Billy Keels: Increasing Your Cash Flows Through Leveraging

Posted by Shannon Robnett Posted at October 5, 2022 Posted in Podcast

Billy Keels, the Founder of KeePon Cash flow, has been in the corporate world for 26 years and will share his insights and secrets to increasing your cash flows in real estate business by being in control of your time.

In this episode, Billy shares how you can achieve financial and time freedom by leveraging what you have, such as your time, talent, skills, and resources.

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Billy Keels: Increasing Your Cash Flows Through Leveraging

Hey, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of The Real Estate Rundown. Today I had the pleasure of talking with a friend of mine. And I really do mean that. There are a few people you meet in this business that you just instantly click with. 

You have a lot to talk about. You’re constantly out there with each other on different topics and different things. And he’s also a guy that said I could visit in the summer which I plan to do. My guest today is Billy Keels. Good morning, Billy. How are you?

Hey Shannon, great to see you, man. Great to talk to you. And absolutely the feeling is mutual as you know, my friend.

So we’ll get to the travel plans later in this episode. So I wanted to just kind of catch up with you and see what’s been going on in your world. And what’s changed since we last spoke?

Well, yeah, so there are a number of things that have changed. And you know, I know you love these conversations, I just wanted to say one thing, because I think it’s really, really important. I know you get out here, you share so much knowledge, you’ve been a master at that. 

For anyone who’s watching or listening, if you haven’t already had a chance to do this, if you could make sure that you at least take a couple seconds to leave an honest written review and rating, that would be something that would be very appreciated, because that means you’re gonna get the best guests to continue to help you get what you need. 

So just what that stated, it’s one of these things, it’s kind of like a fellow podcaster, by the way, you crushed it on episode 155 of the Going Long Podcast, which was amazing. And, and since then, yeah, a couple of things have changed. 

Number one, after 26 years of being in the corporate world, which I really, really loved, like, I will probably love it as a strong word, I really liked it. You and I’ve talked about this, I mean, I had a really great career in terms of working across Europe, Middle East and Africa. And Europe lasted 21 years, as I mentioned before, in the software, sales space. And so I liked it a lot. I was very good at it, highly paid, and excelled. 

[Then] something happened with my father in his health towards the latter part of 2021. And it made me realize, Shannon, that I could keep going through the motions forever. But I realized that there were things that I still wanted to be able to do. And because I liked the job that I was in, it was a matter of being able to say, alright, well what else can I be doing. 

And so after 26 years, it was time to stop that corporate career. Now putting a lot of the time and energy into improving and taking it to the next level, the relationships that I have not just with my kids, my wife, my mom, my dad, all those people that I really love, and then spending quality time being with them. And actually not just physically but mentally being with them. And also at the same time being able to build a business. 

Those are kind of the major things that I’ve been doing that I think are important. Oh, the one thing that I have been doing a lot of is losing at video games, because I’ve been playing video games with my kids lately, because that’s something that I did not do a lot. And that’s something that it’s a bonding moment for. 

So let’s go back to the corporate world aspect of things, you know, you you and I had this conversation a little bit offline, that, you know, we get so caught up in our careers, and we get so caught up in the next level of the game, or the next level of what our accomplishments are, that we stopped thinking about what we really have. 

And that’s a finite resource of our time. And you know, you and I were talking about this, Billy, about, you know, the aspect of our fathers getting older, obviously, because we’re getting older. And the amount of time we actually have, you know, I think that you know, I have 10 years left with my dad, I’d love to think that I have 10 years left with my dad, right. 

I see my dad, probably six or seven times, eight times a year, I see him for two days. So if I’ve got 16 days a year, I really only have a maximum of 160 days left with my dad. But I’ve had 48 years with him prior to that. And when you really break that down. Now all of a sudden, it takes things up a notch with where you need to get and what you need to prioritize and how much each one of those experiences is worth. Because you’re spending the only thing you can never make more of.

And that is your time. And so it’s one of those things that is interesting, because as we talked about this before, I thought about that because I had a conversation before as it related to the engagement that I had with my sons, because as my sons were older, a friend of mine said, hey, look, don’t you know your kids are gonna grow up really, really fast. And I was like, I know, they everybody says that he’s like, Well, yeah, consider that your oldest son is a thing at the time, he was like seven or eight.

He said, Well, you know, you really only have seven summers with him, or 11 summers with him. And I was like, Oh my gosh, the paradigm just really shifted. And the similar kind of thing, as we were talking about before, because I’ve lived in Europe for the last 21 years, right as a corporate executive. And I was enjoying that and having a lot of time, and I at least made it back once a year, I make it back at least once a year. 

Up until recently, I’m sure I’ll head back more frequently now that I have more control over my time. But it is one of those things where you start to realize I’ve been away for so many years. And now if I go back, it’s twice a year to the US, maybe three times a year. If I think about the age that my parents are now well, that’s probably another I don’t know, 190 100 and like another 40 trips. 

So what that does for me mentally is just make sure that every single time even on the phone, every time that I have a chance to speak to my dad to my brother, my sister, those conversations are much more important. And they feel differently now because I sense it in a different way. And definitely when we’re back. 

I don’t spend a lot of time doing anything other than enjoying the moment. I mean, of course we’re family so every once in a while, you may not agree on things, but that’s part of it. But I really do enjoy and feel very fortunate to be able to spend more time now when I go when To go back and more quality time,

You know, and that’s and that’s really important that you’ve recognized that, that you had that paradigm shift. Because, you know, the reality is now the time freedom is what you’ve really been building toward anyway. And you’ve had that corporate backup, you’ve had it as your, you know, your fidget spinner, you know, what are you doing today, I’m gonna go to the office, I’m going to work on this. 

But really understanding that you’re buying that back, and you’ve worked hard to create a network and an organization that bought you that time freedom, right, and now using it is really what it’s about. So what are you doing now that you’re not going into your fidget spinner job? What are you doing now? And how’s that going? In your, in your business?

Yeah, sure. So the first thing that really my focus has been on is really spending more quality time with my wife, with my kids, to make sure that we are doing the things and with one another in a way that absolutely is maximizing the experience for ourselves. 

And aside from being able to do that, I’ve really spent a lot of time focusing on myself as well, like, what are the things that are, that are also important to me that I was not giving myself time to do before IE, being able to spend more time in meditation in the morning, or being able to just stop in the middle of the day, like one of the things I love like the other day, like last Friday.

I even posted this on my… I can’t remember if it was on LinkedIn or on Instagram, but I went to go have a massage at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday. You know why? Because I want to be able to treat myself to that. And then afterwards, yeah, I worked. Some mornings, I wake up at 3:45 in the morning, as well. And I worked like two weeks ago, I got up at 3:45. In the morning, I work until 6am. And then I got back in bed, and I slept for like an hour.

Then I woke up and I had breakfast with my son and did my routine. And so being able to truly be the owner of my time and use it and invest it in the way that makes the most sense for me, in my family with loved ones myself. And also being able to use that to build a business. 

The business that we’re building today is really focused on very similar to us is continuing to help accredited investors who are looking to gain more control over that asset, exactly that same asset, which is ultimately time and be able to have the freedom to use that time in the way that they want with whom they want and when they want. So that’s those are really the areas of focus

Your business has got some particular challenges just due to spatial separation, right? I think you and I shared this earlier in a conversation that you and I have both been operating remotely before everybody else knew what operating remotely was right? I mean…

Yeah.

You know, people always ask me, where are you at? Are you in the States? Are you in Puerto Rico? And I go? Well, I’ll let you guess. But you know, but you’ve been doing that from 1000s of miles away for years now. 

Tell me a little bit more on how you built your business. What were the first things that you did from that distance before zooming before all this other popular technology that allows you to literally reach out and touch somebody anytime you want? How did you build out that business? 

Yeah, so I’ll tell you what. So it took a lot of time in the beginning, because there was not a roadmap to be able to do it. It was, you know, for instance, the very first just to give you an example, the very first property that I purchased because I was focused on properties at the time, and I focus on different things now. But my wife and I were in Cairo, Egypt, we bought a duplex that was in New Jersey, right. And I live in Barcelona. And so I..

…can see the connection. They all start with. Not connected.

Exactly. But they’re all connected, you know? Yeah, yeah. But at that point in time, I had to go to the hotel. So we’re staying in this nice five star resort out right outside of right outside of Cairo. And I had to go to the business owner to scan the document. Actually, I think I even had to send the fax from where we were. But that was the way that I had to do it. 

Because I had to have the fax signed and get to the closing. Nowadays, you can do that really quickly using whatever, like electronic signature platforms are pretty easy. So you know, I’ve been doing this for 10 years. And it’s what the pandemic has done and as I’m sure you’ve seen as well, Shannon is it’s normalized the things that you and I have now been doing for many years, technology has also made some things easier. 

Whereas I’ve been speaking to people on Zoom for eight or nine years, but people just seem like that’s the thing that only started back in 2020. Well, no. Right and just everybody jumped there. Go ahead. You want to say some no and…

You know it’s funny because they used to think I was really talented as a contractor. Right? Really talented for a developer because I use this great technology called Zoom. Then all of a sudden we realize anybody can use it and you don’t even need to wear the full suit. You can just wear shorts and a nice top right. 

So it’s, it’s kind of now normalized everything. But it is! It’s one of those things that has pushed us into a more disconnected world where we can now do the kinds of things that you and I have done, or people are doing it allowing you to have even more time control…

Yep. 

…And freedom that it’s you, it sounds like you built that out with your corporate job anyway, living in Barcelona, working all over the world doing what you did, then. And then just apply it to real estate first for yourself. And then and then for other accredited investors have joined you on that journey? How has that business changed over the years?

Yeah, so it’s so there’s definitely been an evolution there. And I think about also providing some context, working in the IT space, so I was working in software sales, and I was working in sales and sales leadership. So a lot of what my focus was around outcomes. 

What was the outcome? It wasn’t necessarily, are you spending two hours a day? Are you spending 20 hours a day, it’s, were you able to be able to identify what the challenges were, and get the deal across the line. So having that flexibility of being able to manage my own calendar was one of the things that I’ve been doing for quite a long time.

Because I’m outcome-focused, I’m not focused on what is the amount of time that I’m spending behind the desk or doing something like that. So I’ve been very fortunate in being in it, a lot of being able to leverage technology was something that is just second nature. And so the business started like that worked. But I didn’t know what I didn’t know at the time.

Shin and so I did things like I mentioned before, in the beginning, I was focused on figuring out, “What was the property?” and then I bought the property. But guess what, I didn’t have any systems or processes in place. And so I had to start figuring out who were the people that were going to help me so I had to build a team on the fly.

I realized that I didn’t really know anything about the location where I was purchasing because I only purchased it because it was somewhat close to where my family was, because I thought at the time, “Hey, listen, I’m gonna buy something. And if things go wrong, I can at least call that or I can call my brother, and they’ll bail me out”. That’s how I am right. That’s how I started. 

But I had money because I was someone who was in software sales, and I was tired of the stock market because I had no control. Like, that was the biggest thing that did not work. And so at least with the real asset, I started to have control. And so in the beginning, it was really about how we continue to go and purchase more real assets and more real estate. 

And as I did that, that was something that was positive. And I had people that were under us outside of the US that were really interested in it. I realized that “Hey, listen, I have a knack for this”. And so I continued to build a portfolio and I was doing that actively. I think at the time I got somewhere up to like 30 properties, which was you know, working a full time job where I was really busy.

…and visual properties right duplexes, single family homes. 

Yeah, there was a small multifamily. And then I ended up there was so much income coming in that I had to kind of stop, I had to stop because things were just going haywire. I didn’t have processes. So I stopped, I got a paid mentor, and it really helped me understand how to put processes in place and how to put systems in place, I ended up buying a mobile home park out of that. 

And so I recognize that, “Hey, listen, it wasn’t necessarily about where I lived”. From a geographic perspective. It was, “was I clear on what I wanted?” Why I wanted it did I understand really why I was in that specific location in the key part. And you know about this is just does the team that I’m building is a world class team? 

Do they understand the location, and then ultimately, whether I’m purchasing pieces of energy equipment, whether I’m purchasing multifamily, or I’m purchasing ATM machines, none of it mattered as long as they were all aligned, then I knew that not only myself, but my investors had the highest probability of success. And so you asked me kind of how it’s evolved. 

Well, it started out with the smaller multifamily, smaller multifamily real estate, I then found out about passive investing. And I was like, “Oh, my gosh, this is so cool”. Because I can actually literally just give somebody else 200 $300,000. And they will do all the work. And I can keep doing the work in my day job. Because I didn’t even know that that existed. 

That was one of the things I didn’t know existed while I was here. And so then I started investing in other things. One of the things that also happened and probably happens to a lot of people when you’re a high paid executive, and you’re working is all of the real estate that was happening was working really, really well extremely tax efficient. 

But I got these things called passive losses. And so I didn’t know how to fix those, because I had a lot of money that was stuck there. And then I figured out a way to be able to do that. And so we’ve also gotten into another area, which is into the energy space. And so what I started out with in real estate has really evolved to recognize any type of real asset that can help to put cash flow into your pocket and also be tax efficient. There are a lot of different vehicles that are out there that can help me and anybody else get to the destination. You just have to be clear on what destination you want to get to and how quickly you want to get there.

Well and you know what’s funny, Billy, is your story is so similar to so many other people that I’ve interviewed… that you’ve interviewed, right… You started out knowing you needed something. You started out knowing that change needed to happen, you started out knowing that the stock market wasn’t something you could rely on, you needed more control. 

And you even felt this is something that I’m going to take as a take away. Your vision of the stock market being more out of control than working in Cairo, living in Barcelona and buying a duplex in New Jersey, the stock market was more out of control than that. Right. 

I’ve never thought about it that way. But can I use that? Can I use that in the US? 

Alright, so you started. But you know, the only thing that would have made that better is if you would have had, you know, like the Barnum and Bailey property management company working for you at that time, right. 

Here’s the other thing that’s very similar with everybody that I find to be successful. They keep doing it, and they, and they see places where things fall apart. And there’s holes in the system, and then they go up a level, they grab a mentor, they spend some money getting systems in place, but it’s not before the pain becomes very substantial, right? 

And you feel like you’re gonna burst at the seams in both areas in your day job. Then all of a sudden, your real estate is doing all this crazy stuff. And then you start to see, okay, now I’ve got this together, and now this machine is printing cash. And now I have another problem. What’s that? 

Well, now I have this greedy uncle that’s wanting to get into my pocket. And so as entrepreneurs, and as, as, you know, robust, Business Builders, we go out and we kill that dragon, right. And so every single one of these things, and it’s, it’s funny, because a lot of people get the analysis paralysis, and they never really get started. 

They want to analyze it and know where every possible boogeyman is. And I think the thing that you and I figured out was cash reserves. And the longevity of actual ownership solves a lot of problems. Even after we bought real estate in oh eight, at the very peak of the market. If you had cash reserves, and you kept that piece of real estate and you didn’t get funky loans on it, or you were able to figure that part of it out, you are in a position now that you’re really pleased with that decision.

So you mentioned a couple of things that are really important. So one of the things that happens to many people, right, because I was for instance, in my family, I’m a first time accredited investor, I did not know what I did not know. And so you can fall into these traps of number one, I was also an A-student, I was almost super classic, right? 

A-student so I’ve got the great dopamine hits, when I got the A’s in the teacher saying, “Hey, you’re doing all the right things”. You want to continue to try to do that when you go into the corporate world. And so as I was moving up the corporate ladder, you start realizing, “Hey, listen, while you’re doing more and more, and you’re doing more work than everybody else, you’re in the top talent program, you’re going to…” Why? 

Because you’re a top achiever, and all these things, and then you try to apply that similar type of logic, also, because you wanted to, when you’re doing the presentations, like everything had to be perfect. You take that into the real world. And you realize that, “Hey, listen, it’s not about making sure that you make the absolute perfect decision. Because those don’t exist, you just have to make a decision, start to course correct”.

Because if you’re a student, it’s okay, you’re probably not going to get it right the first time, but along the way, you’re going to course correct. And you’re not waiting for all of the information to make a decision, right, because that’s one of the other things that I used to struggle with. 

I found this great principle. And I’m sure you’ve probably heard of it, the 4070 principle. General Colin Powell talked about it right minimum, when he was making a relevant decision was having a minimum of 40% of the information, and no more than 70% of the information, because what that allows you to do is have enough to make a decision, but not wait for perfection. 

And so that’s one of the things one of the principles that I’ve continued to work to install, so that ultimately you can move forward and you can help others to move forward. So I think those are some of the things that you overcome, so that you’re able to move forward and get closer to your goals much faster.

You know, and, and it’s not classic that you as a student got out of the rat race and got away from the dopamine hits to find your own dopamine hits. And just as a side note, when my teachers saw me get A’s, they knew I was copying somebody else’s paper.

So let’s just be honest, I didn’t get the dopamine hits. I knew if I got to highest score, they were gonna know that I was sitting next to Sarah because she she had all the right answers,

Right. Shannon, come over here, come over here. “What do you do?”

I was in that bottom, you know, class. Tell you a funny little quick side story. When I got my real estate license in the state of Idaho, you had to give them a copy of your diploma. I didn’t have my diploma. Because it really wasn’t worth keeping. Really. 

I mean, you know, and so I had to go back to my high school, my local high school to get my diploma and I went there and the lady said, oh, where’s that? You know, I said 9091 She goes, Oh, that microfiche comes back in three days. This lady was working there when I went there, right. 

So I came back three days later. And she said, Yes. Can I help you? And I said, I’m here for my diplomas. And I told her my name again. And she goes, Oh, yeah. And she looks at it, and she’s handing it to me. And she goes, “Why in the world would you want that thing?” And before I can even stop myself, Billy, I said, “So that I don’t have to work here”. But I graduated with a 2.33. Right? I got out of high school, mostly because the teachers voted. And they decided they didn’t want to see me.

We don’t want… we don’t want anything in here! You know, there’s only so many pottery classes this guy could take, we need to get him on to the real world. Right. But it was from that, that I had that, you know, that drive… The A students… They’re the ones that run the companies, the B, and the C students are the ones that are, you know, middle management, and the D students are the ones that own it, right? And I’ve always kind of been that because I’ve been unhireable, right? 

I mean, I don’t have a college degree, I don’t have those kinds of things. But I’ve done the same thing that you have in a much less structured way. And we’ve gotten the same result. In fact, I think you’re a lot farther along the road than I am. And you’ve seen that as that progression happens. 

First, you’re doing it yourself, then you’re seeing wow, I can help others with this, then you’re seeing how well I’ve got a tax problem now from the tax problem or going to that typical, how can I solve this and become tax efficient? I love the way that you say that, because efficiency is really what it’s all about. It’s about getting the maximum result with the least amount of effort and expense.

One of the things when we had that conversation when you were on my podcast, and I just thought it was absolutely phenomenal, because it is when you’re looking for a solution when something hurts you enough. And it doesn’t mean something is absolutely terrible. But it hurts you enough to take action, like hang on a second, well, I don’t want to give my Uncle Sam 40% of what I’m doing every day because I’m doing 100% of the work. 

And if that means I can have a geographic change of location in order to figure out how I can actually use more of my time in the way that I want to do it, then that’s an option that works for me, that vehicle works for me today. And you know, what, if I’m doing something else, or if I’m a real estate professional, and I want to put everything over on real estate, or I want to put it in ATM machines, well, then I can do that, too, because those vehicles work for me. 

It’s about what is the destination that you’re looking for? And how quickly do you want to get there? And are you willing to take the calculated risks to get there? Because there’s a risk in every single thing that you do? The day that you walk out of the house? There’s a risk? Are you willing to take that yes or no? Or do you just want to stay in your house every day? 

I don’t always do it in my house. Every day I leave every day, you leave every day, we get on planes all the time. And so it’s about calculating it. And one of the other things that we said early on, I wanted to talk about but it’s also in the beginning, you may not have the education, but it is important to surround yourself with people that have the education release, especially if it’s a matter of financial resources. 

And this is one of the things that I mentioned earlier, but I didn’t finish. When you are an A student and you want to try to do everything yourself, and you don’t come from a household with money. You try to keep all the money in your bank account and do as much as you can, yourself. But the challenge with that whole philosophy is there’s only 24 hours in a day.

Right? So there’s only so much Billy that goes around.

Exactly. So guess what? It’s about figuring out who is the best person and how I can leverage their talents, leverage their team, leverage their skills and release the finances and release the money that’s in the bank or the currency. I know you and I like to talk about the currency that is there. 

Because that’s going to give you the time freedom that you need, or allow you to use your time in the way that you want. It took me a while to get that right, Shannon? Well, once I started realizing it’s about placing and using the resources, the financial resources that I have, so that I can do the things that I’m best at and surround myself with others that are best in class at what they do. Yeah, that’s when you start to really enjoy life.

So how did you disconnect that student personality enough? Or teach? Did you just reprogram it? Did you just teach it how to do other things to get you to the place where you could get your head around it?

So a couple of things happen. One, the first thing that started even getting in that direction was when I lost so in 2000 I lost a portion of my portfolio I’d been working for five or six years. My financial advisor was like yeah, don’t worry, we’re gonna do some DCAA it’ll come back and I was like DCA, what is DCA and he’s like dollar cost averaging, you know, it’s kind of like putting the same amount of money and eventually it will come back. And he was right. 

The challenge was in 2008 the financial crisis happened and I lost 33% of the value of my portfolio and I was like this sucks, like, I’m not gonna go through this again. And so it was average here. Yeah, exactly like the pain that that caused me was enough for me to actually start talking like getting educated and learning about real estate. I saw Rich Dad Poor Dad, so I picked it up. It took me a while to actually read it. It took me actually missing my son’s third birthday. For me to actually realize that getting this corporate gig is not really what I signed up for. 

Because I wanted to be a really good dad, I wanted to be present, I wanted to be there for things that were important, like birthdays, and I missed that that crushed me. And so that’s what actually started putting me into a place, Shannon, where I decided, even if it wasn’t perfect, I was going to start taking action.

Then I realized that when I took action, bought that duplex, bought more in the positive results that were happening of something that I had more control over, I was like, Oh, my gosh, I gotta do more of this, I gotta do more of this. And then I also realized that hang on a second, I’m trying to do all this stuff, I’m excelling at the job, I’m selling the building of this business, what’s happening with my family, I got to make sure that I’m keeping all this together. 

That’s when I realized I cannot do this by myself, I have to get help. And that’s when I realized this money is here for something. So that’s when I started paying for the mentor. That’s when I started paying to be a part of masterminds. That’s when I started paying for education, because that’s what helped me. And then the same thing started happening to me in my business as I was making the transition. 

But I realized, because I’ve been, you know, working two jobs for nine years, but the last year and a half over the last two years, I started realizing… Okay, hang on a second, I’m free, I’m freeing up more of my capital. And I’m going to use this capital effectively. And so then I started hiring the right people or getting the right people on board is probably the right verbiage to say, getting the right people on board that could actually do the things that I wasn’t good at.

All of the financial stuff, all of the operational stuff, all of the things that I don’t like doing, and it was taking me a lot of time, like now I’ve surrounded myself with people that love doing that stuff. And they’re really, really good at it, a lot better than I am. So yeah, so that’s kind of the evolution that’s taken place and how I’ve gotten here, but it definitely wasn’t perfect. And it’s taken focus, dedication, financial resources, and me just being behind what I’m doing and sticking to that.

Well, and I think that that’s a really huge key because I think if there’s one stumbling block, if you can point to the number one stumbling block, in people getting involved in their, in their own financial freedom, it is perfection, people spend so much time trying to get it perfect, but they never get anything. 

The reality is, you know, the thought process that was new for me in getting into this, you know, accredited investor world, in the syndication world is just that, I need that knowledge and other people will give me that knowledge. I can mentor with other people, because in the construction and development world, it’s a dog eat dog world, they are here for blood, and they are here for yours rather than theirs, right. 

So as I’ve gotten more and more involved in, you know, like The Real Estate Guys, and some of the other mentor groups that I’m in, I have seen people actually pouring into me and helping me get to the next level helping me understand more, so that I can give more so that I can be more so that I can take our business to the next level.

Yeah, and when you can surround yourself with high quality people like what Robert and Russ put together with The Real Estate Guys just phenomenal, right. And part of it also, because Shannon, you have that mindset where not only are you there to, to learn from others, but because you have such a vast experience you’re there to give. 

So when you’re surrounded by people who truly want to help to grow other people, it’s just an accelerator. And sometimes it’s hard to believe that those types of environments exist correctly, you just have to be prepared to give, you have to be prepared to be vulnerable. Then from that point, you allow yourself to be in this situation for growth, personal growth, professional growth, all of the the growth that you could be looking for,

I love the fact that you call it an accelerator because it is because it you know when you’re able to streamline what you’re doing, and not have to make the same mistakes that your mentor made, or that you were you had made in the past not continuing to repeat those seeing away around the tree, if you will, and being able to put yourself in a place where you’re winning much more often. 

And now, all of a sudden, you’re building out a tribe by default of people to go wow, look at what you’re doing. How are you doing that? And you’re just going? Well, I’m doing what he said, and I’m doing what she said, and I’m putting this together. And they go well, how do you do that? Let me repeat that. I’m doing what he said, I’m doing what she said. 

Then all of a sudden, it begins to grow and it begins to rapidly accelerate, and you’re able to even give back more than you got, in my opinion. That’s where I’m at right now. And I’m able to give more than I’m getting, which is a phenomenal feeling. But it’s helping to build that community, helping to build a tribe of people that believe in financial freedom and time freedom.

Yeah, and ultimately, that’s, I believe that it comes down to having that personal freedom and I think personal freedom means different things to different people. But ultimately, if you don’t control your time, right, you really don’t control anything. Right.

I heard it said.. I was at the The Market Disruptors event in Dallas with Mark Moss. I heard it said by Casey, that if you are not in total control of your time somebody owns you. Because if you’re having to trade that time for anything, you’re controlled, and you are not a true owner of yourself. 

That whole thought process of my own boss, I can do what I want right up until the pipe breaks, or the person doesn’t show up, or this or that happens, and then you have to go fix the problem. And that’s where true freedom is often deceptive. But let’s shift gears for a minute here, Billy. So now you quit your job. After 21 years in the corporate world, you quit…

26 years,

What are you filling your time with? And where do you see the next 12 to 24 months going for you?

So the biggest thing is, it’s really about focusing on having quality time, and spending quality time or maybe better, I was just gonna say it in Spanish or the joke, no, but better stated, investing my time the way that I want to. And it really is focused on quality time with my wife with my boys. I know I made a joke about it earlier. But the simple fact that I am taking time and I am aware of how much fun I have with my son’s when we’re playing video games, right? 

It’s like it just makes my heart so happy, right now to be able to do that, number one, being able to get on a plane and fly to the United States. And now that I’m going and I don’t have to worry about what’s happening at the big company and the escalation and all that stuff. Because I want to spend time with my dad, with my mom, with my stepmom, my brother and sister and do it in a way that makes the most sense for me and feel like I am where I want to be and not worried about something else that’s going on. 

Those are the main things, focusing on myself, like I mentioned before, like I’m now saying, hey, look, you know, I was going to treat myself to a massage because I deserve to be able to do that. And I want to be able to do that. And so doing those little things or stopping and having a coffee and, and reading. 

At the same time, building out a lot of the infrastructure for for my company, and making sure that have the right people on board, giving them the right direction, making sure that as we interact with new prospective investors, that we’re helping understand what is it that they’re really trying to achieve, and what we’re doing does that help them and being able to deepen the relationship. 

So I guess, at the end of the day,  I’m able to utilize my time in the way that makes the most sense. And that’s investing it in the relationships that are most important to me. And also being able to spend time on myself, and being able to build out the infrastructure and have the right people on my team so that we can best serve our existing investors and our prospective investors.

And that’s so counterintuitive to what corporate taught you for 21 years, 26 years corporate taught you the more you invest in us, the more we’re going to pay you and that’s the direct compensation at the end of that time. We could or could not renew this contract, depending on that performance in our evaluation of it.

Yeah, you know, it’s really interesting. So because I always thought, as I mentioned, I was in the top talent program and consistently going to Hawaii, which was the place where they sent the top achievers in our company. And the challenge that was happening was I was working a lot of hours, I did like the job. Like me even on my LinkedIn profile. And it was like my moniker was a happy corporate employee, because I enjoyed going there. 

I went in there, especially like the last four years because I wanted to, I enjoyed the things that were happening. But I was spending more and more time there. I was earning more and more money, but I was keeping less and less, right. Because the greedy uncles and aunts that put their hands in our pockets and take it for taxes. They were there more and more and more. And so I realized that the hours went up, the taxes went up. And so my dollar or euro per hour was going down. I’m like, hang on a second. This doesn’t make any sense. 

Dollar cost averaging was not going exactly.

It was going in the wrong direction. It was going in the wrong direction. Yeah. But even that, though, that was happening. I kept doing it. And it took something that was non financial nonprofessional, it was a real life thing that happened with my dad that made me realize I don’t need to keep doing this. Right. I don’t want to keep doing this. I’m gonna keep doing this. 

And realizing that, you know, leaving not being a part of the corporate world, not having to go back to the corporate world because I’ve been doing things properly with the team over the last number of years. And it’s, you know, I feel very, very fortunate to be in a position where I’ve worked really, really hard. surrounded myself with really great people. Yeah, and now really focused on going out and serving others, right.

So what I’m hearing you say is that what you’re now doing is exercising your time freedom to show others how they can also get that same result. Even though it wasn’t a bad thing, it wasn’t that you left the corporate world because it was painful. You left the corporate world because that was the ultimate freedom. 

That’s what you’d been working toward this whole time. And, and now you’re doing that you’re spending your time with your kids, you’re spending your time with your wife, and you’re doing those kinds of things that really, really have the true value in life.

That’s absolutely correct. And one of the things that, like, I’ve met a lot of people and I know a lot of people and I know you speak to a lot of people shin and that they are miserable in their jobs, right, they don’t like going in, they feel like they have to go into their job. That was not my case. And so I’m not going to talk poorly about corporate life, it gave me a lot of really positive things. And I’m a big fan of corporate life.

Because I was working really hard, I also created a way or created the freedom to continue to go in I didn’t need to go in. And so what I want to be able to do and what I focus on doing as it relates to business, just like you is helping people to put different strategies, tactics and actions in place, so that they can get to the point where they can choose whether or not they want to go into their job, I chose to go in for four years. Yeah, because I wanted to go. 

So if you can help people, and as we as we continue to help people realize that if you know where the destination is, and you understand these vehicles, and you feel comfortable with these vehicles, then it’s a matter of actually getting in each one of them and trying them.

You may not want all of the vehicles, maybe you don’t want to get in a helicopter, it could be the best way to get through there. But if you don’t want to get there, then you know what, you’re gonna take a bicycle, and you’re gonna go here, and you’re gonna climb up a rope to get to wherever you need to be right. And so that’s really where, and how I’m looking to continue to help other people to get to their destination as quickly as possible, based on what they feel comfortable with.

I’m really glad you talked about playing video games with your son earlier because that last analogy had to come from a video game, you could take the helicopter but you ride a bike, you climb a rope, you know, there’s bad guys over here.

No, actually no Fortnite! But I’ll tell you what, they really enjoy basketball and quietly like it. I don’t know if there’s a lot of people watching and listening to us. But the fact that they really like the NBA is something that’s really cool for me also, because it’s kind of like hey, listen, daddy we want to do in the NBA and stuff like that. So I have fun, but we haven’t gotten in the fortnight stuff. It’s more sports related, more sports related. But yes, I’ve been influenced by video games. And you can tell that.

So speaking of influence, Billy, what are some of them? Give me two of the most influential books you’ve read in your career that really created pivot points for you.

There are two books, one, only two, right? Right. Only two, okay. There are a lot of books, though. I know only two, only two. Okay. So one book, the first book actually had to do when I was in my corporate role. And it’s one that’s really served me well. It’s written by a guy named Marcus Buckingham. And if you’ve never read it, it’s called “First Breaking All The Rules”. The reason was that it was a good one for me and influenced me a lot. 

As a young manager, I mean, I’ve managed teams of people, 300, and all that kind of stuff. And across the globe, I have worked and traveled throughout 86 countries. So I’ve been very fortunate that way. But I always thought about management as management, like I had people that reported to me and I had my own management style, and everybody had to adapt to me. And so I had a really great mentor who recommended I read this book. And not only did I read the book, I applied the principles, and I continued to stay in touch with my mentor. 

That book fundamentally helped me to move and develop from a manager to a leader. It helped me to realize that there is no one management style that fits everybody, it’s about me as a leader creating the environment for each one of the individuals that reported to me, so that they had the optimal opportunity to use their talents. 

Right, simplifying it, there’s a lot more that goes to it. But it helped me just to go from the mindset of a manager to a leader and recognizing that leadership is about understanding each individual, which means there’s a lot of responsibility and leadership in order to do it correctly. And that’s something that had an influence on me and to this day, it’s one of the books that I recommend all the time. 

The other book is without a doubt, and I know you know this book, so I wanted to use it second. G Edward Griffin is the Creature from Jekyll Island. Yeah, that book. Not only did it kind of get some emotion going on in me, it helped me understand the way that things are. It opened my eyes to realize what happened in 1913, with the creation of the Federal Reserve, and then the central banks, and it just opened my eyes. Yeah. 

Once I started realizing that there are so many things that are connected and interconnected, as it relates to what we do on a day to day basis, I just thought, wow, and the whole way that every single day, if you’re not really paying attention, that currency is worth less than less, it may not necessarily be by accident, it’s potentially by design. Right? Right.

So just being able to have that open my eyes and I was at a point in my life, also I think I needed to see that or hear that. And it’s something that that’s, those two books are probably without a doubt the two that I recommend the most. And because yeah, they’ve had the biggest impact on me 

Well, and I could see why as a typical, plus student here, needing to get permission to break the rules, was probably something that was very, very helpful early on. Because, you know, that’s what got you into the A+, that’s what got you into the honors program. 

That’s what got you into all these things, was following those rules. 

Sometimes the rules aren’t there for your success, and oftentimes, they’re not there to set you up to become the leader, they want you to be the manager. And there’s a huge difference. I think that that’s an incredible point to take away is that a manager is very, very different from a leader. It has everything to do with how they administer those principles and how they look at those management styles. 

So I’m definitely reading the second one, I’ve read the first one, and I’ve read the second one several times. And it’s interesting, it becomes more and more interesting. And I don’t use the word interesting like, like, Oh, really more like I see it now, it becomes more and more interesting. 

As we look at what’s happening to inflation, devaluation of our currency, the unraveling of the euro in some regard where you know, Britain got out of the deal, you’re starting to see that just kind of worldwide how there’s more than one creature out there, ours just happens to be the Federal Reserve, and how that is really changing what we are. But as you and I can believe we’ve have had a great conversation, we could go on and on for hours, but…

…only hours, probably days.

That’s true, which is why I am going to get over to see you this year. That is a promise. We’re going to coordinate those details offline. But awesome. But really, I want people to understand that they can and they should go check out your podcast.

We’re going to put the links to that in the show notes here. We’re also going to put the two book titles in there. So you guys can check those books out, find Billy where he hides in Barcelona. And when he’s not traveling and playing NBA Jam, slam, or whatever it is with his kids. 

I just really want to say thank you, Billy, for everything that you do in creating investor awareness and creating an environment that people can come and learn. And guys, I would really encourage you to find Billy in, grab the link at the bottom of the show here. 

Find him, follow him, you’re gonna get a lot of great information just like this. His podcast is full of all kinds of great information. And just take a minute real quick, Billy and tell everybody where they can find you and how to get onto your podcast.

Yeah, sure. So the best way is, like I said, everybody, first just go check out Episode 155. Because Shannon was an awesome guest. He crushed it on the “Going Long Podcast with Billy Keels” you can find us on every major platform. Appreciate that. 

We’ve been spending a lot of time especially helping those accredited investors I mentioned to you before, who are high wage earners, and you’re typically getting crushed by Uncle Sam or tax people wherever you live, specifically in the US. 

But if you want to find out more about how we’re helping you go to https://www.firstgencp.com/. Find out more about us there and I love connecting with people on LinkedIn as well as Shannon, as you know, so I think I’m the only Billy Keels in Barcelona, Spain. So if anybody wants to connect there they can.

Yeah, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that that’s not really… Keel’s is not really a real Barcelona family name. 

No, no, you just bought. 

Hey, thanks, Billy for being on the podcast. And guys, if you would, like Billy said, give us a like, give us a comment. Help us build our brand here at the Real Estate Rundown. We sure appreciate you guys tuning in. We look forward to having you on the next episode. And thanks again, Billy for all of your time and wisdom.

Important Links:

About Billy Keels:

Before becoming a real estate entrepreneur, KeePon Cashflow’s founder Billy Keels worked in the corporate world. In fact, he was one of the best “corporate soldiers” you’d ever want to meet.

During his corporate career Billy put his leadership and relationship-building skills to good use to help clients get to the root of issues that were holding them back from full success. Billy earned his stripes as a true problem-solver, a skill he carried into his new entrepreneurial life.

What made him popular with employers who sent him across the globe to meet with Fortune 500-level clients is the same thing that makes him popular with investors, buyers and sellers in real estate today… his skills in coming up with real solutions that work in the real world for real people!

Billy says that he was happy enough in his J.O.B., but something was missing. An emptiness and longing for a different life chewed on him, pulling him to what he knew he wanted to do more than anything else. Billy wanted to be an entrepreneur who brought two worlds together. He wanted to give individuals where he lives the chance to invest in properties on U.S. soil.

So he took steps and kept on the path to his goals. KeePon Cashflow is the result of his efforts.

Today Billy is an international real estate entrepreneur, problem-solver, author, coach, public

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