My Weekend With The Dragons at the Fast Track Super Conference in Edmonton

A few weeks ago, I received an email from my good friend Dave Dubeau regarding the annual Fast Track Super Conference being held in Edmonton.  The conference is held every year by Darren Weeks from Fast Track To Cash Flow, and I hadn’t been to one of his events in many years.

This year, the event was held from October 14th – 17th and Darren managed to secure guest speakers Robert Herjavec and Arlene Dickinson from CBC’s hit TV show “Dragon’s Den“.  Since I’m a big fan of the show, I was seriously thinking about going… not only to see “the Dragons”, but also to reconnect with Darren and many people I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Fortunately, my schedule opened up and so I booked my flight.  I hadn’t been to Edmonton in 5 or 6 years, so when I took a cab to my hotel, although it was dark outside, I could see many things had changed over the years, including the ring road around the city, which was still under construction during my previous visit.  I was curious to see what else had changed since my last visit…

 

Day 1 – Friday

The overall theme for the weekend was summed up in with 2 questions people had to think about:

  • What is your ‘why’?
  • Where will you be 10 years from now?

The ‘why’ question basically referred to your reason for pushing forward with your investments, your business and achieving goals in your life. This is question everyone needs to ask themselves, because when life gets tough (and it will), your ‘why’ is what will keep you pushing through to completion.

The ’10 years from now’ question was asked to get people thinking about and planning for the future.  It was also triggered by the fact that Fast Track was celebrating 10 years in business! This was clear from all the decorations and tokens left at each table – Fast Track bags, pens, keychains, even fortune cookies!  Almost everything had something on it that was celebrating the 10-year anniversary — very cool!

 

Richard Duncan

For those who don’t know who Richard Duncan is, he’s a world-class economist and finance expert based out of Singapore, as well as an advisor to Robert Kiyosaki.  His book ‘The Dollar Crisis‘ predicted the current global economic disaster as far back as 2003, so when he speaks, people listen.

Richard spoke to the group via conference call while referencing PowerPoint handouts, and he talked about how another depression is coming and what to do about it, which is explains in further detail in his new book ‘The New Depression’.

It may sound like a depressing talk, but it actually was very interesting (at least it was to me :)… especially the parts where he explained what to do to avoid being affected by it.

 

Bob Molle

Bob is a performance coach, a motivational speaker, Olympic Wrestling medal winner, two-times Grey Cup Football champion and author of the book Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable. He’s also a very big guy, who loves helping people achieve their goals.

The theme for his talk closely reflected the theme for the weekend – What is your reason for waking up in the morning?  He recommended that we dig deep down and find out what drives us, and then use that to achieve success in our lives.

He also told everyone we should focus on improving what we’re good at, not what we’re bad at. By doing so, all your skills will improve over time.  He used the example of a report card with As, Bs, and one D.  Most people who see that would instantly focus on improving the D, but often what happens is that the other marks suffer while trying to improve it.  If we just focus on improving the As and Bs, the D will naturally improve.

 

Robin Elliott

I met Robin Elliott many years ago through a friend of mine in Montreal and I actually took his full-day training program that he was offering at the time.  Robin is an expert at joint ventures, but not real estate joint ventures (as most of you are probably thinking).  His focus is on how to leverage other people’s time, money and resources in a number of ways to create cash flow and wealth.

A very good quote that he used during his presentation was by Thomas Edison…

From his neck down a man is worth a couple of dollars a day,
from his neck up he is worth anything that his brain can produce.

I’ve been using Robin’s techniques in a variety of ways over the years, but hearing him speak again was a good refresher for me.  For one of his techniques, he talked about how most businesses earn 10-20% net profit from sales and that anything they can add onto the back-end is 100% profit.  He showed how you can create residual income streams by helping existing business owners add this extra back-end profit with no cost or risk to either you or the business — very cool stuff!

 

Ed Gilmore

What do most people feel when they think of a CRA audit?  You guessed it… FEAR.

But not Ed Gilmore!  He was a CRA auditor for 15 years, and he explained the entire process of an audit, from what can flag your return, to the one thing you should NEVER sign (a CRA waiver).  Most people would fall asleep listening to someone talk about audits, but incredibly, Ed made the entire presentation very interesting and entertaining!

Ed now offers both personal and business services covering bookkeeping, tax returns, CRA representation, and more.

 

Wayne Palmer

Who is the most creative person in real estate investing?  Hands down, it’s Wayne Palmer.  He’s a master at acquiring and financing real estate creatively, a personal advisor to Robert Kiyosaki, and co-author of “The Real Book of Real Estate“.

Just how creative is he?  Think of the one red paperclip story, and now imagine him applying that concept to real estate, and you’ll get an idea of what he’s done with real estate.

Wayne spoke to us via conference call for a short time, but his words were inspiring and educational.  He #1 recommendation is that we never let information go by without learning from it — use a voice recorder to capture your ideas, and then put them into action as soon as possible.

 

Day 2 – Saturday

Robert Herjavec

The day started off with Robert Herjavec, co-star of CBC’s hit TV show “Dragon’s Den”, where business owners approach the ‘dragons’ for funding their business so they can expand.  I’ve watched the show many times, but I never ‘connected’ with Robert until I saw an interview with him on “The Hour” (jump ahead to 10:30 – it’s a really great interview).

He was a very good public speaker, with lots of stories and jokes to tell.  Some of his more memorable words of advice?

  • Every dream has a price – he works harder than most others, and that’s why he succeeds
  • Whatever you start, finish – that way, you train your mind so you believe you can do it
  • Be success oriented not money oriented – money wont motivate you when things get tough

After a short break, Robert was available for photos and the lineup was LOOOONG!  I was fortunate enough to be one of the last few that got a photo with him, as he had to leave early.  The thing I’ll remember the most is that he was genuinely happy to be there, speaking to the group, and meeting each one of us.  So many ‘stars’ seem to act as though meeting the public is a chore, but Robert really made you feel welcome.  I’ll never forget the opportunity to meet him and the words of wisdom he imparted.  In fact, I’m looking forward to more words of wisdom in his new best-selling book “Driven“, which unfortunately I didn’t get him to sign (I snooze, I lose!)

 

Lori Raudnask

Lori has been a regular speaker at Fast Track events in the past, and as usual, he presentations were interesting and interactive!  She loves meeting people, and she loves getting her audience involved in her presentation.

For part of the presentation, she continued with the theme of the weekend… she asked everyone to think of the various ‘circles of your life’ and ask yourself “what do you really want?”  Circles of your life include YOU, health, wealth, family, friends, passions, education, joy, hope, faith, freedom, volunteer, giving, and fun!  In fact, fun is so important to her that she says if you’re not having fun doing something, then don’t do it.

She ended her talk with a discussion on the one quality that will help us ALL succeed… persisting!  She described the example of how she lost her custom license plate with the word ‘Persist’ on it, and when the police tried to stop her from searching for it on the highway, she didn’t give up. Eventually the officers found the plate and returned it to her (as a crumpled ball of metal), so she banged it flat with a hammer and now keeps it nearby to remind her to always persist.

 

Arlene Dickinson

Arlene is also co-star of CBC’s hit TV show “Dragon’s Den”, and she brings an interesting ‘balance’ to the otherwise all male cast.  She spoke about how all she ever wanted to be was a mother, how if she hadn’t been divorced, that’s where she would be today.  She had no business training or interest in business until her early 30s when she started a marketing company, and she had many interesting stories to tell (including one where the coupon books she had printed weighed so much, the all-wood floor joists almost gave way, crushing the occupants in a law firm below!).

In fact, one of the things she loves and recommends to her clients is to tell stories about how you got to where you are.  She also said that for her, if she takes too long to make a decision, she usually makes the wrong one (that’s an interesting observation that I’m sure many people can identify with).  Arlene is also a published author, with the release of her book “Persuasion“.

 

Ken Beaton & David Quaschnick

My good friend and real estate investor Ken Beaton moved out to Edmonton earlier this year to start Fast Track Real Estate.  He and co-founder David Quaschnick presented a new investment opportunity outside Edmonton, and then Ken took centre stage to talk about creative real estate deals he has personally done.

He talked about how friends of his took the same real estate investing training as he did, but 8 years later, they still haven’t bought their first property and he has done many without any cash from his pocket. On some of the deals, he even got paid to buy them!  And for those of you who still think you can’t get a ‘deal’ on real estate, you missed out on how he got an insanely cheap price on one large multi-unit property… just because the vendor was really motivated to sell.

 

Day 3 – Sunday

Troy White

Troy White is an expert copywriter (think sales letters) and marketer, and if you think this has nothing to do with real estate, you are sorely mistaken.  I’ve been teaching my students for years that they should learn how to sell and market, sooner or later you will have to do both! Whether you are renting apartments, selling property, or closing joint venture partners, you need to know how to market and sell.

Troy gave us a ton of detailed instructions on how to improve our marketing… but probably the best tip he gave (and my favourite) was about using stories in your marketing (sound familiar?  Didn’t Arlene Dickinson say the same thing?)  He gave many examples of how he took businesses that were ailing or failing, and after introducing the owner’s personal ‘story’ into their marketing, in a fun and creative way, business took off.  My favourite example is of Saddleback Leather Co. – be sure to check out their website.

 

David Dubeau

Many of you already know my good friend Dave Dubeau… he’s an active real estate investor in Kamloops, BC, an expert marketer (and I do mean expert!), and publisher of Canadian Profit$ newsletters (one real estate and one business oriented).  But many people don’t know that I’ve been a contributing writer for Canadian Real Estate Profit$ for the last 5+ years (if you’d like 2 free trial issues of both, plus a free book and a bunch of other stuff, click here)

Dave spoke to us about rent-to-own real estate investing, and how he’s been able to do deals that generate $500, $800, even $1000+ per month in positive cash flow.  Not only that, he talked about how he used his marketing skills to generate a tenant-buyers list, in small-town Kamloops, of thousands of people (I think he said 8000?) in a very short period of time.

Probably the #1 thing I took away from Dave’s presentation is that most investors (or business owners for that matter) don’t do enough marketing.  And when they do marketing, it’s usually ineffective because it’s just like everybody else’s – BORING… zzzZZZzzzz  So the best thing we can do in our marketing is… don’t be boring!

 

Robert & Kim Kiyosaki, Ken McElroy, and Tom Wheelwright

We had a nice surprise on Sunday afternoon… Robert and Kim Kiyosaki called in from Auckland, New Zealand, along with their advisors Ken McElroy (real estate investment expert, author of my favourite multi-unit analysis book The ABCs of Real Estate) and Tom Wheelwright (accounting and tax planning expert – he has a very good chapter in The Real Book of Real Estate).  They were there teaching an event on how to raise capital, and graciously set aside some time to speak to us.

Robert talked about the global economic crisis, how it started, and how financial education is what will ‘save’ people, not government bailouts and the stock market.  He also mentioned an ‘experts cruise’ coming up in 2012 where attendees would be able to spend 7 days on a cruise ship with Robert, Kim, Ken, Tom and more of his advisors, so they could ask any questions they wanted.

 

Wrap-Up

The day ended with an interesting twist…  It was the 10-year anniversary of Fast Track, and Darren’s employees put together a special celebration video, followed by cupcakes!

The treats were very good, and I congratulated Darren on building such a successful business and incredible team over the years.  It’s hard to believe it used to be a 2-person show — just Darren and his assistant Vera.

I really enjoyed attending this event, and I look forward to seeing what speakers are presenting next year.  When they start selling tickets in 2012, I’ll see what I can do to get a special deal for my subscribers, so hopefully I’ll get to meet more of you in person. 🙂

 

Do you enjoy attending Live Events?  If so, which ones?

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Paul Blacquiere

Founder and Editor at Spirepoint Wealth
Paul is an entrepreneur, investor, speaker, educator and publisher. He's founder and editor at Spirepoint Wealth, a financial education company dedicated to helping people improve their finances, create more cash flow, and build long-term wealth.
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  • Moe says:

    There are some great nuggets of information in there, Paul – thanks!

    One of the themes from this event seems to be the importance of character (versus intelligence or skill). As we’ve all heard, there are many geniuses and highly-skilled people who aren’t successful – because they don’t have the right attitude, they give up too easily, etc.

    As a parent of two boys, I’ve been trying to understand what skills to pass on to my children, and this had led me recently to the work of a psychologist in the U.S. named Angela Duckworth. She researches what makes people successful, and has concluded that “grit” makes all the difference. I’d bet that most (if not all) of the speakers at the Fast Track event have a lot of grit.

    Keep up the good work, Paul!

    Moe

    P.S. Here’s an interesting article from the New York Times on Dr. Duckworth’s research: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magazine/what-if-the-secret-to-success-is-failure.html?pagewanted=all

    • Paul Blacquiere says:

      Thanks Moe! Glad you enjoyed it

      I think another word for grit that sums it up is ‘persistence’. Most people give up too early, and usually just before they start seeing results in whatever it is they are trying to achieve. It’s a common problem in today’s “want it now” society – they are constantly jumping from one shiny object to the next. Why be persistent when something shiny new and exciting will come along shortly that looks more enticing than what they’re doing?

      One of the things I took away from this event is that persistence definitely makes a difference between successful and unsuccessful people, but even normally persistent people can be truly tested when the going gets tough. That’s where a really good “reason why” is important — it helps pull you through those rough patches and gives you the motivation to keep going.

      Excellent article by the way… I especially love this part:

      …The students who persisted in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically at KIPP; they were the ones with exceptional character strengths, like optimism and persistence and social intelligence. They were the ones who were able to recover from a bad grade and resolve to do better next time; to bounce back from a fight with their parents; to resist the urge to go out to the movies and stay home and study instead; to persuade professors to give them extra help after class.

      And this one…

      To help chronically low-performing but intelligent students, educators and parents must first recognize that character is at least as important as intellect.

      Regarding this line… how many people always want to try something and do well the first time? Most people don’t want to fail, but failure is our biggest teacher.

      Looking back on his life, though, Randolph says that the character strengths that enabled him to achieve the success that he has were not built in his years at Harvard or at the boarding schools he attended; they came out of those years of trial and error, of taking chances and living without a safety net.

      Paul

  • Val Neiser says:

    I really love Darren’s annual w/e seminars…..sure miss them in MB…….actually all of the FAST TRACK events are awesome…nice to come often to see updates, and refresh memory.

    Looks like we missed one very special seminar this time around..awesome speakers++, as per usual.

    • Paul Blacquiere says:

      Yeah, he doesn’t come out east anymore. His business model has changed a lot over the last few years, and I think he’s focusing on provinces where it’s easier to do business. Ontario, for example, has pretty strict securities regulations compared to western provinces.

      But all that certainly doesn’t stop people like me from traveling out west for his events 🙂


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