April 20

Episode 119: A Young Entrepreneur’s Journey, Thus Far


In today’s episode, Mike talks with John Mendez. John is an entrepreneur, he’s a realtor, investor, and podcast host.

His Walk to Wealth podcast has published over 70 plus episodes and it’s already been downloaded thousands of times. His goal is to enlighten and empower young adults to build a wealthy, abundant life. His show is for the youth who don’t wanna take that traditional route of finishing college, working a nine to five job until their sixties, and praying that they have enough save for retirement.

John Mendez’s Bio

Born and raised in Stamford, John Mendez has seen the City emerge, first-hand, as one of the fastest growing and most dynamic in Connecticut. This expansion, coupled with his passion for helping people, ignited John’s interest in real estate where he specializes in buyer, seller, and tenant representation for residential and investment properties. John grew up on the football field and basketball court where discipline and integrity were
instilled earlier on and have carried over to everyday life.

He brings proven client experience, being recognized as a Top 10 salesperson in the District as a luxury jewelry representative. John further refined his communication and interpersonal skills during his time in the restaurant industry. John
takes much pride in his Dominican and Guatemalan heritage having been heavily influenced by the Latino and Black community and contributing to his fluency in Spanish.

John has taught seminars for realtors across the U.S & Canada that had over 400 sign-ups each. He’s been interviewed on how to market yourself in Spanish for “Command en Español”and taught a class on TikTok for his office. John has generated over 300,000 views YTD on reels alone. John has a passion for enlightening the unenlightened and posts multiple short-form videos daily.

Topics in This Episode
  • The value of networking in the entrepreneurial journey
  • Strategies for overcoming shiny object syndrome and staying focused
  • Tips for setting realistic and achievable goals
  • How to start a podcast and navigate initial challenges
  • Building authority and growing a podcast audience
  • Transforming a podcast into a community and movement
  • The importance of adaptability and recalibration in personal and professional growth
  • Learning the value of taking action and iterating as you progress
  • Using connections to access more successful people and opportunities
  • The benefits of being genuine and helping others succeed
  • Connecting with John Mendez and learning more about the Walk2Wealth podcast

Links & Resources Mentioned…


Read The Transcript

Mike O'Neill: Welcome back to the Get Unstuck and On-Target podcast. I'm Mike O'Neill with Bench Builders and with leadership coaching and supervisor training, we help companies solve the people problems that are hurting their profit and slowing their growth. Joining me today is John Mendez. John is an entrepreneur, he's a realtor, investor, and podcast host.

His Walk to Wealth podcast has published over 70 plus episodes and it's already been downloaded thousands of times. His goal is to enlighten and empower young adults to build a wealthy, abundant life. His show is for the youth who don't wanna take that traditional route of finishing college, working a nine to five job until their sixties, and praying that they have enough save for retire.

I wanted to bring John on because he is a entrepreneur focused on helping aspiring entrepreneurs and just the time that we've had a chance to speak. I see a lot going for you, John, and I think our listeners will too. Welcome to the podcast.

John Mendez: Mike, I'm extremely honored to be here and ever since our first conversation, I was excited to hop on, so I'm excited to see where our conversation takes us today.

Mike O'Neill: Well, as people know, and you know, too, this is an unscripted conversation, but the thought that kind of crossed my mind immediately is, John, I hate when people say, "you young whipper snapper," you may not even heard that term before. But entrepreneur is a term that people bat about. But quite frankly, I didn't really think of myself an entrepreneur until I went into business for myself, which was about 15 years ago.

Prior, I was a corporate HR guy. That's what I knew, but entrepreneurship, it's different, is it not?

John Mendez: Yeah. It's something that I came to the realization from interviewing a bunch of top entrepreneurs, from going to these networking events, from going to these conferences, that there's no real difference between a kid and entrepreneur, aside from the fact that an entrepreneur knows how to run a business.

That's really it. We're all born entrepreneurs and at some point in our life we become adults in cults, right? And from that, when we, once we become adults, that creativity within us kind of dies. And then from there we're usually, you know, put into our Lego piece and we're kind of just put into the system and we're just sitting there until maybe some of us may break free.

Some of us may continue on that path the rest of our lives. Some people may never break free, but for the most part, I think it's more so, a way of life this term, that entrepreneur that everyone seems to be throwing around nowadays. And a lot of people lose it. Some people find it back, and then there's a small percentage of people that are kind of born with it and have a good environment around them that cultivates that.

And so they're just staying entrepreneur their whole life.

Mike O'Neill: So John, you're my guest today, but you host your own podcast. Let's start there for a moment because I want to come back to what you just said, but you entitled your podcast Walk to Wealth. What do you mean by that?

John Mendez: Yeah, so for me, I started a podcast. It was really an idea that came from a friend, and the reason I wanted to move forward with the podcast, he ended up going back to college.

I ended up leaving school and took the untraditional route myself. It was during the pandemic at that time, and with the whole world being uncertain, the only thing I was certain of was myself. And so I wanted to do something. I knew I wanted to become wealthy. I knew I wanted to become successful and not wealthy in the sense of riches.

Wealthy in the sense of, having wealth in all my areas of life, not just the monetary side, my personal relationships, my friendships, my business, everything. Right? The whole aspect. And so for me, I wanna start the podcast now while I'm in real time, because I've seen that there's so many gurus nowadays.

There's so many people, it's like, they go ghost and then they make it and then it's like, buy my course, buy my book. Come in to my mastermind or my workshop, my program, it's always some type of high ticket offer, right? And so for me, I wanted something where I could document the journey in real time.

Cause I was already connected with some pretty good people and some pretty successful people and people that I was learning from. So if I could hopefully share some of that information that I was learning along the way and share the experiences of someone going through in real time. As you probably already know, no one likes to share the dark side of this stuff that we do in this entrepreneurship space.

It's always, yeah, you know, I got my business at 10k a month or, Yeah, we just hit seven figures or, yeah, we just bought the new, you know, G wagon to get a tax write off, right. It's always the bright side of entrepreneurship and, as you know, when starting this stuff up, it's a very difficult journey.

So to walk to wealth, it's for the 99% of us that aren't overnight sensations, it's a long walk to wealth and some may walk faster than others, but what good is sprinting to the finish line if you pass out when you cross it?

Mike O'Neill: Now you mentioned that there is kind of a dark side to entrepreneurship.

Let's just talk about that. I mean, you've had opportunity to interview a lot of guest and encounter other entrepreneurs. What is it about entrepreneurship that people get wrong?

John Mendez: I think the fact that everyone fails to realize that. With ultimate responsibility, whether you succeed or you fail entirely, all falls back on the person you see in the mirror.

And they only think that the success falls on that person. But they have to know that if you're going to take all the successes that come with entrepreneurship, you have to know that if everything goes to, you know, hits the fan, it's all on you as well. And people don't talk about that. They just talk about the bright side.

Oh, you know, work on your own terms, work for yourself, be your own boss. Make your own schedule. And a lot of those reasons, even in real estate, I was in real estate as well, are the same exact reasons why people leave it. Because they don't have that structure. They don't have someone telling them what to do, so they don't know what to do.

And then people who get into entrepreneurship, they work as if their employees, so now they have their own business, but they're just employees to their own business. So they end up getting even more enslaved into that trap, then people who are just regular employees for another business. And so like there's things like that.

For me, my biggest issue with shiny object syndrome because when you don't have anyone telling me what to do and you're hungry and you're trying to make it out, And you know that you have a good work ethic. It's like there's always a good idea. And for me, my personal interest is marketing, right? And as you probably know, the marketing space, there's always something new with marketing.

Like now there's AI before there's, everyone's talking about Instagram reels and TicToks and YouTube shorts, long form video versus short form video. There's so many things to keep up with in the marketing world. Now's trying to do all these different endeavors. And I thought that because I was young, I was hungry, I was determined that I somehow, the whole world was just gonna magically align my way and I was gonna start doing all these different endeavors and succeeding in all them.

And until someone had told me this one quote, it's, I was expecting full-time results of a part-time effort. My efforts were so diluted across so many different things that I wasn't seeing any success in real estate. My, all my leads were falling through the cracks. I started up an SSMA and after my first client, I realized, I'm already creating content for myself.

I don't wanna create content for other people. My podcast numbers, at some point last year, were going down month after the month. I was still working part-time at a restaurant. And for me, I was super naive and I thought that I could just figure it all out and wear all the hats for everything and somehow make it work.

But it wasn't until I heard that quote that I realized like, I have to double down and I can do all these things, just not at the same time. So for me, my biggest thing that I had to get over was shiny object syndrome and realizing that just because I'm moving doesn't mean I'm progressing.

Mike O'Neill: You know, I'm listening to you and you made several comments that I want to follow up on.

That last thing you just said is pretty powerful. Even though you may be moving, it doesn't mean you're progressing. And then you said something earlier that kind of caught my attention, and that is entrepreneurs who treat it as if it's a job. End up sacrificing the potential of entrepreneurship because they've kind of kept the mindset of, well, I'm just gonna do what I did when I was in the business world, the corporate world, and do it for myself.

And you're saying that limits you? Did I hear that?

John Mendez: A hundred percent because we're strapped so thin with time. And if you're doing everything, you're wearing all the hats, the first thing you gotta realize is that, that quote that people say, if you want something done, do it yourself. Is a terrible quote to live by because you can't do everything no matter how much you think you can.

And it's almost arrogant in a way to think that you can do everything the best, right? Because there's some people when it comes to marketing, that may be way better than me. So why would I do that if that's not my main focus? And I'll use the podcast as example, cause we're both podcasters, like our main focus, our 20%, is showing up and having amazing guest interviews, or if we do solo episodes, amazing solo episodes.

That is our 20%, because if we don't have episodes recorded, we don't have episodes to drop. We don't have episodes to drop, we don't have a podcast. So virtually our only job is to show up here and have amazing conversations.

That's like the main priority. But you also still have to post on social media. You still have to schedule guests. You still have to schedule, if you're doing guest appearances, you have to schedule that as well. You have to schedule follow-up emails, you have to schedule your posts on LinkedIn and the social media and the Facebook, and there's all these different texts that you have to do, but not everything has to be done by you.

So like for me, I'm actually getting into this opportunity right now where I had this one lady who is a college senior right now. She had reached out to me a while ago because she wanted to get into real estate. Fast forward some time now she's now about to graduate, and now she's looking for an internship, and so I asked her, is she looking for a paid in experience or unpaid internship?

And she was like paying an experience because my professor needs something where I can get credit. So I was like, let's hop on a phone call. I think I may have something for you. So now I may be looking to hire out my first assistant. And so my goal is because I'm also pretty critical in the marketing space, especially when it comes to real estate.

I'm going to help her get her own business. It's a seven week internship. My goal is by the end of the seven weeks that she has her own independent social media gig going, and I can recommend her to client and start outsourcing stuff to her. That way she has a business up and running. My goal for what I want for our interaction is for her to help me get all my systems in place so that I can help during like week six and seven, have her help onboard a VA so we can keep the ball rolling.

And so that's gonna be happening sometime in May. So I'm not sure how long this is gonna drop, but about a couple months from now at the time we're recording, I'm already looking to hire out some of these things because I know that I can only do so much now if I had another person by my side helping me out.

There's so much more that I can get done.

Mike O'Neill: Gotcha. By the way this probably will drop about that same time. So, as a general rule, I have about a two month lead time on recording the podcast. You also use the term VA, but those who are not familiar, we're talking about a virtual assistant.

And in the spirit of full disclosure, I find my own guest I've recorded, but I have helped with the folks from Sparkitive. Sparkitive helps kind of put the finished podcast together. They help me with show notes. They help me with putting that together so we can get it out from a social media standpoint, there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a podcast. The actual recording, the podcast, that's the easy part.

The hard part is all the other things, but what you're trying to say is, as a entrepreneur, you are already seeing, you don't have to be good at everything.

John Mendez: Yeah.

Mike O'Neill: And that you need to be able to willing to kind of share that, that load. You know, John, your goal is to help those who might have been on a path or on a path similar to yours.

I think I'm correct in saying is you didn't necessarily, at this point, you've not yet finished a college degree, but you're in the working world. And you're realizing that can be an impediment or it can, you can figure out workarounds, if I understand correctly that your target audience for your podcast is to try to give people some sense of hope.

You don't have to have that fancy degree, but you do have to have good. Self-discipline, you've gotta have good processes, and my sense is that you're bringing people on your podcast. The posts that you're doing are designed to kind of educate your audience on how to do that. Am I understanding that correctly?

John Mendez: A hundred percent. The traditional route. It's something that's been force fed down our throat for quite some time now. And growing up in inner city, growing up, going to public schools, you see a lot of people who, already at those early ages, think that college isn't a route that they want to go. And for those people that have something in them where it's like, I don't really feel too compelled to follow down and you just follow suit that I hope, my goal is to let them know that there is another path out there.

It is very difficult. It is very hard, but it's also very rewarding. And if you stick with it, as you just mentioned, discipline, that's extremely important. If you're disciplined enough, you can create a life by design if you put into work and you are intentional about everything that do once you do embark on this journey.

Mike O'Neill: John, one reason I kind of wanted to bring you on the podcast, another reason is, I fit exhibit A. I got my undergraduate degree and I went into the corporate world. I saw that if I went ahead and got my master's degree, that would probably prepare me better for even bigger corporate jobs and it did. And I spent 20 plus years climbing the corporate ladder and I enjoyed it.

Quite frankly I was good at it. There was something tugging at me about owning my own business. And now that I've been doing this for quite some time, I really wish I had the awareness that you have at this point in your journey. Because if I could have done it again, I would've become a business owner sooner.

Despite all the work that we were kind of talking about. And so what I'm hoping I'm saying to those who are watching and or listening is that if you have in your mind that you wanna own your own business, it's never too late, but you have to be mindful of there is work. There's quite a bit of work involved.

John, as you have talked to podcast guests, as you've gone on and on, you're now on the opposite side of the microphone. Is that hard? Is it hard to be the one having to field the questions that I ask you instead of you're the one in control.

John Mendez: So honestly, my first couple podcasts, it felt very weird.

Although I'm in this exact same setup as if I was on my own podcast. It's something about being on the receiving ends of the questions that feel kind of like sports, I grew up playing sports. So this is the best thing I can compare it to. It's like home games versus away games. And for whatever reason, whenever you have an away game, it's always a little different when you're at home court.

It's a lot al things always roll off the tongue a lot easier. What makes it pretty easy though, is when I hop on other podcasts with people such as yourself and there's all like a resonance already kind of there from the get-go and the conversation just flows and it's something I can't really describe or put my finger on, but you just kind of know when you know.

And sometimes I hop on these podcasts and it's like I'm talking to a lost friend that I don't know that I know, but it feels like I know, if you get my, what I'm saying. And I just hop on these podcasts some of the times. They ask some really deep questions, and I'm a pretty well versed person on several topics.

Like I know a lot about psychology and per attachment styles and things like that, and there's some guest where I get to really go in depth on topics that I don't normally cover. And then there's other guest where it's like they ask me the questions and it's kind of like a Q&A and it's kind of in and out.

But a lot of the time I do find myself connecting a lot deeper with some of these people, especially those that are already in the entrepreneurship space, and people that are in the self-improvement space as well where I can go a little bit deeper into the psychology and the philosophy behind a lot of the topics that I've really discussed.

And it's fun conversations that you don't really get to have on a day-to-day, because most of the time already as an entrepreneur, the people that you could speak to about this stuff is already limited because not everyone's an entrepreneur. So it's hard to find people to understand. So then getting on these podcasts with people who kind of understand everything that you've gone through, because they probably went through it themselves while they're starting off.

And you guys are already, I'm already a podcaster and the people whose podcast I'm hopping on? Well, of course they're podcasters, so there's already a lot of similarities with a lot of people I talk about. So I genuinely enjoy it. I have close to just for quarter one this year, close to 90 or so scheduled.

And that's been super fun and I feel like I'm getting a lot more honed with my message. I'm being a lot more strategic with how I word things. And there's sometimes where I'll re-listened to the podcast and I was like, sheesh, you know, I worded that well. And sometimes these metaphors and these analogies come to me in real time.

Cause, similar to your podcast, a lot of this stuff is unscripted. It's off the cuff. And it really gets you better at having conversations in your regular life because you just practice with other professionals who are in this space. And then when you have regular conversations, everything just flows so much smoother.

Cause essentially we're practicing having a conversation. Right now we're just doing it behind a microphone and a fancy camera and then we upload it and in our day-to-day conversation, I feel like my conversation level have grown tremendously because I just spend so much time talking to people at such a high level.

Mike O'Neill: You know, John, you mentioned that a moment ago, and that is people ask, Mike, why do you do the podcast? And I think if it, when it boils down to is I get to meet fascinating people and I can pursue my own curiosity. And my hope is, is the people who I might find interesting, our listeners would find listening.

But my job as a podcast host, as I understand it, is to feature you. It's to feature the guest. It's about the guest. What can we learn from the guest that would be of a benefit? I'm just the person who's kind of bringing it kind of together. You know, John, as you kind of look back, I hate to ask you to look too, too forward here, but, if you were to kinda describe what's in your mind right now on a time horizon, how far out are you looking now? 10 years, 20, less? What, when you're thinking about, this is what I really want to aspire to, what is that time horizon that you're on right now?

John Mendez: Right now it's one year, and the reason it's one year, I personally feel anything further than five years is, you have to have a servant level of naivety, if that's even a word, to try and look out more than five years, because as we know with this past pandemic, life can happen and there's only so much you could plan for. So I always try to keep no more than five years, but because last year, 2022, I spent so distracted trying to run my head around laws, trying to do all these different entrepreneurial endeavors.

It wasn't until December of last year where I really decided to double down and go all in with the podcasting. And so for now, my main goal is just making sure I keep my railings up and I don't let my creativity run me wild again. So my goal for this year is really to build my authority and to build my audience that that's my only two goals.

And I told my girlfriend this, I was. Your only job for this year is just to make sure I don't get distracted. That's it. Because my creativity will run me wild. And so now it's like all my focus now is going into growing the show and before my bandwidth was barely being able to keep up with all four things.

Now that it's only focused on one endeavor. It's like I went from driving on the highway on a cloudy, rainy night to driving down the freeway on a sunny day. Like my horizon now is a lot more clear. I could see a lot further ahead now because I'm not trying to run around, do so many things, and my goal really is to take this podcast as we grow.

And turn it from more than just a weekly episode. I want to make it a movement. The name itself tells a story, and I want people to get behind that story like, Hey, we're wealth builders. Hey, we're walking to wealth together, and I wanna turn it from more than just the episode that people tune into and listen in their ear buds when they go to the gym and work out or go for a run.

I want it to be something that's like, I feel like I'm a part of this community. That's really why I wanna take it this year. And going on guest appearances. I'm hosting a virtual summit. I'm trying to land a TED talk as we speak. I'm doing all these different things. I applied to speak to another at another conference.

I'm landing bigger guests, all these things. It's like I'm brewing this perfect storm to really take my podcast to the next level.

Mike O'Neill: Yeah, I appreciate that. And so your time horizon is, let me get to the end of '23?

John Mendez: Yeah, that's it.

Mike O'Neill: And not let the shiny objects distract and you're calling on your girlfriend and others to help you kind of stay focused.

John, we described you as kind of early in your entrepreneurial journey, but you do have a degree of wisdom about you. I think, you know that, you're able to explain things in a way that I think is very, very relatable, but as you kind of think about maybe where you got stuck. Or someone that you know or you've worked with got stuck?

What did it take to get unstuck?

John Mendez: The biggest thing that stumped me so far in this journey was definitely my shiny object syndrome, but because I already talked about that through this podcast, I'll give you another one. One of the biggest one was starting my podcast, and the reason I couldn't start my podcast is because I couldn't think of a name.

So now for about a four month period, I wrote down on my journal every Friday. Write a podcast by next week, and I would just write that down every week and every week, the weeks would go on and the weeks would go on, and I would never, ever got started. I had the equipment and I was ready to record. I just never ever started because I couldn't think of a name.

And I think this resonates with a lot of people because a lot of times we have an idea, it's not fully there and we doubt everything until we have every I dotted and every T crossed and then we finally decide to start. But sometimes, just start halfway, you know, halfway your thoughts are still messy, and as you step forward, things start to clear up.

And that's something that I've realized, is you don't, and that's why my horizon that I'm looking at was so short, because you don't really have to know the next step when you put into a GPS, you don't put in the first turn, you put in the final destination. And so as long as we have a clear destination, when you go on your phone, you put in Waze or Google Maps, wherever you use to navigate, you put in the final address, right?

Then it automatically populate different routes. Then you go on your route as you continue driving. There may be a hiccup in the road. There may be a traffic accident, there may be a sudden turn, there may be construction, there may be a deer that got hit, right? There's so many different things, but what does your GPS do at every step of the way?

It recalibrates, recalculates, and then shows you another route. And that's kind of how this game of life is, as long as you have an end idea and the clearer, the better, obviously. The turns will automatically appear. And there's an old adage that says, when the student is ready, the teacher will show. And so what I learned from there is that I had what I needed to get started.

I had my microphone already. I already had a webcam. I had a garage band on my laptop to record and edit the podcast. I just couldn't think of a name. That was the only thing holding me back. And then finally, after realizing that I just started putting some names and this kind of one kind of stuck, and it was in my notes and I already generated some names.

I was like, I'm just run with it. I didn't actually get the story behind the name until I actually started putting the trailer together. Once I actually started getting the progress going and I just picked a random date, dropped the trailer, and then I picked a month out from there to drop the episode.

And then that kind of just forced me into action. And during that process, it was around December of 2021. Now that was kinda like scrambling, trying to put this all together cause I already posted on my Instagram and my Facebook. Hey everybody, I'm making a podcast. Once I put myself into full gear, the story and everything, the reasoning, the explanation, it came to me.

But if had I not just started driving the route, would've never calculated, I would've never got the next turn. And I was trying to plan out every single turn instead of just getting in the car and getting going.

Mike O'Neill: John, as you kind of think about this conversation we've just had, it's been kind of far ranging. You got the opportunity to kind of summarize what you want us to remember about this conversation. What do you want those takeaways to be?

John Mendez: I think a big part of this conversation we talked about is networking, so I'll finish off of this and the world of entrepreneurship, you're usually one or two connections away from where you wanna be and you can circle, prospect, your way up the ladder and you get an access to more and more successful people and be able to pick their brains. And I'll show you how I'm doing that. I landed one guest. Right. That was the head of diversity and inclusion for Keller Williams. Well then she's pretty up high up there. And then I'm going to, then now I have the president of Keller Williams hopping on the podcast.

And then I'm gonna reach out to the COO and a couple other people. And then guess what I'm gonna do after I get all these people on the podcast, I'm gonna reach out to Gary Kellers. For those of you who don't know, he founded Keller Williams. He is a billionaire, and I'll probably have him on the podcast next year.

Mark my words. In this world of entrepreneurship, it's not what you know, it's who you know. So network. If you wanna get in here and as you network that opens doors to more opportunities that you didn't foresee and just keep on running with it. Keep being a genuine person and people will start opening doors for you and start helping you out.

Mike O'Neill: Based on this conversation, I have complete confidence that those goals, as you set, you'll achieve them. John, if folks want to reach out to you, what's the best way for them to connect with you?

John Mendez: Yeah, well, first of all, thank you, Mike for the opportunity. I really enjoyed this conversation and if anyone found anything that I said to be valuable today, I trust that you guys did, you can go connect with me at www.walk2wealth.com.

That's again, that's www.walk2wealth.com. There you can find the podcast. You can find all the social media links all on one page.

Mike O'Neill: We will include that in our show notes. John, we had to reschedule this because I had a conflict. Thank you for your flexibility. But this has been a lot of fun. And based on what I am seeing, based on what I'm hearing, I have complete confidence that you're gonna be successful.

And most importantly, you're willing to bring people along in that success. And I think that's a credit to you. And I wish you all the best. Thanks for being on this podcast.

John Mendez: Thank you so much for the opportunity, Mike.

Mike O'Neill: I also wanna thank our listeners for joining us today. If you'd like to subscribe to this podcast, simply type unstuck.show in your browser.

This will give you access to Apple, Google, and Spotify. So while you're in there, if you also wanna subscribe to our weekly management blog called The Bottom Line. You can do it right there. So if you're trying to grow your business, but people problems have slowed you down, let's. Head over to our website, bench-builders.com to schedule call.

So I wanna thank you for joining us, and I hope you have picked up on some tips from John that'll help you get unstuck and on target. Until next time.

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