Grant Cardone, CEO, Cardone Capital
Turning Obsession Into Success
Real estate mogul Grant Cardone explains his obsessive approach to business, and his 10X Rule for goal-setting.
Grant Cardone, a self-made real estate mogul, sales and marketing trainer, and bestselling author, credits his success in life to persistence and an obsession with being the best. That, and his time working at a car dealership.
“The first real job I had was my sixth job,” he says of the gig. “I was fired from my first five. Fired from my sixth job. I was fired six times, but I wouldn’t leave the last job. I just would not leave.”
Part of the reason Cardone’s bosses kept getting so fed up with him was that he was a terrible driver. Not a great quality when working in the car business, as he kept smashing up the merchandise. But his relentlessness made up for it.
“I would wreck their cars and they would fire me,” he says. “And then before I would leave, I would go sell something and they would keep me on. Selling something was always forgiveness.”
By the time Cardone finally did leave, he was the highest-grossing salesman at the dealership. He was the first one there in the morning and the last one to leave at night, his goal always being to make himself indispensable to the company. And to make a lot of money.
So yeah, Cardone is, well, obsessive. Coming up from nothing, financially speaking, he quickly learned that was the way to rise to the top. It’s helped him achieve his lifelong goals to make money, have a successful career, and help people along the way. Now, Cardone’s exploring that approach to life and business with his new book, appropriately titled Be Obsessed or Be Average.
The Origins of Obsession
In his book, Cardone writes, “I didn’t have a father who could lead me to the land of the rich, lend me a million dollars for my first real estate deal, assist with political connections through introductions at country clubs, or show me the ways of business.”
His fate was forged, instead, by the tragic death of his father when Cardone was just 10 years old. Until that day, he had watched his father work hard to provide for his wife and his five children, starting a variety of businesses, from opening a grocery store to starting a life insurance company, and finally becoming a licensed stock broker.
His father’s “drive and his obsession,” as Cardone puts it, were inspiring. And when he died, leaving the family behind to get by on their own, Cardone became obsessed himself—with the idea of creating enough wealth so he would never worry about money again.
But his was a winding path to success. He carried around a lot of anger about his difficult situation, and fell into the wrong crowd in high school. He started smoking and drinking. He got into a lot of fights and a lot of trouble. By the time Cardone graduated, he writes in his book, “I had a massive daily drug problem.”
He did go to college, however, fulfilling a promise his mother had made to his father. He graduated with an accounting degree after what he called “five long, miserable years.”
At 23, he was broke and still doing drugs every day, just barely getting by at his car dealership jbo. “I was 20 pounds underweight and had a gray complexion, thanks to the drugs,” he writes.
At 25, his mother gave him an ultimatum: get clean or never come back. Cardone checked himself into rehab, and although he says it didn’t address the underlying problem, he discovered he could get by without drugs. He vowed to never touch them again and to use his “addictive personality” to his advantage.
Turning It Around
After rehab, his boss gave him his job at the dealership back, a move that Cardone says probably saved his life. He worked harder than any other associate, and doubled his earnings in the process.
“It wasn’t until I figured out how to make somebody else rich that I could be rich,” he says.
Cardone finally left his sales job at the car dealership and moved to a sales consulting firm. “I treated my little department as, ‘This is my company within a company.’ And I wanted to make that company as a strong as possible,” he says.
When he left the firm to go out on his own, it was because he felt there was no more opportunity to grow. So at 29 he started his first company, Cardone Automotive, a sales consulting business for the automotive industry. By 30, he’d already made his first million, but it didn’t come easy.
“That was a company where I was cold-calling other businesses across the U.S. and Canada.”
Cardone was working hard, doing what most entrepreneurs do and devoting all of his time to his business.
“I was just hustling. Everything was a transaction…to get money and pay the taxes and have a little bit of money left over.”
And even though his company was making money, year after year, Cardone knew he had to do more to become a true entrepreneur.
‘You’re Not a Business’
Cardone had never stopped to think about what an entrepreneur really is. Sure, he’d started a business and it was running smoothly, but he wasn’t reinvesting in it. He wasn’t thinking about marketing or expanding. Instead, he was following the old adage, hard work pays off.
“All I was doing was knocking on doors. It was pure effort. I wasn’t spending money. I wouldn’t spend real money until I was 50 years old, about 10 years ago, when a guy said, ‘Bro, you’re not a business.’”
Cardone knew it was time for a change if he wanted to achieve the kind of success he’d set his sights on. He had to rethink how to do business, how to expand, and how to get the word out.
“The first thing I did was flipped everything. I could no longer be sales first. I had to be marketing first. Marketing and branding. Because to me, a business is, I can walk away from it and it will still operate. I was a guy. I was no different than when I was 30, just pounding doors.”
That’s when he came up with the 10X Rule.
The 10X Rule
In 2011, Cardone published his personal business philosophy in his first book, called The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure.
The 10X Rule challenges readers to estimate the amount of time and effort it will take to achieve a goal and then multiply that estimate by 10. It also trains readers to think differently about what they can achieve in the first place.
Cardone writes that most people underestimate themselves and what they can achieve. If they identify a goal, say making $100,000 in a fiscal year, they should multiply that by 10.
“10X woke me up. 10X was not for the public. 10X was for me,” he says.
He created it because he was trying to figure out why, despite his success as an entrepreneur, he wasn’t growing the way he had expected.
“I work hard, I’ve got great products, I’ve got a great reputation, great reviews. People like me. They like my content. They like my content actually better than they like me. That might have been an exaggeration.”
Is 10X totally achievable? Not necessarily, but that’s not really the point of the rule. It’s to shake up the way you perceive what’s possible.
“It’s not achievable, but it’s worth it. You have four, five million dollars sitting in an account today. What if you had $50 million? It’s not achievable, but it’s worth going for it. It’s fun shit, man.”
Even if you can’t achieve 10X, anything you hit will surpass your original goal.
Investing in His Brand
Cardone started toward his own 10X goal by spending the money he made, reinvesting in his business, starting or acquiring new businesses, and making himself known across industries.
“People knew me in a particular industry. They didn’t know me in every industry. So the first thing that I took on was that I need to get people know me in every industry while I continue to knock on doors and pay my bills.”
He began by writing books and business programs, which got his brand out there while generating their own money. His next two businesses were sales education platforms, Cardone Education and Cardone On-Demand, online training seminars that established him as a subject matter expert and drew in revenue from large and small businesses alike.
He also started to grow his influence on social media.
“I started with one follower, just like everybody else, and I was the follower. My second follower was my wife because I created an account for her on YouTube and said you’re going to follow me.”
Currently, he has 6.1 million followers on Facebook, almost 395,000 followers on Twitter, 2 million followers on Instagram, and almost 1.2 million subscribers on YouTube.
“I’ve grinded for every one of those followers. And delivered content to them so I could scale out.”
His goal was to expand his reach beyond the U.S., and bring in a global audience for his 10x message. He now holds speaking engagements that attract thousands across the globe. He consults for major brands, and his videos on Grant Cardone TV get thousands of views.
Investing in Himself
The best business advice Cardone has ever received came not from someone in business, but from his mother, he once told CNBC. “She said, ‘The best investment you will ever make is in yourself. It’s a no-lose deal. It will always give you a return. Nobody can take it from you. It’s yours.’”
Cardone looks for every opportunity to improve himself, whether that’s a charity event that helps him build new relationships or a seminar that will help him acquire new skills or refine old ones.
“People should be invested in the beginning, just in themselves. Every chance you can get to go to something that could possibly help you. If it has a 1% chance of even adding to the value. Spend the money. Don’t sit on the money. Money’s useless.”
He eschews saving money or even spending it on something most people wouldn’t think twice about—buying a house.
“That’s the dumbest thing anybody could do. That’s the dumbest thing I ever did was buy a house. I bought a house and I didn’t improve myself. I spent more time picking furniture out than I did , “Hey, how do I fix me?”
You can hear more of Cardone’s business strategies at his 10x Growth Conference where he personally teaches how to 10x your energy, effort, and time to get your life to the exceptional level you deserve.
What’s 10x for Cardone, Now?
So what’s the next big move for Cardone? Turning those millions into billions, of course.
“10x is how do I do a billion dollars a year in income? And then how do I do $10 billion in real estate? How do I have a $10 billion real estate portfolio? How do I start competing with these banks so they’re like, you know what? We really don’t like all this noise you’re making. You’re a noisy guy. And we’re kind of getting tired of it.”
Cardone’s ability to disrupt industries and make noise has landed him where he is today, as an influential sales trainer and real estate mogul.
He turned an obsession into a reality and used a quirk in his personality to create a global empire.
Advice for Budding Entrepreneurs
Cardone now runs five privately held companies, including Cardone Capital, an $800 million real estate company. His 30-year success as an entrepreneur has given him the unique opportunity to share insights with other budding business moguls. He shared with us some of his best bits of advice.
‘Make money your battle cry.’
“Make money. Make money. Make money your battle cry. Go collect money. Don’t make money, just go collect money. Have a great product. Have a great service. Over-deliver. Collect money. Charge for it.”
Put your team in the spotlight.
“If you notice, I show off my people a lot. I don’t keep them behind the scenes. I’m like here, let’s have more than the Cardone show. Why do I do that? Where did I learn that? Great companies.”
Don’t cling to your money—reinvest it.
“The first sheet of paper I get every day is how much cash I have. That’s not for bragging rights. It’s because I want to get rid of it. It’s like trash. I want to get rid of this money. Money is being devalued worldwide right now. I didn’t say I have no reserves, but I don’t need $167 million.”
Interview by Nathan Chan, feature article reprinted from Foundr Magazine, by Laurie Mega
- How the death of Cardone’s father shaped him from a young age
- The winding road to overcoming drug addiction
- Why Cardone was fired from his car dealership job six times—and why he kept getting rehired
- How Cardone channeled his addictive personality into his work
- The launch of Cardone Automotive, and how it got him his first $1 million in a year
- Why Cardone decided to rethink the way he ran his business
- What the 10X rule means, and how it can be applied to any aspect of your life
- How Cardone leveled up his personal branding and became an influencer
- Why Cardone is passionate about the idea of investing in yourself
- A sneak peek into his latest book Be Obsessed or Be Average
Full Transcript of Podcast with Grant Cardone
Nathan: The first question I ask everyone that comes on, man, is how’d you get your job?
Grant: How did I get my job? Which one?
Nathan: How do you find yourself, you know, doing what you’re doing today?
Grant: I mean, I don’t know which one it is. I run 17 little companies and/or partner or collaborate with people in businesses. Also, run a household. Father to two kids and their friends and all that insanity and try to be a husband. So I got a lot of different posts, and most of you out there can relate to this, as well as for the last 30 I guess 35, 36 years trying to figure it out who I am, what I am, what I’m supposed to do. That’s been the main job. Who am I? Who am I as a individual, a dream maker. Like I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. What I wanted to do was make my dreams come true, and I think that that’s gotten me through the cycles of trying to figure out how to become a sales guy if I needed to or a sales manager or how do I hire people, you know, how to organise the business? When do I spend money?
Like there’s so many jobs, I don’t even know which story … I just finished talking to 4,000 or 5,000 people, and my job in that was different than my job with you today. Right? My job now is to keep your audience of one, one person’s watching this at a time. That viewer, you’re listening or you’re watching, you only care about your information. So I’ve got to figure out how to communicate to him, communicate to you. Appease the sound dude. Impossible. Okay?
And so, you know, and then we fly to Oakland and I’ll do a gig tomorrow. In the meantime, I got to spin plates, whether it’s the kids and the wife and the relationship or it’s my own dreams. What about my dreams? Because, I see a lot of people get lost in what they want to do because of the job. And I know I did. From probably 25 til 45 I was in one job, I was a sales guy. I was trying to peddle something, sell something, get some money so that I could fund my lifestyle. And when I broke out of that and said, “No, I’ve got more than one post.” That really helped me a lot. So I don’t know how exactly how to answer that first question that you ask everybody.
Nathan: Well, how’d you get started? Like what was your first company? What did it look like? How did it all happen?
Grant: My first company was working for somebody else. It wasn’t until I figured out how to make somebody else rich that I could be rich. I hear a lot of guys saying, “I don’t want to work for somebody else. I don’t want to keep making other people …” When I became successful in another company then left that company and went and worked for another company and made them super successful to the point to where these companies were literally dependent upon me, that’s the thing. That’s the muscle and the grit, persistence and fortitude are like you know what? My ego wasn’t like, “I need my name on it,” but my ego was strong enough to say, “I want to be the best in the company. I want to make this company dependent upon me.”
The first real job I had was my sixth job. I was fired from my first five. Fired from my six job, six times but just wouldn’t leave the last one, I just would not leave. So literally like I’d wreck stuff. I have a terrible driving record. I was in the car business, and I’d wreck their cars and they’d fire me and I said, “Okay, okay, okay.” And I had a bunch of other problems as well. Then before I would leave, I would go sell something, then they would keep me on. Selling something was always forgiveness. So when I finally left that company, they went under. Like they couldn’t … my production was so high that one person leaving the car company failed.
Went to my next job, which was speaking, consulting, using my sales philosophies and gifts, if you will. We would go around companies and teach them. And I worked for him for 20 months. I was like the top guy in his company. Now the reason I’m saying that is that was the job for me. And that was a business. I treated that little, my little department like this is my company within a company. And I wanted to make that company as strong as possible so that when I finally went out on my own, which I was forced to go out on my own, I didn’t want to go out on my own. I went out on my own just because there was just no opportunity left. There was no way for me to score where I was, which I still remember today. It’s important to get good people, to keep them that like you got to give them some other pond to swim in. So when I started my first company I guess I was 29. That was a company where I was cold calling on businesses around the US and Canada.
Nathan: And like fast forward to today collectively, or is it 17 companies turn over $150 million?
Grant: Yeah, we’ll do a $156 million. We’re on track for $156 million this year. Plus the real estate, real estate’s another endeavour. Yeah. You know at anytime that real estate can just pew big, huge, like $200, $300 million scores, but the real estate $1.2 billion. Today I started with the $78,000 a house, $3,000 to start that business with $3,000. And signed a 30 year mortgage on a house I would keep like 10 months, and now that’s $1.2 billion. That’ll end up being a $10 billion business. But I wouldn’t think in any of this stuff when I was 29.
Nathan: What were you thinking?
Grant: Dude, I was thinking about it like how do I get enough money to pay the bills? The first three years I was in business, I made $30,000 a year.
Nathan: Three years, first three years?
Grant: Yeah, the last year I left somebody I was making a $150,000, $160,000 a year. The first maybe 27 months that I was in business, I made less than $30,000 a year. I went backwards. But the problem was I was not … I do what a lot of entrepreneurs do. The mistake a lot entrepreneurs make is, number one, they never look up the definition entrepreneur. And entrepreneur means someone is who organises a business or businesses and invests money, takes greater than normal risk with money in order to expand or organise those businesses. I wasn’t spending the money on my business. All I was doing was knocking on doors. It was just pure effort. I wasn’t spending money. I wouldn’t spend real money until I was 50 years old, about 10 years ago when a guy said, “Bro, you’re not a business.” And I said, what? And I can feel this.
Yeah. I was a hustler. I was a grinder, but I wasn’t a business, and I could feel it, you know? Yeah. I was a consultant. I was making some money like in my 30s and 40s I made, you know, I made a lot of money. What other people would call a lot of money. Yeah. But I was not a business. You know what I mean?
Nathan: What do you mean by that?
Grant: Well, I was just hustling.
Nathan: Transactional, selling widgets. Yeah.
Grant: Everything was a transaction. Everything was a transaction to get money, pay the taxes, have a little bit of money left over. Everything was in a transaction. Yeah. And this guy’s like, “Well, you know, you’re not a business.” I was like, “I know, man. I know. Don’t tell anybody. I know that. Okay?” I knew it. And because to me a business is, I can walk away from it, it’ll still operate. I was a guy. I was no different than when I was 30 just pounding doors, which was good.
And I think a lot of people need to … you don’t need to skip that spot either. Because once I put the two together, okay, I can pound the door, I can learn e-commerce, I can be a one product sale. I could sell to companies. Like today, we’ll sell a product to a company for $80,000 on a three to five year contract, $80,000 a year. And I’ll switch immediately and sell an $8 product online, or I’ll give something away for free to speaking to 4,000 people today in hopes that I can meet maybe 40 of them that I can do have a partnership and a collaboration with in the future.
Nathan: You said 10 years ago someone said to you, you don’t have a business. What changed? How have you built what you’ve built now? Is that when the whole 10X got started?
Grant: Yeah, exactly. 10X woke me up. 10X was not for the public, 10X was for me. I was trying to figure out why am I … I work hard. I got great products, got a great reputation, great reviews. People like me, they like my content, they like my content actually better than they like me. And that might’ve been an exaggeration. You know what I mean? But even if they didn’t like me, they’re like, “Dude, your content so ridiculous.” It’s so good.
Like, whether it’s sales, closing, marketing, promotion, and a lot of it, I wouldn’t even take my own advice, like I was giving advice and not taking it. So when the economy crashed, which was I guess almost 10 years ago in America particularly, it was so devastating that if you had any weakness in a business, like every weakness was showed. You know, Warren buffet talks about, “Hey, what are you wearing when the tide goes out?” Well, dude, in 2008, 2009, and 2010 when the tide went out, every weakness that I had exhibited … hard work did not leave you less vulnerable in 2010. You could work hard and still you’d be upside down in your house. You could lose everything. Your cash accounts or garbage, stocks got wrecked. Everything, right?
So 2010 was really the whisper. You’re not a business son. That was the big, you’re not a business. That’s when I made a decision, okay, I’m going to build a business. First thing I did was flipped everything. I’m not a sale. I realised I was at sales for … I can no longer be sales first, I had to be marketing first, marketing and branding. So the 10X thing was really like, hey, you got to get your … people knew me in a particular industry. They didn’t know me in every industry. So the first thing that I took on was I need to get people to know me in every industry while I continue to knock on doors and pay my bills.
If you don’t pay your bills, it’s like you’re going to die. And there’s people around me that needed to eat. So I had to keep knocking on doors, spin that plate, not get stuck in it too much, then figured out how do I market and brand, how do I build a name? Nobody knew me. 10 years ago, you did not know my name. People watching didn’t know my name. Like people that are coming on the scene now, they’re like, “Oh, my God, that guy, he’s got 12, 14 million people following and blah, blah blah.”
But you know, I started with one follower just like everybody else, and I was the follower, my second follower’s my wife, because I created an account for him on YouTube and said you’re going to follow me. So same thing on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, like I’ve grinded for every one of those followers and delivered content to them so that I could scale out to hopefully rather than be independent upon one United States of America, hey, how do I get people in Australia to know me? How do I get them to want me to come here? How do I get people in London to want to know me? Canada, South America. Oh, I got to be in Spanish if I’m going to South America. You can’t trade in us dollars in Mexico. You need to be in pesos. Come over here. They want to do the AUD. I’m like, “I don’t want any of that stuff.” Just kidding. I’ll take it all.
Okay, so you know, you can’t keep, you got to keep growing. Like Facebook is growing, they’re growing all the possibilities of things they can do with people. So if you want to be a great business, you can’t get to a place where you’re satisfied. And I had done that. I had gotten satisfied in my business externally, financially, but internally I wasn’t. And it took the economy just getting slashed that finally like, “Okay, I’ve got to change and build a real business here.”
Nathan: And that’s when you started really growing your personal brand, 10 years ago?
Grant: Personal brand, yeah, that’s when I started studying companies. I wasn’t studying Gary V and Tony and I’m like, “What are the companies doing?” When I realised, I think I was in Bogota, I was in Bogota speaking to a church, and I went to the grocery store and Coca-Cola was there. I don’t know why that impressed me so much, but I was like, God damn. Coca-Cola’s in Bogota, you know?
Then I think I was in Cancun on the white coming on the way back in Mexico and I was like, “Okay, Cancun’s front and centre in the grocery store there.” Then I got back to Miami. I was in the movie and I’m like, “Coca-Cola. Fucking everywhere dude. These, they’re everywhere. Why am I not everywhere?” So all my answers have come to me because I look, it’s not really me hearing somebody say something. I’m looking, I’m watching what people do or companies do not listening to what they do, because there’s a big difference with what people say and what people do.
Like Warren Buffett, what Warren Buffett tells people on TV everyday and what he does, they’re almost like completely different.
Nathan: Want to get that?
Grant: They’ll get that. Somebody will get that. I’m not going to get it. April, you’re going to get that right? See, that’s the other thing, like right now, like, like you got to juggle dude. Like you got to juggle. If I get up now and go answer that phone, it’s only because I don’t have somebody here to help me. When I roll, I got to have a team. Normally I got two other people with me. I got two kids in the other room. Their friend who happens to be here. So we joined up and their mother’s a producer in Hollywood and they happen to be here at the same time. In fact, that guy, Andrew Banks, that’s on Shark Tank in Australia, he was here. We had dinner yesterday. Just happened to run into each other. You’ve got to have a team.
Nobody was telling me when I started a business, “Bro, you need a team. You’re going to need a team, man. You want to be super freaking super successful?” Spider-man doesn’t have a team, does he? I think he does his own costume, but it’s fucking stupid. Like how could you be Spider-man and do your own costume, right? I mean to be Superman. I mean, Batman’s got a team, right? Superman. He’s got a team, doesn’t he have a team? I don’t think he does. Maybe, he’s got a mama, but that’s for the comic books, man. You need a team.
Nathan: That’s an interesting thing, right? Because I studied you. I’ve seen you’ve got Alan, you’ve got-
Grant: Yeah, I’ve got Alan on my team, A-L-A-N on Instagram.
Nathan: You’ve got a young guy, the president-
Grant: Jared Grant.
Nathan: So I’m curious.
Grant: I’ve got Ron Sacco. He was a pilot. Now he’s running a $1.2 billion real estate portfolio. Got Sherry Hamilton. I got personal assistants. We’ve got 150 employees in Miami, another 250 in the real estate. That can be 500 easily in the real estate. You know, there’s probably 500 employees between the two businesses right now, and I’m sitting here thinking, “Why don’t I have 50,000 employees?” Okay, I look out here and these windows, central equity. Okay? I bet. I guarantee you that that’s not a one man show right there. You don’t get your name on a building being one person. This is how the entrepreneurs should be thinking. You guys should be getting all your advice from Ernst Young, these mega, the packer that owns this place. Big baller bastard that he is. Okay. You know, the billionaire.
Does the crown here, does the hotel, the casino. These are players, man. That’s who we should be studying. Not every Instagram guru influencer there please come on. You can fake that Lambo. Great. You guys are buying Lambos, I’m wearing one on my wrist. I’m just saying, bought with passive income, you park in your garage. I park mine on my wrist. It is total humble brag. Like people would see this watch and say, and you would only know if you know the watch. Right? And it’s bullshit that I’m even bragging about it right now, but I’m just kind of trying to take out what are you doing showing off all this other shit. Like you driving up in a Lambo means nothing to me. It could work in reverse on me. It’d be like, okay, no reason to have that car.
Nathan: So why did you buy the jet?
Grant: Oh, that’s a good question. That’s a hundred Lambos. Okay. Why do I buy the jet? Because that fucking Jet could get me to Sydney can get me to Melbourne. It can get me to Auckland tonight. Right? It can give me the Fiji. It can get me back to the United States, 14 hours. I can be in Miami and get a phone call about a real piece of real estate and say I’ll be there in three hours. No man, you can’t be here in three hours. No, dude, I’m going to be there in three hours. Boom. Get on that jet. Fire that bitch up. Let’s roll. Boom. I’m there looking at the property three hours later. So you can’t do that in a Lambo. They hold on, let me get in my Lambo. I’ll be over there. Big deal. Right? Anybody?
Any fake can do that, and it’s an indication that you’re playing at a level nobody cares about. Warren’s not driving a Lambo. Bill’s not driving a Lambo. He could. Right? But how do they both transport themselves to Davos? In a private jet. So you see the difference? Like I am extremely frugal when comes to spending. I don’t have fancy shoes on. I mean, I don’t mind. I can do all that stuff but don’t do it out of order. Like you’re not going to fake anybody cause you’re wearing Gucci, you know, or you got a Hermes belt, whatever it is, right? You know, you can’t fake a jet. You can keep it, you can buy a jet and keep one in the air and keep pilots and hangers and shit? There ain’t no faking that shit like that. That’s not something you can fake.
You take a picture in front of one. You could charter one once, but you can’t fake buying one, putting your name on the back of it. It just takes you to a whole nother level. Who taught me that? Like who taught me, “Hey, go buy a jet.” Your uncle’s not going to teach you that. Your daddy’s not going to teach you that, because they don’t think like that. Your accountant’s going to tell you not to do it. But if you study the most successful people on this planet, regardless of what they tell you, how are they getting around? So that’s the problem we’re in today. We’re in an environment right now where entrepreneurs listen to everything that everybody has to say. I mean this, it’s great that we have these, right, but there’s a negative to having so much content and data.
The positive about the internet is the availability information, and the negative is the availability. I can go in there and tell anybody I’m great. I’m the best in the world. And it’s almost like nobody can take that down. I am the greatest in the world, and that’s fine if I am the greatest. But if I’m not the greatest, if I’m just a scammer, then that becomes a problem.
Nathan: Coming back to your team, like you’ve got this incredible team. What do you look for? How do you find these incredible people? How do you keep them motivated?
Grant: Yeah, well I don’t find them and they find me. So what we do is we just, we get the beacon. How does Facebook attract talent? You know, they don’t need to go find them. It’s like meat to a shark, you know? It’s like I’m coming. I smell the blood in the water. So they’re going to Facebook, right? How do you attract great talent? This is what people ask me every day. How do you attract great people? They get so freaking beaming hot white light that people are like, “I want to work on that project.”
I went and saw a Hobbs and Shaw last night. It did $333 million. It’s got Rock and Statham in it. $333 million opening weekend worldwide. Third of $1 billion. Dude. Like ridiculous. Great movie, by the way. Had a blast watching it, but you know, how does that much money go to one place? How did that many great people work on that movie? You know, because who’s involved in it? Right? So, greatness attracts greatness. So these people, the call, “Hey, I want to work for you.” I had a kid come say, “Hey, come on, I want to work for you.”
It’s a good deal. I don’t hire but I don’t hire people. I’m not the hire guy. I’m the guy that’s creating new opportunities though that people want to stay. They want to stay in the theme park and become their own show. So if you notice, I show off my people a lot. I don’t like keep them behind the scenes. I’m like, here, you know, let’s have more than the Grant show. Let’s have the Grant/Frank Kern show, the Brandon Dalston show, the Jared show, the Ryan Sacco show, the real estate show. Let’s show the G&E show, Elena and myself. Let’s bring other people and partners in. Why? Why do I do that? Where am I learning at? Great companies, great companies grow their brands and scale out and do a lot of different things.
Nathan: What if you had in your early days –
Grant: Just make money, make money, make money, make money, make money, your battle cry. Go collect money. Don’t make money. You just go collect money, have a great product, have a great service, over deliver, collect money, charge for it. This is what me and Gary would … me and Gary would have a cage match. I’d just beat the fuck out of him. But Gary, anytime, anywhere, okay? But most people out there watching this, you need to monetize. You know, this is insanity that you’re being told, don’t monetize your business. If you have a good business, have a good service, have a good product, sell it.
But so many guys, they’re trying these little kid gimmicks. You know, it’s fine if my kids flip shoes on eBay. If you’re an adult, man, you’ve got to get beyond flipping sneakers on eBay, you need to build a business. Otherwise, don’t call yourself an entrepreneur because that’s not what an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur is not flipping shit on eBay. That’s not a business. That’s you trying to make $2 on a toy that you bought at a garage sale. It’s a different gig.
Now, if you could figure out how to scale that, but it sounds to me like you’re benefiting eBay more than you’re benefiting yourself. eBay is the pimp and you’re basically the prostitute in that machinery, which is no problem with that, right? But you’re servicing the machine rather than building your own machine. I want to build a machine. I want to build a machine that lives longer than I do, so that if I get a good partnership with somebody and we cut a deal and they’re 90% of the profits in future and I’m 10% in, my kids are my charity, get to keep that 10% after I’m dead, man. I’m good to go.
Nathan: So what’s next? Like, you got the jet. What’s next, man?
Grant: Man, I don’t know.
Nathan: What’s 10X for you now?
Grant: 10X is how do I do $1 billion a year in income? And then how do I do $10 billion in real estate? How do I have a $10 billion real estate portfolio? Last month we paid $1.4 million out to investors in the real estate. How do I start compete with these banks? So they’re like, “You know what? We really don’t like all this noise you’re making, and you’re a noisy fucking guy, and we’re kind of getting tired of now.” When you get noisy enough, they either buy you and suppress you. You know?
That’s what Bill Gates would do with Apple years ago, the tablet, the original iPhone was a little call … Anyway, it had a little pen, you wrote on it. They’d buried that project for years. Yeah, I’ll think of it in a second. I think of it when the interview’s over. Maybe you guys know what it is. Okay. Anyway, it’s probably 20 years ago. Actually had a company built around this thing, and Bill Gates came in, gave Apple Steve Jobs a loan and said, look, “I’ll lend you this money. You got to bury that product,” and they did. So that’s what you can do. Or they consume you. They buy you and say, “Hey, we want you to be part of our,” so maybe that’s what happens. I don’t know.
Nathan: Talk to me about real estate. Like right now, what do you think his state of real estate and the financial markets are like?
Grant: The entire world should be invested in the United States of America. There’s a certain type of a real estate in America that’s produce no other place on the planet, and until they start building it here in Australia or in London, like you should be buying real estate that provides housing, a place for people to live called apartments. In America they’re called apartments or multifamily, residential, commercial real estate. It’s actually a residential, place where residents live, but it’s a commercial style of real estate. 300 to 500 units in one location. So we’d closed the deal last week, 507 units. One close, one location.
A guy here told me, he’s like, “I did 500 homes last year.” I said, “I did 500 last week.” I’m just saying, okay so in one location. He had to do 500 closings. I did one closing 500 units, and those people pay rent there. So 500 times $1,500 a month to $2200 bucks a month. Great property, beautiful location, great amenities that is cashflow positive, pay all the maintenance, pay the taxes, property taxes, the roof, the paint, the turnover, the marketing and still leave cash open for the investors, and pay down the debt for like … It is the ultimate multiplier for the everyday person. The everyday person’s not going to found Facebook or Netflix. Me, most people are not going to get there. So this is the perfect investment vehicle for everyday people.
Nathan: If you’re like in your early days where you just reinvesting, you’re sacrificing profit for growth, at what point should you look to start to diversify and start to build your personal wealth into property?
Grant: Yeah, so that’s a great question. One, people should be invested in the beginning just in themselves. Every chance you get to go to something that we could possibly help you has, if it has a 1% chance of even adding to the value you have in here? Spend the money, don’t sit on money, money’s useless. So if you have $5,000 left in your account, I would spend the whole $5,000 on yourself. When you spend money on yourself, you’re going to start getting better at whatever you’re doing. If you just keep doing it, if you keep spending it. Just because you spent it once and it didn’t work, go do it again. And then again. And then again. That has been one thing in my life. Like if you asked me, “Hey, what’s one thing,” I always invest in me first. Not the business.
Nathan: Not the business?
Grant: Not the real estate. Me, my condition. How am I doing? Am I around the right people? Am I listening? Like I don’t care what it is. Dinner, lunch, charities. I’ll just go to anything. Anything where I think there’s other people doing well, like I just want to hear somebody say something that just inspires me.
Nathan: So how much do you reckon you invest in yourself every year right now?
Grant: Oh, last year I probably spent, you know, couple hundred grand. I spent more than that and I would, I’d still spend more than that. So look, it starts with me, how good a condition I … I know people out there spend more money on their car than they do themselves. They pay $300, $400, $500 a month on their car and think nothing of it. Won’t spend $500 on themselves. It’s ridiculous. It’s completely backwards. You paying the man, you’re paying for food, you’re paying for groceries, you’re paying for movies, you’re paying for bullshit, you’re paying, you went and bought a house.
That was the dumbest thing anybody could do. That’s the dumbest thing I ever did was buy a house. I bought a house and I didn’t improve myself. I was improving the house. I spent more time picking furniture out then I did, “Hey, how do I fix me? How do I get faster, more confident?” Because I bring my confidence or lack of confidence to every table. Okay, so first thing, invest in yourself. Then the business, as a result of that, the business, wherever you are in the business cycle, shit’s will start getting better. When it does, it’ll kick out more money. When there’s so much money that you can’t reinvest that money either in yourself or the business, at that point you’re like, “Okay, I want to buy the third float, the next flow of income.” I would buy cashflow. So I don’t know what that number is, you know?
Nathan: Yeah. Because like speaking from personal experience, we’ve got a great vehicle, which is the business and it’s like at what? Like I could just keep putting it in, putting it in, putting in, but at what time do I look to, you know –
Grant: How much money is raised? How much money is it?
Nathan: I don’t talk about our revenue publicly, but-
Grant: Well, how much money you talking about sitting around, how much money just sitting around?
Nathan: I really shouldn’t share-
Grant: But dude, why? Why not? Why? Well, I’ll share it. I’ve got $167 million in cash sitting in my fucking accounts right now. Look at it every day. Every day I look at it. If you don’t talk about money, you can’t. You should talk about money. All sell bullshit, people said, “Don’t talk about money.” The IRS, who’s IRS in this country?
Grant: They know. ATO knows. Fuck. If you’re telling ATO you hate their guts, why wouldn’t you tell me. Fucking tell me how much is it? What’s the number, man? You’re a bitch if you don’t tell me. You can’t cut this out, by the way. How much is it?
Now you got me interested. Because this is going to be really important for your audience. Okay? You got to get that money going.
Nathan: Let’s just put it this way. In the business we’ve got great cash flow reserves. And do we take it out
Grant: How much of those-
Nathan: For risk.
Grant: For what risk?
Nathan: Never know.
Grant: How long have you been in business?
Nathan: Six years.
Grant: Six years, dude. In six years, you know, just look back over the last six years. Because I did the same thing. I had all this money sitting there for the thing that was going to happen. Okay. If you believe in the law of attraction, you’re planning for the thing and it will happen. Like you’re planning for it. It’s going to happen, right?
Nathan: We’re pushing hard on growth to –
Grant: But at some point you know you can only spend so much. You’re like, “Okay I can’t spend any more here.”
Nathan: Oh, we could spend more.
Grant: You could.
Grant: Then there’s your answer. Spend it dude. Don’t sit on it. You’ve no reason to have a reserve. Why don’t we spend those reserves? Because your little bit of doubt, a little bit of doubt it’s going to pay off so you start believing in the money more than the … right? You start believing in the money more than the possibility.
Nathan: A hate risk, man.
Nathan: I hate risk.
Grant: I hate risk too. That’s why I buy the kind of real estate I buy. Every day the first sheet of paper I get every day is how much cash I have. The reason I’m looking at that is not bragging rights. It’s because I want to get rid of it. It’s like trash. I want to get rid of this money. I want to get that money to buy something that has babies. Right? So I’m everyday I’m looking, I’ve got to get rid of this cash. I have this much cash. I want to push it. Money’s being devalued worldwide right now.
Nathan: So answer me this, right now you said you have almost 500 employees. In all of those businesses you have no cashflow reserves.
Grant: No, no, I didn’t say that. I didn’t say I had none. Okay. But I don’t need $167 million.
Nathan: Like six months worth? Six months – break even? Yeah?
Grant: Six months would be awesome, dude. Six months would be massive amounts, but do I really need six months if the other businesses are kicking cash off? Right? See, that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to take a bunch of these businesses and find one that I know for sure if the world gets cut in half again, which it will and it’ll be a hard, brutal, terrible, it’s going to be awful. Probably robots are going to accelerate that. And then I want this other business that will benefit from this downturn that we’ll continue to spit if I’m alive or not alive, or if the economy gets crashed. I’m looking for that place that can allow me to walk away if I choose to from these other things that maybe don’t work as well.
All businesses have a life cycle, used to be 80 years, now it’s like eight. So you know, the great companies used to be around for … they’d dominate. Ford motor company, it’s probably not going to make it. I mean, I hate to say that, but I mean it could happen.
Nathan: It is that cycle?
Grant: Yeah, exactly. So particularly these companies that are being created today, they’re going to, you know, most of these companies are going to last eight months, year and a half, everything’s going to get morphed. Who would’ve thought taxicabs would be nonexistent one day?
Nathan: Yeah. Crazy. So look, we have to work towards wrapping up. Mindful of your time, man. So a couple more questions. I’m really curious around this 10X philosophy, and let’s just say, you’re trying to go 10X, right? You’re 10X, your goals. How do you know that that’s just not unachievable?
Grant: It’s not achievable, but it’s worth it. It’s not achievable. You got sitting in an account today. What if you had $50 million? You’re like, “Oh, well, it’s not achievable.” Okay. But it’s worth fucking going for it. It’s fun shit, man. Tell me you wouldn’t be happy with $50 million sitting in a bank account figuring out what to do with it, right or wrong. You’d be like, dude, I can make a move now. I can make a move.
Nathan: I’d buy the jet, man.
Grant: No, no. You wouldn’t buy a jet. If all you had was $50 million you wouldn’t buy a jet. So like you guys out there that, Oh, who needs 50 million? Nobody needs it, man. But somebody is going to end up with it. People actually end up with this much money. And the problem right now in the world is nobody’s thinking about, why can’t I get 50? Or, why can’t you scale your businesses to where there in New York, they’re in London, they’re in wherever you want it to be. Where your companies could hire tens of thousands of people. Why not Nathan? Why not Grant? Why not you guys? And you could change the world. So all these people that tell me money ain’t going to make you happy and all that shit. I said, “You just gave up and you gave up on big geek goals and dreams just like I did.” I gave up on him for 20 years to pay the bills, and I shouldn’t have. It was the biggest mistake of my life.
Nathan: Awesome. Well look, man, thanks so much for your time.
Grant: Great. I appreciate you, man.
Nathan: Absolute pleasure. And yeah, we’ll speak soon.
Key Resources From Our Interview With Grant Cardone
- Learn more about Cardone on his website
- Follow him on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram
- Grab a copy of his latest book here