#148 – Using Self Awareness to Build a Unique Business with Ali Boone

Click on the button below to listen to this episode of the Start Fierce Business Podcast.

Ali Boone is the owner of Hipster Investments, a business that facilitated over $18 Million in Real Estate Investing Sales within 5 years.

Her primary specialty is teaching people how to start a business with lifestyle design. Although her business has grown significantly, she’s still completely location-independent.

In today’s podcast episode we discuss the advantages of using self-awareness as a competitive advantage in business. She shares the story of how she built her business while working a full-time job. We also talk about the challenges of giving up control as a business owner.

When you figure out you and what makes you unique, you’ll make a unique business. - Ali Boone Click To Tweet

In This Episode of the Start Fierce Business Podcast:

  • Ali shares how she built her side hustle while working a part-time job and eventually left the job in order to grow her business.
  • She talks about the challenges of giving up control as a business owner.
  • She also shares why you should spend time trying to figure out what comes naturally for you instead of trying to copy someone else’s business.
  • We also discuss how no one else can copy your business if your value proposition comes from self-awareness.

Mentioned in this Episode:

(Some of the links listed below are affiliate links, and we will receive compensation for you signing up for service using our links.)

Reach Out to Ali:


Note: Transcripts are created automatically and are not 100% accurate. However, they help our visitors find relevant content using our website’s search feature.

Welcome to the show, Ali.

Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.

It’s great to have you tell me about yourself outside of your business.

Outside of business even more exciting. I’m so used to talking about business. I live in Los Angeles. I’m in Venice Beach. I grew up in Atlanta. So I’m kind of the the southern check out in California. I used to be an engineer. That was my primary job. I got me to California. I am now obviously in business and real estate, and I love the beach and outdoors. I try and ski and snowboard as much as possible. I have an adorable little Pekinese dog named Harley if I do say so. say she’s cute myself.

Yeah, my parents live out here. I like spending time with them. I love hanging out with friends. And this weekend I ended up at a big disco event. And I danced like crazy and I’m still tired. So that tells us where I’m like, whoo. Outside of business. Let me know where to go.

When did you know that you are an entrepreneur?

I am pretty sure without a actually knowing like the words of the verbiage or whatever. I’m pretty sure I’ve known since I was little. I remember being 13 and thinking I wanted to figure out a way to make a ton of money and just my problem solving brain and all then I’ve always been ruggedly independent. So I think with out knowing I’ve always known.

Okay, well, tell me about your business and how you got started.

Okay, so my business is hipster investments. It’s a work in real estate investing. And I’m essentially kind of a glorified matchmaker. I connect buyers and sellers of cool rental property investment opportunities. And I have always called myself a glorified matchmaker. But I’ve more and last couple years realized I’m also a bit of an emotional support animal. So a lot of the people that I work with our brand new investors, a lot of them are terrified, you know. So it’s just kind of nice to have a friendly face in the industry. It’s kind of a hard hitting industry. And so I’ve found that I’ve ended up coming in quite a bit as you know, someone who can just be there to support. So that’s a lot of what I offer. And how I got into it was completely by accident. It was very organic. I spent, I like I said, I used to be an engineer. And for the entire five years that I was working as an engineer, I was trying to find a way out of the cubicle. And I was exploring business options and real estate and I had no idea how this was going to happen. But in the midst of it, I ended up finding some real estate investment opportunities. I started doing it purely as a secondary thing for myself, I didn’t think it was going to be my ticket out of corporate. But I wanted to do something smart with my money in the meantime, and through all the networking and just constant involvement in that and all my energy. And on that side, one thing kind of led to another, I met the right people and things kind of my my company formed itself somehow. So it was kind of a unexpected, not even kind of it was hugely unexpected. But after quite a few years of work trying to get to that point, how did you prepare to leave your job and do this full time Wow, I’d started it was probably about maybe somewhere like eight months to a year, well, probably about eight months or so before I left my job that I realized I could actually make a business out of this and do it as a side thing. And the tricky part in that eight months, I was doing it on the slide just whenever I had as much as I could I get home from my other job, I’d work on it, I was making money doing it already. And so I was really trying to build it while I still had my paycheck coming in every Friday. And but the tricky part for me was, I was my background is aerospace engineering. And I was working top secret projects. And I was actually based out of a top secret location. So I didn’t have a whole lot of access to unclassified computers to do my real estate business. And, you know, when you’re, when you’re in that world, they really kind of frown on you trying to talk to the rest of the world. So I stuck with as much as I can, I probably, I hope, no one for myself, companies listening, I took every leaf possible, because I didn’t have a lot of actors to work on it while I was there. And so every time I was home, I was working on it. And then it just got to the point where I knew while I didn’t have as much money coming in from the new business as I wanted to, I also knew that I was essentially just postponing doing that, like, I had the make that job. And I was able to work on it less and less outside of my regular job. And I just got to the point where I, I just, it was going to have to happen at some point. And so I just decided to go ahead and jump ship.

What’s been your greatest challenge as a business owner,

I have to learn a lot about giving up control, which is kind of interesting. Because when you start your own business, you’re kind of regaining control in a lot of ways. Like I get to make my own schedule, I get to make my business how it is, I get to design things out as I get to pick and choose everything I want. So and that there is a lot more control than when you’re working a nine to five job for somebody else. But there’s also, you know, my engineering background, I’m also a pilot, which is all control all thinking like, I can make anything happen that I bought in the past, I was able to make anything happen that I wanted to, if I had an engineering problem, I was able to find a way to fix it, or get to a certain result. Or if I’m in the airplane, I can make the airplane do whatever I want it to. And what I learned in the first year of my business is I couldn’t make anything happen. Like, I could do the best that I could every single day. And I could try absolutely hard as I could. But it was suddenly not it was not an engineering problem, or an airplane, I couldn’t make the results happen. So I had a really, really changed my mindset on that. And even now I’m in the real estate industry. So if commissions based and I can go a month or two pretty easily with no commissions whatsoever. And so really just kind of surrendering to that. And just knowing it’s in a way, it’s a huge engineering problem. But in another way, I can’t, I can’t approach it now, necessarily, in the same way that I would have an engineering problem. So that’s been that’s been a learning and it’s constant. I’m in a totally different place with it now. But it’s, you know, it’s it’s not an overnight thing to learn by any means.

And what advice do you have for someone that’s just getting started in business,

I think I think the most important thing is really, you know, there’s a time I mean, some people will have a service or a product to sell. And it’s very clear what kind of business they want. And in my case, I didn’t have that. And I think the exploration phase is so Paramount because I feel like the most successful people in business are doing the things that are kind of, in some way naturally happening for them already. It’s kind of like, they say, you know, if you’re doing something you love, and the money will follow, or find something you’re already doing, and make a business out of it. And I don’t think that’s true for every case. Like, I think some hobbies should stay hobbyist, but in my case, I I start I it brands, I have something I had begun to do already. And so versus creating a business and forcing myself to do something, if I may say, sounds kind of like a, I use the word organic earlier, it’s kind of an organic thing where maybe don’t have a thing yet, but really spend the time and trying to figure out what you’re saying is, because even if it’s maybe it’s not what you envision, or maybe it’s not what you think is going to make you the most amount of money. But when you really follow what comes naturally for you what kind of unfold naturally what kind of just presents itself to you, then I think the world’s kind of at your fingertips. And so really just being patient, if you don’t already know your thing of being patient, and really letting things unfold, versus trying to make them happen. And create how your vision for it and all that like just really, you know, slow and steady wins the race in my opinion. So just really taking that time to have some self awareness and just see what’s really presented itself to you.

I really like that. So don’t try to force something, just let it happen organically.

Yeah. And I always say I’ve got 173 business ideas, and only one of them works. And the difference in the one thing that worked versus all of the rest of them is I would come up at the end goal of what sounded like a great business to do. I was like, Oh, well, I’ll buy a hotel, and I’ll rent a hotel that should be good, or I’ll buy this or all do this. And I it wasn’t something I was already doing. It was just kind of creating it because of what’s going on paper sounded good on paper. And every time I did that, I would see what that thing was, and try and work backwards to make it happen. And in this, I realize now it’s a moving in a different direction with the one business that works is I didn’t create the end result, I didn’t even I still to this day, don’t know the end result of my business was going to be I could kind of set an intention, you know, like, hey, going to be kind of us. And I want to make enough money to live and blah, blah, blah. But I really, there was a point where I really turned my focus around. And instead of coming up with the end result, working backwards, I just did it as best as I could every single day. And to this day, it continues to unfold in ways that I can expect. So you know, that’s, that’s just been a huge thing for me. I like that so much. And I think one big problem that people have is that they’ll have a business idea. And they don’t want to tell anyone, so they can’t get any help, because they think that somebody’s going to steal their idea. But going back to what you were saying, like you’ve had a lot hundreds of business ideas, and you started at the end, and probably somewhere along the way, when you were trying to break it down.

How you’re going to get to the end you were prior like, you know, I don’t even care enough about this. Like, seriously, that’s how people feel about your ideas. I have so many people tell me their business ideas. And I think is a great idea.

And then like, hey, do you want to help me? Do you want to join me? And I’m like, no, cuz like, I don’t care, like you care. And you can make it happen. But I can’t. Because like, I don’t care about that, right.

Yeah, and I even in the I haven’t really thought about in

a few years. But when I had started technically, anybody could do could mimic my exact business model. Like I, I have some kind of indirect competitors who are in the same industry as I am, and kind of deal with the same kind of properties. But there’s really no company that presents itself and the exact same way that I do. And so I had worried I was like, oh, man, you know, I could do this, and somebody could copy me or whatever. But the reality is, even if someone tried to copy exactly what I’ve done, and go with the exact same idea, the fact is that nobody has my exact story. Nobody has my exact personality. Nobody, nobody would ever be able to present themselves in the exact same way that I do. And so because of, you know, it kind of goes back. So that following what naturally comes to you, because I think when that happens, it ends up being so unique to you that you can have indirect competitors. And maybe you have someone more directly, but you are your own unique person. And the thing that you’re going to offer, whether it’s a service or product, or whatever, and how you do that is going to be unique to you. So if you start with the end goal, and you work backwards, you’re probably going to create a business just like everyone else has, like, people are out there all the time. So, you know, this is how you got to create it, you’re like, Okay, I’ll follow the instructions. And, well, guess what, you end up with a carbon copy of something else. Whereas when you spend that time, and figure out you and figure out your interests and figure out where you fall into the equation, there is no other you out there period. And so you’ll always have some kind of edge, I say this, like, you know, I don’t ship kind of a kind of a factor in my head is that, you know, that’s, that’s a huge thing for competition is that you can, it’s always smart to be aware of competitors, and be aware of where you are in the marketplace, especially if you’re dealing with something that needs to be trademarked or whatever. But you know, you can’t spend all your time you know, the licenses and the certificates or whatever, aren’t going to protect someone from stealing your business. The best protection is to just be unique to you. And keep following that and just if you can mitigate it some other way. Cool. But you know, just just stick to your own thing and just the old set of accounts Yeah, absolutely.

Um, aside from not wanting to work for someone else and aside from your family what’s your why?

For me it’s it’s easily freedom I always joke I drive a you know, I’m in Los Angeles and traffic horrible and I still drive a stick shift I laugh about how much freedom I really want, I won’t even let my own car discipline it’s going to shift like I’m I’m pretty rowdy when it comes to wanting freedom and the freedom to make my own decisions and do what I want to the points I’m willing to drive a stick shift in Los Angeles because I want to decide when I’m going to ship like it.

So I’m a little over the top on that side that you know, for me the two things that come to mind in terms of freedom when I was wanting to create something and I still didn’t know at the time when I was going to create but I fly airplanes and I teach students I’m a flight instructor and I’ve always loved flight instructing. But the pay is news you know, it’s it’s, it’s hard to live and fund your life as a flight instructor. And I always had it in my head that I wanted the option to be a flight instructor and not be dependent on the money and because I was always afraid that if I became dependent on the money that I’d end up hating it and so now because I can set my own work schedule, I can go do flight and start now I picked it back up and it’s just my fun side gig like whatever money I make during it is just fun bonus money but I’ve created I’ve created all over this specifically to be able to fund or not fund but to be able to do that and not be relying on the money so I get to be the things I want to do because I’ve structured my freedom like I have another one that I always said even in high school or college is that if somebody if a friend wants to go to lunch I want to be able to say yes like I want to be able to pick and choose when I do something or when I travel versus having to ask an employer paid you know can I take vacation days or Hey whatever like I want the freedom to just be able to do basically what I want when I want with as it comes out my mouth that sounds like a little kid but it’s it’s true I love I love being able to do the things that makes me happy.

If you could have lunch with one business thought leader who would it be?

I have a couple favorite authors and you know who I’ve I’ve read a lot of books there’s a lot of authors I really liked that are more specifically business and a little bit more on the technical side of business but one of my favorite book is the success principles by jack Canfield and so he I really I think I would almost like to go to lunch with him because I think he kind of mixes most of the business talkers are they just talk about business and that’s very very business mindset and how to do it and all these things and jack I feel like brings in the psychology of it like my favorite thing on the planet is meshing psychology with business and problem solving and just general relationships and I feel like jack Canfield does that a lot more than a lot of business people so getting may not be the strongest well he’s obviously got a great business going but you know there’s preteens aren’t as business focused all the time. But he’s definitely in that realm. And I think I think I gotta watch a little jack,

What’s your favorite internet resource or app that just makes your life easier?

Well, I’ll confess a little bit technology is not my thing. And my phone is actually so old that most of the apps on or even working anymore, so I and I also have never even owned an iPhone I I’m always the Android but I don’t have an app and the internet. Honestly, I have taken a little bit of a hiatus from when I spent all those years researching how to do things and business and real estate, whatever. I really I’ll say I pride myself. But it’s been kind of nice to not try and learn more for a second. So hi, actually don’t even think I you know, my business is online. And so when I’m not working, I just try and shut it all down. So I actually don’t have a current one of us a horrible mentor type of answers.

No, that’s okay. I mean, some people just say like, notes so well. And I will say I will say to that, actually, as I’m thinking about it even more. I’m a huge advocate of hard copy books. Like that’s how my business happened. That’s how real estate happened. For me. I’m even looking at my bookshelf right now, which is very thick. And so I think that actually, I’ve, I’m not as big of an internet Personally, I like to actually physically hold the book. And, you know, I’ve got several business authors I like and business book and those I think I actually think I get more of my information there.

Yeah, I don’t really like reading physical books, because I like to read before bed. And I don’t want to have the light on. So I have my Kindle. Yeah. Also, I’m kind of know, I’m like, very impatient. So if I want to get a book at nine o’clock at night, I want to just order it and have the book right there. I don’t want to wait for Amazon to ship it. Or I don’t want to go to the store. So it’s because I’m inflationary on that. I have to get this exercise some patience, because I’ll, I’ll actually pay more for the book on Amazon just to get the prime version versus having to wait the week or two. Because when I get it in my idea that I want to rebook, I want to read it right then. So yeah, I’m totally with you on that, for sure. And really, you know, it goes back to the whole thing of people in this industry. And people in general are going to constantly be telling you what you should or shouldn’t do. And it goes back to that self awareness thing. Like I like hardcopy books and I just they work for me I feel good with on I feel good keeping them in my library. You like the Kindle for certain reasons, and some people are going to like podcast, I can’t listen to the podcast because well, which is funny because I’m doing guys really suck a hearing like I don’t, I don’t, I can’t tell you a single song lyric. Like, I don’t understand. If I can’t see something, I have to see things written out. And so really, that whole self awareness thing, figuring out what works for you, and being willing to stand up for that be like, No, you know what, I’m going to read the Kindle. I’m sure that podcast was really good. But you know what? No. And so it’s it’s such a, it’s a minor thing. But it plays a big role when you’re trying to start a business of knowing what works for you. And what works best because it’s going to be different for everybody. Yeah, and that’s super interesting. So you probably like videos, where if I see something on video, I’m like, Oh, my gosh, can’t they just put an audio out of it? Because I don’t feel like I don’t even want to minimize the video in here at playing like if it’s a video. Um, so I listened to it. Yeah, well, and for me, it’s, it’s a video. It’s gotta be something with written things are like PowerPoint is old school, but I’m not that technologically whatever. Like, I need to see words. I need to see bullet points. If it was a video of you talking. I still want to hear any like I wouldn’t. I would try. I would try my hardest to follow what you’re saying. But I have to see written words. When I go to other countries. And I started picking up their language is a little bit I have to have someone, right. So if I don’t, I can’t hear. I can’t understand it. When they say it. I need to see it. And as soon as I see it written down, then I’m like, Oh, well, I love easy. Okay, cool. So yeah, it’s really funny how different our brains can work. It’s, it’s quite a science, I’m sure.

Yeah. And by the way, PowerPoint isn’t like old school, at least I don’t think so. I

I do so many PowerPoint presentations for my startup or not. It’s not even funny. I love PowerPoint makes me really happy.

I do them in Google Slides. Because I need to collaborate with my business collaborate. I need to work with my business partners on it.

I didn’t Google Slides, but it’s the same thing. Yeah, totally.

Um, where can listeners find you online? What’s your website social media.

So I actually have two websites going I have a more recent website I’ve gotten more into. So I have my real estate company that is just hipster investments. com spelled just like a 10. And my email address is alley at hipster investments. com. Al is at hipster investments. You can email me anytime, even if it’s only to say hi, I love meeting people. And then I’ve more recently picked up doing business consulting. So I if someone already has a business going and things are stressful or things are just kind of wonky. Like I go in and I troubleshoot and I work with you and come up with solutions. And so for that alley, boom. Calm al i b o n e dot com is kind of a new not fancy website for that. So if you want to talk to us more on the business side, that’s where you can go. And then Twitter and Instagram. I’m Allie Boone. Calm do t is spelled out so Ali Boone do TC o. m and my real estate company is at hipster invest. And then hipster has a Facebook page. But I actually have never had a Facebook page ever. So I’m but Instagrams dazzling kind of my I like looking well as we’re talking about visuals. I love pictures.

But yeah, and then like I said, direct email. Ali at hipster investments will get me every single time.

All right. Well, Ali, thank you so much for sharing your story with us today.

Well, thank you for having me. I love talking about this kind of stuff. And it’s great to get some new questions night everything and I won’t have one too.