Michael Cowper is a real estate investor and coach who has successfully closed over 430 deals and guided 100’s of businesses to $100k revenue. He is the Founder of The Inner Circle Elite Mastermind, a mastermind for real estate investors across the country focused on building a better business, not necessarily a bigger business, and Owner of Return on Investments, a real estate investment company. Cowper is passionate about finding solutions where others can’t – or won’t. No matter what situation someone is in, his goal is simple – to find winning solutions for everyone involved.

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 across the country. I was born in Alaska, moved to Florida, then to Michigan where I currently reside. I went to over 10 schools growing up, with a mixture of public and catholic schools. I believe those experiences shaped who I am because I never got truly comfortable in any given setting, which helped me become the person who is comfortable being uncomfortable. When being an entrepreneur and generating sales, I found this trait has served me very well because I have learned to read rooms, situations, and people in a quick fashion to identify opportunities.

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

I cannot do it alone. There was a time I tried to do everything myself but at a certain point, you need to realize that you cannot create the business or life you want if you do it all yourself. We all have unique abilities, things we are incredibly gifted at – that is an epiphany I realized for myself early. What I wish I learned earlier was that other people do as well. It is my job to find those people out there that love doing the things I do not.

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

You need to scale to find success. This is often touted that you need to create a big business and have a huge team and do big numbers. This is a fine goal and objective, but too many people I have seen through the years lose their business because of trying to scale too quickly. By building the right type of business, based on what you truly want in life (not what you are told you are supposed to want), will provide much more happiness and better results. I believe that scale comes after you have achieved your lifestyle goals so that you can be truly free to take new risks that come with large scale and speedy growth.

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?

I was one of those businesses that scaled too fast and almost lost my business. We were trying to spend & scale our way to profitability and we just could not get ahead of it. By “right-sizing” our business, we have become much more profitable, removed many of the stress points within the business, and are finding much better opportunities. I learned that bigger is not always better. There may come a time where it is, but often we want to “be the best” and we lose sight that is an unattainable goal. If you truly look deep, being the best will look different to everyone based on what they want out of life. Doing the most business, deals, etc. does not mean you are getting what you want out of your business. Most people do not start a business because they want to work all the time – there usually a freedom component they are searching for. If you are chasing the wrong criteria for success, you’ll never find what you’re looking for.

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

Community. I want to say drive, determination, grit, and all the buzzwords you hear… However, it is the people that I have surrounded myself with that have been the biggest contributor. When I am learning, I have people to guide me. When I am doing well, they help me maximize my success. When I am having challenges, they support and help me. I do not know if I’ve created anything truly original, other than the way I’ve put all the information I’ve collected from my community of experts into my business and life.

What is your morning routine?

I wake up most days at 4-5 AM without an alarm. Typically, will go work out and spend time in the sauna meditating. Next, I’ll read a book and coffee until my family gets up, at which point we have a nice time together getting ready for the day. Once they’re off, I’ll spend time working on a CEO level project for 1-3 hours.

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

Focus. This is one I am still and will likely always be working on. As a business owner, there are many shiny objects and options that would be enjoyable to work on. However, there are only so many hours in the day to be able to do that effectively. By learning and practicing focus, I have been able to get more impactful things accomplished and less time chasing my tail.

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

  • Waking up early when the world is quiet.
  • Do Not Disturb on the Phone
  • Time blocking
  • Bookend the day focusing on myself and my family. This recharges and energizes me to take on the challenges and opportunities of being a business owner.

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

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It is a story and journey of someone in pursuit of their personal legend. It explores identifying your true purpose (personal legend), understanding that you will encounter obstacles and be tested before you can actualize your purpose and that we need to pay attention to the world around us because there are lessons all around us, all the time.

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

“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape”. This is a lesson that I think about often and finds myself having to eliminate the bloat in my life. Often as a business owner, I will find myself taking on too much that pulls me in too many directions and that results in the primary objective receiving less attention than it deserves. If it is not serving the greater goal, it must be eliminated.