An entrepreneur has to work even harder when it’s boring, demotivating and depressing. You cannot give up.
Alexis Assadi is an entrepreneur, investor, blogger and podcaster. He manages a group of business/real estate financing companies, including as the Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Income Capital Corporation. He aims to provide funding to entrepreneurs who are often talented, but who may be underserved by traditional financing sources, such as banks. Through his blog and the Income Investing podcast, Alexis Assadi aims to provide thoroughly researched material to his audience. While he focuses broadly on “passive income,” he delves into granular content that revenue-oriented investors may find useful. He covers anything from the legal instruments that can be used to issue a mortgage loan to why different share classes matter. Alexis Assadi also enjoys producing courses, books and guides. He lives in Vancouver, Canada but caters to an audience across North America and around the world.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I had already been in the business and real estate financing space for several years, so I didn’t really create the company out of thin air. I started Pacific Income in 2017 because I wanted to scale. I had done decently with commercial lending in the past, so Pacific Income was an opportunity to take something I was good at and passionate about, and just do it at a bigger level.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My days can be a bit irregular because I often wake up (unintentionally) at 2 or 3 in the morning and can’t fall back asleep. So, sometimes I’ll start working very early and finish by noon. However, regardless of when I begin, I purposely operate my companies as much as possible via laptop and smartphone. That way, I can manage the ups and downs of business as they arise. I’m grateful to have an international audience because of my blog and podcast, so working from 9am-5pm doesn’t fit what I do.
This also gives me the flexibility to do business from wherever I want. That’s really important to me; I don’t want to be forced to go into the office. For example, in the summers I will often go by the seawall with my dog, hotspot my laptop, and spend the day there working. If you see a guy walking a 5-pound Yorkie-Chihuahua on a pink leash while yelling into a phone, then that’s probably me at work. For better or for worse, I am always connected to my business partners, lawyers and accountants. There is practically no difference between when I’m in Vancouver or on vacation. I’ll always spend several hours each day tapping out emails, writing articles and talking on the phone.
To stay productive, I keep a list of tasks in my iPhone “notes” app. All I do each day is to try to complete them. I take one small bite at a time. And I drink a pot of coffee, plus an espresso every morning. That helps quite a bit.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I don’t really know. I just do whatever I think has to be done. I am not a particularly gifted businessperson. I am nothing like those whiz-kids who start revolutionary technology companies, for instance. I just pursue the idea until I hopefully reach my goal. I’m not afraid to put myself out there.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I think the rise of blockchain technology as it relates to data protection will be transformative. Some banks, for example, are starting to use it to bolster their electronic security. Each month there’s another story about hacking, whether into systems used by companies, governments, political parties or individuals. Blockchain technology will be the answer to a lot of these problems.
That notwithstanding, I don’t believe that cryptocurrencies, some of which use blockchain, are the future. I think that, ultimately, they will be remembered for publicizing the power of blockchain technology. But I can’t see a Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency replacing what we use today. That’s just wishful thinking.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am highly anxious and obsessive, which causes me to thoroughly calculate every possible risk that I might undertake. It’s a pain in my personal and daily life, but it’s good for business.
For instance, a lot of the work at Pacific Income is done by the legal team. I check every single document that they produce, word-for-word, and won’t proceed with a deal until I think it’s perfect. That includes spelling and grammar. I frustrate everyone involved, but it’s helpful for a company that must pay close attention to risk mitigation.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Go to school because you want to learn something, not because it might lead to a career. Your career will result from working really hard at what you enjoy. You can turn anything into a business, so you may as well use school to discover what you like.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The 3 best movies of all-time are Rush Hour 1, Rush Hour 2 and Rush Hour 3. This is an indisputable fact.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
You’ve got to work hard at your business consistently and over long periods of time. A lot of people will start a business, they’ll get excited about it, work really hard for a few months and will then quit after not seeing results. Then, they’ll move onto the next shiny object and repeat the process.
An entrepreneur has to work even harder when it’s boring, demotivating and depressing. You cannot give up. Once you get through the stages of hellishness, uncertainty and self-doubt, you will then have a business. If you quit during them, then you’ll be just like every other person who started a business and failed.
Oftentimes, people have good ideas. They just lack the mental stamina. That was my problem, too, for a long time.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Customers and people in general appreciate empathy. They want to know that you understand their situation and that you can relate. When I first began blogging in 2014, my articles were a bit crass and arrogant. I found that once I relaxed a bit, displayed a sense of humor and became humbler, I built a stronger connection with my audience. That transformed my website and caused it to become a business in and of itself.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have had several failed businesses and they were all a function of giving up too quickly. I think that any of my ideas could have worked. But as I said earlier, if you don’t push beyond the difficulty, then you won’t succeed. I have not failed since then; the projects that are not yet successful are not failures because I haven’t quit.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think the big money will be in environmental conservation. Clean water, clean air and moderate temperatures are all becoming scarcer. If you can provide more of it, then you should call me because I want to invest in you.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I went to a bar with a friend who I hadn’t seen a while. I racked up a hefty tab and I paid for my friend’s drinks, too. His bill, alone, was around $100. We didn’t drink a whole lot, but we were sampling whiskeys. So, the more we drank, the less I cared about price, and we ended up tasting some nicer scotches. The next morning, I saw that somebody purchased one of my online courses. I then got a message saying, “Hey, I just bought your course. I was your bartender last night.”
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I run my entire life through Gmail. Email and calendar aside, I note all of my reminders and long-term “to dos” by emailing them to myself and then flagging those messages. I use it for everything; both personal and business. For example, yesterday I emailed myself what I want to buy my mom for Christmas.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Read Sapiens, by Yuval Harari. It will help minimize your stress by showing how small we all are in the grand scheme of things. Honestly, it was life-changing for me. It caused me to become a lot less self-centered.
What is your favorite quote?
“Your kids ain’t ugly. You just can’t look at ‘em for too long” – Steve Harvey
• Everyone appreciates empathy
• Go to school because you want to learn something, not because it might lead to a career.
• The future of business will be in environmental conservation
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.