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Episode 124: Powerful Lessons From Surviving Cancer to Becoming an Elite Entrepreneur with Josh Cantwell

Cancer is one of the most brutal battles any person can face. Yet, the perseverance and determination to survive this battle can be channeled into developing skills that can help one become a successful entrepreneur.

Brian Charlesworth

Brian Charlesworth

Chairman & CEO

Brian is a highly accomplished entrepreneur, business builder, and thought leader in the real estate industry. With a track record of success in software, telecommunications, and franchise businesses, Brian has a talent for identifying and realizing business opportunities. Driven by his passion for technology, Brian is dedicated to using his skills and experience to bring about positive change and improve people's lives through the advancement of technology.


And as dreadful as this disease is, it also teaches us how to have the grit to overcome physical, emotional, and spiritual setbacks so that we can focus on the goal and reach elite levels in our business.

Brian Charlesworth joins Josh Cantwell, CEO of Freeland Ventures and Strategic Real Estate Coach, as he shares his story as a pancreatic cancer survivor and how the lessons he learned from the experience made him realize the qualities of an elite entrepreneur.   

Top Takeaways:

(04:46) One of the best decisions Josh has ever made
(08:23) The first lesson Josh learned from having pancreatic cancer
(13:48) What cancer taught him about loading up on responsibilities
(14:11) What it takes to be really successful in business
(19:08) Why blaming others is one of the biggest mistakes any of us can make
(21:56) What is a servant-leader?
(28:46) The 9 traits of an elite entrepreneur

Connect with Josh Cantwell






About the guest:

Josh Cantwell grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. So when he graduated from college in 1998, he chose to be his own boss and get into financial services instead of starting as an employee in the real world.  

In 2004, Josh took his knowledge of raising capital and the financial markets and started investing in real estate full-time. He combined his knowledge of financial investing with real estate to create a very successful business, quickly closing over 100+ wholesale and short sale deals per year. In turn, he began training and teaching apprentice partners and students. 

He founded Strategic Real Estate Coach in 2007 and has taught thousands of investors how to replicate his success. Josh has vast knowledge and experience in helping to coach clients and mentor students and borrowers from across the US in finding, structuring, negotiating, and closing various types of transactions for a profit.

Today, Josh is the CEO of Strategic Real Estate Coach Freeland Ventures and Yellowjacket Properties. He’s a real estate investor and owns 4300 units. Josh is also the host of the Accelerated Investor Podcast, which has hosted past guests like Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Donald Trump Jr, Jack Canfield, Rod Khleif, and JV Crum III.

Episode Transcript:

Brian Charlesworth  0:35  
Hello, everyone. Happy New Year. And welcome back to the Grit Podcast. I'm Brian Charlesworth. I'm the founder of Sisu and your host of the show. And I wanted to just mention really quick, we just wrapped up this week, another Sisu mastery event. We have over 50 team owners in town and really focused on what they can do to grow and scale their business and had a lot of excitement. I just wanted to share that with you guys. Because we have another one coming up. I believe the dates are April 24th through 26th 2023. So anyway, if you're wanting to grow and scale your business this year, which I know a lot of you have slowed down a little bit based on the economy, but those who are really doing what it takes to grow and scale a business are still in growth mode. So if you want to be in growth mode this year, reach out and join us in April. On that note, excited to welcome our guest today. I'm here with Josh Cantwell. And most of you have probably heard Josh's name before because Josh has done a lot in his life. Josh prides himself kind of as I do as never really having worked for anybody. So I think he's been an entrepreneur for his whole life. And you know, being an entrepreneur was not that cool. 20-30 years ago. So anyway, it's now become like, you know, the hip cool thing. People want to be entrepreneurs, but Josh is a real estate investor. And I guess that's an understatement. He has over 4,300 units that he owns. He is the CEO of Strategic Real Estate Coach, Freeland Ventures and Yellowjacket Properties. So he's also the host of Accelerated Investor podcast. He's a family man, a dad, I believe you've coached volleyball and football. And from what I can tell you're also a Buckeyes fan. Yeah, what did I miss there, Josh? 

Josh Cantwell  2:27  
Oh, you hit it all pretty good there, Brian, I appreciate that. Man, probably out of all that the things I'm most proud of is being a family man, been married for 15 years and have three beautiful kids. So raising them the right way is a huge priority, hopefully, raising them to be entrepreneurs the way my dad raised me. And then secondly, you know, being an entrepreneur since the day I graduated from college and never having had a boss is not something that many people can say, you know, many people get a job out of college and maybe start in the real world with it with a job. I was lucky enough to have a father who was an entrepreneur and I witnessed entrepreneurship in my own family. And so my dad almost freaked out and lost it when I graduated from a very expensive college and never got a job never got a real job with a real to and got into financial planning and financial services. And my first paycheck ever was indeed a 10.99. paycheck. Not a W2. So worked out pretty good, though Pop's is proud. And so that's what led me to where I'm at right now with you. 

Brian Charlesworth  3:30  
So I skipped over that you were a financial planner, I believe you were also are licensed and insurance and then started Is that where you actually started? It was in the world of insurance. 

Josh Cantwell  3:40  
That's right. My dad was actually in the Employee Benefits world. And at one point, my dad's biggest client was advanced autoparts with 30,000 employees. He grew that business from two employees to 40 employees into a multi multi million dollar business. And so I witnessed that when I was in high school and college, and when I was a senior, I had done an internship for my dad and then I went and got another internship which required me to go get my series six license, my series six, my 66, my 63 and my life and health licenses. And so I did fee based financial planning, right out of college, I mean, my I was 22 to 27 years old during that time, and my clients were two and three times my age. And Brian, that's that's really helped me today, because I've raised over $100 million of private money from regular mom and pop investors, you know, not institutional money, but Mom and Pop type private investors. And the reason for that is I got really comfortable talking about money and working with people with their money at a very, very young age. And so maybe one of the best decisions I ever made was getting into financial services to get used to financial planning stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and then of course, all the non-traditional investments like real estate oil and gas, cannabis crypto. You know apartment syndications, I get used to that stuff at a very young age. And so the faster I think that people get used to talking about money and comfortable around money, the more successful they're going to be as an entrepreneur.

Brian Charlesworth  5:12  
Yeah, absolutely. I agree with that. I actually went through a training, this takes me back about 15 years, I went through a training. And the trainer of this, it was kind of an experiential training, where it's kind of really hands-on. So one of the things he did was, he was just a trainer, he was the founder of this training company, and has built a lot of successful businesses, but he brought in $100,000 cash, and you just have it there. You know, if people wanted to come hold it, touch it, whatever they could, there were about 35 people in the room, there were only three of us that went up and held that money. And you know, what that represents is that most people actually have a fear of money. Right? Without even knowing it. We push it away. So. So anyway, it sounds like you've had some tremendous experiences. With this being the Grit podcast. I don't want to skip over I believe I read that you are a pancreatic cancer survivor. And if there's ever something that takes Grit, I believe I haven't been through that, thankfully, myself, but I believe anyone that's overcome that can share things with us that most of us can't even understand. So I'd love to start there. If you're okay with that.

Josh Cantwell  6:27  
You know, like most cancer diagnosis is Brian that came absolutely out of left field. I remember coming home and for your audience that are agents and building teams and in sales, you know, whether it's real estate investments and things like that, or wholesaling anything that's involved in sales. I was essentially a wholesaler at that time. And I remember coming home from work, you know, I owned a business, but it was very much a job, right duck selling real estate. And we had made millions and millions of dollars, but had to be very involved every day in making that thing. Go. Yep. And I came home from work. One day, I was playing with my two little girls, my wife was eight months pregnant with my son, and I laid on the ground and looked up at the ceiling, cross my hands across my stomach. And I felt all of a sudden, just out of nowhere, this giant lump on the left side of my stomach. My wife being eight months pregnant, my wife and I talked about that. And my buddy across the street was an orthopedic surgeon, and I went to see him and just, you know, laying on the floor of his living room, and he poked around. He's like, you know, Josh, this isn't like orthopedic This isn't this isn't a sports injury. This isn't a hernia event. So this is pretty serious, you should go get a CT scan while I waited until my wife delivered our son and, and then about a 10 days after he was born, I finally went to the doctor. And they confirmed the worst, right pancreatic cancer, which at that time had a 6% survival rate. Actually, I just got an email Brian, literally seconds before we started this interview from one of the pancreatic cancer organizations that the survival rate is now up to 12%.

Brian Charlesworth  8:07  
So you said it was 6% at the time, now 12%. Wow, that's scary, that's a scary thing, especially when you have a full family and a newborn as well. Just crazy.

Josh Cantwell  8:17  
Years old newborn, I had a business to run. So now you learn the lessons, right. And one of the first lessons I learned was that I needed to get away from being so transactional, and do more things that created cash flow in perpetuity. You know

Brian Charlesworth  8:36  
So I'm guessing before you went there, though, what was your first thought when you got that news?

Josh Cantwell  8:43  
My very first thought, well, not out of that day. But within a week. I don't know if everybody remembers this. But this is the same exact time that Steve Jobs from Apple computer had also been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and he was diagnosed with this same exact diagnosis as me. 

Brian Charlesworth  9:02 
Is that right? That's exact same, exact same time, 

Josh Cantwell  9:04
Exact same time. Exactly. And so, all of a sudden, I started thinking, Okay, well, what about my wife and kids? And I started having, you know, the worst of the worst thoughts of what is my wife going to do without me? Right? Because 6% survival rate, after five years, 94 out of those 100 people are dead. And so it was very real for me to think about my own mortality, right? At the same time, when you have a business and a family, like, You got to get your stuff in order now because I'm going in for a major major surgery. So my surgeon I'll never forget Brian. He said I was diagnosed in early September, it was September 12. And he said, Hey, I want you to come in and we want to have surgery October 8, so we're about three weeks later, and I was in no way prepared to shut down, my business, I did not have that like in order, right where I could just walk away from it. And so I'm like, No way I have, I need about two months to really get my business affairs in order and my personal affairs in order to get this major major surgery ready for that. So when you talk about Grit, I think one of the things I learned from my dad used to go to this conference and as an entrepreneur, they said, Look, if you're a pilot, and you're responsible for the plane, and the plane is going down, the first thing you have to do is fly the freaking plane. Okay, you have to find a way to look at the gadgets to look at the numbers, to look at your KPIs in business, and make decisions and fly the freaking plane, run the business. You can't just walk away bury your head in the sand, you can't just put on your junk jacket and just jump out of the plane, you got to fly the plane, you got to run the company. So for many people now, especially walking into this year, where we may experience a pretty significant recession, real estate transactions might slow down overall sales transactions might slow down. You have to learn to fly the plane you have to run the company. And so that was the first thing I did I actually in that two months. I didn't work less. I worked more, I worked more hours I put in more time I thought more and more about how do I set the company up now that I could walk away from it on the day of my surgery because after the day of my surgery, Brian, the surgeon said, Josh, you're going to have a two to four month recovery is going to be hell, the recovery is going to be worse than the diagnosis. And I found out Brian because, on the surgery table that day, the surgeon took my gallbladder, my spleen, my entire stomach. Most of my pancreas, most of my liver had to rebuild the arteries behind my liver that have been crushed by the cancer. The cancer was the size of my head. It was as big as a basketball. 

Brian Charlesworth  12:01
That's unbelievable. 

Josh Cantwell  12:02
The surgeon showed me his hands Brian after the surgery after I woke up two days later. And his hands were all black and blue. Because he literally had his hands inside my body trying to wedge out this massive cancer. So I had to relearn how to eat, I lost 50 pounds in three weeks, it was an absolutely brutal, brutal surgery. To put this in perspective, as you and I sit here, Brian recording this, you have seven units of blood in your entire body, I have seven units of blood in my entire body. That day in the operating table, the surgery was 10 hours, they cycled 21 units of blood through my body over that 10 hours. So I have everybody else's blood in my body except my own. So it doesn't get any more brutal than that. 

Brian Charlesworth  12:46

Brian Charlesworth  12:47
But I also will never forget the surgery was on a Monday, I was discharged 10 days later. And two days after I was discharged. I had a business conference call that I was on, I had a call with one of my members was somebody that I was actually consulting with. And I had made him a promise. And I got on that call and number being in a hoodie, sweating, you know, because I had actually had an infection I was fighting, I didn't even know about yet. But again, you talk about flying the plane, right? You talk about running the company and grinding it out having some Grit. And that's exactly what I had to do. I couldn't just sit up in my master bedroom and sulk and watch movies and let myself recover. Even though I had this massive 14 inch incision in my stomach, I had to put my pants back on, right and fly the plane and run the company. So that is something that I think you either just do or don't do, you either have it or you don't. And I think because Brian, I had a lot of responsibility. I didn't have any other choice. And I think that's another life lesson that I took away from this experience was, because I had loaded up on responsibility. Because I was an entrepreneur with a family with employees with a business to run. That was not just going to go away. So I had responsibility that I had to show up for. And so I think if you want to be a really successful investor or really successful in business, sign yourself up for a lot of responsibility. And then that responsibility becomes a requirement. And then how do you manage that responsibility? So those were some of the major takeaways that I had was I was glad that I had signed up for this responsibility because it forced me to get to work and fly the plane.

Brian Charlesworth  14:34  
Yeah. You say fly the plane and you talked about KPIs. And, you know, that's what we're talking about all week. That's what we provide our people with is their KPIs so they can make daily decisions instead of maybe making a business decision once a month, right 12 business decisions a year is not going to allow you to fly that plane. So anyway, it's just an incredible story. So as I hear you talk about that, and obviously you had a tremendous amount of Grit And I believe it's your willpower that got you through that. It made me reflect on that experience my wife had where she was in a boat explosion and burned her entire body. And she was in the hospital, obviously thinking she was going to die. And she asked the doctor if she was going to die. And the doctor said, it's your choice. And at that point, she decided, I want to live, right. And she made a super rapid recovery after that, but and that was before I even knew her. But did you have a similar experience where you felt like it was your choice? If you were going to make it or not?

Josh Cantwell  15:40  
Yeah, there's no question about it. Even the night before the surgery. I remember standing up in my master bedroom in the bathroom with my wife, and we were talking and a friend of mine, my friend Mike had text me a quote from the original Top Gun movie. And it was the quote of it's just a walk in the park. Kaczynski. Remember that walk in the park? 

Brian Charlesworth  16:01  
Yeah, that was sent you that? 

Josh Cantwell 16:02  
My friend Mike. 

Brian Charlesworth  16:04
Mike is a good friend.

Josh Cantwell  16:05  
Yeah. It's gonna be a walk in the park, my friend, you know. And so I told my wife said, at least I'm okay. 100%, with whatever happens, like, if I don't make it through the surgery, I'm okay with that. Like, I'm a believer, like, I believe there's reasons for everything. And I wanted to think like, if I was chosen not to make it through the surgery, which was very possible, you know, you sign all the waivers. And that's maybe one of the scariest things ever, Brian is signing all the waivers of all the things that could go wrong. You know, you're knocked out, you're on the operating table, you have no control, right? So, but I don't know whatever happens, I'm okay with it. But when I come out of this, because I believed I was going to make it through the surgery, and I believed I was going to make a full recovery. I told my wife, like, you know, at least I'm 100% responsible for this diagnosis. I'm 100% responsible for what I put in my body, the way I ate, and the way I took care of myself, before the surgery, and I have no idea why I got cancer, but I'm responsible for whatever that was, and I'm responsible for the recovery. 100%. And I believe that's one of the traits of an elite entrepreneur, is that they believe they're 100% responsible for everything that happens in their life. They do not deflect accountability or responsibility to anyone. And I told myself looking, Josh, nobody's going to come to your rescue. When this is over, like nobody, nobody is going to fix the business for you. Nobody is going to run the business for you. Nobody's gonna get you back to your health, like you're 100% responsible for that. And so elite entrepreneurs, elite leaders, they design and build their life the way they want to. And so Brian, one of my favorite quotes of all time, is actually from the movie casino, right? It's Robert De Niro. When he's on the floor, and he says, there's the right way. There's the wrong way. And then there's the way I effing do it. Right? Yeah. Like running a business or being an elite entrepreneur or recovering from cancer. There's no right or wrong way. There's just the way that you effing do it. Right. There's the way you do it. I mean, as long as you're comfortable with the way you do it, and you're all in on the way you do it, then you're taking that accountability and responsibility for your life and for your business. Doesn't matter if everybody else thinks that's wrong, like everyone else could think that the way Elon Musk is running Twitter and Tesla, and SpaceX, they could all think he's wrong, he does not care. He's running it the way he wants to effing do it. And obviously, he's been massively successful. And so, of course, KPIs and software and using the past to help us make good decisions today. All of that is important. But ultimately, you have to be the one that takes responsibility to make the decision, and then go execute on that decision, some major, major lesson that I learned along the way fighting cancer and recovering from that.

Brian Charlesworth  18:55  
I'm so glad you shared that. And I'm sorry to go back to that. But I think that's probably one of the best lessons any of us could learn is exactly that. And you talk about do it your way and be accountable. I think, probably the biggest mistake any of us can make is to pass things off on other people to blame other people for whatever it is going on in our life, whether it's personal, whether it's business, whatever it is, if we're accountable, we'll get through it and we'll figure it out. And we'll, you know, that's what gives you the ability to move forward is to be accountable for everything going on in your life and the fact that you took accountability, or whatever you put into your body. I believe that's what got you through it. So

Josh Cantwell  19:41  
Honestly, Brian, when I was diagnosed when I was about 30 years old, I was working with a personal trainer friend of mine, and I went from 18% body fat down to six, full six pack, I was jacked, healthy, but I also at that time, was probably eating way too much like animal protein. I had a like acidic diet, I was going out and drinking with my buddies and I would drink like vodka and like diet root beer, and like no calories, no sugar, but a very acidic diet. And so when I thought was really healthy, and I met my wife, and I got married, I think she loved me because of some really good shape. Like, all of that was good. But then it also, it wouldn't have surprised me if that within a couple of years treating myself, you know, eating very little carbs, and even very little vet fruits and vegetables, it was a very high fat, high fat, high protein diet, that probably led me to get in cancer. And so I took accountability for that and responsibility for that. And so I was also felt like I was responsible for the recovery. Now in business fast forward, now, I've been cancer free for 11 years, my surgeon literally saved my life on the operating table. It's been 11 years. Today, of course, I run a big organization, we've got 15 full-time employees, but about 80 contractors that work for us, property management companies that work for us $400 million portfolio, and I could blame other people all the time if I wanted to when things go wrong. But ultimately, every time there's even somebody that's not doing their job, they're not working in their swim lane, or they're not performing, then I have to look at back at myself, if I'm ultimately CEO and a leader and say, well, they're failing. I haven't coached them properly. Right? I'm a volleyball coach, as you mentioned, I coach really high level volleyball. And if the girls make a mistake on the floor, I think to myself, did I coach them the right way to pass the ball or set the ball or hit the ball? Or serve the right way? If they make mistakes? I ultimately think like what could we have done differently in practice, that could have helped them perform at a higher level in business? What could I have coached them on as their CEO, their leader, when you sign up to be a leader or a CEO, you're ultimately signing up to be what I think is what's called a servant leader, servant leader, you ultimately take the most responsibility, but also you're signing up to ultimately be a servant and a coach, to everyone that you have in your organization. If they're failing, then you failed as a CEO. So I think the word blame Brian that you used, that's a huge, huge word. And I think that's you cannot blame anybody for failure in any way. You know, because if somebody else is screwing up, you haven't coached them the right way. Or maybe you hired the wrong person, or you didn't adopt software, you didn't make their job easy enough, you didn't make their job clean, you didn't set the proper expectations, that all falls back on the sales leader, or the CEO who runs the organization. If you have good people, and they're trained the right way, they're going to execute, and they're going to at least hit the minimums. Now it becomes if you have an elite salesperson or an elite person in your company, they're going to at least hit the minimums, but they're gonna they're going to exceed they're going to do really, really well, you're gonna perform at a really high level. But if you're doing your job, then everybody should at least be hitting the expected minimums. And blame ultimately comes back to one person and one person only, which is the leader.

Brian Charlesworth  23:12  
If there's anything that you, our listeners can learn. Just that one point alone, don't pass that blame, don't blame others. Just be accountable and make the shifts and make the adjustments. And if you made a mistake, accept it and figure it out. Right. fly the plane. I love what you say about fly the plane. It's such a great, great example, such a great comparison to running a business. 

Josh Cantwell  23:39  
Yep, you've got that one for my dad. God bless him. He passed away a couple years ago. But he was a great entrepreneurial mentor. And when he shared that with me, which was 15 years ago, he shared that with me, I'll never forget that one for sure.

Brian Charlesworth  23:51  
Yeah, yeah. That's such great advice. So you I know you are like an expert on the traits of an elite entrepreneur. And you just shared some amazing advice with all of us. Are there some other things, some other traits that elite entrepreneurs have?

Josh Cantwell  24:19  
Absolutely, there's really nine probably don't have time to jump into all of them. But a couple and I think one of them Brian, in particular that I think relates back to you, is that one of the traits of elite entrepreneurs as they use technology as a weapon. So we use lots of software we use Infusionsoft and builder trend and happy CO and AppFolio. And all these marketing software's and leasing software's for our portfolio and technology and software allows the CEO to not only see the KPIs that are happening, but then to also make sure that that stuff is memorialized through date stamps and timestamps and notes and projects. The only way you can grow a huge portfolio or run a big business is that if people are collaborating using software, we try to keep our meetings to a minimum. Matter of fact, in my company, we only have two major meetings a week, they're both less than an hour. And then each of my leaders in my company have a little meaning meetings. But I want to be able to see inside the company without having a meeting without making a phone call. That's the rule, I need to see what's going on without calling a meeting without making a phone call, which means I have to adopt technology and use it as a weapon. You know, that's critically important to see your KPIs, but also critically important to see cash, cash flow, sales, all that stuff. That's hugely important. Another one of the really big traits of an elite entrepreneurs, they have super time management skills, and not only just for themselves, but elite entrepreneurs and elite leaders are really good at creating cadences within a business. And it's a form of time management. We do not have meetings on Mondays because when we come off with the weekend, real estate is very much a weekend kind of business, for leasing. For sales. There's a lot of things that happen on a Friday, a Saturday and a Sunday. So we don't want to have meetings on Monday, we want people to still be selling, we want to still people to still be leasing to be following up on Monday. But then by Tuesday, we want to capture all of that stuff. So we have what are called Focus days and buffer days. So Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, it's all focus, we focus on revenue, we focused on sales than Tuesday as a buffer day. That's a form of a cadence, a cadence, meaning that now, my team, my staff has the permission to kind of take the foot off the gas, if you will, and slow down and take inventory of what have we accomplished. And that begins to happen on Friday afternoon. And then on Wednesday, we have a leadership meeting, which is now we share these key metrics, how many units have we turned? How many units have we leased? What kind of evictions do we have all of our asset management, property management construction KPIs, we share that on Wednesday morning. And so elite entrepreneurs have to have super time management skills, but not just for themselves, they have to be able to manage that cadence of the entire company, in a way, and I believe is what I learned this from Dan Sullivan Strategic Coach over 25 years ago, you know, he has the concept of free days, focus days and buffer days, yeah. But we really focus on just focus days and buffer days in business. And you got to have a buffer day or two within your work week, to allow your team to mentally decompress Mentally take a moment, to gather up their KPIs to put all their notes into the software I mentioned before, those buffer days are critical. So then they can go right back the next day, or whatever it is, and get right back to revenue, get right back to doing their job and execution. So you know, those are two more big ones,

Brian Charlesworth  27:59  
Well you knowing your numbers so well. And you from your KPIs to your income, to what you know everything, you obviously run a business with a very high cadence of accountability. So anyway, it's great to listen to you everything you talk about, is exactly the same thing that we tell these real estate teams and that we provide, you know, to really streamline, automate and empower them to make these powerful business decisions. So those are two powerful points. I think we'd probably have about five more minutes if there's some others do you want to share? Did you write a book on this? Or I had somebody get all of this from you?

Josh Cantwell  28:40  
Yeah, yeah. Well, let me jump through. I'll mention a few more, I'll actually I'll mention all nine and then I'll focus on a couple more. So the nine are these, number one is invest for cash flow now, whether that's investing in real estate or investing in your business, invest in those things, so they create cash flow now, that's the lesson I learned Brian, when I got cancer and didn't have regular income coming in, I was too transactional. So invest for cash flow. Now. Number two, take 100% responsibility for your life. Number three, have super time management skills for yourself and your business. Number five, I'm going to skip number four. Number five was use technology as a weapon. Now I'm gonna go back to number four, Brian, which is refuse and avoid what I call the screen-sucking OCD loop. Okay,

Brian Charlesworth  29:26  
That's a good one.

Josh Cantwell  29:27  
So right technology has a purpose. Social media has a purpose. But how many of us roll out of bed and we check Facebook and Instagram and then we check our email while we're still laying in bed and then we get a shower and our phone sitting right there. And then we check our sales stats, and then all of a sudden we're in the car. We're kind of thumbing through our phones even at the stop sign and we're looking at our second email that we really don't check that off and

Brian Charlesworth  29:53  
If you are thumbing through that at the stoplight. Like you know, you have an eviction problem.

Josh Cantwell  29:58  
All the time. People are texting and driving constantly. It's unbelievable. And so then they get home and then it's Netflix or it's, you know, whatever it is, and then they're checking there. So there's a time and a place for that. Okay, we need technology and social media. And we want to have some entertainment, sure. But anything that's negative, anything that's toxic, anything that I consider what's called a leech, right. And unfortunately, we go through these loops, where we get into this stuff with our phones, and all of a sudden, a half hour goes by an hour goes by, and then we finally like, we become conscious again. And it's like, Oh, my God, I just, I just wasted 47 minutes of my day. And if I thought about what I just did, for less 47 minutes, I actually got nothing accomplished. And then that might happen twice a day, six days a week. And then people are like, well, I don't have any time to grow my business bullshit. You're stuck in your screen-sucking, OCD loop. And that's the time that you should be using to think and operate at a higher level. So elite entrepreneurs know that they put guardrails around technology and social media and guardrails around entertainment, they schedule it into their calendar. They don't avoid it, because we're human, we all want to use it, but they schedule it in and use it strategically. Okay,

Brian Charlesworth  31:20  
That goes hand in hand with what was number two?

Josh Cantwell  31:22  
Number two, take 100% responsibility for your life. What's the one on managing your time? Super duper time management skills? Yeah

Brian Charlesworth  31:30  
The numerous time management skills, right, everything should be scheduled in your calendar, and go including that.

Josh Cantwell  31:37  
Yep. Including vacation time going to the gym, when you're going to eat like people think it's too rigid. But look, Elon Musk, you're gonna refer to him. But if you've studied him, his calendar is built out for him in five-minute increments.

Brian Charlesworth  31:51  
All day? Yeah. Which is why he can run multiple companies at once, which most people can do. But look at you, you're you're the CEO of three different companies at once. So congratulations on that. 

Josh Cantwell  32:02  
Yeah, thank you. And I'm not perfect. I definitely failed, you know, but I recognize that and get, you know, get back into the pilot's seat and do it again, the right way if I can.

Brian Charlesworth  32:10  
So having these teams in town all week, I usually have like, My schedule is super planned out. But I've had people in town this week. And so my schedule got a little thrown off. And I was taking people to dinner at night. And you know, all this stuff. Well, I'm doing 75 hard again this year, right? It's like kick the year off doing 75 hard. So I was out past midnight last night, doing an outdoor workout in the snow. Right? 

Josh Cantwell  32:35 
Good for you. 

Brian Charlesworth  32:36
So anyway, you know, I guess my point is, if you don't schedule, right, you end up like me, out in the middle of the night working out. But you know, at least I have enough commitment. And I still got out there.

Josh Cantwell  32:48  
It’sThe amazing that you made the commitment stuck to it. Because most people Brian, as you know, wouldn't do that. Right? They would just take the day off, they would you know, just ah, you know, I screwed that day up, I'm gonna go to bed or drink too much. I eat too much. Forget it. I'll pick it up tomorrow, the fact that you committed and stayed out at midnight, one in the morning in the dark is fantastic, man. Congratulations, great job with that. And again, I think that that leads me to the next trait, which is elite entrepreneurs set goals, knowing their end result. They don't set goals and say, you know, I want to make X amount of money this year, or X amount of phone calls this day, there's going to be days where you can make more phone calls or less, there's going to be days where you see more clients or you don't. So they take a larger approach and say, well, maybe this week, I want to make X amount of phone call see X amount of clients make X amount of sales. But they know exactly what the end result is that they're searching for, the house they want to buy, the business, they want to own the car, they want to drive the team, they want to have the amount of passive income they want to generate the vacations they want to go on. You know, people call it their dream board. Like I don't have a vision board. But I know exactly what my end result is I've had up on my wall now for several years, that I'm going to be completely checked out in my business and retire at age soon as I turned age 48. So that was Ben, you know, and I set that goal years and years ago. And that coincides with my son graduating from grade school so that I can be free for all of his high school and all of his college, travel and do all that kind of stuff. So my goal has always been to create a big enough real estate portfolio and enough passive income that I could do that and I've accomplished that early before age 48. But that was my goal. So I just constantly looked at that. And I would look back and say wow, I bought all these buildings. We created this extra cash flow. We had this many more units and we got closer and closer to the goal. And my goal was not you know build this $400 Million Dollar Portfolio. My goal is every year to buy 950 units of apartments. Some years I bought 1500 units some years I bought 600 units, but every year I'd reset and say 950 units because each unit represents Brian $1,400 A year of net free income, that represents exactly $100,000 A month, $1.2 million a year of net free spendable cash flow every year, about 150 units, that would represent $1.2 million $100,000 a month. So I didn't I couldn't think of the right goal. So I just thought, well, if I had an extra $100,000 a month, that'd be pretty cool.

Brian Charlesworth  35:29  
But you had this vision, you had this vision of freedom, right? You had this vision of the things you wanted, which allowed you to back in and say, in order for me to get that I need to have 950 properties a year. And in order for me to get that I need to make this many phone calls a week, right? And in order to get that it's a you backed into it takes these activities this work to generate this, which then gives me my why or my freedom right? 

Josh Cantwell  35:58  
That's right. And for me, right, it was raising money like because you know, buying an apartment building, if I buy a building for 20 million bucks, I gotta have about 30 to 35% of the purchase price is the cash I need to raise or have I building for 20 million, and that's about six to $7 million need to raise. So for me, sales wasn't selling a lot of properties, I would just buy bigger buildings, but I needed to in the same fashion the same way you're describing, I would need to focus on raising capital, which means I had to have a certain number of appointments with private investors to hit the phone, I had to send out a certain amount of postcards, a certain amount of newsletters, sort of on email marketing, I would do podcasts like this, all that type of stuff to lead me to raising the money that I would need to buy these larger buildings. So it's very, very, very similar, very, very near. 

Brian Charlesworth  36:43  
Yeah. I mean, it doesn't matter what example I mean, even within the real estate teams, you know, you have all these team owners telling their agents what they need to do to make their money. Well, if these real estate agents, these real estate team owners have a goal to let's say, do 500 million in sales. Well, okay, that's your goal. Now, what are you going to do to get that right, you're obviously going to have to recruit a lot more agents, you can't just do the same thing with the agents you have. So, anyway, I would say this applies to any business.

Josh Cantwell  37:11  
Absolutely. And that leads me Brian, to your point you just made about adding more agents to hit your goal leads me to the next trait, which is Trait number seven, which is elite entrepreneurs, what I call they scale, the one to many concept, meaning that one leader that one person can get in front of many customers, many people at one time, whether that's a team leader, like you're talking about having many, many agents and those agents are in front of many, many owners buying and selling real estate. That's one version. Another one is this podcast, if you and I are recording one time and being in front of many, many, many people who are going to listen to this or watch it on YouTube. Or if you're doing an email marketing broadcast, that's one to many, you might have 100 people on your list or 70,000 people on your list, whatever it is, that's one email getting out to many, many people, you might record one Instagram video that gets 10,000 views. So if you're going to be an elite entrepreneur, you have to find ways to leverage yourself, and your time that you do things one time that ends up in front of many, many, many customers, elite entrepreneurs find ways to do that. I'm a digital marketing expert. So I do it through digital marketing.

Brian Charlesworth  38:31  
Yeah, and I think you do it through a lot of ways based on what I've seen, but so

Josh Cantwell  38:37  
Really fast, Brian, So number eight is service Trump's price, right? Yes, it is somebody go back and use the same mortgage broker, real estate agent stockbroker, why did they buy the same car from the same dealership even if the price is not the cheapest? It's because of the experience, it's because of the service that's right lead entrepreneurs realize that white glove service will allow them to charge more money and retain the same client you don't want to be like in this game that we're in the business game you either want to be the cheapest you want to be Walmart or you want to absolutely have the best service you cannot be in the middle do not get stuck in the middle being the average right the average person the average agent, the average business owner, trying to be cheap and good service pick one or the other either be the freakin cheapest be the discount brokerage that charges a flat fee and sell a bazillion houses or sell the most expensive houses and use service that will absolutely kill your customer to get bazillion referrals that will help you get more.

Brian Charlesworth  39:51  
Yeah, I mean, I mean two years ago, Sisu my software company. We didn't even do onboarding for our customers. We had 15 employees right If we didn't have the bandwidth to do onboarding, but we found out most people that left because they never got an onboarding, right, they weren't using the software. So anyway, service has always been an important thing to me, we just didn't have enough people to do it. And so we've scaled up to 60 employees, it's been a big, big focus of our companies. So this week, I had about five different business owners come up to me and say you have the best onboarding of any company we've ever onboard with screen, which for me, like that just lights me up. Because that's a hard thing to get to. I mean, it has not been easy to get to that. And we still have a long ways to go.

Josh Cantwell  40:37  
Yeah. But there's a lot of great software out there. And at the end of the day, they're all great. And there's a lot of duplication, I owned a software company that we started, it was a bunch of apps for real estate investors. And now I look back, and there's 10 software's that look and feel and act almost exactly the same. Like they're just there to kind of have a lot of the same features. So it comes down to that front and onboarding, because as you know, Brian, somebody onboard your software, software becomes sticky. And then once they start to adopt it and use it, they never want to let it go. So the onboarding of the front of whether it's a customer that you're gonna sell a house to that first impression to people talking about so important, especially service at the front end. Yeah, that leads me Brian to the last trait, which is a lead entrepreneurs realize that software is great, and private capital is great, and buying buildings is great. But look, the business of running a business is the people. Like, to run a business software is great, you can have all kinds of SOPs, you can have all kinds of standard operating procedures, KPIs, software technology, but behind all that is regular people. And really elite entrepreneurs try to find a home, a culture, a home for their people, that their people are willing to work harder, work a little longer, maybe forego some sort of other job, which maybe they could make more money. Because they're like, You know what, man, like, this is home for me, I love the people here. The people care about me, they appreciate me, if I go somewhere else and make an extra $20,000 or I get some sort of raise. Great. But are they going to appreciate me? And that's what it comes down to. It's the people at the end of the day. The people that make the sales, the people that are dealing with the customers, the people that are running the software. Look, we're not robots, artificial intelligence is coming. But it's not here yet. And so are

Brian Charlesworth  42:41  
Robots are coming too

Josh Cantwell  42:44  
Right. It's not we're not taken over by robots and AI yet, we're still cool. People have feelings, and we've got to be good at communicating and dealing with people. That is Trait number nine, and it's critical, if you want to be an elite entrepreneur.

Brian Charlesworth  42:58  
Yes. So that is incredible advice. After spending this time with you, Josh. I'm like, I want to spend more time with you. I want to get to know you. I want to listen to your podcast. So I'm sure our listeners feel the same way. So tell me, how can I get more of Josh?

Josh Cantwell  43:15  
Sure. Yeah, our main website, which is That's our brand, our company, Freeland Ventures. You'll find everything there. Our portfolio and our YouTube videos or podcast links are there. And then the podcast that I run is called Accelerated Investor. We're pretty laser-focused on multifamily investing and entrepreneurship in that podcast. So certainly, if that's something that interests you, whether you're a very successful agent and you want to buy some income properties, multifamily property, invest as an active investor, limited partner. That's the focus of the podcast. And yet, I mean, I'm all over the internet, Google me and you'll find all kinds of stuff. I've been doing this for a while. So, there's links to all kinds of stuff we've produced over the years.

Brian Charlesworth  43:59  
So, just so you guys know, like Josh has had people on his podcast like the sharks, right? Kevin O'Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Donald Trump, Jr. So anyway, you guys want to check that out. Josh, it's been great getting to know you today and having on the show, and thanks for all the amazing advice you shared with our audience. 

Josh Cantwell  44:18  
Brian, thanks so much, man. It's been a blast. Thanks for having me on the show. 

Brian Charlesworth  44:21
Yeah, thank you.

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