Posted on: September 16, 2020

While wholesaling can be a really lucrative and rewarding business, it can be quite challenging for those who are just starting out. Ideally, it would be great to have someone you can learn valuable lessons and profound wisdom from so you’ll save yourself from a lot of pain and heartaches. In this episode, you’ll get just that!

Chris Arnold is one of the most successful wholesalers and real estate investors in the industry. He’s also the coach of REI Radio, an advanced online training that provides expert guidance on how you can use radio to find motivated sellers.

In this episode, Chris shared some of the most important lessons, essential truths, and wisdom he has learned over the years—the things he wished he knew earlier, the things that might just save you from a lot of pain, and the things that can accelerate your success!

If you’re new to wholesaling and would like to learn essential truths and success secrets from one of the industry’s best, this episode is for you!

Key Takeaways

  • The importance of volatility and chaos in your business
  • Why first time encounters are often hard to deal with
  • What you need to understand about first time encounters
  • Why you need to innovate rather than duplicate
  • What it takes to be a successful entrepreneur
  • Why it pays to try something most people are not doing
  • Why you need to investigate before you initiate
  • Why it pays to marry the mission and date the model
  • Why you need to get better before you get bigger
  • Why it pays to delegate, empower others, and build a team
  • Difference between a genius and a genius maker
  • What the hallmark of great leadership is
  • Why you should cheat your business before you cheat your family or relationships


If you are Ready to Explode Your Wholesaling Business, Click here to Book a Free Strategy Session with me right now!

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Episode Transcription

Chris Arnold:
Welcome to the Wholesaling Inc Podcast. I’m your host, Chris Arnold. Glad to have you today. Guess what? This is a solo podcast. It’s just me.
I know we do a lot of interviews, but when I have something of value, something that’s really more personal to me, I love to just jump on and share it with you. I read a book a couple years ago, one that you might have heard of, called Principles by Ray Dalio. I highly recommend you pick it up if you haven’t. What Ray did was over time, the different experiences he had, the different failures, the different moments of pain, he always took time to kind of go underneath that and pull out the lesson, the principle that he needed to take with him, that he needed to remember when this thing happened again so he would know how to deal with it, and the value of doing that also was his ability to pass these principles down to his team, so they didn’t have to go through the same experiences he did without being kind of prepped, without having a tool of a method, really knowledge, a principle about how to deal with that particular challenging experience. This really hit me because Ray said in all of his years, this was the most important thing he felt like he ever took time to do.
I read a lot of books, and not often do I close a book and go, “You know what? I’m actually going to execute on this at a deep level,” so I spent time. It took me probably about a week to really write out all of my principles. I had kept everything I’ve read, all my highlights, notes, even all the way back to school, so it was easy for me to go through all the material I read and really start to write out the principles, and so I created, really like a eight-page document with all of the different principles that I had picked up on my life, and I’m going to tell you, it was profound to see all of those lessons together in one place, and so it’s something now that I can share. I know people ask me a lot of times like, “Chris, if you could go back, like what would you do differently?,” and so here’s what you’re going to get today in this episode. I’ve picked a handful of principles, ones that I wish someone had told me in the beginning.
When I was first getting into real estate, or even within those first couple years, I wish I would have known about this sooner because it would’ve saved me a lot of pain and heartache, and more importantly, when that challenge came down the pipe, I had something in my toolbelt to be able to deal with it, and so today, I’ve handpicked some that I want to share with all of you and some ones I think, particularly, if you’re newer to the game, you’re going to go, “Man, that’s really valuable. I’m glad to kind of have that and be looking out for it.” The way that I write out my principles is I have a catch phrase, and then from that, I have a description, just a couple sentences that really elaborate on what that principle is, and so that’s how I’m going to communicate them to you today. The first principle is this, embrace volatility and chaos. Embrace volatility and chaos. Understand that a system needs volatility and chaos because it destroys the fragile parts of the business or your system, and strengthens the surviving parts.
If chaos and volatility will remove from the system or remove from your business, your business would just stop improving over time. You’ve got to come to terms, both you and myself, with the fact that our business is fueled by volatility, and we got to utilize that to our advantage. Let me tell you why this is so relevant right now. We’re in 2020, if you’re listening to this, and we’ve definitely experienced a lot of volatility, and what you have to begin to understand that, if we don’t have volatility and chaos, if the market doesn’t get challenged, like it did in 2008 and other time, then what will happen over time is it’ll become weak. I want you to think of your business. I want you to think of the economy like your physical body.
If you quit lifting weights, if you quit exercising, if you quit putting stress and pressure on your body, what would happen over time? It would begin obviously to deteriorate, and the same is true with your business. In a time like 2020, what’s so valuable is it’s causing you to get rid of the weakest parts of your business and focus on the strengths and build those stronger, and so here’s what it does. It helps you look at the other side of the coin because in the beginning, when I would experience chaos and volatility because of the economy or different things, I would get frustrated, and I would want this to never happen again and to be removed, but for me, that was ignorance because I didn’t understand that. The very thing I wanted to remove was the very thing that my business needed in order to get better, and so I hope you take this principle with you, even particularly right now, that you embrace volatility and chaos, and you actually view it as a good thing, just like you view exercise and stress on your body as a good thing, because I’m telling you, it will change your perception around struggle.
The second one that I would like to share with you, and this one actually comes from Ray Dalio was one that really hit me hard, it’s called first-time encounters. Again, the principle is first-time encounters. New and first-time encounters and struggles, they look big, and they look dramatic. They’re painfully surprising at first. Realize that the reason that a first-time encounter, why they’re so hard is simply because you haven’t learned and built the principles to deal with them yet. When you look back on your first-time struggles, you’ll realize that they were not as threatening and life-ending as you thought them to be, and isn’t that so true about not just business, but our life?
The first time we experienced a big failure, the first time you experienced death in your life, maybe by someone that you love, the first time in your business that you lose that deal that you were waiting to get, all of these things in our life that happened, we have experiences that repeat themselves, and then we get these new experiences. What I’m going to tell you, particularly being a new investor, is over the first year or two, you’re going to get a ton of first encounters. You’re going to lose a deal for the first time. You’re going to have a seller ghost you for the first time and just disappear. You might have somebody as an investor that you trust come in and steal a deal.
The reason that these things are so big the first time around is simply because you don’t have the principles to deal with them yet, but what will happen is you’ll learn from these experiences. You’ll pull out the principle, and the next time that that thing occurs, it’s like, “Hey, I’ve been there, done that,” so again, I’m going to use an example. For some of you listening, this is the first time you’ve been through a correction in the economy. For those of us that dealt with that back in 2008, I can tell you, that was the first time I experienced it. That was like life-threatening.
Like I thought my business was going to end, but the reason it was so big is because it just didn’t have the principles, and so this time around in 2020, it was a lot less dramatic for me personally because I just went right back into the toolbelt and pulled out those principles I knew. I knew I needed to get in and get lean, and start cutting expenses. I knew things like you don’t touch your marketing, you continue to market, maybe even double-down a little bit more. You heard all of these things. You were listening to podcasts about people talking about these things, and what they were giving you is they were giving you the principles, and where did they get those from?
They got them from the first time they encountered it. The big thing I can tell you is just understand that first-time encounters are tough, but realize that they’re tough simply because it’s the first time, and so when this happens, when it seems big, it seems dramatic, you’ll be able to step back and go, “You know what? It’s not as big and dramatic as like emotionally and psychologically I feel like it is. It just seems that way because it’s the first time that I’ve dealt with it.” The next one I’d love to share with you is this, the third principle is the majority is wrong.
Again, the majority is wrong. Do not feel the peer pressure to imitate the actions of your peers. Duplication can only take you so far. At some point, you must begin innovating. In order to produce results that are wildly outside the average, to produce results that are extraordinary, you cannot afford to think like average people think.
You can’t act like average people act. You cannot be like an average person, which is normal. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be an independent thinker, and hear this, you have to learn to bet against the consensus and be right. You’re new right now, and you’re coming in and you’re doing a lot of duplication, which is right. In the beginning, you want to kind of copy-paste, but what I’m going to tell you is the challenge is a lot of times the things you’re duplicating is the majority, and the reality is, is that the majority of the people out doing real estate honestly, they’re just following each other, and a lot of times, that’s wrong.
What I want to tell you is two things, begin to look for the contrarian things. Begin to look for the person that’s kind of doing something that no one else is doing, and for some reason, you’re like, “Wow, they stand out from the crowd,” and the reason that they are is because they are contrarian. At some point, as you get down the road, I can tell you, one of the mistakes that I felt like I made is I stayed in duplication too long. I put off really innovating. I just kept copying and copying because I got into that pattern.
Again, copying is good, duplication is good, but what I’ll tell you is, again, be open early in your career to really open yourself up to innovation, to go try and do something that everyone else isn’t doing. Again, everyone’s doing RBM, everyone’s doing text blasting, everyone’s doing direct mail. That’s an example of that. For me, it was radio. That was the contrarian thing that I did, and it paid off for me, and so the big thing I want you to take away from this is be open to the contrarian stuff and just understand that primarily, the majority of people are wrong. Go after the few.
The next principle I want to share with you, and I think this is important, particularly if you’re newer, is never test the depth of the river with both feet. Again, never test the depth of the river with both feet. You’ve got to investigate before you initiate, and be sure that if you fail, you fail fast and you fail cheap. Now, I see a lot of people come across an idea, a new way of doing things, and when you’re new, you get really excited about it. What I’m going to tell you is the thing that’s wrong to do is just to jump in the river without understanding what’s in there.
What I want to tell you is learn to really kind of step back, dip your toe, be patient, do your due diligence. Don’t, again, get impatient and just make decisions really based on because other people told you that it was the great thing to do. You’ve always got to stop and go, “You know what? I have got to investigate before I initiate into this new concept and this new idea,” and so I think that’s really important for those that you are new to understand that. The next principle I would tell you is this, marry the mission, date the model.
Again, marry the mission, date the model. The mission never changes, but the tactics for reaching that mission are subject to change. A lot of you listening right now, one of the major missions I hear is for you to get out of your day-to-day job. You want to quit the 9:00 to 5:00, really be able to get that freedom so you can focus on the things that you love. That’s the driver.
That mission is not going to change. The mission for freedom will always be there, but you might be utilizing the method, the model of wholesaling. If we go into underneath wholesaling, you might be utilizing the model of texting, or you might be utilizing the model of cold calling or whatever. It doesn’t matter what it is. What I’m going to tell you is be catious on not marrying methods and models, even wholesaling in general because 10, 20 years from now, the wholesale game could completely change.
Here’s what I find, businesses that die are ones that get too stuck on a way of doing things. They marry the actual model and realize that the … They don’t realize. The model is subject to change. The way things are done are not going to be done, and again, this happens all the time. I don’t care if it’s the taxi industry, and we’re talking about Uber.
Those models get disrupted, and so you got to stay on your feet. Hold to the mission that you have that’s in your heart, but when it comes to the model, you got to be quick to analyze things and to pivot because again, the natural instinct is always to persevere, but sometimes I’m going to tell you, the most important thing is to pivot, not to persevere. Again, 2020, there’s been a lot of pivoting going on as well. The next one that I would like to share with you is get better before bigger. Get better before bigger.
If you focus your company on getting better, your customers will demand that you get bigger. If you’re new, you’re going to walk into masterminds and you’re going to walk into communities, and you’re going to get pulled into the hype of bigger. What I’m going to tell you is it’s a slippery slope, because bigger is not necessarily always ways better. I wish I understood this in the beginning because for me, it was just like adding on like one new idea at the other. I mean, the amount of projects that I would be executing on in the name of getting bigger and doing more deals, I just got caught up into that frenzy, and what I began to understand is that long-term, you’ll definitely lean toward the fact that you’ll value better over bigger, and sometimes you’ll sacrifice getting bigger because you’d rather be better, and so people always talk about growth, goals, but what you’ll do I need to learn to do is begin to understand growth limits, where you intentionally come in and you set limits on what you’re building, and different reasons.
I mean, if you’re wanting a better lifestyle, and you’re building what we would call lifestyle business so that you can focus on your family, at some point, you’re going to stop scaling. Scaling is not always the answer, and so again, the term I’ll tell you is sometimes it’s valuable just to be a little giant. Everyone’s going out and wanting to be the next Gary Vaynerchuk and all those things, and again, it’s appealing, but just understand that, that might not be you, and that just don’t scale to scale. Always step back and understand, “I need to get better first, and if I do want to scale, I definitely focus on getting my systems better, my business better, because when I do that, then I earn the right to actually get bigger.” The next one I would share with you as a principle is don’t just do it yourself.
There is some truth to the adage, “If you want it done right, do it yourself.” Sometimes I get it. It really is easier and less time-consuming to do things yourself than to train someone else to do it, but guess what? Leadership is not always about getting things done right. Leadership is about getting things done through other people.
Hear me on this, and when I heard it, it resonated with me, your job is to lead it, not do it, and so I find a lot of people get stuck, and really, the potential of where they can go in their business and what their business can look like because they get so frustrated that people can’t do things to the level that they do. I’ll use Maxwell’s language. If somebody can do it 80% as good as you, then delegate it, but if you don’t learn to give up, control, and then I see this at the highest levels. This is a lot of times why you see the person, and again, maybe you admire the level of business they have, they’re doing a lot of transactions, but you’re like, “Man, they just don’t have a life.” Like, “They’re working 24/7.”
“They’re they’re married to their phone and they’re married to their social media.” The reality is that person has truly never learned to empower people, to build a team, to leverage, to delegate. I’m going to tell you that for me, the further I go along, the skill that I really try to sharpen is to delegate more. To use Liz Wiseman’s language, my desire over time, and I learned this the hard way, was not to be the genius, but to be the genius maker, because the genius, everything’s built around you, and that’s a dangerous position for your business to be in, because when you collapse, your business collapses, but if you’re a genius maker, if you put people around you that can run your business without you, in my opinion, that’s the true value of a business. I think it was Robert Kiyosaki that said, “The way to measure your business is how long it would run if you stopped working in it today.”
That’s powerful. I love that, and so if you remove yourself from the equation, will your business last a week? Will it last six months, five years, 10 years? Again, I believe that’s the way to truly measure the success of the business. Again, don’t just do it yourself, take the time to learn to build a team and empower other people.
All right. Two more and I’ll be wrapping up here. The next principle is a diluted focus equals a diluted bank account. A diluted focus equals a diluted bank account. You’re hearing this, you’re probably laughing because you recognize this. This is something I dealt with in the beginning.
Focus will make you rich, shiny objects will make you go blind. Learn to say no to good ideas every day. The ability to focus on the few necessary things really is the hallmark of great leadership. A leader knows and does the best things on a regular basis. There are many things you can do, but you have to narrow it down to the one thing you must do. As Howard Hendricks said, “The secret of concentration is elimination.”
I can tell you as you’re new, and again, I deal with students in REI Radio and so forth, I constantly see the head on a swivel and going and just losing focus, and what I’m going to tell you is the further you grow your business, you’ll actually move further away from complexity and more to simplicity. You’ll really begin to narrow down to one to two things that you just do. Right now, maybe in your business, you’re saying yes to a lot of things, but the place that you’ll get to, the real place in leadership is when you begin to say no to primarily everything, and you learn to say yes to only the very best things. The last one I want to share with you, definitely a little bit more on the kind of family personal side, the relationship side of running a business. This is Andy Stanley’s principle, I really love this, choose to cheat.
Again, it’s choose to cheat. There will never be enough time in the day to get everything done. Something or someone has to go get cheated. Cheat your business before you ever cheat your family or your key relationships. Let me say that again, cheat your business before you ever cheat your family or your key relationships.
You’re sitting here and you’re looking at time management and all these things that are going on, and trying to juggle all these things in your life, just come to terms that you’re never going to get it all done. You’re never going to get everything done off the checklist. It’s just not a normal way of life. Life has too many things to throw at us, and so the real question that you need to be asking yourself is not, “How do I get everything done?,” but the question you have to ask yourself is, “Who or what am I going to cheat?” I can tell you this, if you can get down to the ender part of your life, again, I’m not there yet, but I’m smart enough to listen to those men and those women that are in their 60’s and 70’s, and even my father would say, “You know, Chris, I’ve heard a lot of people, particularly men, businessmen on their death beds going, ‘Man, I wish I would have spent more time with my family,’ but he said, ‘You know, I’ve never heard someone say, ‘I wish I would’ve spent more time in my business.””
I think we’ve heard that. That’s just a great adage and a great proverb. What I’ll tell you is you’re going to have to start making the choice to cheat, and what I’m going to tell you is don’t cheat someone, always focus on cheating something, because again, at the end of the day, relationships matter most. Again, just heartfelt today, wanted to share some of these principles, things that I learned painfully over time, things, again, even via coaching and reading, and all those things. This is why we always tell you the value of leaders or readers, and pay for the right voice in your life. These things really matter because they save time, and so I hope you put some of these in your toolbelt, and hope today, that some of these really begin to challenge you and maybe to reevaluate how you’re thinking.
Life is all about perspective, and it’s all about reframing the way that we look at things. That’s how we grow. Again, as always, I love leading REI Radio. At this point, it’s become more than just teaching radio. We’ve created a great alumni program for students that have gotten in and gotten a lot of value because my heart, again, I love teaching radio, but where my real heart is, is raising up leaders, really talking about wisdom, principles because the older I get, the less I care about methods, and the more I care about the things that truly matter, the principles, life, the things that I’m going to pass down.
As always, if you’re interested in radio and you want to learn more about that, again, I think it’s the point you guys have heard, and the rumor is out that radio is an incredible channel and particularly right now in 2020. As always, go to Again, that’s and book a call. See if your market is open, and as always, as I told you earlier, investigate before you initiate, get in, ask questions and make sure it’s a great fit for you. All right.
Until next time. Look forward to connecting with you guys and adding more value. Talk to you soon.

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