Jim Toner

Clarify your idea. Think of it as a recipe to follow. Find out what, and more importantly who, you need to get it moving. Develop a flexible working model and test it. Study your results, adjust, and test again.


Jim Toner has enjoyed a long career as a real estate investor, radio show host, speaker, and consultant.

He has spoken throughout the country on the value of intelligent real estate investing and has appeared with the likes of Frank McKinney, Bill Bartmann, Sharon Lechter, The Napoleon Hill Foundation, and many more.

Jim’s expertise in making real estate investment “user friendly” for the general public has put his services in very big demand. People routinely pay $2,000 to $15,000 and travel from all over the country to attend his real estate investment programs.

Jim, an accomplished entrepreneur who has been in the trenches of the real estate investment world for over twenty-five years, has taught thousands the path towards financial freedom by using his custom 12 Little Houses Plan.

He is an active philanthropist having been nationally recognized for his work with veterans and the homeless. He is an active member of Frank and Nilsa McKinney’s Caring House Project Foundation as well on the Advisory Board Chair of a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Salvation Army branch.

He currently works with a limited Private Client Group as well as coaching groups, both of which have waiting lists. He occasionally accepts new private coaching clients on investment real estate and entrepreneurial / business issues.

Where did the idea for “The Band of Rebels” come from?

“The Band of Rebels” is in part a name, but really, it’s an attitude. Our team is comprised of seasoned entrepreneurs with experience in the “Real World” of business –what you see in the trenches. Having experienced the things we have, it is impossible not to develop a bit of a rebellious attitude. Not towards the public or customers, but toward the “system.” There are MANY obstacles that intentionally hamper entrepreneurial activity. This is why so few succeed. These obstacles are basically saying, “You can’t beat us. You gave it your best shot and we are still standing.” This, by the way, is also what we look for in potential clients.

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

I start my typical day at 5:30 a.m. I spend the first 30 minutes just clearing my head and thinking. From there, it’s off to the gym. I have been a gym rat my entire life, and I’m convinced that not only will this help greatly in your business life, but it will also pull you out of the gutter when the world comes crashing down.

I also want to point out that I have found it to be beneficial for me. I like to listen to podcasts or books on tape while I am working out. To me, reading and working out are daily essentials, so I am getting two birds with one stone. I do both activities in the morning so by the time I am done, which is about 9:00 a.m., my mind and body are ready.

The rest of the day consists of working on my next book, or sales copy for the radio. Depending on the day, I may be recording radio shows or podcasts. I may also be traveling to other parts of the country for seminars or to check in on one of our offices. Here is something that some people may find odd. I operate in a state of flux, meaning: I am not overly regimented by “to-do” lists. I see that my priorities are tackled. Other than that, I go with the flow – as long as it is the direction I want to go.

I also don’t believe in working 24/7. Personally, I think those who preach it are bragging more than doing. At around 2 in the afternoon, I take a 20-minute nap; sorry, but it works for me. In my last book, “Send in the Wolves,” I discussed this in the Time Management section. No one is on his or her “A” game all day, and that’s ok. Burnout is nothing to brag about. Working on my body and mind keeps me productive.

How do you bring ideas to life?

As Nike says, “Just Do It.” I see too many people “thinking” about implementing an idea only to have it fade away due to inaction or when they talk themselves out of it. I look at it this way: if it has been done before, which most things have, it can be done again, so why not see if it’s a fit for you? Keep this is mind. There are those who will not attempt to bring an idea to life because they say to themselves, “what if it doesn’t work?” If it doesn’t work, you didn’t lose anything because you never had it to begin with. And on the flip side – what if it does?

Clarify your idea. Think of it as a recipe to follow. Find out what, and more importantly who, you need to get it moving. Develop a flexible working model and test it. Study your results, adjust, and test again. This repetition will give you the confidence to launch. Many of your ideas will fail, but some will hit. That is how the game works. A 300 hitter in baseball fails 7 out of 10 times, yet they end up and the Hall of Fame and will have made tens of Millions of dollars. Don’t be afraid to fail, because it isn’t fatal. The wins however, can be life changing. I wrote hundreds of radio ads to fill real estate investment seminars and many failed. The ones that worked however, made Millions.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Personally, I don’t really follow trends simply because that’s exactly what they are – trends. I focus on fundamentals; those don’t change. If someone approaches you with a new set of fundamentals, you better run the other way.

If I had to pick one trend that excites me, I would say podcasts. To me, reading is a key ingredient to success; it’s a gathering of ideas. Podcasts offer the same result as reading in an easy-to-consume format. It’s also free, and the number of experts you can learn from will keep you busy for a long time. Remember, though, you can’t just listen. If you find some good ideas or strategies, take them and run.

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

I mentioned this earlier: hitting the gym. The iron doesn’t lie. It forces you to step up to the challenge. To me, being at the gym is like winning a series of daily battles. I’m talking about really working out – not walking on a treadmill for 30 min – but really challenging yourself.

I am a firm believer in a strong body and mind. The gym will teach you discipline which you can then apply to your business life.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Everyone has a battle. It’s easy to get caught up in our own problems and feel isolated, but the truth is, as Jim Morrison of the DOORS once said, “No One Here Gets Out Alive.” To add to that, no one gets out without facing the fire. If you have no money worries, you may have health worries and vice versa.

I have had some pretty big successes in my life, but when my wipeout hit – or wipeouts, I should say – on paper, it seemed like I would crumble up and die. It really was that bad. But, the experiences that I had lived and seen pulled me through and made me realize that this is all just part of the game.

I’ve hung out with billionaires who were good people, but they were always worrying about their health because they were getting old and were never happy, just worried. I have also been with people in Haiti who have nothing and are without a doubt the happiest, most positive people I have ever met. Experiences like this taught me that we are all in this together. Trouble spares no one, and when it comes your way, you need to remember that you are not alone. You also need to remember that tomorrow is a new day.

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

Financial wipeouts are not fatal. People seem to think that money is the be all and end all and if it goes away, you are finished. I know some rich people who feel this way as well.
In my experience, however, this is in no way true. Money is VERY easily replaceable and is very quickly replaceable. I think the problem people have is that they view money as their self worth where as I, and many other entrepreneurs, simply view it as a tool. The good news is that there is no shortage of money!

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

READ! This is non-negotiable. We spend far too much time in the vacuum of our own heads. Reading allows you not only to slip away for a bit, but to LEARN from others that have been where you are or are going to where you want to be. I personally do not know a single successful person who is not a reader. As my mentor, the great Charlie Jones, always said, “You will be the same person five years from now as you are today except for the books you read and the people you meet.”
That’s a 25-word success plan that you can’t go wrong with.

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

The Master Mind Principal from “Think and Grow Rich.” You don’t have to be the expert in anything. All you need to do is surround yourself with those who can fill the holes in your game, taking advantage of other people’s time, other people’s talent, and other people’s money. I have created a number of multi-million-dollar companies with that simple formula. Think of yourself as the music director in the orchestra pit waving the little stick around telling everyone else what to do.

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

I recently wrote a “manifesto” called “Jim Toner Is Dead” for my followers about overcoming my failure.

The story is too long to go into here, but here is the gist. Due to a series of unfortunate events, I went from making one million dollars a year –with a million dollar home, $80,000 car, money to burn, etc. – to nothing. Gone, kaput! I lost my business, my money, home, car and my standing in the community within 6 months. My family left our home in Pittsburgh, PA to come to Scottsdale, AZ with nothing but our cloths and furniture. We even use a rental car.

Here I was starting over with no money, no contacts, and in the middle of a nightmarish bankruptcy. I walked out into the desert alone one day with a racing mind, wondering what on earth I was going to do. Then the magic happened. We all have that inner voice that usually has the right answers. The problem is that we don’t want to hear them. My voice was telling me to do what I had taught thousands across the country to do with investment real estate. That was my claim to fame. I started with no money and no credit and made it big. It’s a rags to riches story, but it’s true. Now, I needed to do it again, from ZERO. After all, I was selling a product and telling someone they can make money, so I’d better be able to prove it.

Within months, I was making more money in a day than many people make in a year, all while sitting in a coffee shop in Cave Creek, AZ. I often hesitate to admit that because it sounds fake, but it is 100% real! I was making six figures in no time using no money, or credit.

I wrote the “Jim Toner Is Dead” manifesto at the behest of a mentor of mine named Frank McKinney. He insisted that I tell my story not for me, but for someone out there that may need to hear it. He was right. I received countless e-mails from people thanking me and telling me how it helped them through tough times.

No matter what you are going through, you can make it. Aside from the death of a child, what my family and I went through was really bad – I left out half a dozen things. I promise you that with a plan and determination, you can flip the page and flip it fast.

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

This may be a bit out there for some readers, but it is real. I want your business plans to feature you giving away money. This is a real strategy that has been followed by the world’s wealthiest, including the Rockefellers and Carnegie.

I want you to take a minimum of 10% of every dollar you earn and place it into a separate account designated for nothing other than giving. Call it your giving account. You need to make deposits as though this were a legitimate business deposit because it is. Never blow it off. Every dollar, 10 percent. Next is the fun part. What you do with the money is up to you as long as it goes to benefit someone else.

This can be as simple as over-tipping at a restaurant, or giving to a homeless person on the street. The point is to give without expectation of getting anything in return. You may also want to give to smaller charities. Big ones tend to suck up donations in fees. Charity Navigator is a reliable source for vetting charities.

Now here is what is going to happen. First of all, I don’t know why it works or how it works, it just works, and I stopped trying to figure it out long ago. What you give is going to come back to you but not like you think. Giving $5 will not get you $5 back. It will get you $10.00 back. Yes, your returns will be double it will blow your mind when you realize it is happening. I know it sounds like hocus-pocus, but I didn’t make this up. The biggest, wealthiest most successful entrepreneurs all follow this strategy.

Yes, you can do this for altruistic reasons, but as I said, it’s a real business strategy. It’s going to feel real good knowing you are helping those in need, but your bank account is going to LOVE YOU!

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

It was more than $100.00, but it was well spent. A guy who used to do home repair work for me in my real estate investment company had a fire at his business and literally lost everything. He was not insured. I’ve known this guy for over 20 years – he is truly the salt of the earth. He never asked for help and was always at the front of the line for others. Talking to him makes you feel humble because he spends the entire time thanking you or talking about how lucky he is.

I put some things in motion as soon as I heard what happened and the universe took care of the rest. All the good seeds he had planted throughout the years began to sprout. It was magical watching how fast tragedy can turn into a miracle. As for why I involved myself? That’s our job as human beings. It’s the price for being here. If you don’t have the money, give your time. If you don’t have the time, give your talent. The lesson is to help, and to give. It WILL come back to you while making you feel pretty good!

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

I can give half an answer: ClickFunnels. As for how to use it, I have no idea. I still use pen and paper. But, I have others set me up with ClickFunnels to make my life easier.

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

If I had to pick one it would have to be, “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl. Victor Frankl was a survivor of the Nazi death camps from 1942-1945. He chronicles the lessons he learned for not just physical survival but spiritual. One of his main lessons is, “We cannot avoid suffering, but we can choose how to cope with it.”

What is your favorite quote?

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
Oscar Wilde


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