“You can do anything if you want it bad enough.” - Mike Sjogren
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What’s a “good” life to you? We’re programmed to think a good life entails getting a college degree, a decent job, a family, and a home. What we don’t realize is that most people with a “good” life are stuck inside a cubicle most of the day, trading time away from their families for money. So, is “good” really good enough?
Mike Sjogren did all the right things. He got the grades, the degree, and a decent job. He had a good life. It all changed when Mike’s son was born with a health condition. Having to trade time away from his family for a paycheck to pay the bills, Mike soon realized that something would need to change. That’s when Mike and his wife, Krysten, went on to create Occupied, LLC, a national short-term rental management company in 2017 as a vehicle to build passive income. A mere 18 months later, their short term rental portfolio replaced their income, and Krysten and Michael both left their corporate jobs. Today, Mike is a husband, father, investor, entrepreneur, CPA, author, speaker, instructor, and short term rental expert.
On this episode of the #IAmMovement podcast, Mike and I discuss why he became The Airbnb Guy, how the accountability group M1 changed Mike’s life and his identity, and why you need to be 100% fully committed in order to reach your goals.
00:00 – Intro to Mike
04:00 – The world of entrepreneurship
06:50 – How Mike became “The Airbnb Guy”
09:30 – The importance of accountability
14:20 – Running a marathon
16:20 – Checking all the boxes
18:15 – Giving back
21:15 – Connect with Mike
“A lot of people say that they want something, but until you’re committed it’s a totally different ball game.” – Mike Sjogren
“You need people around you that care about you, that know what your goal is, that will hold your feet to the fire even when you don’t want to.” – Mike Sjogren
“You are limitless if you fully commit to something.” – Mike Sjogren
“Find a mentor, get educated, set your goals, get accountability.” – Mike Sjogren
Rock Thomas: Hey everybody, welcome to a very special edition of the #IAMMovement podcast.
Rock Thomas: On this edition. I actually have one of my mentees somebody who’s been part of my coaching and entrepreneurial mastermind group, M1,
Rock Thomas: Stands for March to your millions where we help people become whole life millionaires and we help them get out of the rat race essentially and become free
Rock Thomas: His story is very, very exciting and cool and neat because as a young man in his early 30s, having been the type of guy who followed what he was told.
Rock Thomas: About getting a good education, get a good job. Get married. Get a kid, a dog, etc. He had all of that going for him, but he also had a son that got sick and it’s created a lot of stress on his family because he couldn’t always be there to help out.
Rock Thomas: Then he was introduced to my mastermind group. He got involved. He started to see things differently. He could see that there’s other ways to operate there’s ways to negotiate.
Rock Thomas: I helped him get a $30,000 raise at his job. I helped him build his confidence, he started to take some other side courses within our community of public speaking and learning about the gifts that he has. So we can really lean into them.
Rock Thomas: And long story short, you can hear a really real cool story about him going on to retire a few people in his family and now is a full blown entrepreneur, out of his W two and living a pretty pretty impactful life, the whole life millionaire story of Mike Sjogren
Mike Sjogren: Thanks for having me on, man. I’m excited.
Rock Thomas: So let’s give them some background on the formal education you got where you grew up in those talks about some of the shifts you made in the last three years.
Mike Sjogren: Yeah, for sure. So before I got into you know anyone in your world I did what everybody told me to do. I went to school. I got good grades. I got a good
Mike Sjogren: Good job, quote unquote, as an accountant. I went back to school and got an MBA or CPA license.
Mike Sjogren: All this stuff and you know I had a comfortable salary right from the outside looking in. Everything was great. You know, I had a
Mike Sjogren: House beautiful wife, a couple cars, a little munchkin. And, you know, it was all hunky dory.
Mike Sjogren: But I was just so unfulfilled with what I was doing and I just felt like there was so much more that I wanted to do with my life than sit in a cubicle 10 hours a day.
Mike Sjogren: You know, looking at spreadsheets and I just didn’t know where else to turn. I did all the education that they told me to do, but I just couldn’t find the answers anywhere. And it was very frustrating and expensive.
Rock Thomas: How much did you spend on your education.
Mike Sjogren: Well over 100 grand for sure between all the colleges and MBAs and all that so
Rock Thomas: And then you got a job that paid you about 110 or something, a year. Right.
Mike Sjogren: Yes, actually, when I met you I was at about 80 and then some conversations that you and I had, I was able to get that up to 120
Mike Sjogren: So,
Rock Thomas: So you you spend 100 on education, roughly, and then you get a job worth about 100 so it takes you basically
Rock Thomas: 10 years at 10% of that to pay that off.
Rock Thomas: Do you still have a student that
Rock Thomas: I do not. Okay, so that’s great because a lot of people have been saddled with that.
Rock Thomas: And you kind of got introduced to being an entrepreneur, right, and the world of entrepreneurship. Tell us a little bit about how that opened up for you. And then, and then how you kind of jumped in the deep end.
Mike Sjogren: Yeah. Before I joined them one i thought I was an entrepreneur, right, like I had a side hustle. I was running a commercial photography business on the side.
Mike Sjogren: And I thought, I own the business. And then when I got into am one and had some conversations with some amazing people in the community.
Mike Sjogren: They’re like, dude, you don’t have a business, you have a second job. And I was like, What do you mean like
Mike Sjogren: You’re taking the pictures. You’re doing the edits you’re sending the quotes. You’re cashing the checks, you’re doing everything that’s not a business. It’s a job and it hit me like a ton of bricks, because I thought I was, you know,
Rock Thomas: Did you get pissed off for how did you feel
Mike Sjogren: It. Well, initially it was a gut check. But then I was like, wait, there’s another way. And it was very eye opening. I’ll never forget that conversation was when you and I first met in person in Philly, and I was staying at the at the Airbnb with a bunch of folks and
Mike Sjogren: They basically laid out what I should do. They’re like, you need to come up with systems.
Mike Sjogren: And I didn’t even know what that meant. I’m like, it’s a camera, dude. I don’t know what you mean by that, and he’s like, No, you need to document how there’s a formula that you use when you take pictures.
Mike Sjogren: I guarantee that you follow some type of system. He’s like, You need to document it then you hire an intern to work for you and train them on how to do it.
Mike Sjogren: You work with them for a while and then they do it and I was like, Okay, cool. So I tried it out. I did what he said. I went in search for a summer intern from a local art school
Mike Sjogren: And she came on every photo shoot with me. She learned the whole business I created some systems and templates for her to use and
Mike Sjogren: You know, that was probably three years ago and now she still works for me. I ended up hiring her at the end of that.
Mike Sjogren: And I just paid her you know 25% of whatever we made. And recently I bumped that up because she essentially took over the operation.
Mike Sjogren: I don’t do anything. I don’t even see the emails anymore. She runs everything for me and that business, you know, five years later, still running and still bringing me cash flow every month. And that was like the first epiphany on what a business is versus the cycles.
Rock Thomas: Yeah, some people say it’s how much money you make. Well, you’re not there right and you were, you were, you were the business.
Rock Thomas: So some day we talked about that one scaling. First you at, you know, Master, what you’re doing, create the systems, then you
Rock Thomas: Do it while you’re you’re have them do parts of it and eventually they can do it, you’re not there me we they
Rock Thomas: So there’s lots of strategies that are taught me entrepreneurial world people are like, Well, I’m an entrepreneur.
Rock Thomas: Well, there’s kind of like, you know, there’s D entrepreneurs and c and b and a and a plus. And the goal is to give people as many tools as possible.
Rock Thomas: Now what happened with you because now you’re known as the Airbnb guy that’s a shift in identity. We talked about identity. You were a CPA.
Rock Thomas: Right, yeah, when you did the right thing. You got an education. You got a job, the picket fence, a dog, the wife, etc. That was your identity. How did you shift to the point you are today because it’s pretty pretty dramatic.
Mike Sjogren: Yeah, there were a few key things that really helped that along. And the first one was becoming aware of my language patterns, right, like we’re very aware you come into the tribe.
Mike Sjogren: You know, all my closest friends are in the tribe and we talk regularly and they would catch me if they would sit. You know, when I was talking about. I go to a networking event.
Mike Sjogren: And people would ask me, What do I do?” And I’d say, I’m a CPA and they’re like, why are you saying that you’re a CPA like that is not who you are anymore. You are the Airbnb guy.
Mike Sjogren: And by constantly reinforcing that and telling that over and over again. I dropped the whole CPA identity and took on. I’m the Airbnb guy. And you know, I started
Mike Sjogren: Getting into the whole Airbnb thing basically because I got to a point where, after our son was born. He was very, very sick and had some health issues.
Mike Sjogren: That rock was, you know, amazing to help me through for a couple years. And it was a really tough time and at one point we had been in the hospital for about three weeks straight
Mike Sjogren: And the doctors were coming in and telling us all this stuff and I couldn’t even listen to what they were saying. The only thing that I could think about
Mike Sjogren: This sounds horrible. When I say this, but the only thing I could think about was, I’ve been here for three weeks I have all these hospital bills piling up
Mike Sjogren: I have no more vacation time. I have no more sick time and I’m going to have to leave my family here to go back and trade time for money in a cubicle
Mike Sjogren: And like a man as a husband as a father. That was like the worst pain. I’ve ever felt in my life, like I felt like
Mike Sjogren: The biggest failure is a human, because I couldn’t, I couldn’t be there when my family needed me the most.
Mike Sjogren: And I told my wife that day that I don’t know how, but I’m going to find a way to build a business that gives us the income that we need without trading time for money. Come hell or high water.
Mike Sjogren: Right. And it was that decision like that that extreme emotional event that changed everything where it was like, I’m committed, right. A lot of people say that they want something
Mike Sjogren: But until you’re committed. That’s a totally different ballgame. And within an 18 month window, I thought of once I started with the first Airbnb.
Mike Sjogren: We scaled that in a year and a half across five different states to a point where we were generating six figures and my wife and I both quit our corporate jobs.
Mike Sjogren: Because the pain was great enough and it forced that identity shift in me. I was like, I’m done with this corporate thing. I’m going to find a way to take control of my time and my money.
Rock Thomas: Now, now, how much of that became fertile because you were around other people that were growing and learning and for a lot of people that are listening to this.
Rock Thomas: Is kind of sponsored by am one, but they don’t maybe know what it is. And one is a mastermind group of like minded individuals.
Rock Thomas: That is hard charging that wants to grab life big and they want to support and encourage each other and challenge each other to be the greatest version of themselves. Would that be a fair statement?
Rock Thomas: Hundred percent. And so, you know, we know the Roger Bannister effect. We know social proof. We know that when you see somebody else do something it lends the belief to you when you thought maybe you couldn’t do it and
Rock Thomas: This community of 300 plus people that are charging toward entrepreneurship and starting businesses and writing books and selling products online. How much of that facilitated you and stepping forward, bit by bit, and having conversations with other people.
Mike Sjogren: It’s vital because we all have these emotional these these periodic pain points that give you that motivation to take action, the challenges is
Mike Sjogren: That doesn’t last very long. Right. So you need people around you that care about you that know what your goal is that will hold your feet to the fire, even when you don’t want to
Mike Sjogren: And it’s not from a place of like bashing each other. It’s from a place of, like, dude, I love you and I know what you’re going for. And that is amazing and I want to support you and I’m not going to let you off the hook.
Mike Sjogren: And by having that support. I mean, I just had my pod call two hours ago before this, I still have that call with the same five people every single week because we especially in crazy times when things are going haywire. You want that support system around you.
Rock Thomas: Yeah, and you’ve got a bunch of people that know what your goals are. And because we’re humans, we don’t want to let people down that are supporting us. You don’t want to, like, make an excuse weekend and week out. Otherwise, you come off being a loser and a nag.
Rock Thomas: And a drain and eventually this group will either ask you to step up or the last kid will step aside, right.
Mike Sjogren: Absolutely.
Rock Thomas: So you’ve made some friends through this group, and you’ve now come to the other side where you’ve become very proficient at teaching people how to build the business you built and you’ve gotten to become a mentor. How’s that for you?
Mike Sjogren: That is, other than quitting my corporate job and having my wife quit her job and retiring. My mom said this was like the most fulfilling thing because when I met you. You were like if you had 10 million bucks right now. Like, what would you actually want to do
Mike Sjogren: And I said, I want to teach people. I want to teach them financial education because I was frustrated after spending all this money on school. Nobody could actually teach me
Mike Sjogren: Like the actual blueprint for how to create your own income and how to take control of your life and you were like, that’s friggin awesome and
Mike Sjogren: Going through some assessments, you know, we had some different courses throughout and one I learned that I have some of my unique gifts are. I love learning and I love teaching
Mike Sjogren: And I’m just, I have a knack for it. Really like time just disappears. I could do it all day every day and be super fulfilled.
Mike Sjogren: And I knew I wanted to teach and go back to the identity shift. It was like I had a bunch of properties going there. We’re going well. But there’s still that little voice in my head. That’s like
Mike Sjogren: Well, I think at the time. I only had five properties. And it’s like, well, who are you to teach you only got five properties and it’s just that subtle little insidious voice in your head. And if I didn’t have
Mike Sjogren: The tribe around me to support me and be like, dude, you are running a sweet business and you’re continuing to grow.
Mike Sjogren: Like, do your thing, like you have a gift for this. Do it. And, you know, with a lot of encouragement and support.
Mike Sjogren: You know, we launched that course little over a year ago, and we’ve got over close to 200 students now from all over the world that are launching their own Airbnb businesses.
Mike Sjogren: And that by far is the most fulfilling thing that I do from a career standpoint right now is teaching other people how to do it.
Rock Thomas: So I just want to, I want to just give the cat, you go other than then I guess the birth of my son and getting married.
Rock Thomas: Retiring my mother tiring. My life retiree myself.
Rock Thomas: working at a job where I get to live to my gifts and help other people and live a fulfilling life. Those are kind of like the tops of the things that happened the last few years. It’s kind of dawned on me as those are some pretty epic things
Mike Sjogren: Yeah, and I ran my first half marathon. My first full marathon. I was training for half Ironman, which unfortunately got canceled, given everything going on right now, but I will get back on the horse whenever things settle down and get that down to, but
Rock Thomas: So let’s talk about the health garden a little bit because one of the things we’re pretty proud of. And one is that we just don’t encourage people to become you know great in one area of their life but
Rock Thomas: To, you know, embrace and understand the money game, but also become a better father, a better son, a better brother, a better steward of your money.
Rock Thomas: More responsible and, of course, energy, I believe, is the edge so to be able to go out and do something where you’re pushing yourself that way. So he ran a half marathon and marathon. What were the instigators there?
Mike Sjogren: So, the half marathon. It was just, I was seeing a bunch of people in the tribe that were like doing all this crazy stuff. And I’m like,
Mike Sjogren: Kind of competitive, so I’m just like, I will. And I’m going to run a half marathon and then
Mike Sjogren: I got a call from the hospital that my, my son had all of his treatments and they have a team that they put through to raise money and they have, they were putting together a team for the New York City Marathon in
Mike Sjogren: And they were like, hey, you know, each runner gets to sponsor a kid. So would you, would you mind if we if your son was like
Mike Sjogren: On somebody’s jersey. And I’m like, Yeah, but it’s going to be my jersey. Nobody else is going to run
Mike Sjogren: They’re like, well, it’s full, whatever. And long story short, within a couple weeks they called me back and said one of the runners got injured, you know, would you want to run it. And I said, Yeah. And this body ran 26.2 miles with my kids face on my chest and, you know, finishing that race.
Mike Sjogren: Just solidified in my head that you can do anything if you want it bad enough
Mike Sjogren: You know, my body was pretty beat up and there were points when I was like I wanted to quit really bad, but I just committed man like it was like it was a dumb decision and
Mike Sjogren: When you cross the finish line. You just realize like we are limitless if we if we fully commit something you can you can literally achieve anything
Rock Thomas: What I love about the way you say that is I constantly hear you gotta keep on putting yourself around other people that are going to remind you, the goals you set
Rock Thomas: The fact that it’s not going to necessarily be easy, but that is going to be worth it to push yourself through. And now, as you look back, you have a bunch of boxes, you’ve checked on things that you’ve advanced, shifted , made changes.
Rock Thomas: Retiring Your mom, your wife and yourself with a child that required some extra attention was a huge win for your entire family. Having places to vacation that you dreamed of.
Rock Thomas: You actually had a picture of a place prior to getting in one of your first Airbnb is when she tells that story.
Mike Sjogren: Yeah, that was pretty wild. So one of the things that we do in one is you write out your five year vision right so i think it was 2015 2016 somewhere in there.
Mike Sjogren: The first line of my five year vision was my wife myself, my wife and my son are sitting on the back deck of our mountainside Shelley was the first line that I wrote. And this was before I had done any real estate stuff I was still working a corporate job and
Mike Sjogren: You know, a year and a half later we closed on a mountain side show la with the most amazing views in all of New Hampshire, you get 180 degree views of, you know, to ski resorts in Mount Washington, it’s, it’s absolutely amazing and
Mike Sjogren: I just, I guess the subconscious mind went to work, right. Like, that’s just the power of the subconscious mind took a year and a half. I had no idea how I was going to do it.
Mike Sjogren: But it all came to fruition and it spawned this whole new business that ended up getting us out of our corporate jobs. Yeah. Amazing.
Rock Thomas: So one of the things as you’re listening to this and you know Mike is a call very down to earth guy, he’s a solid guy and all the people that he teaches what you hear from him. If he really cares and he’s committed and he’s all in and he’ll make a difference.
Rock Thomas: And that’s that’s pretty cool. If you look at where you’re going with your future. And now that you’ve come this far, you are in the hotel business. You’ve got several doors.
Rock Thomas: We were talking before as we went through this pandemic and you’ve become creative in dealing with it and your resolve is strong.
Rock Thomas: How excited are you about the future?
Mike Sjogren: I’m fired up man like it.
Mike Sjogren: For so long I had that goal of leaving my job. It just, it almost just felt like a pipe dream. Like, it was like being on a, you know,
Mike Sjogren: The rat wheel like I didn’t know how I was going to get off and now that it’s happened. It’s just so freaking liberating right and it
Mike Sjogren: Just the direction that I’m seeing with the program and, you know, we’ve added some staff on the property side. So I’m very removed from the majority of the property side now and I
Rock Thomas: Really get to focus on the teaching, which
Mike Sjogren: I love
Mike Sjogren: And I just see that continuing to scale and just
Mike Sjogren: Embed, a lot of the principles that I learned from you around personal development and how to
Mike Sjogren: manage your finances right. I’m teaching people how to generate a lot of cash flow. But we got to make sure that you’re managing it too. Otherwise, you’re gonna lose it all.
Mike Sjogren: So it’s just how can I continue to add value and build a brand where I’m changing people’s lives. Like that’s that’s what I care about.
Rock Thomas: Now you were part of em one mastermind group and for the year. And then you graduate, you become an alumni and you’ve been with us ever since. But you’ve done other things too, right, we, we are big believers in tell tell everybody a little bit, you’ve been up W. What else have you done
Mike Sjogren: Yeah, so I’ve done up W which was cool because you actually got to do my Fire Walk With Me, which was awesome.
Mike Sjogren: Right. Ah, that was really cool done up W. I’ve done a lot of
Mike Sjogren: Studying around Reiki and energy.
Mike Sjogren: So I have gone through one, two and three and got my Reiki mastery actually a month ago.
Mike Sjogren: So I went down that path for a long time. I’m in a lot of different mastermind groups and more business specific ones. So like I’m in a few different short term rental ones.
Mike Sjogren: I’m in another one actually with Edna. That’s kind of real estate and personal development mixed in. I’ve done some retreats in Puerto Rico.
Mike Sjogren: Yeah, I’ve done a lot of different things. And I still have some other stuff on my radar for the next 12 months or so, but it’s just a blend of everything right. I’m always looking
Mike Sjogren: For the nuggets that I can use and incorporate right like when people are looking to get into the Airbnb ease and they’re like, well,
Mike Sjogren: What did you do, and I was like, I’m a student, man. I bought every course I could get my hands on and then I took action. And I figured out what would work for me and I created my own little system out of everything.
Mike Sjogren: But just like anything. I always, I always first find a mentor. I get educated, I set my goals and then I have a set of accountability around it. It’s like a formula and it just works.
Rock Thomas: And you’ve, you took a speaking course with Mark AG. You mean you just
Rock Thomas: Two little things that we’re going to refine you and give you a bit more confidence and eventually the pieces came together and now you’re, you know, the Airbnb guy. How can people get in touch with you if they want to learn more about some of your courses.
Mike Sjogren: Yeah for sure they can follow me on Facebook and Instagram at the Airbnb guy.
Mike Sjogren: We did a god it went for over two hours of training you and I did a few weeks ago. But, uh, they can get a free copy of that recording it STR secrets calm.
Mike Sjogren: Yeah, and just, you know, check us out on Instagram and Facebook. I’m working on a YouTube channel right now to do a lot more like long form educational content and just put out as much value as I can.
Rock Thomas: Can you hear me.
Mike Sjogren: There we go. I lost you for a second. When I finished. Yeah.
Rock Thomas: So you heard you firstname.lastname@example.org so you froze about a minute ago.
Mike Sjogren: Oh geez. Yes, she could check out the free training that I put out a few weeks ago with rock at St our secrets calm and since the short term rental STR secrets calm.
Rock Thomas: Okay, fantastic. And for those people that are, you know, thinking, you know, I don’t know if I like this or not. Can they poke around, kick a tire, answer some questions and know what’s involved?
Mike Sjogren: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I always tell people to watch the training go through, because I cover all of the frequently asked questions on the training, but then if there’s more questions. Yeah, definitely. Shoot me a DM
Mike Sjogren: On Facebook or Instagram. I’m always happy to talk shop. I am always the first question guys if you reach out to me. I’m going to ask you, why do you want to do this business.
Mike Sjogren: Like, what’s your why because if you don’t know that I can’t really help you because the mechanics are simple, but you don’t know what your why is
Rock Thomas: Yeah, and give us an example of one of your students that had some success. Does that look like
Mike Sjogren: Yeah, for sure. Um, you know,
Mike Sjogren: The one that always comes to my head first is a swim named Holly.
Mike Sjogren: And it’s it I guess it just sits more home with me because of everything that went on with my son, but she built a short term rental business.
Mike Sjogren: That caters to kids that are going through cancer treatments and things like that. So she finds all these homes that are near the hospitals.
Mike Sjogren: That has treatment centers and she decks out the houses and makes them really cool and exciting for the kids. And it’s called Holly’s homes and she’s up in Canada.
Mike Sjogren: And last time I talked to her. She had either 11 or 13 properties within a year that she got up and running, which was awesome. It was so cool.
Mike Sjogren: And then, you know, it ranges from everybody that really wants to scale and go big to folks like you know Brad and Jamie that you know from em one right they live up in
Mike Sjogren: The DC area or Virginia area, excuse me, and they bought a house in Disney that they can run for
Mike Sjogren: A couple hours a week they said that I checked in with them last week. Like that’s about two hours a week completely out of state and that property pays them.
Mike Sjogren: A monthly profit. Plus they get to use it whenever they want. So, you know, we’ve kind of had the whole gamut of folks that really want to scale into a big business or just want to own a vacation house.
Rock Thomas: Fantastic.
Rock Thomas: Favorite book or one of your favorite books.
Mike Sjogren: I’ll throw it out there that a lot of people probably haven’t heard of. It’s called psycho cybernetics.
Mike Sjogren: That book that one in becoming supernatural by Dr. Joe dispenser. They really break down the science of the law of attraction, like in crazy the tail. And when I started to understand that stuff, it just blew my mind away so
Rock Thomas: Nice. You could have dinner with one person dead or alive, who would be
Mike Sjogren: Who
Mike Sjogren: The rock.
Rock Thomas: Nice. I like it. I like it. What a cool guy.
Rock Thomas: Mike Sjogren the Airbnb guy has been hanging out on the I am moving podcasts very proud to say he’s one of our graduates. He’s done a great job. He’s helped a lot of people he’s going to help a lot more people
Rock Thomas: But more importantly, he’s impacted his life by making him a better version of himself, Mike. Thanks for dropping by.
Mike Sjogren: Thanks for having me.
The importance of accountability
Why you need to create “systems” if you want to have a successful business
How you can achieve anything if your WHY is strong enough
And much more!