Don Mihalik

Real Estate Entrepreneur

Don Mihalik is a real estate entrepreneur in Manatee County, Florida. This is a natural progression for him with an extensive background in residential finance and real estate. Don Mihalik has pursued this career path ever since graduating from Rowan University in 1994. After several years as President and CEO of American Dream Financial, Inc, Don Mihalik has the skill set to take his experience, expertise, and knack for innovation  to the open market, and benefit families across the Sunshine State. With an eye for expansion beyond Florida, working with local governments and communities will be essential in being able to keep the finger on the pulse on community needs and trends. While many entrepreneurs have great ideas too often do they fall short in putting together a sustainable plan that takes all areas of business into account. From working capital to an attainable business plan. Not doing due diligence in every category can lead to a short-term dream. Don Mihalik’s extensive resume in strategic planning and execution has proved time and time again his commitment to never assuming the basics of implementing a sound plan is as important as the idea itself.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

Alex Trottman, the former CEO of Ford Motors, was my first mentor. Right out of college, I joined Associates Financial. A subsidy of Ford Motors at the time. While becoming a part of the President’s Club, I had the chance to meet and spend valuable time with Mr. Trottman. The main takeaway I had was to never stop working for your dreams and causes you believe in.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

No day is typical when working to achieve your dreams or to be the best leader you can be. I plan the next day in the prior one while repeating my mantra. “The easiest way to get nowhere is to do nothing.”

How do you bring ideas to life?

I have always thought outside the box. What unconventional method could be a conventional solution? It is easy to fall into a rut of not being creative and new. Being in a work environment with a creatively ambitious platform is critical to new ideas.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The current trend that excites me is the push for electric vehicles. It is not a secret that, over the years, human beings have taken the earth’s resources and healing power for granted. Great minds, such as Elon Musk, are needed by the masses.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Not being able to sit still, my teachers throughout the years would always comment on my inability to stay in one place. I now liken this to making sure I look under every rock for a solution to a problem or inspiration to make a good idea great.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Do not waste time on environments or people that do not allow for creativity and progress. Most of the time, these people are afraid of change or becoming irrelevant when all they must do is harness the talent in front of them.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I am happiest when working. So, since I do enjoy working long hours, I do sleep!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Rise early with a can and will-do attitude. Do not waste time on cannot’s.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I have an open-door policy that invites ideas and constructive criticism and is inclusive. The best ideas have come from people in departments that are not affiliated with other departments. We work as a team, regardless of the title on your business card. We are all equals.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

The one misfire that sticks out is not taking the chance to partner up with a larger company early in my first company’s life. I was not interested in any outside ideas other than my own at the time. I have since always taken the approach of listening and digesting prior to decision-making. Being able to truly “sleep on it” is a simple but effective way to recognize a good opportunity versus a bad one.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

The best advice/ idea I can share is to always remember why you chose to be in business for yourself or to seek that promotion. During my career, as most entrepreneurs, I have had those moments when I truly thought every idea, plan, and blueprint was the worst ever. I have learned not to let myself get into my head. Remind yourself in those tough times that you are number one and have no setback, large or small, that will stop you. Make a habit of telling yourself this out loud in your mirror every day. The results will shock you.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

On a recent business trip, I did take advantage of a massage at the airport. As always on the run and the “I’ll do it later” mindset. I was pleasantly surprised by how relaxing and relieving it was. Do not forget to pay attention to the small things.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I’m not sure I’m a big user of any particular software.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“The Power of One More” by ED MYLETT. It is a self-assessment of being able to truly be in control of your motivation and drive to succeed from the actual perspective of the author, who is the example. Simple to understand but not an off-the-shelf self-help read. A great read about pushing yourself to do one more task, one more accomplishment while looking at yourself in the mirror.

What is your favorite quote?

“The easiest way to get nowhere is to do nothing.”

Key Learnings:

  • Be able to accept and learn from criticism.
  • Don’t be afraid to collaborate. Teamwork gets things done.
  • Don’t be afraid to take chances. You’ll never get anything done otherwise.