How do you get good deals even in an oversaturated market? Mobile home park investor and owner of The Archimedes Group, Ryan Narus believes it has everything to do with how you make assumptions. Ryan was a once a car salesman and even wrote a book called Car Deal Hacks. Looking for something else that he really loves, he quit his job to try his hand at investing, eventually landing on mobile home parks, which he is extremely passionate about. One thing that Ryan learned from his gamble is that monetization comes from doing one of two things: doing what others can’t or doing what others won’t. It all comes down to how you make assumptions, challenge those assumptions and move forward with a solid backing from reality. In this conversation with Jen Du Plessis, he takes us back to where he started and how he got into the space he’s in. A lot of lessons in investing and life can be gathered from this interview, so make sure not to miss it!
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How To Monetize Your Assumptions: Mobile Homes Investing With Ryan Narus
If this is the first time that you’re reading, thank you so much for joining us. Of course, as always, if you’ve been a reader for years and years, thank you. Each and every time I want to say thank you, I’m filled with gratitude of what everyone is doing to pay this forward, to share it with as many people as they possibly can so that you have personal and professional growth regardless of what business that you’re in. Welcome to our show here.
I have a great guest here with us. I have Ryan Narus. He is the Owner of The Archimedes Group, which is focused specifically on mobile home parks. To be very clear, it’s not mobile homes. We can talk about those if we dive into that area but mostly, it’s mobile home parks. The reason that I wanted to have Ryan on the show is because one, it’s real estate and two, it’s lending. It’s all forms of lending. I’m a firm believer in making sure that you have the best exit strategy from your mortgage and real estate practice so that you have other avenues of income. This is perhaps one of those avenues of income so we’re going to talk about what he has accomplished in the short time that he’s been doing this. I’m impressed with this, Ryan. Welcome to the show.
Jen, I am excited to be here.
I’m glad to have you too. Some funny little facts about you. You used to be a car salesman, so we can handle that in mortgages and real estate. You also wrote a book. What’s the name of your book?
The name of my book is called Car Deal Hacks. I went to Wake Forest University. I was a Psychology major and I had the lovely timing of graduating in 2009. I wanted to get into B2B sales. As you can imagine at 22 years old with zero experience, right after the biggest depression since the Great Depression, no one was hiring. I was like, “I can sit in my mom’s basement, twiddle my thumbs and feel sorry for myself or I can go and sell cars.” My old karate instructor invited me out. I was like, “I’m going to make the most of it.” I didn’t go to Wake Forest University to be a car salesman, but I’m not going to sit and feel sorry for myself.
Four years later, I left the car dealership with an amazing education and a bunch of awards to go with it. I went back to Wake Forest to get my MBA. In the process, I knew a bunch of people for the rest of my life that were going, “Why don’t you tell me the secret about how to get the best price at the car dealership?” I have the best excuse ever to be like, “Okay.” I can go, “I wrote a book. I spare no details and it’s free. I use Leanpub so you can pay me.” I want to make the car experience easy for folks. A handful of folks have paid me for it but honestly, it’s not about that. My book is called Car Deal Hacks. I take my Psych major, my four years’ experience of selling almost 1,000 cars, and teach you how to buy a car for the best price using psychology.
I’m fortunate that my husband is in that world and he’s also a mortgage lender. He’s been a mortgage lender forever, but he’s in the car world too. I’m fortunate I have someone who can help me. He knows the hacks, but I can’t wait to tell him about the book. Also, you are self-taught in Spanish. Do you want to say hello to any of our readers that are Spanish-speaking? We have over 30,000 of them, so someone’s got to be a Spanish-speaking person.
Por supuesto. Yo aprendi espanol ase diez anos de practica. Es un desastre mi acento es tambien mi comico. Pero en realidad es functiona. What I said is, “I learned Spanish. It’s been about ten years of practicing. My accent is hysterical, but it works. My favorite word to describe my Spanish is bastante, which means enough.
Let’s jump right into the details of the show. I want to ask you how you transpired that you got into mobile home parks? Here you are, you’re out of college, four years out, a young guy, you may or may not be married, and finding someone in your life. Someday, somehow, someone came to you and said, “Did you ever think about buying mobile home parks?” Tell us how that happened, how that transpired and where it brought you to where you are now.
It’s a relevant point. I was searching for a mobile home park. Let me explain what I mean by that. I was looking for the medium with which I could build my lifestyle. You were mentioning that you like to create a lifestyle and then find a business to fit that lifestyle rather than a business to cram your lifestyle into. It would have been wonderful to have you ten years ago, Jen, but I didn’t so I had to learn all this stuff on my own. I graduated in ‘09, I started selling cars in 2010, and then I won Honda’s highest award in my first full fiscal year, which was 2011. I sold 240 cars. It was in the top 5% or whatever in the country.Build you self-esteem on reality, not delusion. Click To Tweet
I remember it was a very pivotal moment. It was February of 2012 when we got shipped up to DC, I get to stay at the Gaylord Hotel right on the Chesapeake Bay. I remember, I accepted my award. I met the district manager guy and he looked at me, shook my hand and he’s like, “I’m going to see you next year, right?” At that moment I went, “Absolutely.” That night, at 24 years old, I went and got way too drunk on alcohol. I’m willing to admit that because at that time, something didn’t feel right. I was filling a void with alcohol. The next day, I woke up and I went, “Why did I do that?” Not long after I realized, it was because I was completely unsatisfied.
I devoted my entire life. There was no meaning in what I did. There’s no purpose. I don’t even like cars, believe it or not. I’m an investment guy and cars depreciate. I was sold on Honda’s, I wasn’t sold on cars. Viktor Frankl says, “You need to find the meaning and purpose in your life,” and in what I was doing. I started to do a lot of self-assessing trying to figure out, “Who is Ryan? What does he like? What does he not like? What is he going to like in 10 years, 20 years and 50 years?” I asked myself a lot of brutally tough questions to answer like, “Is this a sunk cost? “Did I waste a year of my life selling all these cars?” It was tough.
I had to rebuild my self-esteem from scratch. I had realized that I had built self-esteem based on delusion. Everyone is delusional to a certain degree. We all tell ourselves we experienced 0.0001% of the world and use that sliver of experience to explain the entire world, so we’re all delusional. The question is, how close do the stories that you tell yourself match your reality? For me, I realized it didn’t. I had the delusion bust and that was brutal. In this process, I said, “I’m going to learn who I am. I’m going to learn everything I can. I’m going to pick up any book I can read. I’m going to talk to anyone with a pulse. I don’t care if you’re 12 or 112.
I don’t care if you’re unemployed or you’re the CEO of a major company. I want to talk to you. I want to learn from you. I want to know who you are now, who you were and who you think you’re going to become.” I met thousands of people. I asked them all sorts of questions and I learned. Through that process, I realized I was meant to be an entrepreneur. As soon as I had that clarity of who I was and what I was supposed to be doing, that self-esteem built on a foundation of reality, then it was, “This is easy. I’ve got to go out and spend as much time as it takes to find that right opportunity.” Now that we’ve got a huge backstory, let’s go to the moment of, what was mobile home parks?
Three years after that silly night where I got way too drunk, it was before I met my wife to make sure I’m not being a party animal. Flash forward, I started three businesses that didn’t get anywhere. I knew I was looking for a company to start and I bumped into a childhood friend while I was in Miami, Florida doing a business analytics internship for Carnival Cruise Lines in between my 1st year and 2nd year of my MBA. As we’re hanging out, we stopped in this weird moment, we went, “We’d be perfect business partners. What are we going to start?” We threw out a couple of silly ideas, but very early on, one of the first five ideas he threw out, he’s like, “What about buying mobile home parks?” I said, “I love this show Trailer Park Boys on Netflix. If it’s anything like that, sign me up because it’s hysterical.” That’s how I found it and then we did a ton of research. It took us a little over a year to buy our first one. The rest is history.
Your portfolio consists of ten mobile home parks. What are the sizes of them? What do they range from?
The biggest one we bought was 527 spaces. The smallest one was 25. It’s all over the map.
All over the country.
It’s just Southeast. We’re in Salisbury, Charlotte, Gaston County, Asheville, Durham, Atlanta, Tallahassee and Spartanburg.
You are down in your neck of the woods, so at least close enough to you and stuff. One of the things that you like talking about is helping people quit their jobs. Not that we want them to quit their job right now but for people to at least plan for the future, plan an exit strategy in their businesses, or supplement their income by having these various revenue streams, and it’s something that’s very important to me. If someone’s reading this who’s a mortgage lender, it’s very habitual for mortgage lenders to be a little skeptic to say, “Mobile home parks are a commercial loan. That’s not what I do. Generally, the residential side doesn’t do that. How do I get into it? What down payments do I need?” It’s only been five years now. How did you accumulate ten mobile home parks in a five-year period only having been in business generally for seven years?”
It’s not even that. I started The Archimedes Group with Ian in July of 2015. I started with nothing. I had no money, no network, no experience and thankfully, no excuses. It all comes down to one-word, Jen, and that word is assumption. The better you are at making assumptions, the better your underwriting is, the better your decision makings are. As I mentioned, you have to have self-esteem built on a foundation of reality, not a delusion. As soon as I started getting much better at making assumptions and challenging my assumptions, I realized it comes down to one other word and that’s monetization. In other words, if you have no money, how do you find a way to make money?
There are two ways. You can either do something that other people can’t do or do something that other people won’t do. For me, in mobile home parks, what I discovered was there’s a lot of hype around buying mobile home parks, but there’s effectively no hype around operating them and doing the property management. I realized there are three aspects to any commercial purchase. You’ve got to have three things. You’ve got to have a willing seller. Someone who goes, “I’ll sell it to you for a reasonable price.” Number two, you’ve got to find a way to get that person their money because they’re expecting money in exchange for their asset. The number three is, as soon as you buy it, someone needs to go and collect the rent and make sure there are no vicious dogs and no riff-raff going on in these properties.
If everybody wants to find the deals or everyone wants to raise money for the deals, but no one wants to operate them, I could pay myself that salary in the budget, quit my job and go full-time. I left a lucrative bank job to take over a 50% haircut and lose all my benefits to go and one of my mobile home parks for every other week for fourteen months in Atlanta, while my wife and all my friends were in Charlotte. I made a pretty big sacrifice and by the way, recourse debt over my head. What I had to do was I realized that with my sales background, I could find willing sellers and you can get acquisition fees for that. There’s monetization there. I can convince people to invest with me, there’s a fee involved for syndications. In other words, that every step of the way I’m constantly looking, “How can I monetize this?”
One last funny, quick little tidbit is if you’ve ever watched the movie, Austin Powers, there is a fat, bad guy who I won’t say his name. He has a hilarious line where he goes in so many words, “I’m sad because I eat and I eat because I’m sad.” What I realized intuitively without being able to enunciate what I was thinking was that’s exactly what people go through, myself included, who have a side hustle and want to go full-time in it. This gentleman I sat down with who was a want-to-be full-time home flipper, he was picking my brain and I was like, “I don’t know how much I can help you. I don’t know how to flip homes. I’m a mobile home park guy.” He dropped that line on me. I was like, “This is one of the best meetings I’ve had all year even though I wasn’t expecting anything out of this.”
He hit me with, “I can’t go full-time flipping homes because I don’t have enough deals. I don’t have enough deals because I’m not full-time.” I went, “That is exactly what I did. I made a major sacrifice. I took out a recourse debt. I went and live next to little Miss Janice who’s going to complain to me about every little thing, but no one wants to do that. You can monetize that. I quit my job. I went full-time. I’ve got to tell you, after I quit my job and went full-time, I realized I didn’t miss that extra cashflow as much as I thought I would, because I was spending money on things that weren’t making me happy. As soon as I didn’t have that money to spend on things that were making me happy, all of a sudden, I was happy doing the thing I wanted to do the whole time.”
Thank you for sharing that story. I love all that information. I want to go back to assumptions to make sure that we have clarity about what you mean by assumptions. There are some mobile homes that the entire mobile home park costs less than a mortgage on a regular house in Washington, DC. There’s no doubt about it, but there are obviously ones that are very expensive. When you’re talking about assumptions, what assumptions are you talking about? Are you talking about real assumptions? What if half are rented? Fill me in on what you mean by having assumptions in order to be able to manifest a new revenue stream.
There’s a great quote that in so many words go, “There’s been more fiction written in Microsoft Excel than the Microsoft Word.” That quote is absolutely brilliant because my strategy professor said in my MBA school and this was such a kick-butt moment. He wrote a number on the board. It was like 18-77634558. It went back 8 decimal points and he looked at that and he went, “What does this mean?” He looks at the class and he goes, “You do a Fancy Nancy pro forma, you spend a week on it, that’s the number that gets spread out. What does that number mean?” “I don’t know, Professor.” “What it means is that you are now going to believe that this is true.” This, let me tell you, is a Fancy Nancy computer program telling you what you programmed it to tell you. In other words, garbage in, garbage out.
The more you understand the underlying asset, the better your assumptions are going to be going into your Excel pro formas, the better results are going to get out. I’ll give you a great example of that. I bought a countryside mobile home park in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It was a 68-lot mobile home park for $625,000. It was next to nothing and as I very well should have because the property at that time was atrocious. Everything that could have gone wrong was going wrong. It was a marketed deal that had gone from brokers to the little mom and pop brokers to the word of mouth.
What was the issue with the seller? Why was the seller selling?
The seller was a friend of mine and they had 8,000 mobile home pads. He told me point-blank, “When you have an 800-lot opportunity that’s not going well, you’re not paying attention to your 60-lot opportunity.” It made sense why they were selling it cheap. The point is, everyone was looking at this. I’ve had multiple people over the years be like, “You’ve got Countryside. You paid $625,000 for it. I could have had it for $550,000.” The funny thing of it is I go, “Why didn’t you buy it?” “It was atrocious. It was this. It was that.” When I saw that, I went, “This is a major opportunity because my assumptions were better than the market who had seen it and went, ‘I don’t want that.’”
What I saw was an awful facade with a rock-solid foundation. The point is the better you are at making assumptions, the better you are at seeing deals right in front of your face that 99 other people saw and went, “No way, Jose.” You are the 1 out of 100 who rolled up their sleeves and knocked it out of the park. I’ve got to tell you, we’ve moved in our 12th home to get to 64 homes. We’d sold that home. We’ve got 63 residents, one office, we’re full. At that time, there were only, give or take, fifteen paying residents out of 29 residents. Fourteen people hadn’t even paid when we closed in the middle of the month. Disaster of a property, we’ve turned an entire property. The point I’m trying to make is the better you are at making assumptions, the more deals that are in front of your face that you won’t miss on.There are two things you can do to make money: either do something that other people can’t or do something that other people won’t. Click To Tweet
Thank you for clarifying. How much of your philosophical outlook are you utilizing to help you win negotiations? I’m curious about that because you may have said you have these hacks for buying cars, and as a consumer, we’re thinking that’s good. I imagine you’ve got some other things up your sleeve on the other side. How much of that are you using and has it even been beneficial for you to be able to utilize it? Lastly, would you recommend that anyone take classes on this and try to figure out, “I need to understand better some negotiating skills, it’s not about the numbers?”
I’m the son of a college professor. I’m always going to tell you to go get more education. Should you go and learn how to negotiate? 1,000 times yes. I’m so thankful I had that car sales job because every car sale was in negotiation. Very seldom does someone walk in and go, “I’ll pay that.” I can count on one hand the number of times that happened. Everyone always wants to come in, “You’re the scummy car salesman, I’m mad, and I’m going to fight you for the price.”
You’re not getting the price that’s listed there. You’ve got to be crazy.
“I know your invoice. You’re going to sell it to me for $1,000 below that.” Every single time, I need to take this person. My bonus is tied to my survey. You buy this car and you’re not like, “Ryan, everything he does turns into gold, rainbows, sunshine everywhere.” If you’re not thoroughly enjoying your experience, I’m not getting my bonus. In other words, I had to learn how to negotiate, persuade, market, do operations, make the experience go fast, under-promise and over-deliver, all of the above. Also take heated people get a little bit confrontational with them but bring them to a point where they’re walking away extremely happy. Selling cars was by far and away the best education you’d like to ever have.
I imagine that’s exactly what you’re encountering. I own a couple of mobile home as well and rental. Every single month is negotiation. You’re prepared to negotiate because you know what’s going to happen for those that aren’t paying. It’s going to be a negotiation of, “What day can you pay? How can we work on this?” In the confines of actual managing it, it’s that same way in as much as it is in negotiating the actual deal. When you think about the properties that you have now, tell us about the best deal that you got.
It’s hard to pick one because each one has its own unique triumphant shortcoming and thing I’ve had to overcome, but just because we’re talking about Countryside, we can stick with it. The one beautiful thing about Countryside is it had 52 homes on 68 zone lots and three of those lots aren’t even viable so it’s 65 lots. I had 29 residents. I had a rent roll of $10,000. When we closed, there was delinquency of $10,000. You’re talking serious collections issues. You were talking tens of thousands in rehabs.
You were getting your local tow guy in there to make the noise at night.
A close friend of mine from college, she’s the assistant to the district attorney in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. I had lunch with her and I was like, “Here’s this address. What do you think?” In so many words, she was like, “I know the narcotics department guys, they’re on that street all the time.” I’m like, “No.” There are infrastructure issues and there’s all this stuff. We’re only down to about fourteen of the original 29 people that were there that are left. We’ve fixed homes, we’ve installed a playground, we did new mailboxes, we’ve repaved roads, we fixed infrastructure, we brought out about fourteen new homes, so we have twelve new homes because we’re at 64. It was a lot of work. One big thing that I was proud of was that we tapped into the Hispanic market.
The truth is you can say all you want, “You come to my country, you learn my language.” You can say that all you want, but let me tell you something. These people are coming here legally and illegally and they have money and they are looking to spend it. If you can go and teach yourself their language, you can serve them. You can make money from them, with them. I’ve got a lot of friends in the mobile home park space who are like, “I can’t find good contractors.” “Go learn Spanish.” That’s because for the most part, when you find one that are legal and you need to make sure that they are legal and they’re not breaking the law, but you find them and a lot of them are completely legal born in the United States but for whatever reason, never learned English. You can go and meet these people. If you go to the local restaurante, Iglesias, handout flyers and meet the maestras.
Even in your mobile home park, you could find many of them that are living there that are looking for side jobs too, side hustles and they can be the maintenance guy for you and all that. How many of your lots have you converted into storage when they’re vacant like that? Have you thought about converting any of them into storage?
We’ve had more than one property that had self-storage in it. We’ve looked at storage. The one thing that we’ve realized, however, is the more complicated you make your business, the trickier it gets. What we do is we take vacant land and we give back with it. On my website, I have a whole video series where I talk about things you can do with your vacant land. You can do things like free food giveaways, install playgrounds, put up soccer goals, basketball, all sorts of stuff to get kids outside and doing things besides watching a TV screen. We’ve done little mini-concerts. We’ve paired up with the local churches to do little mini-concerts. There are Zumba classes. We’ve taught Zumba classes. We constantly look for ways to give value to our residents. The reason being is, if you are here, you are paying and you are following my rules, I have every reason in the world to keep you as happy as possible. I keep you here because turnover is expensive and risky.
I love that you’re doing that as well. That brings me to one of the things that you were talking about. I was trying to find your comments on it about being able to chase your dreams and get back to charity and do those things. That you’re doing obviously in the confines of your mobile home parks, but what are you doing outside of that? Where is that joy for you now in being able to give back to other communities or other foundations and associations and establish your own?
I’m a jack of all trades master of none with charity. What I’ve discovered over the years of trying to help charity is that if you can pick one and do it well, it’s better than doing eight million things and see what sticks. I’ll give you a good example. I started a partial college scholarship for the residents in my community. It was the most amazing thing writing the first acceptance letter to an application that I did earlier in 2019. That was one of my favorite moments of 2019. That being said, next to no one took me up on that. It’s mind-boggling to me. We also offer to pay for college applications because college app is $100 however much. If your lot rent is $300 and your kid wants to apply to three schools, that’s $300. That’s literally your rent for the month. We have offered that and we’ve yet to have anyone take us up on it.
I wonder why that is.
We’ve got a bunch of people we want to partner up with to do free financial literacy classes. The thing that I’ve realized the hard way is that the most popular event that we’ve ever done has been a free food giveaway. It comes back to assumptions, so you assume as someone that isn’t a middle-class person like myself that if you were in a situation where you needed affordable housing, you would be fighting every day to escape that need. You’d want to get back up to the middle class. How you would do that is things like a college education. The thing is you think differently and because you think differently, you make assumptions differently. You assume that they want certain things that they don’t.
We found that free food giveaways have by far and away been the best. The stories you get out of that are amazing. When you meet these folks face-to-face, whether they speak English or Spanish, the stories and the relationships that you make are absolutely otherworldly. It makes tough days, which I experience all the time, really bearable because I’m doing things like partnering with PayLease so people can literally build their credit while they pay rent. Think about that. If you’ve ever rented from someone or an apartment complex, every rent pay, it’s not like a mortgage where it builds your credit every time you pay a mortgage to help build your credit.
One of my residents, Pablo, came to my office and his English is not so great. I helped him set up his PayLease account and it’s $3 every time you pay. We’re using a bank account through PayLease. I helped him set up the credit builder. We enter the Social Security and all that stuff. I set it up for him and now he can build his credit. He came to me because he couldn’t navigate it because unfortunately, there’s not a Spanish option that of. Those moments are amazing. I’m not selling anything. I’m not raising any funds. The reason why I wanted to come on and speak with you, Jen, is to help inspire others to find that in their lives.
Whatever that is that makes them feel good. It’s funny about people in mobile home parks because a lot of people think trailer trash and all that, but it is more of a community than it is with apartments. They prefer to live in mobile homes than they do apartments. It was very shocking for me to hear that was more important, “I’d rather be in a mobile home than I am in an apartment building.” With that said, what’s going on with the market right now with mobile home parks in the United States if we have a shortage of housing? Is it saturated? If someone said “I like listening to what Ryan had to say. I’d like to learn more.” Is it oversaturated? Is this something that we’re making an “assumption” is oversaturated so it seems I’m not going to do it when I could be making the assumption that there are a lot of opportunities still left?
First and foremost, I want to say, is it oversaturated? Absolutely. That being said, do not use that as an excuse not to go and look and see if it is a good fit for you. The reason why I say that is if you ever read the book, Blue Ocean, everyone wants to chase a blue ocean but the one thing that a red ocean provides you is that you know there’s a market there. Is it oversaturated? Do I get outbid all the time on properties? Yes. People are overpaying left and right for things, especially at the peak of a cycle and economy. That’s prime for a recession at some point. Is it oversaturated? Yes, but here’s the thing. If you self-assess like I did hard, you know who you are at heart and what’s going to make you happy, don’t use that as an excuse not to go and chase your dreams. If anything, be excited that there’s a strong market for it.
The thing about affordable housing right now is there’s an extremely low supply and there’s extremely high demand. It is a very difficult product to do wrong if you are a student of the game. If you are learning, if you are coachable, if you’re willing to make mistakes, if you’re willing to risk your own money, it is a wonderful time right now to be an owner. If you want to know more about mobile home parks, my podcast is Mobile Home Parks In Real Life. I stress the in real-life portion, I strip out the hype story. I tell you the good, the bad and the ugly about the industry. The reason why is because we have been plagued with slumlords.The better you are at making assumptions, the more deals that are in front of your face that you won't miss on. Click To Tweet
If I can help combat the want-to-be slumlords and dissuade them from coming into space because we’re subjected to these ridiculous hype stories where, “It’s easy, it’s lucrative, no one’s doing it and it’s an easy thing to get involved with.” What does a slumlord want? They want high returns and no work. If I can be a “thought leader” and expect nothing in return, give away all my secrets for free, but in exchange, I am helping shape the way people think about these so I can dissuade slumlords, invite and give good people who want to own mobile home parks, the tools they need to be successful to help me fight slumlords, sign me up. I don’t need a penny in return.
When you think back on everything that’s gone on, what is the biggest lesson you’ve learned? It doesn’t have to be negative. It can be positive too. What’s the biggest lesson that you have learned over the years as you have now embarked in some new avenues? I want people who are reading and saying, “I do want to have an exit strategy at some point in my career.” Maybe they’re starting and it’ll be 30 years from now like it was for me, but they’re at the end of it and they are saying, “I want to do maybe not mobile homes, but anything.” They’re concerned about taking that risk.
Besides the assumptions piece that I talked about, if you don’t love it, you’re going to quit. Do not delude yourself, you will quit. You need to know yourself extremely well to know what you will enjoy today and tomorrow. If you do not love it, you are going to quit like The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson. He says, “No matter what lot you get in life, there’s going to be a pile of crap that you’re going to have to deal with. The good news is you get to pick what pile of crap you get to deal with.” I can tell you, we could do multiple episodes on the ridiculous things I have to go through from having my life threatened, to checking the wrong box and having the IRS harass me, people asking for money and all the ridiculous things that I have to deal with.
Here’s the thing, I absolutely thoroughly love what I do. I feel like I have meaning and purpose in what I do. It’s more than just about me getting a paycheck, money or escape my job. I have a goal that is bigger than me and I love what I do. I look back on my life because I’ve tried a lot of things. I got my Black Belt in Isshin-Ryū karate and my goal was to get a Black Belt. As soon as I got my Black Belt, I’m confident. I never went to a class again after I got my Black Belt. The reason why is because I’m an overachiever. I set a goal. As soon as I hit the goal, I was done. There was nothing else to do. I didn’t truly love it to the point where I’d get my 3rd degree Black Belt, my 5th degree Black Belt. It’s the same thing with starting a business. If you’re chasing it because you hate your job, you’re chasing it for the wrong reason. You need to be chasing it because you love it. It took me years to find my mobile home parks. It’s going to take you years if you haven’t already found what it is that you love. I will tell you, it is the best thing in the world to know the answer to, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” The answer is whatever you truly love.
I love that you’re talking about this because one of my coaches, Steve Olsher, wrote a book called What Is Your WHAT? It’s a great book. He talks about the difference between your ‘why,’ because everyone talks about you have to know what your ‘why’ is. He’s a believer that you choose your ‘why’ but you don’t choose your ‘what.’ Your ‘what’ is in your DNA. It’s not passion because my passion is dancing, but I can’t necessarily make money doing dancing. For me, I can’t make money doing dancing. What is my passion is what is my what? What is the thing that comes very easy to me? It gets back to the hedgehog theory of do what you love to do, what you’re excellent at, and do what financially makes sense for you. All three of those have to happen and if one is missing, it all falls apart. That’s a great thing to talk about as well. I want to ask you, what book are you reading or listening to? What is your favorite quote that you would like to leave with the readers?
I am about to finish up Extreme Ownership, a fantastic book about responsibility and it’s by a group of Navy Seals. I’m also reading Ray Dalio’s Principles, which is awesome. I love that. I’m about halfway done with that one. I’m listening to that, reading that. I’m a son of the college professor like I mentioned earlier, I’m always going to be pro-learning. I’m always trying to learn and I will learn something on the day that I pass away one day inevitably.
I’m a life learner as well. What’s a favorite quote of yours?
I’ve given some of my favorite quotes so far, but my all-time favorite quote is from Oscar Wilde where he says, “If you want to tell someone the truth, make them laugh. Otherwise, they’ll kill you.” I love that quote and I’ll tell you why. It’s because one beautiful thing that the book, Extreme Ownership, talks about is you want to take 100% of responsibility for everything. The reason being is because you want to eliminate the need for people to have their ego get in the way of decision making. The beautiful thing about Oscar Wilde is the beautiful thing about humor is you can tell people some deep, dark, awful things about themselves that they may or may not know, but it’s not so bad because it’s funny. In other words, as a Psychology major, undergrad and someone who’s obsessed with it, the quicker you can circumvent the delusions and stories we tell ourselves and get to the truth so you can build on a foundation of reality, the better and humor is a magical tool in your toolbox to achieve that.
We’ll leave it on that note and hopefully, everybody’s laughing. I don’t know of it but it’s good. I do think it’s important not to take everything so serious. That’s something that I’ve always said is like, “I’m not going to take myself that seriously. I’m goofy and I screw up names and that’s okay.” It becomes one of the reasons why people don’t take risks and choose to stay in their careers forever and ever, don’t have a side hustle and a plan for exiting. Everyone, you’ve all been reading for years. I’m definitely not telling you to leave your business because just as you were explaining, Ryan, about the love of what you’re doing, I had that love for the mortgage business as well.
I have problems and I dealt with stuff I didn’t want to deal with, but at least I was in that business, in a business that I knew was serving people and getting them homes. That stayed with me for so many years. I’m not saying doing that, but I’m saying get yourself prepared so that when the time comes, you can do it on your terms, not on someone else’s terms, and learn as much as you can. I appreciate you sharing what you’ve done with your career, with your love, what is your ‘what’ and sharing it with us. If anyone wants to get ahold of you, what is the best way for them to reach you if they want to explore a little bit more about what you’ve talked about?
As I mentioned earlier, I am not selling anything. I’m not raising any money. I am here to inspire you so then you, like me, will go out and help make the world a better place. My life goal is to make the world better because I was in it for the brief time that I was here. As 2Pac said, I am not hard to find. To my knowledge, I am the only Ryan Narus in the world.
Thank goodness. That would be easy.
LinkedIn is by far and away the best place to reach me. Set up a time, we’ll set up a call. If you’re in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, reach out to me, we’ll grab a cup of coffee. I don’t care if you never give me anything. If I can help you and then you will go out and help others, sign me up. I don’t need a thing in return.
Thank you so much. What a great gift to our audience. Hopefully, everyone realizes how wonderful that is. I want to say thank you, Ryan, for joining us and giving us as much wisdom as you possibly can in this particular realm and the timeframe that we had here. It was definitely worth the time. I got several nuggets out of it. I’ve been taking notes copiously and writing notes about questions. Thank you so much for your time. I surely appreciate it.
I was honored to be here. Thanks for having me.
- The Archimedes Group
- Car Deal Hacks
- Blue Ocean
- Mobile Home Parks In Real Life
- The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck
- What Is Your WHAT?
- Extreme Ownership
- LinkedIn – Ryan Narus
- Become a Member MLMMembership
- Book your Business Breakthrough Session with Jen
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About Ryan Narus
I am a double graduate of Wake Forest University with an undergrad in Psychology & Statistics and an MBA. I’m a self made real estate entrepreneur who owns and operates 10 Mobile Home Parks spanning ~1,245 units. But here’s the thing: I started with nothing. No money. No experience. No network. I was a 20 something with way more student loan debt than actual capital to invest in deals. I’m just a normal dude. The only thing that makes me different is that I refused to quit. And I was willing to sacrifice, and take bold action. I found creative ways to make money while I scaled my business up. I was stuck in Corporate America. I escaped. And I want to help others too.
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