Insider Secrets Podcast Episode #80

Featuring Guest: Mark Dolfini

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Guest Bio:

Episode 80 guest Mark Dolfini

Mark Dolfini is a veteran of the U.S. Marines and the author of three real estate books. Most notably, The Judge: A Landlord’s Tale, released in the summer of 2018. His much-anticipated 3rd book, The Time-Wealthy Investor 2.0, was recently released in January, 2019, which teaches the exclusive VIP Method of how to create a real estate business focused on Life-Output. It became #1 Amazon Bestseller in March of that same year.
He received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting at Purdue University, and worked for Marriott before venturing out full-time in the world of real estate investing. He is the Owner and Managing Broker of a property management company based out of Lafayette where he oversees the combined ownership and management of $40 million in real estate assets. He is also the founder of Landlord Coach, a real estate investor training company, and sits on numerous boards including the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana, the National Federation of Independent Business, and is a Training Director for the Central Indiana BNI Franchise – a networking organization.

He spends his free time pistol shooting and kayaking and lives in Lafayette, Indiana where he and his wife Jennifer are raising their two sons, Leland and Logan.


Episode 80 Mark Dolfini
Key Takeaways
You need to have a deliberate and intentional plan with what kind of life you want and find a career that aligns with that.
College isn’t the only answer, learn things on your own and educate yourself in many different ways. 
Research and educate yourself before investing/buying property, Don’t create a low paying job for yourself by accident. 
There’s no investment where you are totally disengaged from it, communicate and create a system that keeps you in the loop.
Try not to lose your identity in worldly things, work, and money. Put time wealth and time freedom in your calendar. 
Identify your limiting beliefs about yourself and your life and try to counteract them. 
Standout Quotes
“You have to be deliberate about what it is that you’re trying to accomplish first and foremost.”- Mark
“That’s really when my education really started, because I made about every possible mistake a person can make in the rental business.”- Mark
“Did you get into this business to create a $15 an hour job for yourself? God, I hope not. If so, you’re never going to be wealthy and you’re certainly not going to be time-wealthy.”- Mark
“How much is your time worth? When I was in the real estate sales business, I knew that I was worth $258 an hour. I knew that. So for me to go and do something for $20, didn’t make sense.”- Mike
“I had limiting beliefs behind money, behind success. I actually had a fear of success for a while, I was like “who in the world would be afraid of success?” I didn’t realize that fear of success is actually fear of loss.”- Mark
“If you’re the guy out there cutting the grass and shoveling the snow, you’re working in your business, not on your business. You got to work on your business” -Mike
“ I remember very distinctly, “thank God I’m done with college so I don’t ever have to read another book again.” That was the most ignorant thing I ever could have said.” -Mark
“What I understand today I did on my own, I learned on my own, I learned from people around me, but I think it’s critical that you have that little education upfront.” -Mike
“it wasn’t until I got a better relationship with my God, that I could really truly own this stuff.” -Mark
[01:36] Introduction to guest, Mark Dolfini.
[02:09] One word that describes Mark.
[03:43] Beginning of Mark’s career.
[05:45] Working in your business vs. on your business. 
[07:03] How much is your time worth?
[08:24] Fear of success is actually fear of loss. 
[09:24] Mark’s time in the hospital.
[11:23] Mark starts to take back control over his life.
[13:18] College education in finance vs. learning on your own. 
[16:27] The defining moment in Mark’s life.
[19:15] A discussion of Mike & Mark’s faiths.
[21:48] Mark talks about his books, The Time Wealthy Investor and The Judge.
[25:21] Mark talks about landlording and decision making in your business. 
[27:10] Making highstake decisions. 
[28:24] Bonus question round.
[30:23] How to get ahold of Mark.
[30:49] Closing remarks. 


[00:00:03] Kristen: Welcome to this edition of insider secrets, the weekly podcast that turns real estate investing goals into reality. Each show we interview guests who are seasoned real estate professionals, actively closing and managing real estate deals. Mike is the founder of my core intentions and would like to help you make your real estate investing dreams a reality.

[00:00:26] Mike coaches you to buy investment real estate, creating short-term cashflow and long-term wealth, your host and real estate coach. Mike Morawski has more than 30 years of real estate investing and property management experience. Here’s your host, Mike.

[00:00:43] Mike Morawski: Hey everybody, good afternoon. It is Mike, your host of Insider Secrets brought to you by My Core Intentions. The question I ask every week is what are your intentions?

[00:00:53] You know what did you wake up with this morning in your mind and how are you going to use that to move your life and your business forward? I don’t believe any of us grows professionally until we grow personally.

[00:01:03] I’m excited today about our guest, I’m joined by Mark Dolfini. Mark, you want to say hi real quick.

[00:01:07] Mark Dolfini: Hello, thanks for having me, it’s good to see ya.

[00:01:09] Mike Morawski: I’m glad that you’re here, Mark. Before I get into Mark’s bio, I just want to do a little housekeeping. Wherever you hang out on social media, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter: like us, love us, and follow us. We’re bringing you a ton of content every week, all the time. Great minds, I like to say I interview people that are smarter than me. I bring content to the table for you so that you learn. So make sure you’re following us and liking us on all those platforms, whether it’s me personally or My Core Intentions.

[00:01:38] Mark Dolfini is a veteran of the U.S.Marines, Mark, thanks for your service. Mark’s the author of 3 books, he’s a coach, he hosts a mastermind. His approach of combining personal coaching and group coaching helps foster communities and accountability for small to medium-sized business owners. One of the things Mark and I talked about before the show was about time management and how to structure your day, how to structure your time. I want to get into that. Mark, every one of my guests I ask this question because I think that this really starts to dictate who the person is. In one word, describe who you are personally and professionally, what would that be?

[00:02:15] Mark Dolfini: Deliberate.

[00:02:16] Mike Morawski: Deliberate. Wow. that’s a good one. 80 podcasts in, I don’t know that I’ve had anybody say deliberate. I like that.

[00:02:22] Mark Dolfini: I didn’t even have to hesitate about that answer because I’m very deliberate about my use of time. It’s funny, when you write a book called the Time Wealthy Investor, people naturally think that you’re a time management expert and I’m not. I struggle with all the distractions that everybody else does, but you have to be deliberate about what it is that you’re trying to accomplish first and foremost. It’s rare that I do something that doesn’t have some other angle towards what it is I’m trying to accomplish. So yeah, delibrate is definitely a word that I own.

[00:02:50] Mike Morawski: It’s interesting what you just said about what everybody else struggles with. We all have this ‘shiny object syndrome.’ I actually heard Elon Musk on a podcast say that even he struggles with not being able to stay focused or intentional at times on projects and things he’s trying to do. He said that all entrepreneurs are like that, if you’re not, you’re probably not really the best entrepreneur. So I really liked to always leave it to my guests, to really talk about who they are and what they’re about. Mark, just fill in the gaps for us. Tell us your backstory, how you wound up in this crazy real estate world.

[00:03:23] Mark Dolfini: Thanks for having the show, because I think that shows like this are exactly what people need, for not just the tactical ‘how to do the thing’, but why they’re doing it. What’s this all about? Why are they doing this thing in the first place? It’s great to have this passive income coming in, but for what end? To do what? That’s the question that I had to come to learn, that was the real question for me. Is why am I doing this all in the first place?

[00:03:45] I found the answer after a very long, hard road of getting through roughly $6 million worth of real estate that evaporated almost overnight. Beginning of my professional career, I joined the Marine Corps, I graduated the top 98% of my class in high school. So if you’re doing the math, you realize that’s not very good. I was absolutely the worst kid in school and I just figured out all I had to do was pass math, gym, and English and actually graduate. I actually failed my senior year in high school.

[00:04:14] Graduating at the top 98% of your class is not something that you should be aspiring to, but the reason I say that is because this is it’s not about intelligence. It’s not about information, it’s about determination and just learning the things that you need to do that is going to get you there. Even if you feel like you’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer, trust me, this Marine is not all that brilliant, but I can make it work. Joined the Marine Corps and bounced around the world for a few years, decided that there had to be a better life, and I was right.

[00:04:39] I loved the Marine Corps, but it was time to get out. Got out, got accepted to Purdue, went to school there. I ended up with a degree in accounting and while I was in school, I started buying some rental properties. So by the time I got out of school I learned how the banks thought, I learned how the banks were underwriting loans. And understanding how they made loans, I was able to figure out how to buy property sometimes with hardly any money out of pocket.

[00:05:04] As a result, I’ve managed to get about a half million dollars worth of real estate before I graduated from school. That’s really when my education really started, because I made about every possible mistake a person can make in the rental business. Fast forward to 2008, I’m able to build a rental portfolio of about $6 million worth of real estate through a hodgepodge of creative financing and wheeling and dealing. In 2008 that’s when things took a turn for the worst.

[00:05:29] Mike Morawski: So you were a victim of 2008 yourself?

[00:05:32] Mark Dolfini: It was one of those things where from the outside in, looking at me, I was absolutely crushing it. I had 92 rental properties. I was bringing in about $65,000 a month. Now, granted, they were all leveraged, but it wasn’t just the fact that they were all financially leveraged, but I was over leveraged in my time.

[00:05:48] Every little job that came on, whether it was, ‘oh I’ll just do the mowing for that property. It won’t take me, but a little bit. I can just run over there and mow it real fast.’ While all of those little jobs just stacked one on top of another, until there was just this mountain of work to do that no one person should have even tried to do. When I was doing $9 an hour work, I hadn’t realized that was what I was paying myself and there was no way in the world that I could do all of the work. I don’t mean any disrespect to my fellow rental housing provider brethren out there, my fellow landlords, but we tend to be a little on the cheap side. Where we want to “I’ll just do it myself and save the 150 bucks it’s going to cost to clean it.” Did you get into this business to create a $15 an hour job for yourself? God, I hope not. If so, you’re never going to be wealthy and you’re certainly not going to be time wealthy.

[00:06:39] That was when it got real clear for me when that $65,000 a month, the 2008 recession came along. $65,000 a month went to $30,000 a month and I burned through whatever cash that I had in about 40 days. I was able to turn that $6 million portfolio to about $1,000,005 in about 8 months. I would love to say that I’ve had all these successes and everything I touched turned into gold, but no, my story was far different because it got real, real bad.

[00:07:05] Mike Morawski: Couple of things I want to unpack one is, I think that it’s easy for a real estate investor for a manager, “hey, it’s not going to take me that long. I’m just going to go do this myself. Let me run over there and shovel the snow. I’ll cut the grass. I’ll be done. I’ll be home in a couple hours. Before you know it’s longer than a couple hours.” How much is your time worth? When I was in the real estate sales business, I knew that I was worth $258 an hour. I knew that. So for me to go and do something for $20, didn’t make sense. So I appreciate that you’re talking about that because I think people need to understand that, listen to that.

[00:07:40] Mark Dolfini: To your point, it comes down to opportunity costs where there is an absolute, real cost. It wasn’t the $258 an hour that you weren’t working, you were actually costing yourself $238 an hour to do that $20 an hour job. For those of you who are making $100,000 a year, you’re making $50 an hour, per working hour. If you’re doing $12 an hour work, it doesn’t take long to figure out the math that you’re going to go broke when you’re worth $50 an hour. When I made the shift over to doing real estate investing full time, it got a little bit more tricky to try to figure out what my billable hour was. I was like what do I want it to be? Do I want it to be, $200-300 an hour? Is that where I should be?

[00:08:18] I had limiting beliefs behind money, behind success. I actually had a fear of success for awhile, which I was like “who the world would be afraid of success?” I didn’t realize that fear of success is actually fear of loss. Then I started researching that and understanding all these things about limiting beliefs and all this other head trash that I had. I had set myself up for failure long before I had ever even bought my first property.

[00:08:40] I feel like you’ve got to get that head space right in the first place, before you ever try to buy or make any sort of investment whatsoever.

[00:08:46] Mike Morawski: Talk about that fear of success, that fear of loss piece there for a minute, because I think that’s really important. People need to understand that.

[00:08:54] Mark Dolfini: Let me go back to my story real quick and it’ll tie into into what that looks like. Cause I’d lost $4,500,000 worth of real estate. If that weren’t bad enough, having my name in the foreclosure notices every week. As I’m losing more and more properties, banks were foreclosing on me, I didn’t have enough money to pay my water bill and my light bill. Just absolutely humbling.

[00:09:12] Then to make matters worse, of course I’m stuck on stupid. So I just kept working, trying to get caught up. I have a good work ethic, so I figured I’ll just work harder. I’ll work more hours, there’s 16 hours a day, I would work 20 hours a day. Of course it doesn’t take long for that to catch up with you and I get end up getting a cold. The really sad thing is that cold turned into double pneumonia and I almost died in the hospital.

[00:09:33] There I am laying in this hospital and the hospitalist comes in and says,” people who look like you don’t lay on hospital beds like this. You really need to take a look at your life and see what’s going on.” That’s what I wrote about in the Time Wealthy Investor 2.0 is the VIP method, the vision infrastructure process method. First and foremost, I had to have a vision for what it was I was trying to accomplish. It came to me in this swirl of all this other stuff that was coming around, I was laying there in the bed and this nurse comes in.

[00:09:59] First day and she has a needle, she says,” I need to give you a shot in the stomach.” I said, “you need to work on your marketing. No, you’re not, what’s this shot for?” She says you’re going to be laying in bed for the next couple of days and we don’t want you to get clots in your legs. We’re going to give you Coumadin, thin out the blood.” I said, “okay the thing you got me hooked up to is on wheels. I can get out of bed. I could walk with that thing.” She’s looking at me, like I’m asking her to explain long division and she’s like, “oh, okay, I guess so.” So she takes her needle and she goes away.

[00:10:34] The next person comes in and with another needle and she says, “I gotta give you some insulin because your blood sugar is getting jacked around.” I said, “why? No. Where’s my blood sugar at? Where does it need to be?” She tells me. I said, “all right, how about I just don’t eat sugar or carbs today. If it’s still too high tomorrow, you can give me a shot. How about that?” She goes, “okay.” So she takes her needle and she goes away.

[00:10:52] So you remember Michael Gerber in the E-Myth right?

[00:10:55] Mike Morawski: Absolutely.

[00:10:56] Mark Dolfini: Foundational book, wonderful book. If some of your listeners are younger, I would highly recommend that you read it. It’s a very good book. Foundational for how to set up the idea of creating a franchise model for your business, even if you don’t pretend to franchise it. The franchise model offers extreme consistency in the product and the outcome. Great idea. So having read that recently, and of course that’s swirling around my head, everybody’s telling me I need to hire help, everybody says, ” you got to have a system. You’ve got to have a system.” But I didn’t know what that meant. So I started trying to gather all the things that were going wrong with my life and tried to put them in whatever buckets were appropriate.

[00:11:30] I came up with three different buckets, and the first bucket was process. Like everything was in my head, everything was in my head, whoever called that’s who got the attention. I didn’t have any systematic way of approaching anything other than who was yelling the loudest. There’s no infrastructure. There was no software, no desks, no chairs, no computer systems, no laptops, no phones. My phone system looked like this, so people called all hours of the day or night on my cellphone. I had no processes, I had no infrastructure for a business. Then, fundamentally, I really didn’t have any vision for what I was trying to accomplish in the first place. What was I trying to do this for? So I think it’s important to understand that aspect of knowing what it is I’m trying to accomplish before I get out of bed in the morning.

[00:12:13] When I wrote the book, that’s why I came up with the VIP method because you gotta know. Vision is just strictly about what is it you want? What is it you’re trying to accomplish? When you know what you’re trying to accomplish, then you can reverse engineer a business that delivers that vision for you. If you want to lay on the beach, rubbing cocoa butter on your belly, that’s great, that’s a good vision. Then you can design an infrastructure and process that delivers that for you.

[00:12:34] Mike Morawski: It’s better than shot’s, cocoa butter.

[00:12:38] Mark Dolfini: Way better than shots in the belly. That’s right, cocoa butter.

[00:12:42] Mike Morawski: So you mentioned a couple of really interesting things. First of all, Michael Gerber’s book, I loved that book. I’ve read it a few times over the years. If you’re the guy out there cutting the grass and shoveling the snow, you’re working in your business, not on your business. You got to work on your business. He says, “most entrepreneurs are technicians and if you’re a carpenter, you’d be better off going and open a veterinarian clinic because you don’t know anything about working on animals. You have to force yourself to learn how to run a business.”

[00:13:11] That’s what always stuck with me. What you said about the franchise model is so critically important. I want to back up, you mentioned something about you got an education in finance. One of the things I talk about with education is I’m not a huge advocate on college and I didn’t go to college, but if I had it to do all over again, I would’ve went back and got a couple of years of finance just to understand more. What I understand today I did on my own, I learned on my own, I learned from people around me, but I think it’s critical that you have that little education upfront. How do you feel about that?

[00:13:41] Mark Dolfini: It’s interesting because we’ve got two boys at home that are 13 and 15, so they already know everything. So, as parents, we’re done because you already know it all. That’s easy. Kidding aside, they’re getting to that age where they’re going to start to think about college and I’m not a 100% sure that’s the right path for them. Everybody knows that college isn’t for everybody, I can tell you how ill prepared I was for business coming out of a business school. It wasn’t until I took that to the next level. Why wasn’t I taught about insurance in school? Why wasn’t I taught about just even simple things? Even like just personal finance stuff, how credit cards work, how debit cards work, how does the ACH system work?

[00:14:18] I had to literally take time and peel all this back and educate myself. I remember very distinctly, “thank God I’m done with college so I don’t ever have to read another book again.” That was the most ignorant thing I ever could have said. Now, I think I’ve probably read 30 books this year, give or take. But it’s not just about reading them, I read them and then I pour back through them and I let the book transform me and then I study it again. Then I put it aside and then I go back through another book that I’ve read and I really study. So it’s not just about reading, it’s about studying. That can be done in a lot of different ways outside of the university system.

[00:14:53] In terms of the finance stuff that you’re talking about, everything application-wise, I could have learned easily on my own, through a book or a seminar or something like that. There’s just some people who’ve put an awful lot of money and time into education. Now I will say this, the one thing that the university system does bring is structure. There’s just some people that will never be able to learn, they’re not disciplined enough unless they’re in that structured environment. That I completely and totally respect. So in that particular case, you could always get that from someone like you or I who can teach them that inside that structure. But without that structure, sometimes people just don’t have the ability to actually be disciplined and do it.

[00:15:29] Mike Morawski: Yeah, I agree a lot with what you’re saying, I think it’s so important. Like I said, I didn’t go to college, I’ve read 1500 books over the last 30 years. It’s all been business books and biographies and some Christian stuff, some, relationship stuff, but mostly business. That’s where I got that footing, that foundation and I’ve built a number of businesses over the years. So I think it becomes a knowledge-based type situation. My son right now is deciding, ” am I going to college? Am I not going to college?” And here’s the one thing that I think college does that I don’t have, or I didn’t get in my life, which is that networking aspect. The relationships that you build in college with people that will last a lifetime. I look at some of my friends who have those relationships with guys that do deals together with, they network with, they still go on a golf trip every year and they’ve been out of school for 30 years.

[00:16:19] So there’s that one piece of college that high school doesn’t give you, at that higher education. I think people have to make that decision on their own though. Here’s what I want to know, for you, what was the defining moment in your life? $6 million worth of real estate evaporate, was that a defining moment? Was it laying in the hospital bed? What really was it for you that made a shift in who you are today?

[00:16:40] Mark Dolfini: Earlier on, I would’ve probably said that moment where it was like my whole life was circling the bowl as I’m sitting in the hospital bed. You mentioned reading Christian books and that’s something that I hadn’t really done until recently, but finding a true relationship with God for me was it was really true.

[00:16:57] I will tell you, I am horrible at plenty of things. Horrible. My wife will happily tell you all the things that I’m terrible about. I still don’t know does the lid go up or down? I thought I was doing right for years and apparently I’ve been doing it wrong for years. Plenty of things that I do wrong. I am a great teacher. I’m a great coach. These are two things I absolutely can own because for years I wasn’t great at it. Part of the reason why I had these limiting beliefs by not saying things like “Mark, what are you great at?”

[00:17:26] I’m like I know I’m great at a couple of things and I really do own this, but it wasn’t until I got a better relationship with my God, that I could really truly own this stuff. That walk’s been fairly new, even though I went to church for years and grew up in it, but that intentional shift for me was like, “hey, wait a minute. I really am good at this.” The reason that I know that I’m good at this is because I started getting really intentional and really use my word ‘deliberate’ about where I wanted to go and what it was that I want to do. It had nothing to do with real estate. Nothing to do with real estate.

[00:17:57] So when people are like, “oh, I love real estate. I love it so much.” I’m like, “really? You love it, you would literally put real estate in front of your friends and family?” And they do, this isn’t judgment, this is confession. I was that guy for years and years, and using some of the best years of my life chasing my own tail.

[00:18:18] So it wasn’t until I got real intentional about that, that it started to shift for me. I sat down and because I had so much freedom on my calendar after I rebuilt and realized all the things that puked up on me and started getting really clear about what it was that I wanted to accomplish. Sat down and wrote my first book, which was the Time Wealthy Investor, which was the first one. You can skip the first one, the 2.0 version is the one you want, it’s just an updated version.

[00:18:40] After I got really intentional about what it was that I was trying to accomplish and Hey, look, I really want to teach, I really want to coach people to get to better. So they’re not winding up in a hospital bed and some of those people might not get out of the hospital bed. I don’t want that for anybody. I missed too many life events, there’s good friends of mine that passed away that I couldn’t have closure with because I couldn’t afford to get away. My wife and I, last couple of years, we were not in a great place, if I didn’t have time wealth and time freedom on my calendar, I’m not sure that we would have made it. Too many missed baseball games, too many missed opportunities, and that’s why I feel so called to do this coaching and teaching now. Long way to answer that question, but yeah.

[00:19:16] Mike Morawski: It’s a great answer and I appreciate that answer. I’m a Christian I have a very strong relationship with my Lord, Jesus, so I’m glad that came up. I don’t necessarily push it or push it out there. But I have a history of doing great things, building a very successful company, and my identity being in all the wrong things. This is exactly what you’re talking about. It was in how many apartments I own, how many people work for me, how many businesses I had. And I lost it all in 2008, I wound up in prison, and I’m home and rebuilding my life. As a result of that, God said, “Hey, I want your attention.” Today my identity is in him and that goes to the coaching thing: how do I help other people? That’s what I love to do, but I love to help my kids more and I love to help my ex-wife more. Those are the things that are important so thanks for bringing it up.

[00:20:01] Mark Dolfini: Absolutely, awesome. I would be inauthentic to who I am now, if I didn’t talk about my walk with God and my relationship with Christ. Honestly it goes into my coaching. Don’t beat people over the head with ” you should pray more.” No, you got to go to where they are because I wasn’t there several years ago. Once I got real intentional about that and that walk, then all of a sudden I was just seeing opportunities. You think your ideas are your own? Come on man. No, that wasn’t yours, you may get to own it, but it really wasn’t yours. It’s so funny when you look at how close prayer, meditation, affirmation, and ideas, all the things that come from our subconscious mind, it’s all very interrelated and you can’t get away from it.

[00:20:40] Mike Morawski: Some people call it the universe, but for me, it’s Jesus.

[00:20:43] Mark Dolfini: 100%. Yeah.

[00:20:44] Mike Morawski: My prayer today is “Lord, when I walk into a room, let people see you, not me. I want to be insignificant and I want you to be significant.” When people say, “are you a Christian?” Then I know that I’m close and I’m there.

[00:20:57] Mark Dolfini: You’re better than I am, cause sometimes it’s really hard when people come up to you and say, “man your presentation really changed me.” Of course here I am feeling significant, and man it’s so hard for me at times. Cause I want to take that credit cause I worked my ass off. I wanna get the credit, but sometimes it’s just not appropriate cause it really is all from him.

[00:21:15] Mike Morawski: I get that and this is about you, but I have to tell this story. 2008 or 2009, I’m sitting in church, my wife and I are sitting there. I say hi to somebody behind me, turn around. His wife leans over and says, “who was that?” He goes, “oh, that’s the CEO of XYZ company.” Right away, I went, man, do I feel good about that. There’s my identity, there’s who I am. That’s BS, right? Because that’s not who I am, today, I know who I am. I appreciate you bringing that up. Let’s dig into a couple of things here. I know we said we’re gonna only talk for 30 minutes or so, but I enjoy this and I’m enjoying getting to know you a little more. How about let’s talk about your books. I know you have three books, why don’t you talk about those a little bit?

[00:21:55] Mark Dolfini: So the first book, if you want to send more money to Jeff Bezos, you can do that and get them on Amazon. But if you want to go to my website, the first book I wrote was the Time Wealthy Investor and the updated version is the Time Wealthy Investor 2.0, just go to It’s not hard to find. All I ask is just pay shipping and I’ll send it out to you. I’ll even sign it so the book will pretty much be worthless because you won’t even be able to give it away at that point. That book was foundational and I still get people who call me often and say, “man, why is no one writing books like this?” The reason I wrote the book very much inspired by Tim Ferriss of the 4-Hour Workweek, Michael Gerber’s E-Myth, lots of other books that I had read in the past. It was missing the mark that it was always focused on the tactic and not the overall strategy of what is it you’re trying to accomplish?

[00:22:40] For me, that vision infrastructure process method, isn’t just because VIP makes it sound good. I use the VIP method in every single business I have and I’m in 7 different businesses. I’m in them, I’m not running them, they are running around me, they are running, but none of the information has to flow through me. As I’m looking at the vision infrastructure process method, I’m like “hey, is this business still in my vision?” And my vision is to have a closer relationship with my God, to have a closer relationship with my gal, to have a closer relationship with my sons, and so forth. That’s what this book is really about. So it starts about the vision infrastructure process method, and then it does get into the nuts and bolts of the infrastructure and processes that you will need to have a, let’s call it self running property management business, for the buy and hold investor.

[00:23:21] The second one is The Judge. The judge is really more of just a fun book that I wrote. If you’ve ever read the One Minute Manager or any of his books, Who Stole My Cheese? I got the idea of writing a book like that, like a fable. Usually I use it as a giveaway when I’m speaking to a REIA group or something, but that book was written like A Christmas Story? This guy was visited by a judge and he was told that he was going to be visited by three people, this is a guy who was a middle manager working his tail off. He did what I refer to as ‘under time’, when you steal time from your employer to handle your own personal crap. He would step out in the hallway and take calls and he felt like his coworkers were just jealous of his success, cause he had, a dozen rental properties or whatever. Then he got visited by this judge who is now working for a much higher calling, much higher court. He got visited by 3 entities that day, which was the ghost of tenants past, present, and future. So it was fun. It was a fun write. I enjoyed writing.

[00:24:15] Mike Morawski: It sounds interesting. Sounds fun. You mentioned there, Who Moved My Cheese? That was another one of those books that I go back to, I think about a lot because it’s man, when things change, Who Moved My Cheese?

[00:24:26] Mark Dolfini: Does this pass the sniff test and all of that stuff, these books that we’re mentioning, even the old books, the classics like Stephen Covey and Peter Drucker, that stuff is still incredibly relevant. If you’re going to make this shift from self managing landlord to business owner to investor, you’re going to have some engagement. Feel free to disagree, but I don’t think there’s truly any investment out there where you can be totally disengaged. You need to have some level of engagement, otherwise it could all evaporate and you’re not smelling your cheese. I think that’s incredibly important. People talk about passive money, passive investing, but that doesn’t mean that you completely walk away.

[00:25:03] Mike Morawski: I want my passive investor to know what’s going on. You need to know what’s going on, whether that be a newsletter, looking at the KPIs once a month, whatever that may be, I want my passive investor in my deals to understand what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. That goes back to transparency, cause if I’m doing it wrong, you have the right to come in and take that over. So we didn’t talk much about landlording, I know you’re a landlord coach, why don’t you spend a couple of minutes on that?

[00:25:28] Mark Dolfini: In terms of landlording, I think the main thing I often go back to is, any information that has to flow through you for a decision needed to be made, that should be that should be a fairly unique event. If you’re having to decide what color the paint should be in a particular unit, you’re making too many low level decisions. You should be making, “do I spend $8,500 on the slightly higher end air conditioning, air handler and HVAC system, or 8,000 with a 20 year warranty.” That’s the kind of decisions you should be making. Even then, approve those sorts of things that are gonna make a difference or, when roofs need to get to be replaced. Those are going to be enough decisions along the way, while you get a larger portfolio, that shouldn’t take up much of your time.

[00:26:10] There’s a free download on my website you can go to about ways that you can eliminate and make sure that you’re underwriting the properties. I think it’s called Five Mistakes to Avoid. You’ll get on my list, if you don’t want to be on you can unsubscribe, it’s not a problem. I want you to have that because so many people are underwriting properties the wrong way, because they’re paying too much. Because they pay too much, guess what? They created jobs for themselves and every individual line item that’s in the expense category, that you don’t budget for, becomes a job that you create for yourself. All of these individual line items that you didn’t budget for, whether it’s maintenance or whatever, now it’s gotta be paid for in some other way. Those are the sorts of things that I really get wound up with because there’s just too many people that are paying too much for properties because they’re not making the deal right in the front end.

[00:26:50] Mike Morawski: I’ve said that for years, that I don’t own more property because too many people pay too much more than I’m willing to pay for it.

[00:26:56] Mark Dolfini: 100%.

[00:26:57] Mike Morawski: It’s an awful tragedy. I think that the investor gets into that, “I got to get this, I gotta get this.” They fall in love with it. It needs to become math over emotion. Unless you keep your emotions on the sideline, it doesn’t make sense. How do you make high state decisions, Mark?

[00:27:14] Mark Dolfini: Honestly, if it’s that big of a deal, I’ll pray on it. But oftentimes I will also go back to my vision and say, is this in alignment with my vision? I get approached to do joint ventures a lot and if that person may not share the same values as I do, I sometimes I have to not water that grass and let that die. I always go back to my vision. Honestly, prayer is a thing, it delivers it from your subconscious to like this is important. It comes from sources that you can’t understand whether you’re a believer or not.

[00:27:41] Let me go back to a more parallel answer to what we were talking about earlier. If my vision is to lay on the beach, rubbing cocoa butter on my belly, and I’m going to take on an opportunity that’s going to take me away from that vision. Is it worth it? There’s lots of times where people say, “oh, my kids are my world.” I’m like, “show me your calendar.” And they’re like, “oh, maybe they’re not my world.” I get it, I did the same thing. I still get caught in that trap and I teach this stuff. So you really gotta be honest with yourself about your vision and that’s the lens I make all my decisions through. That’s why I say every business I look at or every business I’m involved in involves using the VIP method.

[00:28:15] Mike Morawski: What’s the old saying, ” if you want to really show what matters look at somebody’s checkbook.”

[00:28:21] Mark Dolfini: Check their checkbook and their calendar. Absolutely.

[00:28:23] Mike Morawski: So let’s start to wind this down a little bit. I always like to ask a couple of fun questions, take some of the pressure off, I need to get you rubbing cocoa butter on your belly.

[00:28:32] Mark Dolfini: That’s right. You’re keeping me from that, Mike.

[00:28:35] Mike Morawski: What’s the best book you ever read? We’ve talked about number of books here, but in your opinion, what do you think the best book is you’ve ever read?

[00:28:42] Mark Dolfini: Oh, man, it’s hard because I’ve read so many good ones just recently. I’ll tell you this though. For anybody in business, even if you’re not in business, if you’re hearing this podcast and you’re thinking about getting in business or wherever it is, I don’t care where you’re at in life. Jack Canfield, The Success Principles. Absolute must read.

[00:28:59] Mike Morawski: I don’t know if I’ve ever read that.

[00:29:00] Mark Dolfini: It is absolutely fundamental in terms of the teachings in that book. Let me just give you an idea of how destroyed I have this book. It’s all tabbed and dog-eared and written in. This book has absolutely transformed a lot of things for me. No matter where you’re at, you want to get better in life, read that book and apply it, study that book. You will see some foundational things happen in a very short period of time.

[00:29:23] Mike Morawski: Okay, then favorite tourist attraction?

[00:29:28] Mark Dolfini: Oh man, favorite tourist attraction. Brian and I, we like to go to St. Louis, it’s only about four hours from us, but it’s just far enough away where we can go and be away and not feel like we’re too far away from home. So we love to go to the St. Louis, we love to see the arch, we’ve been up in the arch a couple of times, but it’s a fun thing. That’s probably it for us because we get to do that really whenever we want a long weekend.

[00:29:53] Mike Morawski: Okay. Best restaurant or food?

[00:29:56] Mark Dolfini: Here’s one up in your neck of the woods. So in Dyer, there is a pizza place called Sanfratello’s, which makes a fontina cheese and meatball topping that literally will make you cry. Sanfratello’s pizza in Dyer, Indiana.

[00:30:11] Mike Morawski: All right. So anybody heading to Dyer, Indiana, you know where to get your pizza from.

[00:30:16] Mark Dolfini: I think they’ve got two locations, but I know that there’s one in Dyer and it is awesome. It is amazing.

[00:30:21] Mike Morawski: Mark, I appreciate this. It’s been great to get to know you. How do people get ahold of you or get ahold of your book if they want to do that?

[00:30:28] Mark Dolfini: I have a chief of staff that handles all my emails. I’ll be honest with you, email is not my strength, but fortunately I have someone that checks it for me. But you can drop me an email at I’m happy to have a conversation with anybody, I have lots of time wealth on my calendar. Reach out to me on social media @landlordcoach. I have a landlord coach page or you can find me at Mark Dolfini on Facebook or YouTube.

[00:30:50] Mike Morawski: Thanks Mark. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you and learning about you and your heart a little bit and your business strategy. I can tell that you are definitely somebody that your business strategy comes from your heart. That’s nice to know, and it’s nice to do business with people that come from that walk, that way of life. So I appreciate you being here today. I know that we gave my listeners a lot, a little bit different off the cuff today, so that was good. Hey everybody, we are here every Tuesday, we’ll be here next week. If I can do anything for anybody, don’t hesitate to reach out, have a great week. Mark, thanks again for being here.

[00:31:21] Mark Dolfini: Thanks Mike.

[00:31:22] Kristen: Thank you, Mike, and thank you for joining us for another great episode of insider secrets as always insider secrets is brought to you by my core intentions, wherever you hang out on social media, you will find Mike and my core intentions, please like, and follow us to get the most up-to-date real estate investing trends.

[00:31:43] Visit my core, where you can get expert coaching on all things, real estate investing and property managers. If you’re looking to become an expert, Mike’s coaching will help you scale your real estate investment business. We’re looking forward to having you back again next week for more insider secrets.