Practice the miracle morning routine, which has made a really big difference in our success as an entrepreneur.
Michael Blank is an Entrepreneur, Investor, Author (“Financial Freedom with Real Estate Investing”), Coach, and leading authority on apartment investing in the United States. As the CEO of Nighthawk Equity, Best-selling Author, Host of the Apartment Building Investing Podcast, Columnist and Real Estate Investor, Blank’s passionate about helping people become financially free in 3-5 years by investing in apartment building deals with a special focus on raising money. Through Blank’s investment company, Nighthawk Equity, he controls over $27M million in performing multifamily assets all over the United States and has raised over $6M. In addition to his own investing activities, he’s helped students purchase over 2,300 units valued at $86M through his unique “Deal Desk” and training programs. Blank’s been interviewed by top real estate podcasts, including Bigger Pockets, Joe Fairless (Best Ever Show), Get Rich Education, Cashflow Ninja and many more. “The Michael Blank” blog has also been listed in the Top 25 Real Estate Investing Blogs of 2018 by Leap Property Management. And Blank is a Contributor to FlipNerd.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The Michael Blank brand came really out of the depth of my misery with the restaurant business when I was losing $10,000 per month. I was out of cash, maxed out my $200K line of credit, and had $30K in credit card debt. I did a lot of reflecting, and felt compelled to share my experiences, both successes and failures with others. And that’s when I started blogging for Bigger Pockets about how to raise money and apartment building investing tips. The blogging felt like it was the most successful thing I had done during a reckless time. The posts then led to feedback and people downloading my eBook. I then created a course on how to invest in apartment buildings, along with my Syndicated Deal Analyzer. It was a hard thing to do because business plan blogging doesn’t really generate any money. I needed money, and I did it anyway. It worked out great, and I love to teach others now.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
To stay productive, my typical day starts with my miracle morning routine at 6:00 am for an hour. This routine is based on a bestselling book, “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. I’m using various formats of his methods, which include meditating, praying, reading, visualizing and journaling. I have breakfast with my family from 7:00-8:00 am, and then usually start work around 8:30 am. During a typical day, I might have a podcast interview or two. I will have a deal review call, have several video/phone calls with members of my team, clients and investors, and check email.
And then twice a week, I have strategic days where I block off a half a day to focus on the bigger picture goals. During these strategic blocks, I don’t do emails or calls. I learned this process from the book “The ONE Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. It teaches you how to focus your energy on one thing at a time during different timeframes. For example, the book asks what is “The ONE Thing” I need to complete today for today to be successful? What’s the one thing for this week, this month, for this quarter, for this year? And then, it teaches how to “time block” every week to make progress on your one thing.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I love to come up with new ideas, implement them, and watch them become reality. These ideas come to life during my regular calls, talking with other experts, or when I am driving in the car. I am always looking for ways to enhance my business. If someone makes a suggestion and it has merit, I will definitely think about it. If I continue thinking about it, and I get more and more excited about the concept, it’s a strong indication that maybe there’s something there. I’ll bounce it off a few people, and see what the reaction is. If they also get excited, then it’s something my team considers more seriously.
What’s one trend that excites you?
What excites me most is how technology can help real estate investors analyze and make deals even faster.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
It’s really the combination of “The Miracle Morning” and “The ONE Thing”. These two books are a very, very powerful combination because “The Miracle Morning” forces you to be quiet, silent and reflect on things. “The ONE Thing” book helps you execute on those insights. The miracle morning routine makes it easier for you to be clear about the one thing that’s most important to you today, this week, this month, and this quarter. With this focus, it allows you to then implement that one thing more effectively.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would have given my younger self the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” much, much earlier. The book didn’t come out until 1997 when I was just getting started in the software world. I had made my first million through a software IPO. But man, Oh man, if I could have given myself this book when I was a 17-year-old, it would have changed everything for me. I would have sat down and said, “Michael, did you know that you could work for yourself?” Did you know that you can be an entrepreneur? Did you know that you want to find financial freedom versus work for a paycheck? My dad worked at IBM for 35 years, and no one around me was an entrepreneur. I didn’t discover you could be an entrepreneur until I was in my early thirties when I read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, and that would have made a substantial difference for me.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
If you look at my sphere of influence, the one thing almost nobody agrees with me on is that you can use apartment buildings to become financial free without experience or cash. It’s a true statement, and almost nobody agrees it’s possible. You can get started with apartment building investments without cash or experience, and gain financial freedom. Almost everyone will disagree with that point, which is why I wrote my entire book, “Financial Freedom with Real Estate Investing”, to debunk that myth very clearly and openly. As a myth-buster, this financial freedom statement is my main message.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
The one thing that we do over and over is practice the miracle morning routine, which has made a really big difference in our success as an entrepreneur.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The main strategy that we do over and over again is hire experts who can assist us. It’s normally a very uncomfortable thing to pay someone $20-$30 an hour when you hardly have any revenue in the first place. You start thinking, “I’m taking a pay cut.” However, every time I’ve done it, and every time I’ve talked to other people who have done it, it confirms how hiring a team literally changes lives. There’s also another book called “Rocket Fuel” by Gino Wickman and Mark C Winters, where it talks about the visionary and integrator. The visionary is typically you as the entrepreneur or the founder, and the integrator and you set the vision. You come up with a big idea as you create the big relationships. The integrator then essentially does everything to make it happen. Without that integrator, you as a visionary and the entrepreneur end up getting mired down in basic tasks and repetitive administrative that are not really your passion. When you bring in that first virtual assistant or personal assistant, it literally frees you up to grow the business in a very, very powerful way. This hiring a team step is the key for any entrepreneur’s success in the early stages.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve had many failures as an entrepreneur. I’ve lost money in house flips. However, my biggest failure was investing my software IPO millions in the restaurant business because in my quest for financial freedom and cashflow. I jumped in by investing 95% of my net worth into a series of pizza franchises for about four years. I was in a semi-retirement state, and it was great. The recession then hit, and I really wasn’t paying attention because I was semi-retired. I took my eye off the ball. Subsequently, I lost my IPO millions, and then add another $200,000+ of unsecured lines of credit. On top of this financial mess, I maxed out my credit cards, almost lost my house and clawed myself out with real estate.
After investing in single family housing, I discovered that the true way to achieve financial freedom with the real estate is actually with apartment buildings. And I discovered that you could invest in apartment buildings without any cash. Instead, you can raise the money with experience and knowledge. Through education and building a team, you can overcome a lack of experience very quickly, which is how I overcame this massive failure.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
My big idea has always been that there’s so many online courses out there, but how do you know it’s any good? So, my big idea is to create an Amazon style review site of all these online courses where people can go to read an honest review. Hopefully, if the course is good, this platform can provide promotional services to the creator of the online course. By setting up this referrals platform, you can get affiliate commissions. If you’re listening or reading this post, and would like to work on this idea with me, I would love to hear from you. I think it’s a great idea, and only have so many hours in a day.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I would say the best $100 that I recently spent was for a lunch with my wife. It was the day after Valentine’s Day. Because Valentine’s Day was a really busy work day for us, I did not have time for lunch. As a result, this day-after Valentine’s Day lunch was a really expensive lunch. You may ask, who spends $100 for lunch? It was really nice, and the best $100 that I have spent over the last few weeks.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The one piece of software that helps me be productive is Calendly for scheduling appointments and meetings. Calendly makes it easy for other people to schedule time with you. It links with your calendar, and checks your availability. It shows only those time slots where you’re available or want to be available. This software literally makes me 10% more productive because you can eliminate all the back and forth and voicemails about what time is the best time to meet.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
If you haven’t read, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, you have to read that book. It’s by far my number one recommendation, along with the “The Miracle Morning”. I highly recommend those two books for the reasons I’ve said previously.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is by Tony Robbins and says, “It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” This is a very, very important quote. I believe in observing dozens and dozens of people who are successful and some who are not, who never got to the gate and never take action. It really comes down to deciding that enough is enough, and that you can’t be in the same place this time next year. Decisions really compel people, and it really shapes your destiny.
• Start your day with a morning routine like “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Erod.
• If you have not read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” and want to be a successful entrepreneur, read it asap.
• You can become financially free by investing in apartment buildings without experience or cash.
• Hiring a team of experts is the key for any entrepreneur’s success in the early stages.
• The one piece of software that can make you more productive is Calendly for scheduling meetings.
• Remember what Tony Robbins says, “It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.