Most kids graduate from high school within four years – but not very many attend four different schools to do so. Of course, it can take that many schools when you are kicked out of the first three you attend. He’d become a juvenile delinquent, selling whatever he could get his hands on. When he was 21, with $50.00 in his pocket, Frank decided to leave his home state of Indiana and move to South Florida. He had big ideas and was convinced that’s where he could make it big.
Soon after arriving in Florida he was digging sand traps at a golf course where he was earning $180.00 per week. It was backbreaking work in the heat and humidity. Some of his buddies were teaching tennis and making more money than him. He decided to follow suit – after all he was in great shape and was a decent athlete while in school. Frank had even bigger ideas, however. Through courage, creative thinking and a bit of exaggeration, he became the resident teaching pro at the tennis club in a very affluent development.
He worked his clients incredibly hard – so hard that most would be happy to sit for the final ten minutes of the hour to cool off and catch their breath. Frank used this time to ask questions and learn from some incredibly successful businessmen. He was getting paid, staying in shape and receiving what amounted to private business tutoring. He put that knowledge to work soon after.
Frank determined that he would realize his greatest success in real estate. He scraped together enough money to purchase a small home which he intended to rehab and flip for a tidy profit. What he didn’t realize was that he had purchased a former crack house and the rehab was far more extensive than he’d imagined. Frank wouldn’t be discouraged however and soon was making reasonably good money by flipping dozens of $50,000 ‘crack houses’.
He wanted more, so he took his lofty ideas and real estate savvy and began to focus on oceanfront property. His focus shifted to much higher priced properties. Frank and his first million dollar project was featured in the local paper. He was eager to check his press. Imagine his surprise when adjacent to the article on him was a story about a soup kitchen. The man being served could have been his twin. What a revelation that was as he realized “There but for the grace of God…”
During his childhood, his mother had been devout in her faith. Frank had begun to get in touch with his spirituality, praying for friendship. He had found that with his God and now, he realized there was more that he was called to do than merely build magnificent homes.
Frank became the “Daredevil Developer” – daring in both his activities and in his real estate. He began to build multi-million dollar homes completely on spec. Projects began without a specific buyer – just an idea for a luxury home which he built and his wife decorated. Only when completed, would Frank look to sell the house. Frank also became heavily involved in the Caring House Project – providing housing for the most desperate, including the people of Haiti.
Frank and his wife now build and sell homes for as much as $50 million. He authored five best-selling books – three titles from three genres launched on the same day, a rare feat indeed. When Haiti was rocked by an earthquake in 2010, Frank’s team was one of the first on the ground providing medical care, food and the start of new housing. All of this was made possible because a man followed his heart, honed his skills and answered when he felt that spiritual tap, awakening him to a bigger calling. Frank McKinney is more than the “Real Estate Rock Czar” – he is a fearless brand.
Fearless Brands answer their calling
Frank McKinney is truly one-of-a-kind. To see him, you would be convinced that he is literally a rock star. Most people wouldn’t think of him as an immensely successful real estate developer, creating and selling some of the world’s most luxurious homes. The sight of his long, flowing blonde hair, colorful bandanas, jeans and scraggly facial hair can disguise the depth of the man’s caring, generosity and strong faith.
But if you listen to him – if you get past the rock star persona, his positive energy and positive vibe are very evident.
McKinney leads a comfortable life. His ocean front home features a treehouse, his private sanctuary for work, contemplation, entertainment and meditation. He is often asked to speak at a variety of conferences and conventions. When he does, he typically auctions a trip to that treehouse – the proceeds going to the Caring House Project. He equates bids to what the amount will buy. “This gentleman’s bid will buy 1/2 of a new house. That woman’s bid will build three homes.”
He sees himself as sort of a modern day Robin Hood, selling homes to the ultra-rich to build homes for the incredibly poor.
McKinney is a loving family man, happily married and a loving father who walked his daughter to school most days. The wild streak he had developed as a teenager remains – only today that energy is focused on the positive. To push his personal limits to the edge, he has successfully finished the 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley six times.
Frank McKinney is a man who walks with God, strives to make the world a better place and encourages people to reach their best. He is a man whose example can teach a great deal about building a fearless personal brand.
Follow your heart, hone your skills, be relevant – That is the basic formula for every fearless brand. Regular readers have seen this statement countless times – and will see it even more in the future. It’s a very simple formula – it’s not at all easy – but it’s simple.
Be grateful – McKinney says that we all pray, meditate, ask, plead or wish for things. He urges that before we ask for that new ‘something’, that we take the time to say thank you for the ‘something’ we already have. Being grateful not only keeps us centered, it reminds us of the value of what we have already received.
Stay focused – On a daily basis, McKinney lists his top five priorities. He does nothing else until those five priorities have been completed. That level of discipline partly explains how he was able to finish six 135 mile races. That level of discipline helps to explain why McKinney has been stratospherically successful.
It’s not Frank McKinney’s willingness to design and build a $50 million dollar home without having a buyer that makes him a fearless brand. He is able to build those homes because he is a fearless brand. When you focus on building your fearless brand, you too will achieve the results you seek. It’s simple – it’s just not easy.
Frank is an amazing man, I am happy to call him a friend. Great article.
Thank you Scott for your comment. My suspicion is that you too are an amazing man – given that you have Frank’s friendship and your work with Hope to Haiti.