As a teenager, today’s guest came from an upper-middle class lifestyle in Africa and his family moved to the US. Miscalculating finances lead to his family living in a small apartment and hustling side jobs to survive.
As an adult, he then lost it all in 9/11.
Hear his story of how he overcame it all and built a 7-figure net worth with 6-figures in passive income. Please welcome Ike Ikokwu.
- 0:28 – Ike lkokwu’s Background
- 2:29 – Patience is a Virtue
- 4:01 – Ike’s Things that He Overcomes
- 5:46 – A Teenager Story
- 6:58 – Ike’s Journey
Learn more about this guest:
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.
Mr. Ike, how you doing man? Welcome to learning from others. Hey brother. I am doing fabulous. Thanks for having me excited to be joining you today. We connect on LinkedIn. So this is our first a virtual face to face. It is. I am still mad. Yeah. Well, so I know a little about a bit about you, but why don’t you bring our audience up to speed?
So as they know, I like to start with two questions. Question number one is what’s your area of expertise? What are we going to learn from you today? Awesome. So I am a bit of a triple threat. Uh, I follow a lot of people on LinkedIn that are branding gurus and you know, the, the word out on the street is you got to stay in your lane and take it one specific thing.
That’s just not the way I’m wired. So my three areas of expertise are as a business growth strategist, personal finance expert, and as a success and mindset coach and all the work that I do typically kind of reverberates around those three different domains. Got it. Okay. Now, before we dig into those more specifically, a question number two is what do you suck at?
Well, what do I suck at? Um, and I want a question. I suck at being patient dude. Like when I want to get done, it’s gotta be like a week ago. Like I’m always behind the eight ball. I just. I guess it’s part of the way that I’m wired as a visionary and just the go getter. It’s like, once I get wind of like what it is I’m supposed to be doing or where I’m supposed to be, I forget about the process of planting the seed.
The water, the seed running the seed grows my mouth. Yeah. You know, that, that, that, that’s, that’s actually an interesting opportunity for us to kind of transition into what you do because I heard somebody on another podcast a while ago, say, say something that actually kind of resonated with me. And so he said something along the lines that, um, you know, the more.
Um, the more empathetic Nick, you are to people like understanding their circumstances, the less patient you are. And it’s because you just want to say, here’s the answer. So go, like, what are you waiting for? And so when he said that, I was like, yeah, that’s why I’m so impatient with people. Cause I’m like the answers right there.
Like, why aren’t you just doing the thing? So do you find yourself, um, with you joking about you being a patient, but then also being in a position where you help people, do you find yourself sometimes like having to. Say that like pause yourself. They’re like, no, don’t go too hard on them because yes, the answers right there.
But you know, they got to figure this out. You know, it’s a, I believe it’s a gift from God because I, I totally get what you’re referring to. It’s like, it’s, it’s so obvious. It’s like, it’s screaming at you. Like, well, why don’t you see it at the same time? I can be extremely, extremely patient with my clients.
Because, I mean, you’ve seen parts of my story. I mean, I have, I have been through so much adversity over my life that quite frankly, so many people would probably want to check out, just looking at the magnitude of stuff that I’ve been through. And I know the depths of what takes to crawl yourself out of a hole and not be able to see the opportunities that are in front of you, because you’re just so high profile.
Focused and how jacked up and how broken your life is. It’s like, that’s all you have your attention focus on. So you’ve had it said, you know, it’s hard to see yourself with you in the picture frame. And so. I’ve been gifted through the pain, through, through the gift of adversity to be, be able to be patient with people, to kind of help them see the diamond, see the gym that they truly are and just kind of shine that thing until it’s like, just evident for them.
Cause I know what it was like, you know, during my stages of trying to. Dig myself out of a hole. So it’s a bit weird because there are instances where I’m okay with myself. I’m extremely impatient. But with those that I serve, I tend to be very, very patient with. Yeah. Why don’t we, um, can you share whatever stories you want to share with the audience so they can kind of better understand some of those things that you’ve overcome?
Yeah. So, um, man, there is no shortage of them. So I’m originally from Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa, and came to this country in the late eighties. My a bit of our family values. Education is really, really big. And so my dad and my mom got there from all education from England, always had it in the cards to ship us off to Europe or the United States to get a formal education.
So that happened late eighties. He had a business business apartments based out of Columbus, Georgia. We ended up here going to school. And working extremely hard to do that. And I worked multiple jobs. I had a paper route with my mom. I used to get up at 3:00 AM in the morning to go through a paper route.
Uh, just cause my dad didn’t do the financial calculations quite as well as it needed to do to transition from a third world country to here. I get up. Yeah. I mean, we went from living an upper middle class lifestyle where. Um, I had a driver, he used to take me to school every day. I have a cook who used to cook for us.
I had maids who would like take care of the house. Yeah. And Africa. Right. And again, you know, here it’s like lifestyles of the rich and famous, but that’s kind of like standard for like upper middle class. And then we ended up here in the United States and due to his faulty calculations. My mom and youngest of three siblings, uh, we ended up in like a 450 square foot apartment.
I’m getting up at 3:00 AM with my mom to go through a paper route because they have me in a private Catholic school. And education is extremely important and five dog gone. It, we’re going to make sure you get that education. So I’m throwing a paper route with my mom at 3:00 AM in the morning for three hours before I get around this time.
14 teenagers. So, I mean, so imagine like I’m coming into the teenage years and it’s like the last thing a teenager wants to be doing is waking up at three in the morning. It’s good. Throw a paper out. My mom bless her soul. She’s such a kindhearted, servant, a leader. She knew all of it. Details about everybody on the, in the route.
Mr. Johnson likes his newspaper in his mailbox. Stephanie wants it right at her front door. So she had all these particulars and I’m like, mom, just like go around there. All of a sudden now sling these things out there. She’s like, no, get out of the car. I’m like 14 years old. I’m like with that. So I had that measure of diversity in terms of just having the odds again and still ending up.
Selling not only was I working at 3:00 AM in the morning, I’d be at school from seven till three. My brother would drop me off at like, uh, Google car wash and Roca carwash. I’d do that for a minute. Three hours, come home, chug down some dinner, do my homework and make straight A’s. So those were the formative years.
Getting through some adversity, which served me well later on, then I got into the workforce. Um, 1996 degree in the County go work for the top six accounting firms. Spend some time there do well. Cause I start learning that not only do I like accounting in tags, I liked tax specifically, but the Christmas financial planning aspects of that by working those divisions and we do some phenomenal work for like really, really wealthy people.
And I’m a big believer in. Uh, duplicating imitating success, right? So it’s like, you know, duplication is the greatest from a flattery. So all the stuff that they were doing at a much higher level, I was trying to figure out ways to do it at my level. So young 20 something year old kid, and I had control of like an international business corporation that was based out of Panama.
I had control. Of an offshore trust that was based out of Latvia. Um, I had banking accounts that were, I mean, I was exposed to a lot of stuff as a 20 something year old that I probably shouldn’t have 50 or something, but I took advantage of that things that you’re seeing, financial tax planning strategies that quite frankly, you know, Extremely ultra wealthy utilize for asset protection for opportunities that rank and file don’t get access to a, but just through my extreme level of curiosity around money and always wanting to apply what I’m learning.
I opened up those avenues for me. And I might have been making 30, 40, 50 grand, you know, on the job, but I was making as much as that. And then some through some of the different opportunities I was getting exposed to. So I did well and, uh, you know, save a couple of nickels and dimes for lack of a better word and then Lebanon.
And when nine 11 hit. Obviously we know the impacts for our country, but a lot of people lost a lot of wealth. I’m no exception to that, but it was the first time in my life, Damon that I suffered being unemployed. And unlike most people who go through like a few weeks or a month or two of unemployment, mine lasted 18 months.
That’s a pretty long time. So I got no income coming in. I got to ask it’s wiped out as a result of the tech bubble and losses in investments. And then my real estate portfolio, almost a dozen properties that ends up going South. Cause I ended up with tenants who can’t pay their rent. Well, I don’t have assets.
I don’t have income. So properties go into foreclosure. I felt bankruptcy. Start all over again. I start all over again. Not as an employee working for somebody else, but as an entrepreneur working for myself, I then realized that the reason why I couldn’t find the job. And if you looked at my resume, CPA, CFP, two of the top six accounting firms, top of the class graduation, if you’re going to bet anybody, you could find a job.
I was probably the guy you’d be betting on. One of the big revelations that came through that season was the fact that my destiny and my purpose was not tied to being an employee for somebody else I believe. And I know that God specifically like shut the doors for me to get reemployed, just to make sure I stepped into purpose and destiny.
And the reason I know that to be true is because five years later, after filing bankruptcy, I had to find myself back for the seven figure net worth six figures in passive income. I’m actually realizing something. I’ve heard coaches and mentors. Tell me all the time I do, you know that you can actually turn your annual income into a monthly income.
And that sounds like a really, really good coaching sales start to get you signed into one of their coaching programs. I was like, dude, I’m not falling for that. But God is truth. That only occurred to me. One when my mind, my mindset was ready for it. But two, when I stepped into the world of being an entrepreneur, that’s the only time that ever happened in my life.
Um, so that’s another huge, huge, um, you know, season of adversity for me. So you’d think like it’s all systems go now, right? I’m 34 years old, you know, financially independent by life. Can’t be better. So I write a book about all of that in 2012 called what are you? The money game? Released the book on Amazon, it becomes a best seller.
Um, I remember actually getting a screenshot of my book ranking ahead of Robert Kiyosaki’s book, cashflow quadrant at the time. And he’s like an icon and an idol just growing up in the financial services world. So that was just like a huge, surreal moment for me. So that’s 2012. I get asked to blog the Huffington post and their personal finance division.
Uh, that was awesome. And then 2014, it comes around and I suffered too devastating business be trails that cost me seven figures plus, so my income dropped about a third of what it was very, very excruciating time and to make matters worse. One of those business, B track sort of a classic Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.
So both me and like, you know, several handfuls of clients that I used to serve as an investment advisor, we all fell victims of that and lost tons and tons of money. 2014 that happens. Unlike Bernie, the was case where he was brought to justice, the Burnie reiterated the fraud in our instance actually fled the country.
We think he’s in Switzerland somewhere. So the sec couldn’t even bring them to justice. So the years after that in 2016, I find out. And this is just my impression that one, because we don’t have the, the magnitude of celebrities that are involved in the case. And because it’s not a $50 billion case, it’s just 200 million in quotes.
You’re not about to expend any resources to try to go track this guy down instead. Because I am regulated investment advisor. By the sec, they decided to turn the cards and actually try to hold. So they file complaints against me and my companies and an attempt to try to hold me responsible for not only my losses, but for the losses of my crimes, which if you know anything about my personality and just my core values.
Even being remotely accused of anything fraudulent as the antithesis of who I am. So I bathed that season in prayer. I’m like, Lord, what am I supposed to do about this? And he’s like, dude, go for it. You’re going to experience victory. Cause I had to decide whether I was going to litigate, you know, just, you know, bow down and disappears.
So he’s like, go for it. You’re going to get victory. I’m like, but. Um, I can, like, nobody knows me. I mean, it’s like going up against the Italian mob for lack of a better word. Like the SCC is a freaking Billman. He’s like, go for it. You go and get victory. So I go for, I hire what I feel like is the best representation I can get with the attorneys to represent me.
I spend over six figures and in the span of almost two years and. Basically run out of money and here’s how the victory shows up my life. Damon’s. And by the end of 2018, I’ve agreed to settle my case with them on a neither admit nor deny basis, which is good. No admission of guilt, no denial of what took place.
Fine, no big deal. But this was after spending six speakers with my attorneys. And as part of the settlement, I ended up having to pay out over 320,000, just to settle a case. I also CRE. To have my investment advisory license suspended with the rights to reapply. Now, once that happens, if you hold any other professional licenses, you gotta disclose to all of them.
So I did, I did for my CPA, I did for my CFP license, my insurance license. My CFP license went down the exact same track as my investment advisory license, but that was gone. I got to keep my CPA. I got to keep my insurance license, but now in my new normal, in the world that I was in, nobody wanted to provide it in Arizona.
So it’s like, I couldn’t even use the licenses and all of the insurance carriers that I was like, one of their top producers are like, yeah, you were good to us in the past, but we don’t know if we really want you representing us now. Right. So here I am at the end of 2018, started 2019. Basically assets are depleted.
Income is basically depleted. Reputation is shot, as you can imagine. And I’m like, God, you said I was going to experience victory. Like, how do you guys spell victory of heaven? Cause it’s nothing like what I’m experiencing down here. Right? I kid you not the revelations I got during those quiet times where this one, that I was actually experiencing the victory that he had promised me the difference.
Was the perspective I had around that. Like, I was expecting a very external, yeah, victory, maybe explosive injustice at the sec, ready, persecution or damage, not lose on my assets and income and all that stuff. And he’s like, look as devastating as those losses were, the most devastating loss was the loss of your identity.
Because my whole world, the only reason why I was comfortable looking at the guy in the mirror was because of all of that external stuff. And he’s like, dude, if I got to strip you of all of that, just to remind you of this carnal truth, and that’s the fact that your value to me and to the world at large has nothing to do with what you do.
It’s built on the fact that you’re my son. I don’t know if you have kids, Damon, but if you ever had the joy of bringing a child into this earth, there is a love and a value that is ascribed to that child that has nothing to do with what they will ever do in life. Right. And so for me, it was this huge distinction between my, my, my human being, like my intrinsic value versus my human doing what I do externally.
And so that was a huge area of victory in my marriage, you know, 23 years of marriage to my wonderful wife, Emma, it was finally coming to a place where I was like really loving her the way she was yearning to be loved for much of our marriage. There’s huge victory there, huge victory with our kids. I got three kids, a 13 and a 10 and a five.
And just being present in their lives, like being comfortable, being on vacation and not having your laptop to work on because that’s the only way you define being fulfilled. Huge huge victory. And then he goes, you’re just like a bunch of my other kids out there. And so now it’s like, he gave me this mandate to go out there and essentially help people that are just like me.
But we’re out there trying to bring to pass what they feel like is their purpose or their destiny in business in life, but not pay the ultimate price of losing in their identity. Cause they get clouded with whatever measure of success. So yeah, I focus now on what I call the inner and the outer game of success.
Helping people create indestructible and limitless mindsets around what they can do. Inner game, but also working on the outer games, identified the very specific tactics and strategies that they need to explore, deliver incredible value into the marketplace and get to a point where money is you’re actually chasing them versus them chasing after money.
Yeah. And I imagine that that makes you more relatable too, for them. They go, okay, he’s been here, he’s been through the ups, he’s been through the downs. And then that also gives you the ability to relate to them more personally, you know, it’s interesting. Did you, um, are you familiar with when Mark Cuban, uh, had a suit against him from, I had a huge, huge deal with the SCC now he spent.
Um, infinitely more money than I did you off the case. I actually reached out to his attorney, um, because I was, I was, I was certain that there was corruption that I was supposed to try and help expose. I was like, God, you got to point me to the best, the best of the best. And I reached out to them. It didn’t quite work out the way that I’d hoped to, in terms of actually giving them to represent me.
But it’s funny that you even bring that up now, just kind of reminded me about that. I remember when he was going through that, he was on, I watched a little clip. He was on a late night talk show and he was talking about how he said, look, it varies. He had similar comments to what you said, where, you know, I know, um, this is the right thing and I didn’t do this.
And, and for him, he said, look, I could either. Falsely admit Gail, just to put it behind me, but he says, you know, there was way more on the line than, than just the finances. Like this is my reputation. This is all my future deals. So it’s interesting to, and I’ve had, I know several other people that would agree with you on the topic of, um, There’s potential corruption that needs to be expelled.
It’s not just them. I mean, I think all of our government entities, I mean, I look at the city of Atlanta. I mean, just the mayor and the governor, like at odds at each other with whether or not they’re going to mandate, we should wear masks in public. Unlike in the myths of the pandemic, we actually have people in office who can’t see eye to eye and are more vested in their personal or political interests.
And that of the constituents that they serve. I mean, that is just a travesty, right? So what’s that. You know, I want to go back a little bit. So you talk about how, uh, I believe it was when you were saying about nine 11 and, and the impact that had on you and you were out for about 18 months. So during the 18 months, like, how are you surviving?
Did you have savings? Like, how are you eating? Like, what’s the basics like that look like? Yeah. So we had, um, some amount of savings that were being depleted rapidly. It was just the weird set of circumstances. So, um, We had it very unique mortgage. We were fortunate to be in a very, very expensive home at the time.
And when we acquired the mortgage on that property, it had a very unique deal where like, if you were severed from employment, it was like a disability rider where the bank would automatically continue making your payments for you as luck would have it, that bank went under. And when it went under, it was taken over by the FDC and the new bank that was appointed to kind of, you know, clean house black, sorry, we’re not honoring any of those covenants or things that you guys had with the bank that’s been under.
So what I flooded, I had as a saving grace to kind of help, you know, get us through that time period. Didn’t actually work out. So we went through like several months where like, you know, the mortgage was in arrears and we just kept on waiting and waiting and waiting. And, you know, being a guy in that space, it was just a huge blow to my ego.
But just, you know, I went to, I went to the Lord and I prayed and I said, listen, you know, I’m trying to do, we actually even went back to the bank and said, Hey, I’m in a position now where I’ve started my own business. I’m actually generating some income. Can we renegotiate this mortgage and do something and they would, my God, I’m doing everything that I know to be honorable.
You know, if the writing is on the wall, then. Make it such that it’s obvious. And when I have a conversation with my wife, Emma, she knows that this is what we’re supposed to do. And when push came to shove, I’m like, listen, this, this looks like what we have to do. We have to just file and start over. So we did.
Yeah. God was gracious to resurrect our finances after that and kind of clean things out for us. Do you find anything comparable to what you went through or the circumstances at nine 11 to what’s going on right now with the, with the virus? There’s certainly elements of fear, um, that are, uh, that are present with that.
I think there are not to get into conspiracy theories, um, but I pay attention to both sides and there’s something peculiar about the virus. I mean, you can look at the reporting and then we just, yesterday we were, it was, my wife was showing me something about how Florida, which we’re on vacation in Florida just a few weeks ago.
But you know, Florida has been in the news for having just extraordinarily high accounts. If this is true, apparently if you go in and you got total, it. And they’re giving you a treatment. They have to give you multiple injections and multiple procedures. Then it ends up being like 15 times, you have to go through whatever it is that they’re doing, rather than counting that as one case case, counting that as 15 different.
So there’s, there’s some parallel there between some of the stuff that happened around nine 11, what’s going on right now. Uh, but what I say is, you know, when it’s, when it’s a bleeding out in the streets is. Is when unprecedented transformation takes place. That’s when wealth is created, that’s when opportunities are bound.
And so I always like to try look at things from the other perspective and see, like, what are people missing and all of this in terms of opportunities or things that they can do different. Um, so it’s, it’s an exciting time. I, you know, A lot of people are going through really dark times. That’s not been my story.
We, as a business, as a family, we have been thriving through all of this. And it’s kind of like when you drive down the street and you see like it’s raining on one side and the sweat pouring rain in the other, that’s sort of what it’s felt like. I think it’s a matter of perspective, planning, preparation, where your heart is at, where your mind says as to which side of the road you might end up in this time.
Yeah. Speaking of opportunities, why don’t you tell us you got a challenge coming up? What’s that all about? Yes. I offer a 10 K challenge and it’s it’s so, um, so timely too, with everything that’s going on with COBIT. So, uh, I wear three different hats, as I said earlier on business growth, strategist, personal finance experts, and, um, Success and mindset coach when it comes to the business growth side.
One of the things that we love to do is give a challenge, which is simply this, you know, Geico 15 minutes with them and we’ll save you 50% or more on insurance. Well, the challenge that I give to business owners is spend an hour with me and I guarantee that I’ll help you uncover it. At least a $10,000 in hidden revenues and profits within your business.
And if they want to take me up on that challenge, they can simply head over to meet me that SL slash IQ, Coco book, the 10 K Andrew with me, and we’ll spend an hour with them and try to uncover at least 10 and times. It’s several multiple of that hidden opportunities within their business that they’re not seeing.
I don’t necessarily want you to give away what the secrets are, but like what, what can you say about how this works? Like what type of things do you look at? What do you expose to them? Like, bring us up to speed so we can get excited about it. Yeah. So, um, we have a, what we call a five step profit formula and the fibers we look at are one, what are the things that you’re not currently doing that are right underneath your nose to help you generate more leads?
Once you’re generating more leads because that’s the lifeblood of every business, right. Businesses go down. Cause they don’t have enough people to see. But when you have enough people to see the next major thing is how all, what percentage of those are you converting? So how do you generate more conversions in your business when you generating more conversions, which is people going from leads or prospects to actual kinds.
So somebody made a purchase with you. Well, what are some of the opportunities that you’re missing? Because once you’ve had somebody become a client, they are one of your best assets that they’ve bought from you once they’ll buy from you time and time and time again. So how can you generate more transactions from each individual client that you’ve acquired?
So more leads, more conversions, more transactions. And then we look at what can we do to generate more profits for your business? And there’s a whole host of different things that we look at, you know, within that I mentioned as well. And, um, so those are some of the areas that we kind of look at and again, without giving out the seat, good sauce.
What we often find is there are hidden opportunities in just about every business and sometimes it just takes an external third party. Analyze and point out what seems so obvious to them. Maybe not so obvious. Oh, it is. It’s just those little things that end up coming through and having big contributions to your growth.
I can, it’s been a pleasure. I want to thank, I want to tell you, thanks for jumping on and learning from others and sharing your story. You know, I think, I think most people, a lot of people often learn more from the trials than the one, two, three blueprint on, you know, follow these steps. So it’s always good to get some real life stories like that.
I’ll give you the last few moments to throw out that link again, maybe spell your name for the people that are listening on audio only so they can find out more about you. Absolutely. So the name is Ike, kind of like Mike without the M so I K E last name it is I K. Okay. W you, if you’re interested in 10 K challenge, you can have an opportunity to book back directly off of my calendar.
It’s meet me and E T M E dot S O four slash first name, last name Ike I K E. Last name I K O K W U and then just select the 10 K challenge option there to book the appointment. And we’d love to spend some time with DNC what we’re going to uncover. Awesome. Everybody. Thanks so much for depth. I’m learning from others.
Thanks for having me brother. Appreciate it.