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Imagine waking up tomorrow and realizing you lost everything. What’d be the first step you take to get yourself out of rock bottom?

When life slaps you in the face, there’s two things you can do: cower or take the punches.

Successful people don’t stay down- they get right back up.

How you respond to tough situations is what defines whether you succeed or fall back into the pit. That goes for every kind of adversity you’ll go through.

In this episode, Kyle interviews Nate Kennedy, serial entrepreneur who shares how you can thrive through any adversity, even if you have to restart from zero. 

Listen now to discover how you can build the resilience, determination and confidence to handle whatever life throws your way.

Show highlights include: 

  • Why believing you’re successful can end your career and make you lose everything (04:53)
  • How living in a condo with rats and being dead broke can motivate you to turn your life around (07:22)
  • How going in the ‘wrong direction’ can lead to your next break through in life (and why being complacent is actually wasting your potential) (11:19)
  • The “roll with the punches“ attitude that can help you in any situation life throws at you (even if the FBI shows up at your door) (13:12)
Read Full Transcript

From near death experiences to the devastation of homelessness, how and where do we find the will to overcome insurmountable odds? And when we do overcome these challenges, how do we pass that story of survival onto others? Life on the rocks is that place where these stories are heard from those who live to tell them. And now here is your host Kyle Miller.

(00:22): Welcome to life on the rocks guys. I'm so excited to have my next guest on here. His name is Nate Kennedy. This guy, his story's gonna blow your socks off, man. But first this guy started as a scuba diver. How did, how did you, how did you do that?

(00:39): Yeah, man, thanks for having me on Kyle. So I was, you know, it's interesting enough. I was a scuba diving instructor. I got started scuba diving when I was in high school, got certified. And then when I went outta college, I got certified as a dive master. And I was like, after I graduated college spent four years. I didn't have to do that fifth year victory law at got in and out and went to key west to become a scuba diving instructor instead of use my business degree. And I get down there. I'm like, man, everyone's like, holy smokes, dude. We can't believe you're going to key west to be a scuba diving instructor. That's you're living the dream. That's so cool. And I'm like, I get down there and I'm like, man, I didn't make any money. And none at all. And it was just awful.

(01:27): And I'm like, I was like, man, I get down there. I'm like, well, I'm a screw. I start, but I gotta get another job. And I'm living in key west. It's not the cheapest place at that time. So they already told me I couldn't get another job. I needed to be full time with them. I couldn't work at night. So all this other stuff. And, and so I'm like, all right, well, that's fine. If I can't get another job, then I can't work for you either cuz I need to live. Right. So I ended up bouncing back and hanging out in the outer banks for a while. And of North Carolina managing a surf shop and bartending at a restaurant at a pizzeria for the summer. I was like, all right, we'll figure it out from here. And, and then from there I'm like, well that's only summer work, man.

(02:02): I gotta find, I gotta, you know, I, you something other than this and end up in Charlotte, North Carolina randomly moved there. I had a, a good friend who I moved in with and guy ended up getting a job in the mortgage industry is kind of where it all started taking off. Right. So right in 2002, the guy didn't even wanna hire me because I was just kind of like the surf bum. He's like what this guy really wanna do. I've always been know me. Wow, I'm a laid back individual man. I'm I'm very even keel, not, not up high, not usually ever low. So this guy didn't wanna hire me. I come in, I have the highest number of sales for the first full month of a new broker mortgage broker on his team. So it was a little bit different and I just kept grinding and pushing.

(02:42): And I was, you know, got to the point where I started making good money and I was working hard. I was playing hard and I just got burnt out. And so what I did from there is I took two weeks off. I basically, while I took one, two weeks off, I just took off and I've put in my notice and went to Costa Rica to surfer a couple weeks and fulfill his, you know, beliefs, right. I guess his and go surf for two weeks, end up back in the outer banks, kind of just hanging out for a few months. Not really doing much had money saved up that I was just kind of chilling with and realized I need to do something more. Right. So I get back a mortgage space and I, and I meet this guy, Ken never forget Ken, still talk to Ken today.

(03:25): He was my first kind of like real mentor who helped me close my first real estate deal. So he was just an entrepreneur. You know, he owned a CD back in the day. He owned a CD shop, right with sold CDs. And he ended up and above. It was his mortgage and real estate company. He owned the building, he owned other real estate, like just, you know, all this kind of cool stuff. And, and he ends up helping me get into close my first real estate deal. So I start selecting mortgages again with him and then I find this property and I wholesale it. He was like, Hey man, I'll buy it it from you. And so I wholesale actually it was deal two. The first deal I ended up buying rehab, fixing up and selling and doing, it was like a hundred thousand dollars, something crazy on the, on the house in profit.

(04:11): And then I end up getting from there, stacked some money away. Then I flip wholesale my first house to him actually. And I'm like, I got money stacked away. I was like, go build my own mortgage company now. Right. So I moved back to Charlotte, start a mortgage company. We start hustling. I, at this point, man, I was like just full grind mode and was cuz that's what we do. Hustle grind 24 7. Right. And so I get out there, I start doing that and we grow this mortgage company up. I start hiring people. We start a real estate company. I'm continuing investing in real estate. We then start a, I go get my builder's license, GC license. We start doing high end construction homes. We're buying homes, tearing 'em down. So this timeframe, Pete mines, 2005 from when I started the mortgage company it to about 2008 and we just went hard and just kept doing a bunch of deals and building houses and doing all this stuff.

(05:04): And then unfortunately the market shifted. And when that market shifted, I completely got caught with my pants down, lost everything. You know, I didn't, I was, I was, I was partying hard and, and, and working hard. Right. So I lost sight. My ego got in the way and I thought I was high having all this success because of me. Right, right. Everything I do touches the gold, just look at it. And so I bought my own and took my eye off the ball. Didn't realize the market was shifting or ignored that it was right. I knew it was, but I really ignored it. Cause it all, it won't happen to me. Right. Mortgage industry tanks. I get stuck with a bunch of, I got a bunch of real estate that all tanks in value. I no longer have the money to support the payments on those homes.

(05:50): And I end up going completely bankrupt. So toughest moment that I've ever had probably in business and in life mentally was being 27 years old on paper thinking I'm king dingling with a few million dollars in equity in these homes and making a bunch of money every month to being 28 years old flat fricking broke, nothing to show for it upside down on property, sitting down in attorney's office, talking to him about the process for filing for bank corporate bankruptcy. Right. Hmm. So just ended up, you know, losing it all. So not only, you know, at that time too young and aggressive and ego driven, right? Like my ego was big, so it hit hard and very humbling moment. But you know, when I realized that I lost everything, I'll never forget when it was all falling apart. Right. I was just mentally in a bad place.

(06:45): I was sitting, I'll never forget with my now wife, girlfriend at the time in a condo that was being that I that's when I still had, but it was being foreclosed on. Right. And I we're sitting there and I saw this happen in the bathroom. We had a empty room that we had a bunch and I was basically just rolling change, man. Literally, like I had a, some, some habit I got from my family growing up as a kid, right. The big bucket with change in it. You just throw the change in it. Yes. And so I'm like, I always ha I still have one of those things today in my house. Yeah. It's a little smaller. I'm not scared. But so I start rolling the change and we had it there. We're rolling it. We're putting it. We gotta get all this money together, whatever we got.

(07:29): Right. We got, we gotta figure this out. And a fricking mouse runs across the room. I'm like son, like now I'm like, was just living in this, like one of the ritziest areas of Charlotte at the time in this beautiful home, I had to downgrade to this condo. Right. Cause I lost the house and cemented, I was destroyed, man. I just, I was super depressed and remember wondering like, what am I gonna do? How am I gonna do this? But I'll never for get some words that rang home for me. Like it is, I've always been one of those, like, all right, I can, this happened. Let's move on. Right. So after about two weeks I was down and out, you know, I was having this conversation with my son the other day, cuz we're watching this show and he was like, why are these, why were these two guys saying that they felt like killing themselves?

(08:22): The show was like, it was interesting cuz these guys had a tough time and the stories started out for them. I, I just, you know, I really had a tough time and, and the, they didn't wanna accept the fact that they screwed up. So then they come out and it was like cliche for them to say, they, you know, they wanted to commit suicide right now. I'm not, if I am not here making funding of suicide, I understand oppression is a major thing. Right. But the lesson to my son was which I'll come back to where I was at was like, man, I screwed up. I made the mistake. And so I was trying to teach him that lesson. I was like, when you make a mistake, you have two options. You, you own it, accept it and move on or you don't own it. You don't accept it. And you look for alternative solution. So you don't have to. Right. Like I was trying to kind of deep, I guess, for the intro of this podcast. Yeah. And how, and how old is he?

(09:11): He's he's 10, but it seemed like it cliff, you know, I'm like kinda teaching that lesson and, but that's where I was at. After two weeks of just being like depressed, had lost, everything, had nothing in my name. I, you know, I've always loved the BMW seven series. That thing got repo and you know, had just gone everything. And my now wife at the time we went out, ended up she was selling real estate. So she started, you know, kind of there's a couple months there where like, while I was getting back on my feet, she was supporting us and doing her thing and went out, we got a car financed, a, a car in her name, all that good stuff. Right. Cause I had the BK, so that wasn't gonna happen. And then but yeah, man, it was just like, here I can beat depressed or I can fix what I created.

(09:58): Right. You know, move forward and do something more. So I would say, you know, that, that that's the little history mirror where I've been at and that was all, man. That was 2002 to 2008. And think about what we could talk about now from 2008 to, to where we're at. But you know, I would say that was one of the most more moments that I had had is in life. Right? Because you go from having everything to having nothing and then you realize everything you had, wasn't what you wanted anyways. And as you get older and smarter,

(10:29): You were on top of the world there. I mean at 27 years old, like rolling in dough, doing whatever you wanted to do. Right. And, and enjoying that lifestyle and then boom market hits and it just completely takes you out, man. I mean, that's, that's a big fall and I'm sure, like you said, the ego's big, but you gotta take that. And, and then I love though, I love what you're saying here is where you just took that and said, Hey, listen, I only got two options here and you either give up or just us move forward. And I love that, man. I think there's a lot of people that, you know, they get into those situations in life where they, their backs against the wall and some of 'em are just stop. And then some of 'em are just like, Hey, you know, it's a decision. We're just gonna, we're gonna do this, this, this, and keep pressing and keep moving forward. And I love that, man. That's awesome story.

(11:19): Yeah. And if someone's dealing with a tough time right now and, and you're listening to this, like the, the number one thing that always comes to mind to me, well, a couple things, one, you gotta own it. Two is action creates traction. You know, you cannot sit there and do nothing. If you sit there and do nothing your day, get, if, if you, if you wake up one day and you sit there and do nothing and you wake up the next day, your life's worse. Right. Cause you did nothing. You didn't do anything to move forward. So if you're dealing with a tough time, action creates traction. I don't care if it's the wrong action at that time, but action creates traction. So just make sure you assess your actions after you do 'em, but that's, what's gonna get you to where you wanna go and get out of a rut. If you're in one.

(12:05): Oh, absolutely. I was going through the military and they're saying, they're saying, doing the same thing. Listen, we were going through officer candidate at school and going through that aspect of it. And we're we're out there and we have to make a decision. We gotta make a decision. They put all this stress and pressure on you. And you're going through all this stuff. They say, make a decision, make a decision, make a decision. Doesn't matter. If you make the wrong decision or the right decision, you're making a decision and you go full bore after it. Right. And then you can come back and you look at, well, maybe the next time in that I'm in that situation. I would've made a different decision, but when you sit there and don't do anything, that's when you get shot, that's when the game ends for you, right. Is whenever you just sit there and freeze and you, and you can't make a decision and move forward with it. That that's how I, I try to live my life. Absolutely. Just like that. Neutral going nowhere. Yeah. Sitting in neutral. You're you, you're going backwards. Don't kid yourself.

(12:55): Right. And, and the thing is, if you're going in the wrong direction, you're at least learning that, okay, this isn't the direction we need to go. We need to go this way. But you are moving. I love it. What are you doing now? Like what's the life of Nate Kennedy. Like now after he's gone through all this stuff, gone through, you know, the bank wraps and coming back and, and making the decisions to move forward. What, what do you do now? What's what's the life look like?

(13:23): Oh man. Well, it got a little worse after that bankruptcy. So yeah. So I start building my life back. Right. Start building back up. I start getting into sticking with real state at the time, right. Sticking with real estate and then started this online marketing thing in 2000, end of 2006 and seven. I started playing around with this internet marketing thing that was going on. So I kind of had that when I lost everything to kind of lean on. And then I got into, you know, just got back into getting some deals done. Finally get kind of on my feet and I get knock on the door. Right. I'm like, all right, what's this open the door. Hey Nate, NC commissioner banks, investigator. And and I'm here with agent FBI agent. So and so, and I'm like, what is going on? And so these guys try and like create some whole thing going on.

(14:16): And I ended up basically at hire at this point, I had to hire an attorney. They were trying to create like this big ring of people in Charlotte to create this crack, this case that were Robin banks and doing these loans and all this. Right. And I'm like right first off and all, because I'm the kind of guy like if we come up to together, like we're trying to, I'm trying to help you come up, like right. If I'm, if I got an opportunity, I wanna share that opportunity. Right. And so I knew I happened to know like all these guys from high school and college and Charlotte and all these things that we're all kind of getting into doing these deals. Yeah. And so they tried pinning me as like the guy who was the leader of creating this mass conspiracy and all this.

(14:56): Right. And so they dragged me through the coals for two years on that thing. Right. And they basically, and I wanted to fight the whole thing. My attorney at the time was like, Hey man, you can fight him, but they're you with your own money, so right. You might as well just pay, pay. 'em What they're asking and be done with it. Okay. So I basically it's got strong armed and for cash. Right. So at that point I'm like, guys, man, like I, at that point I'm like, you know, I got another for the government, you know, like right. The man's not holding me down. Right. So anyways, I, I, you know, that all happened and you know, just fought through it and you, at the end day, man, 1, 1, 1 day at a time, move forward, don't take your eye off the prize. And so got all that buttoned up and outta off my plate and outta out of my path and started really doubling down on the internet marketing thing at that point.

(15:48): Right. Cause now we're a, a couple years. And what year was this? That was 2009, 2010. Okay. So they waited until I rebuilt and then they came after me. Right. And so bastards. But so I end up going to going through all that process, but I had, I'd really start getting cranking on this internet thing and I'm talking and making, and that's how they got me or came at me is cuz I had some videos on YouTube and was doing this. And they're like, well, we saw this video on the YouTube of this guy of the billionaire boy. So I created this whole video for a internet marketing launch. And we hired this little boy actor to do like a video talking about how he is making billions flipping real estate. Right. And it was a skit, it was a freaking skit. And so they took that at, as I'm telling them, I'm making billions of dollars.

(16:35): And so they're coming after me. Right. And I'm like, oh my goodness. And so the, but that launch went well, we made some decent money. And but that, that you can't make like that up, unfortunately. No. So we build that up. I get really heavy in the internet marketing. I built companies up teaching some of the real estate stuff we were doing and the real estate stuff. Other people were doing that, that I worked with. And we ended up selling those companies and people, I created a company called funnel architects with a buddy of mine and people were hiring us to build and do what we did. Right. So like I've always kind been a lone Wolf when it goes to business. Like if I got a path I'm going and I'm running. Okay. And in the real estate game, like all these guys that you would do stuff with, if you weren't part of their big bro, you know, high school cl that they had going on, they didn't wanna like promote you.

(17:30): So because of that, I had to go figure out how to get traffic. So I learned how to buy Google ads. I learned how to buy Facebook ads. I learned how to build webpages. I'm like, all right, well I'll just beat you guys. I'll go do it myself. Right. So I ended up building these businesses up, doing all that and selling those. And that's how I built those and sold 'em. And then some of these guys started coming to me going, what are you doing? Can you help us? And so then some of these guys started hiring me

(17:54): And that's how I ended up with a marketing agency. Did that for many years, treated my family. Great. Always been, been good, built this big business, up with a bunch of people. And then all of a sudden I ended up running an office that was not at my office that I paid for. Cuz I couldn't being at my own company. Right. Oh yeah. There's many lessons inside of that. But so yeah, I mean that's, and that's where I got from there. And it's the story goes on. We ended up getting outta the, the marketing agency and said, we're gonna build our own brands and that's where we're at now. So now I own all of our own brands. We have a conservative media company that other companies come to. We own basically all of our brands everything's online. We're a hundred percent virtual in regards to how we can operate and run the company. And life's good, man. So man, that

(18:41): That's, that is awesome. I knew a little bit about that story, but I didn't know all of that. I don't share that one part. You you'd be, be happy. Cause I I've been shared that whole FBI story. Yeah. That's the part I didn't hear before. I knew, I knew that you had kinda, well, I didn't know the scuba diving stuff either, but that's so you

(19:01): Went through stuff. So if I could give your audience one, tip one recommendation. Yes. The FBI shows up in your doorstep and you do not look at 'em and go what the effort are you doing on my doorstep and slam the door in their face, go grab your attorneys number, write it down and walk open and hand it to 'em and say, leave me the F alone and slam the door again. Don't ever do that. Not a good look that that's not, that's not the correct way to work with those guys. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. That's probably so might've been why I got dragged to the mud for two years. You're like this guy, we're gonna get this. He thinks he thinks he's an. Wait, he sees us. Yeah.

(19:46): That's awesome, man. Awesome. I love it. I love the story brother. And I appreci you, you know, sharing that with us. Like if anybody, like, do you work with individuals or if anything like that or no. Or they just follow you online?

(20:01): Yeah. I mean, people connect with me at, at Nate Kennedy MD. Okay. So the MD back in the day used to stand any doctor. Okay. Cause I was doing a bunch of deals and I had this whole like characters created and he had a lab coat on. I had dollar signs all on it, but in 2011 we switched it over to Nate Kennedy MD, the marketing doctor. Okay. So yeah. So anyways, yeah. Nate Kennedy MD, I that's get me on. So that was our, all my social handles. I'm also Nate, Ken Nates, kennedy.com can hit me up there and you know, we don't really, we don't take on, we don't do client work anymore. If we don't own the brand or have equity in the brand, we don't, you know, we don't, we don't mess with it. Unfortunately. for other people I've tried to hire has kind of just got out of that. Right. But I do enjoy having people come to my office and spend a day and really just dive into their business. So I do that kind of stuff, but we don't actually do the execution anymore as a, as an agency. And all the execution on as our agency does is we own it. So. Gotcha.

(21:06): Yeah. Gotcha. Well dude, man, I, I, I'm just thankful that you decided to share that little story with us and, and it just goes to show like everybody's story that you hear there. They all have little D different variances, but one thing that they have all in common is just, there is this setback that happens to them or there's this massive Boulder in front of 'em or this, this just big thing that they have to overcome in their life. And I'm just glad you shared that with with us, because I think on IG, I think a lot of people think it's just business is all sunshine and rainbows and making money and it's it's that, but it's also, you gotta go through the bad stuff too. You gotta go through the ups and the downs, you know? So I'm just glad you're able to share that with us.

(21:53): People don't like on, on Instagram, you don't share the tough, the, you know, cause you're, you're so excited about the end result because you don't like, we, I don't look back at, I look back at those tough times now when I laugh at 'em, you know, I'm like, right. So I can't believe I went through that. Like, why was, why was I so thickheaded, you know, like, right. You know, there's so much opportunity in today's world and people don't wanna share the, the tough times. So I think it's awesome that you're, you're pulling these these war stories out of, out of your guest of like what it took us to get to where we're at. And yeah, I gotta say like, I'm, you know, with, I, I look at it and I'm like, why was I such an idiot back then on some of those things.

(22:29): But then I look at it and I wouldn't be where I'm at today. If I didn't go through that bankruptcy. And then after I finally recovered from the bankruptcy, I got the FBI knocking on my door, trying to come after me, you know, and tell me I'm going to jail. Then when they realized they didn't have anything, then it was like, oh, we're just gonna find you. Right. You know, Hey, we can find you millions of dollars. We, we, we believe we and find you millions, but we'll take 75 grand a day. I was like, kidding me. So, you know, it's funny cuz life slaps you, but I think you're gonna get slapped around. You're gonna get hit. You're gonna get punched in the face. Yeah. And it's how you respond when you get punched in the face. That's that really gets you to where you want to go. You co good luck. Yeah. Will let someone hire you. Yeah. You know, like getting punched in the face, let go work for someone else. Let them take the punches and just be a great, a great worker with them and, and team player with them. But if you don't mind getting punched in the face and moving forward, you'll be just fine. Yeah.

(23:23): I, I, I, yeah, absolutely. Well, like I said, Nate, I don't wanna take up too much of your time today. I appreciate you coming on here with us sharing that story. And I think people are gonna take some good nuggets from that and, and be, be beneficial for them in their life. Thank you.

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