While John Mihailidis is a successful business owner and investor today, it wasn’t so long ago that he was a professional soccer player.

He told Bushy Martin on a recent episode of the Get Invested Podcast that the commitment required to achieve in the sports arena was great training for his career after soccer.

“There were probably players who were maybe more talented than me, but the ones that make it have talent and commitment, and it’s the commitment part that some people fall over with,” he said. 

“I just had to be the most talented player in my position and I had to be the most committed player in my position. And so I ended up playing in the national league at 16, one of the youngest to play.

“Even in the off-season I’d still train four or five times a week by myself. So it’s the commitment part and that’s what life and even investing is all about.

Despite reaching the highest level of soccer in Australia, sport didn’t provide the income John thought he needed to make himself and his family comfortable. He stepped away from playing professionally, attended a property investment seminar and bought an apartment for $30,000 in St Kilda. Shortly after, while still in his mid-twenties, John bought two more apartments and a café.

“I was doing probably about 90 to 100 hours a week work,” says John.

“I remember working from five o’clock in the morning till about nine o’clock at night, driving home, going to sleep, and going back to work the next day … at that time a lot of my friends were going out and partying … my philosophy was I wanted to first build my wealth and then enjoy my life further down the track.”

John attributes his hard work ethic to seeing his parents struggle to make ends meet.

“My dad would go to work in the morning in a factory and work till four o’clock. He would go into his car, sleep for two hours, and then go back and do the afternoon shift in the same factory till one o’clock in the morning. And (he’d) do that for six days a week.

“I think that was a driving force, just seeing my parents struggle. I knew I wanted to take myself to the next level and not have to struggle.”

John brought his two brothers into the business and over the next few years they grew the operation to five restaurants and 100 staff. But after experiencing burn out and going through a divorce, he realised something had to change. John scaled down to two restaurants and he and his brothers started developing residential properties and purchasing commercial space.

It was at that point that John read a book on the share market by Warren Buffett, and a light bulb went off. Principles like compounding money at the highest rate possible using the stock market, focussing on one’s own circle of competence and researching the businesses you are investing in extensively, all rang true for John. He started an investment fund with his brother and over 13 years grew the fund to $4.5 million, following Buffett’s ethos of holding stocks over the long term, and never withdrawing from the fund. 

John now shares what he has learnt in business and investing through his online training program Project My Profit, teaching people how to build real wealth by investing in stocks.

“We created 10 modules and in each of the modules there’s probably 10 or 12 videos … on Tuesday night we do a Q and A and (people) can ask me questions about the modules in front of the whiteboard and we go over the module we just did.

“When it comes to money I tell everyone that everyone’s at different levels … what we’re trying to do is compound our money at the highest rate.

“My course teaches everyone the philosophy and the fundamentals to be able to read all these investment quarterly reports and understand the terminology, and have a philosophy on how we can build wealth investing in the stock market.”

Listen to the full podcast interview here.

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