3 Lessons Business Professionals Have Learned As They’ve Evolved Their Careers

Feb 4, 2021

Success leaves clues. It is always far more efficient (and profitable) to learn from others' mistakes and successes, than to have to go through and repeat the trial and errors ourselves. Sometimes we have to do that to really grow ourselves. Though whenever we can hack others’ experiences we can save many years and at least many thousands of dollars. Not to mention just discovering that we are not the only ones going through these journeys on our own.

I recently sent out an email to catch up with a number of contacts I’ve made through various networking opportunities, events and mastermind groups. The response was incredible. Through our video chat sessions we learned a lot more about each other, our career paths, investments, goals and some of the things we’ve been experimenting with in life, business and investing. 

In these sessions I got to interview three dentists who generously shared some of their biggest lessons as they’ve grown, and evolved through their businesses and financial lives. 

Lesson #1: The Power Of Belief

If you believe it, you can achieve it.

Most people have not yet achieved what they dream of, because they don’t believe in it, or lack confidence in themselves or taking disciplined action to get closer to their goals. 

A goal without a plan or taking action is just a wish. 

Being anchored in faith is a great thing. Along with daily journaling it can give you confidence and carry you forward with courage and optimism. 

Ironically, investing, just like going to the dentist often isn’t nearly as painful as expected. 

Of course, once you establish your ‘freedom number’, to make it real you need to develop the discipline to make it happen. Along with faith, having that discipline is one of the top lessons James Stafford says he has learned over his 32 years of being a dentist. 

If you brush your teeth every day those dentist visits are going to be much more pleasant, right? The same as consistently creating good money habits and being disciplined in consistently investing to reach your goals will make tax time and looking at your bank statements at the end of the month a lot less painful. 

You need a strategy to bring this altogether. Especially, when you are thinking about the long term, and want to ensure your finances and investment portfolio can weather black swan events like we saw in 2020. That may be a mix of mortgage notes, rental properties, house flips, and tax liens, or even a hybrid fund that encompasses all of these things. We certainly saw this prove to work incredibly well, and with a strong market for house sales and low interest rates encouraging borrowers to refinance our latest reports show our investors probably did much better than they expected over the past 12 months. 

Obviously, the action of investing often comes down to finding someone you can believe in and trust enough to invest with. Then backing that with collateral, for de-risking your investment and testing the waters before trusting them with even more capital.

Lesson #2: The Importance Of Mindset

What really stood out when talking with Joe Spires was the importance of having a clear head, free of negativity, so that your mind is open to see the opportunities around you. 

Joe has been a dentist specializing in root canals for 18 years. He is hugely grateful for his father in law turning him onto that opportunity all of those years ago. 

He quickly turned that into building out his own office space and starting his own practice. He worked hard, and did well. Though until recently he had a saver’s mindset, not an investing mindset.

He had a friend who talked about the millionaire next door mindset. That’s all about being frugal, and saving, saving, saving. That’s also something he learned from his parents who were both teachers. They were frugal too, and despite being savers, having the pension plan and paying off their home, he often recalls asking them “do we have enough money?”

Today, Joe still has a thriving dental business. Though several years ago it began to grind on him. The monotony and repetitiveness, made him a little jaded. He started asking whether this was it? Was he just supposed to go on being a dentist, doing root canals from 9-5, 5 days a week until he dropped? 

He had the 401k he had opened when their daughter was born, and some mutual funds to be ‘safe and diversified’. His income was good, but he became curious about what else was out there, and if there were better ways of doing things. He also saw the craziness of the stock market, and how it was detached from what was happening out there in reality.

He searched YouTube, listened to podcasts and read a lot of books. He discovered the concept of passive income investing. He started hanging out with people who thought differently about money. 

Joe came to the conclusion that you have to be wary of the golden handcuff trap that keeps you stuck with a little money, but no real freedom. That you have to get out of that comfort zone and just do it. At least if you want to brighten the horizon. 

He started moving his money out of the stock market and defunded his 401k. Then bought a couple of rental houses. He learned about different types of fund investing that enable you to leverage expertise and a strong team for passive income. 

Today, he says he doesn’t lose sleep over his investment portfolio, and has more control over his financial future than ever.

There are boundless opportunities out there. There are great investment opportunities, new ways to work on your business without it sucking the soul out of you, and other ways you can use your talents. You just have to clear your mind to be able to see them and act on them.  

That starts with gratitude. Just being grateful for every little thing around you. 

It may take getting a coach for a while to give you a new perspective. It may be unplugging and doing a 30 day social media fast or detox. Or just 24 minutes of yoga and meditation each day. Invest in gaining this mindspace and you may soon have even far more to be grateful for. 

Lesson #3: Become The Bank

The principle of becoming the bank is the number one lesson John Harasin says he has learned from decades of running his own dental practice, investing, and daily finances. It is also a concept I have to credit learning from my young son back in the Great Recession. 

When the banking system and markets were a mess and millions of borrowers faced losing their homes because the banks wouldn’t help, my son who was around 10 at the time showed his incredible belief and open mindedness on the way to school one day. He said “dad, why don’t you just become the bank?” He certainly tested all the great game I had talked about thinking big and anything being possible. Now, having helped thousands of borrowers keep their homes, hundreds of investors to become the bank and several multi-million dollar funds later, it turns out he was right. 

In fact, it was also this crisis and the impact it had on John Harasin and his business and the group of dentists he was investing with at the time that really drove this home for him as well. It was a huge blessing in disguise.

He has learned the incredible value of becoming your own family bank. Creating your own bank of equity and cash flow, not only means a nice reserve fund, but having instant access to cash to take advantage of great opportunities as they arise. Just don’t spend the capital. And if you or any family members need to borrow, borrow from your own bank, and pay interest back to yourself, not someone else’s bank.  

This in turn changes the dynamics of price, cost and value. It dramatically reduces the real cost of any purchases or investments, and drives up the value and returns you get.

Today, John has the benefit of not only being his own family bank, and having an amazing second home on one of the best lakes in America, but also frequently lends his capital to other investors who need quick cash to close on great deals. 

If you want to become your own bank, then he recommends consistently investing in assets with real cash value. If you aren’t sure where you’ll get that money from, he says to look at where you can regain and recapture your money to invest. Where are you wasting money or are spending frivolously? What subscriptions are you paying every month that you don’t even use? Invest that money instead. Invest it through tax sheltering vehicles which will preserve and compound your gains. 


Learning from others is one of the best hacks to getting to do a lot more of what you want in life, having more freedom and taking care of those most important to you. Plus, whether it is in person or virtually, it is just much more enjoyable to have others with you on the journey and knowing you are not the only one working through these phases of life, business and finances. I am constantly learning from others, and am very grateful for how generously they share their lessons and experiences. From this series of interviews and conversations the big takeaway has been to  know what you want, believe you can achieve it, clear your mind so that you can see the opportunities, and find the ways to invest and take action on those to make your goals reality. 

Investment Opportunities

Find out more about investing in secured debt and real estate, go to NNG Capital Fund

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