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How To Thrive In A Crowded Market With Airbnb With Rachel Gainsbrugh – Real Estate Women

REW Rachel Gainsbrugh


Everyone wants to experience what it feels like to generate income while having plenty of free time to spend on whatever they want with. Many see potential in the real estate industry to make us experience that. But how can someone thrive in a crowded market? In this episode, Rachel Gainsbrugh, the owner of Short Term Gems, shares her secret on how you can thrive in a crowded market with Airbnb. She explains that the Blue Ocean Strategy helps set you apart from this market’s feeding frenzy. So if you want to set yourself apart from the crowded market and save yourself from financial pains, don’t miss this episode. So, choose financial freedom, choose bliss, and hit that play button NOW!

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How To Thrive In A Crowded Market With Airbnb With Rachel Gainsbrugh – Real Estate Women

Real Estate Investing For Women

I am excited to welcome to the show, Rachel Gainsbrugh. Rachel was born in Haiti with the drive to make a difference and not take her parents’ sacrifices for granted. She was raised in Miami, worked hard, became a doctor, and was left with over $500,000 in student loans. She ground hard to pay off her loans. When she found Airbnb investing, it became a game changer for her. She was able to make fifteen times on short-term real estate rentals over long-term rentals.

Now, she’s a healthcare professional by day and a rental investor by night. She’s the owner and manager of eighteen luxury short-term rentals with a lucrative cashflowing rental portfolio. She’s a mom, wife, and real estate coach that has been featured on Netflix TV, showcasing one of her luxury rentals. Rachel is passionate about helping professionals create a life they don’t need a vacation from through Airbnb investing. I love that. Rachel, welcome to the show.

Thank you so much. Thank you for having me and for taking the time to put out all of this valuable content to the community. I appreciate being here with you.

Thank you so much for that. Rachel, I’ve been waiting for you, and we’ve had to reschedule a couple of times. I do luxury home long-term rentals. I call them Executive Homes, and people do not talk about the luxury rental market often. I feel a bit alone in that industry. It’s so much fun to be having this conversation. I’m excited about it. Could you start by giving us a high-level of your story? I read your bio, but what brought you to real estate, and why short-term rentals?

What brought me to real estate was looking for not necessarily an exit strategy but an additional revenue stream outside of punching a clock and the whole W-2 thing. I love helping patients. That is my passion. Outside of that, I wanted to have savings set aside. We’d overcome a large amount of student loan debt. When I looked around, I looked at all the investing strategies out there. Crypto was making its way to the forefront as well. I just didn’t quite understand it. I said, “Let me just stick to real estate. I can see it. I can touch it. It’s real to me.”

I went to look into real estate investing. I consumed maybe a year and a half of the show and determined that short-term rentals were going to be the right fit for me. I felt that if I could position myself correctly and build a system around it, not only would I generate a significant amount of revenue compared to my counterparts that were investing in long-term rentals or syndications, I felt as though I would be able to do in a fraction of the time that most would be doing investing. Having a bit of a project management background and being able to leverage that, I figured that it was worth a try and the juice is worth the squeeze. It worked in my favor for sure.

Talk to me about short-term rentals versus long-term rentals. How do you see them, and why you chose this particular route?

I even niche further into short-term luxury rentals, but I will talk to you about short-term rentals versus long-term rentals. Fortunately, we live in a lower-cost-of-living area in Georgia, I was looking around at properties that would fit into my budget, and for that first purchase, I was looking at a budget of about $300,000 for a property.

I looked at some long-term rentals in some rural or remote areas in Georgia, and I found a 20-unit for $300,000. I was like, “This is going to be amazing and my research,” and I realized the rent rolls were about $160 a month. I was like, “I want to live there.” The rents were low, and with those lower rents, you are going to have challenges. I had to think about twenty individuals who may be needier than most with these types of rents. Is it worth it for me? Am I leveraging my revenue in a way where I’m not punching a clock or am I buying a whole new job?

For me, at that point in time, even though it was a long-term rental, which is going to be a little less hands-on than short-term rentals, it wasn’t worth it. I looked around at more long-term rental opportunities and I saw an average of anywhere from $300 to $400 a month, net revenue after all expenses were paid, and net operating incomes were not the greatest for long-term rentals.

We’d spent many years paying off student loan debt. I wanted this next opportunity to be the most profitable as I could make it. Short-term rentals were it for sure, and we saw anywhere from $10,000 a month gross revenue to start, and properties that could net about $6,000 a month are one of our first properties. We’re thinking that would be the route to go as compared to long-term rentals.

Is that your profit or is that before management fees?

That’s profit because we self-manage using our own systems, and that was part of the project management I mentioned a little earlier.

In one of the notes you sent me, you mentioned that you could do this even if it’s not like a vacation destination place. Could you talk about how that works for you?

What’s interesting is that it’s a strategy we stumbled across because we have a property that is in a suburban area. It’s on a nice piece of land about two acres or so, which is huge for some areas, and it’s in a better school district, a little bit of higher per capita income in this particular area. We came across families who were displaced from their homes temporarily due to either a natural disaster or some type of mishap.

If there’s a fire, a significant water leak, or a pipe that bursts these are families that fit our demographic. We have larger homes, so we do host larger families. These are families who are going to be placed in a hotel for some time, and they need to be in a home for the next 4 months to 8 months as the supply chain is behind.

Finding a workforce to repair homes is can be a bit delayed, and we’re still encountering that. Those families have been staying with us anywhere from 4 months to 11 months. We just secured a 12-month contract with some of these families, and these are paid to us directly by the insurance company. These are our midterm rentals, but it’s specifically the insurance policyholder strategy that we leverage.

Do you get those people through insurance companies? Is that the channel that you use?

They come to us through a third party. The insurance companies themselves don’t necessarily seek out housing. They work through a third party to find housing for them, almost like a scout to find homes. Once we had one book in our local area, it’s always creating those relationships. We know those relationships are everything. As soon as we start to evaluate the property, give the notice to vacate period and say, “This property’s going to be vacant in a few weeks.” We start reaching back out to those same individuals and we just want to be top of mind.

“Don’t forget, this property’s going to be available on January 2nd, 2023.” We just got an inquiry. We have one that’s available on January 2nd. We said, “January 2nd, we’re going to be open again.” We keep those lines of communication going. It’s not necessarily your insurance, but it is a third party that works with AllState, State Farm, Travelers, or all of those insurance companies.

REW Rachel Gainsbrugh

Airbnb: It’s not necessarily your insurance, but it is a third party that works with All State, State Farm, Travelers, and other insurance companies.


How would you find those people?

The first time honestly, they found our listing through Airbnb. As of this date, they don’t use Airbnb anymore to source properties for their policyholders. However, the policyholders use Airbnb, it’s a two-pronged attack. Say, something happens to your home, unfortunately. The insurance is going to use that third party to start looking for housing.

They may tell you, “You may want to look for an option as well,” and if you determine there is this property that’s an Airbnb that’s within my school district a few roads down, then you can go ahead and let them know that we found a property and then, they’ll work with the host or the homeowner to facilitate that transaction. I do know the insurance policyholders, the insurance at temporary housing agencies is not leveraging Airbnb any longer. Another site that we use to garnish that relationship is a site called CorporateHousingByOwner.com. We list there and they found us there as well.

Do you find that you have much fewer vacancies? What’s your turnover time when someone leaves and then you’re trying to get somebody else in? What does that look like?

For our 5 properties in 1 particular region that do primarily this midterm rental strategy with the insurance policy holder, we’ve had 7 vacancy days over the last several months. If I’m going to do short-term rentals in a vacation market, I prefer a vacancy of 65%. That’s going to be the biggest difference between short-term and long-term. For long-term, you want 100% occupancy. For short-term, you do not want 100% occupancy, especially with the larger homes.

At 65%, it’s my sweet spot. We’re able to go in there and make all of the changes that we need, tweak things if the home needs more TLC, and we have the time in between to adjust. However, with long-term rentals, you’re going to have the same person in the long term. For short-term rentals, there’s more handholding. Our maintenance needs to come in. We press and rush all of those things.

If we drive a vacancy or occupancy with our short-term rentals, the struggle is that the property’s not going to be in tip-top shape for the next guest. If it’s not in tip-top shape for the next, you risk complaints and refunds and you start to lose money at that point, so 65% occupancy is perfect. We’re able to get a higher revenue and get the property in tip-top shape in between. However, for these midterm rentals, we can go all day long 100%.

If we drive up vacancy or occupancy with our short-term rentals, the struggle is that the property will not be in tip-top shape for the next guest. You risk complaints and refunds and start to lose money at that point. Click To Tweet

With your short-term rentals, more like the vacation ones, you like 65% occupancy?


How do you manage these properties remotely?

I use a number of technology tools to automate, eliminate, and delegate. As far as remote management, if the property is close to other properties where I want to make sure that the noise levels are kept under wraps. We use tools such as NoiseAware. Inside the properties, we will measure the decibels to make sure that there are no crazy parties happening. Other tools are channel managers that we use online to deconflict our calendars to make sure that we don’t get double bookings and the ring camera keyless door entry, those types of tools as well are primarily the automation or tech tools that we leverage.

Outside of that, our cleaning team, our maintenance, as well as our TaskRabbit runners pretty much run the whole business for us remotely. If there are any types of boots on the ground that are needed, they’re there to support, test this, and bridge any of those gaps. As far as guest communications, once we had our communications dialed in and created our SOPs, we were able to train someone to take over the guest communications. It’s important to have a system.

What do you mean by SOP?

Our Standard Operating Procedures. If a guest asks this question, here’s the answer. If they ask this question, here’s the answer. If something comes up that’s not a part of the script or our SOPs, then they didn’t escalate it to me. The last time I spoke with a guest, I had to intervene. I’m primarily responsible for bookkeeping and making sure the numbers look okay.

Do your cleaning team and your handyman come from TaskRabbit, or do you have people that you call when there’s a need, or how does that work for you?

I have three sets of cleaners. If something goes awry with the first, I have team B and team C. I keep those at bay, and then there’s an app called TurnoverBnB, if something goes wrong with all three. Many of my clients don’t have that to get started. That’s a great place to start. I like that tool as well. The handyman comes from various places.

For instance, Thumbtack is an app that I like to use. Thumbtack, for better or for worse, has some things there that people don’t love. What I do like about it is that it has a reciprocal system where you can rate the handyman or the vendor, and it’s like we all have to be on our best behavior. When you say you’re showing up, you show up so you’re not left high and dry. Also, I use another tool called NextDoor. It’s like a neighborhood tool to see who’s been suggested as a handyman. It’s living like a local. The NextDoor app is pretty cool as well.

Do you keep most of your properties close to you, or are they spread out? How far is the farthest one?

I’m in Georgia. I have some in the Poconos of Pennsylvania, but everything else is Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee.

I like this concept that you talk about, which is less is more, keeping fewer doors, but still making the same income. This is something that I’ve touted a lot. When you’re in the luxury market or the executive home market, you can see it. People have asked me many times if you’ve got a vacancy, it’s a much bigger deal than someone who has a lot more properties, which is true. Like you, I keep my properties in the highest condition. My vacancies are very short. I might have a vacancy of 1 to 4 weeks every 5 to 7 years. It’s very little, but could you talk to me about how you see that and what’s your approach to that?

It’s a very valid point. People want to hedge and make sure that they’re not putting themselves out there. It does require being proactive, especially for short-term rentals and midterm rentals. I mentioned earlier the importance of marketing, and we don’t move forward without collecting at least email addresses from our guests. We have the mechanism by which to do and you want to make sure you’re doing it all in the proper way.

With that being said, we add them to an email campaign, and we’ll send them an email once a month or once a quarter, just reminding them of how they were helped by being at our property if they know someone who can benefit from our property, for those who are staying with us for mid-term rentals.

If it’s short-term rentals, we remind them of what a great time they had at their birthday party at our property. Thus, by collecting information such as the purpose of your visit, as well as who stayed with us, we can then market them as well. It’s important to be more proactive and it’s worth it. You do have that higher touch that can allow you to demand a nightly read that you desire.

REW Rachel Gainsbrugh

Airbnb: It’s important to be more proactive and worth it because you have that higher touch that allows you to demand the nightly read you desire.


Talk to me about your Blue Ocean Strategy and how does that differentiate you? I don’t even know what that means. What do those words mean? Can you tell me about that?

The Red Ocean is when you’re in that feeding frenzy with all the other properties, the sharks, and everyone’s going after the thing. The blue ocean is a wide ocean and you’re on your own. You’re like that unicorn. You don’t want to be a Me-Too. We call it like a Me-Too drug when you have another statin. It’s like, “Why do we have an eighth statin on the market?”

You’re like me-too drugs. You don’t want to be me-too, because when you’re me-too, that’s when you face oversaturation and those types of issues. Whereas when you’re unique, when you’re set apart, when you have identified who you are as a host and who the guest avatar is, that’s when you can have them see that you see them. They see your property and you’re marketing to them, and it says, “I see you. I know you.” Whether or not you’re priced a bit higher than what they would expect, they’re going to book with you they know, “Why hedge and stay over here when this particular property has everything that I need?”

That’s the power of operating in the Blue Ocean. You’re going to set yourself apart from the feeding frenzy or from the race to the bottom. When individuals are similar to others, the only differentiator is the price point. I’m going to keep dropping my price until I get there. When you’re operating the luxury and set yourself as a unique provider of hospitality, then you’re not going to be like the others.

For you, you chose to niche into the luxury market. Is that what you did?


Knowing what you know now, if you were talking to somebody who was getting started, what would you tell them to do to get the fastest results?

I would say, “Start.” Here’s the deal. You can overanalyze your life away. Surround yourself with the right folks for doing the thing that you’re looking to do who have achieved the goals that you are looking to achieve, and then just start.

What were some of the challenges that you had to overcome in starting this business?

It’s almost like you don’t know what you don’t know. Some of the challenges are being in the right rooms, having those conversations, and group learning. Even listening to other people’s situations, you’re like, “Maybe I’m not going to do that.” You never know what will come out of you hearing what others are saying in a group setting. Also, attending the local REIAs. Had I engaged and gone all in in that group learning, I would’ve probably avoided the HOA situations that we encountered. I would’ve not lost a whole lot of money on a deal due to not understanding things with taxes. I don’t love taxes, I am laser-focused on tax implications and tax opportunities.

That was such an amazing amount of information and so quickly. Thank you.

Thank you so much for having me. This is fun.

It has been fun. Thank you for that. Tell the audience how they can reach you. It sounds like you do coaching and you help people get started in this business. Is that true?

Absolutely. The best way to reach me is to grab my free list. I do have a free gift. For those who are always approaching me about short-term rentals and saying, “Where should I invest?” I have my top 75 cities for the highest profitability for short-term rentals in the US. If you go to 75 Gems, that’s 75Gems.com, you’ll grab my list and I’ll definitely have free training there and how to get in touch with me as well.

Thank you. I’m going to download that. That’s amazing. Rachel have things coming up in EXTRA ladies? I’m excited. Rachel and I are going to be talking about, “Financial Wellness is Wellness, too.” Ladies, you know how much I believe that your financial independence offers you a choice. Choice offers you options. Options allow you to have happiness. It goes both ways.

Your financial independence offers you a choice. Choice offers you options. Options allow you to have happiness. Click To Tweet

Our financial wellness is a big determinant of how much bliss we can feel. I want to qualify that by saying that you can be very blissful even if you’re broke. It’s an inside job. That’s how I teach what I teach and how I believe. Financial freedom makes it easier. Any pain that we experience in life makes it harder for us to focus on being blissful. It creates more challenges for us. Whether it’s physical pain, mental pain, emotional pain, or financial pain, any of those kinds of pain are going to make being blissful harder. You’re going to have to work harder at it.

One of the bliss strategies is to help get past those pains. Self-care is important. You want to take care of yourself. You want to take care of your emotional self. You want to make sure that you’re feeding yourself right, exercising, and all of those things in my book called Choose Bliss. One of the pieces that’s important that people don’t tend to bag and talk about is true. Financial pain needs to be handled.

We get to a point financially where it’s not financial pain anymore, and then we can get to the next point where it can support our bliss by allowing us to do more for our families, more in the world, and live more freely doing the things that we value most. Financial freedom is an important piece of bliss. That’s why I do this show. When Rachel was talking about, “Financial Wellness is Wellness, too,” I was all in. We’re going to be talking about that in EXTRA, and I’m excited about that. Before we do that, Rachel, are you ready for our three rapid-fire questions?

I’m ready.

What is a super tip on getting started investing in real estate?

Surround yourself with those who are doing what you want to do. That comes with everything, not only investing, but health and wellness, and all the things. Be in the right rooms and don’t go at it alone.

Be in the right rooms. Surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do, and don't go in and don't go at it alone. Click To Tweet

What is one strategy for being successful as a real estate investor?

For me, it’s measuring my goals. You don’t pay attention to what you don’t measure. You pay attention to what you measure. Every month, we’re looking at our portfolio. We’re assessing what we’re doing well and what we’re not doing so well. We make adjustments along the way.

What is a daily practice that you do that you would say contributes to your personal success?

For me, it’s prioritizing. There’s a lot of noise out there. First thing in the morning, I want to write down my top three and make sure that it aligns with my big rocks. If it does, then that’s what I focus on because there’s a lot of noise, emails coming through, alerts on the phone, and all the things. Focusing on my top three and determining what those are ahead of time has been my daily habit that contributes to my success.

I love that. Thank you. This has been so much fun, Rachel. Thank you so much for all you’ve contributed so far.

What an honor. Thank you so much for having me.

Ladies, we have more. In EXTRA, we’re going to be talking about, “Financial Wellness is Wellness too.” If you’re subscribed To EXTRA, please stay tuned. If you’re not, but would like to be, go to RealEstateInvestingforWomenEXTRA.com and you can subscribe there. For those of you that are leaving Rachel and I now, thank you so much for joining us. I love hanging out with you ladies. Thank you so much. I appreciate you, and until I see you next time, always remember, goals without action are just dreams. Get out there, take action, and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll see you soon.


Important Links


About Rachel Gainsbrugh

REW Rachel GainsbrughIt was from my earliest real-estate investment, and my mind was BLOWN. At that moment, I realized that if I could make 1 dollar doing this… then I could easily make thousands more. I immediately saw the potential this lucrative industry had for job and income replacement. And that’s how I was able to change the game and get the odds in my favor.

This was huge, especially for a woman like me. Why? I was born in Haiti—the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. I was driven to make a difference and not take my parents’ sacrifices for granted. I was raised in the inner-city of Miami where I worked hard, got straight A’s and went on to get my doctorate.


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Can Money Buy Happiness With Hal Elrod – Real Estate For Women

REW 98 | Can Money Buy Happiness


Can money buy you happiness? People need money to operate. There are a lot of important things you need to do but without money, you can’t do it. How can you find true happiness in your life? Learn more with Hal Elrod and Moneeka Sawyer as they talk all about bliss. Discover how to be blissful at the moment. Find out whether money is the root of all evil. And, know more about Moneeka’s book Choose Bliss. Listen to this episode and understand how to be confident in anything you do.

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Can Money Buy Happiness With Hal Elrod

Real Estate Investing For Women

Welcome to February of 2022. How has this year been going for you so far? I felt blissful in this transition from 2021 to 2022. I feel like there has been this slow roll into the new year. Normally, the new year feels frenzy to me. There’s a lot of that masculine go-getter energy that we get. I love the go-getter energy. That’s not a criticism. It feels a bit spastic and forced in the new year. There’s a random date that people feel they have suddenly got to get all these new year’s resolutions and do all this new stuff. It’s not realistic. It’s not based on what their true ambitions are. It’s this contrived idea of who we are supposed to be in the new year.

I have been trying not to do that over the many past years. What is interesting is that if we have that global energy, we all get swept in it too. Whether we in our own lives do it or not, that energy is still there. It impacts and influences us. What is fun this year is that I have felt the slow, gentle flow, like the flow of a river into this new year. I loved it. Surprisingly, I feel like I have been more productive in January of this year than ever before because it feels so natural like it’s where I’m supposed to be. I hope that you guys are feeling that same energy. I’m feeling that globally. I hope you are feeling it too. I hope that so far, your year has been amazing.

As we move forward, I wanted to share with you a show that I did a while ago with Hal Elrod. He is the author of The Miracle Morning. I know many of you love that episode. I got great responses. I was also on his show and we talked about, “Can money buy happiness?” which is the ultimate question I get all the time. People are like, “Moneeka, do you think that money can buy you bliss?” I have got all sorts of responses to that.

I thought it might be fun for you to read Hal and I talk about this and our meeting of minds on this and also the places where we don’t necessarily agree. It was a great conversation. Hal’s podcast is called Achieve Your Goals. I thought it was appropriate to be talking about goals and how money impacts those goals early in the year as we are moving into this year. I hope you enjoy this show as much as I enjoy doing it. Hal is fascinating. I love him and I hope you love him too. Enjoy the show.

In the show, we interview successful individuals. Success and successful are two words that are loaded words. I want you to define what success is for you. Is it happiness, health, financial freedom, the impact you make in the world, the legacy you leave or all of the above? For me, success is all of the above and then more that I didn’t even mention. We are going to approach success in a different way. If I was summing it up in one word, success in the context of this conversation that you are about to read with Moneeka Sawyer, in one word, success is bliss.

Moneeka Sawyer is often described as one of the most blissful people you will ever meet. She is a real estate investor. That is her profession and trade. She has been doing that for many years. In the last couple of years, as you can imagine, if you have paid attention to the real estate market, I know mine when it crashed in 2008. That was the lowest point in my life where The Miracle Morning was born from that adversity. She has seen it all. She has been through all the different cycles of the market. She turned $10,000 that she started with into over $2 million. It’s part of the bliss for her. She is working only 5 to 10 hours per month with very little stress. We will talk more about this.

I always say, “In life, you can be stressed out or blissed out.” I say that from the stage all the time. I also say, “It has nothing to do or very little to do with what is going on around you and everything to do with what is going on inside of you.” While Moneeka was building her multimillion-dollar business, she has traveled to over 55 countries. She dances every single day. It’s part of her bliss. She has spent lots of time with her husband for many years.

She is also the international bestselling author of the multiple-award-winning book, Choose Bliss: The Power and Practice of Joy and Contentment. She is the Host of the show Real Estate Investing For Women. I was on her show and she laughs a lot. She is happy and healthy. She has been featured on stages, radio, podcasts and TV stations, including ABC, CBS, Fox and The CW, impacting over 100 million people. We are going to make it 101 million-plus people as you read this show. Moneeka, welcome to the show.

Hal, thank you so much for having me.

In life, you can be stressed out or blissed out and it has more to do with what’s inside you than around you.

You are welcome. It’s a pleasure. I was on your show a while back. Occasionally, I’m on a show and I love the energy so much of the host that I go, “Will you come on my show? Will you bring that laugh, bliss and message that you have to the Achieve Your Goals readers?” I’m grateful that you are here. It’s a word list that is so rich with meaning. I want to ask you for your definition. A lot of people ask me when I’m on their show, “How do you define a miracle? That’s a loaded word.” Bliss is a mysterious word and maybe loaded. What is bliss as you define it, Moneeka?

Bliss is not just being happy. It’s a much deeper sense of joy, contentment and absolute confidence that you can handle anything that comes your way. It’s all about emotional mastery and emotional resilience. This is one of the things we connected on also on my show. I always say, “You can’t control what happens on the outside but you must control what happens on the inside.”

It sounds like you and I are pretty like-minded. I like that. They say there are no new ideas. I have been studying metaphysics a lot lately. I have been studying the collective field of consciousness. It’s interesting that I often will talk to somebody like you or read a book. I’m sure you experienced this when you were reading something. You have an idea that you feel is an original idea that you have never heard of and then you realize, “That was in Think and Grow Rich 100 years ago. That was in the Bible.”

It’s the collective field of consciousness of intelligence that we can all tap into if we want to. Bliss is happiness and joy. You talked about emotional resilience and emotional mastery and what happens inside of you versus what happens outside of you. It’s that old phrase, “They practically wrote the book on this. No, you wrote the book on this.” You wrote the book, Choose Bliss. How did you come to this idea of bliss?

I was born in a part of America where I was the only person in school that was not White. Due to that, as a young girl, I was bullied, humiliated and tormented constantly. I learned early in life that life was hard, that people weren’t going to like me and that I was all alone. You can imagine that’s not a blissful or happy place to be. As I grew up, the torment became much worse. It got violent and there were some horrible things that happened that boys do to girls.

After all of that, I was in a car accident where I was sitting at a red light. A guy was going 50 miles an hour and smacked me from behind. I became a cripple and was told that I was never going to walk again. That’s not horrifying enough but what you don’t know is that I had been dancing since I was three years old. My deepest dream was to become a professional dancer and now here I was with no legs.

I know that you can relate to this story. I went through this period of, “I’m not going to be in a chair. I’m not just going to walk again. I’m going to dance and compete again.” I went after it. I saw the right doctors. This was in the years when there was no real holistic healing. I still would see a chiropractor, acupuncturist and all these healers but it never got better.

What age was the accident?

I was 21. Things weren’t getting better. The pain was still completely overwhelming. As I realized that things were not getting better about a year in, I started to feel hopeless like, “I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not getting better. I’m not able to find my path.” I started to fall into a very deep depression. I remember it had been about a year of me sinking down this hole where I was still in so much pain. One day, I had been in bed for about a week and crying. I had the covers pulled over my head. I don’t know if anybody else can relate to this. I’m so depressed.

REW 98 | Can Money Buy Happiness

Can Money Buy Happiness: Bliss is not just being happy. It’s a much deeper sense of joy and contentment. It’s the absolute confidence that you can handle anything that comes your way.


I woke up this one morning and heard my mom’s voice in my head. She said, “Get out of bed and go get some air. You will feel better.” I said, “Thanks, mom.” I pushed the covers off my head and swung my legs around to get out of bed. As I tried to stand up, I fell to the ground because my legs were too weak to hold me. I sat there on the ground. I pushed myself up against my bed and cried. At that moment, I prayed and said, “God, it never gets better. It keeps getting worse and I can’t keep going this way. Have mercy on me. Either take me home or teach me how to live.”

About an hour later, a girlfriend who I had not heard from for over two years randomly called. She was the answer to my prayer to God. She asked me how I was doing and turned me on to a coach named Ted. Ted saved my life. As we started chatting, he reminded me of my tenacity and strength. He reminded me of my constant search for happiness and all the things that I had learned. He added some of his own new skills and together we brought me back. It was amazing.

You make a decision to live and be blissful but then you have to go through the journey to get there. It was not an easy journey but once the decision was made, I went for it. I started to experience life in a way I had never experienced before with so much joy and bliss, where before I thought, “Happiness is so fleeting. It was dependent on if I had no pain or if someone I loved was near me or if I had the right things or was around the right people.” In those days, I thought happiness was fleeting. Now, I could see that bliss was about what was going on inside of my mind, heart and soul.

Ted was so excited about my recovery. He hired me on as a bliss mentor underneath him as a coach and I started dealing with his executive clients. It was funny because I would talk to these guys. They are super successful. How do we define success? I know there are lots of different definitions. They had tons of money, the perfect house, perfect marriage, cute kids, an adorable dog, a white picket fence and a nice car. They had it all. As we talked about why their business was failing, what we found is that they were no longer happy. They were not motivated, inspired and creative.

I took my lifelong journey and all the skills I had developed and what Ted taught me. I started to teach these amazingly successful men how to find joy again. That’s how I came to bliss and moved into my work. That’s why I wrote my book because the thing about coaching is I can only reach people one-on-one. Speaking in groups, I can only reach so many people but a book can and has reached millions of people to create bliss around the world.

I don’t know if I’m the male version of you or you are the female version of me.

I have that same feeling. It was amazing.

Coaching can only reach people, one-on-one or in groups. But a book can reach millions and millions of people.

In an accident, I did some inner work. I discovered a better way to live free from emotional pain and be blissed out, happy and grateful. Authentically, it’s all of those things and then the feeling of responsibility, “How we could impact the world is to put it in a book.” I wrote The Miracle Morning. You wrote Choose Bliss. I’m getting chills at how aligned our stories are. It’s two souls that are on a similar journey. It’s very cool.

Let’s start with this and get actionable. I’m only practical and actionable. Too many teachers, messengers, authors and whoever are very philosophical. They teach you philosophy, which can be helpful but if it’s not actionable, you don’t change your behavior. You often forget the philosophy or life gets in the way of the philosophy or your emotions get in the way of the philosophy. With all that said, give us one tip that we can use to be more blissful.

This is my favorite tip to give people because it’s actionable and usable even as you are sitting with me. Maybe you are driving a car and then suddenly someone cuts you off. You get irritated. You can feel this emotion happening. This can happen in lots of cases whether it’s at work or you got cut off. I’m going to use the cutoff one because a lot of us can relate to that. When you are in a moment where you are not blissful and you are the opposite of blissful, you can create a bliss moment.

This is what you do. Someone cut you off in traffic, let’s say. All of a sudden, you are upset. Why are you upset? It’s not because of what happened. It’s the meaning that you give that. Suddenly, a story happens in your mind about, “I can’t believe they cut me off. What if they had hit me?” All of these stories happen in your mind. That’s what causes the stress.

This is how you do a bliss moment. You stop those stories in your mind and do a complete interrupt. For me, I will say, “Moneeka, stop.” I literally interrupt the thought and then I drop into my body, roll my shoulders back a little bit, relax my body and take a couple of deep breaths. Now, you are in a place of being grounded, centered and compassionate. You can approach your life with whatever decision or situation. Whatever you are doing, you can approach that situation from this place of heartfelt bliss.

Let’s say something happens. Somebody cuts you off and you are upset about it. I’m following your process. I interrupt the thought, “Hal, knock it off. This is not productive. Being upset is not going to fix it. There’s no point in being upset. Take that deep breath and get centered in the body.” What if the mind is not obeying? One thing is we are programmed. You can study at a neurological level that there are pathways in the brain. Our brain fires off the same way it fired off last time somebody cut us off in traffic. We keep living our life on repeat.

If somebody does that and they interrupt the pattern, they get into the body and get centered through breath and relaxing the shoulders but they still feel that emotion coming up. Is there any self-talk? Is there more physical work? For me, what you are saying is you are preaching to the choir. If somebody is reading that’s like, “That sounds easier said than done,” that’s what I’m thinking. What would you say to that person? How would they implement this?

First of all, it is hard because we are hardwired to act a different way. It may not work the first time. The first thing that I will say to you is to keep practicing because practice will make perfect. It may not help the first time but once you practice it ten times, you will start to see it. Maybe it’s not even ten. Maybe it’s 1, 2 or 3. You will start to see, “It is having an impact.” If it was easy, everybody would be blissful. We have to focus on this and make it a priority. It’s not always easy. Anything worth having sometimes you have to work for. It’s okay if it does not work the first time.

REW 98 | Can Money Buy Happiness

Can Money Buy Happiness: To create a blissful moment, you need to stop those stories in your mind. Then drop into your body, roll your shoulders, take a couple of deep breaths, and relax.


Here are some things. First of all, don’t beat yourself up because it did not work. Like just know, “I need to get better at this.” You practice it again next time. You can turn this into a game. Start looking for those moments that you can utilize this technique so you can practice it so that it starts to build the neural pathways in your brain of how you react like, “I’m upset about that.” Here’s another natural thing that people are like, “I’m upset and I deserve to be upset. That was wrong.” You do have a right to be upset. How does that make you feel and perform? Is that what you want in your life even if you have a right to it? Is it useful? Is it going to make you blissful?

I want to follow up on that. We teach a similar lesson. Truth is truth, especially if you have been through what you and I have been through and the car accident being told you are not going to walk again. Either you let that destroy you emotionally and you become the victim or you rise above it and you learn how to manage your emotions in such a way that adversities don’t deter you in a major way. For me, I teach what I call the Five-Minute Rule, which says, “It’s okay to be negative when something goes unexpected or not according to plan or it’s painful or difficult.”

Set your timer on your phone for five minutes. You get five minutes to bitch, moan, complain, cry, vent or punch a wall. I’m going to say the same thing, “Get into your body and take a deep breath.” You say three liberating words, which are, “Can’t change it.” It’s not that you can’t change the future. It’s that you can’t change the past. That already happened. You can’t change it.

When I learned this, I was nineteen. It was in my sales training. I shared this with audiences because I go, “Raise your hand if you think five minutes is not quite long enough. You need at least a Five-Hour Rule or maybe five days to be pissed off.” A lot of hands go up. They were like, “Come on, five minutes? I’m starting to get upset at five minutes. I’m barely scratching. I’m just getting riled up. My face isn’t even as right as it’s going to be in about ten more minutes.”

That’s the thing. When I learned this, I thought five minutes was not enough and I needed longer. Sure enough, the first time I had a customer cancel an order, it was my biggest order of the week. It was the last day. It helped me hit my goal and now I failed my goal because I lost the order. I set the timer for five minutes. The timer went off five minutes later. This was a week into my sales career. I’m so mad and the timer goes off. I’m ready to throw the phone. I go, “I’m still mad because five minutes went by. I’m still upset.”

It was probably a few days in. It was maybe after a week. I don’t remember the exact day but here’s what happened. It creates what you are talking about. This is conscious awareness. Either you are reactive or proactive in terms of the meaning that you are giving to the things in your life that are not pleasant, desirable or you did not expect or want. The idea is that when the timer would go off the first few times, it was not enough time. Each time, I was being consciously aware, “There’s no point in dwelling on something I can’t change. There’s no point in staying upset.” You can be stressed out or blissed out. It doesn’t matter what is happening to you. As Moneeka said, you give it to it and you respond.

There’s no point in dwelling on something you can’t change. There’s no point in staying upset.

What happened is I can picture the moment. I was in my apartment. I had another woman cancel an order. It was the last day toward my goal. I set the timer for five minutes. I got up and I was like, “I can’t believe she canceled that order. I needed this so bad. I have no time to make up for this.” I picked my phone back up and I had 4 minutes and 32 seconds. I went, “What is the point of me being upset for another four and a half minutes? I could turn the timer off and say, can’t change it, accept it, be at peace with it and schedule more appointments. That seems like a better use of my time and energy.”

The Five-Minute Rule, within a matter of a week, turned into the Five-Second Rule where I’m like, “I need to vent for a second. There’s no point in changing it.” I love what you are saying. I played that devil’s advocate of like, “What if you do that? You interrupt your thought pattern, get centered in your body, relax the shoulder, take a deep breath and then give yourself permission to feel that bliss. What if you are still upset?” For me, that was it.

After a matter of days or a week or so, I realized I was reconditioning the meaning that I have been giving to adversity my entire life, realizing, “I’m not a victim. It’s not a life sentence that whenever something happens that I did not want to happen, I have to be upset about it until I forget about it.” Anytime they think about something, it makes them upset. They get upset whether it happened five days, five months or five decades ago.

People do carry it for five decades. It’s still there for you. It’s like, “Is that still serving you?” I asked you to be on my show because I listened to some of yours. I love this Five-Minute Rule thing because one of the things that I used to say is, “You do have a right to your emotions.” Like you say, truth is truth and sometimes things suck. That’s the truth. Give yourself a time limit where you get to honor your feelings. You get to honor them, live them and be them. Commit to yourself that you will turn it off and commit to your own happiness again in order to move forward.

For me, I left it for people to look inside at what that time limit is whether it’s a day, an hour or a couple of days. If someone dies, maybe you want a month. I love the way you took it from this pick to, “Try this. Just do this.” If something horrible happens, you may still be there for a while. You may still be there for a month. If your intention is to only be there for five minutes, you are so much more likely to succeed at getting back to bliss than if you will not have that intention to get back there in a timely fashion.

The thing is you might as well choose bliss in the midst of your adversity. That’s the difference. People think it’s mutually exclusive like, “I feel bad because bad things happen.” You feel bad because you are not willing to give yourself the gift of acceptance and being at peace with the “bad thing” that happened.

When you talked about can’t change it, the motto that I have used is, “I am at complete peace with exactly how my life is today.” That’s always my motto.

You believe wealth is important to bliss. I do as well. I would love to hear why you think that is.

It has been scientifically proven that people that struggle with money are not happy. It has also been statistically proven that once we can pay the bills and we are comfortable, we tend to be happier. What happens in the world now, especially in our business world is so many people are out there with a real message. They are just not out there to make money. I’m sure that this is true with many of your readers. They are out there to change something and do something important.

REW 98 | Can Money Buy Happiness

Can Money Buy Happiness: Money causes a lot of divorces. It’s the stress of not being able to provide for your family. But you don’t need to be rich, you just need to be able to provide for yourself and the necessities of life.


The honest truth is, it’s hard to do things that are important if you are broke. You need to have wealth supporting you, creating your foundation and taking care of you so it’s not taking up your mind real estate so that your mind real estate can be focused on your passion. It’s the things that you want to do in the world. It’s your message. The more wealth you have, the more good you can do. To the point where you are paying the bills and surviving, it’s going to affect your actual happiness and bliss. Creating more wealth does help to support you in creating more bliss in your own life because it allows you to be authentically who you want to be in the world in the biggest way possible.

One of my mentors used to say, “Money is not the root of all evil. It does not make you a bad person. It makes you more of what you are. It’s the grand amplifier.” If you are a good person, money is a tool for you to do more good in the world. If you are a jerk, money is a tool for you to be a bigger jerk.

That’s why I focus so much on bliss because I want people to experience bliss through that journey. Who they become as they are building wealth is who they get to be when they are wealthy. That’s who they amplify in the world. We are so aligned on that because you don’t want to be amplifying the parts of you that are not the most beautiful parts. As a blissful person, you can amplify that bliss through your work in the world. That’s the important thing.

There’s a very cliché saying that money can’t buy happiness. Would you agree with that? Would you say that money does buy happiness?

It does buy happiness in the way that I talked about. For people who are broke, it’s a lot harder to be happy. Let me qualify this. I don’t believe that we have to be rich or be at the mercy of everything around us to be happy. We have already talked about that. What I will say is that being in pain makes it more difficult to be blissful. It’s harder work. If you are physically, emotionally or financially in pain, you are going to have a harder time finding happiness. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It means that it’s less probable.

You put it out there, which studies show it’s proven. Here’s one context of many. What is the number one cause of divorce? It’s money problems. It’s the stress of not being able to put food on the table, put the roof over your head or pay your bills. It’s the stress that it causes. In the context of a marriage, it breaks the marriage. I like that you said that. You are not saying that you need to be rich but it’s being able to provide for yourself and the necessities of life.

The beauty of it is if you want to live off the land, you might not need any money. It’s almost like you could say it’s resources that you need. You need resources to support your lifestyle. For most of us, money is one of those resources. If you live off the land, hunt your food, live in a hut and don’t have any property taxes, you don’t need money but you do need resources.

What about your future? If you live off the land but you don’t want your children to have to live off the land. You want to send them to college. Money becomes important again. I don’t know whether it’s fortunate or unfortunate but money is our transactional way of creating life and it creates our future. It creates our possibilities. Having it at your disposal gives you more options, possibilities and opportunities.

It does all of those things. It’s the freedom to do what you want with the money that you have. One of my best friends and my business partner is Jon Berghoff. He is wise beyond his years. He is younger than I am. He was in his twenties when he said, “Money is just energy. If you want to put that energy toward providing water for people that don’t have water, that’s what money allows you to do or food for people that don’t have food. They don’t have the means to earn their own food because of maybe the culture that they live in, where it’s not a capitalistic culture. They can’t go out there and earn their own money. Their hands are tied.”

Money is not the root of all evil. It makes you more of what you are. It’s the grand amplifier.

Whether it’s good or bad, right or wrong, I have mixed opinions. In capitalism in some ways. It’s another conversation. Part of me is like, “We should get further back and regress to primal times where we are living off the land. We are not competing for who has the biggest car or all of those things.” I might write a book that they called prehistoric parenting, getting back to what works or something like that. The point is the reality is the culture that we do live in. If somebody is sick, they have bills.

I have a friend. She is a single mom and she has cancer. It’s so sad. She was a teacher and the school let her go because of her appearance. She had lost all her hair and a lot of weight. The parents were afraid of saying their kids were afraid of her. She is the sweetest and most selfless human being on the planet. She almost dedicated her life to being an underpaid teacher. She was trying to teach between her chemo treatments. They had to let her go because the parents were frightened by her appearance.

Her hospital bills are $12,000 a month. She can’t support herself and she has no help. I’m paying her bills. It’s like, “Is money bad? Is money the root of all evil? Does it allow you to help people who are in need of that help and support?” We belabored that point. I read a great book years ago called The Soul of Money. I talked a lot about that. There’s the idea that money is not bad. It’s what you do with it. It can be one of the most beautiful things in the world.

What meaning are you giving to it? You have control over that.

What is your book Choose Bliss about? We have a general idea but I would love to hear how you explain it. Where is the best place to get it?

I was an executive coach for over a decade and I tried a lot of different strategies. There were strategies that worked well for me. There were strategies that worked for every one of my clients. I compiled all of those strategies into my book, Choose Bliss. Guess what the first one is? Create your date with your morning routine.

I was going to say it’s got to be the morning ritual.

It would be some morning routine. It’s another way that we are totally aligned. That’s what Choose Bliss is. It’s written as my story so you get to know who I am and where I’m coming from. There are a lot of good actionable strategies because I’m like you. The theory is awesome. It does not get the job done. You need to get the job done. Bliss is about taking action. That’s what the book is about.

REW 98 | Can Money Buy Happiness

Choose Bliss: The Power And Practice Of Joy And Contentment By Moneeka Sawyer

Is it safe to say that if you love The Miracle Morning, you are going to love Choose Bliss?

I absolutely think so. I think we are totally aligned.

Moneeka, you are blissful to talk to. Your energy comes through in your voice and laugh. You have such great energy. I’m very sensitive and in tune. I feel like with people’s energy and yours is blissful. Thank you for doing what you are doing in the world and sharing your bliss with our readers. Where can people learn more from you and about you? Tell me the name of the show again. I know you have a website. Where can people follow and keep up with you?

Choose Bliss is available on Amazon. That’s the one place. You can go to BlissfulInvestor.com to find out more about me and what my philosophy is about wealth. The show is Real Estate Investing For Women. I know that it’s real-estate-focused but it’s a very holistic approach to wealth. We talk about mindset, heart set, strategies and money smart. It’s the whole picture of creating success.

I will give a little tangent soapbox. You may have heard me say this before or you may not have. I’m a big believer in passive income. That’s a word that can sometimes even be a cringe word where you go like, “Get-rich-quick and create passive income.” When I was in the hospital fighting cancer, I had passive income from the thirteen books I had written and the 30-some translations of The Miracle Morning. Every single one of those, I got checks all year long and it supported my family.

I truly believe that’s one of the most important things that you can do if you live in our society, where you need income to put the roof over your head and buy your food if you are not living on the land, which is probably 99.9% give or take of our readers. Creating passive income is what I like, Moneeka. We did not focus on that. Go to Moneeka’s website. It’s for women but I would imagine men could probably implement the same investing strategies. I don’t think that it’s like, “You are a man. These won’t work for you.” It’s investing in real estate unless you are going to be an author.

The thing about writing books and making money off your books is it’s much harder. I’m very blessed, fortunate and lucky that my books have generated significant income because it’s not common. It’s harder to duplicate. When I’m coaching clients or talking to friends, they are like, “How do I create passive income? Should I write books?” One of my best friends in the whole world is Matt Recore. He is already retired at 35 by investing in real estate. He is still going.

It truly is the easiest way to create wealth and passive income.

My other best friend is David Osborn. His net worth is $100 million and it’s all from real estate investing. In terms of bliss, wealth is a big part of that financial freedom. You don’t have to be rich but financial freedom does bring such a quality of life where you are not stressed about it. Check out Moneeka’s stuff at BlissfulInvestor.com and the Real Estate Investing For Women Show. Check out the book on Amazon, Choose Bliss: The Power and Practice of Joy and Contentment.

If you do want to join me in person for 2 to 3 life-changing days, I’m going to start talking more about this because we are getting into the time where it’s time to start looking. Tickets are on sale for the Best Year Ever Blueprint Live Experience. You can check that out at BestYearEverLive.com. This is our sixth year and we have 350 spots. They are already spoken for but that means there are about 100 tickets available. You can check that out. I would love to spend a few days with you on December 13 through 15 in sunny San Diego, California. Moneeka, thank you for being on the show. I appreciate you.

Thank you so much for having me. This was amazing.

I enjoyed our conversation. Goal Achievers, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Until next time, go out there and achieve your biggest goals and dreams because you absolutely deserve nothing less. I love and appreciate you. I will talk to you soon. Take care.


Important Links


About Hal Elrod

REW 98 | Can Money Buy HappinessHal Elrod is on a mission to elevate the consciousness of humanity, one morning at a time. As one of the highest rated keynote speakers in America, creator of one of the fastest growing and most engaged online communities in existence and author of one of the highest rated, best-selling books in the world, The Miracle Morning—which has been translated into 27 languages, has over 2,000 five-star Amazon reviews and is practiced daily by over 500,000 people in 70+ countries—he is doing exactly that.

Hal actually died at age 20. Hit head-on by a drunk driver at 70 miles per hour, his heart stopped for 6 minutes, broke 11 bones, and eventually woke from a coma to be told by doctors that he would never walk again. Not only did Hal walk, he went on to run a (52 mile) ultra-marathon and become a hall of fame business achiever—before the age of 30. Then, in November of 2016, Hal nearly died again—his kidneys, lungs, and heart on the verge of failing, which led to his being diagnosed with a very rare, very aggressive form of cancer (acute lymphoblastic leukemia).

After enduring the most difficult year of his life, Hal is now cancer-free and furthering his mission as the Executive Producer of The Miracle Morning Movie—a documentary that both shows you the morning rituals of some of the world’s most successful people, as well as takes you around the world to show you the life-changing impact that Miracle Mornings are having, globally.

Hal is also host of the highly acclaimed Achieve Your Goals podcast, creator of the Best Year Ever Blueprint Live Experience, and bestselling author of ten [10] books in The Miracle Morning book series.

As one of the most inspiring, highly entertaining (we’re talking “wannabe stand-up comedian” level humor!), and one of the most in-demand keynote speakers in the world, whether you are an individual or an organization, Hal will give you the tools to Wake Up to Your Full Potential.


To listen to the EXTRA portion of this show go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenExtra.com

To see this program in video:

Search on Roku for Real Estate Investing 4 Women or go to this link: https://blissfulinvestor.com/biroku

On YouTube go to Real Estate Investing for Women

If I can be blissful, so can you! Part 1 of 4

What does it take to be a blissful investor? Learn how I was able to overcome adversity to rise up and choose bliss in my personal and business life!

New ideas, better relationships, and a better investing? Yes! Part 2 of 4

Today I talk about the biggest thing that helped me to thrive through adversity and succeed in building a blissful life, both personally.

What do bliss and investing have to do with each other? Part 3 of 4

How in the world can the words “Bliss” and “Investing” ever be used in the same sentence with a straight face? I mean, success means suffering, right? Not for people who know these secrets to blissful investing…

Also, let me introduce you to one of my amazing mentors who helped me make my business much more blissful. Right now he is offering my community a seriously special price on his one-of-a kind 3 day event.

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