Hey guys! This week on Chasing Financial Freedom, you guys are stuck with me, Ryan DeMent. I had a last-minute guest cancelation, and I thought now would be a great time to start sharing my entrepreneurial journey with you.
This week I will discuss my last business failure, how it affected me mentally and physically, and how I struggled back in Corporate America. Stay tuned, as this will be a series of 4 or 5 podcasts.
I'm excited to share this with you guys because often, when we fail at something, we tend not to talk about it or even think about it much—because we feel like failures or don't want to seem weak by opening up about those failures. But what if, instead of hiding our failures from others or ourselves, we could turn them into lessons? What if we could see our failures as an opportunity for growth to help us succeed?
I know that when things weren't going well in my career and business life, I felt like a failure and emotionally drained from the constant stressors around me.
Looking to Share Your Story? Be a Guest on the Show
Hey guys, Ryan DeMent Chasing Financial Freedom Podcast. I hope you guys are having a great day this week. You guys are stuck with me on my own. And the reason why, unfortunately, I had a last-minute cancellation from a guest, and I came up with the idea of sharing my entrepreneurial journey with you guys just on this last leg, cuz I'm a three-time, Tryer, as I say, and I just came up on four years.
Doing this full time, even though the business has been around for almost eight years, which I was doing Johnny side hustle and working my full-time job in corporate America, guys, the journey of life, entrepreneurship, whatever you wanna look at through this, my lens to you, not easy. Rewarding. But it's all worthwhile if you stick it through.
And I don't know if I'm gonna do three parts, four parts or five parts of this journey, but I wanna start out today just with the simple fact of just talking to you guys about the early days of me coming back into the entrepreneur world and what it looked like and the struggles I had, because I know.
Through my conversations with other entrepreneurs and other individuals that are looking to be an entrepreneur, they struggle with these things, and I'd love to share my story cuz ultimately if I can help you or guide you or even give you some inspiration, I'm here for you. So I went back into corporate America after my last.
Business failed because of greed all about the money and never made it customer centric, people centric going after my passion, my three things that I live by today, and we were returning some serious money and we were collecting on scratch and dent default in mortgages. And just to say a long keep a long story short is it was all about the cash flow.
And when that. Cash flow dried up. We had nowhere to go. So I had to go back to corporate America tail between my legs and rethink the whole process and understand where I was at. And I had a pity party for a while. And when I say while is probably several months, if not longer, the thing that I can tell you guys during this whole transition was I was having to go back and work.
Not even nine to five, because I've never worked nine to five. It was more working 60, 70, 80 hours a week. I was working at a very large financial, excuse me, financial institution that put me in a position to where I was running call centers. I was also running back office functions. I was also running front office functions with which is underwriting, and this was all around student loans.
The whole aspect of me failing at that second business really ate at my soul for a long time. It kept me distracted one and two also at the same time. And I know this might sound weird. It also kept a little bit of a fire going, but I needed to. One get myself over the pity party hump and then two get myself financially.
So I had to focus on those things first, before I could do anything. The next real big obstacle that I had was understanding what I wanted to get into. And I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur again. I wanted to be a small business owner, but I didn't know what it looked like. And I was disappointed in myself that I couldn't actually do it a second time. And now I'm going back for a third try or thinking about a third, try. The piece that I want to share with you guys here is even at my lowest moments and thinking that I'll never get back to where I was at or get to that point of being an entrepreneur.
The one piece that really stuck in my mind. Was, I know I can do it. I know that it can happen, but I have to put some different effort into it. And I had to change myself as a person. I couldn't keep on putting myself first and making it all about the business in all about money, because. I've done that twice already at this point.
And I failed both times, even though we're in business to make money, you have to have your, why you have to have a calling in your life. And neither of my businesses were my calling. They didn't light me up and I didn't get all excited about doing it at the end of the day. The biggest. Challenge that I faced while I was transitioning into, or back into corporate America was getting myself financially.
I racked up some debt. I needed to get it paid off. And so I started just grinding away at that. And that, that took me close to a year to really understand that piece and get a real grasp on it and pay down that debt. Cuz I hate carrying. During that time. I started thinking about the things that I potentially wanna do.
And then all of a sudden, out of nowhere I get this. I'm pretty sure it was an email from a gentleman that was talking about mortgages and I'm like, oh crap, I'm back in the same spot again, mortgages. But then as I read more into it, He was talking about investing in non-performing loans or NPLS or non-performing mortgages.
And that kind of peaked my interest and I'm like, okay, this is not collections. It's not about the money. It has some why to it, because you would go out the concept is you go out and you buy a defaulted mortgage from a lender, a bank, wherever a credit union. You become the bank, you work with your servicer, your loan servicer, to be able to help the homeowners get back on their feet.
Whether, there's 12 different exit strategies that you can look at, but basically the nutshell and all this is, you want them to stay in the house so they can actually. Continue to pay one and two, get themselves from a credit perspective, because ultimately after 12 to 24 months, you're looking to sell that reperforming mortgage on the secondary and tertiary markets, the second or third place market, where you'll get anywhere between, on a low end of 80 cents and a high end of 95 cents, depending on where their credit score is at and their payment history and how long it is.
There's so many things, but I digs. And I was like, I don't know if I want to get back into this. This is the space that I failed last at. And I started going through this whole thing, but man, this guy kept on, bombarding me with, questions and, thought provoking concepts that made me start thinking.
And from that point I was like, maybe this is my next calling because one I'm able to help somebody stay in their. They don't get foreclosed on. If they're willing to work with you, of course, they don't get to stay for free. You, they have to pay, but we have many tools at our disposal that the lender didn't want to use two I'm in real estate, which I really enjoy already.
And three, I'm able to do this virtual. This is shortly after 2008. It's late 2008, 2009. And the market is heating up for non-performing notes because there's tons of foreclosures and there's tons of problems. And
I get to be able to, like I said earlier, I get to be able to do this remotely from anywhere that I want to, but then also at the same time, I can do it at my own pace to where I can still work my day job. And then I can bring on a Johnny side hustle to where I don't feel overwhelmed. And I do have a life that took about three or four months for me to understand that was my calling.
And that's where I wanted to start. The process in all this is, I was still licking my wounds at this point. We're nine months, 12 months into this and I'm still licking my wounds for my last failure. And it still resonates in the back of my mind that shit I failed again. I kept on thinking, that way.
And. I had a good friend many years ago that told me about the secret. And you know what? You put out your inner inners have to match your outers. What you put out is what you get. And I got away from it for the longest time. And I came back to it and started listening to it and understanding my positive vibrations in changing my mindset to a positive thought process.
And always trying to spin that. Of course you can have your pity parties, but you gotta get back up and you gotta learn.
Tip number one here for you guys and for me, and I'm talking about it, cuz it's bringing back emotions is when you think you're down and out, truly look and see if you're down and out because you always have a comeback story. It just starts with you. And it has to start up here between your ears and you have to want it bad enough for.
I, I, through our nonprofit, I tell people, even when I financially coach people, I'll be here. When you're ready. If you're not ready for change, nothing is gonna change in your life. You'll continue to get the same things over and over again. And unfortunately, as humans, we're wired to really go after the instant gratification, not actually grind it out and work through it.
And if you start looking. Some people that, you know, and I'm not talking about these unicorns, Facebook and Twitter and TikTok or whatever, these founders that, Uber or whatever, those are unicorns truly, but people that you know, that are grinding and out and not giving up, look how many years it potentially took them to get to where they need to be at.
And I joke about it. I'm a eight year overnight success and you know what, I'm no success. It just, I've gotten eight years under my belt to where I understand how I can work within the guise of entrepreneurship and how it works for me. But we, as humans are wired for the instant gratification. And when I found non-performing notes, it was like crack to me.
I was like hooked and I was wanting to buy some immediate. But then I was also looking to make money like tomorrow
and it just didn't work that way notes, depending on what state you buy it in. It there's judicial states and non-judicial states. There's a foreclosure process. If you have to go through that, there's also, payment programs. You gotta work through. There's all these types of regulatory things.
That's why you work with a servicing company that you have to go. Immediately. I was already like, okay, why can't we turn this thing and get it going so we can get payments. Cause you need nine to 12 monthly payments on time. For you to turn around, sell it in the open market and realize, capital, you realize your ROI because you're buying these notes for 50, 40, 30 cents on the dollar back then you were buying 'em pretty cheap today.
They're about 60 cents, 70 cents on a high end, but now the Mar market is starting to realize and come back down closer to that 50 and 60 cents. So immediately I'm in the whole Of instant gratification. And I really needed to find a way to get over that. And I didn't know where to go with it, to be honest.
And a good friend of mine came to me and, we talked about what I was doing he talked about simply put it or simply put goals somewhere where you can see them on a daily basis. So you can start. Understanding where you're at and what you wanna achieve. And I know goals written down are a lot easier to achieve and more likely to be achieved than ones that you just say I wanna to accomplish.
Of course, they need to be smart goals and there's so many things to go about it, and I look on the other side of my camera, I've got a whiteboard that has six goals on it. They're very specific. They're succinct to what we're trying to do. I update them every single month, but I always look at them and envision them as in happening, I want them to occur.
I want them to happen, but that was a struggle for. It's always been a struggle for me with goals to never write them down. I always thought, okay, I'll put 'em in my head and be done. I've struggled with them all my life. And for some reason at that point in time, him coming into my life, not when I say good friend is very long term friend.
We didn't spend a lot of time together, but we'd stay connect. But he knew who I was and he understood where I was going and wanted me to succeed. So he was like a mentor to me in when it came to goals. But the thing that I struggled with was corporate America was really grinded on me. I was working 60 plus hours a week.
Literally, and I think you guys have heard me say this on prior podcasts. I had asked for permission to go to the bathroom because all I did was back to back meetings all day when I should have been managing people. There was times where I was double and triple book. People would just book over it and say, okay, you need to figure out how you can get on two meetings.
And I'm like, I can barely get on one. So why, how am I gonna get on two? It just, it was wearing me out. And my nerves were shot at times. Stress level was high put on weight. and I really had to think about, do I really want to continue this roller coaster? Cuz it's more than likely gonna, be a detriment to my health.
And that was another key moment. Pillar moment for me was I am going to make a change and I'm going to transfer or move out of corporate America that day I sat down and told myself. The next 12 to 24 months. Cause I didn't know how this was gonna play out. I needed to have some timeframe and then I was gonna narrow it down.
As I got a better understanding of what we were gonna do. When I say we, my parents were helping cuz they wanted to be part of this. They're part of my board for my personal brand and also my other businesses that I have. Understanding that working 60, 78 hours a week. And then I would come home at night and work on this.
I would put together, a website I put together marketing, I put started a social media channels. And then I started email marketing to people, cold call reaching, I would do a little cold calling at the time. I just didn't have, I didn't have time. I needed to make time. And my buddy told me, Hey, do you know what a VA is?
And I'm like no virtual assistant. Okay. Where do I get one of those at? And how much did they cost? When they told me at the time, like two or $3 an hour, I'm like, you gotta be kidding me. And most of 'em are in the Philippines or in India. It took me several months to really get a grasp on virtual assistance and understand where they're at and then also how skilled they can and cannot be.
Guys, I'm just being open and honest with you. Not every person you're going to meet in the virtual assistant world is going to be skilled in what you're looking for. I probably went through a half a dozen before I found my first VA. And she's still with me to this. And that's six, eight years later, seven years later.
It's tough. It really is tough that part of the business. And I say that, and you guys are going, how can virtual assistant be tough because you've gotta screen them all and make sure that they're meeting your criteria. But the other thing is you have to train them, cuz if you don't train them properly, they will not feel like they're part of your business.
And when they're not feeling part of your business, guess. They fall off and they're just done and it doesn't, it just doesn't work that way. You have to make sure they're an extension of your business. And they're part of it, weekly meetings, weekly touchpoints. However you wanna do that, but they need to have an so P from the get go and expectations, and then you have to manage them.
And at some point they will become proficient,
but it's a long road. It's not instant gratification. We're back to that again. Instant grad. I was hoping she would be up and going. It took months and it was a lot of time, effort and work. She was getting work, done, just some basic administrative stuff, really helping with social media and blogging and emails.
But I needed her to do more than that. And this is where another pillar comes in guys for entrepreneurship, your expectations of people that you hire. Shouldn't exceed your level of expertise. And when I say this, these individuals should not be yes, men or yes, women, but they need to be somebody that actually has a different set of skills than you do, but you can't expect them to exceed and just blow up overnight.
Without one, the proper training, two, understanding your why and your mission, and three giving them the tools to succeed. And when you do that, you will actually be able to have somebody that can take your skills and, okay, great. I can't do that. I get to pass it off to somebody else that has a different skillset, but they're also bought into the.
Why you're doing this, why we're helping people, why we're going this route that is critical guys. A and we're, seven, eight years into this. And the why for me has been really relevant for only half this time, because I was still struggling with understanding my why and getting our why out there.
And. That is a huge struggle because that, that brought me back to another point in life where it brought me back to my two failed businesses. And I kept on thinking about that and guess what? That did negativity. I wasn't thinking positive. And I was having my pity parties more consistently than not. It just didn't, it just didn't work.
And I had to find a way to. And it started, really at my corporate job, I finally said enough is enough with corporate America. And I didn't say I'm quitting. I just had to find a better way to balance my day out because I came home, I went to work to shoveled and I came home from work disheveled and it didn't work.
I needed. Some clarity, I needed some structure. And the only way to do that was to clear my calendar of all unimportant meetings. If it wasn't in my org, my boss or my VP, then guess what, or my or the president of the bank that I was working for, I didn't have to be on it unless it was a dire need.
So I started training my assistant in my corporate. How to start managing my calendar more effectively, shame on me for not doing that. And I learned a lot through that process to be able to every Monday we would have a touch basis on exactly what the calendar looked like. And if something got through, we would discuss it and work through it.
Then I would also have her start setting time aside so I could go back and be with the people. I'm a people person I manage. I love managing people. I love solving those problems. Guess what? I wasn't spending enough time on the floor. I wasn't spending enough time with my people. So that relayed into entrepreneurship.
I took those lessons, what I was doing with her specifically to carve out time to where I now applied that when I came home to my virtual assistant. So she was 12, 13 hours ahead of me in the Philippines. So when I came. It's six o'clock it's, six or seven o'clock in the morning, her time. So I was able to then work with her for a couple hours on things that we were trying to accomplish, and we'd be able to collaborate and be able to find a path forward.
Not all days we're forward, some days were backwards, but this is my starting point guys of where I'm starting to get my groove and. Entrepreneurship is starting to burn a little bit more in my belly. The past wasn't controlling my present day. My past was teaching me my failures in how I could actually succeed going forward.
Now, did I know what it looked like? No. Did I know that I could move forward? Yes,
but the thing that I didn't really. Push forward on is a roadmap. And this is another pillar for guys, a roadmap, understanding what your roadmap is gonna look like. Is it gonna change along the way? Yes. But if that roadmap has goals, achievements, expectations, whatever you wanna do, then it sets you up for success down the road because you now you're working for a common goal.
You're now working for a common. And now the staff that you have, whether it be a virtual assistant or you have hundreds, you're sharing the why and the goals behind it. So they have something to aim for. And I never in the beginning and I say never, and it's a strong word. It's never in the beginning.
When I first started working with VAs, did I give them a why or the goals I just said, go do this task and didn't give 'em any of the background. Until I started sharing the why and the goals in the background, did I not start seeing success in what we were posting on social media? What we were putting out in emails, what we were putting out on video.
At the time I didn't have the podcast yet, but it all tied into it. And I saw a post back in the day. And he's talking about it again, here in the last several weeks, Gary V. Most people just put out content to pitch their course or their product or whatever you need to put out content to share your story or give value to your listeners or your followers, or whoever's watching your video until that resonated with me.
My message was crap. My message. Didn't go anywhere it fall. It fell flat on its. I wasn't gaining any followers. So I was starting to go into a dark hole again. I wasn't getting any likes. So again, social media was controlling us and Gary V came out with another video at that time and just said, go out and make your shit be passionate.
Don't be an expert and tune out the positive, the negative. And it will all come to you, but you can't be short side. And he says, we're so wired again. We're back to this concept, guys. We're so wired for instant gratification that most people fail within matter of minutes, days, weeks, you've gotta be in it for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 years, whatever the case is.
And just to fast forward today, we're three years, almost four years into one podcast. And it's taking off nicely. It's doing well. Significantly. I've got almost a year's worth of guests waiting, and then I spun off my other podcast chasing happiness, and it started in March and I've got myself almost a year of waiting guests there too.
And it's starting to take off and that's abnormal because I've already had an existing podcast. It's tying the two together. And I market them from the reason of why I'm sharing these stories of my guests and the power that these guests bring to you guys on a weekly basis is huge. Every single one of 'em has a story to tell they have a life experience to share with you.
and it's moving one and two, I learned so much from them and it's this is part of my why. And I enjoy putting them out. I put four videos out on a daily basis. They're short 20 to 40 seconds. Sometimes 60 seconds. I put 'em on reels and I've learned that people enjoy the videos when it comes from your heart and for your.
It's not about pitching a product. It's not pitching a service. I'm providing valuable information to where people get to learn something on a daily basis and get entertained at the same time and let them get away from their daily grind. But I also want to inspire and allow you to grow and find your why, and be able to go after your.
Because most of us, unfortunately, we sit on the couch and we think about where we're at and what we're doing. And we don't ever go after life. And there's a lot of regret there. And that's the last piece I wanna share with you guys is I've had a lot of regret in life and not going after things that I wanted.
I was too afraid or I felt it was out of reach. I want to I just want to tell you guys if there's something that you're passionate about and it lights your fire and it's your, why go after it, whether it be traveling or starting a business or getting a new job or going after a partner.
Getting a dog going back to school, whatever the case is, go for it, man. Don't let it hold you back because it held me back for too long. And I didn't find my wife for the longest time. Did I lose time potentially, but I don't look at it that way is I took the time for me to get where I needed to be. And I'm still evolving.
And I know this is early in my journey and we'll do multiple parts guys. They'll probably come out once a month, maybe twice a month. I'm not sure depending on schedule and what we have, but ultimately guys, this is what I wanna leave you with. Life entrepreneurship, whatever you're doing is tough, but if you get back up every single time you get knocked down, it is more than worth it.
You'll learn a lot about yourself and being tough is not a bad. It allows us to grow and it allows us to share those learnings with others like I'm doing today. And that to me is my why I've got a why in there to share with others. And that's why I have these podcasts. All right, guys. I hope you guys have a great week.
I hope you enjoyed this. Please leave me some comments. I'd love to hear some feedback. Otherwise, guys, I'll see you on the other side.