Season 1,

49: How to Lose Money by Not Staying In Your Lane with Mitch Stephen

May 09, 2017

Mitch Stephen, author of the book series My Life & 1,000 Houses: Failing Forward to Financial Freedom and 200+ Ways to Find Bargain Properties, is a self-taught real estate entrepreneur. Self-employed since 1996, Mitch has purchased well over 1,500 properties in and around his hometown of San Antonio, TX. He is a high school graduate who never stopped learning through books, CDs, seminars and webinars.

Today, Mitch Stephen specializes in owner financing properties to individuals left behind by traditional lending institutions and giving new life to properties that scar neighborhoods. He has perfected a method of achieving cash-flow without having to be a landlord and without having to rehab properties. He’s mastered the art of raising private money and the classic Nothing Down deal. He has pioneered the idea that you don’t have to give discounts to sell your notes. Mitch is a passionate speaker who delivers the message of integrity first and profits second.

Time Stamped Show Notes

[4:20] Finding where he belongs until he was 36 years old, trying and failing is what led him to never stop growing with his current business.

[6:40] The housing market is different all over the country, in San Antonio they still have some of the most affordable housing in the world. In the recession Mitch boomed because banks were not needed for his business, the way was borrowing private money to buy his houses and then sell the houses with owner financing.

[10:20] Living paycheck to paycheck on his late 20s, after having a job on the road, he listened to a lot of self help stuff. Mitch decided to reinvent himself, so he took responsibility for everything happening in his life and laid out new rules.

[15:50] The revelation happened when he heard: financial freedom happens when your wants and your needs are exceeded by your passive income. He changed ‘passive’ to ‘cash flow.’ So he did the budget for what took him to live, his freedom number to walk away from his job.

[20:00] The only goal was to earn $3,000 a month, believing that was the first step and then work around that idea to reach that goal.

[20:55] During the recession, Mitch was left with lots that he couldn’t sell or rent, after loaning $1 million dollars to a developer. It took him two years after finishing the payments, to sell all the lots. Financially he was holding up but emotionally he was being crushed because of everything happening around him.

[30:00] When 50, of the 250 houses he as collecting payments from, went south, he didn’t want to file for bankruptcy and found a way to sell them in under 60 days. Mitch didn’t worry much because “this too shall pass”.

[32:40] Mitch tells us about his business strategy that he found to be very profitable: Buy it, Don’t fix it, Owner finance it for double, Watch the person paying him go over budget fixing up the house.

[39:00] Failing Forward Segment

  • What is the bottom line reason of this failure? – “Because I hadn’t been through it before and apparently I was required to go through it before I learned it.”
  • What is the single most important lesson you learned from this? – “Stay in your lane, know what you core business is and if you’re gonna jump lanes, then be with someone who’s an expert.”
  • What are the major ways you protect yourself from future failures? – “Education and partnering with experts in the field that I’m venturing into.”
  • Who do you turn to when you need help? – “I have a long list of people who are very astute at different things in life. I got and tell them I have an issue with x I think you might have some answers, I’ll buy you lunch or give something in return.”
  • What advice would you give to someone in a similar position? – “Sometimes you just have to take it one day at a time.”

[43:25] You can find Mitch on  to get you started with everything you need. His podcast is available at

[45:45] Mitch’s final thought: Find your freedom number and that’s just your overhead, so you can be free to discover who you are and pursue who you are even if it’s not making a lot of money right now. Life’s too short to be working a job you don’t like and working below you potential.

To hear this episode and many more like it on your mobile device, you can subscribe to How To Lose Money via iTunes or Stitcher.



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