return on income. It was ridiculous that way. I put it in the market and I sold it and I sold it for a $200 profit.

John Soforic: (28:50)
Now what what what you’ll see in, in, in an uneducated sense of financially illiterate sense, I’ll have people laugh as like, Oh my God, you only got $200 all that time. And I said, don’t you see it? Everything went wrong and I got out of this without losing my money. Where else am I going to do that? It was a epiphany to me. I couldn’t believe I got my money back with that disaster. And so to me it was, you got to buy the house low enough to give yourself an exit strategy. If you do that. And you know, there’s, there’s, there’s a lot of good books written on that kind of stuff. You know, you, you look for the criteria, you’re looking for the after repair value. There’s, those are the kinds of things you have to know in real estate. You have to educate yourself as you would in any business. It’s a real business. But if you go into it knowing like that in you, you cover backside and you have an extra strategy, it’s, it’s really riskless. And I won’t say that about a lot of things. You know, I’m, I’m a risk averse guy, right? But it was, it’s riskless. If you buy right, you can always sell it.

Eugene / Host: (29:54)
Like, how did you, when you were coming up, like you said, education and all this stuff, like were you just self-taught or were there where there’s some heroes where there’s some mentors that you found in the internet or authors or other people that really helped you along through that journey?

John Soforic: (30:11)
I’m a reader. There’s no question about it and I, I’m a big, I do believe that once you, you know, again, if I can be repetitious, you know, you get your mindset straight, you work on the vision of what you want from your life, why you want it. You come up and you start to get, get a, an idea of your time management. How can I use my time better right from the start when I’m working on my mindset, but I don’t yet have, have the track, duh. What do you, when you’re in that time, when you’re just getting started, you know what you have a lot of, you have a lot of time, you know, before I get into like while I’m getting myself together, while I’m building my faith that I’m going to get this down, I don’t yet have real estate in my life, right?

John Soforic: (30:52)
What I have is a lot of spare hours. If you don’t turn the TV on, if you don’t, if you don’t just go mindless doing things that, you know, don’t we all know that what we’re doing that doesn’t, that doesn’t really get us anywhere. Those hours can be put to use through education. We could become surgeons and these hours, this hundred hours of free hours every week of our lives, we can read, we can educate ourselves and I’m, I’ve always been a self educator. Yeah, I went to school, I went to graduate school, I came out with a big debt. I get it. But what, after I graduated, I’m a self learner. No doubt about it. I, I did have some fit. You end up with some favorites some favorite books we all do. But I, I would say that they come and go, you know, and you’re, you’re, it was, it was just something that evolves and you started getting the criteria and it’s a lot about the math in real estate and, and your ability to take a punch in the mouth over and over and over without losing enthusiasm. Those are the kinds of things that really matter. In real estate. You can teach yourself anything and stay away from the expensive courses. They just stay away from them. They’re what you suspect is true. They’re, they’re just taking your money. You can learn everything for free, especially in this economic world war where we have an internet. There’s really good sites out there for, for learning. Yes. I’m a cell phone self-learn officer.

Eugene / Host: (32:16)
Awesome. And you know, I picked up maybe one thing that you mentioned that the little thread is, you know, whether you, you kind of mentioned it and described it as taking a punch to the face. And maybe talk a little bit share a little bit about how temperament is involved. Because you mentioned like waiting, being patient to find the deal, buying it at, you know, a good value, but at the same time also if something does go wrong, you have a margin of safety. And within that you can still make sure that you are able to recover from some of these, you know, maybe, maybe what in the beginning was a pretty good decision. But still at the end of the day, it’s still contingent on market conditions and you know, execution risks and all those other things.

John Soforic: (33:03)
Well, you know what, the time for temperament, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of people out there really worried in real estate when they’re doing these kinds of things. And so one of the, one of the roles in real estate, and then I can say with all investing, okay, is the time for worry is before the decision is made, worry your off across the X’s and O’s. Figure out the pros and cons. [inaudible] Close your eyes and get a gut hunch. Do all that stuff right before the decision is made. However, there was a point where you sign on a piece of paper where you, you go into the investment, then the business, whatever that is, the side hustle that you’re into, the time for worry is behind you. Now you gotta get your mind on the go. You gotta get your mind on the certainty, the foot, the focused faith.

John Soforic: (33:56)
What are you in this for and what do you expect? You know, I’m a big believer that you, you, we rise. We, we, we, we don’t rise to our expectations so much as we fall to the level of what we’ll tolerate. Well, what will you tolerate? You got to get yourself focused and focused and focused. To me, I can control that. I can control my faith. Like people say, well, I, I want to be, I know I want to feel this way or feel that way. Well, a lot of the feelings are tough to get yourself around, but you can’t feel faith. You can see any, you can see at athletes, that’s what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to build their faith. I was saying in this, in this game of entrepreneurship having a mind filled with faith, certain to certitude, confidence.

John Soforic: (34:42)
That’s the mindset that leads you to be what other people call happy. You know, you’re comfortable in your skin. When you feel confidence, you’re not too content. You’re not too comfortable in your skin. When you start to feel worried and timid Dow fall and tired and you just, you really need a peak state to play this game because decisions are made all the time and [inaudible] types of decisions you made are better with a strong mind. And that’s, that’s what I found to be the, the biggest challenge through it all. And the mindset of, you know, punch it in the face, like you said, if I could just elaborate to that, one of the greatest challenges of having goals is to continually come short over and over and over. You know, you’re, you’re gonna have a lot of short term goals and this is how life works.

John Soforic: (35:29)
You can miss your goal over and over and over and it gets discouraging, but it moves you forward. Yes. So I one of the tests of, of who can go the distance is who can face that setback over and over and over and over and just keep on going. And a lot of it’s just your inner fortitude, your inner vision and, and so that’s why I come back to that stuff. That’s the engine of success. You know, it’s not the road, but that’s the engine. That’s the car that drives it to do all the work required over the years. Absolutely. It’s all mindset. There’s a wealth mindset that you can get an a, I speak so much of that and sometimes repetitiously I’ll apologize for that.

Eugene / Host: (36:14)
No, I think that’s, that’s important. The other aspect you I picked up on where you mentioned a little bit about intuition. Also, you talk a little bit about it on your blog too. Tapping intuition. You were talking about you, you sort of, you have a meditate, you meditate. I think you mentioned that you know, talk a little bit about that. How do you use that side of yourself to sense when there are opportunities and and to also, you know, to, to make good judgment on, on different deals.

John Soforic: (36:46)
Well, that’s a, that’s an important topic. Now. I’m not going to sit out in here and say that, follow your gut. It’s always right. Okay. It’s, that’s a, that’s a, that’s an important topic I say to moderate with a little bit of, of reason. I’m a believer that yes, tuition can be, can be cultivated in a sense where you can, you can foresee trouble coming your way. You can sense it. I’m also a believer that you can be dead wrong and think that you’re marrying the love of your life and you just married the worst thing that ever happened to you. All right? A lot of people follow their intuition and their instincts right into the worst marriages and the worst deals ever. So how do we do that? How do, how do we, how do we make sure that it’s intuition versus not versus that’s the challenge.

John Soforic: (37:34)
For me, I could tell you that like speaking from me and what I tell my son, my personal belief is that I can, I can, I think pasture is always the one that said this, that you can develop your intuition by your focus. Like you can harness your mind and pointed towards your goals and now it’s going to work in a lot more alignment than a person that has a very fuzzy idea of what they want in this world. That’s when intuition starts to work for me. If I’m looking for a deal where I’m specifically looking for a $25,000 flip, okay. And my mind is trained on that, I’m going to start to see things and I’m going to start to sense things that are in alignment with that goal. I, it’s almost like an animal instinct that I have learned to [inaudible]. You’ll, you’ll, if you would see me in a private house when I got into a foreclosure, sometimes you’ll see me sit down on the steps, close my eyes, and just get a feel.

John Soforic: (38:35)
Sounds bizarre. I know. But I, but I can feel a red light or a green light. I can sometimes feel nothing, which is much as a, I think it’s an inner need, a kind of an inner guide for me to dig for more, more data, do more research on this thing. What’s wrong here? I can tell you that on when I was young as an example, I can give a story where I, I moved across the country, like I mentioned before, and I came to my hometown area and at the time I was a chiropractor. You know, I got into that profession pretty unthinkingly as, as I did most things early in my life. And as I came across this country, I was made an offer from, from another chiropractor to work part time in his clinic. And he was giving me this exorbitant amount of money to work two and a half days a week and I couldn’t believe it.

John Soforic: (39:28)
Dublin, the offers for everybody else half the time. And it felt so wrong. I don’t know what that is like. Did you ever meet a person where, okay, I’m just repelled by you. I don’t know why it is. I’m just, I’m just going to go my own way. I’m not going to judge this, but I just don’t click with you and something feels wrong about you. I had that feeling about this guy. I didn’t listen to that. I was young. I took the money. I feel like Tom cruise in the firm. Right. And I ended up a lot like Tom cruise in the firm within a month of taking that offer. This guy was, was picked up by FBI agents for buying and selling drugs. He went to, he went to a prison for 10 years and I’m here I am, I’m just, I just came back to the area to start to get my, to get the rust off myself and have my own clinic.

John Soforic: (40:14)
Now I’m in charge of a clinic that has 120 patients a day and I’m stuck because I just can’t leave the family. You know, it was, it was a good family. He just screwed up. And you know, that’s, that’s what happens. And that’s what I’ve learned to sense and that’s what I’ve learned to, to really pay attention to. I think we have those feelings. I think we don’t like to talk about it cause it sounds kind of like new age, but I think we have feelings where we can feel yeah. Drawn or you feel, Socrates used to talk about that. He was, he could fill when something was wrong and he used, he called that his attendant force and he followed that right to his death. He said, well it doesn’t feel wrong to me, so I’m going to accept this. And he walked into it instead of walking away from death.

John Soforic: (40:57)
I’ve learned to live my life like that. And there’s a lot of stories, conversely where I did, I avoided catastrophe. But I think that we can, if we can develop intuition, that’s my, that’s really important. You’ll find, you’ll find your intuition works a lot better for your investments and for your choice of relationships if you know what you want. You know, that’s, that’s my caveat to using intuition. You can go right or it can go wrong and it’s good to balance it with some reason. We’ll definitely have to have you back on with some of these lessons. I think that the takeaway for me is, you know, that intuition is super important. You know, not just to

Eugene / Host: (41:33)
Always go with your gut, but learn over time. Like what are the signals that would lead you to positive outcomes versus the the opposite. But I know we’re reaching the top of the hour here, so I’ll end off with our standard three questions of our first, first time guests. So John, what is one of the one item or service that you purchased in the past that had the highest value or return on investment for you? I know we were talking about it could be anything if financial related or, or not. But yeah, if you can share with the audience an example like that, that’d be great.

John Soforic: (42:06)
Sure. you know, I think we’ve, if you’ve been in real estate long enough, you’re going to have return of income stories and if you’ve been through there for decades, there’s going to be some that will just blow you away with this is an incredible deal. I’m not going to give you that one because it’s just grandiose and who cares, right? We all have big deals. I’ll tell you the one that’s this. It’s kind of humbling. I have a, I have a five unit. A building beside this five unit is, is a dumpy trailer that became a foreclosure. Oh my God. I hear, I saw here I am thinking I I drug addicts. He’s going to move into this dumpy trailer. It’s priced at like $12,000. I don’t want to trailer. This is the last thing I want, but to protect my other investment, I’m going to buy the neighborhood.

John Soforic: (42:52)
Okay, I’ll buy the damn thing. I’ll and I want to kicking and screaming. I bought the thing for $17,000 I put maybe $4,000 into it to me to bring it up to standards, new kitchen, whatever. I saw the three bedroom, three bedroom trailer beside my five bedroom, right? This thing rents for seven 50 a month for the last 15 years of my life. It’s the best investment I’ve ever done in my life and I didn’t want this thing. That’s how you can sometimes trip over these investments and I always say this probably, well, it’s not my best investment, but it’s, it’s up there. If you figure out 7,500 times seven $750 times 12 on a $19,000 investment, you’re going to see a pretty good return. That’s fantastic. You’re not going to talk about it and brag about it at the wine and cheese party. I got this trailer and is crushing it now, but that was probably one of my tops. But yeah. Which I had no, no, I can’t claim any, I guess any success for, I didn’t even want it.

Eugene / Host: (44:01)
That’s a, that’s an example where maybe, you know, your intuition was, was not, you know, not exactly right, but you know, it was, it was there and you still, you still bought it.

John Soforic: (44:12)
That’s something, I’m a believer, I’m a believer in reason to use your reasoning capacity. There’s a reason why reason don’t build it. That’s exactly right.

Eugene / Host: (44:21)
Yeah. Our second question is, you know, what, what’s one of the kindest thing that someone’s done for you?

John Soforic: (44:26)
I would say one of the things that I valued most is, is when I, you were talking about this earlier and I didn’t mention it, whatever you were saying, was there anybody that really helped you along in real estate? When I was in head over Hills in a busy life with my family, with my full time job, with my, I had a friend encouraged me and show me what he was doing in real estate and he wasn’t doing everything right. Like he was going a little mutt to leverage for me. But he had the kindness, he had the selflessness to take me around and show me exactly what he’s doing. Show me his numbers, show me the houses for what I could only be competition. So his name was Derek and I had one criteria. All my life is I do not, I do not invest on anything, it to compete with Derek if he’s in this property. I’m not, he showed me what he was doing, so he encouraged me to take that first step in the water for the first house. Now he might have 20, I might have on 120 when it’s all over, but I wouldn’t be here without Derek.

Eugene / Host: (45:35)
That’s a great story. And then lastly, what, you know, what’s next for you? If there’s anything and w, you know, where can people find you and follow you, follow you on your journey.

John Soforic: (45:45)
You know, what’s, what’s next for me is, is it seems like this book is opening up all kinds of strange avenues for me unexpectedly. I was, I was contacted by penguin random house. They, they now are partnering in there. They have all kinds of launch plans for the start of next year. You know, it was picked, it’s being, it’s being sold in China, South Korea. We’re flying over there and things that I never saw coming down the pike, that’s for sure. That you know, you, you get yourself into, one of the most interesting things that has happened was I started receiving letters from you know, you read the book, right? So you kind of have a background, a little bit of what it’s all about. You know, there’s a, there’s a story in it about, you know, it’s the reform boys that a penitentiary in the wealthy gardeners teaching them and so, so forth.

John Soforic: (46:33)
So along those lines you know, here’s an author that wrote this book, meaning me. It didn’t occur to me that this might apply to prisons and prisoners, people that are currently incarcerated. And I’m getting letters every week from inmates in different places. And so all of a sudden when I’ve arrived, I made this deal with penguin. I said, okay, I’ll make this deal, but I have to put in the stipulation that I need to get certain money to have certain ability to get books at book [inaudible] in order to serve the prison system of America because they’re reaching out to me. And I have an ROTC program in, in this, in New York, a big program there. They’re involved with inner city kids. They’re using the book for their finance teaching. So there’s all kinds of unexpected happenings that add more meaning to it all. You, I can tell you this, you, you, you did mention the [inaudible], the passive income through book.

John Soforic: (47:29)
I can say this to your readers through bookselling a little did I know I was a business guy all my life. Now I wrote a book and I’m this little did I know how little these people do make on, on books? Don’t write a book. If your goal is to make money, if it’s something, if it’s something that leads to your business or can it accentuate your podcast or something like that. Okay, I get it. There’s a different meaning, but that that trickle is amazing. No wonder they write to two or three books a year. It’s not a great business for return or for an RLI. You better have another why you figure that out. Another, why’d I write a book? Right? So that’s, that’s where my life is going right now. I kind of done a river of who knows what, but it’s kind of, it’s kind of fun because I like the openness of it. It’s not, it’s not confined. I have the options that you were talking about earlier, you know? That’s amazing. I bought John. Appreciate it.

Eugene / Host: (48:27)
Are you coming on the financial defense forum? I appreciate it. Joan. I’m a fair fairness. I’m going to be following you from this point forward, so thanks for having me. Thank you so much. Please, please, please share this podcast. And if you haven’t done so already, please hit subscribe. Thank you.

Categories Landlord Mortgage Mortgages Podcast Primary Residence Rental Income Retire Early

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