Season 1, Episode 7
Overcoming Addictions With Business
Join Rey Fleming and Lyle Leads as they discuss Rey’s story and how he overcame his addictions in life to be successful in business.
In this episode we will cover:
– Can you overcome addiction and be successful?
– How to learn to accept yourself instead of having others accept you.
– How to start over no matter what life throws at you
Lyle: Hello, this is Lyle Leads with Optimize Profitability Podcast. Today I’m excited to introduce Rey Fleming, he’s a co-founder of Wise Guys in Ties. He’s married with two kids and one on the way.
He’s co-authored a book on business credit and he’s currently working on another book on credit repair. He’s a serial entrepreneur, just like the rest of us. He does all kinds of fun stuff. And we’re going to have some really cool stories.
Lyle: So Rey, let’s start us off. How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
Rey: Well, we’ll take it kind of back a little bit to what school growing up really looked like for me. I was a middle child growing up, which I adapted some very good skills in the art of negotiating, learning how to become a peacekeeper. And so, as you’ve heard about middle child syndrome, I definitely had a lot of that taking place. The other thing that was really difficult for me was learning in the traditional school environment.
I was the kid that was always artistic. So during class I was drawing and getting into trouble for doing so. I did not like to do my homework. I wanted to be outside. I wanted to be free. I didn’t want to have to sit down, and do work after I got out of school. So that resulted in bad grades because homework was heavily weighted. So as I’m going through this process, and I barely got out of high school, I believe it was the last semester of high school where I had to take four extra classes just to make sure I graduated on time.
And then as I moved into college, which my parents never even thought was going to be an option, I went to community college. And then from there I just felt lost through this whole process.
I felt lost because in high school when I was 16, I started flipping cars. As soon as I could drive, I started buying cars, and then I would get tired of the car. So then I would sell it. And then I realized because I cleaned it up, they just paid me more money. And then I started skipping class, you know, towards the end of high school where I was literally going to buy cars just so I could flip it.
My brother and I, we got into basically restoration of cars, painting cars, hot rods, imports.
So we did it all in any given time during high school, we would have fourteen cars in our driveway and my mom was OK with it.
So that kind of, I believe, started this thought process where I could take something, and I could spend my time, and turn it into a profit.
And I grew up with my grandparents owning a publishing company.
So I’ve been around entrepreneurs my whole life. It just didn’t really sink in until I first made that payday on my own.
Moving forward, I started working in restaurants, and trying to find really anybody that would pay me money. And I ended up having about 30 jobs before I was 30 just because I ran into the situation where I didn’t feel appreciated. I also was somewhat of a lone wolf. I liked living life on my own terms. I liked being able to choose my own schedule.
I’m a night owl. It’s very, very weird. I’m not necessarily a morning person, besides my wife.
My wife is super bubbly, five a.m. she’s ready to go.
And me, I want to wake up naturally at eight or nine in the morning.
But every book I ever read about success told me that if you’re going to be successful, you got to wake up early. And so I tried that for a while, but it just didn’t necessarily work for me. I just found that I really thrive when it comes ten, eleven o’clock at night, and I get a lot of work done when there’s no distractions around. And so I was able to figure out that that worked for me. Some things work for other folks, but what’s most important is being on some type of schedule with yourself now, as I was basically in these jobs trying to make money, doing it for money, not for the enjoyment of it.
It was basically just working for a paycheck. I found not only was I dissatisfied with the work I was doing, I was just satisfied with my life. And that kind of led down another path.
When I was working in restaurants, I became a bartender. And if you’ve worked in a restaurant, you know that there’s a lot of partying that takes place.
So when I turned 21, I turned into a lot of alcohol consumption, and it was basically working to pay for drinking that led down a different road. I was unhappy, I was overweight. And then since I wasn’t feeling fulfilled in life, I had these little side hustles going on, but it just wasn’t enough, I didn’t pay enough attention.
I ended up dropping out of community college, and then I was lost, and then the alcohol became more, and more of a relationship in my life, and it started to create some real big problems for me. It was creating not only problems in my physical relationships with girlfriends and things like that, but my mental health. It was messing with me. I started ending up getting 2 DUIs and two years I was looking at prison time, and then I couldn’t even stop drinking.
And it turned into this. It turned into an addiction where it had consumed my life because I needed something. I was looking for something. I was searching for something. And I knew that if I didn’t correct what I was doing, if I didn’t find what I was looking for, that was literally going to destroy me, and put me in a grave. Thankfully, I never hurt anybody. Thankfully, the cops stopped me before I ever did crash into anybody.
But as I was sitting in jail for, I think the sixth time I was in there for about a month due to, you know, drinking and causing problems around, I think at this point I was probably around 24 years old.
And I picked up a very, very important book, the first book on personal development.
It was the Bible. And as I picked that up, I just turned to a page and I started reading.
And I get chills just thinking about it, because this was the first time I ever picked up a book. I never even read books throughout my high school career or anything like that. I would look at the Cliff Notes, but I typically just copied off of other folks. And what I found in that book was some very thought provoking questions and the fact that Jesus spoke in parables, it allowed me to reflect on what was taking place in my life.
And I realized that this need, needed to be filled, but I was trying to fill that with external things. And that kind of led me down this road of Christianity, which I’ll talk about a little bit.
But it also opened up my mind to, if I was able to get this from this book, what else am I missing out there?
So then as I started to develop a relationship with Christ, he started to put books into my path. And so there was a book that was called Think and Grow Rich. But then it was like, OK, I have this love for money, but is it money that I’m actually looking for? And then that came to my four second realization that it’s not money that I’m actually looking for, it’s the change I can do with the money. And then I’ve always had this care for folks.
I’ve always had this will to want to help others. I could be driving down the freeway. It’s 110 outside. And not to brag or boast, but I will pull over if there’s somebody that needs their tire change just because of what I am and I don’t tell anybody about that. So I do these things all the time that I don’t ever tell anybody about. But because it fills that void that’s inside that need that I have.
And, you know, as I started going on this personal development, if you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you have to go down the road of personal development. The world is not a crazy enough place to start rewarding undeserving people.
And so you have to become valuable. You have to be better yourself. And that all comes around helping other folks.
And I met a very successful person named John McCants, and he told me, he said, Rey, if you realize now that you can’t focus on money, you’ve got to focus on helping people. You realize that now just get the number of how many people you want to help in your mind.
So he said, start with ten thousand people. You go out and you help ten thousand people. You focus on helping 10000 people get what they want. You will never have to worry about money or taking care of your bills ever again. You’ve already got this key component where, you know, you have to first fill yourself up with your spirit, what’s missing for your spirit, and then you’ve got to go out there and start sharing the good news of what that transformation inside that has taken place.
And there’s somebody else out there that needs to hear what has happened. And so that’s what I did. I was like, OK, well, I’m going to start building a business. We’re going to go help other folks. And then I started making some money and then businesses were failing. But this time when I failed, identified back to drinking, I feel about back to their original self development book. And I relied heavily on that book. And then the Bible.
It helped me find other books. So successful habits of highly effective people. I went from basically at age 28 to having read maybe three books in my life to reading about 200 books a year, and however you can digest it, if you have a hard time reading, get the audio books. My REI that was one of the best investments I’ve ever made is the thousands of dollars that are sitting in my audible account, because you can turn your entire life into a self development project where if you’re in the car instead of listening to music, let’s listen into how to improve your sales skills, because if you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you’re going to learn how you have to learn how to sell.
And like I said, when I had these failures, because when you first start out, your first business isn’t going to make you a million dollars.
I mean, that’s like winning a lottery. You’re going to have to fail. You’re going to have to learn things. And then the next time you do it a little bit better. So, you know, I learned how to flip things and I got on to eBay and sold things on eBay. Then we got on Amazon and did things on Amazon.
And then from there it’s, hey, what do people always look for? And then it turned into a kettle corn business. And then I was doing landscaping for a company for a while. And so I had all these different businesses and each way or each journey on the new business down the path, I would learn something new. One thing that I realized has helped me tremendously is as I read those books, as I met other entrepreneurs, they were able to curb the time curve, that learning curve, I should say, reduce the time that it takes to learn something new.
So as I would absorb the gold nuggets out of a book that was somebody’s life of lessons, and now I can move forward and I don’t have to, I don’t have to learn from my own failures.
I can start learning from the failures of others that set me down, you know, a better path of success.
As I continue to learn from others, I learn that I don’t always have the answers. And it’s interesting for if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re listening to this.
And I know Lyle, it’s like the more that you learn, the less you feel you actually know.
And you’re like just there’s so much out there that I got to learn and understand. And then you become almost addicted to knowledge, to bettering yourself, to helping other folks achieve what is possible in this life and just reflect on my life. And at a really dark, deep time in my life, you only have up to go.
And I’ll tell you what, I’ve been broke. I’ve been well off. I’ve been in the middle.
But I’ll tell you, it is hard, no matter where you are in, being broke is really, really hard. And having money is hard, too.
But if it’s going to be hard, you know, being an employee is hard, owning a business is hard. It’s going to be hard no matter what you’re doing.
So if it’s going to be hard, you might as well at least have a little bit of money and have a business because it’s going to be hard no matter what you do.
And that’s really what’s kept me going today, finding folks and now being able to say, hey, I’ve just barely started to get my head out of here. We have some real estate. We now focus primarily on helping businesses build business credit. We help them get funding for their business. And they came from, you know, being a popcorn popping landscaper, and now we’re funding businesses in the millions of dollars, and doing these hundreds of thousands of dollars of real estate transactions, but it didn’t happen overnight.
It’s that you’ve heard them talk about the iceberg illusion where, you know, I felt last year like I needed to kind of start to pull myself away from Facebook because I was fighting to have people accept me almost.
And so I had been really trying hard. And then I made a connection with this person from high school and they’re like, wow, you’re like you’ve really done something yourself, in the time I was like, I was thinking to myself, that’s really what I wanted to hear.
But at the same time I said. I’m not, that’s not why I’m doing, I’m not doing it to impress other people, I’m doing it to maybe make an impression on their life, so they can see that it’s possible, no matter where you come from, whether you’re struggling with the current situation, maybe it’s relationships, maybe it’s the family that you grew up in, or whatever the struggles that you’re facing. That’s actually the moment when God takes that struggle to mold you to who you’re going to be tomorrow.
So embrace that difficult embrace when times are tough, because when that’s taking place, it’s going to allow you to have better days tomorrow. And so as I look at all these tough situations that have happened over my life.
The sitting in jail, the almost going to prison, and the addiction, and the hardship, and the breakup, and the seeing of my family, and suffering, and almost losing my current wife, and the children just because I’m having a hard time pulling it together, you know, seven years ago. And it’s amazing what can be done. But I realize that now. I would not change any of it at all because it had to happen, so if you’ve had a hard time growing up, I understand that had to happen in order for tomorrow to be better.
That molded you to be able to understand something that God wants you to be able to see and wants to show you in through that you’re going to be almost like a Phoenix rising out of the ashes, because to be a successful entrepreneur, you’re going to have to get punched in the face by life multiple times.
You’re going to keep getting punched in the face. But your goal is not to become successful. It’s just to keep getting up after you get punched in the face by life. That’s really what it is.
And that’s what I do every single day. Just keep getting up.
You know, you learn to like bob and weave and not get hit so hard, but, you know, still going to pop up and just, oh, I totally did not even see that coming.
But when you get hit, it’s easier, it gets easier. You can start taking the blows. But yeah.
I mean that’s where, that’s what kind of brought me to where we are today. Plenty of struggle and plenty of hardship.
And I just don’t let it stop me, and let it stop me, that’s for sure. It’s really cool.
Lyle: I look at the progress of that, and you went from valuing things to valuing yourself to valuing others. That’s biblical. That’s kind of cool. And get into that.
What’s one thing you’re doing in your business right now? That if somebody is listening and they’re like, you know, this guy’s been through a lot and he struggles and he keeps getting up, what’s one thing right now? You would tell somebody if they’re struggling and they just don’t feel like they can, they can get up? Well, it’s something you would tell them to do right now?
Rey: You know, you are going to die. If you don’t know who you really are, you’re going to die. If you don’t, you really are in. And I mean that metaphorically because fear can overcome and it usually is fear that prevents us from getting back up. It is the uncertainty of is this actually going to work? Well, you can run as many analyses on the situation as you can. A lot of us like me, I kind of have a track record of analysis paralysis, where I overthink things and I try to be as safe as possible, but you just got to try it, you don’t know if it’s going to be right or wrong.
Take the best information you got and just go with it and try it. And if it doesn’t work, it was not a failure. It was just an unsuccessful attempt. But the next time you start, you’re going to be better. And that’s what I needed to learn, is I needed to learn that it’s going to be hard. It’s not going to be easy. And if it was easy, everybody would do it.
But it is more worth it than anything else to be able to see what that could do.
And I think that’s the other thing, too, I would say is make sure you get up, but you got to make it bigger than you. You get to see what it’s for, who you can help, the lives that you can change. Because unless you have a dream big enough and you can see that dream of what you’re going to be able to do with your life for somebody else or for others. It’s just not enough.
I used to think like, oh, I need a Lamborghini. That does not keep you going. Lamborghini is not going to keep you going. But I’ll tell you what will keep me going. A plaque, one of the things that keeps me going is I want a plaque on St. Jude’s wall that I ran it for a day and it costs like a million dollars to run it for a day.
So I got to figure out how to get a disposable one million dollars just to fund that for one day.
But that’s one of these goals I have. I want this plaque that’s going to cost me a million dollars and probably change a whole bunch of lives. And it may not even be that, too. It’s like when I get to that level, it’s just going to be that change that we can see in the world, because money is not good or bad. It’s just a tool. It will enlarge who you are. If you’re a jerk, you’re going to be a big jerk.
If you are good, you’re going to be able to change so many lives.
So think about that. And that’s the reason you have to get up. It’s your children’s children. It’s the children that you haven’t even met yet. It’s the families. And they are going to have employment because of what you create. It’s bigger than you. It’s bigger than all of us.
And you’re just part of this giant story. And the reason that you even found this podcast is because you’re trying to be somebody who is trying to show you something. And so I would take that to heart is what you were supposed to hear.
Lyle: That’s great. I sure appreciate it. Now, we’re going to flip the script a little bit because we’re going to pause this podcast.
Hopefully you’re motivated. Hopefully his story just kind of took you to the next level because it’s so important to hear those stories and know that you’re not the only one going through these things. We all struggle. We all have those issues. He’s got to keep going. Just take that next step, one more step. Just keep saying one more step. One more step. I love that. I love that. I do.
So on our next bonus training, we’re going to talk about direct funding and business loans and how you access capital, whether you’re in real estate investing, whether you’re in business or you’re just getting started. You got to know, especially in our world, has changed a lot. So you can hear from somebody who struggled through all those steps. And how he’s developed the system helps you understand a little bit better. So make sure you tune into OptimizeProfitability.com and real quick, Rey, how can they get in touch with you?
Rey: They can go to wiseguysinties.com.
Lyle: How else can they get in touch with you?
Rey: Easy. Just if you want to hear more about it and see what we do, just go over to YouTube. Google Wise Guys In Ties to come check us out. We’re putting our best stuff out there. That’s really what it is. Stuff.
Lyle: This has been Optimize Profitability with Rey Fleming and Lyle, and make sure to tune in on the bonus where we talk about accessing capital on stuff.
Rey: Thanks, Lyle.
Lyle: Thank you.
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