Chris Larsen is the Founder and Managing Partner of Next-Level Income, where he helps investors become financially independent through education and investment opportunities. He has been investing in and managing real estate for over 20 years. Larsen, In addition to real estate, has invested in equities, oil & gas, and small business lending, as well as being active in Venture South, one of the nation’s Top 10 Angel Investing groups.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up just north of Annapolis. I was born in Baltimore and had a younger sister. My father died at age 5 so I was raised by my mother and ultimately step-father. It was the most stable situation, but I had a good childhood and my parents were savers. My mother taught me the value of a dollar. We didn’t have a lot, but we had enough. I played outside, fished and crabbed at the local beach, and rode bicycles to my friends’ houses. When I turned 13 I got a mountain bike for my birthday and fell in love with the sport of racing. I did my first race at age 14, won a state championship the next year, and have been in love with the sport ever since. I’ve won state championships, been an All-American in college, top-5 at Nationals, and top-10 at the World Championships.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

Happiness is something you choose.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Buy a house. I think that people should understand that buying a house is an emotional purchase, not an investment. I believe that people are better off learning how to invest and buying their first property with a plan to rent it or turn it into an investment.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

In my book, I talk about the loss of my father, my mother, and my best friend. Each of these came during formative years. I lost my father at age 5. Losing a parent at this age is correlated to success. It’s a weird thing to think about and say, but it makes sense to me now. When we are young we think the time is infinite. So each day doesn’t hold much value. But when you realize that time is finite, it increases the value exponentially. Losing my friend at age 19 heightened this awareness. I quit racing and was determined to achieve ultimate freedom. I wanted to experience everything that life had to offer and to have the maximum impact on the world. The loss of my mother came one week before the birth of my second son. It caused me to deeply reflect on the direction I had taken and refocus my life’s work. It ultimately led me to what I do today; coach people to be more successful and help them to become financially independent.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

Habits. We have so many distractions. Getting in the habit of working out each day, working on something that has maximum impact, saving, investing, eating good food, going to bed, and waking up. These habits ultimately turn into real results. Getting 1% better every day exponentially grows into massive results! That’s what I’m good at; Relentless Forward Progress

What is your morning routine?

I wake up at 5 AM every day. I do sleep in on the weekends occasionally if I’ve had a particularly long week or missed some sleep. I prefer to nap to catch up though. I make tea, meditate for 15 minutes and spend 5:30-7 AM, before my boys wake up, working on non-urgent important tasks. Writing, reading, evaluating deals, etc. I usually make breakfast for my boys and get in a workout before sitting back down to work from 11-4 or 5. The evenings are spent with my family at practices, riding bikes, and (I love to cook!) making dinners. My wife and I usually have a date night or night out during the week. Fridays are a non-negotiable family night with pizza and a movie.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Switching from working out at 5:30 AM to working for 90 minutes. I wrote my book in 2 weeks, started my business, and found true freedom.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

I’ve already touched on many. Work first thing in the morning is a key component. I would then work like an athlete trains; pick 2 or 3 “Focus” days a week where you stack your most productive activities. This could be writing, sales calls, designing a project, or reading. Schedule these days each week (I map out my schedule on Sunday mornings) and make sure you have your workouts and family time on the schedule as well. Let the urgent, but non-important items fill in the rest. You will transform your life.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

There are so many, but Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich still sits on my shelf because I truly believe that Thoughts become Words become Actions and that action leads to your reality. Every year I start off by reviewing and sometimes rewriting my 3 Year Vision. This acts as my anchor as I move forward in life toward my goals. This came from Craig Ballantyne’s The Perfect Week Formula. If anyone wants a copy, just send me an email.

Next-Level Income: https://www.nextlevelincome.com/book
The Perfect Week Formula: Send me an email at chris@nextlevelincome.com with PWF Book in the subject line.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

“Act as if”. Decide who you want to be and then start acting like that person.