Each day, if you can, changing your environment or mix up your routine a bit. The best thing you can do is get yourself up when the roller coaster is down by stepping out of the box.”
Mirko Manfredi a native of Oahu, Hawaii has spent most of his life dabbling in as many new endeavors that he can get his hands on. His most recent project, Extra Tiny Homes is one that was many years in the making. Mirko and his wife, Mia, spent a great deal of time in the real estate industry, running a highly successful agency at one point. Both Mirko and Mia are very passionate about minimalism and wanted to provide their community with viable opportunities to live such a lifestyle.
Extra Tiny Homes provides homeowners with the opportunity to purchase “kits” that allow for the quick and easy building of a tiny home, also known as an auxiliary dwelling unit (ADU). Many people are choosing to build an ADU on their property as a means of extra income. Renting out the the tiny home has proven to be highly successful. It was important for Mirko Manfredi to get in on the ground floor regarding this opportunity. As with all of his business undertakings, Mirko Manfredi knows the true value of asking questions and consistently learning.
Throughout his entire professional career, he has made sure to find and maintain strong mentorship relationships with those who are experts in their fields. His determination is what has allowed him to dip his toes into many different fields of work. Everytime he wants to take on a new venture, Mirko Manfredi takes it upon himself to find someone who has or is thriving in the industry and learn as much from them as possible. He credits much of his success to replicating the positive actions of those who have come before him.
For Mirko Manfredi, the ultimate goal is to help the people of Hawaii live a life of good fortune while making their lives as easy and carefree as possible. Through Extra Tiny Homes, Mirko and Mia have been able to inspire their community through an innovative approach to generating a passive income.
Where did the idea for Extra Tiny Homes come from?
When my wife and I were planning to build our dream home in Hawaii, we came across a development company. This company was taking the concept of prefabricated housing but in the form of campgrounds. It was infatuating to me because the company was taking old shipping containers, and using them as the structure for the campsites. The idea of giving people the tools that they need to build a structure came from seeing these prefabricated campsites. I knew that we wanted to get into tiny homes but the cost of labor in Hawaii can get pretty outrageous. By eliminating as much labor as possible we can diminish costs for building a home which was is our end goal.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I have a strong belief in the power of music. No matter what mood I wake up in, I put my speakers on as loud as possible and listen to some of my favorite songs. Some people need coffee in the morning to get going but music really does it for me. No matter the situation, if I put some good tunes on, my attitude can change within minutes. Most people know where they are going and what they are doing everyday– same stuff different day. I compare it to a “merry go round”. I prefer the rollercoaster lifestyle. Each day, if you can, changing your environment or mix up your routine a bit. The best thing you can do is get yourself up when the roller coaster is down by stepping out of the box.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When I was much younger I rented a space in an auto garage from a man named Mike. Everyday I would walk in and see him writing in a notebook. I finally asked him what he was doing and he told me that every thought or idea that crosses his mind in a day, he writes down. I quickly took on this habit as well and have now been journaling daily for decades. All of my ideas that I have ever had have been written down in my journal. No matter what it is, long-term goals, a to-do list, or a plan, it is written down. I go back when I am looking for inspiration and find that I am often my own inspiration, just me from the past.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Living in Hawaii trends are something that I base a majority of my business ideas on. Most new trends hit the east coast first, then make their way to the west coast. Hawaii is a few years behind most trends, so what I do is I often find the emerging trends on the mainland and find a way to bring them to the islands faster than the natural flow would. The two trends I am excited about right now are;
Prefabricated housing, hence the starting of Extra Tiny Homes. It gives people the ability to build a structure, faster, cheaper, and simpler than starting from scratch.
Plant-based living. I have been meat-free since July and everyday I am listening to new podcasts and reading books about how truly beneficial plant-based diets can be for us. Personally, my cholesterol has gone down a great deal, which is something I had always struggled to maintain.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
As previously mentioned, journaling has always kept me grounded no matter what endeavor I am taking on. The fact that I write my goals and where I want to be in x amount of years or months truly helps to keep me on the right track.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I was a wild child back in the day which helped me to realize that it was fine to not take things so seriously. If you’re leading a decent life you have to remember there are people out there who have it much worse than you. Letting the small things get to you is only going to break you down. Don’t take life too seriously, it is meant to be lived to the fullest.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Although there a lot of people who embrace the culture, many people I come across still do not appreciate or accept the plant-based lifestyle. I know that it is an adaptation and many can’t imagine their life without meat. You can’t knock something until you try it! You can’t make a big deal out of doing things like that though, people will try to convince you not to, but doing your own thing is sometimes best.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I know I am being redundant but music has seriously shaped who I am as an entrepreneur. People really don’t understand the power of listening to your favorite song when things are not going your way. While some people turn to fitness to change their mood, I find that blasting some 80s music can have the same effect. In relation to actually working as an entrepreneur, in all my endeavors I have succeeded with, I have found something I am passionate about, then researched someone who has already succeeded at it. I try to connect with veterans in the industry and learn as much as humanly possible from their mistakes and success.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I can not begin to express how big of a role delegation has played for me as an entrepreneur. Give people the chance to do something and let them run with it. Of course, help them along the way if needed but you will drive yourself crazy if you try and do everything yourself. The only way to truly be successful, in my mind, is by gaining freedom and time to do more of what you love. You’ll never get there if you let your tasks pile up and don’t delegate some things.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Unfortunately as an entrepreneur and leader of your company, a great deal of the negatives of business fall on you. The most frustrating encounter I have faced is lawsuits. They are sadly a part of most businesses and as the founder, the majority of the weight falls on me. Lawsuits have been something that irritated me and I was afraid of. People won’t sue you unless you’ve been successful. People are envious and not good sometimes. Lawsuits are a fact of life. As crazy as it sounds, coming home to my dogs everyday helps me to overcome almost any failure or bad feeling. The fact that they will always be there for you is something nothing else in the world can give you. In retrospect, finding something or someone that you know can brighten and tough day, can really help you get through even the toughest of times.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
As I learn more about plant-based diets I am finding there are little meal delivery services with good tasting food that are meat-free. I am looking into a service that can deliver ready-made meals that only require minimal efforts. While companies like HelloFresh are giving you the tools, I want to give people, balanced and good tasting meals that are already made. Fast food now is unhealthy and processed. We need to move toward healthy options for the growing demand of everything being on-the-go.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I purchased a book called “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill at a time in my life when I was making a lot of changes. I was moving away from my home in Hawaii to the mainland to start a new business endeavor. This book really helped me take that leap of faith and trust myself to do what was best for my well-being and happiness. The book helped me realize that it was ok to take risks as long as you are surrounded by positivity throughout the whole process.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
One of the most powerful tools that I have used that has made my life easier as an entrepreneur is Every Door Direct, which interestingly enough is provided by the U.S. Post Office. It is one of the easiest forms of advertising I have used. You can get a beautiful oversized mailer that is colorful done and then select the areas in which you wish for it to be delivered. It is different from normal junk mail because you can target certain areas and choose your audience based on demographics. It has saved me so much money in advertising costs and saves 25% on what it would cost to do a mailing of such large proportions.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Three Boxes of Life” by Richard N. Bolles without a doubt. The book helps to make people realize the 3 areas of life that we all deal with. Helps determine the three boxes are: education, work, and retirement/fun. The majority of public assumes they have to spend a certain amount of time in each “box”. Doesn’t have to be that way. We do not always have to go along with what everyone else does. We are in control of how we spend our time. This book helps to make you aware of how you don’t need to follow the flow of life like everyone else.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you think you can you are right. Or if you think you can’t you’re right”- Henry Ford
It shows that if you are determined to do something and believe in yourself, it will happen. But if you have any doubts or say it isn’t possible, then you’re right, it will never happen.
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.