Episode 138: Profit First Lessons From A Investor, speaker, and founder of Common Goal with Nick Prefontaine
The Profit First REI Podcast
December 15, 2022
One of the most common goals in real estate investing and building wealth is developing that peace of mind that comes with financial security.
Joining us today is Nick Prefontaine, an investor, speaker, founder, and CEO of Common Goal. He talks about the difficulties he and other investors experienced and how he has managed to build his success and achieve that peace of mind through financial management.
Tune in as he talks about his investment journey, the influences and lessons he learned growing up with a dad who is a real estate investor, and implementing Profit First!
[00:52] Introducing Nick Prefontaine
[03:02] On Nick Starting His Investment Journey After Coming out of the Hospital
[09:49] Money Struggles Nick Experienced During His Journey
[17:32] On Learning Money Management Early
[24:46] Employing an Abundance Mentality: How Investors Can Stop Living Deal to Deal
[28:19] Taking Things a Step at a Time: Nick’s Keys to Success
[30:22] Advice for Real Estate Investors
[11:46] “In order to influence people, in order to let them help you, you have to allow them to bring down their walls. And that’s done by relating to them.”.
[19:24] “The principles that I learned in [the Millionaire Mindset seminar] they stick with me to this day, and really it really allows me to have so much more flexibility and peace of mind.”
[28:50] “You have to just take your first step. And then once you take your first step, it allows the next step to become possible. So just breaking it down, David, to taking things one step at a time.”
Connect with Nick:
Nick’s Master’s Class: https://smartrealestatecoach.com/mastersclass
Tired of living deal to deal?
If you are a real estate investor or business owner who is tired of living deal to deal, and want to double your profits, head over here to book your no-obligation discovery call with me. Either myself or someone from my team will hop on a short call with you to get clear on your business goals, remove any obstacles holding you back, and map out a game plan to help you finally start keeping more of the money you work so hard to make. – David
Started implementing that strategy. And it was so different from my own that I started having success after implementing that. But what that really taught me is the fact that in order to influence people, in order to let them help you, you have to allow them to bring down their walls. And that’s done by relating to them.
If you’re a real estate investor who’s sick and tired of living deal to deal, then welcome home. Hear from everyday real estate investors just like you, and discover how they’ve completely transformed their business by taking a profit First approach. This is the profit first for REI podcast, where we believe revenue is vanity. Profit is sanity. It’s time to start making profit a habit in your business. So here’s your host, David Richter.
Everyone. It is David Richter here with the Profit first REI podcast. We have Nick Prefontaine on today, which we’ve had his father on before, which was an incredible episode, and this one delivers as well too. Nick talks about growing up in a real estate investing home, which I think is great, but then he talks about getting a Profit First type system all the way back in 2007, and what that provided for him and his family. And I want you to know that wherever you’re starting right now, you could start a generational peace of mind here. So I want to give you that in this episode. It’s an incredible snippet there in the middle, so make sure you listen to that. Also, he gives his percentages, if you followed Profit First for a while, you know it’s all about percentages. And he says, this is where I started when I first started at the beginning.
And anyone can do this, and I want that for you. So please listen to this episode with your ears wide open and here we go. Let’s interview Nick Prefontaine. Hey everyone. Welcome back to the Profit first REI podcast. Nick, we have Nick in the Fleshlight here. Well, if you can see him on video, if you’re just listening, he’s there, I promise. But he’s an expert at buying and selling on terms. We’ve already talked about some of the stuff in the introduction, but I don’t know. You gotta, I, there’s one thing, Nick, that I have to say before I start asking you questions and diving into this. I had your dad on this, I think last year, and he sent me one of the T-shirts that’s says like Wicked Smart, and it is one of my favorite t-shirts. I still wear it all the time because it’s got the little house in the a and on it. And I just had to say that because it is, it’s definitely one of my favorite t-shirts that I’ve ever received from being on a podcast or being introduced to something. So you need to make sure that whoever is that, that’s helping with your team, send those shirts out. They, get like big props for that T-shirt. So
I’m gonna be meeting with that person later today. I will make sure to mention it.
Please do. I wear it all the time. I absolutely love it. And I can always hear the Boston accent with, you know, like once I put that on, I’m like, this is awesome. But here we go. So first question I want to ask you is definitely one of the most interesting ones I’ve gotten on a bio when people send this over to me. So I don’t usually start with these types of questions like from their bio, but I have to ask this, it said only two years after in a coma, you knocked on doors as an investor. What did that teach you? I wanna just dive right into that question.
So it really, it really wasn’t, David, I’m, I’m thrilled to be here, by the way, so thank you for having me. Yeah. Um, it really wasn’t until the past few years where this was reflected back to me that, wait a minute, only two years after running out of the hospital and learning how to walk, talking to eat again, you were going to some areas of cities that, and I’m, and I’m being, um, very, uh, careful here. Areas of cities that were not some rough areas of, of silly. So I would go, I would go to the areas I was notice I was knocking on, um, doors notice of default doors, so homeowners that have received a notice of default letter from the bank. And this was back in oh five, so oh 5 0 6, that timeframe am frame. So at that time, the banks, and still to this day, which is it, it amazes me that they don’t foreclose on a house sometimes until one year, two years or even three years after they send out that notice of the fall letter.
So I would go to the highest concentration of these notice of default letters, these n o d um, houses, the n o d doors. And to me, I, I was 16 David, so it made it sense to me that, oh, okay, I’m not gonna go to the suburbs where I can only maybe get a handful done. Yeah. I wanna go to the areas of the cities where I can, where the highest concentration is of these doors that I, so I can get the most done in a day because I still had to go to school. Mm-hmm. Um, I <laugh> I was still in high school, so I only had the weekends. I only had, uh, Saturday or Sunday. Usually I picked one of those days and just loaded them up. Um, I would be doing anywhere from 50 to 70. I think my high was up over 70, but that wasn’t, that wasn’t a, that wasn’t a norm.
Um, but that really taught me. So that was affected several years ago back to me that Wow. And I was, made me think, Hmm, okay, yeah, you’re right. That is kind of a big deal. But during that timeframe, after my snowboarding accident, time is almost compressed, um, going through, if you’ve ever been through a trauma or like an illness or anything like that, I think maybe you could relate to that, or any of your listeners can relate to that. When you’re going through something, it seems like time stands still and it’s moving so slow. So, but then looking back on it, to think that I was only, oh, okay, you were only in inpatient rehab for less than two months, less than 60 days, learning how to walk, talk, and eat again. And I’m like, yeah, yeah, it’s that there really isn’t a big deal.
But it felt more like two years when I was going through that. Yeah. So then to go two years, it was just a, a no-brainer to go two years after and to get involved with knocking on doors. To me, it seemed like a lifetime. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, that amount of time. But what it taught me, and this is also something that got reflected back to me recently, what it’s taught me was really how to relate to, uh, these people that were in distress, how to relate to them and help them to bring their walls down. Because everyone, whenever we’re dealing with anything new or foreign to us, excuse me, we all have a wall up. Like, what, what is, what are you trying to get over on me? What are you trying to, uh, sell to me? I gotta make sure I maintain my space, maintain my environment.
So right when I first started this, David, I had no, I had no training. It was just, they said, my, my dad said to me, Hey, here’s a, here’s a list, or here’s where you go to find out where they are. Here’s a script, knock yourself out. So I didn’t have any, I didn’t have any like, training on this. It was just, I would go and knock on the door, bang, bang, bang, and then they’d open the door, Hey, I’m, I’m gonna help you. I would basically read from the script, I’m gonna help you outta your unfortunate situation. Here’s what we can do for you, blah, blah, blah. And I get a lot of doors slammed in my face at that time, because you picture it, these people, these people were in a distressed situation. They hadn’t made payments. They’d missed payments on their mortgage or the loan for a few months, or some even a few years, which is insane to me. Um, but it varied, varied all over the map. And then, so you’re in that distress, and then you have this kid, the 16 year old kid knocking on your door saying, God knows what, bang, bang, bang, and he’s gonna help me out of my, my situation. What, what the hell is going
On? Yeah. Wow. This is great because I think so many of the listeners probably, if they’ve never done a deal before, kind of have that analysis paralysis. And here you have a 16-year-old, you know, like who’s two years off of, you know, like a, a bad accident going through that trauma, knocking on doors in these areas that, you know, the 16-year-old might be scared of or what, or whatnot. But then you are actually going and doing that and finding those deals and getting them done, and like having that environment. I think that is, that is so good. Just from several different levels of like resiliency, picking yourself back up, doing the hard thing, doing it at any age, you know, like you’ve said, 16 years old. So I think if you’re listening to this and you just jumped into it, you, there’s no excuses not to get started. Which you just talked a lot about too, Nick, about these people struggling, you know, like, and then, you know, going through the different foreclosures or going through, you know, like the different money struggles in their life. Let me ask you, you’ve been on your journey for a long time here. You just talked about this being 2004, 2005, you know, around that area, that timeframe. What money struggles have you faced in your life or your business?
Yeah, thanks to the question, uh, David and I am going to address it. I just wanna close the loop on that. So, okay. Um, what I was talking about with doors, so knocking, that was my first approach. Obviously there wasn’t, or maybe it’s not so obvious to anyone listening, but there wasn’t a lot of success at that point. Um, I was seeing very marginal results, if any, as you can imagine. Then my cousin and I, who was also knocking on doors of me, uh, flew out to California, San Diego to shadow the number one person in the country that was having success with these n o d doors once I saw his approach. So you asked me what I learned from that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, once I saw his approach and how much it differed from my own and how disarming it was, it was like, Hey, a little jingle on the door, like a friend knocking by, coming by and just wanna say hi.
Then he would take a few steps back off the step, they would come the door, Hey, I’m not, I’m not sure if I have the right place. Could you help me with something? And then he showed them the list. Once they saw their name, they would open up, they would light up about what they were doing to fix it or, or those nasty, those nasty banks. And Right. Um, it really taught me. And then when I got back, I started implementing that strategy and it was so different from my own that I started having success after implementing that. But what that really taught me is the fact that in order to influence people, in order to let them help you, you have to allow them to bring down their walls. And that’s done by relating to them.
Yeah. No, that’s really good. It’s getting there. And sometimes you need that mentor and you need that help, which we talk a lot about on here. So let’s talk about that money struggle. So what do you have, what have you faced in your life and in your business when it comes to money struggles?
Well, like, um, thank you for the question. Like you know, uh, running, running a business and, and starting off, you’re gonna have, it’s not always an upward straight uphill like trend. Like, oh my God look at the growth on that guy. It is growing, growing anything, growing any endeavor is a process. And I think when I first, I graduated high school, when I first got outta high school in 2007, I started starting my real estate license. So I ended up, after shadowing a few people and, um, going and visiting, cuz my parents said to me, well, look, if you’re not, if you’re not going to college, you’re going to, um, basically have a, a very, um, stretch real estate curriculum where I, I got a chance to go around and shadow mentors and have weekend intensive with or weekend intensives with mentors of theirs and really learn and develop.
So I ended up getting my real estate license in March of oh eight. Um, I know great time to be a real estate, uh, to be a real estate agent March of oh eight. So during all that craziness, March of oh eight, I think in, in my, in my courses, um, to get my real estate license, it was packed very full, because that was in the fall of 2007. However, when I sat for my test in March of, uh, 2008, I think there was, I had to, I didn’t pass on the first time. I, I had to take it three times to pass it, but I think there was one person the first time, Nope, no other people. The second time I tried it and then one person the third time that I tried it. Wow. So you, you can just see the, the landscape obviously changed at that point, um, because of everything that happened.
So, and it was as far as when it comes to struggles and everything, my dad, Chris, who you’ve had, you’ve had on your show, he, that was, that was a time when I got, I actually, we shared an office of like after I got my real estate license, we shared a little office in Newport. Him and I, we are doing different things, but we share, we shared an office I got to witness every day, um, from 2007 to 2012 to 13, debt collectors, lenders, private investors, all calling him every day mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. And it was a full, it was a full-time job Yeah. To, to field those calls and to make payment arrangements with everyone. But, and one of the thing, one, one of the things that I admire about him is he could have very easily said, you know what, it’s not my, it’s not my fault that the global financial markets crashed.
Um, it could have easily closed up shop and, uh, fi filed, um, I’m not sure. Or
Like that. Yeah. Something like that. Like, like there were, there were a few options at that time. But, uh, one of the things that really impressed me is that he didn’t do that. He could have that and that that would’ve been an easier way than what he did. But he worked out payment plans and he made everyone whole, which is something I really admired. And out of that, out of that struggle is where our business developed. Hmm.
That’s good. The
Creative, the creative real estate business.
Yeah. Well, that’s awesome. I love that part that you just said there too is like out of the struggle, that’s where it really took off. You know, I can, we, you were better at what you were doing. You had gone through something hard and then coming back better on the other side. And I think that’s what real success is. It’s being able to say, I’m not going to give up, I’m gonna go through this. And I’m sure that a lot of what you saw there has formed how your real estate and life has turned out over that time too. Cuz that was probably some of the worst, hardest times that you’ve seen. So I, that’s a big, that’s a big one for sure. Cuz you’ve been in real estate a long time enough to see an actual crash and probably one of the worst crashes in real estate investing.
So that’s where, like right now, if you’re listening to this as a listener, you are probably seeing one of the best times in real estate investing or maybe, you know, like this is one of the best times to jump in and to be a part of that. But that’s where when it gets tough, you have to look to people like Nick and his dad, Chris, who have weathered these storms and did the right thing during those times. Which kind of brings me to my next question here, Nick, is since you, we talked about this even before we got on. Your dad, I believe took you to an event a while ago that kind of ha was teaching the prophet first concept, but not calling a prophet first then, but kind, kind of like introduce that to you a while ago. Can you tell about that and how that system, where you learned it and what, you know, what that system is that’s helped you with the cash and with, you know, keeping it in order since I’m sure that was a big part of the money struggles and things coming out of that from that time.
Yeah, absolutely. And it actually falls, the timeline David falls right in line with, uh, with where I learned this, this strategy and the strategy of every dollar that comes in is not money that you can then spend. It’s mm-hmm. <affirmative>, okay, we’re going to have buckets and we’re going to have percentages that go to certain accounts. And over the years, those, those have obviously the number of buckets have grown, the percentages have, have, have fluctuated, but mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we’ve always, or I’ve always had that foundation and of those buckets and everything like that. And that was, that was all the way back to November of 2007. My cousin and I went down to Florida and we actually stayed with my grandparents, but then we commuted, it was like a three day seminar, T Har Becker seminar, Millionaire Mind Intensive. We commuted two hours every day one way Hmm.
Across Alligator Alley. And we, we, we kept doing that for, for a few days, but the principal, the principals that I learned in that, um, they stick with me to this day. Wow. And it really, it really allows me to have so much more flexibility and peace of mind because as I was saying before, there is, with the growth of any business or with an evolution, even, not even the growth of a business, but the evolution of a business, you’re going to have your, your peaks and valleys and it’s, it’s, there are going to be times when cash is a little tighter than others, but by having these buckets and this strategy to fall back on, it’s never anything. It’s never anything that I have to give my focus and my energy. Uh, because when something happens, I’ll, I can just give you an example.
Um, there was over, I would say, I’ll give you this example over, um, over a few month period, there was, there was a lower number of deals because when I came into the business, so I was a real, I was a realtor, so I was a realtor. I got my, as I said, I got my real estate lessons in March of oh eight. I let it go officially in, uh, January of 2016. But there was a timeframe from about December of 2014, till that time, January of 2016, when, um, I was, I was making this transition from being a, doing, being an investor and being a realtor to being a, being a full-time investor. Um, there were periods of time during that, during that period, during that few months period where I was like, okay, well the income, the income just isn’t there. But because I had these buckets set up, I could always refer back to, oh, okay, if I had tax, if I had a tax due, I would go and dip into that, dip into that bucket.
Um, if I had a, another unexpected expense because I had consistently, and when it, um, all right, I’m gonna, I’m gonna throw this, uh, your focus is profit first. So I think this might ring true to you, but for my financial freedom account, because with ci Harveka, you do a financial freedom account. Yeah. So for that, I really just don’t wanna think about it. So I have a brokerage that, a brokerage account that I just, I get a dollar and I send a percentage of it so I don’t have to think about it. Awesome.
During that period, I, I’ve been, I’ve been consistently sending a little bit every time I get, every time I get, uh, paydays because I only made money when, when we moved houses, uh, just on commission. So then there was a period when I needed to dip into that, and I called them and I said, well, look, I don’t wanna touch my, like, equity position or cash out and have penalties or anything like that, but there was a little nest egg sitting over here, and it wasn’t invested in anything of $3,500. So I said, oh, okay, give, send me 3000 of that. I’m going to replace it over the next several months. But that was a good stop gap to help me, um, move forward. And so I didn’t have to be constantly off my head with what’s gonna happen. So I wasn’t making decisions based on the fact that I needed, I needed that money. It was, I could continue to operate like I was doing.
That is so good, because that is, that is one of the key points in the book too that I write about private virtual real estate investing and where I say that not having to live deal to deal or having to get the next deal and setting yourself up with reserves in those accounts and those buckets, and giving yourself that freedom of space. I love what you just said. You were able to still operate under the same, the same purpose and principles rather than from that fear of like, I gotta do this, or I’m gonna be wiped out. You know, it’s like, and then that’s where then the scary decisions come into play. So I absolutely love that, because I think a lot of people when they first start in business, I love that you’ve been doing it for so long too, but that’s where, when first people first start in business, they don’t have this, and then they keep running out of cash all the time. And I, you know, they were living the real estate rat race basically over and over and over again. So it sounds like you’ve had this set up for a long time and that it saved your bacon several times throughout your, your real estate investing career here and helped you with, you know, some of the times where cash was a little bit tighter or whatnot. So yeah, that’s, that’s awesome.
That’s absolutely does. Yeah.
So then why do you think most investors do live deal to deal? Like a lot of people didn’t go to a T Harv you know, T Harv Ecker seminar back in the day or whatnot, or they’re just getting into real estate now. What would you say why a lot of investors live deal to deal, and how can they stop living deal to deal?
I can’t, I can’t, I’m not gonna open that Pandora’s box, get into, get into other people’s heads and go behind their, their motivations and why they make decisions. But I can tell you, um, I can just speak from experience.
Yeah. You’ve seen a lot of investors by,
By, yeah. By doing it myself. Um, I really find that there’s so much more peace of mind doing it that way. I understand that investors, so this, this is coming back around in your, the way you asked the question. I understand that people wanna celebrate their successes and wanna say, yeah, I made $10,000 from this deal. Let’s, let’s like go on vacation 5,000, let’s buy a new car, 5,000, all right, let’s get the next deal. But if you’re thinking like that, that’s a, that’s a fear and a lack, um, a fear and a lack state of mind. So you gotta have an abundance mentality that these are going to continue to come in. So you have to set yourself up from, go from the first one. And when I first started this, David, I was doing, I think just off the top of my head, 70%, and I’m not even talking about taxes at this point, but 70% of the income will go to my necessities account, 10% charity, um, 10% of savings, and 10% to financial freedom account. Um, so that, that really is what I started with. Yeah. And I think, I think it’s simple enough that anyone can start there. Like, if you’re not doing anything, yeah, you can start there.
Good. Because a lot of, I mean, profit first and other systems like that, even t veer is like, it’s overwhelming. And the number of things that they tell you to do, okay, do 50%, uh, for necessities and then put 5% here, 5% here, five people like that are doing nothing are like, whoa, whoa.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. What, what? Why would I do that? So you gotta start somewhere, but, um, you gotta have that abundance, that abundance mentality, and for anyone, it, it, it’s out there for anyone that hasn’t read that book, Millionaire Mind Intensive by T Harv Ecker, or, um, I forget exactly what the book is called, the Millionaire Mind, that’s what it is. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I highly recommend that. Yeah,
That’s a really good one. I think it’s back here on my shelf somewhere if you can see this, if you’re watching this on YouTube. But yeah, that’s another, another great book, especially if you’re on your real estate journey and you’ve never read that before. It gives you, if you wanna be a seven-figure earner, it helps you with some of those mindset barriers that you might have in place, and some keys to success like that too. So, which brings me to Nick. I view you, you’ve gone through some difficult times, you’ve seen that, you know, on your investing journey, but you’re still investing in real estate. What would you say has been maybe one or two keys of your success along your journey?
One or two keys. So this is, this is something I talk about, um, I talk about in my other company, common goal. Yeah. And that, that is that you have to, you have to just take your first step and then once, once you take your first step, it allows the next step to become possible. Yeah. So just, just breaking it down, David, to taking things one step at a time. That’s it. That’s all you have to worry about. If that’s all you are, you ever have to focus on, think of how much more stress free and effortless your life would be if all you’re worrying about every day is, okay, what’s my next step? And that will always be available to you once you take your first step, but the most important thing there is you gotta start, right? You gotta take, you gotta take that small action today, um, and then the next step will always become available to you.
Yeah, no, I love that because just at another event here recently, and someone came up to me and is like, I’ve got that analysis paralysis. I’m like, then you need to do whatever you have to do to get over that. I don’t care if you have to pay a mentor to walk you through it. I don’t care if you need to go out there and make a mistake, or if you need to do whatever it is. That first step is so important because once you see that, it’s that domino effect, you know, like, okay, you know, like it’s usually zero to one is the hardest and then the next hardest is, you know, like once you actually start scaling, but it’s that zero to one just getting up off the couch doing something. So that’s really good. I think a lot of people can, can relate to that. I’ve just got a couple last questions here, and I just want to know, what advice would you give, you know, just to the community here, some last minute advice, either the from a strategy that you do or, you know, like anything that you might want to give to the real estate investors listening on this podcast?
Uh, yeah, like I said, if you are not, if you’re not familiar with, uh, what we’re doing at Smart Real Estate Coach in the least, and your, your curious, like something I said peaks your interest and your curiosity, uh, you could head over to our website, which is smartrealestate coach.com/mastersclass, and that will help you learn about our trademark three payday system, how we buy and sell on terms. And look, David, it’s not what we do. I’m not gonna pretend we’re, we’re a good fit for everyone. So I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend that, oh no, every real estate investor has to be buying and selling real estate creatively like we do. Um, it’s not, I get it and it’s not, it’s not going to be a good fit for everyone. But for the ones that, for those of you at listeners, that it is a good fit, they’re able to move forward and take the next step at the end of that master’s class.
Awesome. Love that. Love that. You can take a step right there if you want to go in that direction there, and we’ll make sure that’s in the show notes, that link so you can get that down below. So Nick, this has been awesome. Thank you so much for being on. I just wanted to reiterate one more time. If you are a real estate investor and you’re listening to this podcast and you want that peace of mind, like Nick talked about, you want that flexibility, you want to know that you have cash in the bank when the hard times come, head over to simplecfosolutions.com and click the schedule call button. And we would be more than happy to just see your current financial situation. And if we’re not a good fit, we’ve got a lot of good people on the financial side that we can ping you to. But if you wanna get started there, just head over to our website. We would love to help you. We’d love to give you that same peace of mind that Nick has during the rough times and building up those accounts as well too, and getting that getting out of your rat race. So thank you so much for listening, and I’ll see you on the next episode. Remember, start making profit a Habit in your business.
This episode of the Profit First for r e I podcast is over, but there are plenty more where that came from. Are you ready to learn how David and his team can help implement the Profit First system in your business? Schedule a discovery call at simplecfo.com right now. We’ll see you next time on The Profit First for REI podcast with David Richter.