Episode 60 | Aaron Hale | Military Millionaire

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Aaron Hale on The Military Millionaire Podcast

00:00 - 05:00

David:

What's up military millionaires! Today's episode is inspiring. I don't really know if there's a word awesome enough to explain this.

Aaron Hale is a EOD soldier, who he, you know, had an accident or blast in Afghanistan. He's blind. He's deaf. He's an entrepreneur. He's a real estate investor. He's a speaker. He's super, super motivating and inspiring and his story is just insane. And I mean it is just mind boggling what this gentleman has been able to accomplish and continues to accomplish. And holy crap. There's no way I could keep up with him on a run. Very, very, very impressed, and just a fun interview to have so much value in this episode.

Definitely check it out all the way through if this is your first time listening thanks for joining the community if not show notes are found at Frommilitarytomillionaire.com/podcast. Now relax and enjoy the show.

Intro:

You're listening to the military millionaire podcast, a show about real estate investing for the working class. Stay tuned as we explore ways to help you improve your finances, build wealth through real estate and become a person that is worth knowing.

David:

Hey guys, I wanted to do something a little different for this episode sponsor. Instead of having a sponsor, I wanted to talk for just a moment about the war room real estate mastermind group and if you haven't heard about it yet, the war room is a mastermind group that includes myself and Stuart Grazer, my partner, a very successful real estate investor entrepreneur in the Navy, we started this with the intent of bringing military real estate investors and entrepreneurs together into one place where we could mastermind and grow and grow and grow together and it is just turned out awesome in the first month, we have almost tripled the original signups. We have people who've done one deal all the way up to people who owe 900 units. We have active duty reservists, veterans, anybody and everybody with military experiences is welcome.

We have guest speakers every month, we have group talks every month, we have a private Facebook group, we have weekly calls with your small group every week with myself or Stuart jumping in as well. And the whole mastermind is just full of people who are bringing value to the community and to you.

So if that sounds like something that you're interested in, if you want to help help with your goals and help with accountability and help with problem solving the issues you're facing, definitely let me know shoot an email to [email protected] once again, that's Whiskey Romeo [email protected] We'd love to hear from you.

David:

Hey, good morning, everybody. It's Dave from Military to Millionaire and I am here with Aaron Hale who has spent time as a chef in the Navy, EOD in the army. And now he is a real estate investor and the business owner of extraordinary delights, which we will talk about throughout this podcast.

But Aaron has an incredible, incredible story. And this is going to be a lot of fun to unpack.

So Aaron, welcome to the show, brother!

Aaron:

Thanks for having me on, Dave.

David:

Absolutely.

Why don't you tell us a little bit about your story?

Aaron:

Well, like I said, I started off in the Navy in 1999. After, you know, dabbling in college I decided I needed to find a little more direction. And I gained my freshman 50. We didn't take so it was kind of a mutual thing. I wasn't ready for college and college didn't really want me back.

So I joined the Navy. I decided at the time I wanted to be a chef. So I joined as a cook in the Navy. Let them you know give me some OJT while I earned back some tuition money with the GI Bill. I got stationed in Naples, Italy. And I was the first two years was I was actually shore duty and working on the barracks, which is a bit of a disappointment, but it gave me a chance to talk to Italians immerse myself in the culture plenty of time to tour around Europe and really, you know, enjoy being a service member overseas.

After my first first rotation in Naples, I was PCs to the commander of the sixth fleet now three star Admiral stationed in Guyana, Italy, just 45 minutes away. So I spent four years in Italy learning the language and the customs and all that and got to cook for dignitaries, royalty and generally, you know, fooling around the Mediterranean and visiting everywhere I could, it was awesome.

But when you know both wars were in full swing. It was so kind of, it was a calling. I wanted to do something a little more direct for the effort.

05:00 - 10:00

Aaron:

By that time I gotten discipline, direction and gotten a sense of duty. And now not just, I signed up for, you know, four years and out. And you know, I made it 14 years. So, at about a six year mark, I decided I wanted to volunteer for individual augmentee duty, its Navy and Air Force filling in some army positions in Afghanistan.

So I went from cooking for the admiral and his staff, generally around 25 to 35 to running an army chow hall, a defect in foreign Afghanistan, cooking for 5,6,700 ISAF troops. It was there that I met some EOD technicians. I had no idea what the job was, but these guys had, one day these guys are Air Force techs, and they unloaded their entire, you know, armored truck and had all these. It was like a cool guys garage sale with bomb suits and robots and all sorts of cool, cool tools. And they were just doing maintenance checks on all of them.

So I went and I started talking to these guys and learned all about EOD explosive ordnance disposal. Now the military is a bomb squad. And I was hooked. And they even took me out on a controlled detonation like I really needed any more, you know, selling. But I let me pop off a shot. And, you know, I created my first mushroom cloud. And I'm like, yep, I'm in. But it wasn't just, you know, being able to blow things up. It's a tight knit community. It was a technical job. It was first responders lives on the battlefield. That was our primary job was making sure that we could get as much of the hazard off the battlefield as many of our troops back home as we could. And that was awesome. So as soon as I got back from deployment, my enlistment contract was about up. I'd put in a request to go to the Navy EOD. But at that time, cooks in my rank were undermanned. So I wasn't going anywhere. And I wasn't going to get promoted anytime soon.

So I let my contract run out. I went over to the army recruiter, she entered my paperwork, and they let me come right over and kept my rank and became a sergeant. And with my time in service, I was doing Staff Sergeant and I deployed to Iraq deployed back again in 2011 to Afghanistan, and about eight months into the 12 year or 12 month rotation is when you know I know that one IED had my name on it. I was just back from a two week r&r event back home where I got to see my son turn one I got to spend Thanksgiving which is a very special time in our family and you know many others do is in and I got to get the witness my my dad, my son's grandfather dress up like a Mickey Mouse for his birthday, which no way my dad is a once in a lifetime thing. But it was great. It was the best last page in the photo album anybody could have.

I threw you know, my team in our armored truck at their base, and I threw my luggage on top of the robot in the back of the truck. And then we jumped in the convoy back towards RAO, when along the way the convoy commander called back and said hey, there's an item on the side of the road. We need EOD to check it out.

So, you know, I toss the you know, we said security cord on and we did the whole safety area. When we were all set, we said send out the robot to do its job. And we found what we always find out there 99% of the time it's a gallon jug with a homemade pressure plate and a nine volt battery.

The robot did his job and took apart the battery and the pressure plate but it couldn't get that jug out of the hard packed dirt. And part of our job as EOD is that CSI that we need to collect as much evidence as we safely can so we can catch these guys.

So I jumped out of the truck and I started heading towards the IED when about 20 to 30 meters from the original IED, a secondary device that hadn't been detected detondated right under me. It sent me into the air. I went, got punted. I landed on my knees and elbows. All the lights went completely out. I thought my helmet had been pushed over my face. And that's why I couldn't see.

10:00 - 15:00

Aaron:

But the first thing was to do the systems check, wiggle the fingers, toes, knees, elbows, it seemed like I was pretty much intact. So I reached out to grab my helmet and fix your helmet. Just to find that, Oh, no, it's gone. And the first thing that went through my mind was, Oh, no, this is bad. The army is going to want that back.

It's funny what the military really drills into?

David:

It is!

Aaron:

Um, yeah. So I did my very first blind guy, zombie, walk your arms out trying to figure out where I am, and try to get back to my truck. Because the next thing that happens when an EOD team leader, if they go down, is the team is opposed to the team members who are supposed to clear a safe path up to the team members so the medics can get them out. I didn't want anybody else going into the you know, potentially hazardous zone who knows how many IEDs are out here.

So not really thinking very clearly, I just got up and started walking. Of course, I had no idea which way the truck was now. My team dragged me back to the safe zone. And within 48 hours hours of Walter Reed and trying to figure out my new life as a blind person.

The blast had completely taken my right eye cut a gash a piece of frag when right across the orbital ridges of both my right eye across the bridge of my nose and then gashed out my left, put a gash in my left eye, that was bad enough that they would never be able to repair it.

So I was 100% blown cracks in my skull, I was leaking spinal fluid right out of my nose, and then blown on both my eardrums among, you know, probes and stuff. But they patched me open within a few weeks, because you'll want to read, they're really set up for you know, prosthetics, agitations, that kind of stuff. And since I had all my limbs, they just basically stabilized me and made sure that, you know, the berms and everything were taken care of. And then I did really nothing for me.

So they sent me to the VA hospital in Augusta, Georgia, where they've got one of the blind rehabilitation centers, and I was just there to learn how to be blind. Now I have a few more surgeries to go. But for the most part, this was my new situation. It was there that I started learning about who I really needed to figure out how I was going to do these things. Of course, those demons try to creep in, like Gilda, why me the what ifs. But I don't know if it's a combination of the military training where you just assess your situation and you adapt to overcome my amazing family there to support.

I didn't linger in those awful, you know, feelings and emotions. It was time for me to carry on and get moving. And I started as soon as I could, you know, get the talk, you know, learn how to use the talking phone and talking computers and all that I was googling, you know, blind, blind plus, outdoors, blind plus running, blind plus this and that and found out that like, there's a blind man and climbing Mount Everest is the old first and only they ever do it. They're going there. And I sought him out and I climbed a mountain with him. And then I found out there's a blind you know, was the first blind first blind person to kayak the entire Grand Canyon and a solo kayak. I found that guy Lani Bedwell and went kayaking with him. And I, I just tried to do what I could to be the best father remez Jo, husband, best soldier, I still could be and I just started finding new and greater challenges and found that I was doing more to compensate for the difficulties. Then I was doing more now than I had before I'd lost my sight. And I was running marathons. I signed up for four marathons in four months. And I hadn't ever run one in my life. And three of the four marathons actually qualified me for Boston. So.

David:

Wow!

15:00 - 20:00

Aaron:

I ran Boston in 2015. And I was, I was, well on my way to mastering this blindness thing, I started speaking and telling my story. And that was the most fulfilling thing is that not only was I just finding success, accomplishment after struggles and hardships, but I was able to share it and hopefully inspire others.

But then in 2015, I had to put my money where my mouth was. And my speeches I talk to people about, you know, as metaphor I use is from the EOD community. You know, each in the army EOD, we generally roll in three person teams, a team leader, and two team members. And each team is given like a part of a shipping container full of tools, bombs, Sims robots, all sorts of stuff. You're proud of power tools and hazmat gear in Oldham. And then you get to Iraq and you get that armored truck, but you can't fit everything into the truck. So you pack up the boxes, you pack up, under the seats and on the shelves, and everywhere you can fit tools, anything you might need for the job ahead, but a lot of your tools you got to leave behind in the shipping container.

And then we got to Afghanistan. And most of those areas are goat trails in wolves, important vehicles of any size. So now we're dismounting around our feet. And I got to figure out what's the most important stuff that I'm willing to carry on my back in my rucksack. So I gotta leave a lot of tools behind, they still have to do the same job I'm expected to do whether I have the tools or not.

So it ends up I've got like a memory water, a couple blocks of C4 for my ammunition, and a rope and a carabiner. Of course, EOD guys are about their knives, so carry about three or four of those. But then I'd say now, okay, I'm missing a few tools, but I still got to do the job. And that's how I carry on.

But in 2015, I lost some more tools. I contracted bacterial meningitis, it was right back in the hospital. Now, in the meningitis, either the meningitis or the heavy doses of antibiotics to keep me from killing me, stole what was left of my hearing. And the doctor. Doctor said, you're going to lose your hearing. And I said, Wait, so what you're telling me is, I'm never gonna have to pretend to pay attention ever again. There's a bright side to everything.

David:

Absolutely.

Aaron:

But, um, yeah, I was in the hospital again. And once I got, you know, cleared from the hospital. They said there was a chance I could get my hearing restored with cochlear implants. But it was going to take a very long time and I had to wait for the infection to clear, then they would do one implant at a time and there's a surgery, you gotta wait for the surgery site to heal. Then you get the implant turned on. And it's not automatic, it's like turning on a hearing aid. You have to tune it in your brain to learn how to hear in a completely different new way. It's digital. It's like listening to your whole world through the McDonald's drive thru speaker. For over six months, I was in complete darkness, complete silence. My whole world ended at my fingertips. And it was a very lonely, very, very, very isolating time, very, very awful. And those demons, those what ifs? Why me is why has this happened? Whenever I paid my dues, you know, how many times can lightning strike? When is this soldier paid his fair share?

20:00 - 25:00

Aaron:

But again, that training, I, frankly, I'd been cto for almost four years, I've been telling people about the tools and my kit and how to carry on. And now I was like, Wait a second, I, I've been preaching this, I better start living. So I didn't let it get me down, I got back on my treadmill. But I also lost my inner sense of balance. So I just turned it on and was going half a mile an hour and held on with an iron grip. Because the balance was like trying to throw me off like the rodeo bowl. And I just walked, I was using the trekking poles that I used in the climbing mountains, just to get me to my mailbox and back. And eventually, I worked myself back into the hills, I started jogging again, with the use of a guide. And Thanksgiving was coming around the bend. Again, because I didn't want to feel sorry for myself, I pushed myself into cooking again. And that was a form of therapy for me.

I was going to make this huge feast. I invited friends and family from all over my neighbors, we even invited a few of those stranded EOD students that might not have enough leave days or wanted to conserve them for the, you know, the other holidays.

So we invited a few students over from the EOD school to have, you know, share Thanksgiving with us. And it was going to be a huge feast for weeks. I was making free real cooking all of these desserts for cakes and pies. And you know, you name it. And I was making fudge after your batch of fudge after a batch, different flavors of tossing nuts and seeds, you know, in spices and I was taking booze out of the cabinet.

And my wife noticed that there was more fun than any family of any size getting eaten one Thanksgiving. So she started sneaking it out the front door and sneaking like you've got to be a real stealthy run a blind deaf guy. But she was given away to friends and neighbors and people were coming back and saying, hey, can we buy more of this from you? And I said, you know, being a capitalist. I am isn't well of course you may. And that's where EODfudge.com was born, we started selling our new different flavors of fudge. And this time instead of explosive ordnance disposal, EOD stands for extraordinary delights. And that's, that's, that's how our online retail business got started. And now we've got different types of kit-covered sea salt, caramels, and gophers, which are a kin to turtles and caramel pecan popcorn, colossal, candy covered apples. So I've a lot of fun designing and creating all this kind of stuff. But that also requires me to run a lot more. But that's, you know, that's kind of the history up to now, and, but the business has also afforded us a few other things like, you know, getting into investing, both in the stock market and real estate, which is, to me, another great challenge. You know, I discovered bigger pockets. A couple couple years ago, I started learning and I was first what kind of real estate was I, you know, investing was I interested in? What could I do from basically with my phone and my computer? And how could I invest in real estate? And what we decided on was my I'm from Akron, Ohio, I've got you know, my mom and my brother still live there. And I know that area the best and we decided to do like BRRRR style investing there. We find some value, add potential properties, fix them up, get them rented out and then refinance them and do the next One.

25:00 - 30:00

And my mom and my brother have done a couple flips in the past. And she's dating a contractor who's just a magician. So it's worked out great. I checked the listings, I've got some wholesale email alerts, and some other, you know, other types of leads. And what I do is, I'll go through the numbers, if you know I just every every deal that comes my way, I see if the numbers fit. If numbers fit, I'll send them to my mom and my wife. And they'll look at the photographs, though. They'll double check the area. And we've developed a great system.

David:

Man, that's incredible, all of that.

I just want to key in on the fact that, first off, I love your sense of humor and all this. But the fact that you said, Your Kevlar and your team members were the first thing you thought of. I just think that's incredible to think of like what the military instills in us in terms of value. Here you are, essentially, like lights out, don't know what's going on. And your first thought is, Oh, no, where's my Kevlar?

Aaron:

Well, I truly believe that the best leaders are the ones that serve their team. That's what leaders are for to make sure the team is working and is safe and is prepared. So I knew there were. I just discovered there were more than one explosives on the battlefield. And I didn't want anybody else coming. That's my job as an EOD tech, making sure nobody else gets hurt. That's why they send the most experienced, the highest ranking guy in the team down all by himself, before you know it to take care of the hazards so that, you know, all those known hazards can be mitigated before anybody else could enter the area.

David:

Yeah, absolutely.

And for those of you listening, who I mean, we have a very large military audience. So most of you are familiar with EOD. But if you're not, he's absolutely correct. And the EOD community is quite literally lifesavers. I have on multiple occasions that convoys where if it wasn't for EOD, who knows what would have happened, I was the lead vehicle for almost my entire deployment. And so, you know, I always joked that my job was finding the bombs with the mind roller and not not with anyone else.

But EOD. I mean we so many times, so many times they came out and detonated something or cleared a path for us. And I mean, it's just incredible. How knit how tight knit that community is, in fact, after our deployment, two of the guys from one of the guys the guy who was in my vehicle, and a guy who was in one of the other vehicles in my convoy both transferred into EOD because of that, and I think it's just a really cool occupational field.

Aaron:

I absolutely love it.

For about a year and a half after I got out of the VA and had graduated blind school. They asked me where I wanted to do my bed board, and I told him I didn't even want to get out. I'd heard of other blind servicemembers and stayed on active duty. And at the time, I said you know what I can do that I can be you know, I can be and I won't be employable anymore, but I can go to the schoolhouse. So I told him to send me to Eglin and Eglin is where the joint is a Navy run school, and Eglin Air Force Base, and now the Florida Panhandle. But all the branches send their EOD Tech students to the same schoolhouse. And I, I instructed for about a year and a half. And that's how I ended up down here in the panhandle.

David:

Wow! That's cool. That's really cool.

I love that. Another thing that you said in there that I really really liked was the power of networking and that here you are, you know, googling things for blind people to do plus outdoors. And you find someone who climbed Everest, and a lot of people would have thought, Wow, that's cool. But you reached out to him and networked with him and went hiking with them. And the same with I didn't catch the name but the guy who kayak the Grand Canyon, and you networked with him and went kayaking. And I think that's really, really powerful. Just for people to understand that sometimes just taking action and getting around people who are doing what you want to do is a huge driving force in your life.

30:00 - 35:00

Aaron:

There's a lot of people, including me often. You know, for a lot of my life, I found that people have this mental block and like you said, people hear about others doing these great things and think, well, that's great, and you move on.

Whereas in the military, we're taught, you need to, you need to be the best you can. And if you don't know how to do this, you need to seek out mentors, and we're constantly, I know, it's definitely this way in the army. And I'm certain it's the same in the Marines, where, you know, your leaders are constantly teaching the subordinates how to do their job. And the subordinates are constantly looking to pick up new responsibilities.

They're constantly trying to find the next way, not just to increase in rank, but responsibility. And it's the same, it's pretty much the same in this scenario, whereas I needed to learn how to get better at what you know, in my situation, need to learn how to be better at being now, not just a father or not just, you know, taking care of myself or being fit, but I need to figure out how I was going to do it as a blind person. So I needed to find mentors.

David:

Yeah, I mean, and that's the power of a mentor is incredible.

Aaron:

Absolutely.

David:

And that's, that's so cool. And then I just want to say congratulations on qualifying for the Boston I can't even finish one marathon, let alone qualify for the Boston.

Aaron:

You know, it was funny on my first marathon I signed up for was the Air Force marathon in Dayton. And I'd signed up for three more marathons. And I actually, I first set out, speaking of mentors and fellow blind veterans, there was a blind Ranger by the name of Ivan Castro had completed I think it nearly half of this 20 or more years in the service as a blind service member, and, in fact, even gotten going enlisted to commission he isn't but he was a big time runner at Fort Bragg and I talked to him he said every year without fail, I like to do the air force marathon, the army 10 miler and the Marine Corps marathon. Those are my big three, I do a bunch of others. I thought you know what, I'm gonna do that too. And I signed up for those three races. And then somehow I got signed up for a I just got convinced to do a local one, Pensacola, and then rock and roll marathon in San Antonio.

So not only was I doing four marathons, but I was also doing the army 10 miler. And in my air force marathon, my first run or my first race. I was, I was not properly hydrated. I was way off my pace plan. And about 300 meters from the finish line I completely marked, I dropped, I woke up in the hospital, not knowing where I was and what was going on. I'd forgotten I was blind. So like, what's this? And then I went, Ah, oh, yeah.

David:

Crap.

Aaron:

But, and then the next thing was, oh, man, I never want to do that again. But for more races. I got to get ready for this. And I recovered. And yeah, the next three marathons qualified me for Boston. I ran Boston in 2015. But my proudest moment was after I was stricken with meningitis, and lost my sense of balance. And now deaf, blind, no sense of balance of everybody's counting. I'm pretty senseless. My sense of humor is sharper than ever but holding on by a thread but I got from just walking on the treadmill to like jogging to getting back into marathon, you know, condition. And I ran my hometown Akron marathon on my you know, the same week as my 20th high school reunion. And I PR I got the fastest time ever. It was the hardest race I've ever run because not only was I trying to go forward, but I was trying not to go topple over this way. And then I was using more muscles than I ever had.

But I had a lot of help. I contacted the local chapter of team red, white and blue and asked if I can find you know, somebody can help guide me. I got a whole team like 10 people came out all the Eagles you know, running side by side. And they actually bracketed me in. So as the miles ticked up, and I was getting more and more fatigued, more tired, more, I was just bouncing off of people's shoulders, but they kept me up while I ran forward. And I qualify for Boston again.

35:00 - 40:00

David:

I've always really liked those RWB guys, when I was running out in Hawaii, they were all over the place. And they're a great, great group of people.

Aaron:

Yeah.

David:

Man, that's incredible. To think that, I can't even imagine how hard it would be to run with balance, like, thrown off. That's just insane.

Aaron:

You know, it's, it's the same. I think, in one sense as anybody else, that endurance running is a head game.

David:

Yes.

Aaron:

Your 5K's are physical, your 10K's are physical. And you know that speed? Endurance? Yeah, you got to condition, you got to get ready. But you have to be physically ready, but it is all in the head. And no matter if you're physically fit, and you have no ailments, or you're blind, deaf and have no balance. It's still how much determination you have to carry through the pain. And you know, once you hit the wall to push through

David:

That and then you spoke to the importance of nutrition and that's like everything in life. It takes proper preparation since it's crazy what nutrition or lack thereof out how much it changes a race.

Aaron:

You know, but that's all like the mechanics once you get the nutrition ready, you know, right, and the, you know, the fiscal aspect of it. Um, marathons and ultra marathons. They're definitely it's, it's all up here after a while you just, you just trudge forward.

David:

Yep, absolutely.

I like the quote of missing a few tools, but still need to do the job. I think that's a really powerful mentality for everyone in life. Because, I mean, you know, we always joke in the Marine Corps, right? That we get the Army's hand me downs and do more with less, because we don't get decent gear until it's been good for everyone else.

Aaron:

Right.

David:

But I think that mentality serves you very well, in life, understanding that there's always going to be something additional you, you could want or could have. But if you don't, like you gotta make it happen anyway.

Aaron:

You know, it’s definitely the military mentality where you expect the best, but you prepare for the worst. And it's awful nowadays, where, you know, you get on social media, and you see people complaining or worrying about these things that they don't have, or that they're missing, or they lost. And it's really a handicap, you know, perhaps it's a bit of the, you know, entitlement era where we just believe we deserve more than we're getting. And it's, it hinders you, it holds you back from really achieving some great potential.

So instead of worrying about what I didn't have, or what I lost, I just assessed what I still had and how I can still push forward.

David:

Definitely.

So let's talk about real estate for a minute. What uh, so how many investment properties do you guys have now?

Aaron:

Well, right now we've got one.

We bought it back in January. And it was one of those trial by fire type of properties. We bought it at auction. And you know, number one, lesson learned. Buyer beware.

David:

Yeah.

Aaron:

So we bought it at auction, the original ARV was $165,000 and I purchased it for 64 eight. And if you know, we go through all the scenarios where you know, you do it would fit the 1% rule. Of course if we could get it. Rent for about 1250 and Windsor was renovated. So we'd have about what is that $50,000 of project budget to renovate this though, and from the outside. It definitely needed a roof and new windows but it looked great. It just once weighed We'd finished, you know, going through, you know, closing, we got the contractor in there. And every single day, it was something new. He said, Oh my gosh, we started on the windows, replacing the windows, we found that the frames were starting to rot.

40:00 - 45:00

Aaron:

Apparently, this 1930s house was built with untreated lumber. So every time they pulled down some drywall, it was just rotten. So that replaced a lot of lumber.

And then little, you know, little things become big things. It was a cistern under the ground and didn't need to be filled the electrical wiring. And it just the project crept to double what we'd expected.

So we voted for 64, eight, we spent over a little over $100,000 on this thing, and ended up thankfully, though, we weren't entirely we definitely got lucky on this one. And I would not want to bet on luck ever again. The contractor I said was a magician, he was able to increase the livable square footage, in the same footprint with, of course, upgraded everything to your class A standards.

And we had renters in there, almost before the project was complete. So when the appraisal came back, it was $200,000. And we are actually able to increase the rent because with deeper investigation, most of the three bedrooms in that area that we're renting for 12 were apartments. And we would sort out the more of the comps. They were comps in that area, renting for 15 to $1600. So we made out, we do our refi we're going to have to leave a little bit of our equity into it. So we don't push you know, we don't strain, you know put too much pressure on the rent, but it was definitely your tuition well paid. And we still feel like we came out ahead.

David:

I would say so.

People always say the first deal is not necessarily meant to be the best deal. It's meant to be a learning curve. So anytime you can even break even and learn all those lessons. I mean, that's a free education.

Aaron:

Oh yeah, so now we're looking at a pair of duplexes side by side, two separate properties sold by the same seller. So we may pick them up in a package deal. Or just side by side closings, and get them fixed up together.

David:

Awesome. That's really cool.

So, man, that's just incredible to be able to operate all of that from like you said, from a computer with the help of team members. That's really cool.

Aaron:

Well, again, you just try to find solutions, and every time I run into some kind of difficulty from number one, where do you find the deals? And of course, you know, we've got all the listing sites and whatnot, it's tough to find a good deal on the MLS, but we would have I've got multiple feeds from multiple realtors and I would I would find something where the numbers made sense that I'd send them to the team mostly my mom who was there you know, boots on the ground and she would say not a good neighborhood or the pictures look like it's gonna be more work than then y'all can support and then we just move on and then when we find something that that fits the numbers looks good and is in the neighborhood we want to invest in then we we talked to the realtor we set up a walkthrough will bring with you often we bring our right to you know an open house or you know, you know they'll walk through and he'll give a you know on the site basically you have a rough estimate of what what the project is going to be but it's much more and you want a realtor or or even my mom where I could could guess so we're getting pretty specific.

45:00 - 50:00

David:

Yep, having a good contractor is huge. I'm flipping a house right now. And I don't know that the contractor is bad, but we've had some bad luck in the contracting space. And it's taken a lot longer than it's supposed to. So the power of a good contractor is huge. Because if he wasn't, I don't know. It's scary to think of what happens if the contractor is just kind of dragging you along.

Aaron:

Oh, yeah.

Well, thankfully, you know, we've got a great one. And he's definitely, definitely busy, is definitely worth what he charges, but he also finds us great deals. He knows this year's investment pieces and that he tries to save us money everywhere I could find and it’s fantastic. Plus, yeah, my mom does all the books for this company. So she's, she's in the numbers as well.

David:

That's a huge benefit to him, my uncle's a contractor. And he's always said the books are like, the worst part of the entire business. He's got mountains of receipts, and he's, he's terrible at it.

Aaron:

Well, you know, generally, you know, guys that are really good contractors, they're great at doing the job. But that's not necessarily true that every contractor is a good business owner.

So it's, it's, it's good that, you know, you have this symbiotic relationship where, you know, my mom does the books for the contract, the contractor saves me money, I bring them deals, and everybody works out, everybody wins.

David:

Definitely.

So and then you are still operating this other business on the side, which as I told you, before we record it. And I'm gonna say it for everyone listening right now, the website for extra extraordinary delights, is a really well designed website, it's a very appealing site, I was cruising around, before we recorded. But to be able to build that business as well, I think that speaks to your inner inner entrepreneur, to be able to focus on doing all these things at once.

Aaron:

You know, it was a lot of fun for me and my wife to get this thing started. And my wife and I are, you know, we like staying fit, we like staying active, but we also enjoy indulging every once in a while, whether we you know we or not. And I think others do too. And we try to make the best quality, you know, traits, you know, when you're going to use the cheat day for something.

We want to be the go to, if you want to, like the perfect corporate gift and tell your clients you actually care about their business or family members, or if you don't want to share it all. Where the answer for all of those.

And personally it was just another one of those challenges. Another one of those accomplishments that I've wanted to see if we could do one of them want to build a business, we want to make it a success. And it quickly grew out of our home kitchen. I really fast we started getting corporate gifts from like corporate orders for like Boeing and Johnson and Johnson and lots of nonprofits that I'd advocated before.

You know, I'd be hired as a speaker, but then they would say, you know what, we want to put your, your fudge, your treats around the tables. So we'll get the one two punch with the business. And it just took off so quickly that we had to quickly find a commercial kitchen, both the state saying legal, and just because we just couldn't handle it out of our home.

So now we've got a huge commercial kitchen in Savannah, Georgia. And now things are really going well for us.

David:

It sounds like a good problem to have growing too fast.

Aaron:

But yeah, you got to be careful you don't. It's like the cardinal rule in retail or any businesses don't don't don't provide or don't create the demand if you can't provide the supply. And it was soon we were working like 14 hour days I was cooking. I was on my feet all day long now. And we were, you know, keeping up with demand, but it was so grueling that we decided that you know, we didn't want to work in our business, we wanted to work on it.

So you know, we contracted out the labor part of it. We made sure that you know we're you know the same quality product was going out and now we're, you know, running the business instead of it running us.

50:00 - 55:00

David:

Yeah, that's a lesson that a lot of people learn too difficult or too hard. I struggle with building this platform. And not to say that I'm bringing in any money really off this, but I'm trying to keep up with everything that I want to do as far as content. And I've realized very quickly that I either need to outsource everything or not do as much. And I've, I've had to, I now have a podcast editor and a video editor and editor for my writing, which I probably should have done that originally. Because, you know, I don't. I don't know if you know this, but Marines and writing are, it's kind of not something that goes hand in hand.

Aaron:

You know, you're absolutely right, I tried to put out content, also, you know, from the home, talking about being a blind father to blind cook, just being a business owner and everyday life. But yeah, I tried to try to put content out as well, we've got a fledgling blog on our website that doesn't have much content yet. But, you know, trying to write from recipes to just everyday occurrences, you know, from being a better father to being, you know, blind, outdoor enthusiasts to you, you name it. The only thing is that all those things I'd like to write about doing and the writing tends to take a backseat sometimes.

David:

Yeah, I completely understand.

I have to, I have to, like, force myself to set time aside or also get to the end of the week and realize I didn't accomplish anything for the content side, just incredible the amount of stuff that you've been able to accomplish.

I mean, not even despite disability, people struggle to operate a business on their own, let alone operate a business and then learn how to invest in real estate and balanced public speaking. I mean, that's an incredible amount of stuff to do, no matter whether there were disabilities or not. What do you think is the secret for you being able to balance all of this fear?

Aaron:

I think one of the biggest drivers, the first, you know, first, first and foremost, I would say is I'm terrified of slowing down. I didn't, I don't want to be one of those, you know, wounded service members, or any service member that you know, is feeling down, gets stuck in that dented spiral of depression, sitting on the couch popping pills. And it just gets, you know, it goes deeper and deeper into the darkness, maybe maybe becoming one of the 22 or even more a day, we lose.

So, you know, when I stopped working out and I stopped running, I started to feel the wheels falling off. So keeping myself busy keeping myself engaged, is first an act of fright. But I also feel better each time I accomplish something or each time, I just do better than I did the day before. And the more success I feel, the more I can share or the better I am at being mean being a father being a husband.

So your success has momentum. So while part of it is just being terrified of the alternative. You know, staying busy is my comfort. Is it just being comfortable with discomfort or being uncomfortable. You know, the more, if I find myself starting to become complacent or comfortable. I know I need to get busy on something else. And that's kind of where all this stuff happens.

David:

Yeah, I agree completely with you, on the terrified of slowing down.

I think there's all these studies on the 22 a day but I think the biggest thing that people struggle with is going from the military, to not having a purpose. And I think being able to cultivate a purpose for yourself, by keeping yourself busy and challenging yourself whether that's a business or just personal goals in general, is huge and very important to keeping your life on track because like you said, If you slow down and stop, and you kind of lose your identity of or your, your sense of purpose, man that that takes a toll.

55:00 - 1:00:44

Aaron:

And then the, the other. The last facet of this is that I got, and my family got a lot of help from from the home I live in, which was given to me by building homes for heroes as mortgage free house that I get to live in, known to all the adventures of going on so many of them are veteran service organizations or that have, you know, taken me under their wing to help me get my start. And like I said, mentors, both military and civilian, have helped me to get not just financially but mentally in this place I am now and I know that not all veterans get the same opportunities. And I want to be in a position where I can help as many fellow veterans that may be having a tough time after service or even during their service. And I want to help as many as I can.

David:

Yeah, that's a very powerful motivator.

Man, I can talk all day, I think with you about mindset and everything. This is I mean, you just have such an incredible story. And really just your outlook, which is just so powerful to anyone listening to this, I would, I would challenge you to make sure that you are always challenging yourself to improve.

Aaron:

We added our very first piece of merchandise to the website. So the first inedible product is a T shirt that says challenge accepted.

David:

Nice! I like it.

Have to go get me a T shirt and some fudge.

Alright, I would like to ask you a couple questions before I'm gonna have to wrap this up because unfortunately, I have to go to work soon. They're gonna wonder where I'm at if I don't show up, I guess I would ask if a young, E one, E two a young service member was to ask you for advice going forward in life? Really in any facet? What do you think would be like your one nugget that you wish you'd heard at a younger age?

Aaron:

Don't let pride, don’t let your ego get in the way. Don't be afraid to ask for help and seek out hope. And there's a lot of power in your problem shared and a shared goal and shared accomplishment.

David:

I agree completely.

And definitely the ego thing. Let's see. Do you have a favorite resource, book, course or website that you would recommend to anybody getting started in real estate or business?

Aaron:

Well, you know besides From military to millionaire.

Absolutely first you know, we've got to go with the old standby you know, Rich Dad Poor Dad because that's a mindset thing that got me years ago down that path of stepping outside what I thought was possible for me.

And then of course bigger pockets is such a wealth of knowledge and information. That’s my bachelor's course in real estate was just the forums and blogs and webinars and all of that on bigger pockets.

David:

You and I both BiggerPockets changed my life. Actually both of those that was, someone handed me Rich Dad, Poor Dad. And you know, I told him Marines don't read so he told me to download it on Audible. And that's essentially changed the entire course of my life.

Yeah. So before we wrap this up, is there anything you'd like to add any parting advice or big ideas?

Aaron:

Well, um, one other real piece of advice is you know, don't wait for an opportunity to knock, kick the door off the hinges.

David:

Yes.

Aaron:

Go crush it go. I mean, whatever you're waiting to do, do everything on your bucket list, today. I mean go out and get it. And of course, while you're going you're while you're out there crushing it, you know, holidays, the holidays are coming and everybody loves fudge. So please visit EODfudge.com and everybody has to, you know, please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, EOD confections.

David:

I'll make sure that I link all of that in the show notes and I'm going to go order myself some chocolate today.

Awesome. Well, hey Aaron, thank you so much for joining us today. This has been incredible.

Aaron:

Well, Dave, thanks for having me on. It's been a pleasure listening to your podcast since I discovered it months ago.

And you know, you know intermittent chatting on Facebook groups, so it was great to finally get to talk to you.

Absolutely, brother. Have a great day!

Aaron:

Same to you.

End:

Thank you for listening to another episode about my journey From military to millionaire. If you liked it, be sure to visit Frommilitarytomillionaire.com/podcast to subscribe to future podcasts. While you're there, we'd love for you to rate the show. Give us a review on iTunes. Now get out there and take action.

Episode: 60

Aaron Hale

Aaron Hale served in the Navy as a chef and got to live the life in Italy, cooking for an Admiral. He decided that he wanted more though, and joined the army to become an EOD expert. Then, an unseen IED exploded in his face and changed his life forever. The accident stole his sight and just a short while later…his hearing. Despite this adversity, Aaron managed to run multiple marathons (including the Boston marathon), he hiked with the first blind man to hike Mt Everest, he kayaked with the first blind man to kayak all the way through the Grand Canyon, and he pursued his passions and embraced a happy life!

This is the story of how Aaron Hale overcame insurmountable odds, in order to find success in business, real estate investing, marriage, and being a father.

If you’re not inspired to conquer the world after listening to this episode, you should just quit (joking)…but I don’t know what will inspire you, this story is incredible!

Advice to an 18-20-year old: Don’t let your Ego get in the way. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Recommended resource(s): Rich Dad Poor Dad and BiggerPockets.com

books can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/shop/frommilitarytomillionaire

Join me in the BiggerPockets Pro community! https://www.frommilitarytomillionaire.com/we-recommend-BP-Pro/

Big idea/parting advice: Don’t wait for an opportunity to knock, kick the door off the hinges!

You can buy their fudge here: https://eodfudge.com/

My wife said this was the best fudge she has ever had…talk about brownie points for me!!!

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David Pere

David Pere

David is an active duty Marine, who devotes his free time to helping service members, veterans, and their families learn how to build wealth through real estate investing, entrepreneurship, and personal finance!

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