Not everyone can successfully pivot from one industry to another. But our guest, Chris Larsen of Next-Level Income, was able to do so, and from a totally different niche! Chris transitioned from medical device sales to become a professional investor. Today, he sits down with Samuel Gbadebo to discuss how he built a real estate empire – upholding the desire to honor his long-lost friend – through medical device sales. They also go over how people should think about what they need and want to do with their money. Finally, Chris gives his take on what makes an effective rep and an effective leader. Chris has a lot of good stuff to share, so enjoy every moment of this episode!
Truthfully here, how many of you clearly know exactly where your money is? Forget about your checking account and savings account, I hope you know what’s in there, but when you think about your 401(k) or any vehicle you put money into, outside of a checking or savings account, or retirement fund, do you know how your money is doing? Do you know what it’s doing and how it’s performing? If you sat down and went over it, and you found a vehicle that could give you higher interest, would you opt-in for that? That’s what we’re going to get into with Chris Larsen in this episode. He’s going to go over how people should be thinking when it comes to what they need and they want to do with their money.
We’re also going to talk about some nice things regarding what makes an effective rep and effective leader from Chris’s perspective. I’m not going to give it away, I am not going to spoil it, but it’s good stuff. Chris is the Founder of Next-Level Income, where they utilize the commercial real estate investing to turn people into financially independent professionals. It’s a beautiful model doing beautiful things. You’re going to enjoy every moment of this episode and then someway, somehow get involved yourself. Thank you so much for reading the blog. I hope you enjoy part two with Chris Larsen. We’ll get right to it. Let’s start the interview.
A lot of your career, you anticipated because you planned it out. You knew you wanted to be a rep for a certain amount of time. It sounds like you knew you wanted to be in leadership for a certain amount of time, and ultimately you knew you’d transitioned out. Is that fair?
Yes. You were having these thoughts at 21. What are you good at? What is your talent? I’m good at looking into the future and seeing how I would perceive things in the future. That’s one of the things that I can do. I knew at some point, I wouldn’t want to be a sales rep. I wouldn’t want to be on-call, day trading, and lying in bed at 3:00 AM when I was 40 years old. I knew these things. I switched from playing baseball when I was thirteen to racing bikes because I thought being a cyclist would be better from a longevity perspective when I was in my 20s, 30s, and 40s. That’s how my brain always thought. If you’re reading and you’re like, “I want to be a rep. I don’t want to be a manager,” what I would say is think about giving yourself more opportunities and more choices in the future. If you’re single now and in the future, you’re married with kids, you might think a little bit differently. It depends on how things go. The most important thing in that is to be good at what you do. That’ll give yourself the opportunities to do it in the future.
For those that are already in, be good at what you do, especially if you’re a new rep, 1 to 2 years in. For medical device, what would you say that you got to be doing? The three things you got to be doing no matter what.
Number one, you have to plan your sales calls. A great book that I would recommend is the Perfect Week Formula by Craig Ballantyne. What he talks about is planning your week. If you’re a sales rep, plan your sales calls first especially if you’re a device rep, you’re going out there, you’re covering cases, you’re running trays around, and you’re doing all this stuff, you need to plan the most important things that are going to grow your business.
Second, you need to develop continually. You always have to put in time. I spent about 10% of the revenues in my company on training and coaching. I spent tens of thousands of dollars on training and coaching. Always be learning. I read two books a month. One of those, I’m listening to. One of those, I’m reading. Number two is always be learning. My regional vice president at Pfizer told me, “Chris, do you want to be successful in pharmaceutical sales? It’s pretty easy, just read two studies a week.” Think about it, if you’re making consistent sales calls and you’re constantly educating yourself, that’s going to go very far. Number three is build relationships. If you can help somebody, help them out. That’s the easiest way to build relationships and be consistent. Do what you say you’re going to do. Plan, educate, and build relationships.
There are a lot of leaders in our audience. Some of them have been doing it for longer than you. Some of them are just on the brink. Again, top three things that you got to be doing as a leader.
The planning and education in whatever you do is going to be important. The difference is if you’re in a sales role, you may be planning your sales calls. Plan your sales calls and do that. When you flip it and you move into a leadership role, as leaders, a lot of managers are not great at sitting down and doing those developmental calls with their reps. Change your perspective a little bit. Your customers, as a leader or a manager, are going to be the people that work for you. You need to treat them well. What I tell the reps is you need to learn how to sell in and sell out.
Sell out of the company, sell to your customers, but sell into the company. Build those relationships and do that. As a leader, you have to do a good job of selling to your reps. The last thing is hiring. You need to be recruiting and learning how to find new talent constantly. That is the thing that you need to build constantly. That’s a bit of a variation of the relationship, but constantly be on the lookout for good talent. Always keep them in your back pocket, and find a way for good talent in your organization if possible.Be really good at what you do; that will bring you the opportunities. Click To Tweet
Bring us back to where you are now. Talk to us about you being the founder of this real estate empire that you’re developing. You gave us the top three to be a rep and to be a leader. At what point did you say, “It’s about to happen. I’m about to make that transition?”
I’m trying to be consistent here as I mentioned earlier. You want to give yourself opportunities, more flexibility and more freedom in the future. At 38, We were debt-free and financially independent. I’m not one of those guys that’s like, “I live on $30,000 a year, but my wife still works. We have no kids or one kid.” You hear about these people that are financially independent. They retired early and they’re 30 years old. That’s cool but I wanted to have it all. I want to have a family, nice house, and decent cars. Not extravagance, but have those options. That’s a family of four, debt-free, financially independent at age 38. Give yourself those opportunities. You need to think about, how am I going to get to a point where I have the flexibility to do that?
Next-Level Income is designed to provide education but also opportunities. The first thing that we started out doing was syndicating multifamily deals. Basically, apartment deals. I talk about in my book how I transitioned from those single-families. I sold all of those several years ago. I moved all of that capital into commercial real estate. I wanted commercial real estate that would provide me monthly or quarterly passive income cashflow. I wouldn’t have to manage it and I got great tax benefits. What happened was people started hearing about it and they said, “Chris, can I invest with you?” My now former partner and I, we started out. We started talking to people. We designed syndications where investors could invest alongside of us, and get all the same benefits that we were, in these apartments.
That’s was the foundation of what allowed me to make the choice that I made here. The other piece is education. We started our podcast Next-Level Income Show a few years ago, and it was designed to curate some of these lessons. The same reason you’re putting in this show, Samuel. It’s a wonderful thing. If I’m going to say, “You should go educate yourself,” it’s part of our mission. We need to provide that education and those opportunities to do that. That’s what we’ve done now. As the opportunities to grow the real estate business and become more active in that have popped up, I thought this is something I want to dedicate more time on.
Here’s what they did for me, Samuel. I was flying back with my oldest son from Salt Lake City on a ski trip over New Year’s. He looked at me and he said, “Dad, I love you. I had such a great time. I want to do more of this with you.” I had my 2021 Strategic Review two days later. In that 48 hours, I made the decision that this was a good time, the business was in a good place, and I wanted to hand this off to somebody that could continue to run with that. I could focus number one on my family, but also my mission now, which is to educate people and give people these opportunities to have the same options that I did.
You’ve been doing this company now for four years.
If you look at a couple of different incarnations, we officially started the real estate syndication in 2015, but we officially launched the Next-Level Income Show and that business a few years ago.
The business looked a little different before the Next-Level Income Show came, and now it’s completely transformed into what it is now.
It started with investments and opportunities. A few years ago, which to me is the most important thing, we launched the education side of the business.
What are some of the most profound things that you’ve learned as your podcast and the business has grown? What things do you share with us that you’ve been like, “Is that me?”
The biggest thing is how important the abundance mindset is. I could apply this to investment theories like retirement. I would say the theory or the thought of retirement is scarcity. You build up money and then you hold onto it. You hope you don’t die before your money is gone. That’s scarcity in my mind. What we do is we teach people to grow their passive income in a way that the income and their capital continues to grow that can be passed on in the future. It’s unlimited and more abundant.
Also, relationships. You work with people that might be good at what they do, but they have a scarcity mindset. Whether it’s a rep that has a territory that doesn’t want to hire and train because they don’t want to let go of their territory, versus the rep that says, “I’m going to hire and train people. I want to keep growing.” Those are the reps that are making seven figures. I do know multiple reps that are making seven figures, and none of them are hoarding their territory. They’re all developing people underneath them. The same thing in the investment world. The people that I’ve come to work with and make my partners are the ones with that same abundance mindset. That’s the number one rule. If you’re not familiar with that, go and read about the abundance mindset versus scarcity mindset. First, commit to that, and align yourself with people that feel the same way.
If people are reading and they’re thinking, “I want to get involved.” Let us know how does someone get involved that wants to potentially invest, and more importantly, what type of person should be considering these types of opportunities?If you can help somebody, help them out. That's the easiest way to build relationships. Click To Tweet
There are a couple of pieces to that. At Next-Level Income, the strategy is to make more money, keep more of your money, and then grow your money. You do a phenomenal job of helping people make more money. You said, “What are some of the training?” Sales training and education. You got to make more money. Get good at what you do, and help as many people, and provide as much value as possible. That’s going to allow you to make as much money as possible. If you want to make more money, continue to listen to Samuel. Check out our podcasts on our website, NextLevelIncome.com. We have a ton of guests that can talk about everything from sales all the way to investing.
Number two, if you’re reading and you say, “I’m doing well. I’m making a lot of money,” we typically work with accredited investors. These are investors that are making $200,000 a year or more, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the same skills. We have guests on our show that can show people who are just getting started that are making $50,000 how to make some of those first investments and do that. We also teach you how to keep more of your money so you can invest it. If you are doing your taxes, then you need to check out some of our resources or get in touch with us. You need to have a tax strategy. You have to figure out how to set the buckets up as I talk about in my book, so when you start pouring this money into your buckets, it’s not leaking out, whether it’s through fees or taxes.
What we do is help people grow their money. If you say, “I’m accredited. I’m making a lot of money. I’m looking for a way to build passive income,” you can check out our Next-Level Income Investor Club. If you go to our website and click Invest, you can apply to join the club there. You can check out our opportunities in apartments and commercial real estate like office and self-storage. We also have oil and gas, which can be appealing. It’s an interesting time in that market with the transition of administrations, especially for people that are making a lot of money.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner or if you’re a W-2 employee. As long as you hit the criteria you mentioned, they can visit you and make something happen.
If you have a question, go to our websites and schedule a call. I can walk you through exactly what we do. You can see if it’s a good fit for you.
Before I let you go, Chris, you’re a forward thinker, you started very young, you made some amazing decisions that have got you to a very good place, and you’ve had a lot of options. What is your routine? Give us your morning to evening routine. How do you manage your day? What do you incorporate into the day that allows you to perform at this level on a consistent basis?
I mentioned Craig Ballantyne book, The Perfect Week Formula. I’ve modeled a lot of the things that I do on that. Even before I read that, I was getting up at training early in the morning because I was racing bicycles with pros while I was an on-call rep. I would get up at 4:45, 5:00 in the morning. I would train for 1 or 1.5 hours before I would go into the hospital. I still get up at 5:00. My wife can attest that usually on the weekends, I do sometimes sleep in a little bit, especially when my dog jumps back in bed and wants to snuggle with me. I roll back over sometimes. What I focus on is typically first thing in the morning for about 1.5 hours, I work on the most important thing.
I talked about prioritizing and scheduling. From 5:00, 5:30 in the morning until about 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning, before my kids wake up, whether that’s writing, that’s how I wrote my book, prepping for a blog article, or underwriting a deal. That’s what I do. My ideal day is making breakfast for my boys, taking them to school, and then I get a workout in. I work out five days a week. I still ride my bike. I do a little bit of CrossFit. That’s either mid-morning or mid-day, and then it’s call, whether that’s a coaching call or investor call. I fill in that time as well. At the end of the day, I’m wrapping up and planning for the next day.
I try to wrap up by 5:00 or 6:00 every day so I can either take my boys to soccer or lacrosse practice. I take them out for a mountain bike ride, enjoy dinner, and do that. You can move a lot of that stuff around but I never move around that early morning routine. What I can tell you, if you don’t get up at 5:00, you can always move that dial back fifteen minutes once a week until you get there. If you can spend 1.5 hours, 5 or 6 days a week, you can accomplish a whole work’s week worth of productivity within that time. That’s why people say, “How did you start this business, Chris? How do you do this? It seems like you’re either working all the time or you’re slacking off in some area.” That’s the secret. You can get a lot done uninterrupted on 90 minutes at morning.
I’m a 5:00 AM as well. There’s something to getting up before the rest of the world has. That has you in a completely different zone.
You can get up at 9:00, but suspend that uninterrupted time in the morning focusing on that. For some people like some of my coaching clients I work with, they struggle to get a workout in. I tell them, “You need to go work out first thing in the morning because that’s always sitting on their mind.” At 4:00 in the afternoon, they’re not productive because they’re not healthy. For different people at different times of your life, it may be different things. For me, that’s when I’m most productive, when I get most of the important things done.
The last thing that I’ll mention, we have a sales training program that’s designed for pharmaceutical sales reps, and we’re introducing one for medical device sales reps as well. You have one-on-one coaching specifically for the spine. Is that correct?
That’s what a lot of people would assume, but my one-on-one coaching is designed around the individual. I work with small business owners, investors, and medical device reps that are trying to hone their sales techniques and figure that out. It’s based around my make, keep, and grow strategy. If you’re reading and you’re like, “I need to figure out how to hone my tax strategy or my entity structure.” For somebody that’s got the wheel turn and making a lot of money, we might start with that, or somebody that maybe need some sales coaching. First off, I may refer them to you. I do work one-on-one with individuals. I dive deep and figure out how can we work through some of the things that we talked about here, to help them optimize every area of that strategy, to ultimately get to the point of true freedom which is having that passive income coming in that pays all your bills for you.Make more money, keep more of your money, and then grow your money. Click To Tweet
Normally, I have you give the last message. You’ve seemed to sum it up. Is there anything else that you want to share with the audience before we close it off?
If you missed it in the beginning, get a copy of our book. I’ll send it to you for free. NextLevelIncome.com, click on the book link. Not only will you get a digital copy, but you’ll get one in the mail as well.
It was excellent sharing with you. We learned so much. I’m looking forward to seeing you again and see how much the business has grown by that time.
Samuel, thank you. You do such a great job. I love what you’re doing for the community. I appreciate the opportunity to be on here and share the story as well.
See you soon, Chris. Thanks.
That was a great episode. The reason why it is so important is because of what we’re talking about. Most of the audience is somehow connected to the medical sales space, whether you’re in medical sales, leading the medical sales industry, or you’re someone that wants to be. The one thing we all have in common besides medical sales is our money, and not so much making the money. If you’re in this space, you’re working to get in the space, you’re leading the space, you have enough to make some good decisions with your income, but are you making a good decision with your income?
Chris is on a mission to help professionals like us and others to make sure their money is working for them so they can get to this beautiful place of financial independence. What that does financial independence mean? That means you are now living off of the investments that you have as opposed to the hard money that you earn. That’s completely liberating. When you’re living off the return of your investments, you put yourself in a position to do whatever it is that you want to do. A lot of the concerns that so many people have to face, you do not have to spend as much time thinking about. It truly is a liberating experience.
That was a solid episode. Chris went to more than that. He talked about what it means to be an amazing rep from his entire perspective. The first thing is you got to plan. I’ll say again the nice book that he left us with by Craig Ballantyne, The Perfect Week Formula. I recommend everybody to get that book. It’s an excellent book to understand how you can get so much done in a relatively small amount of time when you plan accordingly. Planning, you got to do it and continually develop.
That’s something I’m big on. You want work on your personal developing. Look for ways to work on yourself. I challenge all of you out there. Think about the last time you did something to work on yourself. Any kind of development, whether you took a program to help you be a better person, better performer or better communicator, whatever it is. Think about what you’re doing to develop yourself and if you find yourself saying, “I haven’t done much.” I’m challenging you now to find something.
One thing I like that Chris mentioned is that he takes 10% of his earnings and he puts that towards some kind of development. Whatever that looks like, as long as it’s developing him, giving him more knowledge, and making him more capable to do other things, grow his skillset and grow his business. Everyone should be doing that. We should all be very deliberate. Why not start with 10%? That’s a good place to start. Take 10% of your revenue for this year and make it a point to put all of that towards your development.
Lastly, we talk about this all the time, build those relationships. This is important because it’s not just about building a relationship with customers. It does need to be building relationships in general especially with your colleagues and your leadership in your company. Build those relationships, create those sponsors, create those mentors. It’s invaluable to have people like that playing in your life when you’ve truly taken the time to build those relationships.
We went to leadership and it’s similar when you’re thinking about a first-line leader. They got a plan and they also have to continue develop, but they have to develop their people continually. There’s something a little bit at stake and it’s the development of their people. In that role, your customer is the team that works under you. Lastly, constantly be recruiting how to find that new talent. Everyone is doing that, especially right now when a lot of the floodgates for these companies have opened and their hiring again. As a leader, you want to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to get in front of the best talent.
I like Chris’s philosophies because they’re simple. He goes by this make more, keep more, make it grow. That can be tailored to any business projects he’s working on. It can be tailored into your role as a representative or leader, and it can tailor it into how you manage your finances. Make more, keep more, make it grow. It’s a simple way to understand how you’re going to get yourself to that space of financial independence. Next-Level Income is the company that he does that with. As you heard in this great interview, he went over to so many resources that they provide.
Whether you’re an accredited investor making over $200,000 a year or not, there are resources for you that can help you get to where you need to be. Whether you want to take advantage of your tax advantages or what they have regarding doing your taxes, they got something for you. If you want to get into it and start investing into commercial real estate or alongside them in commercial real estate, that’s another opportunity. Make sure you contact Chris with the Next-Level Income and get yourself on the road to financial independence.
We talked about development, building relationships, and making sure you consistently grow. One thing that I’m going to follow up with that Chris mentioned is how important it is to have an abundant mindset. I love that because when you have an abundant mindset, a lot of challenges or what can be perceived as challenges for people, glaringly and so clearly become opportunities. In that vein, if you’re someone that wants to do any of this, you’re saying, “I’m reading and I want to make more money. I want to perform better in my role, develop myself, hone some of my skills, build better relationships, be in my company, develop those sponsors and mentors, put myself in a position that’s going to allow me to have better options, and do more for my company while doing more for myself.”
If this is you and you want to make a move, then contact me, Samuel@EvolveYourSuccess. You can send an email. You can find us on LinkedIn, Samuel Adeyinka. You can go ahead and go to EvolveYourSuccess.com and check us out. We’ve got options to get yourself into the industry, a program that’s growing and working. People are getting positions. It’s wonderful. It’s a community where we have hiring managers, sales leaders, recruiters, all involved to help you get to where you need to be.
We also have sales training that’s teaching you not just the sales skills to make you more effective in front of the customer and have better interactions, but what goes on behind that. How are you even mapping out? How do you want to handle your career? You don’t know everything, but what are you doing to plant the seeds to give you opportunities in the future that you might not be able to see right now.
What depth do you understand yourself cycle? What mindset are you operating by? Do you operate by an abundant mindset? Do you even know what an abundant mindset is? How are you branding yourself within your company? If five people that knew you lined up right now and one-by-one gave your brand one word, do you think you would love what they had to say? These are things that we tackle in our sales training program. If you’re someone that wants to level up and make some things happen, get yourself to making more money, get yourself to keeping more of it, and get yourself to making it grow, then you need to make sure you start with the sales training.
Contact us. You can visit EvolveYourSuccess.com, click Improve My Sales and you’ll be connected to me or one of our coaches. We’ll have a nice discussion about what you can do to get you in the right space within your position. As always, I sincerely appreciate the time you took to tune in to the show. We all do our best to bring you guests that will give you some education into how you can better your career and your performance, how you can get into the industry and better your life. Thank you again, and make sure you tune in for another episode.
Real Estate Investor & Syndicator | Coach | Sales Executive
I help medical device professionals, doctors and entrepreneurs build a plan for financial independence through education and investment opportunities. If you are looking to achieve TRUE freedom my proven strategy can help you achieve financial independence in 7 years or less.
After a career in the medical device industry, first as a sales rep and then as a manager I help others develop a plan and learn from my mistakes to achieve true freedom to live the life of their dreams.
Get a free copy of my book at: www.nextlevelincome.com/book to learn more about how you can achieve financial independence.
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