Yigal Adato: 00:00 Hey pawn family. Welcome back to another episode of the Pawn Leaders Podcast. On this episode I have a good friend of mine. His name is Aaron Walker and Aaron Walker is a, he’s like a pawnbroker three times over. He was in the pawnshop and he was 18 years old, grew an incredible business sold that after some years came back and open up another shop and then sold that. And then again after retiring, came back, bought another pawnshop, open that one up and sold that one. So, in this episode we talk about how he grew those operations. We also talking about some things like how he got over some intense adversity and how isolation is the enemy. It’s an incredible episode, I hope you enjoy. But before we get to the episode, I want to talk to you guys about a story that happened to me on Friday night. Friday night, we had a dinner, my family and some friends and actually a pawnbroker here from San Diego was at my house. And he walks up to me and he goes, Yigal, you know, I started working with podium and it’s been incredible. I said, well, what took you so long? He said, I don’t know. I didn’t think that it was going to make such a difference. I didn’t think that my reviews were going to increase so fast. My chatting with the clients. And I basically said, I told you so. And so I’m telling you, so again, reviews matter and the way you show up online determines who shows up at your pawnshop. So I’ve secured a special deal for people of the Pawn Leaders Podcast. Just go to www.podium.com/palmleaders and get 10% off your monthly subscription. And what podium does, it’s a software that essentially allows you to get more Google reviews. It allows you to chat with your clients on your website and it’s an incredible software that really, really knows the pawn industry. So go to podium.com/pawnleaders and get 10% off. And now my podcast with my good friend and pawnbroker, Aaron Walker.
Yigal Adato: 01:59 Hey everyone, my name is Yigal Adato and this is the Pawn Leaders Podcast, a podcast that help you make more money, stress less, and live an epic life all while working at the pawnshop.
Yigal Adato: 02:17 Aaron Walker, welcome to the show, man.
Aaron Walker: 02:20 Yigal, man, I can’t tell you how happy I am to be with you today, buddy. Thank you so much for having me on your show.
Yigal Adato: 02:27 So a couple of years ago, I was talking to a gentleman, we were at a conference and he asked me, you know what I did? And I said, I was in the pawn business. He said, stop right there. You need to meet somebody else. He brought us together, he introduced me to you. You’re an ex pawnbroker and you’re in the pawn business for a long time. So we just hit it off, right? We were talking about the pawn business, life in that event. And so I just want to let people know how are you going in to the pawnbroking business back in the day.
Aaron Walker: 02:56 Okay. Man, I got to tell you this story. It is so fun to tell, how did, I spent 27 years in the pawnshop business. It was an absolute joy for me. The way I got started and it was by accident, my dad asked me to help him remodel a pawnshop and I went remodel a what? And he said, I need you to help me remodel a pawnshop. Now Yigal, at the time I was 13 years old, right? So I didn’t know a lot about it. So I went and helped him. My Dad was in construction. We turned this beauty shop into a pawnshop. This guy name Harry Barry was 23 years old at the time. He just gotten out of college and his family had been in the pawn business for years in Nashville and they were setting up a shop in Madison, Tennessee, just north of Nashville. And so we get through in 90 days and I walk up to him one day and I said, Mr. Barry, I said, I go to school just down the street and I’d love to have a job here, and he started laughing. He said, what would you do for me? I said, I’ll sweep. I’ll clean these showcases, I’ll do whatever you want. And he said, when could you work? And I said, I can work every day from three o’clock till 5:30 and I’ll work all day every Saturday. He said, you’re hired. And I went, oh man. Shortest interview in history. So I started working every day and fell in love with that business. When I was 15 years old, I decided that’s what I wanted to do for a profession. I went to summer school and night school for 18 months, had enough credits to graduate to the beginning of my junior year in high school. I didn’t even have to go, but for one class my junior year, I went twice Yigal. My senior year I registered and I graduated. That’s the only time that I went, but I fell in love with the pawnshop business. Now, let me digress a little bit. We were broker than a convict. I mean, we didn’t have any money as a child and so I met a couple of guys that had a lot of money. They own the 21st largest insurance agency in the country at the time. And I went to him one day and I said, listen, why don’t we take your money in my experience and open a pawnshop? He said, how old are you? I said, I get asked that a lot. I said, I’m 18 so we talked through the particulars of it. I gave up two thirds of the business because they had the money and I needed the money and they needed the person to run it. And we opened our first pawnshop when I was 18 years old in 1979 that was a long time ago and that’s where it started.
Yigal Adato: 05:09 Nice. So you’re in the business for how many years again?
Aaron Walker: 05:12 27 but for the first [Incomprehensible] I was in for nine years, when I was 27 years old, Cash America approached me one day and they said, we want to buy your store. And I said, I’m not for sale. I just built this brand new location, beautiful 5,000 square foot store, state of the art. I mean it was killer location and I just bought a new building about 12,000 feet on the other side of town. And they said, listen we just want to buy your business. And I said, it’s not for sale. I’m 27 years old. What would I do? And they said, we don’t care what you do, we want to buy your business. So I turned them down. They came back in 90 days, they made me another pass. And I said, listen guys, I don’t want to sell. 90 days later you go, they come back and they said, Mr. Walker, we’re going to be in Nashville. Why we’re coming here. And it would serve you well to sell us because we got deep pockets. We have 300 stores. That’s how many they had at the time. They got over 1200 now I think they’re in three countries, but they said, we want to be here and you’ve got the best stores in Nashville and we want to buy them and it made me mad. I’m like, man, listen. They said hypothetically, if you were going to sell what would you take? And I thought about it for a minute and I said, it’s my chance to get rid of them. And I quoted a price. I just said, this is how much I’d take, he said, we’ll take it. I said, what? And I said, you’re kidding me. He said, no, we’ll take it. And I said, I don’t know if I want to do that or not because I just built this new building. I just bought the new one and here’s what he said, you can keep your buildings. I said, you’re going to give me that much money for this business and I can keep the buildings? They said, yes. Well here we are now 31 years later, I still own the building. They’re my tenant now for 31 years. They just re [Incomprehensible] for 15 more years and I’m like, my goodness, this is unbelievable. But yeah, the first [Incomprehensible] was a nine year years and then I went back and I bought the pawnshop I started with when I was a kid and then we built it four times the size it was over the next 10 years.
Yigal Adato: 07:10 Nice, that sounds like a dream come true. Right? 27 year old, Cash America comes in, buys them out. What happened after that? Once you’re sold, what was next?
Aaron Walker: 07:21 Yeah. You know what? It was amazing. For the first 90 days. I’m like, oh my goodness, I’m going to play golf every day. I’m going to go fishing. We’d go down to Naples, Florida friend of mine owns a house down there and he said, just use it all summer. Nobody’s down there. We lasted two and a half weeks and I came back and I said, I’m bored out of my mind. I’m playing golf with guys 65 and 70 year old and they’re beating me. That’s what made it worse. But I’m playing golf every day with these guys and I’m like, Robin, there’s gotta be more to life than just this. I mean, like, yeah, we got a little bit of money and I’m able to go fishing and hunting and playing golf. But I bored out of my mind. Well, fast forward 18 months later, I’d gained 50 pounds. Literally, I was getting in the bed in the middle of the day. Robin woke me up one day from a nap and she goes, this is not what I signed up for. And I’m like, I don’t have any reason to get up. I mean, what am I going to do? I’m tired of fishing. I’m tired of hunting. I’m tired of playing golf. What am I going to do? She said, go get a job. I don’t care what you do, just get out of my hair. And so I go back and I buy a 50% of the pawnshop that the guy, remember I told you when he was 23 and I was 13, I bought half that store and we spent the next decade. I worked three days a week. He worked three days a week. We went across the street from the location we were at and we bought a building, tore it down, built a 10,000 square foot pawnshop. We rocked it. I mean it was amazing. That’s when I first met Dave Ramsey. Dave Ramsey was just starting in the early nineties. Dave and I became very good friends after that. I spent 21 years sponsoring his show. His business just lit up our pawnshop. I mean it was crazy. Yigal what it did and so, and then you know, I don’t know if you want to get into this or not, but you know, 10 years later I was involved in an accident and that really changed my life. But anyway, that was the pawnshop part. And then I sold out when I turned 40 again, Robin said I’ve retired more than the law allows, but I retired again when I turned 40
Yigal Adato: 09:21 I do want to get into the accident, but first I want you to just touch on, because we have current pawnbrokers listening to the show. And what do you think caused your success in the pawnshop business that a current pawnbroker in 2008 can still replicate and still have success doing. What did you do that was different than your competition?
Aaron Walker: 09:40 Well, I’m all about customer service. When I first got into the pawnshop business here in Nashville, I was kind of ostracized by the community. They said, man, you’re going to ruin our business. And I said, no man, I’m here to, I’m going to be friend every one of you, I’m not here to run the business. And my greatest success was five years later, they made me president of the Tennessee Pawnbrokers Association. It was because I’m all about the customer. I’m all about the people that are running the operations. And what we did was we had the cleanest stores in town, no question about it. And that matters. Some of you guys were like, [Incomprehensible] matter. Yes it does. If you want the quality of your clients to go up, you clean that place up and make it spic and span. I mean, our stores were immaculate. We had great systems to find things in the stock room. You didn’t have to look. We had a very sophisticated numeric system that was put into place and we could walk right to it at any given time. It made pulling things much easier. We could pull in 30 minutes where it take most people three or four hours to pull, because we had this system, everything was been located, we knew exactly where everything was at. Also the customers, we really took care of them and some of the things that we did is I started really evaluating the customers. When I was young, I started thinking, you know, these guys don’t want to be in here pawning. That’s embarrassing to begin with. Like you know, they feel like that they’re less than other people. And so we made these VIP cards, they look like a gold American Express card and we had on the front of it VIP, the name of the company. And on the back we would put their number and I would tell these guys, hey, take care of this cause you’re special in here. We want to really help you. We don’t want you to have to look for your driver’s license. You just bring this customer card in. The other thing that we did is I noticed that they would drive down the road or they would go to the store next door across the street and they would pawn something else. And one day I stopped one of them, I said, let me ask you a question, are you going to leave here and go pawn something else somewhere else? And they looked at me in grin and said, I might, I said, why don’t you pawn it here? And they would say, well, I’m embarrassed. And I said, well, why are you embarrassed? Well, because I didn’t want you to know exactly how much money I needed and I didn’t want to get 2 or 3 loans. I was just afraid that you know, I would be looked down upon. So what I did was, is I created a list and put on that list. Everything that we took in pawn, you name it, it was on that list. And here’s what I told him. You go home and you find everything that’s on this list. You can come in here and get 10 loans a day. Matter of fact, I encourage you to get 10 loans a day because if you do, I’m going to give your 10th loan to you for free for 90 days. You don’t owe me any interest for every 10th loan, they started using that list like a scavenger hunt. They would go home and fill it up. We increased our business by 20 or 30% by doing that one thing with the customer VIP cards and having that list, because I would encourage them, I would tell them, listen, you’re not looked down upon. I’d go out to the car and help them bring this stuff in. You just bring it in because the ticket is you make the money on the loans, right? It’s not the sales that’s the necessary evil. The money is made in the pawns and we would loan as much as we could. A lot of pawnbrokers got it backwards in my opinion. They try to get it as cheap as they can and then they sell it and make a big profit. Well, you’re cutting your nose off to spite your face because when you sell that diamond ring, that guy’s got nothing else to pawn. 80% of those people are going to redeem it and then 80% of that 80% is going to repawn it and as long as you can keep that interest rate at a level that he can afford and you can take it in pawn as many times work with those guys. Your ROI is huge annually, so our objective was not to get it as cheap as we could. Our objective was to loan as much as we possibly could and recover from the loan if they defaulted
Yigal Adato: 13:20 And I think that it’s brilliant that you thought that way back in the day because it’s what we’re talking about still today. Clean your store’s, customer service, lend the most, the VIP card stuff that we used to do with my brother, so I applaud you for that. I think it was thinking differently back in the day when there wasn’t so much. It wasn’t so much about the customers. A lot more about like open the doors, make money.
Aaron Walker: 13:43 Right, right, right. Yigal I’ll tell you something else that I did. I was never on the backside of the counter. I was always on the side of the counter with the customer because it eliminates a barrier. Like now, we’re friends, now I’m hanging out with you on the front and they feel special because hey, big A is out here with me. I got my suckers and I’m giving them out to the kids or balloons and were given out mints and we’re shaking hands and we’re rubbing heads and we’re hugging next and we’re grabbing each other and saying, hey man, come on. We can do this thing. I know you’re in a tough spot. We encourage people and they felt important when they were in our stores. Even when I sold diamond rings, I was always on the side of the counter with the customer. I was never behind the counter. Right. We need to eliminate barriers and obstacles. And when you can get on the other side with the counter, you’re like part of them, you’re their buddy, they’re special because you’re out there hanging out with them.
Yigal Adato: 14:35 I love that. The fact that you just said don’t stand behind the counter. You reminded me of my father who always believed in shaking the customer’s hand and giving them a hug. I remember people who would walk into the store, who are like customers who would pawn 30 items a month, just like big customers, he’d walk outside, he’d give them a hug. How are you? Here’s a soda. And I would ask, why cause they’re paying for our cars. These are my friends. They’re not just my customers, I care about them. I give them a service, but I want to make sure they’re doing okay and they know that I’m here for them. So I love that.
Aaron Walker: 15:12 The other side that we miss oftentimes, and I caught this very early on when I first went into business, if you can pay special attention to their children, is the McDonald’s theory. When you get the kid, you’ve got the parent. And so we would do all kinds of little fun things, give coloring books out. We will give balloons, we would give suckers, and when they were at home, the kids and they heard, hey, we got to go to the pawnshop, let’s go see Mr Aaron. Let’s go down there. Where do you think they’re going to go? Right there. Kids are championed us on right? And so mad love on those kids and we would do things that would really bring attention to those kids and love on those kids. Listen, you know what Yigal, this is not rocket science, right? This is applicable in any business. It’s not just the pawn business. This is an every business. And if you’re not in the pawn business, the things that I’m talking about or applicable to every industry, it’s just showing people that you respect them. You care for them, you want best for them. You’re looking out for them. People only care how you make them feel. That’s the only thing they remember. And when you make them feel important and special, I promise you, you’ve got a customer for life.
Yigal Adato: 16:18 I have a vision in my head of a kid walking with the mom into a pawnshop. It’s not yours. And then kind of like, no, this isn’t where, they gaze. You know, like, this isn’t the pawnshop I want to go to, let’s go to the other one.
Aaron Walker: 16:30 Well, it happens, I’m just telling you man. But you do the same thing for the people. Just let them know you respect them. Let them know that they’re important. Don’t make them feel less than, but make them feel equal to or more. And if you’ll do that, man, you watch your business take off.
Yigal Adato: 16:45 That’s incredible. Now I want to touch upon the accident because I know it was a big part of who you are today or what you went through and you share it often. So fast forward 10 years, what happened and how did you get over that? And I think this episode is really about not just the pawn industry and how to grow your business, but how to get through adversity like you did. So please.
Yigal Adato: 17:10 Hey, pawn family. Just a quick interruption. And then we’re going to get to Aaron Walker’s story, which is an intense story. Stick around to listen to it. Just want to remind you that the Raffa for the free diamond tester ends this Friday. So you got to get into that raffle quickly. And obviously the more you share and the more you click, you get more entries into the raffle. And we’re giving away a $500, basically a diamond tester. It’s a smart pro scanner Diamond tester worth over $500 sponsored by ceptools. So in order to get that go to freediamondtester.com once again, freediamondtester.com for your entry to win the diamond tester.
Aaron Walker: 17:48 So in 2001, it was August 1st, 2001, I was headed to the office. It was about 7:30 in the morning. Things were good. Quite honestly. I had two beautiful kids. We got a beautiful home. I’m working three days a week. I mean things couldn’t have been better. Like I was living the dream and there was this guy crossing the street to catch a local bus and he hesitated in the median. He looked at me, I hesitated, I slowed down. I was driving a 2001 Lincoln navigator, big Red Lincoln navigator, just bought it. And he hesitated in the median. And so I sped back up all this happen in about three seconds. And when I got to him, I guess he was afraid the bus was going to leave and he took off running and I hit, ran over and killed a pedestrian. And Yigal my life literally come to a screeching halt at that moment, I was like, I pulled over real quick and I thought, man, that really just didn’t happen to me. I mean, literally it was like watching a movie in slow motion. I didn’t want to turn around and look, I was scared. I grabbed my cell phone and I knew I needed to call 911. And I finally got my composure. I got my hand to quit shaking by holding my other palm against it, I dialed nine one one. Finally, I got the courage up my [Incomprehensible] look, there was a four lane highway with a median and there were cars stopping everywhere. Breaks were slamming on people jumping out. And I looked, there was this guy face down in the street. And so I said, God, please don’t let this guy be dead. And so I got out and I went over in the ambulance, came within a couple of minutes, fire trucks, started coming, police cars started coming. Everybody’s out in the street and they said he’s got severe head trauma. And so they put him in the ambulance and they carried him to Vanderbilt trauma unit here in Nashville. And that was on a Wednesday morning and they called me on a Saturday morning about 9:30. And they said, Mr. Walker, he didn’t make it. Well man, you could just drove a stick through my heart. I mean, I didn’t even know how to deal with that. I’ve never been involved in anything like this ever in my life. Ever. Minor Fender benders is all I’ve ever been involved in and I just didn’t know how to handle that. It was very stressful. I had a lot of friends around me at the time. I met my church and there’s people there helping me. There’s people coming to my house. People started coming to my business, you know, to try to walk me through that. I hired a guy to help me professionally to kind of walk through that, in about a month later, I was at the office one day and a customer came up and maybe an offer on something and it made me mad. And it’s not my temperament. I’m a very jovial, easygoing guy. And I told him what I would take forward. He counter offered about a third of what I told him and it made me mad. And I just picked up, it was a handful of tools and I just picked him up and I turned around and threw him like back in the stock room and the whole store, we had a big store. This is a 10,000 square foot stores, people everywhere. And my partner walked by me and he said, big A. He said, are you okay? And I said, no, I’m not. I’m not okay. So we go back in his office and he said, what’s up? And I said, I can’t handle the pressure. I just can’t handle this. I’ve been making money since I was 13 years old. Here I am, 40, 41 years old at this time. And I said, I want out, I want to sell the business. So the next night we go to dinner. And he and I had been friends for 40 years, you know, and at that time we’d been friends since I was 13. I was 41. And he said, what do you want to do? And I said, I’ll sell you the business. This is what I’ll take forward. I’ll finance it over a 10 year period, we show cans, we had a deal and it was over. So 30 days later I was out. And then I took a five year break. I didn’t work for five years. I’ve traveled all over the world. I had people to help me understand what had happened. And here’s the thing, and I know you didn’t mean the terminology you use. You don’t ever get over that. You just, God gives you the grace to learn how to deal with it because we have to determine we’re going to pick ourselves up and move on. And I consciously made a decision. One day a friend of mine named James Rao called me and he said, man, you got to pick yourself up and move on. And he kind of shoved me off the cliff because I was in this anguish because I was alone. I was in isolation. And isolation is the enemy [Incomprehensible]. And if you want your life to be better, you’ve got to surround yourself in masterminds. You’ve got to surround yourself with accountability groups, you’ve got to have other people that are trusted advisers to surround you to help you work through those challenges. And so that’s what I liked to do. Got around my mastermind group, got around these other guys and they helped work me through those challenges that I was experiencing
Yigal Adato: 22:22 So you talked about, I said about apologizing, but I agree. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation like you have. It must’ve been very, very tough. And the one thing I love about you is regardless if we’re a different religions are not like your faith. [Crosstalk] faith in people, in God and in what you believe. And I love that about you.
Aaron Walker: 22:50 Thank you.
Yigal Adato: 22:50 I also believe that it’s allowed for you to be able to move on to do what you do today. Which is, you are an incredible life and business coach. You now, after being in masterminds for so long with Dave Ramsey you created your own iron sharpens iron group [Incomprehensible] 13 groups like we spoke about on the precall. What are you seeing when people go from isolation to being a part of these groups? What do you see that changes the quickest in them?
Aaron Walker: 23:24 Well, here’s the thing that happens. Yigal, let’s go back just a little bit and talk about what we’re all experiencing. We want people to think, well of us. That’s just a human desire and human need. And we’ve convinced ourselves if they know the truth and that we don’t have it all together, they’ll think less of us, which is nothing further from the truth. Transparency starts the ability for you to build on a solid foundation. And when we let everybody know the veil is come down, the facade is away. These are my strengths, these are the Kryptonite. These are my blind spots. This is now how I can get better. It’s admitting that I don’t know everything. You don’t need to do that to the masses, but you do need to do that to a small group so they can encourage you so they can challenge you so they can help you. So they can give you resources, so they can give you the accountability that you need in your life to sharpen your skills. And so when you’re in a small group 5, 10, 15 people, you’re more apt to be transparent and vulnerable. See in the level that you’re willing to share with me, I’m willing to share with you. But if we have a facade and we have a veil and nobody lets you in, then you don’t have the ability to work through the areas that your weak in. And so that’s what we encourage guys to do. Take time. It’s not something that you do quickly. You’ve got to gain their respect. You’ve got to gain a sense of responsibility in the relationship. You’ve got to know that they’re confidential and once you earn those things, then people will respond to you. But you can’t do that just passively. You can’t do that just with colleagues at work. You’ve got to be in a group on a regular basis and that’s why we meet every single week is to build that rapport, build that relationship, gain that trust. And once you do, people go, you know what? My marriage is suffering right now or I’m going through this terrible pornography addiction or I’ve got this substance abuse that I’ve been on or money, cash flow is not happening like a need. And if I don’t make amends quick, I may lose my business. And then we go, okay, let’s evaluate the problem. And then we have different filters and different lens by which to look. Because you only have one filter, one lens, one life experience. You can only see things one way. And when you surround yourself with trusted advisors that have nothing to gain or lose as a result of what they tell you, they’re going to tell you the truth, right? Cause they have nothing to gain or lose. And so I don’t know about you [Incomprehensible] but I need the truth. I need people to tell me, hey man, that’s not very good or this is going to be really good and helped me push through those upper limit challenges. And that’s what the mastermind groups have done for me. Now listen, 20 years, every week for 20 years I’ve been in a mastermind group and it’s radically changed my life.
Yigal Adato: 26:03 You know, as we were talking about this before, as a [Incomprehensible] of my synagogue and being in other leadership positions, there’s a sense of wanting to put on the facade like you said. And even, I remember back in the day when I would go to the pawn conventions, you know, everybody would drink together and then gambled together. How’s [Incomprehensible]Everything incredible. But I would see, you know, married men with, you know, doing stuff that they shouldn’t be doing and just guys getting like plastered. So I would get plastered and I would get ridiculously drunk in order to fit in.
Aaron Walker: 26:40 Yeah, it’s peer pressure.
Yigal Adato: 26:42 And it wasn’t until we started the Pawn Leaders Mastermind and you have the iron sharpens iron mastermind where a lot of the guys who came in started talking the truth and I’ve known them for years. And it just kind of took me back to saying, wow, like all it took is a phone call a week, a little bit of trust and there’s radical change, radical change in business, radical change in health, in relationships. It’s just about telling the truth [Incomprehensible] smaller group.
Aaron Walker: 27:09 Yeah. And you can do that if you’re meeting with a small group on a regular basis. You can’t just do that with a buddy you’re hanging out with once every two months. They don’t have the context by which to help make decisions. But when you get an irregular group ongoing, and a lot of people have got them into groups that were free, and to be honest with you, there needs to be skin in the game. When they’re skin in the game, you’re going to show up when there’s no skin in the game. Your buddy calls you, you go play golf and stay. Right? But when you’ve got that pain point and that’s called money, and you’re paying for that group, you’re going to show up and the benefits are going to be 10 x 20 x 50 x times what you’re paying because you’re doing it consistently.
Yigal Adato: 27:46 It’s funny, I tell pawnbrokers to give me a call who are interested in the mastermind, and I tell them what the investment is. Oh, that’s a lot of money. And I say, it’s one ring out of your showcase. It’s all it is.
Aaron Walker: 27:57 You know, it’s not only that, but they have to look at it differently. They have to look at the value that [inaudible] going to provide. Because when you’re in a group with other people that are locked minded, the resources that they’re going to give you, the connections that they’re going to give you, the encouragement, the accountability. You know, I told a guy something not long ago that radically changed his entire business. One thing in your like how much is that worth? Right? It changed everything for you. You can’t put a value on that. And it’s not just about Yigal making money for the mastermind. It’s about the benefit that it’s offering the participants. See, because now you’ve got 10, 15 people in your mastermind group that you’re pulling from. You’ve got all these resources. Listen, in my mastermind, I had Dave Ramsey and Dan Miller and Jeff Moseley and Ken Abraham. I mean I can make a phone call. You know what I’m saying? And it’s the same with these groups. You know, you’ve got, you’ve leveraged now 10 relationships and they have hundreds and maybe thousands on their Rolodex. So all you’ve done is 10x already your relationships. And we need to bring a mentality of giving, not taking, and when you bring that mentality of giving the natural reciprocity, they want to give it back. They want to help you. We started a master custom builder council in it’s where that we were meeting with our competition, 10 of us, and we formed kind of a mastermind group and we started sharing best practices in this mastermind group. We started sharing subcontractors. We started sharing vendors. We started buying in bulk. All of our businesses went up 10 or 15% and those 10 builders. The last year I was in construction did $115 million. The last year we were in business because we shared rather than holding our cards to our best, we shared best practices. Listen, you’ve got to have an abundance mindset. If you’ve got a scarcity mindset, you’re in trouble. To begin with, you need to [Incomprehensible] Book Mindset. It talks about a growth mindset.
Yigal Adato: 29:50 What is it called?
Aaron Walker: 29:53 Mindset, mindset. Carol Dweck, an amazing book. There’s two mindsets. One is a fixed ones a growth and the growth mindset says, I can figure this out. The fixed mindset says, ah, it’s the way it is. It’s the hand I was dealt. That is just not true. I’m just telling you, man, it’s an attitude adjustment that we have to have in order to be successful.
Yigal Adato: 30:17 You’re running your businesses, you sold business, your consulting people, and you’re coaching people. What keeps you at peace?
Aaron Walker: 30:25 Yeah, well, I’m at peace because my identity is not tied up into possessions or material self net worth.
Yigal Adato: 30:32 Love it.
Aaron Walker: 30:33 Right? And when you’re not tied up in that, it’s easy to have your identity in something that’s everlasting. And so for me, as you’ve already pointed out, I’m a Christian by faith. And so for me, that’s where my identities tied up. There’s always somebody got a bigger house. There’s always somebody who’s got more money. There’s always somebody you fill in the blank, right? Always. I don’t care who you are, how much you’ve got, and I want to tell you something, it only scratches the itch for a few minutes. If you don’t have purpose in your life, if you don’t have a reason to get up every single day, if it’s just about money, listen, here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to come home with a pocket full of money to a house full of strangers one day. You’re going to spare your family at the growth of your business and I want to tell you something, your family’s got a memory but your business doesn’t. I can make more money, right? I can start more companies. We’ve owned 14 companies. I only got one go through with my wife. Robin and I been married 38 years now. I have two daughters, 31 and 35 and five grandchildren. All of the businesses collectively, I would not trade for my family and guys listen you only get one go through. You don’t get a do over with those kids and you better make the time at home cause you spell love, T-I-M-E. And if you’re not giving those kids time, I’m telling you they’re going to find it somewhere else and you’re going to regret it later.
Yigal Adato: 31:45 It’s one of the reasons why I, when we had our first daughter I had to change things and my wife said, you know, I didn’t get married to be alone. You got to figure this thing out. And I had to figure it out. I had to figure out how to have more time with the family still making money and become resourceful. So,
Aaron Walker: 32:05 Well, you can do it. Rory Vaden wrote a great book called procrastinate on purpose. And in that book he talks about we only have so much bandwidth. So it’s a myth to say that you need to balance work and life. If you can’t do that because balance means equal and it doesn’t need to be equal, you need to prioritize your priorities. You need to say, these are the things in my life that are important and you need to build your schedule around those things.
Yigal Adato: 32:31 Yeah, and this has been an incredible conversation. I know that you and I can keep going. I hope we have dinner this year when you’re in San Diego.
Aaron Walker: 32:40 Listen, I’ve got to have dinner with you wherever you want to go. Cause I want to tell the audience something. Listen. So I show up in Yigal’s hometown, and he says, I got dinner. You just come. And I’m like, okay, it’s not that will have you know, table with two or three other guys. I get there, he’s got a room. I mean, we’ve all back into the room and they’re like, I’m like, oh my goodness. Yigal He must own this place and I mean, he’s saying, hey, bring us this, bring us this. And I’m like, man, I felt like royalty. So if you guys ever go with Yigal, you just know he’s going to give you first class service man. Every time I’ve been with you, it’s been amazing. So thank you for your hospitality.
Yigal Adato: 33:15 No, and I said this in the beginning, I just want to say this again, there are a handful of men that I look up to because of their integrity, because of their faith, because of who they are. And you’re one of them.
Aaron Walker: 33:28 Oh, thank you.
Yigal Adato: 33:28 I appreciate. Thanks for being a great example for me and in just teaching me through these conversations.
Aaron Walker: 33:37 Yeah. Thank you buddy. I appreciate it. I really enjoyed being here with you today. If everyone reach out to me, you can find me at viewfromthetop.com. All of our social media platforms are there and it’s cool to be here today because I’ve done consulting for pawnshops and because of my history and I love the pawn business. I love what we were able to accomplish there. It was a very fun time in my life. So thank you for inviting me on today and I look forward to contacting you guys in the future. So thanks a lot Yigal.
Yigal Adato: 34:05 Pawn family, you heard it from Aaron Walker. Please check him out viewfromthetop.com also, if you’re not in the Facebook group Pawn Leaders Podcast Community, join the podcast community, we ask questions and talk to chat to very giving community like we talk about resources and how to help each other out. Oh, thanks for listening. And until the next podcast, take care.