smart real estate

Chris Prefontaine – Smart Real Estate Investing: How It’s Possible to Build a Rental Property Business without Banks or Your Money (AoL 155)

If you’ve ever read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, you probably know that the author, Robert Kiyosaki gained his wealth in Real Estate Investing (REI). Since the release and rise of popularity of the book, there’s been all kinds of methods revealed to the general public about how to make passive income.

There are two passive income quadrants: Investing (I) and Business (B).

When it comes to passive income, we’re usually thinking of the B quadrant.

For example, most of us are familiar with the thought leader approach. They create content, develop a tribe, and provide services or products to that tribe to help them achieve more. The larger the tribe, the more potential one has of making a good income.

Yet others might be more familiar with drop shipping through eBay or Amazon. Pretty much the same idea, but instead of developing your own tribe, you sell to the customers on those sites. Because of that, you have to share a percentage of what you earn with the company.

A hybrid of both of these is using Facebook ads to get your name out there to Facebook users so that they can convert in your sales funnel.

As for the I quadrant, it tends to stay off limits to most people who are seeking passive income.

Mainly because most people think that to work in that quadrant, we have to have money available to invest.

Truth is, that’s not necessarily the case.

In fact, today’s guest, Chris Prefontaine, has one of the coolest systems I’ve seen to help people develop wealth in the I quadrant.

In this session of the AoL Podcast, Veronica and I learn how it’s indeed possible to build a passive income portfolio without using money from banks or our own pocket.



  • What did Chris learn from being around his dad’s business growing up? 9:06
  • What are some of the benefits in having a family owned business? 10:17
  • How does Chris enable those in his business to succeed? 11:30
  • What’s his perspective on helping charities with a new business? 12:44
  • How was getting started in Real Estate Investing (REI) different than it is today? 15:01
  • What are some strategies he recommends for people just entering the market or already have holdings and don’t know what to do next? 20:31
  • Is there a way to prep oneself for another recession? 22:37
  • What does it means to buy and sell on terms? 23:58
  • What’s Chris’ advice when it comes to working with agents as an Real Estate Investor? 30:49
  • Is there ever a good time to get into commercial real estate investing? 32:00
  • What’s the day to day operation look like when you have to hang onto an investment property for years? 34:03
  • Is there a good way in keeping up with all the laws, ordinances, and taxes? 35:32
  • What’s Chris looking forward to in the not too distant future? 37:21
  • What podcasts have influenced or inspired his own podcast? 38:33
  • What’s a book, film, and song he’d add to the national curriculum? 39:45
  • Is there something he’s learning about right now that he’s looking forward to implementing? 40:49
  • What’s one thing every high school student must know? 41:32
  • How can someone be a difference maker in their community? 41:51


Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.


What does it take to Crush It in REI?:

How to Communicate with Buyers

Deal Structure Sunday: Part of the SREC Origin Story

SREC Podcast Episode 103 with Mike Makredes

Thanks for Listening!

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self growth

How Self Growth and Your Filtering Process Affect Your Life and Business

They always say, you attract who you are. When I was at the start of my self growth journey, I really didn’t know what this meant. I remember exactly where I was when I first realized it though. I was in grad school. And, interesting to me, it wasn’t too long before I realized that not everyone is looking to climb a mountain in their career.

Up until that point, I thought just about everyone worked like I did.

I couldn’t have been further from the truth.

What I’ve realized since then is that there are different personalities, different motivators, and even different needs that we have to consider when we’re interacting with other people.

Because of this, we have to be aware of where we are on this personal journey so we can understand how they see us.

The better we can use this power, the easier it is to get what we want in the long run.

Or as Zig Zigler said, “If you help enough people get what they want, then you automatically get what you want”.

Here’s a few things to think about…

You Attract Who You Are

Recently, I was listening to a lesson that fellow John Maxwell Team member and future guest of the AoL Podcast, Jeff Gamble, was talking about on his FB Live show “Going Executive Director”. 

In the video, he was talking about how people tend to attract others like themselves. 

Here’s the thing. Jeff might have been using the MLM world as a reference, but it’s true across the board. And it’s especially true in life and business.

For example, when I was in college 10+ years ago, I was pretty insecure about my future. Like many engineering students, even though I liked having a good time, I learned to prioritize studying. I never had time to party.

Many of the friends I had in college were that same type, especially early on. 

After I changed majors, I felt more at ease and because of that, I started attracting new friends who didn’t fit this previous mold. They were confident in where they were going. And because of this, I started to see that I had decent control over my own future.

It was during this time that I started getting involved in clubs and other organizations on campus. Interestingly, I started to understand that not everyone is wired the same way I am. And like Jeff was talking about, I started to understand that not only are there different personalities, but different people have different needs.

Start with Your Needs

In the video, Jeff talks about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Tony Robbins’ 6 Human Needs. It’s uncanny how similar they are:

self growth

Early on in college, my esteem took a beating. It seemed like no matter what I tried, I just couldn’t be the student I was used to being in high school.

What I later realized is that I just had no idea how to study. And once I figured that out when I changed majors, I’d put in the needed work to fix that. As a result my confidence rose and I allowed myself to venture out and do other things. Interestingly enough, I started trying to connect with other students around me by becoming part of different organizations (that’s the next level of needs!)

So, here’s my question for you. Where do you fall? Do you have the basics figured out? Do you have safety figured out? How significant do you feel?

If you’re still in search of those, as Jeff was saying, you’re going to attract those people into your life – either as friends or as clients.

Setting Up Your Business for Success by Filtering

That being the case, as a business owner, you might not necessarily want to attract those who are in your own situation.

This is where the importance of setting up a filter comes into place. 

A filter is nothing more than a system used to qualify potential matches. Most businesses should use a filter when they’re trying to fit people to certain roles.

Here’s a few examples of where filters could be used:

Recruiting In Direct Sales

For example, if you’re affiliated with an MLM company like Jeff was talking about, then you’ll want to filter the right people in. You’re looking for people who want to learn about the system and how to leverage it properly to grow their own business. What you’re not looking for is people who are naturally not coachable and rebel about everything. You want to surround yourself with other students of the craft.

As a Consultant

Likewise, if you’re a consultant, then you’ll want to use a filter to see if someone really wants to achieve a new version of whatever you’re helping them with. You’ll need to learn how to ask them qualifying questions about themselves, their business, and what they’re looking to achieve.

As a Doctor

Another example, let’s say you’re a doctor. You’d need to filter people based on their needs on whether or not you can help them. If you misdiagnose someone and give them bad advice on their next step, there’s a good chance you might be sued for malpractice.

In an Everyday Situation

Or here’s a final example. Let’s say you’re actually in HR for a company. Do you think you should hire people like yourself to fill in jobs in the company, or should you hire people who fit the characteristics of the role that needs to be filled. Obviously, you want to hire to the role and to do that, you’ll need a filter to find out if they fit. Otherwise, you’ll hire someone and they’ll either quit or be fired.

Action Steps

So, I hope those examples give you a bit of an idea of the importance of a filter in your business and perhaps in your life as well. My trajectory changed completely for the next 10 years after college. If it wasn’t for the input I received those years, I wouldn’t have started on my current path.

And because of that, I wouldn’t have been able to eventually realize that these people had used a filter on me – whether consciously or subconsciously.

So don’t throw people at the wall and see what sticks. Otherwise, you’ll get more people like yourself. If you’re trying to become a new version of yourself, that might not be ok.

Instead, learn to consciously use filters in your day to day life. If someone isn’t going in the direction you are and doesn’t have the same standards that you want, then there’s a good chance they’re going to be a drag on your life and your business.

Four Systematized Business Building Resources Which Will Help You Find Clarity in Your Work

The world tends to mistake desire for clarity.  When people talk in a no-nonsense way, it’s often mistaken for aggression. Getting aggressively engaged with your future will bring you clarity.

In a world of much chaos and huge differences in “factual” information, it’s pretty easy to get confused in what we want out of life. We spend so much time figuring out who we are, that many times we forget the actual process that we’ve taken to get to that point.

We forget that not everyone has had our struggles. We forget others don’t have our same background. And many times, we see the strengths that we’ve developed as no big deal.

Many of us, while we know we’re good at things, simply don’t choose to capitalize on those experiences and strengths. Many times believing that we have to emulate someone else to be considered “successful”.

But that’s simply not the case.

When we look at many of our favorite successful people, we might have different ideas of what made them succeed. It’s easy for us to think, “Oh yeah, that guy is a product of the system they’re in!” or “she was just lucky,” or my favorite, “dude, he simply has extraordinary talent”.

But, from successful person’s perspective, are those the true secrets to their success? That the reason they were good is out of their control?

Of course not.

So why is it that so many of us believe that success is given to us? That it’s from an external source?

Personally, I think that we’ve been trained to think that way. Our past schooling and our supervisors were the ones in charge in determining if we were successful. Success was based on our grades and our ability to move up in corporate ladder.

However, I’ve re-learned that true success comes from being able to build a sound foundation that all your future choices will be built on. That sound foundation is often referred to as clarity of purpose or simply clarity.

What Championship Sports Teams can Teach Us About Systemization

For a majority of people, professional sports seems simply as form of entertainment. On the surface, I can see how they see that. And frankly, they are. And I think that’s how many of us started watching our favorite teams. However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that we can study them, not for stats and trivia, but actually for key elements that we can apply to the rest of our life. We can learn about relationships, teamwork, leadership, communication, execution, metrics… the list goes on.

For me, I learned a ton from watching the 2006-2007 Colts team win the Super Bowl. Every year prior while Tony Dungy was their coach, they focused on the small things – the basics of the game.

They focused on tackling. They focused on timing. They focused on communication development. I mean, compared to today’s team, they were pretty polished on every aspect of the game. There’s no way that this would have happened to that Dungy team. The team was simply prepared to win that Super Bowl.

Looking around the NFL, there are a couple of teams that might stick out as teams that just “have it”. They have a working system. One of those, as much as I and other NFL fans would hate to admit, is the New England Patriots.

For as far back as I’ve been a fan of the Colts, the Pats have been a powerhouse in the NFL. While there hasn’t been too much released to the public about how they win so regularly, NFL fans can tell that the program that they utilize works for each player on the team. A program that stresses that their players must “Do Their Job“.

Across the sports spectrum, we can see many instances in college basketball. Take for example, Coach K. Just like the system that the Patriots have with Belichick, part of what makes coach Krzyzewski is that he starts with the basics and that he wants feedback from those that are around him. Before Belichick and Krzyzewski, there was Bobby Knight, and before him there was John Wooden. Each had winning systems.

“But, JC. You just said that people aren’t a product of their environment.”

Well, they are and they aren’t. They are in that a good system can provide a player a good environment to get better in. However, it’s up to the player to take advantage of that environment. Those that don’t follow the system are yanked out and replaced. That said, the more a player excels in that environment, the higher potential they have. They excel, they get rewarded by more playing time. They can’t let their ego get the best of them or the team and they, themselves, won’t win.

They simply need to let the system work it’s magic on them. For some it takes a little less time than others. However, when the player utilizes the right system, they’ll have a much better chance to succeed than if they were the only star on their team… or outside of the league all together!


Systematized Business Building

Since personal development and business development have gone hand in hand since the Wallace Wattles days, we should realize that there are ways to build a business and ways not to build one.

Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of the same material repeated about building a business. Each time I hear it, it differs just a tad bit. However, the foundational pieces stay the same. And the biggest and most important piece that most people who want to start their own business struggle with, right from the beginning, is clarity.

Following a system that can give you clarity, just like in sports, is a HUGE advantage when you’re trying to figure out a business that’s going to function and be successful.

Through the 8 years that I’ve been studying the entrepreneurship world in detail, there have been only four sources that I quote regularly for helping me move on. One of them is finally systematizing his findings. So I wanted to do a quick review for you guys today. Depending on what you want to do, these will all help you move forward without wasting time and money.

Leadership Team Development (LTD)

Type: Immersive Training. Everyone starts from nothing. You will be working with sponsors who have had success already. You’ll be selling already existing products and getting others to join your team. Marketing and training is available through the company.

Cost: Varies. Depends on how you get started. Whether or not you buy the same product you advertise. How much marketing stuff you’ll use.

So this is going to be a hard turn off for some. However, others will love it. Just depends on what you want your business to incorporate. If you want to just focus on marketing and growth, this is totally your thing. If you want control over R&D as well, keep moving down the list.

For me, if I hadn’t started with LTD, it would have taken me a little more time to get into personal and business development. As far as passive income goes, nothing beats the multi-level marketing business type.


Well, for one, it’s super simple. Because anyone can enter and it doesn’t take a genius to be successful. You simply move product for the main company, and you get more people started as IBOs, coaches, or whatever they call their members.

The second thing is that the right groups, like LTD, will teach it’s members life skills (I learned about John Maxwell and Coach K, among others, from LTD).

And the third thing is that if you truly build it like those that have gone before you discuss, it literally is the most passive income source available out there available for people at all levels. Once you build your business, if you’ve brought in the right kinds of leaders and trained them well, then chances are as your group gets bigger, you’re needed less and less. Oh, and your income increases as well.

If you’re wondering, I’m still a card carrying member, so if your interested to know more, contact me directly about it.

Just make sure you put “LTD” in the Subject line somewhere.

The Foundation (TF)

Type: Immersive Training. Again, everyone starts from the bottom and works their way to the top. You will be working with coaches who have been students in the program before. Originally geared towards building online membership software (Software as a Service).

Cost: Relatively high up front. The expense of being in this program runs in the thousands. So it might not be an option to all future entrepreneurs. But it’s definitely worth it as you will be fully virtually immersed by the class.

Another very focused group that I’ve been a part of has been the Foundation. There are 10 types of online businesses that you can start. Being a “engineer” is one of these options.

As an engineer, we specifically fix a problem that clients and future clients will have. Many times that solution will be done through building software. We do this through what TF calls Idea Extraction. 

Now, idea extraction can possibly scare plenty of people because it might involve cold contacting people – especially if you’re not connected to an industry you want to help. However, there’s ways to mitigate the effects of doing this contacting and it’s explained within their course.

Check them out here.

Pat Flynn’s Book: Will It Fly

Type: Independent Training. Most training across the web is what I’d consider independent training. “Students” can start anytime, anywhere, and at any level. (The previous two options makes everyone start from scratch.) They have complete control over everything about their platform. Some might find this level of control too much. Others might love it.

Cost: Least expensive of the four as it’s a book. However, it’s put together from years of Pat’s studies for his blog and interviewing for the SPI Podcast.

Being released in February 2016, I have had the pleasure of being on the Book Launch Team for this book by the Internet Marketing Crash Test Dummy himself, Pat Flynn. While it might not come with the specific community that the three other options have (not saying Pat doesn’t have community, he does), it does have a great interactive framework that you can use to start your online business.

Specifically the book is divided into five sections. Those five sections are:

  • Mission Design – Through a series of thought-experiments, we’ll make sure your target idea aligns with and supports your target goals.
  • Development Lab – No matter where you are currently in your business, this phase is used to uncover important details about your target idea that you haven’t even thought about yet.
  • Flight Planning – This is where you’re going to assess the current conditions of the market that you’re entering so that you can see what (and who) you’re up against.
  • Flight Simulator – You will be combining everything you’ve learned through your research together to actually validate and test your idea with a small segment of your target market.
  • All Systems Go – You’ll be doing some final analysis to make sure you’re ready to move forward with your idea. In addition to that, you’ll get some helpful insight on your next moves, and how you can take a lot of the information you’ve uncovered during your research in this book forward with you, so you know your next steps.

Check it out here. (Amazon affiliate link) 

Type: Hybrid Training. Is a mix between Independent Training and Immersive. While you go at it your own speed and can start from any entry point, there is a community to ask questions regarding anything you might have problems with. I believe this is the Jack of All Trades solution.

Cost: Typically $35 per month. However, there is a trial period. Which you can try here. (Affiliate link)

This resource for building your business, like LTD, is for the long term. You can learn the basics that Pat discusses in his book, but it will take you from creation all the way up to scaling up to a point where you actually start hiring a team to help you. As of the writing of this post, I am a local Fizzle meetup host for Indianapolis.

There are three main phases:

  • Find and Develop your Business Idea – Build a Solid Foundation
  • Launch Your Business – Earn Enough to Support Yourself
  • Optimize & Grow to Increased Profitability & Sustainability


Again, you can get started at Fizzle for a free trial here!

If you’re interested in being the best in anything, you got to find a working system to learn it in. As you can tell, I’ve gone through several myself. While I take full responsibility for my lack of focus and discipline in the past, it is my sincere hope that you will be able to excel in any of the above programs.

While each resource above is geared towards making you successful, whether or not you acquire that success is up to you. As the Under Armor Tom Brady (the Patriot’s quarterback) commercial says, “You are the sum of all your training“.


If doing what you love for a living is really what you want to start working towards this year, I believe you need to get yourself in a system that will help you focus and excel. There are many out there, but I hope this review gives you somewhere to start. Below, feel free to ask any further questions about each resource you might have.

If you’re a seasoned pro and have had training outside of these 4, I’d love to hear about your experience. Eventually, I’d like to get a guide and/or review for various programs so that people don’t waste their time or money on a program that doesn’t fit them.