My Life in a Nutshell
I was recently asked to provide a page on my “Life Story” in nutshell.
Admittedly, I felt awkward about this, as at first it felt very self-centered. The people encouraging me to post it suggested that it would help other agents in their journey to success, and might even help some connect with me on a deeper level.
Reluctantly, I agreed, so here goes…
That being said, from birth to present, this video essentially outlines the highlights of my life (professionally mostly), and how I got to where I am today. You may be surprised at how my career path began as a youth mowing lawns and employing over 20 neighborhood kids before I was 16 years old!
You may also find it interesting that my first business failure happened that same year, and became a springboard for my career in real estate, and my life as a whole!
Believe me, if I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT!
Success awaits you… TAKE IT… IT’S YOURS!
My Life Outside Of ClubWealth®
My life outside of ClubWealth® consists of spending time with my family and fulfilling church callings.
As a family, we love to do all kinds of things together, especially in the outdoors.
When Tara (my wonderful wife) and I get time alone, we visit the LDS Temple in Bellevue WA, double date with friends, or simply stay home and cuddle as we watch TV.
Madison (our daughter) LOVES to snuggle with dad while watching movies, and after learning to ski, has (thankfully) become an avid snowboarder like her brother Austin.
Our favorite places to visit are Maui HI, Anywhere in Europe, and Leavenworth WA (a Bavarian village nestled in the Washington State “Alps”).
We have been blessed in recent years to enjoy long trips to Europe, and over 91 days travelling the US in our motor-home.
Austin shares his dad’s love of the outdoors, as evidenced by his wardrobe consisting primarily of camouflage and fluorescent orange. An avid fisherman, he prefers bait-casting, but will condescend himself to fly fish with dad once in a while.
I was born in 1973 (yes that is a long time ago, hold your laughter). At 8 years old, I actually started my first business mowing lawns. I also washed some cars around the neighborhood as well. It was a great time, I learned a lot. I learned how to make money, keep track of money, and what it was like to spend money.
That’s when I decided that I liked money. A lot.
Making money, and I could spend it on whatever I wanted! Unfortunately, I didn’t learn how to save until later in life.
At the age of 12, my parents, after over 27 years of marriage, divorced.
I am sharing this extremely personal milestone in my life because it had an impact on me, and I know a lot of people out there have gone through something like this.
While I love my parents, and believe them both to be good, loving people, seeing them go through this taught me the hard and valuable lesson that I would not allow divorce to be an option in my marriage. This also had a dramatic impact on who I would ultimately marry.
By the time I was 15 years old, my landscaping business had grown, and by this point I had about 20 neighborhood kids working for me.
I formed my first partnership at age 16, with my then best friend. The partnership failed in less than 6 months.
I learned that partnership is the weakest form of business. A lesson that I would ultimately have to learn more than once, at much expense and heartache.
In 1991, I had turned 18 and graduated high school. By the time I had graduated high school I had my Real Estate License and was the top producing agent in my office. I was also working about 100 hrs/week, and flat BROKE. (Isn’t it crazy how real estate brokers LOVE to give real estate agents awards for being BROKE?!)
By 19 years old, I decided it was time to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon’s). I served in Germany for 2 years, learned a lot about religion, myself AND sales.
Two years sharing the Gospel with the wonderful people of Germany taught me a lot about relational sales.
Brot, is the German word for bread, and the bread of life for us was bringing people to Christ. It is also an acronym “B.R.O.T.” that stands for Building Relationships On Trust. This key phrase became one of the guiding principles in my life, both professionally and personally.
I also learned the F.O.R.D. technique which many of you may know.
When you’re having a conversation with someone, listen twice as much as you talk. Get them talking about what’s important to them, rather than your agenda.
Learn about their Family, their Occupation, the Recreation they enjoy, and their Dreams. Make the conversation about them and when you make the conversation about them and you get them talking, guess what happens? the magic happens. You become a master conversationalist.
Coming back from my mission at 21 years old, I got right back in to real estate where I decided to immediately hire my first real estate coach.
My first real estate coach gave me some advice I’ll never forget… he said “if you don’t have an assistant, YOU ARE ONE!”
So, trusting he knew better than me at the time, I hired my first assistant.
The results were immediate, the impact undeniable.
So impactful, that shortly thereafter, I took a 6 week vacation to backpack Europe!
My amazing assistant sold 5 or 6 homes while I was away, and I was HOOKED!
Tara became my beautiful wife four years later in 1999. She and I continued on with our real estate business and kept growing! Little did we know our family would be growing very soon too!
In 2001, we found out we were having our first child, Madison! Simply fantastic, she has brought cheer, love, and smiles to our family and everyone has encountered since!
Thirteen months later we had our second child, Austin Michael. I was so excited to find out we were having a second baby, Tara was still recovering from having recently given birth, but was overjoyed upon his arrival! Adding another child to our family made everything complete!
We feel incredibly blessed to have two very healthy, amazing children, who are far better than we deserve.
2001 was also the year we founded ClubWealth® and began to fall in love with coaching!
By 2006 we had begun hiring buyer agents and additional assistants, and we were at the point in our career where I was consistently listing between 50 and 75 homes a month! (Club Wealth® can help you achieve this as well!)
By 2007 we were doing about $400,000/month in commissions. It was then that we discovered the State of Washington Department of Licensing was breaking the law in a big way.
Unfortunately, I followed the well-intentioned (and legally correct) advice of the top real estate attorney in the state. We successfully pursued a restraining order against the State, to keep them from continuing to break the law (they were exercising illegal search and seizures on real estate brokerages).
As you can imagine, this was like jumping up and down on a hornets nest, and daring them to sting you!
Not surprisingly, the week after we successfully obtained a court order forcing the state to discontinue their illegal practices, they hired a full time investigator to dig into our business, looking for ways to get us out of the industry.
In early 2010, the state essentially dropped the now 17+ month investigation into our business practices, as clearly, we were running a tight and ethical business.
Then, in August, we discovered that they were violating the court order prohibiting their illegal practices, so we reluctantly agreed to go back to court, to force the state to follow the law.
Rather than face us in court, where they knew they would lose, without warning, they summarily suspended our real estate licenses.
Overnight, they destroyed our online reputation, and our business. At the time we had roughly 750 listings, 44 employees, and about $4.5 million in commissions on the books. A lot of money was at stake and it was all gone overnight. More importantly, a lot of good people lost their jobs, and even their homes due to the states continued habitual law breaking.
30 days later, a Washington State judge forced them to reinstate our real estate licenses, stating that the suspension was “CLEARLY retaliatory behavior” on the part of the State Dept. of Licensing.
We had our real estate licenses back, but all that did was strengthen their resolve to dirty our names.
After about $356,000 in attorney fees, and several court victories later, we realized that they were never going to stop. We were dealing with an entity with an unlimited budget that had no accountability and a strong desire to send a message to every real estate broker and agent in the state “Don’t mess with us, we are above the law!”.
With that, we decided to take a much needed 3 year sabbatical, made arrangements with all of our wonderful Club Wealth® Coaching clients, and traveled all over United States, and Europe with our family.
In mid-2015, I had an opportunity to spend a couple of days with my good friend, Mike Bjorkman.
He challenged me and in no uncertain terms made it clear to me that I had been selfishly wasting my life, feeling sorry for myself, and needed to “Cowboy Up”.
He told me, “Michael, you were BORN to be a Real Estate Coach”. He explained his belief that I had “forgotten more about real estate than most people would ever know”.
After nearly two full days of verbal beatings and simultaneous pick-me-ups from Mike, I began to believe what he was saying. The kicker was when he asked me how I felt after completing a coaching call with a client who needed my help.
How could I argue at that point?? Very few things in this world make me feel the way I do when I wrap up a coaching call during which I know the message was well received, and lives changed!
I decided to commit full time to ClubWealth®, and Mike decided to become the very first New ClubWealth® Member! Almost immediately, agents and brokers seemed to come out of the woodwork with support, referrals and becoming members and coaching clients. The outpouring of love and support was humbling to say the least.
I love being a coach and helping people overcome the obstacles in their businesses and in their lives.
ClubWealth® is growing immensely, we are adding many new members to our team, new technologies, more support systems, and a resolve to be the BEST resource for real estate agents in the world, so you can achieve the success and life-work balance you are looking for!
The road ahead holds wonderful things in store for you, and for me… Let’s go get them together!