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  • MJ DeMarco, The Millionaire Fastlane Best Selling Author Talks Powerful Wealth Building Strategies [EP096]
MJ DeMarco, The Millionaire Fastlane Best Selling Author Talks Powerful Wealth Building Strategies [EP096]

April 12, 2022

MJ DeMarco, The Millionaire Fastlane Best Selling Author Talks Powerful Wealth Building Strategies [EP096]

Do you want to be a millionaire? Most people say they do, but very few people ever take the necessary steps to achieve it. MJ DeMarco is one of the few people who have achieved great wealth and he wants to teach you how to do it also. In his three best-selling books, The Millionaire Fastlane, Unscripted, and The Great Rat Race Escape, he outlines exactly what you need to do in order to create a money-making system that will make you wealthy. Listen and learn!

Table of Contents:

Five-Step Process For Passively Investing In Real Estate
Five-Step Process For Passively Investing In Real Estate

Introducing The Millionaire Fastlane Author, MJ DeMarco

Introducing The Millionaire Fastlane Author, MJ DeMarco
The Millionaire Fastlane

Darin: MJ DeMarco took action and he learned how to build wealth. He didn't stop there, he's written three books to show others how to do it also. He believes most people are searching for happiness, freedom, and autonomy. And he's found the way to get there. He also believes wealth is a process, not an event.

So a little bit on how I know MJ I actually read his book, The Millionaire Fastlane. He's got three books out. The Millionaire Fastlane was his first one. I'm just going to tell you guys, you should be reading this book. It was a recommendation from another apartment syndicator in the Dallas area, Aaron Katz. He put that out on his Facebook. I was going on vacation, I picked a few books to bring with me and that was one of them.

It's a great book because it's all about talking about wealth building and real estate is one of those avenues that you could build tremendous wealth. But there's also a lot of other ways. So with that, MJ appreciate you coming on. One thing I typically would ask is, how many properties and how many units you're invested in. But you're not a pure real estate guy, you're a best-selling author. So why don't I kind of change it up a little bit and ask you how many copies have you sold with your books?

MJ DeMarco: To be honest, I have no idea. I have never counted. I have never logged into a service to see how much I've sold. If I had to guess, it would probably be well over a million cumulatively right around the globe.

Get Rich Quick vs Get Rich Easy

MJ DeMarco: It's been translated in 25 languages, all over the planet. And it's quite interesting because you are more likely to find my book, The Millionaire Fastlane in Bangkok, Paris, Thailand, Tokyo, any of these, it's really big in Korea. Then you will, here in the states, which is quite interesting.

But just to tell your readers, don't be afraid by the title. I hear a lot of people like The Millionaire Fastlane that sounds cheesy, that sounds get rich quick. And the truth is, get rich quick is very real. And I think a lot of people don't understand that. What they usually confuse that with is get rich easy, which does not exist. But there's plenty of billionaires who are 30 years old and multimillionaire, nine-figure entrepreneurs who are in their thirties, even in their twenties. What's that tell you? That tells you get rich quick, does indeed exist.

Darin: Absolutely. And the word quick can be defined different ways. It's not a weekend.

MJ DeMarco: Oh yes. I mean, for me quick is less than 10 years. Even five or six. You can just change your life in those five or 10 years so quickly when you're leveraging entrepreneurship. A fastlane sense framework for your business. As opposed to the standard systems that culture wants you to follow, which is get a good job, work the five days, save. Give your money to the stock market and just try to be patient and things will magically happen after 20, 30, 40 years.

A Story That Led MJ DeMarco to Write His First Book

Darin: I fell into that for sure until about four years ago, so I can attest to that. That's the way we're brought up. I mean, that's what we're trained to do. So, can you share a little bit on your story. You have a really unique story that led you to writing that first book.

MJ DeMarco: Sure. I've been an entrepreneur for 30, 35 years or something. Unfortunately that's going to age me a little bit there.

Darin: I'm 51 so, I'm one of the older ones that I talk to. I have a lot of younger people that I'm like, I wish I started back then.

MJ DeMarco: So we're pretty much the same age. But when I was a teenager, I saw a Lamborghini Countach, white. It was outside of a store, ice cream shop. I was amazed that the owner was a young person. That car was like my absolute dream. I had a poster of it. So when I saw it I had the gumption to actually ask him what he does for a living. Which is interesting because after I've owned several Lamborghinis and other Lambo owners will tell you that is the most common question you get is, "Hey, what do you do for a living?"

Darin: Is that right?

MJ DeMarco: So I did that many years ago. And he said he was an entrepreneur. Which struck me as very odd because, you see someone who's 25 years old driving a six-figure car, which back in 1980 something, you think, oh, this has got to be a celebrity, he's a soccer player. He plays football.

MJ DeMarco’s Realization at a Young Age

MJ DeMarco: And when he said he was an entrepreneur that threw me for a loop. And that's when I decided because my family was not rich. We were lower-middle class. We were always struggling to get the bills paid, get food on the table. That convinced me that, that's what I want to be. Because I don't want to have this life of getting up five days a week, Monday through Friday at 5:00 AM in the morning and have no chance of a real affluent lifestyle. So that led me to study entrepreneurs who were rich, who were successful. The key element here was, and that they were young. That's how I really came up with the sense framework.

Darin: How did you research those young successful people?

MJ DeMarco: It was mostly magazines and books. Because there was no internet back then. Or sometimes it would be articles in the local newspaper.

Darin: Today, there's so much out there. There's books, there's podcasts, there's YouTube videos, there's magazines. There's all kinds of things. But back then, you had to go looking for it.

MJ DeMarco: Absolutely. I was a frequent person at the library, frequent visitor there. And I loved the library. I graduated from college and did not go for job interviews. A lot of my peers were like, "What are you doing? Go get a job." Because you know I want to be an entrepreneur. So it took me about four or five years to actually build something that started making money, that started having exponential returns.

How The Millionaire Fastlane Came to Pass

MJ DeMarco: This occurred because I spotted a need in the particular industry I was working in, which was the limousine industry. Which I was operating a small company for an absentee owner. I saw a need in that industry, ended up teaching myself how to code, I built it eventually. Started hiring some employees, ended up selling that company, I don't know, 2000 maybe. They went bankrupt a couple of years later because of the crash, the boom crash.

I actually bought that company back again. Operated it for another five, six years, made many millions of dollars over and over through selling it or the operations. Sold it again, and at 2007. I think after I sold it, I was like, "Hey, you never need to work another day in your life, what do you want to do now?" And I knew I wanted to write a book about everything I've learned about acquiring wealth quickly. That's how The Millionaire Fastlane came to pass.

It took me two to three years to write, and I had no expectations for it. I was more of just scratching an itch of my own that I need to get this off my chest, I need to say this. At that time the default method was as the default method is now. It’s the same old story. You're supposed to go to work, you're supposed to wait, give your money to the stock market. Incidentally, I fell into that when I sold my company the first time.

The Power of Having Financial Freedom

MJ DeMarco: I pretty much put all the proceeds of my business into the stock market and I ended up losing most of it because the stock market crashed. And when back then it crashed, it stayed there for a while. So people like to say, "Well, you didn't hold." Well, sometimes you can't hold because you have to get the money to live. So that was a very eye-opening experience for me because that is very popular nowadays.

You hear this fire movement where people live off the stock market. And none of those people have lived through a crash or a recession that lasts longer than a couple of months. And they're going to be in for a rude awakening when that does happen because it will happen. Because I believe the US is in a cycle of decline as opposed to expansion. But anyway, that's how the book became to pass.

I started a publishing company, I self-published it, which was part of me following my own philosophy in that I wanted to control my operation. I don't want any publishers telling me, "Hey, you can't write about that." Or "Hey, this book is not focused enough." Because I had some experts actually tell me, that were in the publishing industry. This will never sell, it's too broad-based, it's too all over the place. And I said, "Too bad, I'm writing."

Darin: I'm doing it anyway.

MJ DeMarco: I'm doing it anyways. And that's the power of having financial freedom and being able to go into other entrepreneurial ventures that might not be economically viable. Because I could tell you if I was broke, I would not be starting a publishing company.

The Default System

Darin: Right. Absolutely not. I thank you for writing it because I loved it. I think that it hits on so many different points that, look, there's all kinds of people out there that are selling their way to grow wealth. One thing that I like about your book is, it doesn't have to be one way and I'm a true believer in that.

Like, look, my podcast is focused on real estate investing, but if your itch is to start a company like go out and do that. But there is another way and that's kind of what your message is, is there's another way to build wealth other than just putting money into the stock market and hoping and praying.

MJ DeMarco: Yes. And that's why people struggle to build wealth because they've adopted that default system.

I'm saying that system is very ineffective, especially since time is the major contributor to wealth building. Your time, your life, is the most valuable asset. You will never be younger than you are today, your time is a depreciating asset as well. An example I use is, if you're 30 years old, that free time you have when you're 30 is far more valuable than the free time you're going to have at 65 or 70.

I just moved to Utah, and it's one of the greatest skiing capitals of the world. But I'm in my fifties now and I probably can ski. But it could be a lot bigger struggle for me today than it would be if I was in my thirties.

Systems Are the Key

Systems Are the Key According to MJ DeMarco
Photographer: Silas Köhler | Source: Unsplash

MJ DeMarco: So that's what I'm talking about is your youthful time depreciates as you get older. It is so foolish to think to yourself, "Well, I'm going to wait 25 years to actually get wealthy." And then when you do get wealthy, you don't even spend the money, you just sit around and do nothing because you want to be, "Oh, I'm a millionaire," but you do nothing. You buy nothing, you enjoy nothing that is not the right way to do it.

Darin: So in the book you talk about top five money-making systems. Those systems are rental, computer, content, distribution, resource, human resource. You also talk about process makes millionaires. So I think those two things go hand in hand. Can you talk a little bit about that and why do those processes make millionaires?

MJ: Well, the systems is the key to everything because optimally, we want to separate our time. The default construct is, trade your time, earn money. And that's what we're trying to get away from. So the systems become the surrogate for your time trade.

So if it's a digital system, that means perhaps software as a service. You're selling a particular service and the system itself is the software. So that software runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, no matter what you're doing, which means also earning income, no matter what you're doing. Same with rental real estate, "Oh, I have 400 doors." Well, every month you're going to get paid regardless what you're doing because the system is the real estate, is you're creating a system of habitat for people.

MJ DeMarco’s Specialized Unit

MJ DeMarco: So the books I've written, they exist separate from me. I have publishers all over the world, those are systems that exist separate from me. So the systems is what creates the ability for you to separate your time from the act of making money.

Now another key element of that is what I call a specialized unit. The specialized unit needs the business system. So the example I just gave is I own a publishing company, so my books are the specialized unit. But I need a business system in order to activate it. Because you can have a specialized unit and not have a good business system.

Darin: You can have all the books sitting in a room someplace and nobody even knows that they're available for sale. Or what the value is for them to read it, right?

MJ DeMarco: Yes. A couple of years ago, self-publishing was the big thing. So they wrote a couple books, they threw them on Amazon and they sat there and nothing happened. Because you don't have a business system. See, my business system is my list, it's my forum. My forum has over 70,000 entrepreneurs, close to a million users or a million posts. That's a system.

Darin: So let me just interrupt there for the listener's perspective. This is a online forum called The Fastlane Forum that is just full of different entrepreneurs that are on there.

The Fastlane Forum

MJ DeMarco: Correct. And it's not just a business forum, I mean, there's all kinds of discussions on there. There's biohacking discussions. There's, do you have kids? Do you not have kids? I mean, it's about life optimization through fast lane entrepreneurship. And that's part of my system. My book has sold more than most New York Times best-selling books. But it's never been on the New York Times best-selling list, which is interesting. Because it sells consistently throughout time.

There wasn't some big ramp up and then it just dies off. It's because it consistently sells through time. Because the content in there is evergreen, it's transcendent. It is just as valuable if not more today than it was 10 years ago when I wrote it, which is why it continues to sell.

But the business system, that keeps it into the forefront. So there's business systems and then you have your specialized units, rental real estate, apartment buildings, apartment units, single family homes, those are specialized units. But behind that, you're going to need a system for property managers and billing and all that other stuff. So it's a kind of a synergy, yin and yang between the two concepts.

Darin: Between the two. The other thing you say is success resides in execution, not the idea. And I've been to a lot of different entrepreneur conferences where they're like, "You know what? You don't have to come up with the one idea that nobody has come up with." I mean, look, your first business that you talked about was a limo business. How many limo businesses are out there? But if you can do it better and more profitable and have better customer service and get your name out there more, then you differentiate yourself.

Value Skew

MJ DeMarco: Yes. The concept of value skew is big in my second book and third book. It's not really covered much in Millionaire Fastlane, the value skew is covered in Unscripted and The Great Rat-Race Escape. Basically that is stating that you do not need to reinvent the wheel. You do not need to do something that's never been done before.

I think that's a big mistake a lot of entrepreneurs make. They think they have to do that, they have to create the newest thing that's never been done before when actually it's all about value skew. If you do one or two things better than the competition, you have a business.

So think about the last time you opened up a new relationship with a new company, you opened your wallet and you gave them money. There's a particular reason why that occurred. Usually it's going to be a value skew item.

So, "Hey, they had good customer service. When I sent them an email, they got back to me within 10 minutes. That impressed me. Here's my money." Or perhaps there was a story on the website that was able to inject an emotion or identification with you. Like, oh, 10% of our profits save the whales. That struck you as something like, "Yes, I want to be a part of that." So everything is about value skew.

A lot of times like with food products, your ingredients. You have a particular ingredient or even better, you don't have a particular ingredient. Like with me, it's artificial colors. I won't touch anything with red five and blue 6,000 and all these other screwy names.

Do Not Reinvent the Wheels

MJ DeMarco: That's a value skew when you don't have that in it and you advertise it as such. So you're not about reinventing wheels. You're about improving wheels and making that improvement very discernible. Because for some people that's going to be the item that makes them say, "You know what, I'm going to buy from you instead of buying from X, Y or Z." A good example is Uber, when they came onto the scene. I analyzed their business model back when it started, because it was in this kind of the same field I was just leaving. Thank God.

They disrupted, they had like 20 value skews that were better than taxis. That's why they're a billion-dollar company now. Although they're not making much money, but that's usually normal. But they disrupted 20 different value skews, which is responsible for their meteoric growth. If you do two or three, you have yourself a business.

Darin: Yes. I mean, that's huge. I mean, Uber, I mean, taxis have been around forever, right? And somebody came up with the idea of just having a better way to do it.It's taken off huge. You also say, "Experiences gained in action." I'm a big proponent of that. That there's a lot of people that are out there, they read books, they listen to podcasts, but they don't pull the trigger. I'm a believer that God made all of us unique in that a lot of us have this burning thought idea, something in their gut that they want to do.

The Ultimate Crippler of Dreams

The Ultimate Crippler of Dreams Base From MJ DeMarco
Photographer: Bailey Anselme | Source: Unsplash

Darin: But they feel like it's the safer thing to do, just to stay put in their W2 job. But as a person, they want to take a chance. So I don't know, maybe talk to the listeners about taking action. It is scary but, the people that you've met that are successful, at some point they took a chance.

MJ DeMarco: Yes, absolutely.

Fear is the ultimate crippler of dreams. At some point you got to stop reading about swimming, you have to jump into the pool. And for a lot of people that's different, that doesn't necessarily mean quit your job. But, it needs to be about setting up a foundation where that becomes possible.

So I always like to say, "Quit your job when your business makes you quit your job." If you have an idea, you should not start pursuing it even while you have a job. On the weekends or an hour, a day after work or before work. And then when that business reaches a particular point of inflection, you can say, "Oh, I can quit my job and pursue something."

Or you can plan for that saying, "You know what, I'm going to be an entrepreneur right now. I don't have time really to be building something right now. So I'm going to save everything I have, so I have a one month runway to create something. And then I'm going to quit my job when I find my idea, it meets criteria, I've researched it, I've done the things, and I have one year to make it happen.

Have Your Business Make You Quit Your Job

MJ DeMarco: And if it doesn't happen in a couple of months, I have a chance to pivot to something else." So it's all about strategic planning or having the business make you quit your job. Because it's going to be different for everyone, some people could just quit their job and say, "I'm going to go for it." And other people, they have kids, they have a mortgage or something, then it has to be much more strategic.

Of course, it's very important to have your spouse on board. Because if your spouse is not with you on it, that's going to be a drag on your progress. But you have one life to live. And a big thing I like to say is what is the worst thing that could happen? You have to go look for another job.

Especially if you have a skillset that is in demand, like you're a software developer. Well, if you're a software developer and you quit your job, and then you start software developing on your own business, and then that business just fails, you're not going to have a hard time finding another job if that's what it comes to doing. Or you can freelance.

A lot of people quit their job and they start freelancing and they ramp up their hourly rate and they end up making just as much as they do at their job, but they're only working 20 hours. So they use that extra time to build their business. That's actually how I got started. I started freelancing to build up capital. So as I built up capital, I was able to work on my business system on the side.

MJ DeMarco Suggests That You Stop Reading and Start Swimming

MJ DeMarco: So there's so many different ways that you can approach it. But ultimately you have to dive into the pool and stop with the incessant reading of books. The best experience you have is getting in the pool and swimming, not reading about it.

Darin: Yes. I love what you said. What is the worst thing that can happen? I've interviewed so many real estate syndicators that have a 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 units. They think back to their first deal and they were scared. But consistently, I've heard them say, "I thought to myself, what's the worst thing that could happen? This deal could completely go south and I could go back and work wherever or whatever the case may be." But also what is the upside?

Which has a better probability of happening. So when they think through that, they're like, "You know what, this has a much better chance of having a good result than a bad result. I'm going to go for it. And it's changed lives." I believe that must be the best thing about writing your book. At least, I think it would be for me is, when you hear the stories of how somebody read your book, they took action and it changed their life. They thank you for that. I mean, that's amazing.

MJ DeMarco: Behind my computer here, I have a wall filled with stories. They're all framed. When I started my company, one guy told me his company's worth a billion dollars. I mean, it's like it's just so awesome. And when you talk about the upside, that's what we're working for.

Be Passionate About the Results

MJ DeMarco: I mean, not 24 hours ago, I was in the hot tub with my wife. I was drinking a beer, are having a cigar. I was like, here's to living the dream. And it was like perfect health, I have a business that is meaningful, I can do meaningful work. I have my time. I mean, I cannot think of the idea of getting up at five in the morning and not coming home till six o'clock at night so you can repeat that for the next four days.

Then the work is not very enjoyable, you're not doing meaningful work. Here's the thing, when you have a business, no matter what it is, it will be meaningful to you because it is your business. It's like, when you have a child, and you don't care if the child has developmental disabilities or is ugly or something, you love that child. That's what entrepreneurship really is.

You can be selling deodorant or razors or something that just is not very sexy, but you can be passionate about it. You can be passionate about what it's doing for the people that you're helping in your particular industry. That's another mistake entrepreneurs make is they think they have to do something they're passionate about. Like passionate with an industry, where all you have to be is passionate about the results of whatever you're delivering.

A pooper scooper business. Hey, if I had 20,000 houses around Salt Lake City and I was picking up the poop around their house, and I had employees who relied on me and I was providing a good service, I would be passionate about that.

The Type of Situation MJ DeMarco Will Not Advocate

MJ DeMarco: I'm not passionate about poop, but I'd be passionate about the results and the meaning I'm creating for my customers. There's a big difference there, I think people get lost in the trees with that. They think they have to, "Oh, I'm going to be a fitness trainer because I love fitness." Well then they end up competing with 20 million other personal trainers and it becomes a race to the bottom for the cheapest price. That's not the type of situation I would advocate.

Darin: Right. And then on top of all that is that, if you look at those two scenarios, say you work for another company at W2 and you make good money. Then for 10 years say, and then you build a business over 10 years. When you leave that company, unless you get some kind of parachute thing on your way out, you get nothing once you leave. But you build up a business, that business has value. If it's profitable, you can sell that business for a multiple. You actually have built value that you can exit on.

MJ DeMarco: And that's what I talk about in The Millionaire Fastlane, wealth acceleration factor. Where can you build wealth at a factor of 10? So if you're in an industry that has a PE of 10, if you raise the profit of your business by $10,000, you've just created a hundred thousand dollars in enterprise value, that's a net worth increase. So that's incredible. If you're doing a million dollars, a profit in a year, you have a 10 million valuation.

Wealth Acceleration Factor

Wealth Acceleration Factor By MJ DeMarco
Photographer: Nicolas Hoizey | Source: Unsplash

MJ DeMarco: If you raise that to 2 million, now you have a 20 million valuation. How can you build wealth that quick, anywhere else? The stock market you're hoping for 8%. With business you enjoy asymmetrical returns. I started my company with 900 bucks, made tens of millions of dollars. 900 bucks, asymmetric returns, that's what that is. Instead of making 8%, you're making 8000% and a business is the only way you can do that with asymmetrical returns.

Darin: Yes. A lot of the listeners are real estate investors. You buy an apartment community, that is in itself a business. You've got rent, which is the income and then you've got all these different expenses and then you have net profit, net operating income. So that is another form of business. You kind of hit on it, but with businesses and with real estate leverage. If you pick something, pick something to do that is going to have those sizeable returns. In order to do that, you need some leverage in the business or in the real estate or whatever you're doing.

MJ DeMarco: Yes. For me, leverage is not really about debt or good debt on real estate properties or apartment complexes. It's about the leverage inherent in the product or service you are offering. So a good example I like to say is, when you're starting your business, or when you're pursuing a particular idea, fast forward to the day you do $10,000 that day or 10,000 units. 10,000 units is probably better. But fast forward to that time, that great time, "Oh my God, we sold 10,000 today, or 5,000, just a large number."

Leverage

MJ DeMarco: What would your business need to look for that to happen? So in a couple of cases, it's okay, well, not much. We probably need another employee or two, or it could be totally radically different. Well, I need about 50 employees, I need about 20 locations. I need this, this, and that. That to me is about the leverage.

What is the leverage of the particular product or service that you're offering? I have a great example in my life. I've partnered with another developer on a particular software service in the publishing space because I'm a publisher. I see opportunities in this particular industry. This particular service would've been a two-sided marketplace.

So when I performed that analysis on that particular service, and we do 10,000 customer orders in one day, the business probably would've had to have six or seven employees, a 24/7 call center. I mean, it was a big minutia of things. As opposed to also working on another service, which is a goal system productivity system. When I fast forward to that 10,000 unit day, it's a different story. I would probably only need one employee, there would be no call center.

So there's two different things there. For me, I'm going to put my effort in the other business because it has far better leverage on it. So leverage is usually about the scale of the product or service you are offering. How easy is it to mimic the product you are offering? I'm not talking about how easy it is to get into the business, that has to be hard. But once you design and develop whatever product or service is it?

A Real-Life Experience of MJ DeMarco’s Brother-In-Law

MJ DeMarco: How easy is it to scale up to 500 units, 1000 units, 10,000, million. That to me is where Fastlane Entrepreneurship, fast lane leverage comes into play. You want a story. My brother-in-law owns a restaurant, a little breakfast cafe.

I hear the stories of he's always at work. Even when he is off work, the employees are bothering him. There's never going to be a day when he's got 20,000 people outside his door, wanting steak and eggs. So he's put himself into a box of no leverage. Not only that, his time is being sucked dry. Not to mention his life force because he's constantly being badgered by his employees.

So that's a situation that I would never advocate anyone to get into. And another thing is, I guess he got into that business because he was following his passion. Well, his passion for that now is gone because he's so tired of it. That's the danger of getting into these enterprises that have no leverage, you're following passion instead of following market needs. I mean, there's just a whole lot of stuff there to unpack.

Darin: Yes. I think that's an awesome example. Because, for a lot of people, I think starting up a restaurant or a bar is like something that is appealing in their eyes. But before doing it, I think it's very smart and wise to think about the leverage and think about what that will look like to be successful. And is it just one store, one location? Or is it something that can be franchised across the country? Like where does that leverage end up bringing the returns?

How to Bring Leverage Into a Café

MJ DeMarco: That's how you bring leverage into a cafe or into a restaurant, is through chaining and franchising which is totally different. Instead of becoming an operator of the business, you become an operator of a system. So that's a whole different ballgame. As far as I know, the last thing that he wants to do is own another restaurant. Whether it's changed, but that's a different approach as opposed to, "I'm going to hire a general manager to get me out of the weeds on this. Then I'm going to start duplicating and systemizing."

So it's all about your framework. When you're approaching these business systems as to how you want to attack them. Because ultimately, hey, business is hard as hell. If you're going to start a business, you want it to change your life. You just don't want it to pay your bills, you want it to change your life. You want to be able to spend 20 hours a week working or 10 hours a week working and the rest doing whatever you want. Or pursuing things that may not be monetary or economically advisable or economically favorable.

Darin: Yes. I mean, and I think about franchises, I mean, there's a ton of franchises to buy. And I'm interested in your take on this. I hear people saying that they're looking at franchises, I'm thinking to myself, are you looking to buy one location? And then you're going to work in that location, then you're buying yourself a low-paying job. Or the only people that I've seen really successful.

Selling vs Buying a Franchise

Selling vs Buying a Franchise
Photographer: Kelly Sikkema | Source: Unsplash

Darin: I mean, successful in your definition where they're out of the weeds is, they go into it saying, "I'm going to end up buying a geography and I'm going to put 10 or 20 locations there. And I'm going to have somebody else manage it. I'm going to oversee it." And I think that, those people can be successful in my mind, but the ones that go for one location, I feel like they're buying themselves a job. So what's your take on that?

MJ DeMarco: I totally advise against franchises, buying them. I advise you selling them. You want to be the seller of franchises, not the buyer. Now there's some exceptions, McDonald's, some of these high-end brands. If you want to buy a McDonald's franchise, you probably got a million dollars laying around. I don't have, because just what you said, you are buying yourself a job.

Now, if you have the capital to get a higher-end franchise that has a proven track record, a Starbucks. I mean, I don't even know if they franchise Starbucks. And your idea is to put two or three of them around the community or the city, that's a fast lane ideology. But typically buying a franchise is the last thing I would ever advise someone to do. Because you're buying yourself a job. The fast laner is the person that sold you the franchise, not the person who bought it.

So like, again, with my brother-in-law, if he wants to be a fast laner, he has to systemize his cafe. Get operations in place, get him out of the weeds. Then you start selling franchises based on a unique concept or brand. Then you become a seller of franchise, not a restaurant operator.

Be the Shark in the Tank

MJ DeMarco: That's the whole idea of the fast lane. You want to be king of the hill, you want to be the shark in the tank. You don't want to be the guppy. If you're buying a Quiznos, I don’t think they exist anymore. But a little sandwich franchise you're basically buying a job and you have a patriarch, which is this franchise owner. Who's probably taken royalties, probably has some policy dictations. You're buying a job.

Darin: Yes, absolutely. It kind of goes back to the beginning, when we were talking about the Lambo and you walked up to the guy and said, "What do you do for a living?" Like you want to be the guy that people come up to and ask. You don't have to have a Lambo to do that. But if people see you, it could be just that, "Hey, look, you're at every one of your kids' practices when other parents can't be there, because they're working." It could be that you're playing golf a lot.

Or whatever the case may be. You have free time. Or it could be something material like you have a beautiful house or beautiful cars, but people that are younger, how'd you do it? And you want to be one of the ones to be able to explain this is how I did it. And your book, The Fastlane is right on with where you got to be headed.

Change Your Life by Reading MJ DeMarco’s Book

MJ DeMarco: I just had an electrician here a couple of days ago, a window washer. Pretty much anyone that comes to my house asks me, "What do you do?" I can give them a book and say, "Well, here you go. You want to know? And not only do you learn what I do, you can mimic what I do. And repeat the same results."

Darin: So when you say that, "Repeat the same results." I think that, listeners whether it's real estate or starting a business, you don't realize it at the time, just like MJ, MJ, when he was building his limo business, he didn't realize it at the time. But later on, he has a ripple effect. He builds that wealth and then other people want to know how he did it. Then all of a sudden he teaches other people and he did it through writing books.

MJ DeMarco: I want to specify also, that's how I do. I own a publishing company, I write books. I don't hold seminars for $20,000. And I don't sell coaching programs for $5,000. I don't have any of these big tickets, upsells. When you read my book, there's nothing else to buy. Not before, not during, and not after. In other words for 10 bucks, which usually you can find my book for 10 bucks, 15 bucks, whatever, you can absolutely change your life and there's nothing else to buy from me.

MJ DeMarco’s Frustration as a Young Kid

MJ DeMarco: In fact, most of the time people steal my book. Because you can find it on the internet probably for free somewhere. So I've probably had over 10 million readers, but not 10 million buyers. And that to me was important because as I said, when I was struggling, there's always a seminar for $5,000 and you need to raise your credit cards and go to them and sign up. If you're serious, you need to spend the money.

I'm like, if you're so rich, why is it $5,000? The book would always be lacking some kind of information. Or if you want the real secret, join my seminar or visit this link. I don't do any of that, my books contain everything there is to know. There's nothing more to get access to because I've spilled it all and it's all there. So that was one of the frustrations for me as a young person. And that's something I wanted to solve. Like, you know what, if you want to know the secret, it's not going to cost you $2,000 in a weekend in some hotel ballroom. It's 10 bucks, or if you're diligent, it's free because you'll find it on the internet for free.

Darin: Right. And look, that's admirable, that's your take. I think I would come at it from an angle of, there are some seminars that are expensive 2,500, 5,000, whatever it cost. That if you go there and you take action, you learn something and you take action, it can be well worth the money. Then there are other times where people go and they spend money that they don't necessarily have.

It’s About Other People

It’s About Other People
Photographer: Timon Studler | Source: Unsplash

Darin: They go, they don't take action and it just ends up putting them in a worse position than they were in before. But I think it's extremely admirable that one, you took two to three years to write it and you're not looking for anything more. And these people, I mean, you get the joy. You make money on the book, but you don't make a ton of money on the books. But you get the joy of those letters that are on that wall. I think that once you hit financial freedom and time freedom, what more is there than helping somebody else in life? I mean, that's huge.

MJ DeMarco: That's a big thing on my forum as well. There's some people there that are like, "You need more, more, more level up, level up." And I'm like, "What do I need to level up?" I mean, I live in a huge house. Is it not big enough? I need a 15,000 square foot house not 13. And I need, not only a basketball court. I mean, what else do I need? So at some point there becomes a leveling off there where you say, "It's not about me anymore, it's about other people and about spreading the knowledge."

Darin: So, but one thing that I like is that there are some people that are in your same boat. But they don't put themselves out there. They don't write a book. They don't get out on social media to tell people how to do it. And they don't have some kind of training session. They learned how to build wealth and they're now sitting back, not doing anything and they can do that.

Unscripted

Darin: It's their money and it's their returns and that's fine. But I really admire people that made it and they're out there trying to teach other people. Because once you teach somebody else, then they can teach their circle. It could just have this huge ripple effect. We're talking about The Millionaire Fastlane because I read that book. Talk to me about the other two books, Unscripted and The Great Rat-Race Escape. What are each of those books focused on and how are they different than the The Millionaire Fastlane?

MJ DeMarco: The Millionaire Fastlane is kind of like a business philosophy with some life stuff speckled in. Unscripted is about a life philosophy through business. And that's about not following life scripts. So it's a little bit more detailed. It goes into some of the concepts we discussed here today, our value skew, which again is not very covered in the first book. More of the, and minutia in the process. Also about how to live on the wealth you've created while not subjecting yourself to financial ruin, due to a stock market collapse. Or some information there or that, some investing stuff. Again, it's a pretty broad-based book that a normal publisher would say, "No, no, no." And I say, "Yes, yes, yes." That book has done really well, obviously not as well as the first book, but it's done really well.

I think people like that one almost the best because it is so detailed. The Great Rat-Race Escape is practically brand new. It’s only been out a couple of months. That actually is a story. It's a half-fiction novel where you get to witness a young couple with a baby on the way, kids.

The Great Rat-Race Escape

MJ DeMarco: And they're in jobs they hate and they want to escape the rat raceYou literally get to watch them fail and try to build a business using Fastlane principles. You get to see exactly how they do it. Then interspersed in that story, I pop in with 120 strategies and principles that apply to the actual story that they're undergoing.

So what you're doing is you're witnessing the first two books in action. Then I comment with the reader, if the reader has already read a prior book, they get to basically confirm, "Is he talking about that concept here?" And I, yes, I confirm that there. So people always want to know, "Hey, well, how is this really applied in real life?" That's the book that shows it applied in real life, The Great Rat-Race Escape.

Darin: So in that book, and I haven't read it, so I can't speak to it. But when you interject, is it within the story. Or are you interjecting and saying, "Hey, I just talked about this in the story, and here's the concept."

MJ DeMarco: There's the story. And there's the story ends or the chapter, the chapter ends on a particular item, an event, a conflict. Then I come in and say, "This is the productivity principle. This is the specialized unit principle." And then the story starts again.

Darin: It's interesting because look, I love reading self-development books and books. I'm always trying to learn something and get better in life. It's not just financially. It's to be a well-rounded person.

Life-Changing Concepts

Darin: But I was driving my daughter this morning, who's 19. I said something about the books she always sees me reading, "I like self-development books." She's like, "Ah, they're so boring. I can't read them." So I think that there's a segment of people that they're not going to pick up a book that is just business-related. And so I think it's really clever and a good idea to have another book that is an interesting story. Then you can weave in life-changing concepts within that.

MJ DeMarco: Yes. That was my intent. It was to crystallize all the concepts into a different method for learning. And it was the hardest thing I've ever done because first of all, I’ve never written fiction. Then you're trying to write fiction about a couple that's building a business, which just sounds very boring. So I had to spice it up with certain things and character arcs and stuff like that. That you would expect in a novel. And just because the topic itself is just not a very exciting, starting a business.

Darin: Sure. It probably challenged you too, because it was a different way of writing.

MJ DeMarco: Yes. And that's what I wanted to do because I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to grow. Plus in my publishing company, I want to start writing fiction. Mysteries or I don't know, international espionage. I'm not even sure yet. But I know, my 10-year goal, my 10-year vision is to have a fictional story that actually hits the big screen, Netflix or theater or something. So eventually that's part of my long term bucket list.

MJ DeMarco’s Next Big Stretch Goal

Darin: Well, that's interesting, because I was going to ask you like where do you go it from here? Like you've written three books. You're financially free. You have time freedom. So what's the next big stretch goal? And you said someday you want to have written a fictional book that ends up on the big screen.

MJ DeMarco: Yes.

Darin: I mean, I love it when people just keep pushing the boundaries on what you can do. And the thing is, if you hadn't built that limo company and sold it. Then bought it back and sold it for another profit, you would never end up having this goal that you have right now. That's what I try to tell listeners. It’s, like, look, you have to take the action step. You can't see where you're going to end up. But it will be much, much bigger if you take action, and you take some risks along the way.

Like MJ said, you don't have to quit your job tomorrow. You can be doing stuff on the side to build up to that. So what do you like to do outside of writing and outside of your forum and just for fun? I like cigars and I like having a cold beer. Or a bourbon and so it sounds like you fit in there as well. But what do you like to do for fun?

MJ DeMarco: Well, my home is a resort, so I don't really need to leave. I love shooting hoops, I have a basketball court in my house. We have a home theater here. I don't need to leave to watch a feature-length theater.

Autonomy and Freedom

MJ DeMarco: And it's a booming theater, like it was experienced at the Cineplex. I have a running creek in the backyard. So I like camping and picnicking out in my backyard because there's a creek there. I mentioned to you the hot tub, I was just in the hot tub last night. So my life, I've set it up. So I’m living in a resort so I don't need to leave. But when I do leave, I have an ATV, love going into the mountains, the trails and getting into nature. Just love doing that. I hate putting the ATV on the trailer though. So that stops me from doing it as much as I want because I just hate that whole process. But I love shooting basketball. I'm really good, usually shooting three-pointers, but I can't jump. And I think I have a six-inch vertical leap.

Darin: Like the Phil Mickelson jump after the Master's win, right? He jumps up and like barely comes off the ground.

MJ DeMarco: Yes. Exactly. I'm exceptionally happy with my life. And it's a great foundation to pursue other things that can make a difference. I think that's a great place to strive to be. Because I think ultimately everyone's trying to achieve some sort of happiness. And I think freedom is a huge part of that equation. There's actually been studies that prove that autonomy and freedom are responsible for 50% of your happiness quotient. I absolutely agree with that. I don't want to say the happiest day in my life. But when my life became happy was over 25 years ago, when I realized I could be self-sufficient on my own.

Check MJ DeMarco’s YouTube Channel

MJ DeMarco: In my own business, in my own ventures using my own brain. That's when I became happy because I have autonomy. I didn't have financial freedom then, but I knew I was self-sufficient. So, when you're working for freedom, time freedom, financial freedom, that is just incredibly liberating to have that as a foundation for bigger and better things.

Darin: That's huge. Well, I thank you for coming on. Your book had an impact on me, I've been wanting to have you on for a while. I really hope and encourage listeners to go read this book. It's called The Millionaire Fastlane. And again, he has two other books, Unscripted and The Great Rat-Race Escape.

In addition to that, he's got an online business forum called Fastlane Forum, you can check that out. And he also has a YouTube channel with like 50,000 subscribers. So you can look him up MJ DeMarco and he's got a YouTube channel. So, hey, what's the best way for people to get to know you, to get to know your books? Point them in the right direction to get to know you better.

MJ DeMarco: Two best ways are the fastlaneforum.com. That's my business forum. It is free to join and I am there every single day. Literally every single day I am there. And I contribute, I am not able to ask or answer every question or contribute to every thread. But I usually make five or six contributions a day depending on the day. So I'm always there, that's how you can interact. I mean, people come there and say, "Hey, I read your book, I loved it." And sometimes 10 minutes later, I say, "Glad you enjoyed it."

Darin: That's a nice touch, right?

Sense Framework

MJ DeMarco: I mean, that's a value skew. People are like, "Wow, that's great."

Darin: Is that really you or is that somebody else?

MJ DeMarco: No, that's me.

Darin: No, I know, but they're thinking that, right? Like is that really you or is that some social media person that's doing that?

MJ DeMarco: Yes. And when I get email too, I answer a lot of those as well, and I get that same response. "Is this really you?" And I'm like, "Yes, it's me." I can't answer all of them, but the ones that seem urgent or there's something in there that I need to say, I'll bounce back something. So I'm pretty accessible at the forum.

I'm on YouTube, at my channel probably once a week. I do comment there occasionally. And in the spirit of my own advice, I focus all my time on my own platform. Because, YouTube can any time say, "Well, we don't like what you said in this video, we're going to cancel your account." That's why I focus my time, not on social media, but on my own platform, a platform that I control. That's part of my sense framework is control.

The Best Ways to Interact With MJ DeMarco

Darin: Yes. That's smart. And any entrepreneur conference I've been to has talked about the value of having your own email lists and your own way of marketing to people that want to do business with you. Whether it be a podcast, some podcasters point everybody to iTunes. Well, if you point everybody to iTunes, they click on iTunes and subscribe, you never even know that they're listening.

So you want to achieve some way of controlling the people that want to do business with you. So the fastlaneforum.com, YouTube channel. Those are the two best ways to interact with you?

MJ DeMarco: Yes sir.

Darin: Okay. Very good. Well, I really, really appreciate you coming on. I'm looking forward to reading these two other books that you have and looking forward to everything else that you have coming out. Wish you continued success. Listeners, I hope that you enjoyed that one. Until next week, signing off.

How to Reach MJ DeMarco

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Darin Batchelder


Wealth creation through real estate provided me with a new passion to get the word out and let others know that they have an alternative to investing in the stock market. If I can inspire and educate just one person to take action that results in life changing wealth creation then the work to launch and grow this podcast is well worth the effort.

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