Episode #264 – Building Your Business Legacy with the King of Exits, Eddie Wilson, Part 1

In this episode, real estate investor Eddie Wilson, known as the “King of Exits” by Forbes, shares his amazing insights on risk, emotion-free investing, and the power of gratitude.

As a third-generation real estate entrepreneur and a master of business exits, Wilson’s approach to investing will leave you feeling pumped and ready to take your investment game to the next level.

Be sure to join us for part two of this conversation next week!

Show Highlights:

  • Learn about the multifaceted career of this hardcore real estate investor. [01:31]
  • Uncover a unique strategy for business success. [05:44]
  • The importance of changing perspective. [07:45]
  • How can gratitude transform loss into strength? [10:12]
  • How do you find gratitude for the situation you are in? [13:38]
  • Do you respect your time? [15:41]
  • How can one man’s courage lead to a legacy of dreams fulfilled? [17:29]
  • Navigating the world of risk and emotion in real estate investing. [19:20]

For more information about Eddie Wilson go to https://officialew.com/

To get the latest updates directly from Dan and discuss business with other real estate investors, join the REI marketing nerds Facebook group here: https://adwordsnerds.com/group

Need help with your online marketing? Jump on a FREE strategy session with our team. We’ll dive deep into your market and help you build a custom strategy for finding motivated seller leads online. Schedule for free here: https://adwordsnerds.com/strategy

Read Full Transcript

You're listening to the REI marketing nerds podcast, the leading resource for real estate investors who want to dominate their market online. Dan Barrett is the founder of AdWords nerds, a high tech digital agency focusing exclusively on helping real estate investors like you get more leads and deals online, outsmart your competition and live a freer, more awesome life. And now, your host, Dan Barrett

0:40 All right, hello, and welcome to this week's episode of the REI marketing nerds podcast. As always, this is Daniel Barrett's here from AdWords nerds.com. And look, if you need more deals, you need more leads online for your real estate investing business. You go to AdWords nerds.com, jump on a call with someone from my team. And we will help you put together a marketing strategy for your market. Alright, folks, this week, I have the one and only Eddie Wilson on the show. Now, Eddie is a truly I mean, I've had a lot of great business owners and entrepreneurs on this show incredibly successful people that I really look up to and take a lot out of. But Eddie is Catholic on another level. Man, he is doing a million different things. First of all, as he says, right, he is a hardcore real estate investor first and foremost, three generations of real estate folks in his family, right. So that's in his blood. But at the same time, he's done 150 different exits for businesses. Forbes called him the king of exits. He's doing nonprofit work. He's a venture capitalist, he's investing in businesses. I mean, he's doing so many different things, doing them consistently and doing them extremely well. And one of the things I always look out for in terms of people to listen to or take advice from, right, it's not just people who are successful because of course, you can be successful by accident, right?

You just whatever you happen to buy that one, you know, crypto coin that your friend said was gonna blow up, and it blew up, and then you sold it the day after he made a billion dollars and never make another good decision in your life like that can happen. What's so impressive to me about Eddie is that he is consistently over time making incredibly smart decisions, starting businesses that run without him that he can exit from I mean, these are the skill sets of a master entrepreneur. And I had a TON TON of insights from this conversation I know you are as well, you can find Eddie, by the way, at his website, you can go to official e w.com. To get links to all his stuff, and he's got so many different businesses and everything. You should go check that out at official ew.com. But without any further ado, let's get into my interview with Eddie Wilson. I am here with Eddie Wilson from official ew.com. And anywhere you get your social media, you can find him as well at Eddie Wilson official. Eddie, welcome to the show. Man, thank you so much for being here.

3:11 Thanks for having me. Looking forward to being on the show. Yeah, I am to Ben, we were just talking kind of before we hit record, you have got a lot going on. You are a multifaceted person. You're a real estate investor, but you're also doing a ton of stuff. That's not real estate investing. So for people who aren't maybe familiar with you, or with your businesses, give us like a 30,000 foot overview of like who you are and what you do.

3:35 Sure, yeah. So for me, really, I exist in three buckets, right? Like I'm a corporate leader, we have a private equity firm, we have about 27 companies under that private equity firm. So I'm the leader of those. I'm the CEO. And then I'm a investor, right, so hardcore real estate investor, third generation. And it's not just real estate, it's businesses, I buy businesses, I buy opportunities, I invest passively, I do a lot of multifamily investing, and then kind of the third bucket is ultra. So everything I do get to a place in life where really, you have enough stuff, you've created legacy for your family for generations, like and so we're in this phase of life where it's just about give back. And so all of my investing is with the intent of giving a large chunk of that away so we have a foundation called impact others and so everything we do whether we're buying selling companies or buying or selling real estate, it's all in like the intent of creating just more capital to go out and do greater things around the world. Wow,

4:31 this is super cool. Okay, so I want to get to that. I want to go back to you kind of glossed over this but there's a lot in that description. Right so like when you go to like, like your like a cocktail party or somebody you're like hanging out with like, some what do you do? Like what how do you describe everybody? I like how would you describe Let me ask this a different way. Okay, what do you really do because like, on the outside, you do a lot like your wrists are but like when you think about like what you actually do like what makes you good at what you do the core of your skill set like what is it? Because you're all over?

5:04 Sure. Yeah. And all over the place and doing a million things. And that is the hardest question I think I ever get asked. And most of the times, I just resort to I'm an investor, right? Like, that's the thing to talk about. Because I, whether I'm investing in companies or assets, or people's lives like that really is what I do. So I think that what sets me apart, though, is Forbes called me the king of exits. And the reason they called me that was because I've exited 120 companies, not companies that are like, Oh, I've got one employee companies, I've had like three 4000 employees. And, and I believe in building things that have lasting value and selling them for exponential value, what you do in that is you actually shrink down to time to give you a lot of your life back. Most people, they build a business that takes into their entire life, they sell that business, or they have some sort of succession plan. And they don't get to live life to the fullest until they turn 6577 85 years old, when I learned at an early age that I could build a business or I could, you know, buy a real estate project.

And I could, I could turn it into a much higher value, and then sell it for exponential value. Essentially, when I buy a business and I you know, make that business perform. And I sell it on a five multiple or seven multiple, essentially what they're saying is like, here's seven years of your life back, because you don't, if I operated that business for the next seven years, they're essentially giving me that payment in advance for the value of this company. And so that's what I do at scale. I think that's probably what sets me apart, and probably what I do best, the time thing is super cool. I never really thought about it like that. But I mean, it's really true. I mean, you're essentially saying like, Hey, we're just going to pay you out as if you had worked at this company for seven straight years, right? And then you can go do something else, but that extra time and it's basically get to live those, I mean, that kind of goofy way, right? Live those years multiple times over, if that kind of makes any sense.

6:56 It's one of the things that clicked in my head, my dad was a big stickler on time, like he always would say any of times your most valuable asset and why don't you manage your time or the manage your money? Or why don't you look at your calendar more than look to your bank account. And so I grew up in a home with an entrepreneur who was hyper focused on time. And the very first company that I sold, I actually was taken advantage of in a major way, sitting there with a bunch of big institutional investors who forced me into this acquisition. And while I did make millions of dollars, I probably left 20 or 30 million on the table. Well, I was I was I was they gave me 24 hours to make a decision, I was driving back into the city, the next day kind of thinking through, I had already made that choice. I really, I really didn't have a choice. So I made the choice to get get okay with what was happening. And, and I made the choice. I said, you know, like I just changed perspective. It was like, You know what, they're giving me a seven times multiple on my EBITA. You know, so I'm essentially what I did the same thing every day for the next seven years. That's the money I would earn. If nothing grew, nothing diminished. And so therefore, they're essentially giving me seven years of my life back. When that perspective change was like, oh, I want to do this over and over and over again. And and then I'm not going to be taken advantage of anymore. I'm gonna learn this game. Like, you know, like I didn't understand at the time. Yeah. And so that was my driving force. And then if you think about it, most people wait their entire lifetime to go do what they actually want to do, whether it's give philanthropically or just go travel the world. And I thought, you know, what, if I could actually create a process for this and do this over and over again, I do get to live my life way in advance, I get to do the things I want to do. And that's what's led to all the nonprofit activity.

8:41 Wants to find motivated seller leads online but don't know where to start. Download our FREE motivated seller keyword report today, AdWords nerds have spent over $5 million this year researching the most profitable keywords for finding motivated seller leads. And you can grab these exact keywords when you download our report at www dot AdWords nerds.com/keywords. So there's like a million places I want to take this conversation, but I want to stay there just for a second, I want to ask about like a phrase that you used. You said, you said he had this thing where they forced him to this acquisition that you didn't really want to do and you said you're getting the car and you made a choice to get okay with it. What What do you mean by that? Because I can imagine, but imagine being in that scenario and being like just bitter for like 20 straight years, you know what I mean? Like that's an easily imaginable alternative outcome. So how do you make a choice to get okay with something like that, or what does that mean to you?

9:45 Yeah, so I'd have to unpack it a little bit and I'll I'll do it in this way. I had massive loss in my early life. I lost a sister and I lost a brother. And with my parents, they they both had extreme emotional intelligence. and my mom would take me down this path of she would, you know, I would be hurting, I would be struggling to be crying, I'd be missing my sister, you know, the first loss I had, and she would constantly take me down this place of gratitude. And it was very much like, hey, you know, I know you're hurting. But like, what did you think about? Like, what was your favorite toy that you and Rebecca used to play with her? What was your favorite memory and she just constantly take me back into this place of like, positive reinforcement and gratitude for all that I had with my sister. And what happened in that was it flipped a switch in my brain, where I realized that every loss or every problem really creates a fork in the road. And that fork in the road is either you know, I go, right. And if I go, right, it's really it's a ceiling. It's, it's, it's now a self limitation. And that's where most entrepreneurs live, they, they hit some roadblock, or they hit some problem, and it becomes it becomes their ceiling, right, or you get to take another path. And that is if you can find gratitude in whatever the loss is, whatever the problem is, if you can find gratitude for it, then you begin to learn the lessons of what the loss was giving you.

And it becomes a catalyst. In life, gratitude, and life's problems. Can either gratitude will take you faster and further than you ever dreamed. Because what happens is, is in gratitude, you begin to assimilate all of the lessons with the right mindset. So that was the process I was going through that morning. The story I won't necessarily bore you with but base guide, an advertising agency, very large one had bunch of big contracts, and I had signed a really large contract that I needed capital for. I was young, didn't really know how to source capital, I'm talking to an investment banker. He says, Oh, I've got your capital for you never really thought to ask like, well, where's the capital coming from or, you know, I looked at terms and I thought, okay, I'm good at those terms. And basically, in the, in the last 23rd hour, it was revealed to me that it was the world's largest advertising agency that really just wanted to buy my contracts, they took me all the way down to the wire. So I overextended myself had to put out about $30 million in ad spend on contractually, it would bankrupt my firm if I didn't go through contractually with what I obligated myself for to and I needed the capital to do it. And then they came and said, Hey, by the way, we know that you're in this situation.

And so today, we're not going to give you this capital, we're actually gonna buy you and we're gonna buy you at these terms, right? Well, I was on a path and potentially selling later on. But it was kind of a forced acquisition, they played the game, like nobody had ever been exposed to I didn't understand the game. And so, you know, first I fought it, like, I was like, Nope, you're not gonna do this to me, I'm gonna go get lawyers. I'm gonna like, it's like, all this stuff. And they just kind of like smiled at me like, no, no, like, we do this all the time. This is how this works, you know. And so I realized, like, they're playing a game I didn't understand. And so in the car, they gave me 24 hours really to, like, get right with it, sign the docs, let's move on. So I'm driving back into the city with all of that on my shoulders. And it was that choice. It was like, I knew I was at that fork in the road. And I was like, you either find gratitude for the situation you're in, or you just start, like, I can't believe these guys are taking advantage of me. You know, like you said, this bitterness, let this bitterness set and like, you know, these people are stealing something from me. And then that become bitterness creates identity, right?

Like, anytime you see somebody gets like exponentially bitter about whatever it is, it becomes their identity, because they can come consumed with it. So then it just they can't help it. It just comes out of them. And I started thinking through, okay, how do I find gratitude for the situation I'm in? I'm Yes, it's not what I want to do. Yes, I got taken advantage of. And the one thing I could come up with that made sense to me was like, Oh, I actually get seven years of my life back, like, then I was like, Oh, I can find gratitude in that. And, and then I started thinking, the thoughts of like, if I had seven years of my life, if I had all the revenue that it was gonna take me to create over the next seven years, and I get to actually do it, what would I do with that? And then it was like it just and then it was like pouring gas on a fire, right? Gratitude creates a catalyst. And that's what it did in my life in that moment, that is

14:08 just such a wild story. And I literally, like felt sick when you're the borrower. They're like, Yeah, we do this all day. But like, since like, that's a really, it's a it's a powerful story. Because it's like, it's not just like, oh, you know, this annoying thing happened. Right? So I think the ability to turn it around, it is so awesome. I want to ask about you mentioned, you're a third generation real estate investor. You also mentioned kind of growing up in the house when your dad was an entrepreneur, what was it like kind of coming up in that environment? So one of the things about that is I always feel I have a little bit of impostor syndrome about and I think a lot of investors have this as well. It's like if you grow up in your family and not particularly entrepreneurial, like I always just thought of myself as like, I'm not really a business guy, right? Like I was like, I'm a musician. I'm of this some of that. And so did you kind of come out of the womb being like, I'm a business person, like, what was that? Like? No.

15:07 My ironically, ironically, my dad and my mom are both entrepreneurs they both on. Both are just kind of. So I did get something by osmosis for sure. Right? Like it permeated somewhere. And I actually rejected I went into college, I thought, I'm gonna go to corporate like these guys, they struggle so much like, but I'll tell you that the greatest gift my mom ever gave me was this relationship with gratitude. It's when I talked about a minute ago, the thing that my dad gave me was a healthy respect for time, like guy spoke about shrinking down your time focusing on what matters. But the other thing that he gave me that I think a lot of entrepreneurs miss, is he gave me a healthy respect for for fear, and also the opportunities that come with making right choices. What I mean by that is, is there's a time that I can go back in my mind where we had very little like Christmas, where you like, no presents like that kind of like a moment as an entrepreneur. And I know that those are the moments that my father looks back on in his life and felt like a failure. Right. But for me, my dad was always a great dad. He was president my life he spent time with me. Yeah, he worked sunup sundown, but he was there in the important moments like he was there when I needed him. And so what I watched was his, his ability to just go for it.

And then what he might look at as a failure, I still look at it and go, Oh, man, when we didn't have anything, I still had my dad, and I still felt great about it. And that really didn't bother me. So like, I look at and think, Well, what's the worst that can happen? I take this choice, and I lose everything. And I still get to spend time with my kids. And yeah, you know, it's like, so he gave me this like relationship with fear that I don't think most people have, like, I don't have this fear of like, Oh, if I put it on the line, and I lose everything, you know, I'm giving all this up, I have this kind of like feeling like, well, what's the worst that can happen? I could, you know, end up spending more time with family like, Okay, that's a good thing, you know. And so all of that really inspired me to make action or take action later in life. I left corporate to pursue entrepreneurship. And it was his example that allowed me to overcome what most people struggled, overcome, which is like, what happens if this all goes bad? And I oftentimes will say, especially from stage, it's like, children deserve to watch their parents chase their dreams. I know oftentimes, we there's, there's so much conversation about work life balance, and you know, how much time should you spend with the kids?

Or should you be at every soccer game in every basketball game, and the greatest gift my dad ever gave me wasn't coming to every basketball game, or every football game, the greatest gift he ever gave me was him chasing his dreams with reckless abandon. because it allowed me to chase mine at a level that I don't think I would have. My personality is actually probably less risky than maybe his is, however, I have a different perspective on risk. And so I am chasing my dreams, my children are watching watching me chase my dreams. And so I think we just put prioritization on interesting things, you know, like, I don't look back at my life and go, Man, I can't believe he missed that seventh game of my eighth grade year, like, I wish he would have been there. You know, like, I think like he was there and present every time I needed him. There's never a time where I felt like, Man, I wish my dad was here. He was there in those moments. And I watched him chase his dreams with reckless abandon, and he gave me a great path to success. Well,

18:31 let me transition then a little bit, because you're talking about, you know, this, your dad gave you this relationship with fear. And this kind of sense of, you know, like, what's the worst that could happen? And one of the questions that I always want to ask investors, particularly people who invest in all kinds of things, like you said, you buy businesses, you invest in real estate, like your, you know, you do private equity. And this is a broad question, you can take it anywhere. Okay. But what is your relationship to risk? You even mentioned, like your dad, like kind of pursuing his dreams, you still like reckless abandon, right? Like every investor has a particular kind of relationship to risk. How do you think you relate to risk?

19:13 I believe that real estate or any type of investing should be done without emotion. I believe that so much of risk is based on our emotions. And typically, that emotion is either hope of gain or fear of loss, right? Like you take every real estate investor and their underwriting strategy is tied to I hope I get this, or I hope I don't lose this. For me, it's a very pragmatic approach. I have this, I want to put it into something that gains value. So therefore, I'll put it into whatever makes the most sense, without emotion. So like, for instance, I have a quadrant system that every quarter my CFO, CFO and I sit down and go through and it's like, Okay, here's my extra cash. Here's what I want to invest, whether it's to avoid taxes. shanor it's to just find, you know, a yield. And we put it into buckets of risks, like, okay, and I, my one of my business partners, Dan Fleischman, he teaches the 4040 20 rule, which is like, you should be putting 40% of your investment dollars into things that are just going to yield and a low, like a lower amount, but the risk is so small, then he should be putting things into, you know, kind of medium risk, medium yield, and then he teaches, you really should consider at least putting 20% of your investment dollars into things that have exponential gain, like the things you say, Boy, I wish I would have put money into that, because look at it now, you know, it's like, and so I think there are things like crypto and venture capital and stuff like that, that I put in.

So like, I have a very pragmatic approach to investing, I put my real estate investing primarily into that middle upper like that top bucket and middle bucket. So the reason I 4000 doors is because or 4000 doors, because I put so much emphasis on those top two. And then I carve off this small piece and I'm buying private equity, or I'm buying crypto or I'm trying something new. And it's like going to Vegas, you know, it's like, I hope something comes out of it. Now, I've done very well in that last kind of 20%. But I teach a lot of investors to have a relationship with their money. That is a pragmatic relationship, not an emotional relationship. So much of our activity is based on kind of consumer based thinking, all media is teaching us to how to be consumers, right? It's like, oh, you should be careful here, you should not do this here. And if you follow kind of general media practices, you're going to actually make decisions that are opposite of how an investor should think, right? Like, you're like Warren Buffett. And the reason people quote Warren Buffett so much is because he's a contrarian thinker. He's like, when everybody else is running out, you should be boldly running in, you know, and it's like, and that's because we all listen to mass media, we listen to the economics that are kind of spouted on all media channels.

And then we make consumer based decisions, right? And so I take my consumer money, like, this is what it takes me to live, eat, breathe, whatever, you know, it's like, and then I take my investment, investment money, and that is not emotional, in its in the transactions of it. It's logical, like my underwriting is very logical. And then I break it down into risk quadrants, and I decide where to put this money. And so whether that and I've been doing this for years, so it like it used to be, maybe I had 100 grand that I had to spread out between the 4040 20, right, it's like, and now maybe I have 10 million to put into that 4040 20 And so I don't have a relationship with the dollar amount. I have a relationship with the risk quadrant that um, you know, I'm putting it into so then once we underwriter to go, oh, this really fits inside of this bucket. It's like okay, then I'll put whatever that amount is in there. You know, like, I don't think should I really put $2 million into this, you know, it's like, I have 2 million that has to go in this quadrant. This is the one that makes sense. Let's put, you know, let's go. So that's how I invest.

Hey, guys, hope you enjoyed part one of this episode. It's just too good to limit one show. Join us next week to hear the rest

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