This is the Most Important Skill to MASTER when Investing... (with Lisa Song Sutton)
Hey Everybody, it's Ken McElroy here and I am here with Lisa Song Sutton. Welcome again. Thank you so much. So Lisa came up from Las Vegas. She's a big time entrepreneur pageant winner missed Nevada, miss Las Vegas model, uh, lawyer, uh, business owner, Sin City cupcakes, mailbox, she's got a mailbox company. She's got a swimsuit line,
all of those things. And, um, but I don't know how she does. And of course, what am I thinking? Real estate? Of course, she's an investor. Her parents were investors. She owns the, um, Christina, the Christie's in Las Vegas. She's opening a store tomorrow.
So thank you for being here by the way. Cause I know it's opening tomorrow. Um, but what I really wanted to talk about, which I thought was fascinating is, uh, um, she did a really good Ted talk. You guys need to watch that the, um, in the Ted talk, it wasn't true. I think a lot of times when people open businesses, they think, oh, I got to, I am the business, you know, ego, ego, ego, right. Ego is the enemy. I love that book by the way. Um, and uh, they stop right there.
They're like, everything needs to flow through me counting the fall and the, this, the sales, I'm the, I'm the business, I'm the face of the business. It's my business, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You've taken a very different approach, which I love because my, my, my friend, uh, back in we're both in YPO by the way. Um, and, um, which we both highly respect. And my friend said, you know, the businesses there to, to fund your lifestyle. Yes, it's not there for you. Like you're not supposed to work the business. And I know for a lot of you guys,
you guys are like, what, what does that even mean? You know, and I, and a lot of the businesses stay really small and that's why we both love the rich dad, poor dad and the cashflow quadrant. And, and, um, and the stuff that Robert Kiyosaki teaches, because he always says you're E as an, as an employee, as a self-employed or, or, or self or selfish, or still a job single, uh, or be as big business. And so what you're trying to do is you're trying to grow from S to B and scale and how that money come in, but also have the freedom and the lifestyle to open up businesses have fun, which is the most thing, and, and be blessed enough to come in here and do a podcast with me up here in Scottsdale, uh, but have the time to do that. And, uh, so let's talk about, as I found this part fine, uh, uh, I found this part, uh, uh, really interesting. Um, so you were a lawyer and you decided your mom put pressure on you to, you know, uh, to do a pageant. So let's talk, let's start there. Cause it turned into the side hustle, which by the way guys,
500 appearances in 18 months, you think about that, that's a lot, it was a very aggressive schedule start there. Okay. So here you are, you know, trying to, trying to build these side hustles, but what, what, what the light bulb that went on was that your businesses all grew while you were gone. Yes, exactly. So, um, so my mom was a former miss Korea and she called me the fall of 2013 here. You're going to compete for miss Las Vegas. And I was like, I don't know, I'm kind of busy. Like I'm working my day job at the law firm. I just started a side hustle, Cincinnati cupcakes. And she said, well,
you're getting ready to age out. And I was like, oh, okay. The sky is falling. You know? Um, so I buckled down, hired a pageant coach, uh, went through so much to prepare and get ready and I won, which was incredible. Um, but then the real work started. So, um, I had all these appearances. I was volunteering in schools, reading and hospitals working with nonprofits. So I was physically away from my businesses. Um,
I'd had a conversation with my partners, um, previous to entering the pageant and I just kind of disclosed, Hey, like, this is, this is what I'm gonna do. This is a goal that's really important to me. Um, if I win, I think this is what the year might look like. I really want to take advantage of this opportunity. It's finite, right? It's one year, um, a couple of, you know, six months as miss Las Vegas.
And then one year if I win miss Nevada. So it's a finite amount of time, but it's going to take me away physically from like the day in day out of the business, but I'll still be, I'll still be around, right? At this point, you probably thought, okay, revenue is going to go down. I just kind of planned for that. Right. We're just like, yeah, like we just kind of planned for it.
And I'm so blessed to have incredible business partners because, um, they support my goals too. Right. And, and they were so excited for me and they're like, we'll figure it out. Like, you know, you gotta do this sounds great. Like, we'll figure it out.
Don't even worry. Thinking of in a partnership. I want to hear more for sure. But in a partnership you often think, okay, one partner is going to go over here and do this. So you just in your mind, think it's going to go down and that's actually the point of this podcast. It didn't. And there's a lot of reasons why.
Yes. So we had just kind of planned for that thought. That's what it was going to be. And everyone like accepted it and sat in it. And it was fine. And through the course of the year, we actually had an increase in revenue while I was away. So it was like a double-edged sword.
Like it kind of hurt my feelings a little bit. Like I was like, oh, I'm so glad you guys are doing so well. Um, but no, it, it was because, so I'm out volunteering in schools, reading hospitals, working with nonprofits, meeting all these people. And they're asking me, what else do you do besides this whole miss Nevada thing? And that was my opportunity to talk about real estate or cupcakes or swimwear or whatever was appropriate for the conversation. And then, oh, oh my gosh, really?
Well, um, my, my friends having their bachelorette party next weekend, I'd love to order some, like, it just, it became this really organic pipeline for business breezy. I was not out soliciting. I was, I was, I was working right. I mean, I was working as a business. Like, like, no guys, this is like, it was such a light bulb moment. When I saw you say that in your Ted talk, because essentially what, what you you're outside sales. Exactly. I was an ambassador for the brand. Right. I got to talk about it.
And I was meeting these people in the community often in a non-profit setting. And I was there as miss Nevada United States. Right. I wasn't there to sell them. I wasn't there to sell them something you're not. Yeah. They ask you like is probably a,
your closing rate was probably close to a hundred. And of course there was, yeah, because they were just like, oh my gosh, she's so she's so nice. And she's so lovely. And she has this great business. And so I think also too, because they saw me out literally supporting the community. And so they wanted to support.
So that's actually, what I want to talk about, you know, is like, w this is, uh, this is networking to grow. A lot of times people sit on their butts and they throw ads out and they wait for people to come in real estate and realtors are NOTORIOUS for this. And, the ones that are out hustling and networking and doing things in the community are the ones that are actually driving their business. And they, they, you know,
there's, you know, it's, it's, um, I love the Buckminster fuller, uh, piece where he talks about procession, where you drop a rock in the pond and those processional rings, they mean something. So when you go to a golf tournament or you go read books at a, at a, an elementary school and you meet the parents afterwards, and, you know, those are all little drops in the pond that create all these ripple effects. And I don't think people really, really give the significance of that as much. And so I'd love to talk about the community engagement and how that cause now, like I see you everywhere. Like you've got the social media presence is beyond belief. Um, and, uh, all kind of started with dismissed Nevada thing. Right. So, so you, you said,
okay, that worked, I'm going to continue it, right. This isn't, this isn't an 18 month issue. Right? Exactly. And especially, you know, when you are giving back and volunteering in the place where you live and work, right. Of course, you're going to build these community relationships.
So after my time as miss Nevada ended, um, of course I, I still stayed around, right. I didn't have as aggressive of a schedule, um, as I did when I was a title holder, but all of these relationships that I had made with the burn foundation and, and, you know, Goodwill, all these different organizations they'd asked me, Hey, do you want to MC or, um, Hey, can we put a toy drop box in your shipping store? Like those relationships are still maintained. Right. And I think it's just so important to continue to do that. People you can pick up the phone and talk to! Of course, yes. Yeah. And especially on these non-profit boards too, you know, being, being a young entrepreneur, being someone in, in the business community, um, just the people that I met who serve on these non-profit boards, guess what, they're all incredible business leaders for the most part. That's the thing like most people don't realize like, like, uh, I'm, I'm very involved in our community and lots of different, uh, boards and things as, as you guys all know, I've been involved in the food banks and cystic fibrosis and, and, um, autism, and, and, and when you're on the boards, like the people that are sitting there are like incredible individuals and some of them are really market.
Absolutely. Yeah. These, these are people who are impactful in the community. Right. For the most part, they usually have a business footprint because of that. Right. And then now they're maybe at a place in their life where, um, they have the flexibility to want to give back a little more. Right.
So now they're serving on a board or they're, they're expanding resources to be part of this organization to help the community. And so anytime that you can help support that, I think it's just very well received and reciprocated. Right. I, I I'll tell you guys just firsthand. Like I used to be a check writer when I was first coming, I was growing my business. I was scared to death. I wasn't going to grow it. And all the things that, you know, we all have the fears, um, and I wrote checks and I'm like, okay. But I really kind of did it more for tax purposes. It was goofy.
And then once I started getting involved in the boards, then I'm like, okay, this is really cool impact you, do you see the impact firsthand, but more than anything, sometimes you're sitting there and you're literally sitting down next to us, like, like, uh, I, the owner of the diamond backs or the owner of the Phoenix suns, and you're sitting there just on a couch, sharing a cup of coffee, having a conversation. And they're like, well, what do you do? And it's like, if they're like, and that was never the point. Right. But all of a sudden, like it just turns into this network, you get into their network. And sometimes they say, Hey, why don't you come here and join me here? Are you interested in this? And, and it, all of a sudden, again, it's ripples in the pond and the rings just perceptually move out. And you don't know, you know where at? And there, there are these right angle things that happen your business. It opens up.
And just opportunities in general, my real estate partner, Kathy quot. She's amazing. She and I met years ago, volunteering in the same organization. And we just met like socially right through the organization in the community, fast forward. We had an opportunity to partner together and now we're in business together.
I mean, it's just. It's so cool. And so that's how it works. That's exactly how it works. It's not sitting in somewhere and putting ads out and hoping that people come in that can work for some people, but you're going to stay small that way. And so this is, this, this podcast is about networking to grow. Uh, one of the things I thought that was interesting as well, you had all these irons in the, you know, in the fire, including the pageant, and then you had the sun city or Cincinnati, uh, cupcakes over here, and you're like, I need to expand it. Right.
And so you found somebody in the pageant business. So talk about that. Cause again, guys, network. Well, so some of my best friends are actually from the modeling and pageantry industries. Um, which is, I think start typically, it's, you know, it's pretty cutthroat and you have a lot of women in one place and it's very competitive. Um, and interestingly, I think, especially in pageantry, um, you meet a lot of women who just have kinda the same values as you do. They care about their community are put together. They're excited,
they're motivated. They're like natural born hustlers. And so of course, what a great pool to pull from right when you're looking for an operator, are you looking for a spokesperson for your company? And so one of my dearest friends, Andrea Fox, she's a former miss Texas. We met in the pageant community. She runs sin city cupcakes Texas for us. Okay. So when you want to scale,
you do call a bunch of pageant girls and say, Hey, if all of a sudden you could-- They're the best operators. I could only imagine they've been real good on camera, you know, and they're poised and they're smart. And they have coaches. And they know how to represent a brand. That's what you do in the pageant.
A brilliant model you've got because, um, you know, and, um, you know, and also you're helping them. Absolutely. I mean, everybody's looking for side hustles guys, and it's, it's a, win-win all of this.
Yeah, certainly. I'm like modeling pageantry. And even in, in Las Vegas, the hospitality industry and like bottle servers, right? Again, similar to modeling pageantry. There's a shelf life on bottle service. What about 29, 29? One of our top producing agents at our real estate brokerage at Christie's is a former bottle service waitress.
Not surprising. Amazing. She's amazing. Yeah. She's such a hard worker. Incredible. I'm sure it's not an easy business. No. And she came from the pool. It's poolside, like pool industry. So,
uh, there's a particular day club in Las Vegas. It's extremely competitive. Like they have these girls come audition, so you gotta be swimsuit ready like February, which means you're dieting over the holidays. Like that's a first that's discipline. Right? So like, that's a key, right. And they're very strict, like no drugs, no alcohol. They're working these girls six days a week in the biggest sun, right. You were working 110 degree, 120 degrees. Right.
And you're dealing with a really drunk idiot, right. Of every guy flashing his black card who thinks he's entitled to something. Can you imagine the level of patients That you have to have to deal with these people day in and day out for an extended period of time. So no wonder she crushes it in residential real estate. Like, come on. I know. Can you imagine, by the way, that's just called skills. That's called, you know, my friend, um, uh he's uh, he's Mormon and, uh, he's like, Kenny, I had to knock on so many doors trying to sell the, you know, you know, Mormon, uh, being Mormon. And he's like,
it was basically 3000 nos to one. Yes. He goes, that's why I could do what I do. It's kind of the same thing. Yeah. Just with the ability to deal with difficult clients, right. The ability to be resourceful and make something happen. Right. When you have these high rollers come in and they're like, I want an elephant, my cabana. And you're like, okay, you have to be resourceful. You know, like you don't say, no, sorry,
we can't do that. That's not what they want to hear. So you have to be resourceful. And so those skills directly translate certainly into high level stakes. Yeah. Yeah. So, so what we're talking about here is networking to grow. And I think this is a really important piece because what you've done is that you have the people in the law, you know, you started in the law industry right now. You have the, the,
the S the Sensi cupcake piece. You have the, the mailbox piece, you, you have the real estate piece, you have the modeling piece. And so as you're navigating, whatever your next adventure is going to be, you draw from that. Right. Of course.
Yeah. And, you know, I don't do anything alone. I have operational partners in everything that I do. Um, I've never just decided to start my own venture by myself. I'm a big believer in operational partners, um, because it's just going to help you be able to actually grow and create something to fruition. Um, and then you guys, you know, lay out roles, responsibilities, you figure out what you break.
Like every time I start a business, I bring the funding, I bring the funding. It it's, it's replicated over and over and over. And then there's other things I don't bring. Right.
So I need my operational partner. Yeah. Yes. Which we all need, we need people that can run stuff. Um, when you're the idea person and, or the money person. Um, so, um, which also is how you started this, the swimwear business, right? So again, a side hustle and a network created an opportunity business opportunity. When do you decide the answer is no. Yes.
Does that happen? That happens often. A lot more nos than yeses. I don't know if you realize this is not like let's go down every rabbit hole. It's very, you got to be very disciplined on the answer. Yes. Right. Certainly the hardest thing I get asked, uh, I mean, I got asked yesterday to, you know, uh, uh, my friend's starting a new bank.
He's like, um, you know, do you want to invest some I'm looking and maybe I might not. He's like, Hey, I watched you on the board. It's a paid position. Well, that's not what I want. Right. And so I'm like, well, that doesn't say,
so there's a lot of nos you have to write. So where do you draw that line? Because again, guys, this is about generating passive income mailbox, money, and getting your time back. And so there's always these taps on the shoulders to take your time away. Right. So how do you decide, like, okay, this is scalable. I'm going to do this and,
and which one that you don't want to do. Yeah. There's a lot of opportunity for distractions. Right. And certainly like you, I'm sure, you know, I get a lot of deal flow and opportunities that come my way and I always want to be grateful for that. Um, but I think the most important thing for me is does it fit, does it align? Does it fit into what my overall goals are? So one, I have an overall goal of having different money coming in from different places. I don't want all my eggs in one basket.
I don't want to be reliant on just one industry. So that's why I'm across the board. Right. I mean, food and beverage, I'm in real estate, I'm in the shipping industry. I'm in e-commerce. Um, I have different buckets for funds coming in and then does it align with what I think my skillset is if I don't think I can provide value. Right. Um, it's not gonna, it's not going to work well. Um, so I had, you know, I had an opportunity like maybe two years ago, um, where it was, it seemed really interesting and it was for skincare line. Um,
and again, coming from modeling and pageantry, I was like, okay, I've got to get a little bit of a network there to kind of a built in customer base. And we went down the road a little bit on it. Um, but I realized this is an area of expertise that I just simply don't have. Right. I'm not a dermatologist. I don't come from the medical field. Um, and while I could perhaps sell a product and also have a built-in customer base, that's not going to be enough for something as niche as this, where I'm putting my name in and all my brands and my businesses behind something that you're topically putting on your skin that I'm endorsing, right. That I'm trying to sell to you. And I have no idea like how it's really made, right. I'm not a chemist, I'm not a dermatologist. And so, um,
I decided that wasn't going to be the right fit for me, even though I thought it was a good business model. You can put a label on anything. Absolutely. Yeah, exactly. You can white label anything. Yeah. You can private label anything. And, uh,
there's beware here guys. Cause there's, you can go down a rabbit hole for years and realize that, uh, what they're really trying to do is just get you to endorse something that might not be a great product. And it might. Yeah. And I think a simple barometer too, is, is this a product or service that I would personally use? Right.
Like I love our cupcakes. I love the cupcakes. We make intensity cupcakes. And I mean the skincare product, for example, I obviously, I was trying it during the course of, of this kind of due diligence period. And I found myself going back to the skincare products I currently use. And I was like, it's not going to work. So take your time.
I had a friend that just sold his company for a lot and I called him and I said, um, I said, uh, TK, my advice to you is not to buy or do anything for one year. You know, because, because what happens is, is, is really hard to do when you're on you growing this business as big business is growing. And you've got all these people and a little bit of ego, a little bit of money, a little bit of this a little bit, you know, and it's cool and it's comfortable and it's fun. What's not comfortable is, is stopping.
Yes. Yeah. Putting the pause button on it or sitting on cash. Right. If you're sitting on cash, let's say you got to exit your, of real estate, whatever you're sitting on cash. You're like, oh, what can I invest in nothing. If, if nothing, nothing good comes up. This is where discipline comes in. And, and so be very,
very clear on what it is that you want to do. Um, but what I love is back to this network piece, whatever it is, you're going to have all these resources of all these things that you've done. And it's interesting to me that the thing that you wanted that you least wanted to do, which was the pageants actually is the thing that kind of revolves around all of this. Right? It's the framework around it, everything. So it was not in your strategy. And the plan. Yeah, exactly. It was not, I had be grudgingly did it mostly,
like I said, it's just underwear, like pressure from my mom. And my mom is like stereotypical Asian tiger mom. Like, if I want to say, no, I'm not doing it. It would have been like the hugest fight. Like I probably would've lost anyway. Like it just, you know, just go all in. I was like hire the coach.
Do you have to go "Okay, mom, you're right.". She, she has this huge photo of the night that I won and she is like holding my hand from the stage. And, um, it's really special to her. So she, I mean, it's, it's in the house, right? It's every time I'll see your Thanksgiving, right. I'll see her next week. And so that's. It's important though, because it's sometimes things in life come and, you know, and you do them and all of a sudden, you know, it, it becomes kind of this catalyst for everything else. And certainly, you know, having outside perspective from people who care about you, right. When they say,
look like this is important, like you, you have every capability of doing this. You have to do this. And you know, sometimes it's good to listen to that. Oh, it always is. Well, Lisa, thank you once again. Great stories. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.