Posted on: April 26, 2021

Today Lauren speaks with Tarek El Moussa, star of the hit HGTV show, Flip or Flop. He has an incredible story on how he went from being a broke pizza delivery guy to a successful house flipper and the star of one of the most successfully house flipping shows in history,  Flip or Flop.

In this episode, Tarek talks about how he got started in real estate and how he was able to build a multi-million dollar flipping business. He also shares how his journey from house flipper to HGTV reality TV star. Not only that, he shares some of his biggest struggles and how he survived dealing with two health challenges after just getting a contract with HGTV.

Today, Tarek’s life is massively successful in spite of all of his health challenges. Discover how he became so successful at flipping houses, how he overcame his health battles, and thriving in doing what he loves most – flipping houses on TV. Tarek gets very vulnerable on this episode and shares things he hasn’t talked about in the past. Do not miss this episode!

Key Takeaways

  • How Tarek started his entrepreneurial journey and the lessons he learned early on
  • His defining moment in real estate wholesaling
  • How he got a contract with HGTV and turned his show into the most successful house flipping show in history
  • Dealing with health challenges while managing multiple businesses and starring on a hit TV show
  • He talks about his new upcoming shows Flipping 101 and Flipside
  • What a typical day in Tarek’s life and business looks like
  • His plans for launching a brand new (global) businesses
  • The #1 secret to his success that every entrepreneur should follow, but most of them miss
  • He shares the inner workings on how he runs and manages his Tarek Buys Houses business
  • A business discovery that came from his desire of making money while he sleeps

 

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Episode Transcription

Lauren Hardy:
What’s up, rhino tribe? This is Lauren Hardy, and you are listening to the Wholesaling Inc. podcast. Today, I’m super excited. I have an awesome guest. I still can’t even believe I have him on this podcast right now, Tarek El Moussa from HGTV’s Flip or Flop. Welcome to the show.

Tarek El Moussa:
Good morning. How you doing?

Lauren Hardy:
I’m doing good. This is a big deal for me.

Tarek El Moussa:
Oh, it’s a big deal for me too. I see your posts everywhere. They’re fantastic.

Lauren Hardy:
You are probably the highest level, biggest investor, and you have a TV show. So, this is a huge honor to have you on this podcast. I’m so excited.

Tarek El Moussa:
Well, thank you for having me, and I hope we bring a lot of valuable content.

Lauren Hardy:
I think we will. I think we will. We’re going to talk about a lot of things. I have a lot of questions I want to ask you. First and foremost, I mean, I know probably anybody who’s listening to this knows who you are. If you don’t, you’re probably living under a rock. But tell everybody, where did you come from? Where are you from originally?

Tarek El Moussa:
Grew up in Buena Park, California, played sports my whole life. I was a great athlete at five years old. My dad was my soccer coach. He was invited to coach the all-star team. I remember being so excited. That night at dinner, my dad sat me down and he told me he was not choosing me for the team. I cried and I cried and I cried. I was five years old, and I asked him why, and he told me, “Son, you’re not good enough.” So, that was my first lesson in life, where if you want something, you got to work hard. It was heartbreaking watching my dad coaching the other kids, sitting on the sidelines, and I will never forget that.
My whole life, I’m training, I’m working, I’m practicing sports every day from 3:00 PM every single day til 8:00 PM every single day. So, I knew what hard work was, and I excelled at everything I did. I got out of high school, I found myself pretty lost, dealing with some depression and stuff. I went from being popular and being an athlete and all these things, to the next thing I know, I’m a bum drinking too much, and all the other kids are going off to college and I’m still on the couch. It was really rough times. At 19, I was selling Cutco kitchen knives and delivering pizza. I was actually starting to make some good money selling Cutco kitchen knives.
Man, back then, all my leads were in a paper book, and I lost my book. So, I put myself out of business. I lost all my contacts, all my leads, everything I had. There’s no computer, no backup database. This was 2002. So, I’m at a Washington Mutual ATM in Cerritos, California, and I’m looking at the ATM and I’m like, “Man, what in the world am I going to do?” Okay? I have no money, I don’t know what to do, and I’ll never forget, I look up to the right and there’s a crooked sign that says, “Wise Old Owl Real Estate School.” Okay? So, I remember I had a moment, and I called these defining moments because we have defining moments in our life. A defining moment is a moment in your life that changes the trajectory of your life.
I remember thinking, “Huh, houses.” I said, “Well, I mean, if I can sell knives, I can still houses.” So, I took my last couple bucks, I walked 50 feet over to this place, and I signed up to get my real estate license. That’s how I got into real estate. Okay, so now I’m 19m I start getting my real estate license and I get licensed at 20. Okay, my first six months in the business, Lauren, I was young, hungry, excited, motivated, showed up in my JCPenney suit, my white socks, like I’m ready to go and conquer the world. I struck out. I didn’t make any dollars. I completely bombed. I failed, and I was so upset. I was like, “I’m 20 years old. I just entered the real world. I’m working with adults,” and I suck. Right?
I remember talking to my mom and dad, I was like, “I don’t know what’s going on. I’m going to the office. I’m waiting for people to call. I’m sitting in open houses. Nothing’s happening.” My mom’s like, “Go to school, go to school, go to school.” You know? My dad was like, “No, go for it, go for it.” Two different mindsets. So, I was like, “All right, I’m going to give this a few more months.” So, one day I’m in my office, and it was an old medical building, and it was an older real estate office. These two ladies were in this little conference room with me. We weren’t together, but in the same room. I hear them talking about how stupid real estate agents were for paying for coaching. Okay? Like they’re just talking mad shit, to be honest with you.
I remember thinking, “Well, these two don’t sell any houses. What are they talking about? They don’t make no money.” So, my whole life, I had been coached for football, baseball, ice, hockey, kickboxing, anything you can think of, I had a coach. I was so young and dumb, I was listening, I was like, “Well, wait, you’re telling me I can get a coach for this?” So, there was a free event at a Buena Park athletic club or Sequoia athletic club in Buena Park, California, and the event was thrown by a gentleman named Mike Ferry. Anyone in real estate knows Mike Ferry. He’s like the OG real estate guy. So, I’m 20 years old, I’m sitting at his conference, and by the end of this thing, Mike has me convinced I’m the smartest guy alive, I’m the best looking guy alive, I’m the most brilliant man. The words coming out of his mouth changed my life.
At the end of that event, I took a piece of paper, a yellow pad like this, I said, “You don’t know who I am today, but one day you will.” I handed him that note. This is a true story. He does know who I am today, by the way. So, I signed up for coaching that day. Okay? I was broke. I was 20 years old, my parents just got divorced, I had broken up with my girlfriend, I wanted to move to my mom’s house, I couldn’t afford the rent, so I had to move into my mom’s garage. It wasn’t a converted garage, it was an actual garage. I hit the clicker, it opens up, you have bicycles and dirt bikes and cockroaches. I rolled this little cot on wheels into the middle of this garage, and that’s where I lived. So, talk about rock bottom. I’m in the garage, there’s a floor heater, no air conditioning, freezing my off in winter. I signed up for coaching for $1,000 dollars a month. Guess what I didn’t have?

Lauren Hardy:
A thousand bucks a month? Right.

Tarek El Moussa:
$1,000 a month. $1,000 back then was like 100,000 a month. I’m like, “Oh, man. Okay, whatever. I got a credit card. Let’s do this.” So, I signed up for coaching, and on the first day, I said, “Listen, coach, I will do whatever. You want me to wear a piñata and run down the streets, I will do it. I will do anything you tell me.” So, I did what he told me to do, and I did even more. Here was my goal. Here’s what I did. I committed 90 days, he said, “We’re going to set a 90 day block.” He said, “You can make life-changing progress in 90 days if you put in the work.” He goes, “I want to prove it to you.”
The goal for me was to work Monday through Saturday and call on Sunday nights for two hours. It was crazy work hours, like insane. But I was a young kid. I was like, “Whatever, let’s do this.” So, I worked 10 to 14 hour days six to seven days a week for 90 days straight. Here’s what happened. At the end of 90 days, I moved out of my mom’s garage, I ended up making $120,000 in real estate commissions right around my 21st birthday. Imagine this. I’m a broke kid to making $40,000 a month overnight. I move from that garage into a million dollar house. I remember. True story. I move into this million dollar house, because they didn’t give anybody loans back then. I remember my loan application because I delivered pizza, six months before, they’re like, “Previous work history,” I was like, “Food services, delivering pizza.” I’m living in this house with no furniture with nothing but a mattress on the floor.

Lauren Hardy:
You bought the house?

Tarek El Moussa:
I bought the house.

Lauren Hardy:
Okay.

Tarek El Moussa:
It was the most exciting moment in my house. So, within 90 days, I made $120,000, I was able to buy a million dollar house and move out of a garage. That’s why I say with this business, you can make life-changing money fast. You just got to put in the work.

Lauren Hardy:
Now, I definitely want to hear… so, right now you’re riding the wave, things are going really, really well. Did it keep going that way?

Tarek El Moussa:
Oh, no, it did not.

Lauren Hardy:
Right, tell us about that.

Tarek El Moussa:
Not at all. I got my ass kicked. So, 21, I’m making 40 grand a month. I buy a million dollar house, I go and buy an S500 Brabus, a BMW, an Escalade. Next thing I knew, my monthly bills are 20 grand a month, and I think I’m rich because I’m making 40. You know? But after taxes, I wasn’t making anything. I was a kid. Like, come on, literally 21 years old. I was trying to get into bars at 20 and I was selling real estate as a kid. So, then I was like, “Man, I’m crushing it.” Here’s how I made my money, by the way. I made all my money, phone sales. That’s where I made my money. It was all phone sales.
I don’t want to hear any bullshit from anyone, any excuses about phone sales. My name is Tarek El Moussa. You know what it’s like cold calling as a Tarek El Moussa? Like, “What’s your name? How do you say it? Where are you from?” So, you know what, Lauren? I sounded like an idiot my first 500 calls. “My name’s Tarek. I’m calling… you want to sell a house?” “No, idiot. Don’t call me again.” I was like, click. But here’s how I got through it, by the way. My goal was not to get listings. My goal wasn’t to make money. I had one goal. My one goal was to talk to 50 people a day. If they said, “Hey, moron, go F yourself.” Sorry. I’m not using the words, because they did say that to me, I would smile because I got a contact.

Lauren Hardy:
Okay.

Tarek El Moussa:
So, my goal, it’s all in the mindset. My goal is contacts. So, every time someone yelled at me, I’m like, “Ha ha, I got you, I got a contact.” You know? So, I made a game out of it. That’s how I found my success. Then I was like, “Man, if I could do this, I can build a team, and I can have so many people doing this under me.” So, then I built a team under me, I learned a lot of lessons there, but what happened was 2007 and ’08 happened, and I was young, I had no savings because I spent all my money, and everything I was doing that was working all of a sudden felt like overnight changed.
In 2007, I went four months without a paycheck. I had to sell the house, I sold the cars. I moved into a little tiny apartment in Placentia, California, and, man, that was rock bottom again. I literally at a young age thought I made it, I figured it out, I was top of the world. I was floored again. I had to start all over. Man, those were hard times. Those were real hard times. 2007, ’08, ’09, they really kicked my butt. I wanted to throw in the towel a few times, but I didn’t.

Lauren Hardy:
What was it like, I mean, emotionally? Take me back to that place. Every day you woke up, what was your first thought?

Tarek El Moussa:
Don’t wake up. Go back to bed. I was miserable. You go from making 40 grand a month as a kid to next thing you know, you’re in your mid twenties and you can’t even make a dollar. I mean, I was so lost. I was trying to get a job at valet parking. I’ll never forget, I went to Roy’s Restaurant in Newport Beach, this is literally like 12 years ago, and I tried to get a job as a valet parker. No, 14 years ago. I tried to get a job as a valet parker, And they said I didn’t have enough experience. I was like, “What are you talking about? I’ve been delivering pizza for two-and-a-half years, because that’s a lot of experience.” So, this is real. You know?
I tried to get a job as a valet parker, but I didn’t get hired. I was just going for it. You know? I had to pay my bills. Screw the pride. I had to go get a job because I needed the 30 bucks an hour. That’s how bad it was. I never quit. Late 2009, I had this crazy idea. Here’s what happened. I did a short sell for an investor. I found a deal, negotiated the transaction, there was a first lien, second lien, an IRS lien, an HOA lien, every lien you can think of. It took me 11 months to do this deal. I spent so much time, and at the end of the day, I made $7,000. I watched the investor paint that house, put it back in the market, sell it to someone else, make like $127,000. Okay? That was the moment I knew I was on the wrong side of the equation. That was the exact moment.
So, I was like, “Okay, I have to be an investor.” That’s when I was like, “Okay, I got to be an investor. Now what? How do you do it?” So, I just pitching everybody I knew to invest with me, and everybody’s like, “No, you’re too young. You’re crazy. You don’t know what you’re doing. The market’s going to tank.” So, every single person said no, which is part of the process. I’m sure people told you no too. So, I just didn’t stop. What I did is I would track properties, and then I would show people, “Look, I’ve been tracking. These are the numbers. My numbers are accurate.”
In 2010, I got a gentlemen named Pete De Best, who’s now 11 years later, we’re full on business partners, he’s been on Flip or Flop with me, and I was like, “Hey, man, do you want to flip houses with me?” He was a young entrepreneur and he’s like, “Yeah, sure. Let’s do it.” I was like, “No way.” He’s like, “Yeah.” He’s like, “How much money you got?” I was like, “Not much.” So, I sold my Rolex. I borrowed against my credit cards and I scraped together like 40 grand. Back then it was a ton of money. I didn’t have it, so I had to borrow from things. We bought our first condo for 115,000. I did all that myself. I managed it. I mean, I electrocuted myself, I painted the baseboards to the floor, I burned my feet with acid. I mean, I did everything wrong, but I moved super fast, got the project done in like 13 days, found a buyer, closed the escrow, entire thing in under 60 days, we made $34,000.

Lauren Hardy:
Okay.

Tarek El Moussa:
Back, then $34,000 was $340,000. From trying to get a job as a valet parker to making 34 grand on a deal a year is pretty exciting. Here’s the interesting part I bought. I bought that first property, in that same week I bought that first property, I went to a Mike Ferry and Tom ferry event in Las Vegas, California, because I was still selling real estate. I always would sit at the back. There’s like 5,000 people in these conferences. Okay? My friend was a VP of a real estate company, so he was sitting in the front row with his two managers. You know know those big conventions, the front row, the VIP seats. Right? Those are for the people that paid like 10,000 for the tickets, or they make a lot of money, like the big players, the seven figure earners.
Me and my ex-wife at the time, we got invited to go sit in the front row because those two seats opened up. I remember being in the very, very back. I was in Vegas, it was a long night, I was like, “Man, all right, let’s do it.” So, we go to the very front row, and we were dressed sharp, we were at a real estate convention. At the break, all the people in the front row came up to us, they’re like, “Who are you guys? We’ve never seen you before. What do you do? Who you from?” We’re like, “Oh, we’re nobody’s. We got invited up here.” So, I ended up talking to this guy, Brady, and he was telling me that he sold real estate in Palm Springs. He was on stage, he was telling the audience how he grossed $800,000 a year. I was like, “$800,000? I couldn’t even imagine.” You know? It seems like so much money.
At the break, he came up to us and he started talking to us, and we just started talking. It turned out he had a local TV show in Palm Springs, like paid programming on the weekends. He said he’d go to the grocery store and people would recognize him. I was like, “Yeah, it’s neat to be famous and all, but do you make money from it?” He goes, “Well, yeah, of course. They see me on TV and then they buy and sell with me.” So, right away, I’m like, “Man, I need to get on TV.” So, obviously, right away, I was like, “How do we get on TV? What do we got to do?”

Lauren Hardy:
Okay.

Tarek El Moussa:
So, two days later, we go home, we were living in San Clemente, California, at the time. It was like 10 o’clock at night, my ex wife has one foot going up the stairs, she looks over. “Are you going to bed?” I’m like, “No.” This is when it hit me. I was like, “I’m going to get us a TV show.” This was out of the blue. She looks at me. She goes, “You’re crazy,” because I would always do crazy things. Everything I do is crazy. I did it. I was sitting there, I was like, “I got to get us a TV show. What is the TV show about?” Then I was like, “Well, I just bought a flip,” and I was like, “What if I flip houses on TV?” The craziest thing, Lauren, is I pitched a house flipping TV show before I ever flipped a house.
That night, I sent pictures and bios to the production company. I wake up the next day, they responded, “Hey, we liked your look, we liked your story. Let’s meet.” So, we go through the process, we do a sizzle shoot, which is a two day shoot. From there, they sent it to all the networks. Nobody wanted it. Nobody bet. 10 months go by, we hear nothing. All of a sudden I get a call from production. They’re like, “You’re not going to believe this. HGTV wants to do a pilot.” So, at this point, I’m on my third flip.

Lauren Hardy:
Whoa.

Tarek El Moussa:
I’m like, “Yeah.” So, we shoot the pilot, and then after the pilot, they’re like, “Normally it could take one to two years to get picked up, and the odds are very slim.” A week later, we get a contract from the network saying they want to do a house flipping TV show, and I get a contract to flip 13 houses in 10 months on global TV.

Lauren Hardy:
That’s where I wanted to stop you, because now just listening to this story, hearing you’ve only at this point flipped three houses, you now have to come up with content for this show, meaning you have to acquire a regular stream of flips in Southern California, which, by the way, you guys, one of the most competitive markets in the country to find distressed real estate, how did you do that?

Tarek El Moussa:
And I have no money and I have no idea what I’m doing. Okay?

Lauren Hardy:
The reason I’m like, this is where it’s big for me, I’m so curious, I had been interviewed by a production company at one point, and that stopped me. I was going through a divorce. I’m divorced, and I was going through divorce at the time, and this production company was like, “We’re going to need a house in episode,” and I’m thinking, “Listen, I’m maybe flipping five houses a year right now in California. I’m not at 13.” You know? That was such a big number for me, and I was by myself. So, I was just like, “Nope,” and I just said no and moved on with my life. How did you do that? How did you go from three to 13?

Tarek El Moussa:
All right, I’m going to tell you. All right. I get this contract to do 13 houses in 10 months on TV. I’m like, “I don’t know, how am I going to do this?” I look at my ex-wife at the time, I was like, “Well, what’s the worst thing that’s going to happen?” She goes, “Well, they could sue us.” So, I look around at our apartment and then I look around, I’m like, “They can have it. They can take it all. I really don’t care. They can have the upside down credit cards. They can have the upside down furniture.” So, I signed this contract. I go for broke, I’m all in. I’m just going for it. Here’s how I did it. People say, “Tarek, how’d you do it?”
I really, really at the beginning was focusing on auctions. But the problem was I couldn’t buy properties that were occupied because of the eviction. It would take too long. So, I had to buy at auctions, I had to beat other investors. I had to buy them cash, and I had to buy them vacant. So, I would hustle and grind all day long. I would work all day long until like 8:30 every night, and then every night, from 10:00 PM to 3:00 or 4:00 AM, every night I would drive all of Southern California by myself on the road, driving by all the houses that were going to auction the next morning. The reason I did that is because I would look for vacant houses.
I would spend nights on the road, I was sleeping like four hours a day, I was buying properties, I was filming a TV show, I was selling real estate, I was driving for dollars overnight. That’s how I did it. Because I put myself in a position where I was working 18 to 20 hour days, my business went, because I put in the time. I worked like a maniac. That’s the key to my success. 10 years of work in one year is my key to success . I’m a workhorse. That’s always been the key to my success. So, what happened was I went from three deals that first year, to three, to 13, to 46, to 88. By the fourth year, we’re doing 88. We know we did that first season of Flip or Flop, and I pulled it off, and everybody thought I was crazy. Nobody thought we were going to do it, but we did it, and it turned out to be the biggest house flipping show in history.
Going into season two, when I got an email from a viewer who was watching my show saw a big lump on my neck, it was the first week of filming season two, I got an email from a viewer, she was a registered nurse in Texas that I needed to go get checked out. I go get checked out, they do a biopsy on my neck, it’s atypical. I go in for exploratory surgery, long story short, I have full-blown stage three thyroid cancer that had spread to my lymph nodes. I get a call from the network, they’re just upset, “We’re so sorry. We understand that. You don’t have to film.” I’m like, “Bullshit, we are filming. We are doing this.”
So, I have thyroid cancer, I’m going through a lot of stress, and I’m still filming the TV show. A month after I found out I had thyroid cancer, we did more testing because my doctor had misdiagnosed it, and then I also found out I had a separate cancer, which was testicular cancer. So, now I’m like, “Oh, man, I have two separate cancers that weren’t related.” The doctors didn’t know how or why. I was 31. So, I’m thinking, “Man,” I felt like I thought I was going to die. You know? I was terrified, but I kept pushing. I kept filming. Actually, the year that I had those cancers, I pretty much quadrupled the size of the company that year, and I did film a TV show. I mean, literally filmed. I have videos of me working… so, they gave me radioactive iodine, which I was like, “Radioactive?” You know? So, these people would come in the room with hazmat suits and a metal gun, and they would laser me from like 20 feet away to see how radioactive I was.

Lauren Hardy:
Oh my god.

Tarek El Moussa:
I have all the pictures of me. I was in quarantine for two weeks. So, I’m working in the hospital, and I was by myself and I worked through the whole thing. It really distracted me from it. But here we are. I survived it, and today I’m thriving. I look back and I was real sick for about four years of my life. Then after the cancers, I hurt my back really bad. I went through some real bad surgery. Then right after that, I went through that public divorce. So, I mean, five, six, seven years of my life, they were just awful. But I just kept going. I just kept going.

Lauren Hardy:
I want to stop you about the thyroid thing, because I can really empathize. I’ve never had thyroid cancer, but I do have thyroid disease. I have hypothyroidism. For those who are listening to this and don’t know what that is, a lot of people don’t realize your thyroid is the master gland of your body. So, if it’s not working correctly, it affects every single operating system of your body, including your brain. I do think that in moments of stress, when you have the thyroid issue, it can bring it out.
For me, when I launched my coaching program, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I got this great opportunity to be with Wholesaling Inc., and I coach now and I host a podcast.” So, I had to do all these videos. It was the first time I ever did videos or anything. All of a sudden, I gained 10 pounds in a day, which you get it. You’re like, “Wait, what? What’s going on?” I’d had thyroid disease for a while, but it was so minute and manageable. I was just taking the tiniest bit of Levothyroxine and whatever Synthroid. All of a sudden with stress, my thyroid shut off. I’m still healing from it. I’m still undoing the damage, because it does so much damage. I had the worst brain fog. During podcasts, I couldn’t come up with words. I always was like, “What’s the word for that?”

Tarek El Moussa:
Yeah. People don’t get it. My brain fog, I remember being on the doctors TV show in the middle of an interview and forgetting where I was at.

Lauren Hardy:
Yes.

Tarek El Moussa:
Looking around the audience and I was lost. I’m like, “Oh, I’m on the TV show right now.”

Lauren Hardy:
It’s terrifying.

Tarek El Moussa:
It was so bad. Here’s the thing. I worked my off on it to make sure my levels were good. I’ve been to multiple doctors. The amount of meds I take today versus years ago, I take three times the amount of medication. I was under medicated, I was hypothyroid, I had brain fog. The doctors didn’t care.

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah.

Tarek El Moussa:
I’ve had a lot of issues of doctors. I’m telling everybody out there, go to multiple doctors. You know? You want to make sure you get the right advice.

Lauren Hardy:
100%. Do you know who actually saved…. I don’t want to be dramatic, saved my life, but I was in hypothyroid hell, where I was same thing, I was very under medicated. It started all about last year where my thyroid just went to sleep. Your ex wife, so, she does a live, I’m a year into doctors making me sicker, and your ex wife posted something, because I know she’s doing more of a lifestyle wellness brand, and she said, “We’re doing a live and I’m going to talk about my Hashimoto’s disease and thyroid disease.” I was like, “You know what? She looks good. She clearly has it under control. So, I’m going to take some time and listen to what she has to say, and hopefully she’ll name-drop her doctor, because I know I live in the same county as you guys.”

Tarek El Moussa:
Yep.

Lauren Hardy:
So, I listened to the whole thing. She named drops her doctor in Huntington Beach, and I get on the phone, call that doctor, okay? Literally scheduled the first appointment I can get in. The rest is history. I am definitely doing better. I’m doing a ton of better, but it is a slow ship to turn.

Tarek El Moussa:
Yeah. Listen, you took action. That’s my biggest note to everyone I talk to. You got to take action. You just got to do it. You know what? You listened to that podcast, you got that doctor’s name, you did it, you feel better, and it was worth it. Most people wouldn’t have done it. They would’ve stayed in that situation where they feel like shit. You know? You fought for you, and that’s what I always tell people. You know? You got to fight for you, always.

Lauren Hardy:
It’s crazy to me that you filmed a TV show in that condition.

Tarek El Moussa:
If you watch my show, on season two, I went from 185 pounds on camera to 240 pounds. I had a 38 inch waist on TV. Seriously, if you watch my show, I’m not a 240 pound build guy. Okay? I was 240 pounds. Then after a year later, I had a terrible back injury. I went from 240 to 168 pounds on TV. I had bones sticking out of my chest. I’m not a 168 pound guy either. So, I documented this whole thing. It was just really rough times.

Lauren Hardy:
A lot of people make excuses. You know? I hear all sorts of excuses. “My iPad died. I had a bad day with my kids. My mom upset me. I’m going through something with my family.” But I’m telling you, when it’s your health, and especially with thyroid I can relate because it really does affect your brain. You can’t think. You have such bad brain fog you literally… something that would take one minute will take 10 minutes because you keep forgetting what you’re doing and it’s hard to organize your thoughts.

Tarek El Moussa:
Yeah. I went through some hell, and then after that, at first I thought I felt like crap because I needed testosterone, and then I got on testosterone, which made me crazy. There’s just so much. I’ve been through medical hell. I’ve been through medical hell.

Lauren Hardy:
I feel that.

Tarek El Moussa:
I’m smiling, I’m fun today, but you’re talking, I mean, years of misery, I had years of misery.

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah.

Tarek El Moussa:
You know? You just got to keep fighting.

Lauren Hardy:
You kept fighting, and so here you are today. Now, I know and I want to get into, and I will, I promise, about Tarek Buys Houses, because you’ve got a million businesses, right? You’ve got a show, you’ve got Tarek Buys Houses where you’re buying a bajillion houses a month.

Tarek El Moussa:
You know about Flipping 101, right? My new show.

Lauren Hardy:
Yes. You’ve got a new show, Flipping 101.

Tarek El Moussa:
Yeah. Flip or Flop is the OG show. We’re on season 10 right now. Flipping 101 is where I teach rookie flippers on TV how to flip houses. A lot of fun. We’re on season two right now. Then I just shot a digital series on Discovery Plus called Tarek’s Flip Side, which is a closer look at my personal life.

Lauren Hardy:
Crazy. How are you so effective in your day? Take me through, I want to know when you wake up, what you eat, what do you do?

Tarek El Moussa:
Oh, wow.

Lauren Hardy:
Take me through a typical Wednesday inn Tarek’s life.

Tarek El Moussa:
Wow. Okay. So, wake up. I mean, lately, typically… so, okay, on a typical day, Heather and I will wake up at 5:00 o’clock. We’ll go hit 6:00 AM yoga, which is real early. By the way, I hate mornings. All of you out there, I don’t want to hear any excuses. I’m a night owl. I hate the mornings. But here’s the trick. You force yourself to wake up at 5:00 in the morning, you will fall asleep at night. I promise. So, wake up at 5:00 in the morning, go hit hot yoga from 6:00 to 7:00. After hot yoga, come home, get showered, change, eat breakfast. Normally, the workday starts around 8:00 o’clock, 8:30, we’ll be with calls, podcast, meetings, whatever it is. Typically, my driver shows up around 10:00, 10:30 in the morning.

Lauren Hardy:
Wait, hold on. Hold on really quick. So, what do you eat for breakfast? I want to know.

Tarek El Moussa:
Here’s the truth. I don’t run my own life. My life is ran by Heather, Alicia and Annette. The three ladies in my life control my life. They tell me what to do, where to do it, when to go, how to go, and they live on my calendar. By the minute, every single day we’re scheduled. Okay?

Lauren Hardy:
Okay.

Tarek El Moussa:
So, I just do whatever the girls tell me. I have three assistants. It’s crazy. They just tell me, “You got to go here. You got to go here.” So, I live on the calendar. You asked me what I-

Lauren Hardy:
Does each assistant have a certain role in your life?

Tarek El Moussa:
Yeah.

Lauren Hardy:
How do you break that up? Whose job is to do what?

Tarek El Moussa:
I let them figure that out.

Lauren Hardy:
Okay. But they all handle certain aspects. I’ve always wondered how very highly successful people do this.

Tarek El Moussa:
One of the keys to my success is I fire myself from everything. I don’t do anything. I literally do nothing. I don’t pick my clothing, I don’t buy groceries. I do nothing other than things that will make money. Everything else I hire out. I don’t do anything if it won’t make me money. Okay? That’s something I learned years ago. If it’s not going to make me money, I’m not going to do it. I’m going to hire someone to do it. That means with that free time, I’m going to go do something that will make me money. It’s not even the money, it’s something I enjoy doing.
I like investing in real estate. I love chasing deals. That’s what I enjoy. I like building companies. So, every morning, Heather makes me breakfast. I just found out I have Celiac’s disease on top of everything else, so now we have gluten-free tortillas, some vegan eggs or regular eggs with a typically vegan cheese and vegan sausage and some salsa. Every morning, same breakfast. My driver picks me up around 10:30, I get picked up in a big sprinter limo. It’s a mobile office for me, so the second I’m in the van, Alicia, my assistant, normally has more calls or Zooms booked. On the way to set, I work once I get to set, I film. As soon as I’m done filming, normally around 3:30, I get back in the van, and then I normally head to more meetings. On the way to those meetings, I have more calls and more Zooms. Normally, my meetings, workday, that type of stuff, if I don’t have the kids, it can go as late as 8:00 o’clock at night. If I have the kids, I make it a priority to be home at at least 5:30 PM.

Lauren Hardy:
Okay. So, let’s talk about kids. How do you juggle being a parent, a single parent? How do you juggle? What’s the day look like when you have your kids?

Tarek El Moussa:
You know, I have Heather helping me. She’s amazing. We have a nanny that helps. She’s amazing. We got great grandparents that help. We get a lot of help. We’re a big family, and we’re all involved.

Lauren Hardy:
And you prioritize too family time, it sounds like, after 5:00 o’clock.

Tarek El Moussa:
Yeah. If I have the kids, no meetings, I’m home. I’ll be texting, I’ll be emailing, I’ll be working, but I’m there with them.

Lauren Hardy:
Yeah. It’s hard. Work-life balance is really hard.

Tarek El Moussa:
Yeah. That’s the thing. When you’re in your twenties, when I was in my twenties, I’d go to work at 7:00 in the morning and I’d leave the next day at 2:00 in the morning. You can do that. When you’re 24. You can’t do that. When you’re 39. I have kids, I’m engaged. So, that’s why the twenties are real important. But there’s no age barrier to get into this business. I coach people that got into the business at 50 that are crushing it, 60 that are crushing it. You know?

Lauren Hardy:
I love the advice of you only do things that make you money, because I’ve wondered, my life has changed quite a bit in the last year. I used to just have my investment company and it was kind of just me, and then it grew very, very slowly, and then I got this Wholesaling Inc. opportunity to coach. So, now it’s like I own a second business that is different from this other business. They’re completely different. I’ve had a very difficult time. I call this year my year growing pains, of I’m trying to do both businesses well. I feel so stretched very, very thin. What kind of advice do you have to me? Because I’m right at that beginning, maybe where you were when-

Tarek El Moussa:
Yeah. I kept adding. Right now, I’m working on nine different ventures. Okay? So, I’m at my breaking point, so I’m going to be honest. Right now, here’s my next move. Right now, for three of my companies, I’m bringing in a CEO to help me. For three of my other companies, I’m bringing in a COO to help me. Then three of the other companies, I’m bringing in a new director. This is my newest thing. I just came up with this a few weeks ago. I’m going to turn my businesses into huge companies. I’m going to create a corporate atmosphere. I’m going to hire CEOs, COOs, CTOs, CMOs, and I want to take these things global. I’m going to take all my brands global, Australia, UK, Canada, all around the world. That’s my next move.

Lauren Hardy:
I love it. I love it. So, your secret to managing growing businesses is basically hiring people.

Tarek El Moussa:
Hiring people. Here’s the key. Hire people, but hire the best people. These are lessons I’ve recently learned in the last two years. It is worth it to wait longer, to spend more money, to find a rockstar employee, because one person, one good person will change your business. If I have good people, it will change your life. Okay? This is a people business. If you find the right people to support you and work with you, you will be more successful than you ever thought. It’s all about your team. It really is.

Lauren Hardy:
Crazy. Crazy. Tell us about Tarek Buys Houses.

Tarek El Moussa:
Tarek Buys Houses is our house flipping and wholesale company. We are flipping houses all across the country. We are wholesaling houses all across the country. We are buying properties as rentals all across the country. So, if there’s anyone out there that has a house, they want to sell it to me, you can go to tarekbuyshouses.com. We would love to work with you. By the way, it’s a big country, I have a lot of work to do, but I got this crazy idea the other night. You’re going to like this one, Lauren. You can talk to Forest about it.
I couldn’t sleep, it was like 2:30 in the morning, and then I was like, “Why don’t we make money when we sleep?” Actually, I do make money when I sleep because of all the rental properties I have, so over 100 houses, we’ve got some apartment buildings, some commercial real estate, so I make money when I sleep. But I was literally, Lauren, laying there, it’s 2:30 in the morning, and I’m like, “Well, how do I make a lot of money while I sleep?” Then I realize, I Googled. I’m like, “What time is it in the UK right now?” It was the morning in the UK. It Was like 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning. I was like, “Why don’t I flip houses in the UK?” So, what I did is I started researching house flipping in the UK at 2:30 in the morning. This was three weeks ago. It turns out it’s the exact same thing.

Lauren Hardy:
Really?

Tarek El Moussa:
It’s the exact same thing. So, guess what? We have tarekbuyshouses.uk, we’re setting up a company in UK, we already found a team to run it in the UK, and we’re launching in a few weeks.

Lauren Hardy:
Oh, that’s so cool.

Tarek El Moussa:
Yeah. We want to flip and wholesale in the UK.

Lauren Hardy:
I love it.

Tarek El Moussa:
So, I’m real excited about it. This is more of something I want to try to prove anything can be done.

Lauren Hardy:
Right, right. I think with virtual, because I’m virtual, I have the virtual coaching programs, everything I do is out of state, because Southern California is so hard to flip houses. I mean, again, I can’t stress enough how hard it must’ve been for you to come up with things to shoot, because it’s hard to buy flips here. So, I’m all about virtual stuff. It does always intrigued me how virtual you can get. I’ve recently hired people from South America to work acquisitions for me. Again, it’s something to prove that you can do it. It kind of came from my coaching program and seeing the different people, because I have students in Spain, I have students in India. So, it came from seeing my students, they were able to do it. So, I thought, “Why can’t I have virtual assistance and virtual employees?”

Tarek El Moussa:
Exactly. Exactly. I am so excited. I want to flip houses in the UK, I want to do in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and take it all around the world. My mission in life is a few different missions. One, my homeschool education, I want to take it all over the world. Two, I want to buy real estate all over the world. Three, I want to raise money from people all over the world to help them invest in real estate. Those are my three life goals.

Lauren Hardy:
Love it. For people that are listening to this podcast, if they have a house under contract that they might want to sell to you guys, can you repeat the address and we’ll make sure we put that in the show notes?

Tarek El Moussa:
Sure, sure. You guys can go to tarekbuyshouses.com, and the message is say you heard me on the Wholesaling Inc. podcast with Lauren. Yeah, we’re buying deals all over the country. We’ll get you an answer within an hour. We got a great team. I think last week we locked up 10 houses. I think the week before we locked up eight houses. Then I’m not happy, and Forest knows I’m not happy. I want 10 houses a day to start. That’s my goal. I want 10 houses a day, 3,600 a year. I think that’s the math, close to it.

Lauren Hardy:
Crazy. Well, Tarek, thank you so much for coming today. Honestly, this episode was so good. I’m going to listen to it like three times. I’m sure anybody that’s listening to this is going to be obsessed. Thank you so much for sharing all your wisdom, your stories. You made a huge impact I’m sure on a lot of people today. So, thank you. It was great having you.

Tarek El Moussa:
Thanks for having me.

Lauren Hardy:
If you guys want to learn more about virtual real estate investing, check out my program at www.wholesalinginc.com/virtual. Thanks again. Have a great day.

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