Alex Charfen, the author of Entrepreneurial Personality Type, wants you to know that you are not alone. Entrepreneurs are known for being “different,” for standing on the outside of normalcy. Alex always felt like he was different from everyone else and just didn't belong. Over time, this led him to identify common personality traits of entrepreneurs.
If you think about history, how many significant historical figures would you consider to be “normal”? Not many. It is the people who stand out, who think outside the box, who march to the beat of a different drum, that make the biggest impacts in the world. Does this sound like you? Have you been diagnosed with (or do you suspect that you might have) ADD, ADHD, Asperger's, Autism, dyslexia, or other similar conditions?
Do you focus more on action than emotion? Do you feel that you need more help than other people, even if you aren't willing to ask for it? Do you feel isolated? Do you struggle with being “busy” instead of being productive? If any, or all, of these, apply to you, you're not alone and you are not broken. You're probably just an entrepreneur. Listen as Alex explains the Entrepreneurial Personality Type to help you better understand yourself.
Episode Highlights Include:
To learn more about Alex and if you feel that you need more help than other people? Try reading Entrepreneurial Personality Type to help you feel better.
Alex Charfen, author of Entrepreneurial Personality Type, wants you to know that you are not alone. Entrepreneurs are known for being “different”; for standing on the outside of normalcy.
Alex always felt like he was different from everyone else and just didn't belong. Over time, this led him to identify common personality traits of entrepreneurs.
Alex, welcome to the show. How are you?
I'm good, Brad. Thank you for having me.
It’s great to have you on the show. You came highly recommended from Josh Felber, a former guest on the show, and some other people I know. I've seen some of your material out there.
I haven't had a chance to dive in as much as I wanted to, but as I was researching for the show, I stumbled across some of the content on your site. I want to dive into some of the topics that I find the most interesting and I think my audience will as well.
Before we dive into The Entrepreneurial Personality Type and the book marketing strategy, tell me the brief backstory on how you got to where you're at right now.
I noticed that you've got a wide background of success in real estate and a bunch of stuff, as a lot of us do, that's been a long-twisted road. I want to touch on that before we get into the sizzling hot stuff.
My background is about as varied as any 43-year-old entrepreneur who's done a lot of different stuff. I grew up in Mexico City and then Southern California. I was always different. I didn't speak the language very well when I moved to California.
You said you didn't speak the language well. Where did you move from?
I was born in Mexico City. My mom is American. My dad is Lebanese and Mexican. I was born in Mexico and moved to the States around five. I struggled with the language. I struggled with school. I always knew I was different.
Over time, as a kid, I started working with my dad when I was very young. He had a business. It closed. At eight years old, after the business closed, we started working in flea markets or swap meets, that's what they're called in Southern California.
It was weird. I was one of those kids that was awkward everywhere. In many ways, I still am. I always tell people the difference between when I was a kid and now. When I was a kid, I was awkward. Now, I'm a multi-millionaire so I'm eccentric.
I was the kid who when walking in the room, adults would say, “Look, it’s Susie, Johnny, Mike and Alex.” I never felt comfortable. I didn't do well in school. I didn't have a lot of friends.
When I went to work with my dad and I stood behind the table and I sold stuff, I felt comfortable. The limited options in business, the focus of trying to accomplish something, like from when I was a little kid, that transactional making money, creating value, that was what I was always drawn to.
I was similar when I was growing up. I had such a problem with authority and regular jobs. I was always like, “Screw it. I'll go out and figure out a way to do it on my own.”
What I always tell entrepreneurs is, “I think it's time that we admit that it's not that you wanted to start a business, you started a business because you had to.”
Guys, let's take a deep breath. Anyone who's reading, if you're on this podcast, you are like me. Let's admit that the systems that are out there in society that are supposed to help everyone else and seem to help everyone else, break you and I. We have to be protective.
It's also going back to your point, is that we had to, like nobody in their right mind would become an entrepreneur. I tell people, “If you want easy money, get a job.”
It's the easiest money you'll ever have. You get weekends off, you get benefits, you get to clock out at 5:00. There is nothing easy about being an entrepreneur. Few people choose it, just because, “I think this is what I want to do.” It is a calling.
It calls you. It chooses you.
Yeah, or you just burned every bridge and you've got no other choice because you’ve become unemployable.
This is what my book is about, The Entrepreneurial Personality Type. If you look throughout history and every person who has ever created brilliance, who has advanced the world, who has involved humanity, they've been like you and me.
They've been confused, challenged, frustrated, anxious. They've had a hard time socially. They've had to create their own path, find their own way. Oftentimes, they've been labeled as broken and disordered and disabled. Shit, I carry ADD/ADHD, Asperger's, and autism diagnoses.
I have not officially been diagnosed, but I am 100% confident that I have ADD/ADHD. I just never been diagnosed by a doctor because I don't see them that often.
If you look up these symptoms for those diseases, here's what they say, “It's people who are restless, driven, myopic, logical, challenged by the status quo and very driven, somewhat stubborn and will only stick to their guns.”
I've read the biographies of tens of thousands of successful people. When I was younger, I didn't have friends. I went to the library. I leaned on books. I looked at history. I wanted to figure out how to be successful.
I thought I was so broken that I would never be successful and here's what I can tell you. If you look at the history of every person, in history, you remember anyone who matters to be remembered. They were just like us. They were different, they were confused and they weren't like everyone else.
In fact, when you look at humanity as a total, the vast majority of people strive to be average and cling desperately to the status quo. The goal for most people is to be like everyone else. When you're one of us who wakes up in the morning and questions everything.
That’s the last thing we want to be.
We question everything. I think it's time that entrepreneurs stood up and said, “The average sucks. That's not who we are and it's okay to be the one who wakes up every morning and wants to go forward.”
I just grabbed this book off my shelf. Have you ever read the book by Garret LoPorto called The DaVinci Method?
I may have. I think so.
I read this years ago and it is precisely about this. He says on the back of the book, “Are you impulsive, risk-taking, distractible, sensation-seeking, insightful or intuitive? Do you crave risk and excitement, have an addictive personality, rebel against authority or think differently?”
He goes, “Congratulations. The medical profession has diagnosed you as ADHD. What you are is a DaVinci.” I love, by the way, from a marketing side how he reframes ADHD as something positive.
I remember he talks about a gene that they found, the DRD4 gene. It has something to do with this trait in people. It's funny, he goes, “there's only about 10% of the population has this gene. It's an interesting coincidence that only about 10% of the population are entrepreneurs.”
That’s original research. You can add on top of that, Peter Thiel, who wrote Zero to One. I'm paraphrasing.
He said something to the effect of, “It's more of a statement on society that the majority of people, who have the vulnerability to step out and start a business and face society's criticisms, are also rumored to have a disorder that makes it so that they don't care.”
Thiel’s on the spectrum, isn’t he?
Admittedly on the spectrum. I'll share some more of my background. When I was younger, I started a couple of businesses and was able to sell them.
I started as a consultant in the Fortune 500 Global 100 World at 21 years old. My first client was Fuji Media, my second client was SanDisk, and my third client was Fuji Digital.Admit that it's not that you wanted to start a business, you started a business because you had to. Click To Tweet
This wasn't your own consulting business, right? Were you working for somebody else?
I was. At 21 years old, I opened an office for a company and became a consultant. Those were my first three clients. Brad, it was deep end of the pool. I don't want to sound like the whiz kid that knew everything. I got lucky. I was in the right meeting. I had the right background.
Once I had the opportunity, I took advantage of it. When you start working at that level, everything in the world shifts. I didn't understand how to be around normal people because I was spending 99% of my time in C-Suites, on the phone with people making million-dollar decisions every day.
My accounts were places like Home Shopping Network, Office Depot & OfficeMax, Walmart, RadioShack, in Latin America, Falabella.
When you look at what my life was made up of, I'm sitting next to someone who was going through the most important meeting of their lives almost every day. That was my normal day.
It’s millions of dollars at stake.
Sometimes, hundreds of millions. What you start seeing is this consistency with successful people. We have this double-edged sword, this personality type, that did what makes us so brilliant is also what challenges us.
When I look at the entrepreneurial personality type, I see what I see in all of my friends that are billionaires.
I had this crazy opportunity. I've had a unique life where not only do I know people who have achieved that level of wealth, I've had several of my friends achieve that level of wealth in this lifetime.
Here's what's wild, when you watch people move into that world, when you're up close and personal, here's what I can tell you, every single one of them is brilliant, they rely on people, they have an absolute dedication to those around them.
They look for momentum, they think about contribution, they want to change the world, and they are driven in a way that you feel you don't just understand.
I can flip the coin and tell you that they're impulsive, they have huge tempers, they're anxious, they sometimes get aggressive, they can get hyper, they can talk in one, that makes it so the people around them were uncomfortable.
Almost every one of them is dyslexic and almost every one of them has trouble reading to the point where they don't.
They have trouble reading to the point so that they don't read.
They don't read.
They're not avid readers.
Some of them listen, some of them have learned how to read but a lot of my friends who achieved that level of wealth do not read anymore, because it's so hard for them. They read the same book over and over again.
That's something that I started to do, and somebody else, a mentor of mine, recommended it. I'm a voracious reader. Probably the reason I'm not quite a billionaire yet because I just read too much.
He's like, “Go back to some of those books and reread them again, some of the books you love because you'll be amazed. It will be a completely new book the second time, the third time you've read it.” I've started to do that and it's absolutely true.
It changes things. What I can tell you about being around those people is that their lives are simple and they’re comfortable. They've put up guardrails that the rest of us aren't willing to put up in our lives.
Anthony Robbins is just approaching billion dollars in wealth. When I was with him, he said, “Your life isn't about what you go out and look for. In life, you get what you tolerate.”
For so many of us that are driven the way you and I are, I know and you know that a lot of the world systems don't work for the two of us. We've created all of our content, all of our systems, all of our frameworks about teaching guys like you and me to build businesses.
In order to teach better than anyone else, in order to make sure that we ensured success, we had to understand our personality type better than anyone ever has. When I talked about the EPT, the Entrepreneurial Personality Type, to us, we are a subpopulation.
You and I are different from the rest of the world. When we look at society, there are some clear groupings. There's a big group of people in society who take care of other people. They do things that drive you and me crazy.
They like doing things on a daily basis and they want to do things on a daily basis that you and I simply wouldn't do.
Give some examples for the audience.
It’s like a nurse, a maintenance person or a gardener. I've had gardeners that love gardening. I like to do that once or twice a year when I want to get it out of my system and then I'm done.
There's another group in the society, the people who want to keep everything in order.
They like laws, rules, committees and associations. How many committees have you volunteered to be on?
That's a clear differentiation of another set of people. There's another grouping in society, in the human race, that wants to communicate and talk about things, talk about the present and talk about other people.
That will tell you about whatever everything is going on. They like things like small talk. How often are you running towards small talk?
Most small talk I do is my podcast and I make a business out of it.
The only small talk you do, you insist on getting paid for. You've got your people who take care of, your people who organize, the people who do the oral communication and then now let's just think of us as a tribe. What's missing?
The tribe gets taken care of and the tribe gets organized. Information gets passed around the tribe. The tribe needs to survive so you need the people who’d kill shit. When you look at entrepreneurs, you separate us out from everyone else. We are different.
We're not governed by the same rules, the same goals and the same desires as the rest of the world. When the rest of the world says things like, “I want to be happy.” I'll be honest, I don't think you and I comprehend what that means.
I don't think we're wired for happy. I don't think we're wired for sad. Brad, you tell me, how many times has your frustration been mistaken for anger?
Quite a bit.
How many times have you communicated trying to get help in frustration and people have treated you as though you just offended them? How many times in your life have you been told you don't feel?
It sounds something like this. “Brad, tell me how you're feeling.” “Brad, why are you being so intense?” “Brad, don't be so intense.” “Brad, can you slow down a little bit?” “Brad, can you speed up a little bit?”
“Brad, why aren’t you happy yesterday like you were today?” “Why aren’t you upset yesterday like you were today?” Do you remember these?
Here's my theory. Guys like you and me, entrepreneurial personality types, the people in the world that get up every morning looking to move the world forward, change the status quo, improve the status for the tribe, we are hard-wired not for happy or sad.
Maybe you understand the difference between those two. It's like an on/off switch, but what's the difference between happy, sad, frustrated, pissed-off, ticked-off, confused, upset, and just plain not going to talk to you? There's nothing.
The fact is that for guys like you and I, it is all about one thing, we are physiologically sensitive, momentum-based beans. That's it. Brad, does the word momentum trigger you?
Absolutely, big time. It’s funny, years ago back in 2010 because I remember when it happened, I was on the beach in Costa Rica. I was down there for an event. I remember walking on the beach. I think it was sunset or whatever and I was just decompressing from the day and also trying to figure it out.
I've been a little frustrated with what was going on with my business and everything else, the same frustration and self-talk we all do. I had this little epiphany and the two words came to my brain, which was “uncomfortable happiness.”
What that meant to me was I didn't grow up around entrepreneurs, but I was different. Most of my life, I was defining success as comfort, like I got a nice place I'm comfortable in. I think most of the population find success as comfort.
It's like you're comfortable because you're free from worrying about the bills, worrying about where's the money going to come from, worrying about do I do I live in a comfortable place, but just free from stress.
I had gotten to a point where I was comfortable. I was making good money. I had nice things and a beautiful girlfriend.
Everything was comfortable and I was unhappy as hell because I was stagnant and I wasn't taking bigger risks, I wasn't pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I've been trying to get into that comfort zone, I got into it and I was uncomfortable.
I realized that the things that make me the happiest are when I'm out of my comfort zone and when I'm throwing caution to the wind and saying, “We're just going to get in here and try it hair-on-fire momentum and push forward.”
I wrote a blog post years ago about it, uncomfortable happiness, and I think the other thing that I said about that was, “I'd rather be successfully significant than significantly successful.”
Like success, significance is success, like how significant of an impact are you having on your life on those around you on society as a whole. Those are the things that drive me.
If this was called Bacon Wrapped Corporate America Cubicle Dwellers podcast, they would probably not relate to that at all like, “Screw that. I want to have my big-screen TV in my little house and be good.”
Most people are looking for consistency and comfort. Those are one and the same. One-fifth of the population watches the show like Wheel of Fortune every night and when they don't play it, the TV networks get phone calls, “I want my show.” Most people aren’t looking to change things.
In fact, what you just described, I described that as this transitionary period in entrepreneurs’ lives where they realize they have to keep pushing forward. What we realize is that where the rest of the world looks for comfort, here's what is ideal for the entrepreneurial personality type.
When we can start creating an infrastructure around ourselves so that tactically each day becomes easier, which relieves the pressure on us so that we can become more vulnerable. That’s that uncomfortable happiness I think you were talking about.
Here's how entrepreneurs feel most comfortable. We feel best when we are in momentum going forward and breaking new ground.
That is with the infrastructure to move forward becoming more vulnerable. What happens often with entrepreneurs is that we confuse tactically busy for forward progress.
It happens to me all the time, busy versus productive. I remember reading about that in Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Workweek, years ago.
I think he says, “Set an alarm on your iPhone that goes off once every four to five hours and just says, “Are you being busy or productive?” It’s a huge difference.
I think that for us, we need bigger questions in our lives like, “Are you busy or productive?” is one thing, but what I want to know from entrepreneurs is this, “Are you building the infrastructure around yourself for the contribution you plan on making?
Are you creating the structure, the systems around you, for the outcome that you talk about in your head when no one else is listening? Do you understand your destination or is it just one of the dreams that continuously shifts and changes in your head?”
It’s not coming into writing in paper or to anything else or anywhere else. Until it does get in that situation where you've written it down, it's going to continue to be a dream.
The vast majority of entrepreneurs are not approaching what their full potential could be because we have this massive gap.
100% of the entrepreneurs I've ever sat down with, if I ask them one simple question, “Do you feel you're achieving the results you're capable of achieving?” they will tell me, “No.”
I always ask, “What type of infrastructure are you building around yourself to get there?” They always look at me funny. I call it the entrepreneurial dichotomy. We have this challenge where in order to reach our full potential, we require more help than most.
However, any request for help makes us feel vulnerable and exposed. In the same place where we want to make these massive contributions in the world, we convince ourselves we can do it all alone.
You're absolutely right, especially if you've grown up different and you've had to do it your own way. You were doing it your own way anyway. There was nobody to help you and you didn't know you were just making it up as you went.
Brad, did you feel different?
Do you remember feeling isolated?
I wouldn't call it isolated. As I grew and I looked at what my friends were doing and the stuff, I was like, “That's not my reality.” I didn't feel isolated.
I still had a very active social life and I felt I could blend in with them, but there was always that thing they just said, “That's not for you.”
It was funny when I get around, especially now that I've been an entrepreneur for over ten years. I get around my friends who have never done that and they’re still stuck in the corporate world. It's weird how little there is to actually talk about sometimes.
You don't feel isolated?
I guess that's isolated.Entrepreneurs learn nothing standing still and very little alone. Click To Tweet
It is, isn’t it? Isn't it weird how's entrepreneurs were so constantly optimistic that we don't even admit that we have real feelings like isolation? I want to talk to everyone who's reading who has feelings similar to what you and I have, Brad.
If you're reading this, you're one of us, you're an EPT. If you take time out of your day to go out and search down something called the Bacon Wrapped Business podcast with Brad, you know you're already on a different path.
For anyone who's reading who's ever felt isolated or different or like a party of one, I want you to get in touch with those feelings because that is confirmation that you are not average and you are meant for greatness.
People like us have felt isolated, different and confused throughout history because here's the fact. Society doesn't want the people who are resolute, driven to move forward, ready to ask questions and wanting to make things better.
They don't want us to hang out together because we’d scare the shit out of them. The fact is this, if you have felt isolated and different, if you felt like a party of one, I've been there.
I want you to remember, back in the history in the timeline of the past that you carry around with you, the people who I know are important to you because we all have them. Who were they for you? For me, it was Einstein, Pythagoras, Socrates and Plato, and they called to me and said, “You're okay.”
When I found out that Einstein couldn't tie his shoes, that made me feel better. For you, who is it? Here's what I want you to know, anyone in history that you remember, anyone in history who matters to be remembered, was just like us.
They were different, challenged and frustrated, and wanted more and pushed themselves and drove themselves. They were myopic and focused, and called obsessive and told to stop and sit down.
Throughout history, the people that were most broken, most challenged, most visibly and invisibly broken and could not move forward, are exactly those who have always changed the world.
It's never been changed by somebody who's just status quo.
It can't be.
You're crazy until you're successful then you're eccentric.
For anyone out there who feels like you've never had a club to belong to, I want you to know, you're part of the most important club in history.
It doesn't matter what written history of the world you accept, the only positive source of human evolution throughout history has been the entrepreneurial personality type.
The human being who gets up in the morning and says, “How do we go over there, across that bridge, go over the mountain, do something new, change the status quo and make things better for all of us?” That's your club.
Is this part of the heart and soul of what the book, The Entrepreneurial Personality Type, is about?
It is. When you look at the EPT book, it just takes a different view at humanity. For anybody who's reading, the book that I've written is called The Entrepreneurial Personality Type. We did an experiment with it. We did not release it traditionally. We only printed 500 copies.
I've designated myself the least-selling author of all time, we’ve only gotten on TV a few times, Success Magazine, eMagazine, Entrepreneur Magazine. A lot of people have picked up on it.
What did you call it, the least-selling author or the least-selling bestseller?
It’s the least-selling author of all time.
That can't be true because you notice people who put a book out there and the only person who bought it is their mother. I would call yourself the least-selling bestseller.
The reason that we did it this way, is that I wanted to start conversations because I think the dialogue about people like us is incredibly damaging because society has a deficit-based evaluation structure for human beings where all we ask anymore is, “What is wrong with you?”
What I wanted to present was this counter-argument that throughout history, the people who had the biggest challenges who appeared the most challenged are exactly who changed the world. Why don't we start asking, “What is right with human beings?”
If you read the book, The Entrepreneurial Personality Type, it will help you understand yourself better, your kids better, your relationship with your parents better.
The same attributes that make us successful are the same attributes that can make us symptomatic of any type of mental disorder, up to and including, let's be honest, our personality type.
If we feel constrained, if we feel held in place, if we can't see the way out, we'll be symptomatic of all kinds of crap, up to and including suicidal ideation, thought and action.
When we can't move, when we feel like we can't get out of the cubicle, when we can't move forward, when the situation around us and people around us, sometimes even we, put ourselves in a place where we can't see a way out. We fall apart. Brad, have you been there?
Did you fall apart physically? How fast did it take for you to get sick?
I can't say that I got sick off it or fell apart too physically, but I’ve felt it. I’ve felt the internal stresses and whatnot, but I shook it off pretty quickly and got back into it.
Where do you feel like you were constrained? When was it?
Back when after I was a financial adviser. It was very entrepreneurial, what I killed. The bear market roared a little too loud and I migrated within the company over to more of an analyst role. I was constrained, but I was in a very lucky place because I had a very cheery job.
I had some restrictions, but I had no supervision. My supervision was in New York and it allowed me to branch out. The first thing I did, within maybe the first six months of having this new job with no supervision, was reach out and start another business on the side.
I actually started two or three, because some of them failed and whatnot, but that was my outlet and I was lucky. Had I had the inability to do that, I would have gone crazy.
Let's talk to the people who didn't have that easy out because most entrepreneurs I know have been through long periods of constraint. Typically, they're provided by school or they find them in other places and relationships.
For most of us, we've gone through the periods where there are these three processes of breakdown. When you're constrained as an entrepreneur, we're driven by momentum. When we're in momentum, when things are going forward, that's when entrepreneurs feel alive.
When we are in momentum, when we are moving things in the direction we want, when everything's going our way, physically, we have more stamina. Cognitively, we make decisions better. We actually are chemically enhanced. Brad, do you feel those things when things are going your way?
You flipped the coin and we go into constraint. Here's what I can tell you about entrepreneurs, our bodies break down. We get sick.
I talk to entrepreneurs that are worth $100 million, $200 million, $300 million and I say, “Do you remember being in constraint.” They will immediately tell you, “Absolutely.”
“Did you get sick?” They'll say, “Within hours.” We all know now, that's why we're so vigilant against constraint.
First, your body starts breaking down then when you feel held in place, when you can't move forward, cognitively, you start getting confused, brain fog, can't make decisions, your mind starts spinning, you can't link up the thoughts, you don't know where you're going. Have you been there, Brad?
It sucks. What comes next is the chemical shit because it makes you feel depressed, slow, confused and agitated, and when people ask you a question, you respond in a way where later you think, “Why did I even do that?” All of that is caused by constraint.
Our mission in life, as entrepreneurial personality types, is to stay in momentum, to admit to ourselves that moving forward is what matters and to follow the momentum in our lives.
What feels best? Where is it do we feel the most progress? Where do we know we can make our greatest contribution?
If anyone reading to this is still in the same cubicle Brad is or you're thinking “Should I?” or “Can I?” my message to you is that the question is pregnant with the answer. If you are asking, “Should I?” If you had the thought, “Can I?” my message to you is, “Absolutely.”
That’s the call.
There are three awakenings of the entrepreneurial personality type. The first one is you know you're different. We usually have this realization at some point in time in our lives. Brad, you've already confirmed that one.
The second one is when you click into or you turn on innate motivation, it's this period in your life where like the switch goes on and you can no longer turn it off. Brad, can you turn it off?
Like you said, motivation, I don't need a boss to motivate me with a paycheck or to say, “Come on, you’ve got to do this.”
That's innate. It's there. Psychology says, “external motivation, internal, extrinsic, intrinsic.” Brad, does there need to be anything there? You're just going, right?
First, awakening is you know you're different. The second one is the innate motivation. The third one is the call of contribution.
It's weird for most of us because it starts somewhere in the back of your mind. It might’ve even started when you were younger. It's this whisper that says, “Brad, I think you can do more.”
It started like, “Brad, I think you can help some people. Maybe there's something more important. Maybe you're meant for more. Maybe you should do more. Maybe you should have your name on stuff.
Maybe you should be causing an impact, making a contribution, doing things to make things better. What can you change? Where is your mission?
What happens is that call goes from a whisper to a constant drone to a conversation in your head that won't stop to a screaming, “Get out of bed and go make a difference.”
If you have recognized those three awakenings, I want you to understand something. It doesn't matter what diagnosis, disability, disorder you have. It doesn't matter what anyone has told you about you. It doesn't matter what anyone said. There is nothing wrong with you and you are not alone.
Throughout history, anyone who's had the diagnosis, the disorder, or whatever it is you're going through, there has been someone who has overcome it.
If someone who can't speak, can't hear, can't see can change the world for handicapped people, you can too change the world for your people. They're waiting for you to go out and make your greatest contribution right now.
With your business, how are you helping people do that? What resources are you giving them so they can read the book? I imagine you do a decent amount of public speaking. Do you coach?
Tell me a little bit more about your overall business model and the resources. If this is resonating with people, how else can they go down this rabbit hole with you?
You can go to Charfen.com/growyourbusiness. We do a webinar every week where I share our strategies. That's a great way to get introduced to us. You can also go to the book link, Charfen.com/baconwrapped.
What we do is we help entrepreneurs build foundational businesses by knowing how entrepreneurs think. It’s that entrepreneurs are my people and I often say helping another entrepreneur is like helping a member of your own family.
I feel very connected to this greater tribe. I'm emotional about this greater tribe because there are people out there who are selling such a bill of goods to people who I care about.
I care about business owners who get up every day and say. “I'm going to do things differently.” I'm emotional about people who get up every day and say, “I'm going to put my family, myself, my future at risk so that I can make a bigger contribution.”
When people get up on stage and they say things like, “You can run a boutique business and keep it small. You can be independent. Outsource everything.” I want to run up on stage and knock them off.
I've been doing this for a long time and I've made billions of dollars in value for my clients and tens of millions for myself, and you can't do it alone.
The only way any entrepreneur in history has become remembered is by surrounding themselves with a team that helped them achieve their greatest contribution. We've for far too long, told people, “Go do it on your own. Be independent. Stay in the boutique business.”
All of those things, yet we don't tell people to make their dreams any smaller. We create this massive gap between what someone wants and what they're building around themselves on a day-to-day basis. What we do is we help entrepreneurs close that gap.
We have a proprietary process through which we help any entrepreneur create the infrastructure so they can close the gap between what they know they're capable of and what they're actually doing.
That’s so critical to the success. Think of any entrepreneur that you admire that you even know or can name up who is just a solo entrepreneur. There's not many of them out there.
They don't exist. I have challenged people like, “Bring me one.” They don't exist. I often share, entrepreneurs learn nothing standing still and very little alone. Build a team and go forward.
I want to digress or diverge over to, you started to talk about it and it was something we talked about before, the innovative method to get your book out and I love it because it's wasn’t like a little marketing gimmick.
It was something you didn’t care about and ends up working out well. This is something I think the people will absolutely love as I did when you just told me the basics of it. Tell me a little bit more about how you marketed when you release 500 copies of the EPT book.
First, I want to ask you a question. I think I've gotten a suspicion. Books are pretty important to you, aren't they?
Yeah.Entrepreneurs isolate naturally. Click To Tweet
Do you have books around you most of the time? Do you have books in your house?
Yeah. They are in my Kindle.
You carry books around. You have books. If somebody comes to my office, I have books everywhere. I've read thousands of books. I look at each one of them, especially the good ones, like an entrepreneur writing down all the shortcuts they possibly could in this lifetime to help me go forward.
I respect books but I think that these days, there's a travesty happening, because so many books are business cards with too many words. If a guy wanted to hand shit out, he should have made a business card bigger or something.
The whole, just formulaic, here are my seven reasons why I was successful, that nobody ever follows and doesn't understand anyway. When it came time to write a book, I wanted to do something that mattered. I didn't want to chase like everybody else does the same stuff.
We did 500 copies, first and final edition. I hand signed every one of them and we asked 500 people to act as guardians and take the book, read it. We wrote it so you can read in about an hour and a half or two hours. The longest somebody has told us is for three hours.
You can take the book, read it, sign it and pass it along. We put 500 books out there and we've asked that they get passed 100 times. I did it because I wanted to start conversations. We wanted people to hand the book off to each other. I wanted a conversation about who we are.
There are so many entrepreneurs that have been labeled, told they're broken, their kids were getting told that they're ADD/ADHD, bipolar, that they need medication. They're being told that their babies are broken, that they need to change themselves and fix themselves.
I wanted to start a conversation about everything that is right with us. Here's the fact with 100% of entrepreneurs, you can't find me one where this isn't true.
If you ignore what's wrong with any entrepreneur and pay attention exclusively to their strengths, they can do anything, any entrepreneur, even the ones that are blind, deaf and can't talk.
The book is all about that and so by putting out 500 copies, asking it to be passed around, here's where the math works for us. I know you like this from earlier.
You talk to any book publisher and they’ll you they’re on a best-selling book. About 2% of them ever get read. If 100 books are bought, 98 of them go on a shelf without ever being opened and two of them get read. If you sell 10,000 books in a best-seller campaign, 200 people read them.
We put out 500. So far, 469 or 471, something like that had been shipped out. Already just in the momentum we've had in the past year, we've had over 4,000 people read the book so we're at the readership.
How did you track that?
Just from watching online and counting and then we have a site, 500Evolution.com. We hope everyone who has ever read the book will be listed on that site. We don't think we'll get 50,000 because some of them will get lost. We've already had some get lost in transit.
The total potential is 50,000. Right now, we know we're above 3,000. We don't know if we've crossed 4,000 reads yet.
Let’s say that it only gets to 10,000 reads. We took 500 books and we had the same readership as if we went out and sold 500,000 books. That is leverage. That's how I like to do stuff and that changes things.
That's a unique and innovative strategy to this. It's not just a business card and it's not even just about, “How many people can I get this in the hands of?” as far as buying it, doing a bestseller campaign.
I published eight best-selling books for clients. I've been through that like I was the person who punched a bunch of these things out.
Several of them were actually good, but several of them were business cards where they get into free plus shipping offers. That's great as far as general marketing funnel.
It's funny when you know that you're pumping out, in essence, a business card, because you know that people aren't going to read it.
It's different when you do have a real message that you are emotional about, that you know is going to impact people and to sacrifice the potential sales of the book.
You wanted to put it in the hands of more people and give them the challenge to do that. I'm on the 500Evolution.com site. You’re cool. I like the effort that you put into that.
We've designated anyone who receives the book as a guardian. Will you be a guardian of this book and get it through 100 people?
If you go to Facebook and you look up Entrepreneurial Personality Type Book 302, Jodi Ardito got one of these books and she's writing a first-person account of it flying around the world on a Facebook page.
Actually, Anna Selby, an incredible speaker who got a copy of the book, took it to her event, Meltdown in the Desert.
She spent the last five minutes of her keynote awarding it to a person who was in the audience and the guy cried on stage. You don't get that by running a bestseller campaign. You know you ran them.
We have a woman, who watched our stuff somehow found us from Kenya and ordered the book. We sent it to her. She's one of our guardians. She's passing around her area in the city that she lives in Kenya.
She's now taking her kid out of school and homeschooling him because she realized she's an entrepreneurial personality type and the system wasn't working. That doesn't happen from a bestseller campaign.
No, it doesn't. I dig it. Are you working on anything else next right now? Is there another big move for Alex Charfen? Anything that you're excited about that is in progress?
There always is. There's a class that we're starting in August and September. It's Business Momentum. We're teaching the tactics of growth and scale. One of the things that we put out is an article called The 10 Principles of Self-Made Billionaires.
People have tried to write about billionaires before, but it's always like they're writing about them through a telescope. It's like there are billionaires and see how they are. I wrote The 10 Principles of Self-Made Billionaires after having interviewed billionaires and spent time around them.
It has struck a chord in the market. We put it out on Success Magazine. There were 50,000 shares in two weeks. It's one of the most viral things that they've had on their site. It's literally an article, no pictures or anything, like nothing that would have made it go viral other than content.
Those same principles are what we teach people to achieve in our two-day classes. Alan Belcher, a former UFC fighter, runs a couple of million-dollar MMA gyms. He came and this isn’t in our words. In his testimonial, he said, “I'm a millionaire already. This is where you come to learn how to be a billionaire.”
I want this to be relatable to everybody because what we're doing is, we're taking the whole saying, “Success leaves clues.” They're clearest at the top. If you take the clues from the top and you create frameworks around them, you can show anyone how to accelerate success.
People can find that article. Which site was it?
If they go to Success Magazine and search my name or self-made billionaire, they'll find it. If you want to keep up with me and hear more of the entrepreneurial personality type information, we have an incredible Facebook group, WeAreEPT.com.
There's a community there. A lot of people exchange information. I'll throw this out there. Anybody who's on Snapchat, I’m @AlexCharfen on Snapchat. Although I’m new on that platform, it’s effective and I do a lot of stuff on there. In fact, there's a lot of interaction there.
I try to share my daily routine, what we do to be successful, whatever tips we can. I know a lot of interesting people I end up in some interesting situations and they're always on Snapchat.
I've started to use it a little bit more and more and just trying to figure it out. It's always one more toy, one more fun, tactic.
I got on Snapchat at the encouragement of one of my friends and he said, “You go there. You can talk. You get instant feedback. You'll connect with people in a way you haven't connected.” I was like, “I'll give it 30 days.”
One of the first things that I did was I started talking about each day like, “Are you doing what you want to do? Do you feel like you're in momentum? Download my book.” I started coaching the unseen person on Snapchat.
On day eighteen, I got a snap from Benjamin Tyler and he was saying, “I want you to see this. This is my resignation letter. I've been listening to you. I'm turning this in. I wanted you to see it.” I'm like, “I love this platform.”
I had somebody send me a video and it was like 5:30 in the morning. I got up early. I started on Snapchat around 4:30. I had somebody send me a video at 5:30 in the morning and say, “I'm up at 5:30. I haven't been up this early in forever. I've been watching you on Snapchat. It's an inspiration.”
If you do it right, your everyday life can help people. I'm into the platform. The engagement level there is awesome, and people are into it.
You do get a lot of people responding to your snaps individually?
Are there any other trends that you see in the marketplace that you're excited about, not necessarily the things that you're doing, but just other things going on that you think in the next year or two will be big?
I've got a crazy history in business. I think we're going through a very tumultuous time in business. It's much easier to predict where the challenges, the fissures, and issues are and what we're going to face next.
I look for disparity and for where are people going to be scared in the market because that's where you can make up around.
When I look at the major trends, first this political election, the rest of the world is causing the United States to appear so unstable. We're going to be challenged by this for a while.
When you look at the US economy, we have this ten-ton elephant in the room that no one's talking about called retail.
First, all of the stores in the United States, all the retail footprint, you look at how many shopping centers, how many malls, how many thousands and millions of square feet there are, and the infrastructure around all of that.
I challenge you to walk into Sears, at Dillard's or even at Nordstrom's and find a store that doesn't look like absolute crap, that you don't want to go back to. I think we've got this rolling catastrophe of retail that’s coming at us.
It's going to start having an effect in the next couple of years. The other one is the real estate market. We've been propping it up and subsidizing it for so long. I'm watching it closely. Because when there are major movements in the real estate market, millions are made.
We didn't even talk about that, but you've got a lot of background in there. You came up with the Distressed Property Specialist or something designation.
Certified Distressed Property Expert. Cadey and I wrote that in 2007. We trained about 50,000 real estate agents how to help people who were in foreclosure. The US Treasury gave us credit for pulling the foreclosure crisis forward five years.
Real estate agents are the ones who got the designation primarily. I met some investors too. That’s not their specialty. Their specialty is making a house look pretty and finding it and just doing the normal stuff.
When we had a major crisis like that, I'm sure it sent a lot of people into a tailspin. I come from an investing background. I flipped my first houses from a guy who's in foreclosure back and I think it was 2002. For the past couple of years, I was directing the marketing for Kent Clothier.
He's one of the top real estate investor educators. He's got a big software as a service that helps people find distressed motivated sellers, cash buyers, etc. I was helping to direct his marketing and teaching everything from wholesaling to flipping and you name it.
I've got a lot of experience in that area and I see how crazy it is. I think that's awesome when you created the certification for especially the real estate agents to go in there and understand the nuances of the market and how to deal with that.
I know my experience with a lot of average agents has been hair-pulling because they just don't get it.
I actually got out of being a consultant a few years before that, in the early 2000s after I met my wife. I sold my consultancy when I was in my twenties and I thought I was going to retire.
Cadey and I were going to do nothing and what happened was I accidentally started a real estate company, a property management company and an acquisition company. Cadey was a realtor. I was doing mortgages. Over the course of a year, I had four teams. We were doing a ton of properties.
In 2007, we got caught with a ton of properties. We lost it all. We went bankrupt and I started getting foreclosure notices on all of the properties we had. I had a huge portfolio. It was about 60% loan-to-value, but my portfolio, the entire thing, lost 75% loan-to-value.
I actually had properties that lost 90% of their value. We had a property in Stonebridge Gardens, Florida where we owned condos at $160,000 to $180,000 in value and the lowest price once sold for was $15,250.
We lost everything. When the foreclosure notices started showing up and when the negotiations started and I started talking to mortgage companies, I realized they weren't doing it right. There wasn't much I could do, but there was stuff that other people could do.
Just the challenge of being foreclosed on and being sued, it was so emotional like I wanted to help people. Cadey and I wrote a process and I took it to Bank of America, I took it to Chase, to Citi, to Wells Fargo, to the US Treasury, to Fannie Mae, to Freddie Mac, to the National Association of REALTORS.
This is crazy. You know a little about real estate. In 2008, they told me I was wrong because I was saying, “This is a ten-year problem. There are more defaults than we understand. This is going to be a massive crisis. This is going to take out every state in the country.”
They were calling me chicken little. I was called uncredible. I was criticized because it was localized to Florida at that point. I had actually gone and looked at all of the mortgages that had been written and I realized Florida was the first place we had written a lot of adjustable-rate in a lot of arms.
The entire country went like dominos. In 2008, everybody said we were wrong and I was criticized and made fun of. In 2009, Citi, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Fannie, and the US Treasury were our consulting clients. They all used our system.
We wrote a system, a single-package short sale processing system that was taught in the CDPE but then also taught in the Loss Mitigation Departments. Our system was used in the vast majority of short sale negotiations from 2008 until now.
It's something that we've never dealt with before so here's what you have in real estate now. We've taken the average monthly value of a house and cut it in half as we've taken the average value of a house and grown it.
We have an entire generation who has bought properties cheaper than the generation before them. We’ve totally reset expectations around home purchasing.
The equivalent is, you can go buy a nice BMW for $199 all day long. In two or three years, that might be $600. Are we still going to sell as many BMWs? I don't think so. I think we've created this massive false economy in what happens to be the largest asset class in the United States.
Would it be safe extrapolating on that when interest rates rise? They absolutely have to at some point. Nobody knows when it will be, but when they start to rise, normalize and revert to the mean, the same $200,000 house, $250,000 house is going to cost twice as much.
When I was a mortgage broker in 2006, for a $250,000 house, if I got you a $2,000 payment, that was a good payment. Somebody now can get you $1,100.
People are so used to say, “Houses are supposed to be this cheap per month.” I never even thought about that. That's a cool insight.Stop looking at what's wrong with you and start discovering your attributes. Click To Tweet
I watched the macro numbers.
I'm a macro geek too.
I'm a macro geek. Let's look at the macro numbers. We've been fortifying and putting money into interest rates for years now. We've driven this purchase value down of $200,000 asset to $1,100 a month.
We've created a buying class of someone who can afford $1,100 a month but can step up to a $200,000 property. In the future, we're going to need somebody who will be satisfied with a $200,000 property with a $2,000 payment in order for you to sell your house.
That's going to be a train wreck. When the payment value doubles, income levels won't double, and we won't sell anything. It will be interesting to see how many administrations, how many different treasuries, how many different economies try and do something goofy to prop this up.
It all comes back to the Fed and how much money they want to throw at it. For the recent past, they haven't said uncle.
They don't have a whole lot of ammunition left.
Brad, you know this market. What do you do next?
I don't know. People ask me like, “Why do you rent a house?” I rent an apartment in San Diego. Number one, it's expensive as heck to buy a house out in California, especially I came from Dallas.
I own two properties back in Texas that we rent out. I would much rather rent my primary place and then buy rental property. If I've got cash to put on a down payment here, I could buy three houses probably for cashback in Dallas or Memphis or different places that I invest.
It's for that exact same reason though is I don't trust what's going to go on. It's a little too precarious, everything from the market to the general economy. I like to keep my powder keg a little bit more dry right now.
You shared with me and I had not thought about that angle to the potential housing market. It definitely presents an issue, especially if rates start to rise.
You’ll lose buyers. I watch real estate numbers closely. Cadey and I have rebuilt. We have a substantial portfolio here in Austin. Only we don't have mortgages anymore. We just write checks for properties now.
I watch how many months do we have on the market? What's the availability of properties? How many properties are being built? I've been buying property since I was 21 years old. People can get overwhelmed by numbers, but I look at very few and it's very clear.
When there's more property than we're selling, when the sales rates start to slow down and when you start seeing inventory back up, there's going to be an issue. We watch those numbers. What's interesting right now is each time there's a little hiccup in inventory, the rates come down.
It's not right away. It's not a quick adjustment, but within 30 to 60 days you see a little blip and the rates go down and then purchases go back up. I think right now we're in this place where I don’t know how they're going to move off of this free-money period or reduced-price money period.
I don't either. It could cause havoc. It's going to be interesting in the next couple of years.
I think anybody who follows us or who downloads my book or if you do any of those things, keep an eye out on our stuff. Just because we have such a high level of research expertise and contacts in real estate, we're probably going to start putting out a once-a-month real estate update through our website.
If that's something that interests you, look it up. We have a huge membership in real estate that we're going to support that way and I think a lot of business people and investors will want to see the same.
Are there any nuts you're trying to crack right now? Whether it's a skill you're trying to learn, a person you're trying to hire, somebody trying to meet, just where we get to turn the table and help you out. Any ideas you're trying to get off the ground and you don't have the right people or resources?
What's critical for us is entrepreneurs isolate naturally. Part of what we do is we pull back and we don't share. What I'm working on and what I would love help with is getting our book out there. I know you’re willing to read it, Brad.
If anyone reading is willing to read it, then share it even if you just download the electronic version. I'm very sensitive to visuals so we had an electronic version that's made to look like a Kindle version.
It's incredibly easy to read. You can download it at Charfen.com/baconwrapped. My request is to share it with someone, talk about it and start understanding who we are.
The reason I say there's nothing wrong with you is that the most vulnerable person in the world is always the one trying to move the ball forward and the ones who are carrying the flag out front is always the one with his back exposed.
For those of us who choose to live life that way, we have to stop looking at what's wrong with us. When you read The Entrepreneurial Personality Type book, it's not fluffy stuff that tells you, “You should feel good about your weaknesses.” It's real.
It shows our attributes and it clarifies exactly who we are. It will show you how to create momentum in your life and if you're willing to download that and share that with someone, that's the conversation we're trying to start.
My belief is there is far more entrepreneurial personality types who are in rehab, who are struggling, who are not doing well or who are even in an early grave, that are running successful businesses.
The people in the world who asked the questions, push forward are stubborn, are wanting to move things around, wanting to change the status quo, are not the ones that get the support.
Far too many of us are being told that there's something wrong with us. If you'll share my book and show people that there is nothing wrong with you, that would be the best thing that could happen.
That's how you can help Alex. Alex, this has been an awesome podcast. I liked it. We talked about some tactical stuff. We talked about some of the most important fundamental mental shifts that people need to understand and make.
You've given us a lot of resources to look at. I know I'll be taking an even closer look at all the stuff that you've got now that we've officially made this connection. I want to thank you for taking the time to be on the show and sharing all this with us.
Brad, I appreciate it. I appreciate you being a guardian.
One of the best things you can do is get the book, pass it on. If you do feel as though you've got the entrepreneurial personality type and that there are other people who could benefit from this, share not only the book with them, share the show. Let people be introduced to Alex by this.
Tag me in it if you share it on social media. If there are any hurdles that you're trying to leap over, if there's anything that you're stuck with, reach out to me personally. Send an email to AskBrad@BaconWrappedBusiness.com.
If you are a business owner and your profits have plateaued and you're looking for a second opinion on how to get those unstuck.
Podcasting is not what I do for a living. What I do for a living is help business owners get unstuck, grow their business using very unique out-of-the-box but completely proven strategies to help you grow your business.
There's nothing that I like more than working with the same people that we've been talking about on the show. If there's any way that I can be of service to you, the best way to reach me is once more at AskBrad@BaconWrappedBusiness.com.
You can always leave a review on iTunes because that's just like candy for me. I love that. I read every single one of them. I appreciate everybody for reading and for sharing the show.
Alex, I appreciate your time on the show and I look forward to getting a physical copy of that book and reading it and passing it on.
You're going to need somebody to pass it to. If any of the audience want to read the physical copy, they can email you.
First one to email me that they want the book, AskBrad@BaconWrappedBusiness.com, you got it. Let's see the action takers out there.
You can create a little list and pass it around. Brad, I appreciate the podcast. I love your style and I appreciate you having me on.
Thanks a lot, Alex.
Alex Charfen, author of Entrepreneurial Personality Type, wants you to know that you are not alone. Entrepreneurs are known for being “different”; for standing on the outside of normalcy.
Alex always felt like he was different from everyone else and just didn't belong. Over time, this led him to identify common personality traits of entrepreneurs.