“I told you so…” (And 2 lessons from a Billionaire)

I hate to say it but “I told you so…”

I’ve been talking about Frank McKinney “Palm Beach Experience”  for awhile and telling my friends, Mastermind members and subscribers they had to be there. I had about 10 of you guys take me up on it and for the people there, including me, it truly was life changing.

Yes, that gets thrown around a bit too much – but let me just recap the weekend and give you a few solid take-aways.

First, a quick background. Frank McKinney is truly a Maverick real estate “artist”. He builds 8, 9 and even now 10-figure oceanfront properties for the ultra wealthy on spec (meaning no buyer). Even more amazing is the man is like a modern Robin Hood. He takes many of those profits and channels them to the desperately poor and homeless in Haiti. It’s part of his Caring House Foundation Project.

A couple highlights from the event….

First off, I stayed at Frank’s house in one of his guest cottages, and for some reason I couldn’t sleep. So I ended up awake at 4 AM and decided I’d make a cameo appearance and go for a 5-mile jog with Frank and some of the other crazy attendees who got up that early. I figured this would be the only time Frank would see me awake at that hour unless we passed each other when I was going to bed and he was getting up. This is the guy who just came back from the 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon. and I probably haven’t run in 5 years. Surprisingly I didn’t even notice the mileage because I was talking business & life with a bunch of people as we were running. Frank videotaped the entire event (including this run) so I have real proof for Missy.

After hitting the showers we all boarded luxury motor coaches to check out Frank’s meager beginnings in real estate investing with his first $50,000 fixer-upper. A lot of people will see someone as successful as Frank McKinney and never believe he started in the exact same place everyone else does…at the beginning. He told us he passed up several deals because he was so scared to part with his “hard earned” money. He was nearly shaking when he pulled the trigger to buy his first house in one of the rougher areas of Palm Beach County.

Then we traveled forward in time and up (significantly) in price touring 3 mansions worth over $75 million. Truthfully, I’ve never been in a house valued at more than probably $7-$8M. It really was something to sit there for a moment and truly visualize yourself being able to afford one of these magnificent properties. In the brief time I’ve known Frank I’ve learned some powerful things from him but during an off-comment I picked up something huge.

Frank said at every house he creates “conversation pieces”.

Now stop and think about that for a second. To me that was profound. A quick example will help here. In one of the homes (actually John Ferber’s who you’ll hear about in a second) we toured there was a floor to ceiling custom fish-tank and the actual bar top was an adjoining tank. You could be sitting there at this bar and watching the tropical fish through your Jack & Coke. Plus, when you were behind the bar it looked like you were walking on water because there was a clear plexi-glass floor with a thin layer of water and a shark head image. I wish I took a picture. It was pretty damn cool!  You walk into the house and you have to talk about this feature.

[Update: I got pics from one of the other attendees]

 damn cool bar


It got me thinking about what I could do for Maverick Business Adventures™ that would create conversation pieces. People want to be able to ‘show off’ just a little bit to their friends and get that ego stroke.

Moving on…

Lunch that first day was on the site of Frank’s $135 M spec house. Yes, that means a 10-figure house without a buyer – I have to give the guy credit. In his book (that’s well worth reading) he talks about flexing your risk muscle and strengthening it. He’s done that in spades here. [Side note – you can listen to a special interview I did with Frank here. He talks about this success secret and several others.]

Right next door to his $135 spec house is his current $30 million ‘green home’. Currently the world’s largest green home. If there was any house on this tour that I wanted – my heart had a little flutter for this one. But I’d need to sell a few more ebooks to cover the mortgage on this bad boy. 😉 

Here’s a pic of the model in the meantime: (One of the conversation pieces on this house is you can drive into your subterranean garage and there will be a clear wall where you can see into the pool above. Cool!)


The next morning there was a special VIP breakfast with coach Don Shula. Here’s a few moments of his inspiration and a quick pic:


For lunch that day we boarded a yacht to make a 2 ½ hour cruise down the Intracoastal Waterway to arrive at the Governor’s club. That’s where Rich DeVos, co-founder of Amway and owner of the Orlando Magic, shared his insights.



I loved it! He is Frank’s personal mentor and I could see why. I took a few key notes with his presentation. A couple of the biggies for me were:

1. Become the biggest cheerleader in your organization
2. Plan your yearly calendar with family events first
3. Buy a huge yacht and then an island so your family (kids, grandkids) can’t get away and they are ‘forced’ to spend time with you. 😉

I grabbed a quick pic with Mr. DeVos before we had to sprint back to the boat.


On the return trip John Ferber, co-founder of Advertising.com, talked about how he survived and thrived through the dot-com bubble. Oh did I mention the guy sold his business for $500 Million to AOL? Pretty sweet. John and I exchanged cards in the buffet line and he’s definitely got a sense of humor. He named his company “Vandelay Industries”. (Any Seinfeld fans out there get it?) 😉

This was the guy Frank said I had to meet and as luck would have it we ended up sitting right next to each other because my first seat got taken by an attendee’s husband.

I took a few minutes of his presentation to share:


[Side note: I must mention again Frank videotaped the entire event so my little snippets aren’t  even close to what was shared there and it’s worth getting the recordings when he makes them available.]

That night all the guests took part in Michael Israel’s “Art in Concert”. Really cool! The guy painted 6 original portraits on the spot with rock music going. I’ve never seen anything like it. The guy is an amazing talent – you can see some video of what he does on his site.

Of course I just had to purchase one of the pieces during the auction especially since it went to a good cause to benefit the Caring House. I called Missy after the auction and used a little “compare/contrast”. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: “Hi honey – just checking in and letting you know I bought a few things at the auction.”

Missy: “I knew you would.”

Me: “Yeah, I spent $100k. It’s okay though – it all went to charity.”

Missy: “Shut up!”

Me: “Okay. It was $50k.”

Missy: “Right…how much?”

Me: “It was $20k.”

Missy: “Um….I have a charity for you. It’s called Zak & Zoe’s college education.”

She was kidding obviously. I think. 😉


The auction raised over $140,000 for Caring House Project Foundation.   And after the auction there was a “Midnight PJs, Pizza & Popcorn” session where attendees and co-host presenters could hang in a casual environment. We left at 1:30 and barely had time to hit last call down the road. Mike Litman was buying shots for the whole bar in honor of me selling my “dot-com” business. I told people it was my ChicksinChickensuits.com site. I said there were a lot of people with weird poultry fetishes.
I was hanging out with Mike and Frank’s brother, Bob, until 3:30 AM. Believe it or not, he was considering going running the next morning….errr….in 1 hour. I told him to count me out! Of course, he didn’t make it up either.  😉

The next morning we finished up with a question and answer session on the beach. It was killing me because 50 feet away was a beach volleyball net – but good thing the guys playing pretty much sucked or I might have been really tempted.

Not sure if Frank will ever do an event like this again – but if he does I’ll be the first one to sign-up. Oh, and if any of you buy the $30M green house I sure hope I get an invite to your party!

Five Unusual Ways to Motivate Yourself…

 If you’ve ever felt like you’re stuck in a rut or simply not hitting your goals fast enough here are 5 unusual and slightly unorthodox things I do to motivate myself.

Unusual Motivator #1 – Go Public

I like the pressure the happens when you tell people, who’s opinion you care about, what you want to get done. For instance, maybe your sister’s opinion of you really matters to you. You’d feel incredibly stupid if you told her something and then you let her down. Perfect. That’s exactly who you want to share your next idea with and make them hold you to the completion. But don’t tell someone who is a negative person – they’ll only try to talk you out of anything you’ve got planned or rain on your parade.

I like to do this in a big way.

You’ve already seen this in action if you’ve read the blog at all. You know I made a very public promise on here that by January 2008 I’d have my first Maverick Business Adventures™ experience. I put it out in a very public way and I’d feel silly if I didn’t move forward with the project. I have tens of thousands of readers who would, in some way, hold me to it. [Side note: You may or may not want to reveal everything publicly if you feel like someone will steal your idea.]

Unusual Motivator #2 – Make a bet – Or even better make an embarrassing bet

Every notice how you’ll do more to win a silly bet than you would in other situations? You bet! 😉

Why not make a silly and possibly embarrassing bet (back to #1) with a friend of yours for something you want to get done. Maybe it’s taking off 10 lbs. Both of you agree that you’ll lose 10 lbs within 6 weeks or the person who doesn’t needs to strut around town in the lime-green, thong bathing suit Borat wore (pics below). Get creative and make sure you really don’t want to be the loser of the bet.

Unusual Motivator #3 – Create a Big Enough Reason Why

If you have a big enough reason to get something done there’s almost no way you can fail. It’s the people with the biggest reasons (or the most reasons) who seem to pull through anytime the deck is stacked against them. My friend, Frank McKinney, recently completed the grueling Badwater Ultra Marathon. It’s a 135-mile run in Death Valley where the temperature frequently tops 100 degrees. Frank does it to raise funds for his Caring House Foundation Project and that’s his ‘why’.
For my family and other immigrant families the biggest reason why was simply because there wasn’t really another alternative. My Father came over from Russia with $256 in his pocket for me, my Mom and her Mom. He barely spoke English but he still managed to build a nice 7-figure business. What’s your reason why and it’s got to be bigger than simply “I want to be rich”?

Unusual Motivator #4 – Make a must-hit deadline

I like this one a lot. The rule is the more unbreakable the deadline – the greater the chance you’ll get your task done. Ever notice how the day before you leave for your vacation you miraculously get everything completed? That’s right – you’ve got a deadline (and a reason why). I’ve seen this work time and time again. Set your deadline. Sometimes it takes a big leap of faith but events, people, situations conspire will conspire to make sure you get your deadline met once you really make it a permanent deadline.

Quick example is when I sold my very first information product to doctors. I ran an ad and got 10 leads and 1 doc bought on the deadline from the sales letter (lesson in itself about deadlines for customers). So after peeling myself off the ceiling from being so excited someone actually bought – I realized I had no product ready. I wrote the doctor back and told him we would not charge his card since we were “republishing” the material and it would be ready in 30 days. Boom! A deadline! You can bet I worked my butt off til 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning many of those 30 days after my regular job to get this manual out there and done.

Another example, the first year I held my Underground™ Online Seminar – I really had no idea how it would be do. I didn’t know it would sell out weeks in advance – but I did set a deadline. An event is the most solid deadline you could put out there. I stood to lose $100k+ if it didn’t work and I knew the date it had to get filled by. A lot of people don’t want to set deadlines because they simply want everything to be perfect before a product/event/service is ready. News flash: That will never happen! Deadlines are like magic productivity pills. Anytime a project of mine is not progressing – it means I don’t have a real deadline in place with real penalties. 

Unusual Motivator #5 – Document it and profit from it

Here’s one you might not hear anywhere else. One of my favorite motivators for getting off my butt is knowing I can document a certain process and others might be interested in it. That can take many different forms – anything from you having to have blogging material to actually turning what you do into some sort of information marketing product for sale. 

A few years back when Missy & I moved to Manhattan Beach, CA for the Summer – one of my motivators (aside from the weather, playing beach volleyball, etc) was to document running an online business from a remote location. I turned that into a little bonus report that I previously used as a bonus for one of our products.

Alright there you go – 5 unusual ways to motivate yourself to get moving on any project, idea or business you’ve got cooking. Do you have any other ways you motivate yourself – leave a comment for everyone to benefit from. Or let me know if you use any of these 5 ways and your results.

One quick fun thing…

Since Halloween just passed, I’m sure you guys were having sleepless nights wondering what I dressed up as for my favorite holiday. Okay maybe not. In our new neighborhood there’s a huge Halloween party across the street from us. Steve and Deb go all out. There’s about 150 people there and they hire caterers, bartenders even a tarot card reader (we’ll come back to her in a moment). The party was killer! I came as Borat and stayed in character the whole night – much to the dismay of Missy.

She’d cringe every time she heard “Veeery Niiiiice” or “Higha-Fiva” across the room. The great thing is I had watched the movie the night before the party so all the lines were really recent in my head. The poor tarot card reader – I kept calling her a gypsy and asking for her tears! Here’s a quick pic of me and another Borat at the party:

2 borats

And those of you who saw the movie – might remember a certain lime-green bathing suit. Here’s a little peek of it under my suit (and no, it never came all the way out).

 borat swimsuit

Zak had his first real Halloween and dressed up as “Bob the Builder”. He didn’t quite get trick or treating. I’d help him knock on the doors of neighbors and he’d just barge right in and check out their house. Here he is (eating some of his Halloween loot) with Mommy and his baby sister in a pumpkin onesie.