A few years ago, I was invited to speak at an event for the non-profit One Life Fully Lived. While I was there, I saw David Osborn speak for the first time, and I was captivated by his rare blend of authenticity, transparency, expertise, and contribution.
He shared his story of transforming from a troubled youth into a self-made millionaire, showing us where every dollar came from as he amassed a fortune worth over $70 million. I’d met a few other millionaires, but none at that level – and few who were willing to openly share the real secrets to their success in a sincere effort to help others.
You may have seen my email on Monday announcing that David and I co-authored a new book, Miracle Morning Millionaires: What the Wealthy Do Before 8 AM That Will Make You Rich.
On today’s podcast episode, David shares his story, his background, and gets you inside the mind of someone who has achieved the financial freedom we’d all love to have. No matter who you are or what your personal income level is, you’re sure to benefit from his knowledge and insight.
- Why you have to talk about your accomplishments to teach people something valuable – and how this can be sometimes be misconstrued as arrogance.
- Why love of money – but not money itself – is the root of all evil.
- The moment David chose to be wealthy – and what he did to bring this vision to life.
- The reasons you have to keep putting yourself out there, no matter how successful you are (or aren’t) – and the secret to being in the right place at the right time to catch a lucky break.
- Why you should think of the first home you buy as a rental – and the importance of generating passive income to achieve true financial freedom.
You’ll never get lucky if you don’t put yourself in a position to get lucky.” – David Osborn
“The successes don’t really teach you anything. It’s the failures that make you the person that’s capable of dealing with bigger and bigger failures.” – David Osborn
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Hal: Goal achievers, what’s going on? This is Hal Elrod and a few years ago, I was invited to speak at an event for the nonprofit 1 Life Fully Lived and the featured speaker at the event was someone I had not yet heard of but the consensus amongst the attendees at that event was that he would be the highlight and I was intrigued. David Osborn is the gentleman I’m referring to and when he took the stage I was quickly captivated, and it was really everybody in the room I think was captivated by his rare blend of authenticity, transparency, expertise, and contribution. And his message was titled Wealth Can’t Wait and he walked us through his story of going from a troubled youth to a self-made multimillionaire and his transparency was encouraging. It was really he showed us where every dollar came from and we got to see how’s one builds a $70 million-plus fortune and up until that point, I met a few millionaires but none that were at the level that David was at and none with such an openness and willingness to share what they knew for free in a sincere effort to help others achieve financial freedom and my intrigue really grew.
And during the course of David’s presentation, I also learned that he was one of the co-founders of a mastermind called GoBundance and it’s a mastermind specifically for men. I believe their tagline is healthy, wealthy, generous men who choose to lead epic lives. And wanted to get more time to connect with David, I accepted an offer to speak at the upcoming GoBundance retreat in Lake Tahoe and little did I know that the GoBundance trip would present the beginning of what would become a really invaluable friendship between David and I as well as our families.
And in October 2016 when I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer which you should know about, David and his wife Tracy really stepped up in vital ways to support me and my family and they had meals delivered to us every week for over a year, so my wife just take a burden off her having to cook while she was trying to be a single mom basically while I was in the hospital fighting for my life. They drove me to the hospital. David offered to fly us anywhere that we needed to go on their private plane and having lost his father to cancer David empathized and offered guidance based on his own journey. And the phrase, “I can never thank you enough,” really sums up the gratitude that I feel for David and his family and I hope that what I just shared with you briefly gives you a better understanding of who you are about to learn from.
I asked David to be on the show today because he and I did just co-author a book, Miracle Morning Millionaires, What The Wealthy Do Before 8 AM That Will Make You Rich and I asked him to come on today to share his story, share his background, and so you can kind of get inside the mind and learn what are the upbringings of someone that becomes wealthy at that level and achieves financial freedom that for the most part I think most of us would love to have that freedom to not stress about money or worry about bills and be able to contribute at a high level and provide financial security and freedom for ourselves, our families, etcetera.
And David really embodies what it means to be truly wealthy and, in my opinion, wealth is not just about the dollars in your bank account or your net worth, but true wealth is about living in alignment with what matters most to you and alignment with your values and only one of those is about financial freedom. The rest are family and health and all of the other components of our lives that are very, very important and nobody does that better than David Osborn in my opinion. So, it is really my honor and my pleasure to introduce you and well actually you’ve met David. He’s been on the podcast before, but we’ve never had a conversation quite like this and so I’m excited for you to get to eavesdrop and listen in on our dialogue today. Hope it adds as much value for you as it did for me and here you go, the one and only, David Osborn.
Hal: Yes. So, people may be watching this. They may be listening. So, normally this is an episode of the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This is a conversation with my friend, my mentor, my confidant, is confidant the right word, and my co-author of the Miracle Morning Millionaires, What the Wealthy Do Before 8 Am That Will Make You Rich. This is Mr. David Osborn and we’ve been trying to do this for a week and he’s been sick. So, David, so millionaires still get sick?
David: Yeah. You know, I like to say I’m one of those guys that never get sick, but I can’t say that for a couple of years. I got sick. My wife got it first then my daughter. I think my son had it but he’s on breastmilk still, so I think he’s got a lot of immunities. He had it very quickly. But the sad thing, Hal, was the day I got it I was like, “Oh no, my wife was sick for two weeks and she’s tough so that means it’s at least two weeks no matter what I do.” I kept getting that false hope. I’d feel a little better. I’m like, “It’s going away after three days,” and then that evening I go, “Ack, ack, ack.” So, now I’m finally feeling good today after like nine days. It’s just ridiculous. It’s so annoying to be sick. No one wants to be sick and I tried to look after myself really well, so I won’t be sick. Here I am just like everybody else getting sick.
Hal: I know. I’m the same thing. I used to be one that never got sick and to that badge of honor that you wear and then I got kids and…
Hal: And they bring home so much crap and then you blame it on the other, “The other kids at school. It’s their fault. They’re getting my kids sick and then my kids are getting me sick.”
David: Well, they don’t just bring it home. They culture it and develop it and then it grows on them and then they bring it to you and you can’t just because there are germs all around us all the time. Your body fights off 99% but the kids really, they give the germs a good host to come bring to us but c’est la vie. No big deal.
Hal: No big deal. Well, hey, man. So, I’m excited for the conversation today. What prompts this conversation for everybody watching and listening right now is the book that I am holding up on the video. Maybe you have your copy to hold up? Two copies are better than one. So, Miracle Morning Millionaires, What the Wealthy Do Before 8 Am That Will Make You Rich and for those of you that don’t know David Osborn, I’ve interviewed David before on the podcast, so you’ve listened to that episode or – have we done? Is this our second or third episode? Do you know?
David: We’ve talked a lot of times that’s why you think it’s the third, but this is our second. Yeah.
Hal: It feels like the third.
David: She knows but I think it’s the second.
Hal: Yeah. Well, I met David back in, I don’t know, a few years ago. I don’t know the year. But a few years ago, I was speaking at a nonprofit event for 1 Life Fully Lived and one of the speakers that people kept talking about was David Osborn and I did not know who this guy was which he doesn’t like hearing that. He’s like, “Hey, you don’t know who I am?” No, but I didn’t know who he was and what people kept saying like he’s the highlight of the event and they were so excited, David, to hear you speak and right away you captured my attention and you captured it with your authenticity. I think that’s what attracts people to you is I think that’s why I personally it’s a value of mine and so I think that attracts me to you but also it was your transparency. You have a high level of expertise. When it comes to building wealth, you’re an expert at that. You’ve done it at a very high level and when you gave your message, it was just transparency. It was you literally told us where every dollar came from and it was not in an egotistical way, and there were a lot of dollars by the way. There was I think 70 million of them back then that was I think in terms of your net worth, but you showed us where they all came from and it wasn’t in an ego way. It was really so you guys can see what this looks like and that you can learn from it and that you can apply it.
David: Yeah. It’s a take it or leave it kind of thing, Hal. I do get some people go, “Oh, he’s just talking about his money,” but really what I’m trying to do is what you got and I’m glad you got it because I get a lot of people go, “Man, thank you for your transparency and honesty,” and other people are like, “Man, that guy just talks about his money.” But the reality is I always try to think if I was in the audience and I want to be rich which I did when I was a kid, I’m like, “Don’t sugarcoat things. Show me how you did it. That’s what I want to know.” So, the level of openness I bring can be a double-edged sword on me sometimes but really, I just brush that part off if you really want to know what’s going on. I’m a guy to talk to. If you want me to give you some speech and hide really what’s going on, then I’m not your guy. Sometimes it comes across as arrogance, but I never intended to be that. I just try to be transparent, so you can see what happened, what went right, what went wrong, and how the numbers grew over time. And so, you took it well and a lot of guys come up to me and say that was amazing and then a few others would be like, “Ah, you just like to talk about money,” which I do. So, it’s…
Hal: Yeah. No, and I can relate. I feel the same way. It’s like you have to talk about your accomplishments if you’re going to teach someone how to accomplish, if they’re trying to learn from you. I mean, I think it’s really important. So, the funny part is you’ve been bugging me before and I say that in a respectful nice way but for the last couple of years like, “Dude, we should do a Miracle Morning book together,” but I never, I didn’t know which one we would do and I always kind of felt bad because I love to but I don’t know which one and I don’t remember the day but it’s Miracle Morning Millionaires was a title that I thought of like five years ago when I first thought of the series and, yeah, one day I was one of those falling asleep, taking a shower like just a moment where it hit me and I went, “Wait a minute. Miracle Morning Millionaires with David Osborn.” I’m like that would be perfect. He’s like the most qualified person to do it.
And something I said in the introduction of the book is that wealth is about in my opinion and we share this belief that it’s really about living in alignment with your values. When somebody has true wealth it’s that they’re living in alignment with their values and only one of those values is about money like one of them is about financial freedom and money, but the others are about family and about health and about relationships, friendships, etcetera, and mindset and all of them and that to me is what you embody. And so, yeah, man, I couldn’t be more excited to bring this book to the world. It comes out on May 21, 2018, which is if you’re watching this, that’s probably like in a week or maybe less. I don’t know if it still comes out right before that and, yeah, so today I want to talk with you honestly about I really want to dive into your past and have little like lay down on my couch.
David: Real quick, I mean I’m proud of this book, Hal, and you’re absolutely right. I wanted to write a book with you for a long time. My first book took seven years. It took hundreds of thousands of dollars and it was just so difficult then I met you while I was in the middle of that process and I loved your book, the Miracle Morning. I thought, “Wow. Everyone could benefit from this from the farm worker to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. And so, yeah, I wanted to pick up the vibe of how Hal Elrod writes books and the Miracle Morning Community and what we’re doing here together trying to change the world and I’m really proud with the book and the way came out and it was so much easier. It was seven months. We have to like you have excellent people in your life. We had the right marketing team. We had the right editors right off the bat. We had the right writers to help us write it. It was so much easier and such a joy to write it and then when I finally got to reading the finished product, in my book I had to re-edit the first one 14 times to get it right and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. This one was like, I don’t know, this guy got it really good right off the bat. We got it really good and so I’ve read three times now. I think he’s going to make a difference in a lot of lives and it was such a joy working with you and that’s the experience that I wanted to have.
And, remember, I’m writing all these books not to make money but just to leave a legacy piece and the impetus to originally write came from my father dying and when my dad died, I knew he was going to take stories with him that would never come back to me, that I would never get again because he was so full of funny stories and interesting stories from his time serving the military. He was a lifetimer Green Beret, but I thought, “Well, what happens if something happens to me? I’m a pretty old guy to be having young kids. If I got hit by a bus or God forbid, cancer comes after me like it came after my dad,” then I thought, “What would I leave behind?” And that’s why I’m writing these books is like literally for wisdom for others. I’m not a funny storyteller like my dad was but I have done pretty well in business and building wealth and so that’s the legacy I want to leave behind because while money is not the answer to all things in life, money makes everything easier in life, pretty much everything in life is easier, almost everything with money. The only thing that’s not is your tax return every year. That’s more complicated.
Hal: That’s painful.
David: Everything else is easy.
Hal: Yeah. Also, it amplifies your values I think, right, which is really neat. I heard one of my mentors who used to say that. He goes, “If people think money is the root of all evil and you hear all these cliché negative perceptions of money or people that make money, they’re greedy,” and he says, “Money just makes you more of what you are. If you’re a generous person, the more money you make, the more you can give away, the more good you can do in the world, the more you can help other people.” And I found that to be so true and you are such a generous guy in terms of when I had cancer, you guys stepped up. Your family, you were there for me. You delivered meals to my family every week, so my wife didn’t have to cook, and she could care for me and so on and so forth.
David: Yeah. Money, it equals freedom really more than anything else. Freedom would be who you are, what you want to do, and you’re absolutely right. Actually, the correct quote as we put in the book is, “The love of money is the root of evil.” So, if you’re obsessed with money, that’s not a great place to be but money itself is just a tool against things moving. We built free clean water for hundreds of thousands of people around the world. We’ve been able to help you. It’s just we’ve been able to do so many generous things because we have money and it just accelerates life. It’s really like jet fuel for life.
Hal: Yeah. No, I agree and that was a big thing for me was because I had the same hang-ups when I was younger of, “Making a lot of money is a really materialistic pursuit. I shouldn’t do that. That’s not who I am.” It’s all these weird kind of hang-ups around it and getting over those I think is the first step. So, if you’re listening to this, that’s step one is get over any hang-ups you have on money and just realize, okay, I’m going to – making money gives me freedom to be more of who I am. Let’s go down that path. So, let’s start with your path, David, like what were you like growing up? As a kid, as a teenager, were you really business focused? Were you one of those you start a business at a young age or what was your mindset as a kid?
David: Well, I was from a poor offshoot of a wealthy family on my mom side. So, if you think about that, a solidly middle-class family on my dad side but on my mom’s side like the great Uncle Ted who kind of was my first mentor, he lived on an acre of forest worth a lot of money because there’s not much land in England and it was in the gentlemanly part of town. We lived in this little cottage that the games keeper usually lives in. On the house, he let us stay there while I went to English school. So, it was kind of an interesting thing. My grandmother had no money. She was the poor side but her brother who would be my great uncle was a stockbroker, very successful, and he gave me my first job working on his farm in England. And so, I was kind of in this unique thing where I was the poor offshoot of a wealthy family on my mom side and I really related to my mom very well.
So, as I grew up I was around wealth but we as a family didn’t have wealth in England. And then we came to America and my dad basically was a soldier, so he didn’t really make a lot of money, but he was pretty good at spending it and as we grew up in America, my mom became fairly good at real estate. So, we really had nothing and then we started having something. Now, me personally how did that effect on me is the youngest in the family, my older brother was the athlete, my older sister was a very strong independent woman who rode horses, so she was also an athlete like very heavily in the horses and I was just this guy. I just got this feeling I was going to be good at business maybe because of the coaching from Uncle Ted.
Hal: What age did you start working for your Uncle Ted?
David: Like 11 and 12. He gave me weird odd jobs like collecting the eggs from under the chickens which is terrifying. You think it sounds like a fun job. They pick your hand. I remember being scared of them and then I also remember like he had this big lawn and the lawnmower would leave these strands that would stick up and he’d have me go pick those strands and every 10 strands I get like five pence or something like that. So, he gave me weird jobs like that, but he would also coach me, and I just remember really a lot of life I think you pick up through osmosis. He would have these big dinners in his big house on the big hill. Now, they’ve subdivided that whole place out and sold it off into a lot of different lots but there’ll be 30, 40 family members. He’d sit up head of the table and I always remember thinking, “One day I’d like to be back. I’d like to be head of the table and taking care of things.” He was like the big patriarch of the family and I identified with it even though I was a tiny kid. I didn’t weigh much and that became a choice in my head that I would one day be wealthy.
Hal: Got it. Yeah. And that’s interesting as a decision like when I was a kid I didn’t have any of that. So, I was in a middle-class family and didn’t have anybody wealthy that I knew. So, it’s interesting how and I think that shows that if you have any childhood, there are so many examples of every people from all walks of life that end up wealthy and it’s that decision that any person makes, and we make it at even at a young age because you had a model for it. You had a model. You had your uncle that you could look at that you wanted to be like him. If someone’s listening or watching that it has that, the decision or the choice can be made at any moment. I think that’s such an important. I know it’s one in the book you talk about, the two doors, the two choices.
David: Yeah. Of course, then I think also as I grew up like I didn’t have the athletic piece to lean on. I remember it’s funny, school seems to change a lot but when I was in school like the athletes, the jocks kind of ruled the school. They’d walked down in the middle of the hallway and huge steps to one side are get pushed or whatever. It wasn’t that big a deal. It was just part of life. And then but what I found is like, so I came to America and then I started working construction. I like getting those paychecks, man. I just enjoyed it and I like hustling at work. I was a terrible student. I was a C student. I didn’t like school. I didn’t like people telling me what I had to learn. It felt like when I applied for a job, it was my choice. I pick the job and I could work as hard as I wanted to and hustle as hard as I wanted to. I had a job as a bagger and I tried to be the fast bagger in the grocery store.
Hal: I was a bagger. What age did you start as a bagger?
David: Fifteen I think. How about you?
Hal: Thirteen I think. Fourteen, fifteen, somewhere around that.
David: Yeah. Because you could work in construction as a younger person, but you couldn’t get jobs I think. There was an age you could sort of go get a regular job. I don’t think you could at 14. I think you could at 15 but maybe I’m wrong about that. It was a long time ago. My minimum wage was $3.52 an hour. What was yours? Do you remember?
David: Yeah. See.
Hal: You’re a little older than I am.
David: Not that much but, well, hundred years maybe. And I love that job when I was the fastest bagger. I was the second fastest bagger in the store and I actually got fired from that job for insubordination. See, I had a mouth and I couldn’t stop talking back at authority and I remember when he fired me I was like, “You want me to finish the shift first?” Because it was crowded, and they didn’t have a lot of baggers and he was like, “No, you’re leaving right now,” and I’m like, “Oh, that’s weird because like I’m a really good bagger. You sure you don’t want me to stick around?” But that was for insubordination. You know what’s sad is, Hal, I went back to that store like many years later as an adult. I was in the area I grew up in, so I thought I’d stop at the store. Ordered some groceries, had the kid carry it out to my car even though I didn’t need to and then I said to him like, “How do you like working here?” and he said, “You know, it’s an okay job. I just do the minimal amount I have to do, and I get paid.” And I said, “You know, son,” because when you’re 50 like I am when you’re talking to an 18-year-old, you called son or 15.
David: So, I said, “You know, son, the sad thing about what you told me is not that you’re robbing from the store because I don’t care whether you’re the best bagger in the world at all, what I care about is that you are robbing your future self by not working hard as a grocery bagger. You won’t work hard as an engineer. You won’t work hard as a doctor. You won’t work hard as a construction worker. You’re not stealing from the store by coasting. You’re stealing from yourself.” And the one thing I think I always got was hustling at work like I would work hard at my job. Never at school, wasn’t homework. I was probably lazy with my chores around the house or at least tried to do the minimal so my dad wouldn’t be mad at me, but it worked for some reason. I just always hustled hard.
Hal: Yeah. So, you had that at a young age which is great. Another thing that I did not have. Much later in life.
David: So, you were the fastest bagger in the store?
Hal: No. I took beer from the store. It was my parents’ store by the way.
David: Okay. That’s good.
David: It might have been a wine bottle or two snuck out in the store.
Hal: Fair enough. So, now let’s get specific. So, you at a young age of 11 you’re working for your uncle. So, your mindset around money. You saw him at the head of the table. You saw his life, so you thought, “I want this,” which totally make sense. When did you believe or was it at that point that you started to think or believe that you could become a millionaire like specifically that level of wealth?
David: I would say it was more high school. So, I was always working like I would always have a job. I started a lawn mowing company right when I was late 16, I might have just turned 17. So, I was tired of construction, I got fired from being a bagger, so I started a lawn mowing company and I just started doing yards and my mom was a realtor, so I got a lot of business from her and I love that and then I hired a second truck to work with me and then a third truck, so I had three trucks.
Hal: Wait. That was in high school?
David: That was in high school. I made $20,000 as a high school kid living at home tax-free and not because I just didn’t know how to pay taxes, so I apologize to those who the tax is for. And what was funny about that, this was 1990 – no, when was this? This had been the 80s like the late 80s. So, my clients would say to me like, “We want you to cut our yard because your employees aren’t cutting the yard as well as you would.” So, that’s when I got my first understanding of leverage and who you hire. Then one of my guys stole the truck. I was so naïve. I bought him a truck. He was like a recovering addict and he was a plumber, so we started getting plumbing job. We were moving in these new spaces and I bought a $500 truck and I said, “Look, I’m just going to put it in your name. You just pay me back.” That’s how naïve I was. I put the truck in his name immediately and then like within a month he was gone.
Hal: He was gone.
David: Gone with all the tools and the truck.
Hal: Now, when you say truck, are you talking about an actual pickup truck?
David: Yeah. A little tiny truck.
Hal: With a lawnmower in the back of?
David: Yeah but the little ones like it was an old little truck. It was $500. Today that’d probably be like a $2,000 truck.
Hal: Got it.
David: It wasn’t the great big Ford F150.
Hal: Sure. Little Dodson or something.
David: Yeah. And he just stole it. Didn’t even think about it. And then I remember, I saw him driving a few years later. I wasn’t really mad though, man, because I’ve never been mad about being taken from. I’d always rather be the guy that had an abundance that could be taken from than the guy that had to take, if that makes sense.
David: I loaned a lot of my buddy’s money in high school. They never pay me back. It just became like part of the deal. I was like, “Okay. So, if you’re going to be successful, I learned, people are going to take advantage of that,” and that’s just way better to be the guy that could afford to be taken advantage of than the guy that has to take advantage of other people. I’d rather be me that can afford to buy a guy a truck than the guy that had to steal the truck. Does that make sense?
David: It’s just like that grocery bagger. You think you’re getting away with something by taking from somebody but really, you’re taking away from yourself. The way you develop skill and providing for yourself and providing for your family over a lifetime pays off forever. That capacity to do more and be responsible for more and take on more, I believe is what leads to more and more abundance in life. So, I’ve always kind of had that philosophy of people stick me with a check. They think they’re getting away with something. They’re really just robbing themselves because what I’m telling the universe is what they’re telling the universe is I don’t have enough. What I’m telling the universe is I’m going to take on all these overhead and all this that needs to be paid and therefore I’m going to need more to cover all of that and that’s always been my viewpoint is can I give more? Can I do more? Can I take on more?
Hal: Yeah. Well, it’s that T. Harv Eker, that famous quote, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” That bagger at the grocery store who’s doing the minimum to get by is developing himself into the type of person that would do the minimum to get by in everything that he does.
David: And that’s not to imply that I was somehow like any kind of perfect. I’m sloppy. I’m messy. There are all kinds of – but, yes, you’re right. The spirit I had brought to work has always been a pretty dedicated spirit.
Hal: Yeah. Beautiful. So, let’s talk about some financial milestones for you. At what age did you first earn six figures? At what age did you earn $100,000 in a 12-month period?
David: So, I go to work. I get out of college. There was always working through high school and college but those are menial jobs. I get out of college and I guess my first job and it’s selling computer systems door-to-door, became the top salesperson. Literally had a boss, a female boss that would I guess today the Me Too would’ve been the Me Too movement of guys.
David: But we didn’t have any place to go then so after a year I just said, “This sucks like this girl wants,” she just treats me in a way that I don’t think is comfortable so I quit that job, decided to sell all my possessions and go hitchhiking around the world with my best friend from college. His whole family had a tradition of doing this. I would’ve never thought of it and I would’ve never done it if that first job experience had been good, but it sucks so I was like, “Okay. You’re on, Rob. Let’s go hitchhiking around the world.” Sold everything and I think that’s important because I went hitchhiking around the world and again the viewers might see like some nomadic cool trek traveler traveling around the world, but I was like just a dorky goofy kid traveling around the world shy. I go to a bar in South Africa and wouldn’t know who to talk to or I’d be in like reason. It was so fun, but it wasn’t cool fun. It wasn’t like this amazing odyssey of Achilles and the Golden Fleece. It was more like a goofy kid just when I look back at myself I’m like proud that I was willing to take those risks even though I was kind of an awkward kid. Does that make sense? I definitely wasn’t the cool kid.
Hal: I’ve seen pictures of you when you were younger, so I can attest that he was not the cool kid.
David: I look like Harry Potter, but the problem is Harry Potter wasn’t cool back then. I had black glasses kind of like you.
Hal: That’s right.
David: So, I did that then I came back from that. I got another job in computer sales. They tried to sign me, have me sign an intellectual property agreement that everything I thought of and even said if you dream of an idea while you work for us, we own it. So, I got the job, filled out the paperwork. As I got to that form, I said I can’t do this and I quit. I got up and I walked out. I was like I felt on cloud nine for about eight hours until I realize I have no job and I was in debt. About that time, my mom who was a realtor said, “Why don’t you come work for me?” and I said I don’t want to work in real estate. That’s not a real job but I’m broke so I’ll work for you temporarily while I go find a real job and here I am heavily in the real estate 25 years later. So, I got into real estate and I start selling and I found that real estate…
Hal: What age are you now?
David: So, now it’s ‘94 so I’m 27. I still haven’t made more than $100,000 in my life. I’ve done well. I’ve always done well but never made $100,000. First year in the business I made $35,000, second year I believe, you know, real estate has a lot of upsides. You just got to hustle to do well. So, second year I think I made 60, in the third year probably 90. And then as I’m in Keller Williams, it’s just a really fast-growing company, after three years in selling real estate, I was driving down the same street for the same time on the third day. Third time on the same day saying the same thing. I was like, “This sucks. I don’t want to be just a tape recorder for the rest of my life.” Well, the company was growing really fast. They were looking for people to buy franchises. Again, this is kind of how I got lucky in life because the company had 1,200 people when I joined it. They got 180,000 today and they were looking for franchise owners and I put my hand up and I said, “Hey, I’d like to go do that.” My mom said, “That’s a great idea. Let’s go do it together.”
So, I went to Dallas and started opening up franchises and so to do that, so I made $90,000. I go up to Dallas and the first thing I want to do is hire a badass assistant. I already told you before that I’ve learned to leverage through those trucks, but I’ve had bad choices so one guy stole from me. I was taught by a bunch of great guys so the other lucky thing I had is Gary Keller was my mentor at the time, the author of The ONE Thing. He’s a billionaire and he taught me how to hire great people and how to work through it. So many good things so I’m going up there and I think I’m making $90,000 about that time but I want a really kickass assistant and the assistant I find I budgeted $25,000. She wants $40,000. So, I’m like, “Okay. Well, I’m going to hire. I know she’s what I want. I’ve done all the process so I’m going to hire you. I’m going to pay you for $40,000.” So, I took a pay cut myself so I’m now from 90 down to the difference would be 50 and I’m down to $75,000. So, I’m making 75. My assistant is making 40. But it was a game changer for me. She was amazing, and we started selling franchises, buying franchises and within two years after that, I broke 100,000.
Hal: Nice. So, you were early 30s then at that point?
David: Yeah. Probably around 31 maybe 30, maybe the year I’ve turned 31 and I think I made $125,000. But, remember, what I was doing was opening franchises, so I opened my first one up there in ‘97 and then another one in ‘98 and then another one in ‘99 so I’m turning 30, 31. What happens with these franchises is it’s like planting trees. One of the things we talk about is planting multiple opportunities for passive income and as they grew and started taking root, the first one was ‘95, ‘96, ‘97, ‘98, ‘99, two in 2001, all of these franchises started doing well and when they did well, I think I got a little big in the background there just because of that. As they did well, my income went through the roof very fast.
Hal: Got you. Right on. So, early 30s when you hit $100,000.
David: Yeah. 31, 32 probably. It was a long time ago but…
Hal: Any millennials listening, all right, they’re like, “Wait. I’m already 21 and I haven’t made six figures and I’ve been doing internet marketing for two years.” It’s like, hey, you got time.
David: Well, you have to get a little lucky too. Let’s put it this way. You have to hustle. You have to – it takes time and you have to get a little lucky, but you’ll never get lucky if you don’t put yourself in a position to get lucky. I mean, you’ve written a book before the Miracle Morning. It didn’t do as well as the Miracle Morning but if you hadn’t written the first book, it wouldn’t have led to the second book and you wouldn’t have gotten the connection with humanity you’ve gotten through the Miracle Morning. So, you’ve got to keep putting yourself out there. That’s what I say to the young people, “Don’t get frustrated by the lack of success.” Honestly, Hal, if I’m really looking back at it, those early years were more fun in many, many ways than being massively successful because it’s all on the line.” When all on the line, you’re fully engaged, you’re fully living. It’s like going into a foreign country. When you go to like drop yourself in Egypt at the pyramids and you’re fully engaged, fully alive.
And so, the same is true when you launch a business. If it’s just you, you’re all in, you’re an entrepreneur, man, you are fully engaged. I was working as hard as I’ve ever worked. I was reading more books than ever, going to seminars. Just trying to change David Osborn to be the David Osborn that could be massively wealthy and that’s the one thing we hit on the book a lot. You have to change yourself. There’s no way that the me of today even is prepared for the wealth that I’m planning to have in the future. You just have to keep changing you. It’s like you’re the foundation of what can occur. And if you’re that younger millennial out there hustling and doing Internet marketing, if it’s not come to you yet, you haven’t become yet the right person for that to show up. And you got to keep working and tinkering on yourself and as you get that right then everything will fall in place in the outside world as well.
Hal: When like you said in terms of you got to get lucky, I don’t think there’s a single successful person on the planet that can’t point to many lucky points along their journey, but it was being the right person and the right place at the right time that allowed that wealth to transpire. It’s that the harder you work, the luckier you get.
David: Preparation meeting opportunity is the one, right? So, you prepare then the opportunity shows up. And then there are a million other people that luck shows, just kind of like – it’s like the love like the likes on Facebook Live like the opportunity is flowing right by but they’re not taking advantage of it because they’re not prepared. You have to be prepared for that opportunity when it shows up. That’s the part you have to do. If you prepare, luck will try to find you. Richard Branson told me the same thing. He said, “Everyone said I got lucky because I got out of the record business right before it crashed then I got into the airline business.” He said, “And I did get lucky, but you have to put yourself in a position to get lucky.”
Hal: And I think the other piece that goes along with that and I think it was Will Smith that I first heard say this which is that it takes, it might have been somebody else, 10 years to be an overnight success. And I think that’s so true. I want to be a millionaire by the time I was – so I started to think I could become a millionaire when I was 19. I started selling Cutco. My income skyrocketed, and I went, “Wow. This is crazy.” And I’ve got the calculator. I was going, “If I sell X amount of knives and do X amount, I could actually get there by the time I’m 25.” And then I get to 25 and I don’t have $100,000 saved, let alone 1 million and I go, “Okay, by the time I’m 30.” And then still wasn’t there and then I kept moving back but the idea that being patient, working hard, staying focused and realizing that when you finally, I love for your thoughts on this, but when you finally get to the point that you’ve been working so hard for, for so long and while you were trying to get there, it’s usually with this anxiety and this, “Oh, I’m not where I want to be and so and so is. Why isn’t it happening faster?” When you finally get there, you take a breath and you go, “I don’t wish it would’ve happened any sooner. It was perfect. The journey was perfect. Why did I stress myself out for the last 10 years to get here when I could’ve just enjoyed the process and realized that I didn’t need to do it now? It can happen when it happens and being at peace with that at some point.”
David: Well, that’s the beauty of being further down the road is you can look back and like I said earlier you realize that that time of striving was the most fun time. There’s not a guy I know or a person I know, a lady I know with a successful business that didn’t, when they look back on it, love the time that you’re in when you’re struggling and fighting. They go back and that’s what made me who I am. Every single struggle I had, every single failure was critical to me being the person I am today. In fact, I would say today it’s almost like no one wants to fail but the successes don’t really teach you anything. It’s the failures that make you the person that’s capable of dealing in bigger and bigger failures. So, what’s that Jim Rohn quote? “Don’t ask for an easier life. Ask for greater capacity,” because when you have greater capacity, the world will give you more complicated problems and when you’re given more complicated problems, you tend to have a more successful life and you don’t get there literally without the failures.
And I have a big failure like a year-and-a-half ago. Relationship didn’t go well, the big business I thought had huge designs for didn’t go well and it was tough. A year ago, I was in some emotional pain and struggle and the foundation that that created has given me the opportunity to launch another business that I’m really excited about and I don’t think I would be able to do it if I haven’t had that first failure. So, everything builds on it and the great thing about being older is I knew that. I even knew it when I was in my down moments and so it was easier to see the light. The first couple of times you get hit by those failures, it’s much more painful so I remember my failures in my early 30s and 20s were much more painful and I was in the dark night of the soul or whatever they call that and I couldn’t see the light as well. Now, when stuff hits me I’m like, “Yeah, this kind of sucks but I know that in the future I’m going to be stronger, better, wiser because of what just occurred,” and so I’m kind of almost grateful for them.
Hal: No, on the other side of our adversity if we take it head-on in a positive proactive way where growth is part of it then we’re better like you said. There’s a better version of us on the other side of it.
David: And you’re such a testament to that. You had so much adversity and you just always handle it like such champion. One of the things I respect, admire about you most and why we’re good friends because I just love people that whatever happens, you can cry, feel sad for yourself, deal with it but at the end of the day, you are the only one that can deal with it and you’ve always been a big component of that unwavering faith and extraordinary effort. And just that’s what you are. You represent that so that’s what I admire about you and you just have to face your challenges and walk through them. And then in the future in many ways, you’ll be grateful. And one thing I noticed about you since you’ve been through what you’ve been doing, you already grabbed life big but now it seems like you’re grabbing every opportunity and every moment to live a fantastic life and that’s what I’ve noticed in you. And I was actually talking with a friend the other day who’s also very successful and they’re like, “Maybe we should both learn from Hal,” because you’re willing to say no to this or you could say yes to this. You got better at your boundaries. You’re really selecting what you want to do instead of letting it override you. And when I saw that, I was like again you faced it, you overcame it as much as we as humans overcome anything and now you’re learning from it to live a more fulfilled life and we’re all learning right alongside you. And that’s the best thing about being a warrior and a hero is you faced that stuff and when you get back up, everyone around you learns from it as well.
Hal: Thank you, brother. I appreciate that. Yeah. I mean, it’s mutual. The learning it flows both ways between us for sure. So, one other question on the financial milestone for you. So, 100K in a year you made when you were early 30s. It took you a long time, yeah, took you quite a while to get there but you opened franchises. I mean, you were working, moving forward, and you weren’t looking for – what I liked about that, by the way, is you pick the one thing and you focused on it. You pick real estate, you focused on it, you realize that opening franchises they were planting seeds that would go into more income for you. You focused on that and you took your time with it. You kept moving forward. You opened one franchise then you open another then you opened another in the same way that I published the book and it didn’t go well so I published another and I kept at it until I finally got there. When did you become a millionaire? How long did it take from earning that first six figures to actually where your net worth was 1 million or you had earned $1 million a year or whatever came first?
David: Yes. So, the assets again you got to, A, focus, go deep, put yourself in a position to win, get lucky and then you got to have assets. The only way you’re a millionaire is when you have $1 million worth of assets. And so, the great thing about opening all these franchises was that as they grew, they had a multiple. You could sell, and they have a value exit. So, I would say that by my mid-30s, probably 35, I was definitely worth $1 million on paper and I was making by then hundreds of thousands of dollars and again the thing, because they all succeeded, I also got lucky because there was a real estate boom from ‘94 until 2006.
Hal: Yeah, the year I finally bought my first house in 2006 right before the crash.
David: I would say I was making 1 million, not 100% certain when but I would have to say certainly right around 2006 would be, 2007 maybe, right around then. 13 years in the business, but all these franchises were paying me like 100 here, 150 there. So, that’s what happens like I had all these different things paying me money and so I would say probably around mid-30s again, late 30s maybe, 2006. That had been late 30s.
Hal: Got you. One other thing that I want to just touch on real quick because you kind of brushed on it which is the importance of multiple streams of income and I’ve become a huge proponent. I wrote an article for Entrepreneur.com two years ago about how important is the multiple streams of income for just the fact that our economy is so unpredictable or just volatile if you will and there’s a lot of people that were very successful, had 30 years in a career, thought they were set for life, and they got laid off in the last crash and when the next crash comes, it’s going to happen for millions of people again. So, because of that, I’m a big believer that we have a responsibility for ourselves, for our financial future, to our family to have many streams of income or at least more than one but as many as we can so that if one does dry up, we’re not dependent. All our eggs are in one basket. How many streams of income – I know what you’re speaking now with all these market centers you had a handful when you are in your 30s. How many streams of income do you have now?
David: It depends how you count it, but I would say well over 35. Some people would say over 100 because I have 100 single-family rentals so some people, a friend of mine always says, “This guy has 150 streams of income,” and I guess technically that’s true but I have from a pure business point of view probably pretty close to 35 streams of the business income but that would include putting a certain number of those homes. So, I try to put $1 million worth of equity into each LLC for the single-family so I’m counting each LLC with that equity as a business before anything else. So, I have 35 paychecks that show up every month and the highest one maybe could be $200,000 from one business for a month and the lowest one could be $10,000 or $22,500 even for the month. I mean I just have built this large range of income producing entities.
And the way people do that like, for instance, here are a couple tricks for that. I’ve never sold a house I’ve lived in so every house I’ve ever lived in, I turned it into a rental, but I also knew that going in because I was a real estate guy, so I bought those houses with rentalship in mind. So, my first house in Austin, Texas, $77,000, own it today. It’s rented out for $1,200 a month and it’s probably worth $295,000 today. So, that’s an example. Owned my house in Dallas. Bought it for 270. Today it’s probably worth 450, have it rented out for 3,800 a month. Now, the house I’m about to move out of I probably will sell because the higher you go up the value chain, this house…
Hal: Probably the word is to cash flow.
David: It won’t cash flow well. So, that’s one thing that I think every American should be doing especially the millennials. When you finally buy your first starter house think of it as a rental. Keep it forever. And then I have the multiple franchises that I’ve built. I have intellectual property from the books that I’ve written. Well, this will be my second one, the first book still has a couple of thousand dollars coming in a month which isn’t bad. I have profit-sharing through my company, Keller Williams has a profit sharing program that comes on a regular basis.
Hal: Philosophically, and for anybody listening, I guess, philosophically and strategically, what are your thoughts on multiple streams of income? Just kind of a short synopsis.
David: You have to have it. In fact, my number one goal in life for everyone is for you to have 100% of your financial needs met with what I call horizontal income which is multiple…
Hal: Passive income.
David: If you’re spending $5,000 a month to live and you could generate $5,000 a month in passive income, you’re free. Freedom is what’s always driven me. It could be wherever you want, whenever you want. You could work harder or you can go hitchhike around the world, whatever you choose to do. It’s not impossible to do it in America. It’s not really that hard. I mean, you can invest in – so if I’m looking at two investments and I’m younger, one of them is a future tech company that’s going to replace Facebook and the other one is a multifamily guy that’s got a track record of earning 15% for its investors over the last 10 years, I’m going to tell you to go to the multifamily guy and put that money in with that guy and then get your 7% or 8% distribution every month. You put in $100,000. Let’s say you get $7,000 a year then when you sell the asset, you make up that extra gain. I like that way more than the tech company because the tech companies all fail like 99 out of 100 don’t do anything. I’d much rather you took the safe base hit. I’d like to think of myself as the Ichiro Suzuki of wealth.
Because I’ve invested in a bunch of little multifamily deals and most of them have done pretty good and the bad ones I haven’t lost much money on because real estate is a safer play. Then when you got more money, you can take the flyers on the Facebook that’s going to change Facebook. So, that’s what I’m talking about is like can you take your capital and turn it into 10% dividend? Can you take $100,000 and get $10,000 a year or $8,000 a year or $12,000 a year? That’s what you should be thinking of. I much prefer that or high dividend stocks like there are some utility companies out you can invest and to pay 8% or 9% dividends and you still own the stock. That’s what you want to do is convert all your capital to cash flow until you have more cash flow than you need and then you can go take risks.
Hal: Got it. Yeah. I love it. It’s about freedom. It’s about freedom and having your monthly not pay for and then you can do whatever you want.
David: And one of the things you told me that I agree with is you want to pay off your primary residence. I think people should try to pay off their primary residence. I think that’s a good move. It’s smart from a pure economic point of view but it’s really smart from a – it takes away all the stress of your family, takes away the risk. Stuff like that.
Hal: Yeah. My wife is very excited that we’re focusing on paying off the house.
David: Now, that’s not the best move if you want to do what I discussed. So, if you want to buy your first starter home, live in it for two or three years, don’t try to pay that up before you buy your next one. If its cash flows, you can put a tenant in it that’ll pay your mortgage. Go buy a second home. If you can afford the second home, then you got your tenant paying off your first home. But when you get to the level of lifestyle you and I have, you cannot turn a million-dollar house into a rental. It’s just too expensive. If you’re enjoying living in it, then you need to pay it off.
Hal: Yeah. So, I’m staying here for a long time because David Osborn is moving 100 yards away.
David: It’s no fun, man. We’re going to build a tunnel.
Hal: That’s right. I wrote that in the intro of Miracle Morning Millionaires that I go, “At this rate,” I said, “We’ll be living together soon.”
David: Well, let’s not go too far.
Hal: Let’s not go too far.
David: They’ll certainly be living together because they love each other, and they’ll be hanging out on a regular basis and I’ve always wanted to have a community of like-minded people around me like a neighborhood and you kind of created that where you are. You’ve got great neighbors already, the Nicholis. To me, that’s like can you have like-minded capable people around you? And it’s not like a commune. It’s like just a neighborhood with like-minded people.
Hal: Yeah. Absolutely and helping raise each other’s kids and babysitting each other’s kids and having like-minded parents with like-minded kids interacting. Yeah. Absolutely. All right. So, let’s wrap up just with this book in terms of what, I mean, I think we’re kind of covered it. I think we have an idea of Miracle Morning Millionaires, What the Wealthy Do Before 8 Am That Will Make You Rich but any last thoughts on the book and what it’ll do for people?
David: I’m excited to have written it with you, Hal. It’s really, really good. I like it a lot and here’s what I love about it. You cannot achieve the level of success beyond your level of self-development and the Miracle Morning is a great tool for getting your life going, getting it started, becoming a better human being because you get up an hour earlier, you get that time to yourself. I do the Miracle Morning. I was already massively successful when I read your book but what I love about the Miracle Morning Millionaires is now we’ve taken it specifically from a wealth point of view. We’ve added in being purposeful and having of goal setting template and we’ve really created like, “Okay, if you use that power not just to make a better you but to have a better focus for your day and a better purpose for your businesses,” that’s what we’ve added in this book.
And so, people will get up early and get that goal setting template. We’ve got a template for everyone and then when they’re doing their visualizations and they’re doing their scribing and their reading, do it all focused around the businesses they’re building. I think it’ll make a huge difference in a lot of lives for the Miracle Morning Community, for those people that want to take their life from, “Okay, I’m living better now. I’m having more fun. I’m like more complete human being.” Now, “What can I do with that to make more money to expand my life?” So, I think the Miracle Morning Millionaires does that.
Hal: Absolutely. I know you have the goal template you just referenced. What’s the URL? You’re giving that away before they read the book or they can get that for free? How does that work?
David: So, go to TheGoalTemplate.com/MM and you can get a free download of our goal template which we referenced in the book that we talk about and it’s really your flight path through your life. You could also get it at DavidOsborn.com but I prefer you went to TheGoalTemplate.com/MM.
Hal: And if they want to stalk you online, DavidOsborn.com is a good spot?
David: Sure. That’s a great place to go stalk me.
Hal: Awesome. Hey, always fun talking to you, man, and I’m grateful this book is coming out. I think it’s going to help a lot of people on their path to wealth and nobody I’d rather co-author than with you, man.
David: Thanks. Love doing it with you, Hal. Big, big fan of yours. Love you, man. Thanks very much.
Hal: All right. Absolutely. My pleasure. For everybody that tuned in, thank you for listening to this episode of the Achieve Your Goals Podcast and, yeah, man or woman, whoever is listening, this the Miracle Morning Millionaires book, What the Wealthy People Do Before 8 Am That Will Make You Rich, it comes out May 21 on Amazon, audiobook, Kindle, paperback, etcetera, and I love and appreciate every single one of you. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll talk to you soon.
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