008: Building Multiple Million Dollar Companies with Pejman Ghadimi (Part Two)

Welcome to part 2 of my recent podcast with Pejman (PJ) Ghadimi. In part one we discussed how he came to the United States from Iran and then France. We also discussed how he became very successful at a very young age with very little help from anyone. Pejman has built multiple multi-million dollar businesses and he discusses much more about how he has done that in part 2 of this episode of the InvestFourMore Podcast.

The economic downturn of the 2000’s was bad, but PJ saw it coming…

PJ saw a downturn coming in 2004 and exactly how he saw it coming demonstrates his insight (or maybe common sense) into the type of things that cause economic collapses. At the time he was working with a bank and noticed two people trying to get a loan for a flip. The two were cab drivers and together wanted to purchase a 1.2 million dollar house. PJ knew they shouldn’t be able to purchase a home of that value based on their income, but within 15 minutes they were approved for the loan (this was in a bank he directed!). When he realized that people all over the U.S. were getting similar loans, he knew it would only be a matter of time before things collapsed. Listen in to see how PJ completely adjusted his investing and real estate strategies prior to the crash on this episode.

How does today’s economy compare to the failing economies of the past?

Though PJ Ghadimi accurately predicted the financial collapse of the 2000’s, he’s not so quick to make the same prediction in our current economy. Many people are saying our economy and housing market will crumble in short order. PJ says the issues are different now, and center mainly around the country’s debt load rather than consumer debt. You simply cannot get the loans you could back before the collapse. PJ is quick to remind us the system is set up for many ups and downs because we are a country that wants growth. It is only a matter of time before we see another downturn, but it may be years into the future and who knows how severe it will be. Listen in to hear PJ explain his thinking on current economic conditions.

How exotic cars can be more affordable than owning a Honda

Exotic cars are a passion for PJ Ghadimi and there’s a very interesting story behind why that is. After buying his first exotic car he realized that because of the way rare exotic cars appreciate in value, he’s actually better off owning exotic cars than he is typical consumer-level cars. He makes the disclaimer that you have to be able to support the car once you buy it, in terms of maintenance, but believes that his exotic cars are actually a better investment than any other vehicle he could own. Hear more about PJ’s passion for exotic cars in this episode of The InvestFourMore Podcast.

What is “Secret Entourage?”

As PJ Ghadimi became successful and began rubbing shoulders with other people who were very successful, he knew those were the people who should be sharing their expertise and knowledge. The problem was many successful people were hesitant to share their knowledge and how much money they had made. Why? Partly out of fear of being judged for having made it big. PJ created his “Secret Entourage” website to highlight those successful people and other in a format and platform where they can honestly share the mindsets, struggles, and opportunities that have lead them to success. You can find out more about Secret Entourage at SecretEntourage.com.

Funding programs to help teens in need of business mentoring

The success of PJ’s “Secret Entourage” website has led him to use the profits from it to build into those who need a hand up. He uses the profits from the site to fund his speaking and mentoring engagements aimed toward young people who never get the chance to hear from successful business people. PJ speaks and mentors kids personally, he doesn’t just donate to a charity. It’s a great way this ultra-successful entrepreneur and business owner is giving back.

You know, you were able to see an economic downturn coming, and a lot of us in the industry, with the crazy lending and different things going on saw the bubble coming. Now we're hearing similar things, prices are too high, the economy is not really as strong. Are you paying attention to that stuff now? Do you have an opinion on what you think the economy's doing ten years later?

PJ Ghadimi:

Do you know what the indicator was that made me get out the first time?

Mark Ferguson:

No. What was it?

PJ Ghadimi:

You're going to laugh a lot.

I had a neighbor, because I was still in the same house, and it was a nice townhome. It was a really nice townhome. I had a neighbor who was a cab driver. He and his brother lived in this one [townhouse 00:37]. They were cabbies, they both drove a cab and made $50K each, you know, in a year, so it was $100K. They once came to me, and they were like, "We're trying to buy a $1.2 million home." I was like, "I'm sorry, what? What do you mean, a $1.2 million home?" They're like, "Yeah, we have this opportunity to buy this $1.2 million home, and we have an opportunity to actually sell it, like very soon after, so we would like to actually buy it, and we know you're a banker, so can you get us approved?"

I was like, "Okay, two cabbies making $100K, first off, shouldn't be buying a $1.2 million home, period, let alone be investing in a $1.2 million home." Actually, I wasn't working at a bank. I was head of a bank, so I wasn't actually there doing the paperwork. I sent them to one of my managers, and I was like, "Hey, why don't you get them approved, get you some credit on the books, and if it works, I don't know their credit [inaudible 01:32]." He gets them approved in like 15 minutes, and I'm sitting there like, "Get the fuck out of here. These guys shouldn't be in this house."

That's when a light bulb went out. I'm sure you've heard the term, when people say, "Invest when others are afraid, and then run when others are investing" kind of thing. It really hit me. I was like, "If they're getting approved, other people are getting approved with the same bullshit, no Doc, no nothing." I'm thinking to myself, "This is really bad. If a bank's taking this ..." I'm like, "We're taking this.

Two things happened. First, I realized that my corporate career was about to go to shit real fast. I was looking five years ahead. I underestimated that one. I thought I'd give myself five years. I really had two-and-a-half, three max. I was like, "This is going to hurt, the bank [whatever 02:24] is going to hurt bad. Then I started realizing, I was like, "You know what? Maybe I should really get out of everything I'm doing, because once regulation changes," and I knew it would change, "the demand's going to go to shit, and the supply's going to be to the roof, because people are building everywhere."

I said, "You know what? Let me just get out now, like I'll get out early," and my uncle was actually like, "Oh, I'm going to get out next year." I was like, "Okay, you do that. I'll just get out now. It's okay."

That's like [inaudible 02:48]. I'd just rather take my time selling rather than try to rush a sale with prices plummeting. That's exactly what I did. I got out early because of that indicator. Then the Florida thing was the same thing. I really decided, "I don't want to be so much in liability, so I need to have more positive assets, so I need to have cash." I dropped everything, and I just got my money back and pretty much sat there.

A lot of the Florida properties I had at the time actually, I didn't make, really, any money. By the time commissions were paid and everything else, [inaudible 03:20] really ended up being washes. A few others were like $10, $20 grand on top, so it wasn't really a million-dollar play or anything else. Most of my money was made in [loss 03:30]. Anything that happened after was really a safe-keeping, to try to get out without losing money. They worked out pretty well, because I got out early, but it wasn't a money play anymore, at that point.

Mark Ferguson:

I know you're not in the industry. You're actually in the credit industry now, a little bit. I don't see those same indicators now, but maybe you might have a different viewpoint on what our economy and the regulations are doing ten years later.

PJ Ghadimi:

Again, I look at the past as the measure of what's going to happen in the future. I think, in any society, the more you increase, obviously, a population, the more you introduce new regulation and [new issues 04:08], the only thing that changes is not what's going to happen, but it's how quickly it's going to happen, and how long it's going to last.

The recession this time was worse than the Great Depression, but the way it was felt was not as bad, because we're a global economy. In other words, poverty lines are very different than what they used to be, if that makes sense. Making $30K here now, you're technically poor, but you're still in a house with a couch and a TV. There's a little bit of a different play on what poverty means today than what it meant then.

As a country, we've evolved so much that the system works so well in preventing major chaos, like an opportunity to devalue your currency. I don't think that our economy is ever at the same risk as it was back then, from a what happens to the public standpoint. I think our economy is in worse shape than it's ever been before because of the debts we have, etc., but I think that the fact that we're a global economy more and more, and the more we continue to go forward, I think this is why before, what happened, the US fell, and Europe fell, and Asia fell, the same order continues, except it's just going to continue in the same exact process. It's just going to happen faster and hurt less every time, because it's going to recover faster.

Again, we're not changing the patterns or the trends. Because, as an organization or as a society, we're not changing the patterns or the trends that allow us to move forward, we're also allowing these things to continue happening, because we have to choose between functioning and growing versus being very conservative, sitting in a room, and saying, "Okay, everybody, let's have a shared problem for the next two years. Nobody grows for two years." In a society, it's been thought for 30 years that everything you do here is about making more money, or growing more. Now you want to tell everybody, "Everybody stop. Let's all take our hands out of the cookie jar. Nobody does anything, and then eventually, we'll figure out how to solve this."'

The problem with an economy like this is that you train everybody to be hunters and hungry and constantly growing, and the only way you can really stop that is if you can organize a hunt and take everybody away and say, "Even though you're hunting better than everyone else, I need you to stop." Someone's like, "Well, screw you. I don't have to stop. Why would I stop? I'm making more money than most of you." There's always that ego play, so I think, as an economy, as long as we continue this way, I don't think we'll ever die. I just think we'll have to adapt different than we adapted then to recessions and how the markets change, the credit markets change

Today, you mentioned I'm in the credit market. Yeah, I'm part of a credit organization that focuses on the [inaudible 06:54] credit, but only on the basis of automotive dealerships. It's a very unique model, it's not really a widespread model to be in a major organization that deals with credit analysis or anything else, but we help people improve their credits when they're at the dealerships trying to buy car and they're unable to do so.

Mark Ferguson:

That's how I first found you and your site as researching exotic cars for a different site I'm working on and found your exotic-car-buying guide, which was very interesting, and then found Secret Entourage, which you started as a coaching, motivational program. When did you first know you wanted exotic cars, and what are a couple of your exotic cars you've got now?

PJ Ghadimi:

When did I first knew I wanted an exotic car? I've always been a car guy. When I was really young, I worked my ass off, I bought my first car when I was sixteen-and-a-half in cash. It was a Firebird, one of those Trans Ams, the earlier big cars. I wanted one, and I bought it cash for like $27 grand. I'll never forget it, because I was working like a slave from like 15, 16. I figured out how to do it, so I eventually made it happen.

Since then, every year or so I upgraded my car to something else. I went through my series of Mustangs and everything else. I'm in an AMG, an E-55 AMG, which is a really nice car, by no means exotic, before someone in your audience tears me a new one for [inaudible 08:15] a Mercedes is exotic. It wasn't exotic. It's just a nice, four-door car. It was $70 grand used at the time, and I realized that I really wanted better. I didn't want to keep buying normal cars.

I was going to buy a 911, and I was like, "Unless it's a turbo, like, I don't want [a KC 2 08:31] or something." I was in banking [inaudible 08:37], and I had a client that was actually getting a loan on her brand-new 911 turbo. She had bought it, she wanted to re-fi, and she got me in the parking lot. She knew I was a car guy. She [inaudible 08:47], "Do you want to see it?"  I said, "Sure." I came out, literally sat in the car, and she was like, "Do you want to drive it?"

The minute I put my hands on the steering wheel, it was carbon fiber, I turned on the ignition and said, "Porsche" on the navigation system, and I'm like, "Okay." I knew then, I was like, "I belong in this. This isn't part of 'Maybe I should have this.'" I was like, "This is no different than if it was mine right now. It feels really real. It feels possible, real, and I'm holding it, so there's no reason I have to let it go." I think from that day on, I really put my mind to, I wouldn't operate my car again until I could afford "that car," because that was my dream car. My first dream car was a 911 Turbo.

I came out, and I remember I used to tell my staff, "I'll have one of those soon. It might be before I'm 30." I was young, I think I was 21. They were like, "You're going to have a 911 Turbo before you're 30." I was like, "Yeah," and they were like, "Yeah, okay."

By 23, I bought two of them. Again, this was the whole thing that, if you want something, set your mind to it. You create a possibility for you to make it happen. When I found my first 911 Turbo, I really realized the leverage owing an exotic car had. It was so much more than having a car and driving it. I was like the circle of friends you create, that whole being accepted in groups that you previously were closed off to. You were a spectator of life versus you're a driver now, and therefore, you're let past the ropes.

It was such a different feeling. Actually at the time, I had a car wash thing, a sort of all in one pressure washer kind of like what ToolsMaestro makes, which today is known as the acumotor, but at the time was nothing more than a car wash. Because of that car, and because of my first time in the Turbo, I was able to put wheels on it and stuff like that. I started getting a lot of attention, because nobody was souping up exotics then. That opened up the door to starting to do customizations at my car wash place. Then I started really growing that, and that turned, four years later, into a huge [inaudible 10:39] service.

Just the idea of leveraging, imagine you're writing an article for Business Insider now, called "How Buying a Lamborghini Could Change Your Life," and not just in business. After that, I made a goal to have a Lamborghini in two years, and I had one a year later. I had my first [Gallardo 10:56], and at the time, it was a big deal. Today, [Gallardo's 11:00] no different than [S Class 11:01], but at that time in life, it made a difference. People were like, "Oh my God, you're a [inaudible 11:06], and you're so young."

Every year since then, I've upgraded cars, and now I'm doing it with multiple cars at a time. You brought up my system. I never lose money on these cars, so while people think that you have to be ultra wealthy to play with exotic cars, it's actually more affordable than driving a Honda or something. For me, I'm able to find the right cars, using that system, I'm able to find them, leverage them, and then ultimately, when I'm ready to get rid of them because either I don't want them, or I get bored of them, or whatever it is, I can sell them, either for more money or exactly what I paid for it. I don't actually lose money getting in and out of exotics, which [inaudible 11:44] versus having someone else buy a Mercedes, and then a year later, when they're down $50 grand in depreciation because nobody else wants an S Class when there's 80,000 of them on the road every year. It's a nice car, but it holds no value once it's volume.

I always buy very unique exotics. Today, in my collection, I'm a big Aston-Martin fan. Through the years, I've gone through a lot of different cars, and I've come to the realization that no matter what, I always go back with an Aston. Now I have two really cool Astons. I have a DBS. It's actually currently the world's most modified Aston DBS. It's hammerhead silver and red interior, it's one of a kind, built with [inaudible 12:23] wheels and every possible modification you can do to it, including things that are not out in the marketplace yet. I have the same exact car in one of four built infrared colors, which is a vibrant red that Aston built for its launch in 2009.

The DBS was always my flagship car for Aston. I've always wanted one. When I bought one, I was like, "Why not buy two?" I had an opportunity to buy another one, so I bought it too. One's really a daily. The other one's a weekend [inaudible 12:50].

In my collection, I also have a Mazzerati [inaudible 12:55] completely customized for a daily driver, which I ride around everywhere, but like a Honda Civic. Outside of that, I just acquired a really rare car. It's a 2011 Super Sport Bentley convertible, which Bentley only built a hundred of. At the time, it was like $380 grand, or something insane. It's a pearl white with saddle interior, pure carbon fiber everywhere, and it has white suede in it, which is really unique. I think Bentley only built a hundred convertibles, and only three of them with a white exterior and saddle interior, so it was a unique car. I went through Cars and Coffee one day, saw it, and I was like, [inaudible 13:35]. Too young for [inaudible 13:36], but it's been a good experience so far.

All I can tell your viewers is, if you're planning on playing with exotic cars, you can do so. You can find the system at ExoticCarSecrets.com, but the main thing to remember with any exotic is that despite all the stuff I talk about, about getting in and out of cars and not losing money, you still have to have a cash surplus somewhere so you can afford the oops, because sometimes oops happen. You should know this, Mark, right? Like that one button that stops working, and it pisses you off on the inside, it's like $800.

I'll give you an example. I had a DBS, one of my DBSs started squealing. I was like, "What is this squeal?" It was driving me crazy. I'm one of those really anal guys that hates [inaudible 14:24] little buttons, or whatever. This car starts squealing, and I was like, "Aw, shit." Apparently, someone had spread some kind of chemical on the ceramic rotors. Ceramic rotors, like when they went to the car wash. Some idiot before me actually put that car in a car wash.

Ceramic rotors, people don't know this, are like $6,000 a side. That means that for four rotors, $25 grand. You're like, "What do you mean, $25 grand for brakes?" It's like, "No, no, no. $25 grand for rotors. $700 a side for pads, plus then install, and all that crap." You're looking at a $30 grand brake job, right? If you're not well-connected in the industry, like I have a lot of connections, so I was able to get sponsors and people pretty much [inaudible 15:05] for free, but if you don't have 25 grand, laying around, how do you fix that? You can't, so the only thing you can do is, either you're stuck with a car that squeals that you're not going to be able to resell because nobody wants a squealing car every two seconds, or you're going to have to cough up 25 grand. If you get to a place where you're that experienced and you have a lot of "oopses", it can costs you a lot of money.

I always tell people, even if you can afford to get into a Lamborghini and ride away, with using my system definitely get into something easier, again and give you experience and comfort, with driving and understanding and creating a network, before you go in and buy something more rare like a Diablo, or something that requires maintenance. That may be heavier for someone that's new in the game.

Mark Ferguson:

We'll send a link to your site too, on our page. I have my 90/90 Diablo, and just like you said, I bought it for 126 last year. It's hard to know what values are, but it's probably worth 170? 180 now?

PJ Ghadimi:

I was just going to say, "You're probably going to make 50 grand when you choose to get rid of it," and there's no urgency in you getting rid of it, which is the great part, right?

Mark Ferguson:

Yep, and it's in for service right now too. It needs new front shocks, which are $7,900 to replace those. You get the good and the bad with the car. [crosstalk 00:01:11]

PJ Ghadimi:

You're giving a little bit of that margin away.

Mark Ferguson:

Right. Exactly.

PJ Ghadimi:

But you're also enjoying it right? You get to enjoy it. It does wonders for your business, for your relationships, for just the aspiration for others who aspire to do similar things. That's a lot of value.

Mark Ferguson:

Yeah. I've met an incredible amount of people through that car, just because at car shows, or people who's seen me, or on the blog too. It's just been a ton of fun. I drive it probably 3 times a week too, so it definitely gets it's use. On from cars, one last thing I want to talk about for sure, is "Secret Entourage" and what you're doing with that site and what your goal is? I know it's got an incredible amount of content on it, and how did that start and where's it at right now?

PJ Ghadimi:

So Secret Entourage was .... I used to make a lot of money, I still do. I'm financially okay. I'm not the richest guy on the block, but I'm okay where I don't worry about anything. I don't worry about the cars I drive, the house I live in, and having that comfort financially was fantastic very early on. One day I came to stop, and I had all these cars sitting in my lot, I had this beautiful house, and I started thinking to myself, "What am I known for? If I die tomorrow, like someone got me hit by a car, and went to my funeral, what would people say about me?" And then I started thinking about two groups of people.

First one group, because at that point, remember, I was self-employed, I had my businesses. I was completely out of banking, and I thought two people would say something about me. First, the people that knew me, which were my friends, they would all be like, "Oh my God, he had such beautiful cars, he was always this inspiring guy." But that's it. You would end there. So if someone in the neighborhood had nicer cars, then I would be quickly forgotten, right? I'm sure someone is going to have nicer cars on that block in the next 5 years after I die. I was like, that kind of sucks that your friends would remember you for the cars that you had or the things you had, which don't mean shit.

Then I was like, there's a second group of people that would remember me for something completely different. Those people are the ones that would remember me from back in banking, because I used to take a lot of chances, growing and building people. I hired a parking meter maid once to be a regular sales person in a bank, and in 3 years I made him the VP of business banking. People were like, "This guy used to collect coins. Like, he didn't have any intelligence, barely spoke English," and I was like, "Yeah, but if you invest time and energy in people, they can, first off invest that time and energy in more people, so create a good chain reaction, and then two, just because he wasn't given an opportunity doesn't mean that he was an idiot."

There's definitely value in helping people, and I think that's a chain reaction that we need more people to do. I came to this realization that those people would probably tell my story to their kids, their grandkids, and even their grandkids would tell the story to someone else, about how one guy took a chance on their dad one day and their dad now was super successful and was able to live a better life and provide for their family.

I thought to myself, and I said, "I was really good at training. Why don't I just create a blog where I just share my thoughts about what it takes to be successful and maybe kids who will want to know about it." Especially because I went through a lot, I got fired, I got hired, I moved up the ranks really quick, etc. Then everybody used to ask me every two days, "Like, oh my God, what do you do for a living? You have all these cars. You're young. Like, how do you do this? Like, what do you do?" I got tired of asking that question too, so I just said, "I'll put a sticker on my car or something, and they can just follow it to my website and read on, you know, like marketing." But I didn't think of it as a business, I just was like, "Yeah, let's put it on and kids can learn and everything else."

Long story short, it completely sucked. I wrote a lot of crap on the blog, and I was talking about corporate leadership and shit that kids were like, "What are you fucking talking about, man? Like this is retarded. Like, how do you get the Lamborghini? That's what I want to know," and I was like, "You have to learn this stuff too," and they were like, "Ga, I don't want to learn this."

I realized the reason why there's a huge disconnect in anywhere really in how education is perceived. We think of education as boring, and really something that we don't want to do. We're forced to do because we're going to be successful with it. Nobody likes to learn, but they like to learn once they realize there's a reward at the end of it. They're like, "I'm going to learn, and I'm going to get a [inaudible 00:05:31] out of it." I was like, "We've got to be able to change that, because society's not going to get better, and that situation's going to get worse."

After my blog sucked for a year, it generated good traffic to the articles, but it wasn't targeted traffic, it was just people that were like, "I don't know who this clown is, but I'm reading his crap anyways." I started coming to this realization that maybe this is bigger than just a blog. Maybe it needs to be sexy, and it needs to attract younger people by being better, not just being about corporate leadership. I started putting more thought behind it. I started attracting a few kids that were in internet marketing space, and one of them was a designer, so we started getting together and I said, "Look, I'm not in this space. I don't know what the hell I'm doing. You guys know what the hell you're doing so I'll provide content, you guys just build ... like, I'll create vision, ideas, and everything else, one of you will build it, the other one will market it. It should be good to go."

Really what we created or what we wanted to create was the stories of people behind the exotic cars, and really what they did for a living. That how we met and how we talked originally, because you have an exotic car, and people wonder like, "How do you drive a Diablo in real estate?" It doesn't make any sense unless you're a major real estate tycoon, to most people's perception, they don't understand that stuff.

We decided to create a website where we would share the stories of car owners, and what they've done in their life to get to where they are. True to the stories, the one things we would do different than everybody else, we would make learning sexy. We would make sure that the articles are full of beautiful imagery, and that the site is just not an internet marketing site that has, "Would you like to earn a million dollars? Click here now!" And would take you to this video and then [inaudible 00:07:15] bullshit.

Instead, we thought, "Let's create a platform that really creates a ton of value for kids to want to be on there, watch the stories and aspire." One of the things I learned very early on because I was in training a lot of my corporate America time, the best way to teach people is not by telling them what to do, but by influencing them. By showing them what you've done, so they click in instead of being like, "Hey, you suck at what you do, go do something else."

What ended up happening is these concepts were all scattered all over the place, and it took us 3 1/2, 4 years, to really come together and continue to build content and do these things and really understand what we were doing. This is what we were talking about earlier, even with all my experience, with all my, you know, things I was doing and all the money I had, it still took time to understand what the brand was, what we wanted to do, where we wanted to go. If there was even a monetization strategy, I wrote like 9 books, and they were great books but they sucked, like nobody bought them. They were buying a few of them, but it was making 2 grand for the website. I was like, "2 grand for the website is terrible. It's not going to support the amount of time and effort we're putting in this."

What I was doing ... I came up with this idea, "Well, I don't really need the money from this, so I'll take all the money we make from this site, and outside of supporting this site, whatever it costs to make it, I'll take any profit the site has, and I'll invest in helping low to moderate income kids across the US in person." Instead of doing speaking engagements where a school pays me 39, as long as the business Secret Entourage is supported. Then what I do is I take the money from there, and I invest it in going out, speaking, and also giving out free books and giving out free academy memberships to helping low to moderate income communities where kids don't have access to education. Where their parents don't support it because they want them to get a job, and nobody knows what to do, so everybody has a choice between either drugs or you're screwed.

I wanted to put an end to that, and long story short, we've become a huge e-learning platform where I interview anyone who's done anything extraordinary. It doesn't just have to be people who have made a million dollars. Anyone extraordinary, and I have them share with the audience their story and their tips to succeed in their industry. It's like self-education for the new century, and I make sure there's the commonality of either exotic cars or lifestyles, where it can be aspiring and also have that valid proof in front of people. The fruit is there for you to see it, so it's not "Oh, you're talking." If you Google me, you can see my whole car collection, etc. It's not like it's hidden behind a wall like I don't want anybody to know what I'm doing.

They say, "Money talks. Wealth whispers." I said, "Fuck that. I want wealth to really start shouting, because we need people who are wealthy and willing to share to aspire. Because too many people that are broke are sharing their stories, trying to accumulate more customers, when really the wealthy guys that should be talking are like, 'Oh, I don't want someone to judge me, because they know I have money.'" I don't give a shit about that. You're going to come out there, and you're going to tell me how you bought a Pagani, what you did to get it, what your life looks like.

If you're not, then you have something to hide, right? I looked at it that way, if you don't want to talk about it, then you're not worth knowing anyways. I really started that, and today we've interviewed over 200 people, and despite my first 9 books not doing well, I finally wrote one called, "Third Circle Theory" which became a huge bestseller everywhere. It was a huge self-published book, currently sold over 150,000 copies, and on Amazon it's doing incredible, greatest top 50 business books in the country. The reason the book became really famous, versus the other ones was that it's focus was not on how to do something in business, but rather how to build self-awareness.

Three years ago I came up with this concept that self-awareness trumps education. I was like, "How do you understand self-awareness? Such an abstract concept." My book broke down all the path, almost like a roadmap, not to being the most successful, but to being extremely self-aware. As a result of that, being able to tackle on more things, like rolling your confidence, your belief system and taking on business, or investments in a way where you're not emotional. You should know best that when you get emotional about investments, you lose a lot more money than when you stay steady.

Well, how do you learn that, because you're young? How do you control your emotions in an investment, when it's your first time investing? By creating this book, I was able to really teach people self-awareness, and I mean, it's just a hashtag, "Third Circle [inaudible 00:11:59]". Instagram has 20,000 people saying, "Hey, it's changed my life." It took 9 attempts at writing books that didn't work, and it took 1 attempt at writing one that did work, because of what I learned in the first 9. The best part is that I've never read a book in my life, so I try that. I don't even like reading, and I wrote 10, 1 of them made it.

It's really, the "Gist" in business, it's not really making it the first time. It's about not giving up and sticking a course until the very end. That's what we did with Secret Entourage, and our goal, as you asked me earlier, is to grow it into a bridge between self-education and formal education. We know that people go to school, come out as survivors.

Everybody wonders, "What do I have to learn that I don't learn in school?" What we are trying to do is create a community of people, which has grown tremendously now, where people who have succeeded, who we've verified who have done something tremendously well in their own path, can now share those trips or things they have done in their industry to succeed outside of formal education. Which enables someone who's maybe in college to start learning so as they expand their awareness in college, they're going to have a much better change of coming out of college with a clear expectation like we talked about earlier, a lot of people don't have that. Also a lot of awareness to know what to do instead of standing there holding their dick in their hand and being like, "I don't know what to do. I'm out of school. I'm going to work. I hate my life. This can't be all that life has to offer."

I hope that makes a little bit of sense and explains what we do.

Mark Ferguson:

Yeah, no, that's awesome.  The people you interview, they're high-level people. There are some awesome, Grant Cardone is on there, a few other guys that most people, not just guys who own fancy cars, but multi-multi-multi millionaires who share their story, it's really great.

PJ Ghadimi:

We break it down into two concepts: people who have  really made it, that may not be as believable for starting up, they're like, "I can't be this guy because he's done it for 20 years," that's fair, that's fair to say, but we also have the other side which are people who are very successful but still in the grind, who are still sharing, not necessarily saying, "I'm still trying to make it," but are rather saying, "I've already kind of made it, but I'm not to the point where I have an empire behind me and a 100 million dollar, you know, coming in every year." Rather are saying, "Hey, you know what, I'm still working, I'm still doing really well. I have the exotic cars, and I know a lot about the industry because I'm still in it." Versus someone who's out of it.

I don't know as much real estate as you do, because you're in it every day, and you see it and you're part of it. For me, it's not, right? Even if I may have made more or less money or whatever it is before, I'm still not the best person to ask about real estate, if that makes sense? There are better successful people like you in that space that's going to make a better teacher in that space than someone like me, who had an opportunity and at some point jumped in, regardless of what our bank accounts look like.

Mark Ferguson:

I really appreciate you taking the time to discuss your whole story, how you've made it, advice for people. I have a lot of the same mindset, and so much about success is attitude and your attitude, not just education. Hard-work is part of it, but you have to couple hard-work with self-awareness like you said. I'll put up links to your site so people can find you on the car site and Secret Entourage, anything else you want to add before we end this?

PJ Ghadimi:

No, I would just tell people that you have to believe in what you're doing, but you have to align your belief with the work that you're willing to put in to make that belief a reality. I think as long as you stay true to that you're going to be successful, regardless what path you choose in life.

Mark Ferguson:

Awesome. Great ending words. All right, PJ, thanks a lot. I appreciate it, and looking forward to talking to you maybe here soon again.

PJ Ghadimi:

You got it. Thanks again for having me on, Mark.

Mark Ferguson:

All right. Take care.

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