In today’s episode of the Survival Dad podcast, Buck speaks with Mike Dillard, a Texan entrepreneur and fellow survival dad. They discuss the importance of becoming self-reliant in terms of financial and other resources needed to make it through a period of recession or natural disaster.
Mike talks about the skills needed to start your own business and about how vital it is to learn the “art of selling” to become successful. He explains how the world moves in cycles, and how our current situation seems about to change.
You will also learn from Buck and Mike what it means to be a survival dad.
In Today’s Episode:
00:00 – Buck Welcomes Mike Dillard
00:30 – How Mike Got Out of the Corporate “Rat Race”
04:18 – Creating an Opportunity Out of an Unfortunate Event
09:25 – What Should Americans Do to Battle Recession
12:47 – Skills Needed to Launch an Online Business
15:49 – The Art of Selling
18:54 – Why Our Educational Systems Don’t Teach These Skills
20:40 – What’s Stopping People from Financial Self-Reliance
23:20 – Mike Discusses the World in Cycles
27:12 – Buck Shares His Vision of Survival Dad
33:52 – Being a Survival Dad According to Mike
38:49 – How to Keep Track of Mike Dillard
39:35 – Opportunities from an Investment Standpoint
44:46 – Going On a Journey with Mike
52:33 – Closing Remarks
Buck Welcomes Mike Dillard
Buck:Hey folks, it’s Buck Rizvi here with Survival Dad. I’m here with Mike Dillard, and Mike has been dedicated for the last few years to teaching the wealth-building strategies used by the rich to achieve financial freedom in any market. Mike is a serial entrepreneur, having built not one but two eight-figure businesses, and he’s still only in his 30s.He is what I would refer to as the “consummate survival dad.”Mike,you there?
Mike: I am,Buck, and excited to be here, man, thank you.
Buck: Thanks for joining us. I love thetagline I think you came up with, which is “you teach people how to get out of the rat race,” and that’s something that’s very near and dear to my heart, having personally exited the rat race back in 2006. What’s your personal escape story?
How Mike Got Out of the Corporate “Rat Race”
Mike:Oh, yeah good question.I was inspired to become an entrepreneur, actually,way back in high school. And I used to wait tables at the original Macaroni Grill in Boerne, Texas,before it was a franchise. And I waited tables on the weekends. Actually, more accurately, I bussed tables because I wasn’t old enough to wait tables and serve alcohol yet. And I did that on the weekends to pay for the things that I wanted to purchase, and I missed out on a lot of really good times that, you know, my friends were having while I was working. And I hated that I didn’t have control over my schedule, or, more accurately, that somebody else could tell me when and where I had to be.
Mike: And so, I come home late at night at, you know, midnight or 1 o’clock and decompress in the living room at my parents’ house and watch TV, and what happens to be on at midnight? Well, infomercials, you know, Tony Robbins and all of those guys, which would get the ideas flowing and definitely feed or provide inspiration for the angst that I was feeling. And so, that prompted me to get involved in the network marketing industry in college. Which I pursued successfully for about seven or eight years and built an eight-figure business in that industry. And then, when I turned 30, which was in 2008, two things happened:I kind of did what most people end up doing when they had one of those big, round ten-year numbers, is you take an accounting of your, you know, where you’re at in life. And what I realized is that I made a ton of money and built a very successful business but had nothing to show for it from an investment standpoint. And I bought a bunch of toys and did a lot of fun things that a guy in his 20s would do, but I didn’t have a single investment.And so, that really bothered me and then…
Buck:You’re living like a rap singer then. [Laughs]
Mike:Yeah, I mean, you’re single, you’re in your 20s, and you’re making millions of dollars.What are you going to go do? You’re going to go have the time of your life. Which I did, and I don’t regret it. And that was in 2008,[when], as we all know, something else happened. In September 2008, the market collapsed, and so I was really interested,had become, you know,in late 2007 to2008 in investing in the economy,and I started studying those things and dive in into Robert Kiyosaki‘s work andPeter Schiff and Mike Maloney and Harry Dent and all of those guys. And as a result, I put some of the money that I was making and, at least the savings that I’dhad, into gold and silver. About 90 percent of the money that I did have I put into metals.
Creating an Opportunity Out of an Unfortunate Event
Mike: In 2007 and 2008, when silver was about $10 an ounce,and gold was about 800. And so,the market collapsed.I saw my friends and family get hurt, and I said,“Well, I know what not to do now,” but at the same time I couldn’t find what I should do, moving forward. Because a new paradigm had begun, and I was, like,“Well, one group of people came out of this really really well.” And that’s really kind of the wealthy people who tend to make money no matter what happens to the market, and I said,“I’m going to go figure out what they’re doing.” Because—as I’m sure you’ll agree with,and most people who are listening to podcasts will agree with—things have not really recovered in a real, true, genuine fashion. They’ve just been, you know, pumped up artificially.
Buck:Kind of a fake recovery, right?Looks that way on the outside.
Mike:Absolutely. And so, I think everybody who is actually paying attention is still kind of looking out and waiting,“Well, when is the illusion going to disappear and reality set back in?”
Mike: And so, that’s kind of what really prompted the preparedness side as well back in 08,which I still believe is on the horizon at some point in the next couple of years. Which will be a significantly worse financial calamitythan we saw in 08 and 09.
Buck: There’s going to be a reckoning, you think?
Mike: There has to be.I mean, there always is,and this time will be no different. So I think, you know, it’s maybe not “survival of the fittest”but “survival of the smartest.” And I just see it as a huge opportunity for those people who were taking the time to prepare for it and to make some very strategic decisions about how they’re living their life, and what they’re doing with their money to turn whatever happens at that point in time into the biggest opportunity of their lifetime.
Buck: It’s interesting you frame it that way. Yeah. That because some people can look at it as a doom and gloom,other people can look at it as an opportunity. I think you made that point about wealthy people that they take advantage of these opportunities even though [the opportunities] could be a dramatic problem for the average American person or an average anyone living on the planet.Speaking about sort of the average person, I’ve noticed that jobs that used to be considered white-collar here in the US,they’re moving offshore at an accelerated clip. I think both of us have businesses where we may have,[or]we may employ, offshore help to do things that might have been considered to be pretty sophisticated white-collar work and somebody [or]someone would be sitting at a desk doing it here in the States. Now it’s being done for a fraction of the cost, maybe 1/10 the cost, offshore. What do you think is a good hedge for the typical American, so that they’re not caught flat-footed? What should they be doing right now?
What Should Americans Do to Battle Recession
Mike: That is a great question, and something that I think about constantly, and, you know, not only from an economic perspective and where labor is moving and, the labor pool, but from a technology perspective as well. The amount of new automation technologies that can be coming online in the next ten years are going to fundamentally change the landscape of employment for people. And there’s two examples that really freaked me out. [Laughs] There’s the self-driving cars that are coming online over the next five years, and if you think about all of the industries that’sgoing to impact, all of the truckers out there who are going to be paid much less, basically, just to sit in their cab in case the autopilot goes wrong or, you know, off-line.So, they’re basically going to be a nanny.
And then you have the AI industry, which is really coming into its own. And the example that really caught my attention the most—and you can look this up online, you can Google it—[are the]outbound call companies that have been testing AI systems over the last couple of years,specifically for customer service and sales, that are so good right now, and I would consider this the beta version,but it’s so good right now,nineout of ten people that these systems call cannot recognize that they’re talking to a piece of software.
Buck: That’s amazing.
Mike: So, it sounds totally natural;they make jokes, they laugh at your jokes, they listen to your tonalities,they can sense what your emotional state is if you’re getting frustrated, or whatever it may be.And again, first version, 90 percent of people cannot tell thatthey’re talking to a computer. And so, what happens when this capability reaches version 2.0 or 3.0 in the next three to four years.
Mike: Every single support person—not every single,I’d say 90 percent of support people out there that are paid to pick up a telephone and talk to customers—their jobs are gone.You look at fast-food restaurants like Schlotzsky’s, you know, the one we have in the Austin airport here, are all automated kiosk now. To place your order, they’re not employees anymore, there’s two people making sandwiches and one person at the cash register, and that’s it.That’s all going to be brought out over the next ten years to all of the other fast-food chains.
Buck: It’s funny you mentioned that because I just—maybe I’m way behind the times—but I just used UBER for the first time when I went to a Masterminds in La Joya[Texas],and I became addicted to that. I love UBER. But I talked to a couple of the drivers,and one was saying,“Well, I’m doing this part-time because I lost my job,” or whatever it is, and I was thinking exactly what you mentioned, which is we’re only one step away,coz I can call the car, I already put the address in,I’ve already taken care of the billing, now they just need to automate the driving.
Mike:Yeah, in five to sevenyears,the car will show up,and there’ll be no driver. [Laughs]
Buck:[Laughs]. So,[…] what was sort of the step an American should do to hedge against this potential vanishing of jobs in the huge industries?
Mike:That’s a really important question, and it’s something that I’ve been talking about and teaching through my entrepreneurial endeavors for the last decade. I struggled, when I first started, for six or seven years. Didn’t make any money. And the reason that was the case is that I was always looking for the opportunity, you know, that I was interested in or involved into bring me the results or the product orthe mentors that I had, or the marketing system that I was using. I was always looking for one of these outside things to bring the money in.
Mike: And it never works. And so, I finally have this realization that it really is up to me to bring the result,and that it’s an inter-deal. And so, I started to acquire new skills, specifically when it came to online marketing, came to copywriting. And as soon as I started to do that, the results started to come in, and what I realized is that the amount of money you make is really proportional to the level of value you provide to other people in the world. And so, I call that your PVL, your Personal Value Level.
And there’s really three […] factors that determine how much money you make. The first one is level of competition for your current job.And the lower level of skills that are required, the more competition there is, like a fast-food job,a taxi job, waiting tables, retail stuff. The second factor is what level of expertise does your job require in order to execute it. The more expertise required, such as being a brain surgeon, then you’re going to get paid a lot more coz your value to the world is much higher. And the third factor is what kind of leverage do you have through your job. And so, the first category, the retail worker,is going to get paid the lowest wage possible in a free market system—that’s what it’s designed to do is topay you the least amount of money possible.
Mike: The second level is you go to college, you get a Master’s degree, you get specialized skills, such as becoming a doctor or lawyer. There are much fewer of those people around, so they’re much more highly sought after.They get paid six to seven figures, but they have no leverage.If you’rea brain surgeon,you can only work on one patient at a time. So you’re capped.And then the third aspect is if you can provide a valuable service to the world, even if it’s a very simplistic one, but you have a lot of leverage. Meaning,[if] you can affect thousands or millions of people,well, then you have an unlimited income potential. And so, when I realized that, I just said,“Hey, I need to go learn some skill sets, and then I need to apply those skill sets in a way that as many people as possible can benefit from them.”
Mike:And once I figured that out, I went from waiting tables at the PF Chang’s—when I was in my mid-20s—to making my first seven figures in less than two years.
Skills Needed to Launch an Online Business
Buck: Well, let’s drill into that a little bit. I think, you know, you’re referring to you made your money through, most recently, through online businesses, right?
Mike: Correct. Yes.
Buck:So,I think a lot of people don’t feel they have the proper skills, and you alluded to that.So, skills were one component of this. What do you think the core skills are for launching an online business, and are they difficult to attain?
Mike: So, you know, it [is really just] up to you, and from a preparedness perspective and, you know, how can folks really take control of their financial situation. I think that’s really what this is about. I consider my job to help people become self-reliant from a financial perspective. So,how do you become self-reliant when it comes to your income? And you make your own money, and nobody can take that away from you, and then how to become self-reliant from an investment standpoint, so that you’re not handing your money over to the wolves on Wall Street and giving them control over basically a lifetime of your labor.
Mike: So,how do you [gain] self-control when it comes to producing your income? Obviously you’ve got to become an entrepreneur and take control of that.
Mike:I always suggest people start with something that they’re passionate about. And if it happens to be preparedness or prepping or whatever it may be, I mean there’s… I cannot think of a better industry to get involved in over the last five years than that one. It’s just growing so quickly, and there areso many opportunities out there.But the skill sets that I’ve seen make the biggest difference are on the marketing side. And really, if you can learn how to sell and how to market,then the world really becomes your oyster at that point. And, you know, I’m a very,very shy and introverted person. The idea of selling anything to me was, like, the worst, my worst nightmare. But luckily, when it comes to the Internet you don’t have to go out and shake hands and sell [to] people face-to-face. You can really just learn to communicate whatever you’re into in a very passionate, educated manner with expertise.
And that’s really all that’s required, and these days there are so many amazing books and courses on how to do that. You know, how to write copy, how to write effective advertisements and marketing pieces that you can get a world-class education for almost nothing these days, just with the amount of free resources that are available online.
And, I think the difference is, really, it just comes down to desire, and how bad do you really want to be self-reliant? Is that all you think about every single day,and are you willing to sacrifice whatever you need to do? Because that’s the ultimate prize, and, basically,in any aspect in life, when you’re self-reliant, you’re free. Freedom is the ultimate attainment that we can have that, you know,it’s not going to come easily, but the barriers to entry are lower than they’ve ever been. The costsare lower than they’ve ever been. So, in my opinion, people don’t really have an excuse anymore. Itjust comes down to “Do you have the desire level to actually stick with it?”and that’s the biggest determining factor.
The Art of Selling
Buck: It’s interesting to hear the…There’s some consistent echo of things that I’m hearing here coz I previously interviewed another guest who mentioned, you know, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me”, and another guest mentioned that they read How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins at the age of 12. [Laughs] So,the point you’re making here is that while some people might gag on this notion of,“Hey, I got to learn how to sell, I hate selling,I don’t like salesmen,” whatever it is, but I think the notion of learning the art of persuasion is important, and communicating a persuasive message through words is important. It is an important skill,kind of a core skill, is that what you’re saying?
Mike:Yeah, I mean,absolutely.And that’sthe bittersweet pill of the world is that there are so many brilliant ideas and products and services out there that never saw the light of day because the person in charge did never bother to acquire the skill to communicate the benefits of their invention,or of their business, to the masses. And so, it never really went anywhere, and I think there’s a quote that if I get this correct it’s always,“it’s he who markets best wins.” And it’s not necessarily who has the best product or the best widget, it’s who has the ability to get that out to the masses the most effectively wins.
Mike: And so, that’s really all business is about these days. And, you know, you look at guys like…I don’t know if you follow him or not,but I’ve always enjoyed his work,“nutnfancy”on YouTube.
Buck: Oh yeah, sure.
Mike: So I know, I’ve actually gotten to know “nutn”over the last couple of years because I reached out, and I was so impressed by what he had done with his channel.
Mike: And basically just putting his passion onto YouTube for a subject matter with no intention of ever turning it into a business. And it turned into a massive one, and I was like,“Hey, you’ve got a huge opportunity here; if there is anyway that I can help, you know,help provideyou with some guidance or advice on how to make this as big as you dare to make it, I’d be happy to help.” And funny part is he really still wasn’t interested in doing that. And he just wanted to make his videos, and I’m sure he makes a very nice income from thead revenue on YouTube.
Mike: But, you know, that’s just… that’s the power that we have at our fingertips today,and the opportunity that everybody has. It’s just a matter of putting that energy out there on a consistent basis over time, and that’s when you get into the rarefied air where nine out of ten people are not willing to do that. And if you look at a guy like Gary Vaynerchuk,who did the same thing with wine, you know, made a video about winetasting every single day for five years, and he’s got one of the biggest growing businesses in the country right now. So…
Buck: Well, I think it’s the point that you made, I think it was the third point of your approach to being successful andachieving self-reliance is this getting leverage and being willing to put your message out there, and part of that is being authentic. And nothing fancy certainly falls into that category.
Why Our Educational Systems Don’t Teach These Skills
Buck: In a big way. So, whydo you think the strategies that you teach are not being discussed in primary and secondary educational systems? Is this something that only the wealthy are passing down to their privileged children?
Mike:Umm,I don’t think it’s intentional.You know, there’s all of that talk about this was the Rothschild and Rockefeller education system,and it is designed to crank out employees and worker bees. And with that, I do agree that the education system is designed to produce people who are capable of getting a job. And they feel that if they prepared you enough to go work at a McDonald’s, they’ve done their job.
Mike: Which is sad, but if you think about the source of where that mindset is coming from, it’s from people who have a job. You are hiring other teachers who have jobs, and they all value their job.And the thought of ever going out on their own and starting a business probably scares the hell out of them.
Mike: And so, if you’re learning from those types of people—whether they have good intentions or not—it is what it is, and that’s the kind of result that you’re going to get in the product that is going to be produced. And so, you know,once you kind of unplug from the “matrix,” and you realize that you want more out of life, and that there is more available to you,then you really have to go pursue that education on your own. And as we’ve talked about, that is the most amazing blessing that we all have these days is that is has never been more easy to find and more abundant than it is right now.
Buck: And most of it… a lot of it is free.
Mike:Yeah. And there’s no library to go to anymore to try to find,you know, a “Think and Grow Rich“ book or whatever it may be or something , on marketing by Ogilvy or… It’s all a Google search away. [Laughs]
What’s Stopping People from Financial Self-Reliance
Buck: What do you think is the biggest thing that’s been blocking people from financial self-reliance?
Mike: Definitely your inner monologue, you know, the thoughts that are going through your head. And if you think about the difference between you or myself or the folks who are listening to this right now, literally what is the difference between us and Bill Gates? We have two arms, two legs, a stomach, a nose, a mouth, whatever it is… we’re the exact same. The only differencesare the thoughts that are going through our heads. And so,if you can really take control of that and start to reprogram yourself, which is literally what you’re doing over the course of years by diving into Tony Robbins and reading Think and Grow Rich and reading marketing courses. It really is a reprogramming process that will take two to fouryears. And you’regoing to forget all of the crap that you learned in school, and you’re going to upload all of this new information that will give you all of these new skill sets and abilities,and then you have the opportunity at that point to go rewritea new future for yourself. But that is the number one reason between, you know…I think that’s keeping people or preventing them from having those results as it’s what you’re thinking. If you have a negative outlook, or you’re sceptical, or you’re making excuses forhow you grew up or whatever it maybe,then that’s what you’re going to get.
Buck: Are yougoing to have to change some of the folks you hang out with?
Mike:Yeah, absolutely. [Laughs]
Buck:(Laughs).Maybe not your family. Maybe you can choose your family.
Mike: Yeah, I don’t have a single friend that I still talk to from high school or college. And you know, it’s interesting—in our circle of entrepreneurs we love to talk about our accomplishments and celebrate our wins, like,“Man,you know, Buck,I just launched a new book, and it sold hundred thousand copies last week, and I made a million bucks,” and we all high-five each other like freaking awesome.
Mike: And then you go do that with your buddies from college,and they just say “Asshole” and give you the middle finger. [Laughs] So, yeah,I promise that you won’t miss them.
Buck:[Laughs] Well, I know that’s a tough one, right, because we all have childhood friends and obviously people that we respect for reasons other than their financial success. But I definitely subscribe to the idea of spending a good chunk of your time hanging around people that you aspire to be like, or that have had success in areas that you want to, you know, that you want to achieve in addition to delivering value to them.
Mike: So, Buck, I was going to… I was curious, if you don’t mind if I ask you a question.
Mike Discusses the World in Cycles
Mike:So, obviously, we have had very similar experiences[as entrepreneurs]. You know, we’ve gone down similar pathswith similar businesses and skillsets that we’ve acquired. Similar results, and we’ve also both come to the same conclusion or awareness around the economy and maybe the political upheavals that are going on around the world. And I’ll share a resource with you—if you haven’t readit—and the listeners.The one book that I found to be the most prophetic that I read years ago, and it was actually written in the early, either the early 2000sor the late… I think it was the late’90s. But it has literally predicted all of the stuff that has happened even the financial collapse, which, you know, the book was written tenyears before it happened. And so, just like,“Man these guys have nailed it,” but it’s called The Fourth Turning.
Mike: And it’s by…I want to say Neil Howe, it’s two guys. But it’s called The Fourth Turning, and it’s a really big book,but basically,if you’ll go read the first chapter or two and the last chapter or two, you’ll be able to see exactly why all of this is happening. Why there is this feeling in the air that massive global changes are upon us, and they’ll show you how this is. It basically breaks life down into 100-to 125-year cycles, and they call them seasons,so spring-summer-winter-fall.
Mike: And every fourth turning,it happens every 100to 125 years or so that you enter winter. And the world tends to go one way, it disrupts into a massive upheaval, and it either leads to a better time of prosperity, or it goes into a very dark period for the next 100 to 125 years.
Buck: I’ve just added it to my list. [Laughs]
Mike: It’s the one book that I would really recommend everybody if you want to understand why things are happening the way two options are ,and then, you know.So my question for you is…
Mike:It’s interesting, we run in the same circles, I’d say the same 100 to 300 people. And there’s a few of us who’ve really taken action on what we see happening.
Mike:But the rest have not.And it’s almost like they go around and live life in this blinded… with blinders on to where “I’m only going to focus on the positive,” you know,minded stuff and abundance, and I’m going to ignore all the rest.
Buck: Yes. Like the music will never stop.
Mike: Yeah, and so, there’s a side of me that I find unbelievably frustrating because in our own right we are all leaders, you know, our readers or listeners or followers, whatever it may be, and as a group wehave the attention of I’d say 10 to 50 million people, so that is a huge opportunity for us as entrepreneurs—which by default typically means we’re into liberty,and we’re into personal freedom—to make a difference or make an impact and kind of sway the communication and what’s going on in the world, and from what I’ve seen in the people that I’ve talked to, they’re so afraid to say anything like that because they’re afraid they will…
Buck:It might come true,or? [Laughs]
Mike: That it won’t be politically correct, and that they’ll lose some of their customers.So, you know, we get honest, write an email,and talk aboutRon Paul or the Libertarian party or whatever it maybe, and how I really feel about Obamaand those things, then we’re instantly…
Buck: That we’re polarizing and…
Mike: Polarizing,and we’re going to lose revenue and lose customers,and I’m just not willing to do that, and it’s just that…So, anyway, I wanted your thoughts on that because I find it increasingly… I find myself increasingly annoyed by that.
Buck Shares His Vision of Survival Dad
Buck: Well, it’s interesting coming… you and I both run several businesses, so I view my “Survival Dad” audience and this opportunity here to talk to very interesting speakers and entrepreneurs like yourself as my voice in that, you know, addressing this particular issue. And I had an awakening late in life. I call myself a late bloomer, you know,I’m in my late ’40s, so I’ve had an awakening on a number of fronts. One, making the escape from the corporate rat race, the other is, you know, maybe this happened as a result of my oldest child graduating from college and me wanting to provide a great future for him and advise him properly, and also I have young kids, like you do, at home and then realizing that, you know, the world is not going to be the same in the next 20 years. And if the things that I think might happen… Who knows? I read some books that were written 30 years ago where they predicted a lot of the same things could happen,and they, you know, the world didn’t come to an end. So, maybe 30 years from now, you and I will be proven wrong, and at least we would’ve been prepared and hopefully still live the good life in the meantime. And that’s my philosophy in this is that you can still live a good life of contribution and be successful and make a difference, but at the same time you cannot be oblivious and pretend like it’s not going to happen and be prepared for any eventuality.
Mike:Yeah, and that’s a huge challenge I think for most people, and it has been for myself as well.There’s a very fine line between coming from a place of fear and coming from a place of opportunity.And in the preparedness-survival circle, it’s very easy to fall into the fear of “the sky is falling” outlook.And so, I’ll catch myself mentally where my goal with the ranch that I’ve set up and all of the work that I’ve done out there to make that self-reliant is 99.9 percent of the time I am goodandtaking advantage of what I’ve built to have fun with my family and my son.
Buck: Exactly.Right. Dual purpose, right?
Mike:But one time in life where I will need it for, you know, a safety perspective or whatever, maybe it will be there then.
Mike: But you have to remember that, you know, 99 percent of the time it’s about enjoyment and fun and all of those things rather than sitting there and waiting,looking at the sky…
Buck:I think you’ve got the right attitude. I mean,you and I were talking a little bit in the green room here before the podcast, and you expressed interest in, I believe it was,organic hydroponics and things like that. You know, this whole “we all are creatures” that love to grow and learn new things and becoming self-reliant with respect to, like you mentioned,a ranch, maybe taking it off grid. Growing your own, doing some homesteading,growing your own food, raising your own animals, whatever you want to do on it. Those are all skills and new things that we learn, and I think it makes life interesting, and you could have a lot of fun doing it.
Mike: Yeah, absolutely, and I think it’s the smart thing to do. I think there are unfortunately going to be a lot of people who win the Darwin Award I think in the next…
Buck:[Laughs] Well,I hope not,Mike.
Mike: I know. I know,but you just got to, like… this is the first time in modern human history where so many people are concentrated in such areas, and they are so completely dependent upon very complex systems such as water and food delivery. And the world has never been in a place like that, so it has never seen what happens when that stops working for whatever reason—earthquake,a war, whatever. And I just think if you don’t have the awareness to at least recognize that fact and to, you know, give yourself a backup plan, then it’s going to be a very difficult time should something ever happento those systems.
And so, that’s kind of the way that I think about it is I, from a strategic business standpoint, make sure that I have prepared for whatever may happen in the world. Means, that when that does, I don’t have to worry about it, and I can then focus on looking for opportunities during those periods.
Mike: And so, that’s kind of the strategic business, you know, the business strategy that is behind that as well for me, so…
Buck: I think that’s kind of our mission is that we can inspire people to go on that journey where they achieve financial self-reliance and have an awareness that there are other things that they need to prepare for. And that can be a fun journey of learning how to do those things, and they can have fun and enjoy, like you mentioned, the ranch. I mean, I’m actually in the process of looking for property in Colorado because I love Colorado, and I think there’s a lot of opportunities here, and I think my family and I can have a great time. Spending time doing things together on a property like that, so that means a lot.
Mike: Very cool.The thing that I’m most grateful for, for this shift in the paradigm over the last, you know,five to six years is that it’s brought so many people back to what matters in life. Which is clean water, healthy food, time with family, enjoying the present.
Buck: Simple pleasures, right?[Laughs]
Mike:Yeah, and it’s been awesome to watch that awareness come back to those things. I think it’s one of the best things that has come out of all of these events.
Buck:Well, it’s interesting. So, are… We kind of shifted gears here from financial self-reliance,and what’s happening in the system to, you know, maybe physical security and [being] off-grid, having a ranch, those kinds of things.Now, what are the… and I know, since you’re a practitioner there obviously, what are the… maybe two or three things that someone should be thinking about?I’ll sort of preface it by saying I’m not a bunker guy, so I don’t necessarily think you need to have the underground bunker and be sealed in and live in it for six months.
Mike:It’d be cool to have one, though.
Buck:I think they’re kind of cool,I’ve seen the shows[laughs]. But I am a gun enthusiast,I love shooting and those kinds of things. So, I think of defense in that regard—I think of defense in terms of physical self-defense kind of things, what do you think are the sort of top two or three things someone could start developing skills in that would prepare them for being a survival dad as it relates to that?
Being a Survival Dad According to Mike
Mike:Yeah, of course. You know,the vast majority of people obviously are not going to have an opportunity to go buy land and a ranch and all of that stuff, so I’ll think about it from the standpoint of “I spend my week working in a condo in downtown Austin,” you know, kind of in a high-rise like everybody else, so what would I need here or the other tenants in the building need to really take care of themselves for whatever period of time that they would need. And obviously the basics are there, but it’s interesting that for example, high-rise condo completely dependent upon the building and the electricity and a pumping system to get water and AC and all of that stuff up here. So, even if you’ve got the most basic of basic things, which is, let’s say some freeze-dried food fromefoodsdirector wherever your favorite place is,and you’ve got three months’ worth of freeze-dried food.Well, if you can’t get water,and you can’t flush your toilet, that’s not going to do you any good.So, even in a condo building I’ve got a bunch of water-bricks with some water storage. And so, water and food are the two basics,but you’vegot to have the Trinity in my opinion, which is food, water,and guns.Coz if you don’t have all three then you lose all of them. You can’t have one or two, all three are required.You don’t have water, you die. Ifyou don’t have food you die. If you don’t have guns you die [laughs], so… because people will come steal your food and water. So,those three things in my opinion are the basic essentials.But then,more importantly than that, it’s the skills to use them effectively, especially when it comes to owning a firearm in a responsible manner,that’s the ultimate responsibility in life and…
Mike: Yeah, absolutely.And that’s… we have Red’s Indoor Gun Range here in Austin that I’ve gone to for years, and I’ve even done some private lessons with an ex-former-SEAL,and that was a really cool experience.We’d come out to the ranchevery weekend and do private drills, and he does actually a lot of instruction for the Austin SWAT team and even goes to Israel and trains with the Israelis out there.And some of the stuff that we were doing at the ranch he’s,like,“If people knew that I was sharing this with you I wouldn’t have a job anymore,”so it was a lot of fun, it was really cool.
Buck: I’m going to have to come down there and hang out with you. That sounds like a lot of fun.
Mike:Yeah.It’s been amazing. So, you know, those are the three basic things, I don’t think you need to go crazy above and beyond that,but I always try to have extra food because I know that nine out of ten of my friends are not giving us any time or thought, and they know that I am, so guess who they’re going to call, you know, should stuff “go down” and I’d like to have the ability to…
Buck:What’s the address of your condo,by the way? [Laughs]
Mike:[Laughs] and…But I think its super fun. I think, you know, for me as a guy it’s almost like,“boys and their toys” kind of a situation where you can just… it’s fun to learn how to defend yourself, and I think men in general are very strategic thinkers when it comes to providing and protecting for other people.And so, this is kind of a natural outlet for modern-day men to get to do that again and get back to their roots.
Buck: And it doesn’t even have to be the apocalypse, right? I mean, we had, last fall, we had a terrible flood here in Boulder. And a lot of people were,you know, had to be evacuated out of their homes. [The] emergency services came,had helicopters coming in, bringing food to people. And we were lucky in that we had just a little bit of dampness in our basement,and that was about it. But it could’ve easily been worse. We could’ve been without clean water,who knows, the trucks couldn’t have come into the grocery stores, what have you, because of that situation. So, just being prepared for even a couple of weeks or a month would make a big difference in a scenario like that, which is happening all too often. We just had an earthquake recently in Northern California,you know—people can be affected by things beyond just a financial collapse or something else.
Mike:Yeah, absolutely. It’s just commonsense. It’s just common sense.For a thousand bucks you can get three months’worth of food, three months’worth of water and, you know,a pistol or a shotgun.So that’s what I mean, it’s if you have the means to do it, and you haven’t done it yet,then it’s unfortunate coz I just think it’s a really smart, prudent thing to do for yourself.
How to Keep Track of Mike Dillard
Buck:Fantastic. Well, I know that you’re involved in a number of things, Mike, and is there a way that the Survival Dad audience can kind of keep track with what you’re up to?
Mike:Yeah, the easiest is just go to mikedillard.com. And I’ve got an email newsletter there that people can opt into. And I basically just write about these day,s the stuff that I’m into, which tends to be entrepreneurship and helping people become financially free. And then, you know, topics and stuff like this, investing and finance. [A] lot of the investments that I’ve made over the last few years are strategic with the potential problems that are still out there […].
Opportunities from an Investment Standpoint
Buck:Well, let’s do a lightning round here.What do you think are some great opportunities from an investment standpoint?
Mike:Well,I think everybody needs to have a foundation,no matter really what the price is of gold and silver. So, you know,at this point I am fortunate enough to where I bought it early, so I haven’t been buying for many years now. But if I didn’t have any gold or silver right now, I would definitely buy someat these prices to have it—it’s an insurance policy.
Buck: Are you thinking, you know, 10 to 20 percent of your investable income or more than that or your assets?
Mike: Yeah,for me I think that I would feel comfortable doing that because it’s just a form of savings that you’ll always have from that point forward. And I would never really cashin unless things did go… trade that in for an apartment building or something.And that really is actually the other segment that I’ve been investing in most heavily, which is low-grade apartment complexes that are here in Austin and San Antonio. Texas has obviously been growing like crazy, so we were able to buy some shares in some apartment complexes three years ago when real estate was really low, and we’re now in the process of selling those and making 30 to 36 percent return a year, and then you get the tax advantages from that. But I don’t have any money in the stock market, and it’s just in the housing because I know if the economy does well,those apartment complexes will be full. And because they’re sea-level complexes if the economy does really poorly a lot of people who have to kind of downgradeare going to be downgrading into a complex like that.
Buck: That’s your logo? Yeah.
Mike:…remain full. And it’s a physical tangible asset, it’s always going to be worth something, and it produces cash flow every single month. So, that’s really where I’ve been focused because I can see those doing well,no matter what. And in the next month I’m going to be flying down with some friends to Puerto Rico to check on what’s going on down there in South America. I’m looking forward to taking a trip down to Chile and maybe doing some international diversification as far as real estate goes down there. I don’t know… do you have a point,Buck,where,from a political standpoint or a government standpoint, if things get to a level of crazy where you’re,like,“I’m outta here,” or you’re like,“I’m never leaving, I’m staying”?
Buck:Well, it’s interesting that you mention that.My wife is from Lithuania, and we have land in Lithuania that we’re in the process of building a summer home [on]… And both of my kids in fact can be—and my wife will apply for that—can be Lithuanian citizens because she is a Lithuanian national. So, there’s always that option if we wanted to live elsewhere.In fact, we’re going to have another guest where we’ll talk on Survival Dad about planting second flags and that sort of thing. Yeah,it is something that I thought about is I really am an American, I love living here in Colorado and employing people here in the US. So, from that perspective, I don’t see that changing in the near term, but I think it’s good to have a Plan B, and Lithuania’s a beautiful country.
Mike:Yeah. That’s amazing. I’ve never been to that part of the world,but that is something that takes a lot more time planning in typical resources,depending upon the level that you want to do it. And if you’regoing to pursue […] a second passport those are things that can take years to put together. And I’ve had the privilege of spending a lot of time with Doug Caseyover the last year.
Buck:Oh, okay. Yeah,I’ve got another friend who’s buddies with him, very close friends.
Mike:Yeah. So obviously, the poster boy of… obviously you’re talking about MAP?
Buck:Yeah. Uh huh.
Mike: Yep and…So,I’m a member of the Stansberry Society, [and]the events that they’ve been doing over the last few, which have been phenomenal.And Doug was always in all of those, so it’s been fun to get to know him. But,yeah, so that’s kind of the next level, and that is a whole new ballgame, you know? [Laughs]
Buck: So, if I had to kind of sum it up, number one is sort of like firearms training, right? I need to be aware of what’s happening in my surroundings, what’s happening in the economy. Number two, I can’t just depend upon the system.If I’m employed right now, assume the average listener still has a job, they haven’t, you know, made the leap to starting their own business. But it would behoove them to be in a position where they can start to generate an income,either to augment what they’re doing or to eventually replace what they’re doing, probably the best opportunity right now is to look into starting an online business would you say?
Going On a Journey with Mike
Mike:Absolutely. I would suggest—and what I recommend to folks who are starting their very first business—is to choose something that is elegant.And by elegant I mean is quick, easy, and inexpensive to set up. Because your first business is like your training wheels on a bike; you’re going to fall down,you’re going to screwup. And so, the worst thing that I think someone can do is to sink their savings and mortgage their house to go all in on a business idea if they’ve never built one before.You’re just asking to lose everything that you own.
Buck: It’s like going to Vegas, maybe. [Laughs]
Mike: Yeah, it really is. And you’regoing to screw it up. Like I said, it took me five or six years before [I became successful], and those are just learning lessons the hard way. So, you want to risk as little as possible when you’re first starting out until you figure things out and learn the skills that you need to learn. And, you know, marketing online is the absolute easiest, risk-free business model that you can do, and I’ve always been in love with the “Information Business,”selling info. And the Elevation Group is the last company that I started.A big excuse that people give is,“Well, gosh, Mike, I’m just not an expert when it comes to anything. How can I write an e-book or record videos on it?” And so, I’ll [share]this example with you to get that excuse out of your head because it shouldn’t hold you back.
Mike: So, the Elevation Group is the last business I started, and it was in 2010. It was because I was really into investing,and the entire business was,“Hey,I want to learn about this investing stuff, the world is changing, the rules have changed, none of the books that you’ll find, you know,at the local bookstore apply anymore.” And so, I want to figure this out for my own personal gain,but I’m also going to give you guys the opportunity to come learn along with me and together we can benefit from this knowledge.
Buck:They can ride shotgun with you as you learn the process?
Mike:I am not a financial advisor. I’m not a guru, I don’t own any stocks,I don’t even know how to use an E*Tradeaccount. I’m a complete newbie when it comes to this stuff, and if you are too, let’s go figureit out together. And so, the Elevation Group is basically a private membership site that I had built for about $5,000, you know, some programmers—I could’ve done it cheaper if I’d programmedit myself, but at this point I’m too old and lazy to dothat stuff anymore. [Buck laughs] So, I paid some young kids to put the website together for me, and all I did was go out and interview really successful investors, guys like Tom Wheelwrightand Ken McElroy and Robert Kiyosaki,and, you know, all of those folks, and I just said,“Hey, teach[me] about apartment complexes or teach me how to reduce my taxes or teach me about gold and silver.” And we’d record those on camera,or you can do it on a Skype session like this or on a webinar, and we sold access to those interviews and content for $97 a month, and we had almost 9,000 people join in the first seven days.
Buck: So,wait a minute, you had no experience when it comes to this type of investing?
Buck:You took some money, maybe you had previous success in another business but not related to this, and you decided to go a whole hog and invest in a site that you probably could’ve done for a lot cheaper, and you approached people—maybe that is not the most comfortable thing to do for some folks, but that’s a skill that can be learned—but you approach some experts and interviewed them, and,you know, the cost of that was, well, Internet connection, maybe some recording software on your computer, and then you basically opened up your offer and made it available for other people to come in and become members and go through this education process with you?
Mike:Yeah, absolutely.So, there aretwo important lessons:one, I set up an entire business for about 5,000 bucks. Like, compare that to spending $1 million on a Subway franchise,or opening a gym or whatever it maybe. You cannot beat the return on investment or return on the risk over an Internet business. So, there’s the elegance in the model that I’m referring to, and then, obviously, the results that we have the first week were totally atypical and exceptional and phenomenal,but they were possible because I spent the previous five to six years learning how to effectively market online and write an effective sales presentation. And so, that’s when the value of those skills really come into play because if I hadn’t had that, if I just built the site, you know, so like the old baseball movie, Field of Dreams, build it, and they will come. It’s not going to happen—you can build it, but then nobody’sgoing to come unless [you] go market it effectively.So, that’s once again why that skill set is so so so important. But, you know, the biggest point is that I built a business based on my stupidity by publicly declaring that I’m an idiot and just being honest about that,and that’s the most important key component;[I] wasn’t pretending or faking anything, so people can relate to the honesty and the authenticity of that.
Mike: And you’ll set out a mission: here’s what I want to accomplish,let’s go do it as a group, and it becomes this mission that everybody in the audience can buy into, and you’re all going on a journey together. Then, you know, that was a fantastic recipe for a very successful business that people can apply to any niche whatsoever.
Buck: And almost literally do it on a shoestring budget.
Mike: Yes.Yep. Absolutely.
Buck: Well, that’s… you know, being both fathers, being both survival dads, those are exactly the kinds of skills I’m trying to instil in my kids at an early age coz I know that the system is not doing that for them. But, for us adults that are maybe late bloomers like me[laughs], as Mike said,there’s a lot of great opportunities to learn these skills—learn persuasion, learn copywriting, learn online marketing. And I think the key here—if what I’m hearing is correct,Mike—isit took you a few years.You can’t look at this as an“Oh, it’s going to happen in 30 days, or it’s going to happen in 90 days.”You have to really think of it as “This is a long-term process that I’m committed to.”
Mike: Absolutely.You’rerequiring a university,you know, master’s degree in whatever skill you end up choosing, and it can become writing copy or marketing, or maybe you want to become an expert at how to market on Facebook, and you want to master Facebook advertising or Google AdWords. Whatever it maybe, it all starts with getting that new skill set. That is your ticket to freedom, and if you don’t have that then there’s no foundation in place,there’s nothing to build upon. And so, when people ask me,“Hey Mike, what kind of business should you start?”or “What kind of business should I start?”I say it’s relevant. You don’t start with a business, you start with a skill. And that is always always always my question, and I’ll ask them,“What skill are you currently mastering right now?” and they’ll—nine out of ten times—say,“I don’t know,”or “I don’t have one.” And then I say,”You don’t have a business, or you don’t have the ability to create an opportunity for yourself, so you have to start with that skill set.”
Buck: You know, now that you mention that, I think that’s something that a lot of folks… I’m sure you’ve found with the Elevation Group and what you’redoing with MikeDillard.com.Those are skills that people are looking to develop and would love, you know…We definitely want to provide those opportunities within Survival Dad.I’d love to have you come back and speak on those topics at some point in the future, Mike, if you’re open to that.
Mike:Yeah. I’d be happy to help in any way that I can.
Buck: Fantastic.Well,listen, I know that this went way over the time that we had originally talked about, but we had an amazing conversation and went into some areas that I hadn’t originally planned on. [Laughs]
Mike: Oh, cool.
Buck:So, this is perfect. Thanks so much for taking the extra time, and again, what is the…so it’s […]MikeDillard.com and they can keep track of what you’re doing. I noticed you’ve been publishing some new videos that have been very very educational.
Mike:Cool. Yeah. And, you know, depending upon when this gets published,Buck, the website has been undergoing a makeover and will be [up] probably this weekend or Monday.So folks,there’s no ability to subscribe to the email newsletter on the current version right now. So, that’ll be up in a couple of days, if you don’t see it. And then you can connect to me on Facebook or YouTube as well, and, you know, that’s my goal these days is to basically help people become self-reliant in all of those aspects. That’s why I love what you’re doing with this podcast.
Buck:Thank you, sir.
Mike:And if there’s anything I can do… you know, it’s been a pleasure,and I’dbe happy to…
Buck:You are an honorary survival dad. Mike. Thank you so much for the time, and I look forwardto having you back again on the show.
Mike:Thanks so much, Buck.