RG 354 – How to Grow Your Business and Skip the Common Hurdles Along the Way with Don Costa

RG 354 - Grow Your Business and Skip the Common Hurdles

How do you recover from losing everything you’ve built? And what can you do to prevent that from happening in the first place?

Don Costa is a seasoned entrepreneur and real estate investor. He is the CEO of Strategic REI, Inc., the founder of The Inner Circle Elite Mastermind, a real estate rehab expert, and the host of the Flip Talk podcast. Today, he runs multiple successful businesses and helps other investors do the same by systematizing structures and building consistency.

However, the journey to success was not easy for Don, much like many other investors. He lost everything in 2008 and admittedly made a lot of mistakes along the way. Thankfully, those mistakes taught him some of the most vital lessons in the world of investing and business.

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Join us in this week’s interview to learn how Don built his first business, lost it all in the recession, and persevered to rebuild everything from scratch. If you want to join a community for like-minded investors, Don also introduces us to his network—Inner Circle Elite Mastermind.


  • A good economy can hide a bad business.
  • To be a good leader, you have to build a team that you can trust to make decisions.
  • Being an entrepreneur is not a creative prison.
  • Creating an effective system within your business structure takes self-awareness.
  • The signs of an oncoming recession are not always the same every time.



Be Bold, Be Brave and Go Give Life a Crack!
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Podcast Transcript

Reed Goossens (00:00):

Good day Good day guys. Now, before we dive into today’s show, I want to let you know that some of you may be aware that over the past eight years, I have built a substantial multi-family real estate portfolio here in the US, worth over half a billion dollars. And in that time, my passive investors have received fantastic double-digit returns. And now you too can invest directly into my deals for as little as $50,000. So if you’re an interested investor, head over to reedgoossen.com to find out more. That’s reedgoossen.com. Now, back into the show,

Don Costa (00:39):

Run a good business, be a good leader, prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. And always run your numbers when you’re doing anything based on what you know you can do today, not what you think you can do tomorrow. And that’s it.

Speaker 3 (01:01):

Welcome to investing in the us, a podcast for real estate investors, business owners, and aspiring entrepreneurs looking to break into the US markets. Join Reed as he interviews, go-getters, risk takers, and the best in the business about their journey towards financial freedom and the sheer joy of creating something from nothing.

Reed Goossens (01:21):

Good day, good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another cracking edition of investing in the US podcast from Los Angeles. I’m your host, Reed Goossens. Good as always, to be with us on the show. Now, I’m glad that you’ve all tuned in to learn from my incredible guests, and each and every one of them are the cream of the crop here in the United States when it comes to real estate investing, business investing, and entrepreneurship. Each show I try and tease out their incredible stories of how they have successfully created their businesses here in the us, how they’ve created financial freedom, massive amounts of cashflow, and ultimately created extraordinary lives for themselves and their families. Life by design, as I like to say. Hopefully these guests will inspire all of my cracking listeners, which are you guys, to get off the couch and go and take massive amounts of action.

Reed Goossens (02:08):

If these guys can do it, so can you. Now, as you know, I’m all about sharing the knowledge with my loyal listeners, which is you guys, and there’s absolutely no BS on this show, just straight into the nuts and bolts. Now, if you do like this show, the easiest way to give back is to give us a review on iTunes, and you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter by searching at Reed Goossens. You can find the show wherever you podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Google Play. But you can also find these episodes up on my YouTube channel. So head over to reid goons.com, click on the video link, and it’ll take you to the video recordings of these podcasts where you can see my ugly mug, but the beautiful faces of my guests each and every week. All right, enough outta me. Let’s get cracking and into today’s show.

Reed Goossens (02:56):

Today, the show I have the pleasure of chatting with Don Costa. Now Don is a real estate investor and an entrepreneur. He’s the host of the Flip Talk podcast and the founder of The Inner Circle Elite Mastermind, where he shares his knowledge, tips, and tricks from other investors who are flipping houses every single day. He built his business after hitting rock bottom way back in 2012. And at the time, he made a decision to change his mindset, and as if he was building one of the biggest and largest, most reputable house flipping businesses in the country. And that’s what he’s done exactly that today. That mindset gave him the strength to overcome obstacles and the confidence to build the necessary relationships for him to succeed. So I’m really pumped and excited to have him on the show today to share he’s incredible knowledge with us, but nothing to me. Let’s get him out here. Get a Don, welcome to the show. How you doing today, mate? I’m

Don Costa (03:37):

Doing good, man. How are you doing?

Reed Goossens (03:39):

I’m doing absolutely fantastic. You’re just up the street from me right in, uh, in Fresno?

Don Costa (03:43):

I am. I’m about four hours away. , yes, roughly. Yeah.

Reed Goossens (03:46):

Yeah, exactly. Nice. Well, mate, it’s great to have you on the show. Look, really looking forward to diving into it. But before we do, can you rewind the clock and tell me how you made your first ever dollar as a kid?

Don Costa (03:55):

You know, that’s, that’s a great question. I, I want to say I made my first ever dollar working in a rabbit farm, um, of all places. Um, I’m trying to think if I made money before that, but, um, it was, it was probably my first job. I was about 13 or 14, and I got a job with, uh, some people that owned a rabbit farm, and I just basically was, uh, medicating the rabbits and feeding the rabbits and doing stuff like that. So that’s probably about it. Meat

Reed Goossens (04:20):


Don Costa (04:22):

What’s that?

Reed Goossens (04:23):

Were they meat rabbits for eating?

Don Costa (04:24):

They were meat rabbits, absolutely. Yep. Mm-hmm. .

Reed Goossens (04:26):

Yeah, right. Meat rabbits. Interesting. That’s, it’s, uh, you don’t hear meat, uh, rabbit, you, I guess you do some restaurants you go to, but I don’t, I don’t see meat on, uh, a rabbit on the menu very much when I go to a steakhouse. So, uh, definitely something to, you always hear rabbit stew, but you never hear Right. You know, rabbit lamb chops or something like, you know, not lamb chops, rabbit chops. So, um, so awesome stuff. But, but, but now walk us through the journey, right? Was there a pre two, you know, lemme mentioned 2012 hitting rock bottom. You wanna talk a little bit about that? And then, you know, what you’ve built over the last, what is it, 10 years now, uh, in the fix and flipping space?

Don Costa (04:56):

Yeah, you know, there is a pre journey. So like, I think a lot of people, um, especially more nowadays than ever, um, when you’re entrepreneurial, uh, you can’t, you know, a time clocks a prison. And I’ve had a number of jobs since that rapid job. And, uh, I always had a hard time being in the time clock prison. And so I was always wanting to be an entrepreneur. I just was trying to find the, the widget that worked. And I think like a lot of people not coming from a business background, not coming from a successful family, it was a lot of trial and error and fell along the way. So, um, I’ve opened, I’ve owned cell phone stores. Um, I learned a very important lesson about profitability and cashflow we’re actually a very profitable, successful business. But the way the business was structured, we had zero cashflow, so we couldn’t stay in business long-term.

Don Costa (05:41):

Um, that was one of my first countries in the business. Um, and I’ve done a few other things. I circled the real estate investing side. It was something that really interests me for a lot of years. And, um, finally got into it in 2003. Uh, and that became the widget that I stuck to. So from 2003 to 2008, I had made, had made more money than I’d ever seen in my life, a lot easier than I ever made money. And, um, you know, I had a couple of failures in business, but nothing that had really educated me, um, on how to be a good leader, how to be a good business owner, how to do good negotiations, all that kind of stuff. So when 2008 hit, um, it was a, it shined a big light on the fact that I was running a very bad business and a good economy hides a bad business back then, 2003, four and five, the housing market was on fire.

Don Costa (06:27):

I was running a very bad business, and I ended up losing everything from about 2008 to 2012. The greatest analogy of, of that aspect of it, why did it take me four years to lose everything? Um, the greatest analogy of that is, um, jumping off a building, right? As a human being. If you jump off a building, what kills you is the fall or the splat. It’s the splat, right? Mm-hmm. . And so in a business, when you jump off a building, what kills you is the fall or the splat. Well, in business, the fall kills you. And so another lesson that I learned as a business person is sometimes it’s better just to hit bottom and start over. And instead, I tried to hold onto things for a lot of years. Um, and I tried to just, you know, grasp at this and grasp at that and keep this alive and keep this data alive.

Don Costa (07:09):

And I just bled out, um, over a period of years until I finally hit the ground, I hit the splat and, and decided it was time to start over. So in, in 2012, I dust myself off, tried to get a job, tried to find other options, um, was scared the death of real estate, but really my skillset is talking to sellers, putting deals together, raising private money, really good at managing rehabs. And so I just got back into what I knew and, uh, started my business all over again in 2012 with, at the time, almost a million dollar judgment against me after losing everything, after almost losing my home, um, with two kids and a wife started over and kind rebuilt from there. So that’s the background.

Reed Goossens (07:51):

That’s that’s awesome. That’s, uh, it’s an incredible story and something that I think a lot of people don’t necessarily take into consideration that sometimes you’ve gotta go through that pain to come out the other side. It’s like, like, you know, when you have a forest fire and you right, it burns everything, and then it comes back even better, and it needs healthy, stronger, healthier, stronger, it needs to come out. You need to go through that pain. Um, I guess, what are some of the lessons that you took out of what, what was running, what was the business running bad? You mentioned that you just, you, you weren’t doing a good job. Give us an example. Like, you know, what was it that wasn’t, that was sort of came to your undoing?

Don Costa (08:24):

You know, it was, it was, um, taking everything, there’s a lot of things, taking everything everybody said at face value. When I, when I would meet with a contractor and they’d say, two weeks and 20 grand will be done, and I’d shake their hand, you know, and it’d be our or five months later and it cost me 40 grand or 50 grand to rehab the project. I didn’t think anything was wrong with that, because in that market, well, it took me a few months longer to do the deal. So I ended up making more money. And so, but that’s unrealistic. That’s kinda like what we just went through in 2020 and 2021, right? An unrealistic kind of on fire market. And so, um, there was that aspect of it. I was a, um, kind of a control freak. All the decisions had to be made by me.

Don Costa (09:01):

I didn’t trust or rely on anybody. So it was a bottleneck in my organization. Um, I failed at building good, strong teams. Um, you know, I failed at, um, recognizing opportunity and sometimes recognizing what was an opportunity. You know, when you get started in, in business, in any new business, there’s an optimistic naivety I like to refer to, where you feel like you can conquer the world, especially if you have success out of the gate. And I thought every time I touched, turned the gold. So I was doing everything. I opened a restaurant at nightclub, I was starting the sunglass line, I was investing in real estate projects that, that I probably shouldn’t have been investing in. You know, I was taking gambles that I probably shouldn’t have been taking. And, uh, but I just thought it was never gonna end. And so the, some of the lessons you learn is, you know, in order to to, to be a good leader, you gotta be able to build a team around you that you can not only trust their own decisions, but they will trust their ability to make decisions.

Don Costa (09:53):

And then you gotta rely on that team. Um, you gotta get out, you gotta get people better than you and get out of their way so you can build a good business. You know, cashflow is more important than profitability. So if you don’t build a co company that has strong either capital reserves or cashflow op opportunities, um, eventually no matter what you do, you’re gonna have a hard time running that business. You know, um, making sure that when you we’re taking risks, we’re taking calculated smart risks in this, in this business, and we’re betting on what we know that’s gonna happen and not what we hope is gonna happen in the market. Those are all things that I learned early on.

Reed Goossens (10:28):

Yeah, it, it sounds like the word discipline comes to, to mind, you know, from me just hearing you say that, you know, like mm-hmm. being disciplined and having an approach to going off and should you invest in a sunglass line or a nightclub or that deal you shouldn’t have done. And then I think that’s to your point of like, you take things for granted and you’re making money really easily, you gloss over systems that you probably need to be putting in, in place to allow yourself to, to, to have those train tracks, right? Right. So you don’t, the business doesn’t go off the train off the line or someone else. You can say, Hey, these are the processes we need to follow, go off and make that decision on behalf of the business. And I know you shouldn’t fail because you’re following these, these, these train tracks, right? Like, that’s, that’s what I’m, what I’m hearing from you.

Don Costa (11:10):

Well, the, the, I wouldn’t say you, you, you’re not gonna have obstacles in your business. Sure. But at least obstacles are gonna be a lot more manageable when they come mm-hmm. , and you’re gonna be a lot more prepared for them.

Reed Goossens (11:20):

Yep. That’s, that’s, that’s exactly right. Let, let’s flip to what you built today, right? What, what, where you are now, like what, what, what is, what have you grown from to rebuild after 2008, 2012? What does it look like today?

Don Costa (11:34):

Well, you know, I, over the years, I built a very disciplined business in a lot of sense. You know, we started off in rehabbing and we stuck to rehabbing single family homes. We didn’t deviate from our, our buy box or our model. You know, we established that fairly early. We like first time buy our second time, buy our properties. Um, we like specific areas, neighborhoods, types of properties. Um, we look for, you know, building a team even outside of our organization. You know, everybody that I wanna hire needs to be teachable and coachable. That includes the contractors and vendors we work with. If there’s somebody that isn’t teachable and coachable there, if there’s somebody that we can’t develop into the team that we need, we’re not gonna work with them. Um, we work at, we, we look at everybody, including the people on our team as people that, um, we have a responsibility to make the best version of themselves and the seat that they’re in.

Don Costa (12:20):

And that includes our outside vendors. So we don’t, it’s not just like, oh, you weren’t what I needed. I’m gonna, I’m gonna discard you. It’s, if you’re teachable and coachable and you’re not quite what I needed on this project, can I make you better? Mm-hmm. And that’s how we approached things that allowed us to kind of build our business. Um, we did, you know, we’ve taken risks, you know, with marketing and different things like that. In 2018, I sent out 1.2 million postcards, um, and I tested and tracked everything. So we were very scientific about, you know, what we were doing and what made us successful in our operation. And that’s just an example of marketing. But we were the same thing internally, you know, right person, right seat. What are the systems and process? What are the ways we can set them up for success?

Don Costa (12:58):

What are the KPIs and matrix we can hold them to? And we, uh, we built a business that did, you know, um, for a number of years, um, you know, about 130 rehabs a year, and about about 60 ish wholesalers a year. So we’re doing about 200 deals a year. Since 2020, I’ve been focusing mostly on educating people in the space, running the mastermind community, and doing that kind of stuff. So we scaled back on our volume. We’re still doing deals today. Um, you know, we scaled back on our volume, but we, we still run a, a phenomenal company. Now, now, today, my mission is really helping entrepreneurs not create a prison. Um, you know, and, and I got the opportunity to look at, uh, you know, from the perspective of building the business I built, um, to, and looking at other people’s businesses from a higher level.

Don Costa (13:42):

And, and there’s a lot of people in this industry that they believe in scale, scale, scale, scale, scale. And they don’t understand really what it is gonna take for them to accomplish their dreams. So they’ll scale past that and they’ll end up creating a prison for themselves. And, and I hit that point myself, where, you know, you have these, like you said, rails, right? In a business, you have these, um, kind of fat times where, you know, the, the rails, you’re, you’re within your rails and, and everything’s going well. Well, then, then the train tracks start to choke off a little bit when you’re, when you’re scaling past, like your, your team’s capacity, your monetary capacity. And you gotta choose to either grow through that or scale back down. And a lot of people will continue to grow, grow, grow, grow, grow, and they won’t understand that you have to systematize, reprioritize, you know, maybe shed some of your team or add some of your team in order to properly grow through that, and they’ll end up creating a prison that they’re not happy with. So my mission now is the most profitable business you can have, um, and my, for myself and anybody else, um, and not have a prison.

Reed Goossens (14:41):

Yeah. No, I’ve actually got the book right next to me. I don’t dunno if you use it. Uh, traction

Don Costa (14:45):

Traction’s huge. Yeah.

Reed Goossens (14:45):

Yeah. I, you knew I was gonna pull that out, right? So, uh, , um, no, it, it’s, it’s so important. Pri the word prison is, is right. Like, you know, we all feel, we all start being sole entrepreneurs. What, what people listening to this show, you and I both have that same itch inside of us to go off and be our own boss, right? And, and when you get started in, you do everything, everything in the business, from marketing to admin, to sales, to operations, to disposition, you know, whatever it is, insert widget here. It doesn’t have to necessarily be real estate, but you’re doing it all. And when you do come to the point where you have to learn to let go and set up those systems, you realize so many times, and I’m, I’m, I’m guilty of this, that I’m like, I can just do it better than that other person, right?

Reed Goossens (15:25):

I can do it all. And, and it’s that sole entrepreneur curse, I guess, uh, the founder syndrome, right? They talk about mm-hmm. where you need to learn to let go of the vine, which is what they talk a lot about in, in, in traction in eos. So, um, being, and, and, and that comes from being self-aware, right? That doesn’t just come from that. You’re not just born with self-awareness. You have to grow that. And I think through coming through failures like yourself or, you know, understand your personal loss or whatever it might be, you know, people come through to, to self-awareness, uh, in different ways. But it is so important to then be the better leader for the business. And, and, and I love what you said there about, you know, teachable and coachable, because not everyone will be that right fit immediately, right?

Reed Goossens (16:04):

And you, and so many people are just, boom, fire them. They’re not good. But if they’re willing to learn and change, I think that is having the patience to invest in people. And I think that, that, that’s, that’s, that’s super, super important. Tell me about more about the mastermind community and what you built there, because I think a pivot away from doing deals into coaching you, I see a lot of people making that transition. What, what was it personally for you? Why did you want to do it? Was it just because it was easier, or you just wanted to give back, or it was just like, oh, I had, I, I’d scratched that itch of doing this 200 deals a year, and now I needed something else to, to keep the fire alive. Like, what was it?

Don Costa (16:39):

Yeah, there was part of it. You know, I’ve been, I’ve been a real estate investor for the most of, most part of 20 years now. Mm-hmm. . And, you know, with the exception of losing everything and being educated, I’ve been looking or wholesale in some capacity. I have a lot more knowledge, um, from a time perspective of that particular part of the industry than I a lot of coaches in the industry. So I felt an obligation to, to give some of that knowledge. Um, we’re still actively doing deals now. Like, I don’t want to even take away from, I still have a company, we’re still actively doing deals. You know, I just, there’s, there’s a legacy play there. There’s a point where it’s like, you know, what do I wanna do to fundamentally change, you know, um, the legacy, uh, that I, that I stand for?

Don Costa (17:16):

You know, how do I want to affect the world? And, and one of the ways that, um, you know, you can’t touch water without making a ripple’s the best way to say it. Like, when, when everything you do has a cause and effect in life, every decision you make has a cause and effect. And, and one of the things that I want to do where I touch water, make a ripple is, is the legacy play where it’s like, you know, I can affect businesses and individuals in a way that will allow them to change things generationally. And maybe long after I’m forgotten, um, that ripple will still be going, if that makes sense. Hmm. And so that was more of, it was just a, it was just a deeper kind of calling, if that makes sense. I love people. Um, I love the community we have.

Don Costa (17:55):

I love spending time with them. I actually, we were in New Orleans for our last meeting. We meet all over the country four times a year. And I remember we were at this bar in the evening, and there was a, a horrible karaoke type band playing, but there was a bunch of us there, and we were singing and having a good time and, and, uh, just, you know, kind of playing along with this band. And I remember that moment of just thinking like, there’s nothing that I’d rather do than be right here in this moment with these people. So, you know, not only do I get to help these businesses and give my input, I get to watch other communities help each other, other me community members help each other, and they do deals together, and they advise each other, but I get to hang out with some of the greatest investors and people, like-minded people in the country. And for me, that’s just, I don’t know, it’s, it, it fills something for me at this point in my life,

Reed Goossens (18:40):

If that makes sense. Yeah, no, it does. And I, I love the, the touching of the water and making the ripples. I think that, right? You’re, you’re, you’re probably a little bit older than I am, but there is that youthfulness of gotta scale that mountain and do the deals and be the junkie. And then there, there comes a point in your life where, uh, you, you transition to, you know, more wise and thinking long term and when you are gone and, and that sort of stuff. And what’s the most impact you can do today. And I see, so like I’ve done 400 episodes on, on this podcast, interviewed 400 different awesome entrepreneurs and CEOs, and it all seems like there’s the same progress in life. And, and, and, and it’s, it’s, you know, how much is enough, right? And then, and, and what does, does doing the, does 200 deals a year give you that rush? Or is it, you know, trying to, to plan a flag and, and, and be remembered for, for something and, and, and creating that ripple as you, you mentioned earlier, to and help other people and affect them in a positive way. So I think that’s, uh, really, really awesome of you to, to be able to, to go down that path. Remind the listeners what, uh, what’s the, what’s the name of the, the mastermind they wanna, you know, they wanna know more about it?

Don Costa (19:46):

Yeah, it’s called The Inner Circle Elite Mastermind. Um, and you can go to be in this room.com if you wanna check it out. You can also email me the word mastermind to flip talk don flip talk.com, and I’ll respond. Um, you’ll get me. So, um, but yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s just, it, you know, ma the word mastermind’s been thrown around a lot. Uh, everybody that has a course or a call calls it a mastermind, and they’re not wrong. But to me, a true mastermind community is when you’re meeting on a regular basis and you’re really collaborative and you’re really trying to help each other out, you’re really trying to solve problems in each other’s businesses and your community. And that’s really what we’re working on to create.

Reed Goossens (20:24):

For those of you who are interested in staying up to date with all the latest happenings in my business, or to learn more about passively investing directly into my multi-family value add deals, then head over to readgoossens.com and sign up for my monthly newsletter. By signing up, you’ll automatically be notified about my new up and coming investment opportunities. You’ll be able to stay up to date with all the latest real estae news here in the United States, and much, much more. So head over to readgoossens.com and sign up today,

Reed Goossens (20:54):

Now back

Reed Goossens (20:54):

Into the show.

Reed Goossens (20:59):

That’s great. That’s awesome. What does the community look like to today and, and how have you cultivated it to continue growing? Because I know sometimes communities can, can ca can get outta the gate really, really well, but that continuation of adding awesome value to to others seems to be, you know, to to to the, the distance between, uh, the difference between a sprinter in ahor in a racehorse and a long distance runner, you know?

Don Costa (21:21):

Yeah. So, I mean, our community today, um, we have just shy of a hundred active investors from around the country. They are all legitimate business owners. We actually have a, a lower version of that, where if you’re just getting started, that’s a whole different conversation. We have a community for that as well. But we we’re talking about here is for active real estate investors running an actual business. You know, we have a member that has a 40 million portfolio as an example. Um, and, um, again, we’re really, we’re not trying to be the biggest, we’re trying to find that balance of having new life within, within the community and making sure there’s always value without being, you know, a situation where you’re a faceless, you know, uh, sheep in the herd, if that makes sense. Mm-hmm. , mm-hmm. . And so, um, and, and again, a lot of our members have been with us for the last 3, 4, 5 years now.

Don Costa (22:06):

We’re about almost five years old. So, um, we’ve had members since the beginning, they’re still with us. Our attrition is really low. We’re selective about who we add. We wanna make sure that, again, you have experience and you’re able to add value and receive value. And, um, we try to find a good balance. So, um, we launched this before, just before Covid talk about the TA launching a business in the worst possible time. But we launched an in-person mastermind and then covid hit and shut down for a couple years. And so we’ve overcome that aspect of it as well. So, uh, like I said, I just think like we have a phenomenal, uh, good mix of wholesalers, rehabbers, buy and hold, Airbnb, um, individuals, uh, all active business owners.

Reed Goossens (22:44):

Gonna pivot a little bit. Talk to me a little bit about how you’ve seen because of your experiences coming outta 2008, 2009, you mentioned earlier, and I just wanna go back to it. You said we saw the same run up and values in 2020 2021. Are you seeing same hallmarks of pre 2008, 2009 now?

Don Costa (23:04):

I mean, you see some things pop up here and there. I mean, for a minute, you know, we were having, starting to see some different things with, um, you know, no documentation, loans and stuff start to creep in and, and there’s some aspects of it. Um, absolutely. I wanna say, you know, from my perspective, it’s different in a lot of ways. Um, you know, pre 2008, you had people that had no business owning, you know, multiple homes, no business owning one home, multi owning multiple homes. We only have that, you know, the lending standards going into, you know, 2020 to 2022, we’re still fairly conservative. So we still have supply chain issues in a lot of market when it comes to demand for properties. Um, interest rates obviously are affecting it, but there’s just, there’s differences. Um, so I don’t, here, here’s the thing, I’m the wrong person to ask cause I lost everything once and I don’t, I don’t believe that I learned exactly how to time the market anyway.

Don Costa (23:56):

, um, in 2020, I thought the thing was gonna go to crap. I mean, this’s just be honest, I thought it was gonna go to hell and it didn’t. It went on fire. It went the total opposite direction. I thought it was gonna go. And I think for a lot of us, we were surprised about that. I think everybody here is still preaching doom and gloom cuz they’ve been preaching doom and gloom since 2012 and nobody really has the answer. You know, there are, there are fundamental differences and there are some things are the same, and it’s just hard to say which ones gonna play out. So that’s mm-hmm. , that’s my answer is.

New Speaker (24:23):

laugh>, just run a good business, run a good business, be a good leader, prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. And always run your numbers when you’re doing anything based on what you know you can do today, not what you think you can do tomorrow. And that’s it.

Reed Goossens (24:37):

Right, right. What do you, um, what are you investing right now? What’s, what’s your active market, uh, across the country?

Don Costa (24:44):

So we did, if we’re doing rehab, anything, it’s gonna be in the Central Valley, California. Gotcha. So, so anything that we’re gonna rehab, um, is gonna be within the vicinity of our control at the moment. Um, we will wholesale all, all over the country, um, and, and I’ll pick up properties, I’ll, I’ll hold properties all over the country. Um, I had a property I just sold in, in, uh, South Carolina that I held for a couple of years as a rental, so I bought it sub two, probably shouldn’t have sold it, but, uh, it, the value went up so high. It was hard to say no. Uh, you know, we’ve wholesaled in Tennessee, St. Louis, you name it. So we’ll, wholesale all over the country by and whole over the country. But rehab in California,

Reed Goossens (25:17):

Where whereabouts in, uh, uh, c u where, where, where was that property? Where, where in South Carolina were you?

Don Costa (25:23):

It was, um, in Columbia, South Carolina. Oh,

Reed Goossens (25:25):

Nice. Yeah, we’re actively investing in Greenville, South Carolina. So, uh, love, love that market. Um, well, cool man. What, you know, as you look towards the end of the year and beyond, what do you, what’s your sort of, what do you, what’s the drive now? What, what what are you hoping to achieve in the next 12 to 24 months, both personally and within the business?

Don Costa (25:42):

Yeah, so basically, um, we’re, we’re taking on the real estate investing side. I’ve had an office since 2012. I’m actually at the end of this month closing my office. So be the first time I will not have an office. We’re taking our operation a hundred percent virtual. Most of our team now on that side is VAs anyway, so that’s gonna be an interesting kind of adventure for us. Kinda just reset in how we do things. Um, as an operation on the education side, um, we’re looking to start to add, um, incredible members to our communities there and continue to grow that and add value where we can. And I actually just picked up a company in February. Um, I won’t go into that right now, but it’s in a completely different industry, but it ties into real estate and what we’re doing. I shouldn’t say it’s a completely different business model, but ties into everything we’re doing with the education and our real estate investing. Um, so just getting that to where we want to get it to market. It is a huge component of what we’re doing right now. So, um, I didn’t learn everything I needed to. I, you know, I’m not sticking to one business, which I probably should from 2008. That was a huge lesson. But the businesses I’m in are all related to each other, and that’s the component that’s changed. They’re not like apples and oranges. They’re apples and apples. So

Reed Goossens (26:49):

I was just gonna ask, it’s not another smoke shop or, you know, nightclub or, or something else. No.

Don Costa (26:54):


Reed Goossens (26:54):

Hot .

Don Costa (26:55):

No, it’s not.

Reed Goossens (26:56):

No. And, and I love hearing entrepreneurs when they understand like, real estate is, or, or, or, or, or, or the widget of real estate is really, really powerful. But creating the ecosystem is, is the holy grail, right? When you can control, not, not make control, but you have a piece of the supply or piece of the construction or piece of the management, and I’m talking specifically about real estate, but if you had another widget, you know, it, it, it’s creating the ecosystem around the businesses to make it all churn off one another. And I always use the analogy of like a table, right? One leg. You can’t support a table, right? Which it might just be acquisitions. You have to have other legs going right to support the table, otherwise it will fall over. Um, or the stool or whatever you want like to say. So, uh, awesome. We might have to get you back and, and tell us how it’s going once, uh, once you, once you’ve got got it up and running. But, uh, glad to hear it’s not, uh, you, you’re not, you’ve learned from the lessons in the past. But, but with that being said, I’d like to dive into the top five investing tips. You ready to get into it?

Don Costa (27:53):


Reed Goossens (27:54):

Mate. What number que question was, what’s the daily habit you practice to keep on track towards your goals?

Don Costa (27:59):

Oh, wow. You know, um, I, nothing sexy, I would say. I would love to say I do affirmations and different things like that. A daily huddle of my team, um, is, is I found very important. I got away from that for a while and I find that the team as a whole is dispersed and not, um, coherent. So especially more and more and more now that our world’s becoming virtual, doing a daily huddle with your team is huge to staying on task and on goal, not only as a team, but as an individual. It holds me accountable as well.

Reed Goossens (28:24):

No, I think I love, I love that as, as you mentioned, other people are moving away from the office where you have the ability to pop your head in the door, what’s going on? Oh, I can’t do that anymore. Having that daily huddle. My team’s all, uh, virtual as well. And, uh, make sure, you know, at least having one-on-one conversations with key members and or having our weekly, you know, get together. So, um, awesome stuff. Question number two is, who’s been the most influential person in your career to date?

Don Costa (28:45):

Oh, wow. You know, um, in my career to date, I’ve had several in influential per people. Um, it did, that’s, that’s a hard one to nail down. I, I’m gonna get the, the candid answer I think is, is, uh, my grandparents, that’s not one person. Um, you know, they were grounded, um, in a lot of ways. And, uh, you know, I got away from being grounded for a while. You know, I kind of came, became a bag for a good period of time there when I was making money . So one of, one of the key things for my grandfather was family was the most important thing. And I think that, that trying to, trying to hold true to that, um, legacy is, is very important. You know, you get away, you start making money and you get away from that. Um, a lot of us will get into this to have freedom and we forget why we get into this.

Don Costa (29:26):

And it’s freedom with our family. It’s being able to spend time with our kids. You know, I got a daddy daughter dance tonight with my daughter. She’s nine, my oldest, uh, just finished his first year in college. Um, I’m moving him home, um, tomorrow for the summer. And I have the freedom to do those things. But for a long time I was like, well, I gotta work and I gotta do this and I gotta do that. And I was too busy again, being in a prison and forgetting, um, you know, why I was doing what I was doing and I make my grandfather’s version of success is, is is the version of success, right? It’s legacy and family. You know, what are you really gonna be remembered for? And coming back to that, I think as I’m getting older and realizing the importance of that is significant in making sure that I’m running a good business for my people and I’m running a good business for myself.

Reed Goossens (30:05):

I love it. That’s, that’s so self-aware and I’ll wrap it up at the end by that. But that’s, that’s awesome answer. Question number three is, what’s the most influential tool in your business? And when I say tool, it could be a physical tool, like a phone or a journal, or it could be a piece of software that you just can’t run the business without. What, what is it? People?

Don Costa (30:23):

Yep. People then and pe people are, look, everything else is easy in this business. Um, the fundamentals that you run, as long as you do it by numbers, pretty much any bus business is easy to, to, uh, to run. People are the hardest component, finding good people. But once you find good people, they are, they are the catalyst to your success. And so, um, you know, as, as, as a, as a tool, you know, getting the right people in your organization, making sure that you’re being a good leader, making sure that you’re represent, representing them properly, to have ’em in the right seat and, um, that you’re helping them be successful is huge. And I wouldn’t be any, I wouldn’t be where I’m at at all. I mean, you could take all the tools and everything else away. I, you know, I could still get there without them. You know, I started in 2003. We didn’t have, you know, CRMs, we didn’t have Google virtual

Reed Goossens (31:08):

Assistants. We

Don Costa (31:08):

Didn’t, we didn’t have your virtual assistants. We didn’t have YouTube University, we didn’t have podcasts. I was able to do this flipping through a piece of paper at Microsoft Streets and Maps going door to door with a foreclosure list for the title company. So people really is the component. People broke me in the first time cause I was a bad leader and there was been a big portion of my success this time.

Reed Goossens (31:27):

Love it. Love it. That sort of segues into my fourth question is, what has been the biggest failure in your career and what’d you learn from that failure?

Don Costa (31:36):

I mean, the biggest, I’ve had several failures in my career, you know, and I’ve learned something different from each one. The cell phone stories I learned that capital access to capital and cashflow is more important in your business than anything else when it comes to success in your business. And that’s a whole different story. I can go down how I learned that when I failed. You know, being able to peel back the onion on why I failed in 2000 8, 9, 10, you know, being a bad leader, being a bottleneck, not running a good business, not holding people accountable, not knowing my numbers. There’s all kinds of lessons that come from it. So I’ve learned something from every failure. And you gotta approach entrepreneurship with the, the mindset that you’re gonna fail probably in some way every day, um, and multiple times in your life in a big way.

Don Costa (32:18):

And every opportunity to fail is an opportunity to learn something and grow as an individual. There’s not one failure that I’ve had that I would wouldn’t take back. I would leave them right where they are because they’ve made me who I am. They made me a better father, a better husband, a better leader in every single sense of the word. And so as an entrepreneur, a lot of us are scared. We don’t want to do it because we might fail or we might trip up. We want it all perfect before we take action. You know, for somebody that’s new listening to this, you don’t wanna pick up the phone call and call a seller cause you might make a mistake, but you don’t know what those mistakes are. You don’t know how to do it right until you make those mistakes. And so you should welcome every opportunity to make a mistake. Cause it only makes you better.

Reed Goossens (32:55):

Love it. Love that answer. My last question is, where can people reach to continue the conversation that wanna be in your sphere? Where do they go?

Don Costa (33:01):

You can find me at the Flip Talk podcast. It is everywhere. It’s been around for about seven years. Um, you can email me @donfliptalk.com. I do respond to my emails, um, and I’m all over social media, so, um, usually at the real Don Costa is the handle

Reed Goossens (33:17):

Awesome stuff, my friend. Well, look, I wanna thank you so much for jumping on the show. I just wanna reflect some of the things that I took away from today’s show. I love what you said earlier about, you know, in and around discipline, learning discipline, early, um, you know, tea, having teachable moments and coachable team members, the ripple effect. But I think what the biggest thing I’ve taken away from today is your ability to, to to have self-awareness, right? To, to to, you mentioned earlier you self-proclaimed bag when you had too much money. You know, I think that is so important as a leader to be self-aware after failures, after having those life life lessons that are really whacked over the back of the head to come back stronger, to come back better. And then, you know, now as you transition into, you know, we’ll call the owners’ box, um, you, you’re now looking at legacy and family and what, what, what, you know, never forgetting why you got into this business in the first place.

Reed Goossens (34:02):

And I think so many people get so lost with the money aspect of it. Mm-hmm. That they lose the other things that the health, the, you know, the family, you know, any sort of spirituality that you’re into, or meditation, you know, and, and talk about the, back to the, the stool analogy, the pillars, right? Business is only one of those pillars in life. And you, you know, you have, you, you fail in other areas. You, there’s only one way to go. And, and that’s down. So I think awesome stuff, mate. I really appreciate your vulnerability. Did I leave anything out there?

Don Costa (34:28):

No, I think that’s good. Yeah, no, I mean, that’s, that’s, uh, perfect. Perfect. Uh, perfect takeaways.

Reed Goossens (34:32):

Awesome, brother. Well, look, I again, thank you for jumping on today’s show. Enjoy the rest of your week and we’ll catch up very, very soon. Appreciate it. Well, there you have another cracking episode, jam packed with exec. Well, awesome stuff from Don. He really, really unleashed and came up with a lot of vulnerability. Really, really great stuff. If you want to check him out, it’s called, it’s theflippodcast.com, theflippodcast.com. Check him out there, Don Costa, all on social media. Uh, again, we’d like to thank you all for taking some time outta your today to tune in, to continue to grow your financial iq, cuz that’s what we do here on this show. The easiest way to give back is to give it a five star review on iTunes. And we’re gonna do this all again next week. So remember, be bold, be brave, and go give life a crack.