AYF/GF 121 | Collection Agencies


More people complain about debt collection agencies than any other single industry. Why? Because disreputable collection agencies resort to exploitation, harassment, and deception to get you to pay what you may or may not owe. How can you defend yourself against such exploitative tactics? Today’s guest, Nick Alfano, a former owner of 23 debt collection offices, joins Merrill Chandler to lay bare the secrets of the skeezy world of collection agencies. Join in the discussion and help spread the word!

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Revealed: The Skeezy World Of Collection Agencies With Nick Alfano

In this episode, you’ve seen me pull the curtain back before. We have taken down the giants in the industry about unfair business practices and how they are hiding things, how Credit Karmas of the world don’t want to reveal the truth. My guest now is going to be Nick Alfano. We are going to be discussing the cold, hard facts, the truth behind collection agencies, and what’s going on, on the other side of that phone or that letter that you have received. We are swinging for the fences here. It will be a homerun.

First of all, I know many of you have been completely taken advantage of and disgusted by the whole process of debt collections. I’m not saying that we don’t owe a debt. I’m not saying that there are times in which we need to make right with our word of honor. Many times, I’ve also talked about that you either keep your agreements or make a new agreement. Both of them keep you in your integrity. In this episode, my guest here is Nick Alfano. He is a serial entrepreneur, a former attorney and more importantly, the former owner of 23 debt collection offices spanning the country. He sold collection franchises. He licensed his collection technology because it was profitable and compelling of an argument.

Welcome, Nick. I’m glad to have you here. Tell my tribe a little bit about your experience. We’re going to cover a gambit of being in an environment and having an epiphany that maybe that environment is not for our highest good, and pivoting and making new choices. Nick, talk to us about your background, where you came from, how you ended up with 23 debt collection offices that were insanely profitable for them, and maybe a little hardcore on the debtors.

Several years ago, I moved to a new city. I bumped into an old friend. He appeared to be doing extremely well for himself. Oddly enough, I was coming out of a Red Robin with my daughters, and he was like, “I got this thing going on. You should come to check it out. I think you’d be good.” Mind you, this friend and I went back a number of years. He knew that I had been a general manager and a couple of different things, a district manager for LA Fitness. He knew I had the gift of gab. I went to his collections office, and I was there for three days. This is what I saw in that 72-hour period. His MO was to let you check it out. He was shopping me as well. After day three, if it seems like a good fit, he would take your Social and your driver’s license. He puts you in the system, and off he went as a 1099 contractor.

Within three days, I saw a husband and wife doing drugs in the location. They brought a pit bull to work with them every day. These are some things that happened in these. I saw the same husband and wife, and about four others, take the credit cards that they were getting from Ms. Jones. They get the debit card or credit card from Ms. Jones to pay off an account. They take that credit card information that’s valid. They go to Best Buy on their lunch break. They buy gift cards from someone they know at Best Buy. They come back and they clock them. They sell a $500 Best Buy card for $300 cash to whoever wants to buy it in that same debt collection shop. Those are some of the types of people you’re dealing with.

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You’ve seen me cry for a number of reasons on this show. This one is the underbelly of the financial world. We’re barely scratching the surface. Continue, Nick.

That showed me that they don’t vet anybody. There are no background checks being done, live scans, fingerprints.

No security details to get in.

It seems like you check it only. They would move you up the queue to the front of the line. These people have access to Social Security numbers, credit cards, just carte blanche to your personal data, which is frightening. Day three came around, he asked for my driver’s license and Social. I was like, “No way. I can’t be associated with this,” but I did see the potential for a sound business model. It took me about six months to get my licensing, get some funding and get my ducks in a row. I opened my first office in September of 2010. We were heavily undercapitalized because I didn’t know what I was doing. The industry is almost that easy that we turn $30,000 into $1.3 million in less than twelve months.

When I worked at LA Fitness, I sold steroids for about 7, 8 years. When I went to start law school, I made a promise to my wife I wouldn’t sell steroids anymore. What I did was I gave my little black book of all my clients that bought steroids to a good buddy of mine. When I needed money to start the collections office, I knew where to go. I went to my buddy and said, “I’ve made you a ton of money. I’m no longer in that industry. I made a promise to my wife, but I’ve got something legit I’m trying to get going. It’s going to cost me X.”

“I’m going legit. I’m going to be a debt collector.”

It was a huge, massive step up though. It was like, “Why don’t you give me the drug money to open the collections office?” He gave me $30,000 in an envelope. We took the $30,000. We opened a business account, then we get going. On my third weekend, I got a call from a college student at Florida State. She destroyed my website, which I built myself overnight. I’m pointing out that we were tripping over ourselves. We were creating documents and scripts from scratch, but we still managed to turn that $30,000 to $1.3 million with eight human beings in a small office. We started it out in my house. We were like, “We’re onto something here.” I opened up a couple of more locations out of necessity. We were becoming a little popular in the city we were in, but there wasn’t enough commercial square footage. We moved out to two other cities. The hammer dropped from a liability standpoint. We were getting sued left and right because I had no control over what was being said. That’s when I devised the “franchise model.” I pulled back to one location that I could control.

As you said, leveling up. Even with your leveling up, the people generally that are attracted to this, and I don’t want to include everybody in this, are quick money, hard money. They’re willing to do or say what they need to do, or say in order to close a deal or collect a debt.

Mind you, we’re in the State of California at this time. The minimum wage is through the roof. We were undercapitalized. We didn’t know what we were doing. We were offering people like, “You eat what you kill. For everything you closed, you get a percentage, but that’s it. I don’t have money. I don’t have a guarantee to give you. I don’t have a minimum wage to give you. I definitely don’t have benefits to give you. Come on down, I’ll teach you how to run your mouth and go from there.” As clean as we thought we were teaching them and we were, you can only control so much.

As we opened up different locations, people were saying, “Whatever it took to get the money.” I’m sure several of you have been on the other end of these phone calls. That’s when we scaled back. I said, “Let’s turn these into franchises because then,” and this is my thought process and I’ve come a long way, “we’ll reap all the benefits, but we don’t have any more sleep at night. No liability, we all win.” That went on for a while. I was making money hand over fist for years. I stepped away from the industry for two years. I came running back because I thought I had the Midas touch. I tried to dabble in 3 or 4 other industries. I realized that I wasn’t the best entrepreneur in the world. I just found an industry that the margins are like selling legal drugs. The margins are insane. I’ll give you guys some crazy insight. If you have a $2,000 Best Buy card that you owe money on that you’d let go, if I owned it, I’d probably pay $25 for it.

I’d say that again, boot campers. We talked about the cost of acquiring debt or the low cost of acquiring debt. I will want to go into the two models. There’s the contractor.

Contingency and debt buyers. We were debt buyers. We’re buying debt. You hear this term a lot. Do you hear the term ‘pennies on the dollar?’ Let me tell you, if you’re far enough down the chain of title and you’re willing to stay about anything, it’s not even pennies on the dollar. It’s not even one penny on the dollar. You’re in what they call the BIP range, BPS. It’s a percentage of every penny for every dollar. I’m not even paying $0.01 on the dollar for your old debt. I don’t care what you have to say. I don’t care if I get ahold of you. I’m just rolling the dice and seeing how many people I can get ahold of. That was the model. We were in the BIP range. If you’re far down the chain, I’m talking 4 or 5 offices down the chain of title, you’re paying less than a penny on the dollar.

Let’s bring this into the universe that they’re familiar with. The chain of title is, legally and technically, you can only collect a debt that you are the owner of. When Nick is saying that it’s a 4 or 5 down the chain, that means it’s been sold several times. Even if a debt is no longer reporting on a credit profile and it passed the statute of limitations, it’s still on somebody’s books. Somebody may have paid $0.10 or 1/10th of a cent to get that thing. They have no problem for the high yield on collecting that debt. They have no problem putting you on robodollars and papering you with letters to make sure that they can collect something. Explain to us then the differences between the two types of collection agencies out there.

AYF/GF 121 | Collection Agencies

Collection Agencies: There are only two types of models in the entire collection world: contingency collectors and debt buyers.


There are only two types of models in the entire collections world. You have your contingency collectors and debt buyers. If you work in contingency, these are the guys that work typically in-house for the original creditor. Let’s keep using Best Buy as an example. Best Buy will hit you with a 30-day, 60-day, 90-day late. They’ll continue to call you. They might ding your credit for those 30s, 60s, 90s. Best Buy has two options. Best Buy can drop it into a more aggressive but in-house collection agency, where they give them a 30% fee to collect on whatever they can, or Best Buy can say, “We’re going to chalk this up as a loss. We’re going to take the tax break, and then we’re going to sell it down the chain.” Once Best Buy sells it, they’re no longer allowed to call on it. More importantly, and this is something to remember, not only can they not call on it, but they have to purge all your records from their database. We get this a lot. We’ll have somebody on the phone. By law, we have to mention the original creditor, which we need to do anyway to jog their memory. They’ll go and call the original creditor. The creditor has no idea about the account any longer and rightfully so because they had to purge their database.

When you guys have called in and said, “I want to pay this off directly with you.” They were like, “I have your name because you’re on a mailing list, but we don’t own this debt anymore,” that causes a great deal of confusion in most borrowers. They are like, “Yes, but my relationship was with you.” This is why Nick’s information and all this knowledge are so powerful. The owner of the debt is the only person or group that has the legal opportunity to collect on it. The second they pass it down, it could have said Best Buy, but you have to legally mention what the original source was.

We have to mention the original creditor under FDCPA Law. FDCPA stands for Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. That’s what regulates our entire industry. It is confusing and frightening. I don’t know if you want to get into this yet, but I will advise all of you to always work the chain. Typically, from a consumer advocate standpoint, what I would tell anybody to do is if you get a call from somebody you don’t recognize, you’re a little hazy on the account because maybe it is 6 or 7 years old, you don’t see it on your report for some reason, working the chain is what I encourage people to do.

By working the chain, you always start with the original creditor, which has to be mentioned to you anyway. They will tell you who they sold it to. They always will, they have to. You call them and then they will say who they sold it to. You work the chain down. If the chain doesn’t end with the particular office that’s calling you, you’re 1 of the 9 million people a day because that’s very common. This is hands down the biggest scam going on in this industry. This is happening right now. It’s heavily in lower Florida. If you’re from lower Florida, I’m sorry. If you know some of these guys and you go out to dinner with them, change your circle of friends.

A quick background, if you guys want to watch something on Netflix, it’s called Buffaloed. It breaks down the entire debt collection model. This entire concept of debt buying started in Buffalo, New York, Upper State New York. It’s heavily run by Jewish and Italian. It’s heavily run by the Mafia because you learned a lot of that. Long story short, the feds went crazy on Buffalos so everyone ran down to Florida, which is very common, just light them up. Now, Florida is the hotbed for what we’ll call the criminal activity in this arena. If I own a ton of accounts and I want to sell them, it’s very easy for me to pop open an LLC and hide behind that LLC. For example, on a given transaction, I might receive $300,000 and all I do is send out a file. I press the send button on my computer. All you get is an Excel file and a piece of paper that says you now own it. Happy hunting.

What’s happening in this industry is that same guy with no morals, all money, is taking $300,000. That’s a big number, but it happens daily, from 3 or 4 different offices nationwide, pressing send four times, saying happy hunting. It comes down to who’s got the bigger floor, meaning who’s got the most collectors to collect on that the fastest. Ms. Jones might be getting four different calls from four different companies about the same exact account. Now, her head is spinning because she has no idea who to pay. She’s well within her right to think all four are fraud, but one might be legit. One might have bought and might have paperwork that says that they own. That’s a very common practice in this industry.

If you go out with guys who scam other people, change your circle of friends. Click To Tweet

You guys know that Multiple Club has become a powerful part of my professional and personal life. I met Nick at Multiple Club because we’re both scaling our businesses. We’re all practicing at becoming better CEOs and human beings so we can flip this script. I’ll let Nick get to that part of the story in a moment. The whole idea, when he and I met, I’ve known about probably 60% of what Nick had shared with me originally, but the other 40% scared me even. I hadn’t been able to sit down with somebody who was playing the game at the BIPs level where you’re picking up as much debt for as little as possible, then you’re beating the shit out of the people who answer the phone in order to pick up that $25, $200, $500, and do that several hundred times a day. Talk to us about what was it that moved you? Where did it start percolating?

The Nick I know is madly integrous, madly a family man, madly about being a giver. A little bit that Nick won’t tell you is that at the Multiple Club, you spend so much time supporting other of us members. In fact, I have a new workout routine, and new hardware and software that Nick recommended to me. You are available to me to help me in every way so that I can up my game as a man and as an entrepreneur. The gifts you’ve been giving and the service that you render, even at our quarterly meetings, all the things that we’re doing, mad props to you. I know your heart. I know where you’re coming from. Some of the shit we’ve done together at Multiple Club is climbing down into the depths of our soul and doing some serious scraping. We’re moving all of the old, ugly, not enoughness out of us. We can only build a $50 million company if we believe we’re worth $50 million. That’s the bottom line. Thank you for everything that you’ve done. You’re making millions and selling your ideas. You’re at the top of that game. All of a sudden, you’re here. Walk us through that process.

When I said I left the industry for two years, it was 100% a moral decision. I woke up and I had this moral epiphany that a sentence that stuck with me. I’ll put this out there for everybody. I have three kids and I wanted to adopt. Technically, we’ll call it four kids. Someone approached me one time, and I was going through some things. They said, “At any moment, you need to ask yourself these questions if you’re ever doubting what you’re doing, whether it’s a transaction or any moment in life where you’re having some doubt. Remember this.” I have two daughters and two sons, by the way. “Your son will become you, and your daughter will marry you.” That hit me pretty hard. It goes further to say like, “Are you the man that you want your son to become? Are you the man that you want your daughter to ultimately marry?”

That was rough. At the time, I was cheating on my wife. I’ve never been like a drug or alcohol guy. I didn’t have that level of sedation, but I found my sedation in women. I was making money. I kept telling myself the story because what I was doing, the franchise model allowed me to stay in the game. The franchise model allowed me to continue to sell. If you see my model, if anyone wants to see the pitch, it’s gorgeous. It’s very much built on empathy. It’s extremely clean. The checks that these guys were cutting me every month once they purchased my model, I would be ignorant to think that they weren’t living in the grey and eventually, the black beyond the dark side with the money that they were producing and how quickly they were producing it.

It was one of these things where I knew what was going on. My particular office was squeaky clean, but we never sold anywhere near the numbers that were coming in from my franchises. I kept telling myself like, “I’m operating above board. All I can do is tell these guys what to do. I can’t control everybody like, “Give me that money.” I stepped away for two years and then I came back. I focused on trying to be an industry disruptor. The whole name of my game was like, “How on earth?” This is something that I wish they would take seriously, and let me know where the industry as a whole when no one will hear my voice.

There’s an annual meeting every year hosted by the DBA. It’s the Debt Buyers Association. It’s in Vegas. It’s called DBA International Big Convention. I went three years in a row. I tried to get rooms. I tried to stand on my soapbox and scream. If they would come up with a database, like some system whereby every time a pile of debt, or whatever you want to call it, or a portfolio is sold down the line, it gets a serial number. It gets serialized and it goes into this database. It’s buyer beware. If you’re still willing to go out there and purchase portfolios, and it doesn’t come through this legitimate database for only one person can truly own it, and you can trace the chain of title legitimately, then you’re already up to no good. Merrill and I spoke about this. We’re still trying to figure something out. I own a domain called ZombieDebt.net. We’re trying to create a database whereby as a consumer, if you don’t see it on your credit report and in this database, it doesn’t exist.

ZombieDebt.net is all Nick’s brainstorm. Imagine us, his energy and my energy, we are ricocheting off each other about how to register legal and lawful debt, and have a single source. First come, first served, whoever is associated with that serial number can be transferred to another collector. The way the law is designed is that only one person has access to the collection rights at a time. For our purposes, when we’re doing pay to delete, we know where we can go to find the true and lawful owner of the debt, and navigate and negotiate in order to create that. This is not dead, Nick.

It’s one of those things where I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs for three years. I know Merrill’s experiences because he’s the same as me. The more I pull back the curtain, and I call it pulling cards, I’m pulling all the big boys’ cards. I know who’s up to no good. I’ve been navigating this industry for ten-plus years as an attorney. One of my biggest things as a debt buyer was imagine 23 people pooling their money together to buy debt and all going through me. I became a pretty big player in terms of showing up to the brokers with a very big wire transfer monthly. I’ve been to the mountaintop, not as high as Merrill in his industry, but very close. They won’t let me all the way in. I’ve got tattoos. Even I’m an attorney, I’m still maybe not presentable enough.

Long story short, it hurts to see that. I knew that this industry has no desire to change because it’s that lucrative. It’s that high of a number, 90% of people in this industry are absolute criminals. It’s because it’s not regulated. The FDCPA is so archaic and no one’s going to do anything about it. This is why they do what they do. I can call you and I can violate six different things legally. I’m going to pay a $1,000 fine, if you choose to even go to an attorney. The problem with you going to an attorney is they know the FDCPA doesn’t pay out statutory. It doesn’t pay out enough. They’re $5,000 retainers alone. It allows all the cowboys to come in and be cowboys because the regulation scheme in this industry is pretty much non-existent. It’s frightening.

There is room for us in our capes. That’s all I know. There is room for us to make some changes. You guys know I’m Mr. Zealot anyway. Nick has been working on the same course correction for the debt buying industry as I’ve been for credit repair. The nonsense that’s out there versus the truth. A kinder and simpler system that would give everybody accountability and still be profitable. The amount it’s going to cost if the single database with serialized debt we’re in place, it’s not like you’re going to make less money. You can only sell your debt portfolio to one group, instead of in your example, 4 or 5. For the one who owns it, there’s still a profitable place. I’m not against profit motive, but I want there to be an accountability in this industry. It was an amazing synergy in our first discussion and every discussion since. You’re sitting there. You go back after your two-year moral dilemma.

I came back and I’ll give you my model. My model, as it stood several months ago was you can’t collect more than $5 a day from Ms. Jones. We all subscribed to if you guys are good fellows, the fans know this line, it’s called “Fuck you, pay me.” That’s what most of these guys adhere to. That’s their model. I heard everything from guys running police scanners behind them so you think they’re involved with the cops. I’ve heard people threatened to gut your cat and leave it on your front door. It’s all scare tactics. It’s all, “Fuck you, pay me.” My entire model for the last couple of years was predicated on one word, and that was empathy. A couple of things is we wouldn’t hire you unless you were in debt. You had to be experiencing the pain of getting these calls from collectors so that you wouldn’t take it out on Ms. Jones. You couldn’t collect more than $5 a day. We send out wet thank you cards. We tried everything. If you paid your bill, we would give you a huge pat on the back and sign a wet thank you card.

What he means by a wet thank you card is wet ink. It’s legitimate, not printed, but a blue, wet ink signature saying, “Good job. Keep going.”

In any industry, because everything’s so easy nowadays, the Vistaprint and robocalls, you can automate everything in the world to enhance your productivity, but you cannot automate intimacy. It can’t be done. An average collector maybe closes three deals a day. It’s not hard to pencil three thank you cards. Not only do they have the wet-signature, but they had to mention something unique about the phone call. We did everything we could. We would show people how to make the $5 a day. We would tell them, “$5 a day is a Starbucks habit. It’s a nicotine habit. It’s a Carl’s Jr. or a Hardee’s run you don’t need to make.” We would show them the $5 a day. We would let them choose their payment plan. We’d let them skip the payment plan around Christmas. If they called us and they had four flat tires, they got to miss a month. We tried so hard to be that person. We were much less profitable, but I had a very happy crew. I only had women working for me. They absolutely love what they did. It wasn’t making a dent.

In the $14 billion debt buying and annual debt buying. Remember, it is a pain in the ass to collect. That’s why there are a number of finance companies, especially our tier-four, 40%. Your mall store cards. Your Sigel cards, what we call them. All those credit instruments are cast off. They already counted on a certain number of them being written off. What would you say for the first owner of the buyer of the debt, what do they buy in at? 5%, 10%, 30%? What’s the first buyer down the chain of title?

10% to 12%.

As you said, the Best Buy card was $2,000. They’re picking that up for $150 to $200.

When you start calling and negotiating, if it’s at least two people down the chain of title, you need to be talking about 3% or 4%. That’s a realistic look. I have a direct line right now with Kay Jewelers. I buy direct from Kay Jewelers. I’m first in line. I pay $0.04 on the dollar. It depends on your relationship. If you didn’t marry the girl and get the ring back and you hold the money, whatever the reason is, I bought your $10,000 ring that you bought for next to nothing. Remember that when you’re calling these guys, knowledge is power.

At the end of the day, 90% of them are violating the FDCPA religiously. They are not worried about the $1,000 fine. What you can do is you can call out all their violations. The first step they all do, because they paid nothing for your account, is they offer you a release of liability to avoid litigation. If you threaten the right things and I can show you exactly how to craft that, we can get into that. I’ll provide you that tool. You don’t even have to pay half of these. You don’t have to even settle and negotiate dollars. You can shake them down and say, “You guys did it to me. I’m going to do it to you. I’m going to get an attorney. I’m going to get you for $3,000 or $4,000 and make it a headache, or send me a release of liability. All you want is the ROL.” That’s the tool.

What would be the language if somebody wanted to retire the debt? Whatever cents on the dollar, what we call the pay to delete. What is the motivation behind them saying yes to pay to delete phone calls for these collectors?

You’re asking me, what would you have to say to get them to drop your account?

Not drop the account. Let’s say they are willing to pay it. We’ll get in to drop the account in the ROA. What if they are willing to pay like, “I want to pay $200?” How do we get them to delete? What’s important to us and our clients is if they remove it from the report if it’s on the report. How do we get a pay to delete to be good in that conversation? Any tips about what would help motivate them to remove the item from the credit report?

I always like to fish and see if they’re in bed with the FCRA. A lot of these guys, depending on where they lie in the chain of title, don’t like to play with the credit reports. For example, if it’s still showing as Best Buy on there, and you’re getting called from somebody who’s not Best Buy, 90% of the time, these guys don’t even touch a credit. If they tell you they’re going to remove it from the credit, they are not because they don’t have access to it. It’s a completely different ball game. It’s called Metro 2 formatting. I can tell you why most of them don’t play with credit reports anymore. It’s a cost-benefit thing. Ever since all these apps and everything came out, that allowed you to hit dispute on eight different things.

I did this. I had a full-blown. We were only buying debt that was 4 to 5 years old because we wanted it to be on credit reports. It spokes for validity. I can’t remember what year this was. Anyway, we started getting disputes a thousand at a time because all these apps started coming out, TransUnion, Equifax, Experian, and now all these third-party guys. I had to hire a set of girls. I throw them in the dungeon and say, “Respond to all of these.” You know the game. If you press dispute and the ball gets hit at my side of the court, if I don’t hit back within a certain time frame, I can no longer argue that. I can give you a buzzword. I would say like, “Do you guys have access to Metro 2 formatting?” When you say things like that, it freaks them out. “Do you guys have access to Metro 2 formatting? Can I get some notice?”

That’s access to Metro 2 formatting?

That’s the only format that is acceptable. If I own 8,000 accounts and they’re in an Excel file, in order for me to report them on credit and then alter them on credit, I have to convert them to this certain format that’s extremely specific and proprietary to credit reporting. It’s called Metro 2. That buzzword alone, if they don’t know what you mean, they don’t report. You might have a lower-level employee that doesn’t have a clue to what you’re saying. It frightens them.

If they’re going to report, it’s going to be in that formatting. You’re already peeking further than they want you to behind the curtain.

That’s all that freaks them out. We still need to pay our bills. If it’s legitimately your debt, knock it out, but knock it out for as low as possible that makes sense for you. You can ask them, “Are you guys contingency? Are you debt buyers?” Ask them that in a heartbeat. If they’re contingency, then they usually have to adhere to the exact principles of the original creditor. If they’re contingency for Best Buy, they have to fall in line with whatever Best Buys M&P’s are for collecting. If they’re a debt buyer, you opened the gate up to the fact that they probably paid less $0.10 on the dollar if they’re further down the chain. “You’re a debt buyer. Excellent. How far down the chain are you? Who did you purchase it from? It’s still reflecting as Best Buy on my account, but you’re calling me as M&A and Associates. I don’t see you on my credit report. Is there a reason for that?” “We don’t.” “If you don’t report on credit, then how can I guarantee if I pay this off, you’re going to report it positively or remove it from my credit report?”

Guys, do you see why Nick is on this call with us? He is filling in blanks even in my experience. I want to make sure that our advisors are trained accordingly because this is brilliant. This episode is going to be a mandatory reading for even our team members. What are you doing now and how did you get here?

I went on this personal development journey a few years ago. I hit rock bottom as far as our relationship. I had built and burned a few businesses. I thought I had the Midas touch. I went out there and I thought I was Entrepreneur of the Year. It comes down to this concept of if things aren’t good on all fronts, with your family, your personal fitness, your being, whatever relationship with the higher power you do or don’t believe in, everyone has some form of spirituality. When all of those things are off course, as Merrill said, my bank account was awesome. I thought I had it all figured out. It’s a very common story like, “Once I make the money, everything will be good. Once I make $1 million, my wife will think I’m awesome. Once I get the big house with the fence, my kids will think like, ‘Daddy made it.'” Affirmations. I was buying cars, ladies and gentlemen. I don’t think I bought a car under $200,000 and I don’t know how long. I got off more on something like a 17-year-old kid pulled out to me at a light going like, “Fuck, bro. Nice car.” That was more important to me than the way my wife or kids saw me. I was financially on top of the world, but I was morally bankrupt.

AYF/GF 121 | Collection Agencies

Collection Agencies: Working the chain is what people are encouraged to do; always start with the original creditor.


I went on this personal development journey. I met a gentleman named Nick Long. I’ve never turned back. We joke about this all the time when people ask what I do. I tell people I’m a professional cliff diver now. I’ve never subscribed to any one thing or one person so much of my life. I’ve always been a bit of an alpha. I usually call the shots. Especially when you’re running 27 franchises, everyone’s coming to me for everything. I felt like I would never buy into another human being’s philosophy, etc. This guy spoke straight through my soul. He had me crying over appetizers at Applebee’s in less than five minutes of meeting me. I’m a bigger dude with tattoos and stuff. People were like, “This guy is either going to flip the table over and smack somebody, or he’s just a big sissy.” It turns out I’m a big sissy, which is cool.

Anyway, when I say I’m a professional cliff diver now, I believe in this guy so much that he says, “Nick, here’s the new objective. Here’s what I know you were born to do. You were born to do X. In order to get there, you need to shed all the bullshit, the bullshit stories, the bullshit money you’re making, the bullshit industries that you’re in.” I’ve stopped being an attorney. I walked away from debt collections. For two big reasons, lack of integrity mainly, and no real passion or purpose with either of those. I don’t care how much money you have. You can’t keep waking up every day going after money, and sacrificing everything else in life.

Since then, the theme of my life has been impacted over income. It’s been about trying to establish business and business principles that are more about transformation than transactions. I’ve been trying to add value to everybody on planet earth. I took a huge dip in finances for a while, but now it’s been on the upward trajectory. I’ve never made more money. I’ve never been happier in my life. I don’t even get it. I don’t understand what’s going on.

I can go to sleep at night. I don’t hate myself in the process. I loved who I met when I met you at this stage in your life.

Merrill was there for you, guys. I flipped over the razor with Merrill. It’s a cool story we’ll always have. Here’s the funniest thing about this whole thing though. It’s me, Merrill, and these two other guys. Were like, “The net worth of this vehicle is ridiculous.” No one seemed to care about that. No one would let me take my foot off the gas. Merrill’s back riding me. He’s hitting my helmet and slapping me like, “Go faster. Don’t you fucking stop.” This guy is nuts. I’m going to blame Merrill for the accident. I was going to break, and then Merrill punched me in the back of the head and said, “If you break up, we’re done.”

Loyalty over safety every time.

I only go hard. I run into walls, and then I find a new wall and I force break. I’m a big fan of decision velocity. I’m going to keep making these decisions and go ape shit. It’s either going to work or not. I’ll make a decision.

We’re sitting here looking at you with the program. Many people are going to listen to the audio. For those who are watching on YouTube or in our video podcast, how are you transforming the world now? It’s an easy call. My team is excited and bored of listening to me of how I’m transforming the world. What is it that you bring? What is it that this metamorphosis, this caterpillar to the butterfly that’s happening for you? What are you bringing to the world? How are you going to the impact over income?

Over the years of my journey, I received a lot of gifts, tools, and things I wish I had a while back. You don’t decide when you get them. You need to make sure you’re ready when they show up. I felt like and I still feel like these aren’t my gifts to hold onto. They’re my gifts to give. The program is designed for elite entrepreneurs, high-level executives. It’s mainly men right now. What we do is we’re focusing on your self-worth and its ultimate connection to your net worth. I know everyone’s chasing money, and everyone wants a higher dollar amount, etc. I encourage my guys to drop that, so impact over income. The minute I stopped waking up and chasing money, and I started waking up and helping human beings, my whole world completely shifted.

There was a dip. Was there a dip in money? Yes. You can’t wake up and be Mother Teresa, and then everything is fine. You still got to keep the lights on and the food on the table. It’s this concept that your net worth is a direct reflection of your self-worth. In order to increase your self-worth, you have to be willing to do the self-work. I’ve been putting this work for years, going deep on myself, a lot of tears. It’s a lot of unpacking to figure out who I am. I took myself down to a seven-year-old boy and rebuilt that person.

Right now, it’s a 90-day program. It’s a one-on-one coaching program. It’s built around the four pillars, family, fitness, focus, and finance. We make sure you’re good with your wife and kids. I got three guys now that are doing well. They’re sleeping on couches and not even at home. Your fitness and body, I’m a huge believer in that. I used to do personal training for years. I still train a lot of people. You have one vessel. When you figure out how to take care of your body and start showing up, it changes everything. You show up to one of these podcasts in a better shape, or you show up in a boardroom to execute that million-dollar transaction. When you feel good about yourself, a lot changes.

At the end of the day, you have an obligation. If you have a wife or kids, they deserve the best version of you. They deserve you to add years to your life, not be taken away by drugs and alcohol, and gaining weight. You need to add years to be around for those grandbabies. Family, fitness, focus. I’m big on meditation and journaling. If you would have told me two years ago that you’re going to meditate and journal every day for the rest of your life because that’s what I’m doing right now, I came to say the words and I would have called you. I’m just not that guy.

I have to throw in a witness here. This morning, I’ve been working with a Whoop. It’s a band like Fitbit or otherwise. Here’s the awesome bad juju. We’re part of the Multiple Club. The members of the Multiple Club have the Whoop, so we’re all accountable to each other for our workouts. There’s a thing that’s called the strain factor, which is how much of you have you spent in physical fitness, in meditation, in these areas. There’s a strain factor. I’m a little slow adopter. I get in and on my first day, I was looking at my phone and watching the strain meter.

I do 200 reps of a variety of things, pushups, sit-ups, burpees, but 200 reps. My strain only went until it was 5.9. I was like, “Hell no, I am not leaving this thing at 5.9. I’ve got to break 6.0.” I’m doing high knee runs. I’m sprinting in place in high knee. This damn machine is driving me to whole new levels of performance. When it calculates, I end up as number 5 out of 20 of us or whatever. To beat the band, it says why you’re standing is what it is. It reveals what the High-Impact Intensity Training, HIIT training. I take an ice shower. In my last two minutes of the day. It’s listing out all of my activities that I go through here. It is so revealing and vulnerable.

Here’s what’s messed up. If I don’t do it tomorrow, then imagine a bunch of alphas all at each other in a wolf pack, and everybody’s like, “Chandler, where the hell have you been? What is this, 2.0? Are you falling from grace?” It is so much fun. I have to be accountable to a bunch of younger, better-looking, and many times, more profitable giants in the industry. I’m like, “I’m not going to let them beat me.” It has been so fun, and I’m losing weight. I’m gaining more mass. Thank you, Nick for hooking this. You’re the one who drives the entire Multiple Club fitness. Everybody’s supposed to do their core four. You’re the driver of everything that we’re doing to push our limits. I want to say, thank you.

Thank you. I appreciate that.

We didn’t get to the program.

Family, fitness, focus, and finance. It’s an acronym if you look at the acronym, SELF. It’s about doing the self-work. We yell a lot with these two things called S2F4. There is SELF, so Subscribing to Elite Levels of Family, Fitness, Focus and Finance. I’m in the elite. We have high levels of accountability. We had our call. One of these gentlemen begged to be held to a higher standard in the mornings because he wasn’t getting up for his morning workouts. He didn’t get up. We made him do 25 burpees at Starbucks and record himself and send it in. Those are some of the little things. If he didn’t have it in by 3:00 and he barely made it, I was going to make the entire group do and record it and embarrass themselves.

We shame ourselves to excellence.

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The first S is Subscribe. You have to go all in on yourself. They say these words like, “I subscribed to elite levels of family, fitness, focus, and finance.” Once they get through the 90-day program and we’ve transformed and reprogrammed them, we teach them how to sustain it. In my experience, I’m a business entrepreneur for fourteen years now, a lot of people can get to the mountaintop, but very few can stay there. It has to become ingrained in you in your lifestyle. The second S is Sustaining this elite level of family, fitness, focus and finance. It’s a 90-day program. It’s extremely intense. It gets phenomenal results as long as you’re willing to do the work. I can guarantee the investment you make financially. Our goal is to sell at least 5 exits within 90 days. We’ve never failed, unless the person decides not to do the work. It’s unlike anything out there in the marketplace.

You are charismatic and powerful. You know how to drive, motivate and inspire. If it comes to it, shame the shit out of us to get the results. Sometimes we need a coach. You guys, my clients out there, students out there, you know that we have a high level of accountability for your funding results. We do very similar things. We’re focused on the financial end. Me, as a man, as a human being, I’m focused on these four. I am doing everything in my power to make me worth more as a human being in what I give, what I contribute, and how I show up. As a result, there are market improvements. The energy in our team is increasing. Our influence in the world, the opportunities that come to me that I have no power over, the phone calls up and said, “So and so is talking about you. We magnetize our results.” All I know is I’m making this soul right here a bright, shiny, radiant magnet. Everything that I want for my life is coming at me at warp speed. Nick, you’ve contributed so much to that.

I’m going to jump in really quick and let your audience know if they don’t know already. There are 26 of us, plus some coaches that kick our ass. They call Merrill two things. No, they call him one thing, which is the Unicorn. Merrill was hands-down the favorite in the group from a charisma and personality standpoint. This is the other thing they always say about Merrill. It’s just two words. I’m glad I’m allowed to cuss so I could tell you this. This is the common theme in the group, “Fuckin’ Merrill.” Merrill always has some story that blows your effing mind. He’s extremely vulnerable and willing to share everything with us, which for those of you who have not understood this concept yet, it’s one of the most powerful things a human being can do. A lot of guys, especially males, we fear vulnerability. My nickname in the group is Mr. COD, which is Mr. Cry On Demand. I’m 250 pounds of tattoos and muscles. I promise you, I’m one of the biggest sissies you’ve ever met. For years, you would hide those things. To be around people like Merrill, it gives you permission to speak your truth. That’s one of those powerful things that you bring to the group.

I celebrate everything about the human condition. You cannot do something wrong. The funny thing is I’m the head of the pack when it comes to this. Everybody will tell the story eventually, given enough time. Everybody will laugh at their failure, shame, craziness or whatever human experience. The only difference between me and anybody else is it’s never too soon. It can happen today or this afternoon.

I just met this guy and I know everything about him. It’s weird.

As you guys know, I’m devoted to making sure that we bear no shame for the decisions that we make, and the life that we have lived. It’s what brought us here. I would not trade it for anything. You guys know my past. I don’t care that those things happened because I love my life now. I magnetize Nick Alfano and the Multiple Club crew who say “Fuckin’” to my face.

You have to shake your head, “It’s just fuckin’ Merrill.” That’s the go-to.

We’re all in it together. You guys inspire me. Thank you, Nick, for being with me and sharing this time. It is so powerful what we’re able to create as a team. Nick Long always says, “If you’ve got to go fast, go alone. If you’re going to go far, go together.” That’s what we’re doing. We’re going all the way. We’re all the way in as a group. If you guys have comments, put them in the show. Let us know. We’d love to respond to anything. We’ll get you the things that we talked about here, just simple questions.

Whatever tools you need, I’ll give them to you. Whatever it takes to get everyone more educated on how to deal with these guys that are treating you wrong. There are a lot of them out there.

Thank you so much. Guys, I love you. I love my life and this man. Nick, thank you so much for joining me.

Thank you.

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About Nick Alfano

AYF/GF 121 | Collection AgenciesNick is a Serial Entrepreneur, Former Attorney, and Former Owner of 23 Debt Collection Offices.
He’s also a proud husband and father of 4.
Nick is currently a High Performance Coach for High-Level Entrepreneurs and Elite Executives, as Founder of THE PROGRAM — Where men come to discover a version OF themselves they never thought possible.
“Your NET WORTH is a direct reflection of your SELF WORTH.
To increase your SELF WORTH you have to be willing to do the SELF WORK.”


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