Smart Investing: Determining Risk & Exit Strategies

Some of the most successful real estate investors typically have one thing in common: they understand how to assess risk accurately, and they make sure to purchase properties that have multiple exit strategies.

Mike Johnston is one of those guys. As the 2016 Strategic Real Estate Coaching (SREC) Investor of the Year, Mike has accomplished some amazing goals for his real estate investing business. Right now, his primary investment strategy involves purchasing distressed multi-family properties—primarily in the New Orleans-area market.

While he’s renovated some luxury properties in the past, he’s found that those deals weren’t as “safe” (and really, as profitable) as affordable, multi-unit housing.

In this podcast, Mike shares his advice for determining risk and planning multiple exit strategies for each property deal. As someone who has always taken the time to crunch the numbers and consider all the “what-ifs,” Mike has won over his investors with his practical, well-thought out plans. His self-proclaimed “cautiously aggressive” approach allows him to determine the worst-case scenario; and he’s a master at planning accordingly for that possibility.

Mike also explains how he got his start in real estate investing, and how he’s working toward his long-term goals of building generational wealth and giving back by passing his financial knowledge on to others.

Take a listen to hear more of Mike’s story, plus his advice for all investors:

Watch and learn:

Listen and enjoy:

What’s inside:

  • How Mike ensures that his deals have multiple exit strategies
  • Characteristics he looks for in a property
  • How Mike determines risk in a property
  • Reasons for his success
  • Mike’s #1 tip for all investors

Join us live:

If you're a wholesaler who would LOVE to find a super-buyer to flip houses to, then you should REALLY try to make it out to the Flip & Fund Summit 10 on December 7-9 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Because the room is gonna be packed with elite investors.

So not only will you learn what these super-buyers are looking for and how to find them... you might actually be able to pick up a profitable partnership of your own! (I actually first met RJ at the Flip & Fund Summit!)

Mentioned in this episode:


Download episode transcript in PDF format here...

Welcome to Strategic Real Estate Coach Radio, hosted by Josh Cantwell and Kyle Garifo. Strategic Real Estate Coaches, where the nation's leading real estate investors, brokers and agents turn to transform the way the real estate business is being done in neighborhoods across the nation. If you desire to make more money, do more deals, grow your passive income and build the lifestyle you've always wanted, you need Strategic Real Estate Coach.

This powerhouse team is led by Josh Cantwell, a seasoned investor with nearly a decade of experience, over 700 transactions and over $5.5 million in fundraising generated for himself and his partners. Now, sit back, listen, learn and accelerate your business with Strategic Real Estate Coach Radio.

Josh Cantwell:   Well, hey everybody. Welcome back. This is Josh Cantwell, the strategic real estate coach, a CEO at and Freeland Ventures, which is our real estate private equity fund where we lend and partner and do real estate deals all across the country. I want to welcome back to another edition of Strategic Real Estate Coach Podcast, and I've got a very, very special guest on with me today. He's a good friend of mine, his name is Mike Johnston from the New Orleans area. And what I wanted to do today was just interview Mike.

Mike's a very successful real estate entrepreneur from the New Orleans market. He's been through a tremendous amount in his career, and Mike is our 2016 Real Estate Investor of The Year. He was awarded this award at one of our live events, our Flip and Fund Summit and Mike was awarded onstage a big trophy and also Mike was awarded a car, Mike, I think you're driving a Mercedes Benz, is that right?

Mike Johnston: I am, I am, a C450 man, vroom vroom.

Josh Cantwell:   Nice. Nice. Fantastic. And so that was one of Mike's, part of Mike's kind of a gift or award for just doing a bang-up job. And so just to frame up Mike really quick, Mike is going to kind of tell us a little bit about what he's up to today, his investing strategies. We're going to ask Mike a little bit about his past and the future, what he sees with his real estate investing. And also, some advice that he would give his former self and to frame this up, Mike has done hundreds and hundreds of real estate deals, he owns apartment buildings. He's done luxury rehabs and he's also a hurricane Katrina survivor. And so, Mike Johnston, welcome to the Strategic Real Estate Coach podcast. How are you?

Mike Johnston: I'm great man. And I'm glad to always sit and spend some time with you, my friend. I know you always run 150 miles an hour. A different kind of race. We're all running our race, but it's always great when you can slow down and get a chance to sit and talk you.

Josh Cantwell:   Absolutely. Mike, thanks for joining us. I see you're dressed up today. Are you doing this from inside of one of your properties or where you at?

Mike Johnston: I made it home or whatever because it's, you know, it's one of the places where it's quiet right now. Not a whole lot going on or whatever. But I've actually been out meeting today with the city officials here in near New Orleans area, talking about some of the affordable housing problems that our areas are still very much a battling. And so, our meeting today was with a different group that I've been working with to address the whole affordable housing and what their issues and hurdles are and see how we can come together and you know, get some, some more productive things going into the new year.

Josh Cantwell:   Nice. Nice. That's awesome Mike. Well, thanks for joining us. I know you're busy putting this together. Mike and I have known each other since the Boca event, which was April of 15, roughly 2015. So why can I have been friends? And I've been mentoring and coaching Mike for about the last three and a half years. And Mike came to us kind of, you know, getting kind of rebuilding his business. He owned a rental portfolio, was looking to do some more rehab flips and really focused on kind of raising private capital. Mike's done an amazing job now with new construction. Buying apartment buildings. So, Mike, why don't you just give everybody maybe a minute or two about your, kind of what you're up to today, what's. What's the focus of your real estate investing business right now?

Mike Johnston: Okay. Well today I'm quite busy, Josh, doing any number of a renovation projects that's anywhere from low moderate end to the actual luxury and I've put my portfolio together where it actually bows a good number of assets from luxury or short-term type rentals to your basic, a fourplex doubles and things that are more residential real estate. Within the past couple of years that you alluded to. I've also brought a couple of apartment buildings into my portfolio to expand that whole income asset class and making that a part of a focus of what I'm doing. So right now, it's looking at an acquisition of distressed multifamily properties where we can go down and force the appreciation of that asset, reposition it for income as well as also an equity refinance, repositioning of the asset. In addition to that, we're also looking to move forward with the whole affordable housing model that I just recently mentioned because I see at the very least in the New Orleans area that some areas are starting to tighten where the margins are becoming a little, a little, a little thin and I went into new construction.

Mike Johnston: Just throw that in there. I've done a lot of new construction, some of which you've even recently funded and gotten behind me on. And I saw when I was pushed to building a certain level of home how the class of buyer that was not as fun as building at a lower level where people were a bit more appreciative. Right. I think you know, that those people have specific needs and wants and tastes. And so that's why I'm the affordable housing deal. And you know, we get into it. I'll, I'll, I'll say a little bit more why affordable housing, you know, if, if other listeners out there are wondering why that.

Josh Cantwell:   Yeah. Sounds like you're, is your focus, Mike really it sounds like income. You mentioned a lot of things about building your portfolio, apartment buildings, now affordable housing, if you do continue to build affordable housing and we have funded a number of your projects from rehab production to apartments. But is it all for an income play? Is even the affordable housing for maybe new construction to rent or what's the, what's the plan there?

Mike Johnston: Great question, Josh. And you know, I've done a lot. I will say this, when I first got with you, I wasn't exactly a newbie, you know, I'd already done some stuff. I had some experience you know, so a lot of people out there looking said, well, you know, I'm experienced in real estate. I know some stuff, but one of the things that you were able to do for me is that you challenge a always, you know, that that whole thought process, right? You know, for me it wasn't so much about here is how you identify a good deal. I kind of knew how to do that, but it was more how have the whole popping out of the top kind of thing and putting the systems in place and putting other key people in the organization and leveraging yourself where you know, that individual and myself here I can focus on the things that I need to do and need to do best.

Mike Johnston: So, as it relates to the whole affordable housing thing and one thing I've been looking at, I've been able to step back and look at my business and what the long-term play is for me. Right? So, I'm doing this affordable housing because I believe that it offers more latitude, more flexibility and more exit strategies, right? When I got into building more expensive homes, 300 plus thousand-dollar homes. That only, that, the only exit strategy was to sell that. Yeah, it's one exit strategy, right? And so, I'll tell people now that I'm speaking with and who, who dare care to listen to me that the more exit strategies you have, right? If you're, if you're in a house and the house on fire and you have three windows that you can drop out or jump out of, that's much better than if you're standing on the second and third floor of a building and there's only one way down, you know, and so it's about exit strategies and options there, right?

Mike Johnston: So in dealing with the affordable home and if leveraged properly and I could get into maybe deal structure might be a thing for a different type of call, I don't know, but I have the option of selling and then, although the returns may be a bit more modest, still worth three to four months, an investment of time, but if the asset does not sell, I do have the opportunity of being able to reposition it with permanent financing, five to 10 year kind of, you know, fixed rate where I can cashflow off of it as the asset appreciates. You know, I've looked at my entire business and where I'd like to be right. And so my goal is to build wealth and then also generational wealth, right? So I've broken it down Josh, into kind of three columns, so we have the one column where, you know, flipping, flipping the property is definitely fits in into that and you're making money there, right?

Mike Johnston: But there's also a different strategy, you know, where there's basically appreciation and an equity build. There are people in California that will invest in single family homes knowing that they're not going to really cash flow off of it, they're their best play is to really go down and just break even or maybe negative cash flow on it, but they also know that historically, because that asset is appreciated, five to six percent historically, that the play is hold onto it and five years later that $500,000 asset becomes 700,000. Right? So that's one strategy. And then of course there's always the income property. So to tie it all up and put it together, my strategy would be to, in the whole affordable housing model, one, be able to sell it so you get that little pop up if it doesn't sell, be able to make certain that that investment is in an appreciating market where I can get the appreciation or equity play but because I am in loans, I still can cash flow off of it and then take those monies and as they become liquid, pop them into the actual income producing assets such as the apartment buildings and other investments of the sort.

Josh Cantwell:   Nice. Yeah, I like it. You know the market has just been crazy for the past five years. A friend of mine, Brandon, who lives in Charlotte, he actually lives on, I think it's the twelfth fairway of Trump National Golf Course. And I've called he bought a property in Charlotte for $65,000 a couple of years ago. Did some improvements, rented it out, just throw it on the market last week for 225 and got a full price offer in one day. And you know he's done the same thing, built, you know a really nice portfolio. He's actually going to exit his single-family portfolio to focus more on commercial and apartment buildings, much like, you know, you and I have talked about in the past. So good good stuff, Mike. So, let me ask you, you know, if you think about the success that you've had and you've had a lot of success in the last couple of years, is there one or two things that you could kind of point your finger on? It says, these are a couple of specific reasons for my success recently. Anything stand out?

Mike Johnston: Well, I've had a good. I've been fortunate to have a pretty much a good appreciation for what costs of doing a project are going to be a I've, I would say that I am. I'm cautiously aggressive, right? Meaning I take the time to really know my numbers, really become intimate with them and create these scenarios of what could go wrong. Right. One thing that I more recently have been telling people, if you structure a deal to where you manage the downside than the upside, take care of itself. Right? And I find that too many people, right? As far as their focus, we as investors, right? What gets us all kind of going, right man, I can buy this house for 50 and you know, I'll put another 50 in it and you know, and I'll sell it for 170 whatever.

Mike Johnston: But then all of a sudden when they find out that the rehab budget is really more like 65 or they didn't build in something or they let the contractor get ahead on them one day, you know, they didn't do some something right. They never planned for the downside. The what if that doesn't happen kind of thing. And so, and that's because as investors, Josh, I find that we're focused on looking at returns. We're looking at what we can make, right? Whereas through the lens of a financier, that, you know, you have to consider looking at risk first. And whereas more recently in my more mature Michael self, I learned to look at risk first and if you look at risk first and you can cover with that worst-case scenario is, not only can you make the deal safer, but you're also, you can deliver the message when you're raising private money. Listen you’re on, you entered into this agreement with me, this relationship here on this project, your interests are now above mine and, and are, and here's why you're safer investing with me as opposed to, you know, John, John investor down the street or whatever. So again, I would say put in risk first and knowing your downside and if you can, if you got a plan for covering that downside, hey man, let the upside takes care of itself.

Josh Cantwell:   Spoken like a true banker. Like be in my seat. Lending money. Maybe you probably are, you know, but that's, that's great man. No that's something that's a very mature, mature response. A lot of people like, oh, I got this deal and I can, you know, buy it for x and put in y and it's going to sell for z. and I said, well, what if it doesn't sell? I can't answer that question, you know, there's no plan B, Plan C, plan D. So, I love the affordable housing play because, you know, you could sell on, just sell out, right. It's so on terms. So, on rent to own, you can just flat out run it out. There's a lot of different options there. You could wholesale it to a turnkey investor. There’re options there. And so, a lot of options. That's great. That's great.

Josh Cantwell:   So, Mike like, obviously you've learned a lot, you know, the market's been great, but you've been through good times and bad. So just give our audience a little bit of a flavor of kind of when did you catch the real estate bug? When did you really get interested in this business and how did you get interested? Did you think like. Was it passive cashflow? Was it the upside of real estate that you were excited about? Or was it like maybe the pain of a current situation or a current job that you were unsatisfied with? What led you to real estate at the beginning?

Mike Johnston: Well, I'll tell you, josh, I'm always kind of had, just an interest in real estate my education for those who aren't, you know, don't know my whole history and past. My education, I'm actually come from the healthcare world, right? I'm a physical therapist. And so, you know, as far as the whole ups and downs in my life and I know a lot of people that know you coach and mentor and just, you know, out there that maybe listening to this, you know, we all have our problems, right? Our ups and downs and struggles that we go through. So, for me, you know, I you know, I'm on my second marriage, I wind up divorcing and what happened is, you know, when I split and it was a single father for a number of years and everything, just to put it plainly, man you know cash was tight.

Mike Johnston: Things were really, really thin. I mean, I made good money. I made, I had a six-figure income, but three children, paying for tuition and all that stuff here. Man, I'm going to tell you it was every now and then, it was like, you know, they see something on the table, final notice pass do you know, just like trying to get to that finish line, man, you know. And so, for me, I was not able to really save any significant money and put in a couple of hundred dollars each paycheck into the four one k I did the math that wasn't going to work. And so, because my father comes from construction and I was around it and I knew I didn't need to be very well on a hammer and nail side of it. It's told me son, stay in school. I'm like okay, I'll do that. But I saw it fit to learn the numbers and you, I think I always knew that real estate was a tried and true, way of being able to make up for lost ground or produce wealth or whatever.

Mike Johnston: We know how percentages are and how many people have become millionaires and done well for themselves through real estate. So that is, that's going to be my ticket. And so, for me, because I still had my W2 income work and for me that was my security blanket right. That cast me on the path of being able to start doing the real estate redevelopments in my area on the heels of Hurricane Katrina. I am, like you said, a survivor of it. And not just, oh, he was around it. No, I was in the middle of it. I lost my home. I lost everything, zero, nothing. And so, I was knocked flat on my back and I had to find a way to try and kind of crawl and then pull myself up out of the hole. And I began doing that you know, with, with real estate.

Mike Johnston: And so, I did it for the income producing side that was going to be a part of my retirement plan. That was what was going to set me free. And then when I got to a certain point, I'm like, you know, and really ran across, you know, you, our paths crossed. It became more of a case where I'm like, okay, how can I, how can I get away from my job? Because I had gotten to the point, now we're 20 plus years in real estate. I'm sorry, 20 plus years in healthcare. All the good that I had done for people, it wasn't my passion anymore. And so, I no longer looked at real estate as just an economic way of secure in my future. But it also is really my passion. I liked being able to put people in quality homes and housing and taking the city that was full of blight and, and physically distressed properties and give it a whole facelift or whatever. So, so that's what got me going. And then just being part of real estate is just, I just began to kind of grow up, you know, within it itself and then learn what all the possibilities could be. And so, I love it, man. I it's who I am and I love the relationships man. Just, you know, type of relationship that we've established and a number of people that I've met through it or whatever it is, who I am, what I do, but it's also my passion.

Josh Cantwell:   Yeah, that's fantastic. Mike and I have spent a lot of time together last three and a half years, just this past summer, actually at a mastermind out in Cleveland and we took a bunch of the bunch of the guys up to Cedar Point and if you haven't been to Cedar Point, it's literally the world's best rollercoaster park. You know, it's got like three or four of the top roller coasters in the world in this one amusement park and a brand new one that just came out this summer called Steel Vengeance. We waited too long and probably one of the most fun masterminds ever. Me you Cheryl just two hours waiting in line and talking shop, talking real estate. Then we went on that kick butt rollercoaster. Man. It was unbelievable. And what a, what a fun day. Yeah. It's all about relationships, man, because end of the day that's really what it's about.

Josh Cantwell:   I mean, everyone's growing their income, growing their assets, grow in their net worth, and it's the people that you really remember, right? That's really the story that you tell. So, Mike, like now that you've, you know, you've kind of grown up in the business and you're pretty established and, but, you know, beautiful portfolio family, you know, you kind of, a lot of people would say, you know, Mike's really, really doing well. Kind of got the world in the palm of his hand. It probably feels really good. And you're, like you said, conservatively aggressive with anxious is a great approach. What do you see your future to look like? Like what, what are your big hairy goals for the next, you know, three to five to 10 years. Like what are you, were you trying to take your real estate? You talked about legacy wealth would just expand on that a little bit.

Mike Johnston: Sure. No, I want to, I have my big hairy audacious goals basically are, you know, to continue bringing into my portfolio the really solid income producing assets. I want to really, Josh be placed into a position where I can be given to give back, right? And here's, here's the thing I'm going to just speak to so that people can, can hear and understand what I'm saying, right? We're always kind of chasing or a lot of people are, I should say, chasing a certain dollar amount or if I have the certain amount of money, whatever. And Josh I know you can speak already to it or whatever. There is no amount of money that's ever going to just make you happy. Right? So, for me, the goal is to have a certain amount of money that will afford me a certain level of security, freedom to live the type of life that I would like to for, you know, me and my family.

Mike Johnston: But, but basically to put me in a position where I can again continue to pursue my passions. And that's important because if you are in a position where the mortgage is paid, you know the lights aren't going to get cut off and you have enough money coming in man to where if you never even made another dollar, hey man, you're going to be fine. Right? You're, by definition, wealth that you got way more coming in, more money coming in, and then what's your overhead and cost to survive. Even living and taking the vacations each year. If all that is checked, then at that point, if that's all you got left and you hit that at age 50 or whatever that they had just done, what else are you doing right? What are you doing yourself? And so, my whole thing is to be able to give back. I want to be able to teach people about the power of finance. What I find Josh, that people don't understand finance the way that they should and because they don't, they make bad decisions. And what we know is that when we make bad decisions, we become. We become a servant and a slave to those bad decisions.

Mike Johnston: Specifically, financial, because making that bad decision takes us a hell of a long time to get out of. And some people never quite really come out of it, so if I can help educate people as to how to make finance work for them as opposed to how it's set up to work against them, then that's something I feel good about. I'm making a difference and if those people can go on and pass that message to other people, man, this world, the economy everything and it just would be a better place or whatever, man. So, you know that was part of it for me, whatever like that. So, we don't even achieve that level of wealth to where I feel good. I feel secure. I have a certain lifestyle for my family and myself, but also, I guess what I'm saying, have a mindset that it's a little bit more philanthropic in nature.

Josh Cantwell:   That's fantastic Mike. Great man. I love where your, where your head's at, you know, just keep it. Because look man when you get to the point where you've got your income coming in it's paying all the bills, except the mortgage, the lights and stuff, the fund to do the fun things and it's like, well, what if I just added 150 unit apartment building a year and I really didn't have a lot of other work or 100 unit, 200 unit building a year and just work on that building for that year and then you're to the point where you're doing just bigger stuff, less of it, you know, very conservative, making good decisions and say I'm going to buy this one asset. You're in that situation that you start thinking like, Hey, well now I've got everything covered and way more than I need. Let's start talking about educating others so you can give them money.

Josh Cantwell:   But the education, the knowledge is something you can help with hundreds, thousands of people at a time instead of just getting cash. So obviously it'd be great to get both, which is, which is great. So, Mike as we kind of turned the corner and kinda of round third and had home here. I'm always curious to ask our guests and you know, my friends and you and I have kind of cracked up about this, about the craziest deal we've ever done, right. Or the craziest that ever came across our desk that we didn't do. So, is there one that sticks out in your mind a deal that just kind of throw you for a loop?

Mike Johnston: Oh yeah. And sometimes you don't see it coming or whatever. You know, I've had a couple of strange deals or whatever, but one honestly, and maybe people just hear this and listen, whatever, right? Because I came from the, the whole residential real estate world, right? Four units and under and all that stuff. And you know, I had that system working pretty well. And then my very first apartment building, right? Nothing so ridiculous. But like a 17-unit apartment building, one I picked up for about 300 grand or so, and redid the whole thing, right? Put like five or whatever into it.

Mike Johnston: I went on and did this using a crap load of my money. And what happened was I went on and went about some of the inspections the same way I would with the residential property, right? And I guess in that one for one, we had pride himself on doing all the type of you know answering all the right, asking all the right questions and due diligence or whatever like that, failed to find out some of the subtle differences between when you're doing a commercial type project and how certain, how those codes and things kind of change or whatever. Right? The buzzword, I'll tell you for all you guys listening, life safety right when you're doing real estate residential real estate, you can make the finishes all pretty in the, it can be granted in a certain fixture here, whatever, when you do a commercial real estate and there's so many more lives and souls involved, they start using the term like life safety and basically to fast forward, I close up some walls, a prematurely.

Mike Johnston: Didn't realize what that meant. It meant I had to cut open the walls on 17 apartment units. And of course, now I was on the wrong side of the fire marshal and everybody. Exactly, man, look, it costs me a crap load of money, in a way of just, you know, equity in it in a way of just a lost revenue and all sorts of stuff or whatever. And honestly, it made me also really dive in to understanding the importance of capital structure, man. Like I said, you know, Josh, I love real estate, right? So, I'm, this is a little free little two-minute educational thing for antibody. We would just pay attention guys, right? So, if you're talking about putting deals together, right? And you're talking about that whole deal, consisting of a triangle, right? So, on this one side right here, there's a capital raise, capital component of the triangle on this side right here, there's the actual asset that you're identifying for it, right?

Mike Johnston: So that's good. You've got the asset, you know, it's a great asset to invest in and you've got the money and all that stuff to go on and do it or whatever, so be it. Here on the bottom, which serves as the foundation for that triangle is the capital structure. Right? And I remember when I presented this deal in one of our masterminds and we were talking about and say, Hey Mike, is there anything that you might've done differently? And at the time I'm like, Nah, I'm good with-it man. I'm, you know, I got all of the deal. What I learned is that if I had structured the capital differently, if I had brought in more of an equity partner, even if it meant giving away whatever part of the deal, I wouldn't have put myself in a situation as you kind of remember, you know, a little period I went through, there were my liquidity was challenged for a period of time.

Mike Johnston: I was kind of hands were tied as to maybe some moves that I couldn't make. And for someone who's used to just kind of moving and grooving and rocking. And I found myself coming to a standstill and being bogged down. So, I would say this, when you look at an asset, you're looking at doing a deal, whatever, pay very attention and know how the capital structure of a deal goes together and that can be in leverage, that can be in equity partners, there's a lot of ways you can carve things up or whatever. So again, that may be a conversation for a different time, but write it down, make a note of it. It's important,

Josh Cantwell:   Absolutely. Yeah, you have to have enough liquidity to handle the mortgage payments, the cashflow, especially when you're redeveloping 17 units and none of them are occupied trying to get them occupied, carrying the debt all the way through. You could do it with a secondary loan or a third loan, but make sure you borrow enough money to carry you through all that, kind of dead period where there's no cashflow coming in or equity partner to come in and put up that cash with enough extra to carry through. So yeah great advice, I appreciate that. And that leads me to my last question, which is, you know, looking back now, Mike, let's say to your 20 something year old self, you know, I think we all, you know, now I'm 42 now when I look back, I think, you know, I worked really hard in my twenties to build a financial planning practice and I did really well with it.

Josh Cantwell:   I was making six figures when I was 25 years old. But there's still a lot of things I would do differently. So, when you think back to your younger self, this could be five years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago or more, what's a piece of advice or two that you would give to your former self? Things that you might have done different things that you might've done earlier, maybe in business, maybe in relationships, maybe in finance, you know, it doesn't have to be even real estate related, but what's one or two things that you might go back and tell yourself, hey son, just consider this as you get older.

Mike Johnston: Right? Right. No doubt. I guess the biggest thing I would say is, and honestly, fortunately for me, Josh, I've done way more things right than not or whatever, right? I've spent the time and made the most of that time with my kids and was there for them and I am a role model and all of that. You know, just, just enjoyed that whole time because you know, that time goes by so quickly and you can't get, you know, that kind of a time, whatever. So, what I would say is this, one of the things that has helped that helped me the most was always choosing to invest in myself. Investing in myself as in gaining that knowledge, educating yourself, having that intellectual curiosity and thinking about you are here today and what your goals are is, you know, you know, the future point A to point B, right?

Mike Johnston: And so, getting there, what is it that I need to do to get there the quickest, right. The shortest distance between two points, is a straight line. And so, if you take the time, you know, filter out all of the, the NFL Games on Sunday and the whatever basketball games going on in the fall and into the spring and all that kind of stuff, take that time to focus on you and what your plan is for the future, your family goals, personal goals, financial goals, and have a plan for that. I would say that I probably wish that I would have just been a little bit more creative with coming up with a better financial plan earlier because we know what happens with compound interest in other things within there.

Mike Johnston: You start early, even if your making fantastic decisions at age 45, it's almost impossible to catch up if you're not, if you were making those same decisions at 25. So, I would say just invest in yourself, you know, as well as your children because they're your legacy, right? And you know, take a lot of time to generate that plan and then make every decision that you can to execute that plan. And if you do that, I think ultimately it would be very, it would be close to impossible not to be successful personally, professionally, spiritually. You name it.

Josh Cantwell:   Yeah. Fantastic Mike. That's great advice. I really appreciate that man. Well listen guys, that's a wrap for this particular interview. I want to just give you guys a couple of resources, give you an opportunity to connect with Mike as well. So first of all, Mike had mentioned, you know, we funded through my private equity fund in my lending competent. We funded a number of Mike's projects from single family flips to new construction to apartments. If you need funding for your deals, you can always check out our website And you know, we don't lend to everybody. We like to create like deep long-term relationships, which is what we've developed with Mike as one of our students. And now also one of our, you know, one of our borrowers, one of our operators that we love to invest in. Mike's got a great track record.

Josh Cantwell:   So, you know, Mike brings us a great deal. We're going to try to get that deal done. We'd love to have more operators that we believe in, that we can fund. We don't want to fund a thousand people twice. I'd rather fund 20 people 10 or 100 times over. Right? But we, you know, we want to, we want to do good deals, checkout Also, Mike is going to be one of our speakers is going to jump up on stage on some panels at the Flip and Fund Summit which is coming up just in a couple of weeks, Mike said, you know, a lot of our live events as a, as a student and as a mastermind member and you know, takes the stage with me from time to time to give advice and give back to our community at Strategic Real Estate Coach.

Josh Cantwell:   So, check out for tickets to our next event. So, if you are in the New Orleans area or looking for a great operator to partner with or joint venture with, even if you're not New Orleans, but you just want to a stand-up guy to JV with or share ideas with, maybe you're looking for some advice. I'd definitely encourage you to connect directly with Mike. So, Mike, if people wanted to reach out to you, touch base with you, like do you have a website or an email or something, they can reach out and touch base with you?

Mike Johnston: Yeah, let me. I'm going to give. I'll provide my email address. My primary website is more from my portfolio side and tenants and all that kind of stuff, but a good email address for me is M. Like is in my first name? Last name Johnston. Johnston.R2H the number two right So that's And reach out to me and like I said, I'm, you know, not often, not all the time able to respond to right away, but you know, definitely if I'm in a position to offer some advice or advise or whatever, man, hey, look at some point in time you do for people what you can or whatever you know, you know, and that good deed does not go unnoticed.

Josh Cantwell:   Also, if you enjoyed this interview with Mike or you've got questions, comments, if you find this on YouTube or you find this on iTunes or on our blog, leave us comments, questions. If you've enjoyed the interview, leave us a rating. Five-star rating, a review, leave that for us. If you have specific questions for Mike, you can leave them on those pages and my team will go to those platforms, pull the question down, we'll try to run Mike down when he's got a free minute and we'll get an answer from Mike and we'll, we'll put it back on that platform. And Mike, you know, Mike started with us in a coaching program. If you've, if you still think you need some mentorship to take your business to the next level, you can always apply for our coaching at So, Mike just wanted to say thanks bud it's always a good time spending time with you. We're going to see in a couple of weeks at the, at the Flip and Fund Summit 10. Just thanks for carving out a few minutes for us today. We appreciate it.

Mike Johnston: Oh man I appreciate it Josh. Always a pleasure and everything. Like I said, man, we are in it together man. And you know personal relationships really do matter, you know a lot to me so anytime man.

Josh Cantwell:   Hey you got it man. Like Joe Namath, my good friend Joe says, we all do better when we do deals together. And so, Mike's a great example and we appreciate you being on guys and we'll get them. We'll catch you on the next episode of Strategic Real Estate Coach podcast or on YouTube. Come and visit us and we'll talk to you soon. Take care.

Mike Johnston: Good deal.

You were just listening to strategic real estate coach radio hosted by Josh Cantwell and Kyle Garifo. Leave a comment on our iTunes channel and let us know what you want to learn next, who you would like us to interview, or if you just want to share some of your success stories in real estate and maybe we'll talk about it on our next show while you're there. Give us a five-star rating and make sure you subscribe so you can be the first to hear new episodes every Wednesday.

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