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Secret Sauce for Success

Secret Sauce for Success

By Rick Staael

Secret Sauce for Success Podcast is focused on interviewing successful people of all walks of life but focused on Real Estate and finding out what is it that made them successful. i.e. Trying to find that secret sauce.
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#21 SSfS with Real Home Solutions

Secret Sauce for SuccessFeb 19, 2022

#24 SSfS Episode with John Stege the Compassionate Lawyer

#24 SSfS Episode with John Stege the Compassionate Lawyer

John Stege is the compassionate lawyer. 

Everyone in real estate knows how to make money, John will help you keep it. 

John believes in Negotiate, not Litigate. 

Check out his website for all sorts of information.

John can be reached at 720-431-1964

Johns Secrets to his Success is leaning into his strengths and not trying to fit into a typical litigation lawyer mold. 

His biggest secret sauce is that he genuinely wants to help you be a happy satisfied customer. 

Give John a call. 

Sep 27, 202201:04:33
#23 SSfS Episode with Tom Kelsey Part 2

#23 SSfS Episode with Tom Kelsey Part 2

Tom likes the books Profit First and True North

He believes saying the expectations Out Loud to your tenants helps communicate the expectation better than just having it in the lease. 

Tom Kelsey's Secrets Sauce for Success are: 

1. Being interested in others and be willing to ask questions. 

2. Be willing to do it differently.  The crowd is average, so if you want to be something other than average,

You have to play the game differently. 

You can reach Tom for you Home Inspection needs at 720-295-2065

or email Tom at

Also you can get Rick Staael's book "Secret Sauce for Success" at Amazon.  

Jul 10, 202249:02
#22 SSfS with Tom Kelsey

#22 SSfS with Tom Kelsey

Call Tom Kelsey at 720-295-2065 for your next home inspection

You can find out more about Tom at

OR email Tom at

Jun 28, 202255:48
#21 SSfS with Real Home Solutions

#21 SSfS with Real Home Solutions

It was a great interview with James Brown and Toby Hanson with Real Home Solutions and Hybrid Real Estate Investing. 

My favorite quote was: "You will do more for others than you would do for yourself."  That really rang true for me. 

Their favorite books are:

Long Distance Real Estate Investing by David Greene

8th Habit by Stephen Covey

Secrets to their Success

Found a partner to team up with. 


Time Management.  Uses Trello, Everest and color coded Google Calendar. 


Self motivated

Coaching and Mentorship

They utilize Homeboss as a way to maximize sales listings for clients. 

Check it out at

They also offer Home Selling Classes

Toby and James are on the move.  Listen to what they have going on

Feb 19, 202244:35
#20 SSfS Episode with Levi Keene

#20 SSfS Episode with Levi Keene

Levi Keene is a man on the move and is raising money for syndicating real estate deals. 

His Secret Sauce for Success is that he likes to analyze the situation before jumping to pick the most efficient plan. 

Some of his favorite books are: 

Richard Kiyosaki - The Cash Flow quadrant and Rich Dad Poor Dad

Thomas Wheelwright - Tax-Free Wealth: How to Build Massive Wealth by Permanently Lowering Your Taxes

Brandon Turner with Bigger Pockets: BRRRR

He likes to read anything by John Bogle and the Bogleheads. 

Podcasts: Levi likes are New Polity 

Levi can be reached at

Feb 10, 202201:02:08
SSfS Episode #19 with Jeff Davenport

SSfS Episode #19 with Jeff Davenport

Jeff got his start as a sports newscaster and through the years he has honed his speaking skills to become a speaker/coach. 

To improve on your speaking skills, here are some tips. 

1. Perform a self assessment. 

2. Practice, practice, practice..  It always helps to have a coach to ensure your not engraining bad habits. 

3. Move your hands. 

4. Know that you can improve

5. Communicate trust by connecting. 

6. Mind your ummmm's and Ahhhh..  Replace them with a pause. 

7. Clearly state what value you are bringing to the audience. 

8. Differentiate yourself. 

9. Its OK to use some levity, but you better deliver the goods. 

10. Communicate clear and concisely. 

Books Jeff likes: 

Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath

Mindset by Carol Dweck

Authors such as Malcom Gladwell

You can find Jeff at his website:

or email him at

Sep 06, 202101:01:25
SSfS Episode #18 with Ryan Hill

SSfS Episode #18 with Ryan Hill

Ryan is a young man on the move. 

He has a finance degree and worked at Charles Schwab for a few years. 

He joined a start up and tried to get a business off the ground for 1 1/2 years. 

Ryan works currently works in the coaching industry as a closer.  

Ryan got his start into Real Estate when a friend "spilled the beans" on how he was buying real estate. 

Ryan and his brother flew to Huntsville Alabama and met with agents and contractors, trying to find a deal. 

When he returned home, a contractor told him about some houses, and Ryan and his Brother jumped right in. 

They sold/currently selling those houses and using some of those proceeds to learn how to find off market deals here in Denver. 

Ryan is doing all the right stuff. 

He hosts a mastermind on called Active Entrepreneur meet up group.  

He attends local real estate meetups. 

He is an avid reader..  He has read Atomic Habits, Never Split the Difference, How to Win friends and influence people & High performance habits 

His Secrets to his Success are: 

1. Listen to people you trust and take action. 

2. Make yourself available and let things organically come to you. 

Ryan can be reached at 603-998-3534

Aug 31, 202139:33
SSfS Episode #17 with Dave Grimm

SSfS Episode #17 with Dave Grimm

Dave Grimm has done it all.  

He started in the mortgage business and insurance. 

He found out he was good at raising money for real estate syndication using LinkedIn. 

He fine tuned the LinkedIn formula and built a lead generating business out of that called End 2 End Results. 

Dave also leads a Multi-Family Syndication Mastermind.  

Dave can be found at or at his website

Dave's Secrets to his success are: 

1. Relationships. 

2. Add Value. Give to get. 

3. Listening to what your customers want. 

4. Life Long learner.

Aug 07, 202140:15
SSfS Episode #16 with Jock Barker

SSfS Episode #16 with Jock Barker

Jock Barker is full of advice from someone who has been there, done that. 

He is a retired Real Estate Broker and Investor. 

He has 25 fully paid off rentals and has the financial freedom that we all are striving to achieve. 

Jock achieved success by a lot of hard work and finding the next challenging thing. 

His Secrets to his Success are:

Have a Mentor, copy your mentor.

Use your extra money to pay down your rentals

Use your boredom to fo find something in your related field that you don't know, to master, to keep you interested. 

Everyone knows what they are supposed to do, Just do it!

Never invest in something you don't know and that you don't have control over. 

Be a life long learner. 

Everything is Negotiable. 

Nobody ever got rich off your income.  It is what you do with it!

Jock has some general advice:

He listened to "Strangest Secret" by Earl Nightingale.  You can find it on Youtube. This changed his life. 

Once you accomplished something, you can no longer go back and do it again

People will do what they have always done even though they want something else.  As a salesman he knew that and would show them all the options, but knew how it would play out and helped them buy what they were comfortable with. 

Everyone is in Sales, one way or another. 

You get paid to help people where they want to go. 

Doug even had a good quote in this Episode:

"Usually there is a good reason for a good price."

Jul 22, 202157:36
SSfS Episode #15 with Kimberly Wise

SSfS Episode #15 with Kimberly Wise

Kim Wise – HomeSmart Real Estate Agent/Investor

Kim got her start into real estate in 2007/2008.

She learned the ropes at Keller Williams

She learned about the investing side with an investor partner doing Fix and Flips.

Kim has a number of rental properties that she manages.

Secret Sauce



Seeking a Win Win

She believes in developing relationships and

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Favorite Books:

Gary Keller KW Books – Flip, Buy and Hold, Millionaire Real Estate Agent

Atomic Habits

Contact info:

Cell: 303-718-7128



May 14, 202148:51
SSfS Episode #14 with Vern Harris

SSfS Episode #14 with Vern Harris

Vern Harris is an expert in assisted living homes. 

He got his early start in the sign business and decided to branch out to real estate. 

He found his calling and niche in assisted living homes as a creative deal maker. 

Vern shares a lot of wisdom with us in this episode.  I know I will need to go back and listen to it a few times. 

I was surprised by the smaller group home advantages over the big box stores.  

Vern's Secret(s) Sauce to Success is: 



His eternal optimism



Vern's Favorite books are: 

7 secrets of highly successful people. 

Think and grow rich. 

You can find Vern in a bunch of places on-line

email -

Cell - 303-888-0788

Facebook - Search for Vern Harris

Apr 02, 202101:03:47
SSfS Episode #12+1 with Jim Flint

SSfS Episode #12+1 with Jim Flint

Jim is a native of Denver and graduated from DU with a Business Degree with a specialization in Real Estate and Construction. Jim has over 35 years of experience helping clients to invest in real estate. Over the years, Jim has formed 18 Partnerships and bought commercial properties in Colorado, Florida, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Alabama. Over 300 Investors have purchased an interest in these properties valued at $20,000,000. Currently Jim is the managing Member of four LLC's that own self-storage properties in Alabama and Florida. Jim is the Managing Broker of A Better Way Realty and has ten agents in the metro area, from Longmont to Castle Rock. Jim has done 1031 Exchanges on small properties and traded a mobile home park for a self-storage property.

Jim's Favorite book is Commercial Real Estate Analysis and Investment. It's an Oldie but a goodie. 

Jim's secret sauce is Plan the work, work the plan, check the plan.  

You can email Jim at

or contact him or his team at their website

Mar 26, 202101:07:19
SSfS Episode #12 with Susan Williams

SSfS Episode #12 with Susan Williams

This weeks special guest Susan Williams.  Susan is a wife, mother of 3 kids, works as an engineer and her and her husband 

have traded up on an AirB&B property.  

She is an Olympic Bronze Medal Winner in Triathlon in 2004. 

She is also an athletic coach.  

Secrets to Her Success

Have an accountability partner

Ask for help

Exercise to manage stress - Start by getting out of the door

Just get started

Hard work - Give it your best

Don’t be afraid to fail

Doing the very best you have with what you have every day

Give it your best

Recommended Books

Swimming to Antartica

Mar 19, 202151:41
SSfS Episode #11 with Rick and Doug recapping the first 10 episodes

SSfS Episode #11 with Rick and Doug recapping the first 10 episodes

Take a walk down memory lane with Rick and Doug as we recap the first 10 Secret Sauce for Success Episodes. 

There was a lot of ground covered by the first ten guests.  Whew!

We are surrounded by a crowd of successful people.  

Secret to these guests success: 

Have a plan, do your plan and evaluate your progress with an accountability partner.

Prioritize your tasks.

Live below your means & save money so you have cash on hand to be ready for an opportunity.

Reward yourself.

Have a good team including a CPA

At least,  take the minimum 401K company match.

Get started and then tweak the vision to where you want it to be.

Get multiple bids =  best price/quality on your project.

Use digital marketing for lead generation, networking, communication and negotiation.

Be Life Long Learner, books and life, and apply it.

Having a genuine desire to help people succeed.

Operate out of an abundance mindset.

Buy the first rental property.

Dont give up! Be Persistent.  Be Tenacious.  Be Patient. Stay the course. 

Invest in yourself through Education.    Learn a rare and valuable skill.

Trust that God has good things in store for you.

Be optimistic

Give yourself permission to fail

Trust your gut.

Don’t be threatened by the success of others.

Be the first to say your sorry

Don’t hold grudges

Never gamble more than you can lose.

Keep your pride in check.  Be humble.

Favorite Books: 

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Millionaire real estate investor and HOLD by Gary Keller

How to win friends friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie

The 5 love languages - Applies to communication

The 10x rule by Grant Cardone

Crushing it with Gary Vaynerchuk.

The richest man in bablyon - easy read about investing.

The millionaire next door by Thomas J Stanley & William D Danko

The magic of thinking big - David Schwartz

George Kilder - Wealth and Poverty. Warning: Not an easy read

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss.

Simon Sinek - Start with Why, Find your Why, Know your Why, among others.

The 12 Week Year. Patrick Lencioni - Lots of books to choose from.

The Energy Bus & Building wealth 1 house at a time by John Shaub.

Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life by Donald Trump.

Thanks for listening.. What is your plan to keep improving?

Rick & Doug

Mar 12, 202155:27
SSfS Episode #10 with Heather Sewczak
Mar 05, 202140:41
SSfS Episode #9 with Chris

SSfS Episode #9 with Chris

Chris is Elissa's Brother.  Elissa was our guest on Episode #2.  Success runs deep in this family.  

Chris tells about his dentistry business and then his adventures in real estate investing.  Great show. 

I like his Honda Accord analogy about buying a simple but working investment. 

Chris's favorite podcasts are: Bigger Pockets, Rational Reminder by Ben Philip, and Backpacker Radio

Chris's favorite books are: The Energy Bus and Building wealth 1 house at a time by John Shaub. 

Chris's secrets to his success are: Learn enough to jump in and implement what you learned, and Optimism.  

What a great show!  

Feb 26, 202148:33
SSfS Episode #8 with Nicole Rueth

SSfS Episode #8 with Nicole Rueth

Nicole Rueth is a branch manager of Fairway Lending. She is also a speaker, podcast host and an investor with 24 doors. Her investment style is long term buy and hold, Class C units mostly in Aurora Co. She can be found at: Sign up for her monthly Webinar. 

Some of her favorite business books are: Simon Sinek - Start with Why, Find your Why, Know your Why, among others.  The 12 Week Year. Patrick Lencioni - Lots of books to choose from. 

Nicole's Secrets: Trust your gut. She is not threatened by the success of others. Be the first to say your sorry Don’t hold grudges Learn from your experiences

Feb 19, 202150:44
SSfS Episode #7 with Rick Staael Part 2

SSfS Episode #7 with Rick Staael Part 2

Doug continues the interview with Rick Staael.  This episode we talk about the real estate side of Rick and how the successes in one part of his life spilled over into the real estate side. 

I bought my first real estate purchase as a primary residence. It is a townhome we still own. 

After raising a family, we bought a foreclosed home in a neighboring town.  We spent 3 years fixing it up, only to then move again. 

The townhome rental did so well, that we kept this 2nd house as well. 

We had some inheritance money at the time so we purchased our 3rd home as a primary residence in south Denver. 

We took the left over money and bought a small house in 2012 in south Denver on an on-line auction using the "Buy it Now" button. 

The rehab was mostly cosmetic, but I got used to hiring some contractors.  

That property increased in value so much, that I did a cash out refi in 2016 and purchased a condo in Denver. 

Real estate was doing so well, that I decided to get my real estate license. I am hanging my license with HomeSmart. 

I have helped a couple of my tenants find their new home. 

Our primary house also increased in value so much that I took out an HELOC loan on our property. 

I used that money to purchase a fixer upper from an estate sale.  It needed foundation work and a total rehab. 

I also did a fix and flip to generate a couple deals to graduate out of the HomeSmart Mentee program. 

The following year, I purchased a small duplex in Colorado Springs.  That took a total rehab as well.  I learned a lot in dealing with contractors. 

Currently, I have a rehab in the works on a small house with a garage that has been converted into a studio. 

Secrets to my Success: 

Education through books, podcasts and life. 

Don't be afraid to take a calculated risk.  Do the upfront work, but then jump.  

Having a wife that supports my adventures. 

Doing what it takes to make it work. 

Favorite Book: Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss.  

Feb 12, 202132:12
SSfS Episode #6 with Rick Staael Part 1

SSfS Episode #6 with Rick Staael Part 1

The Host, Rick Staael, is interviewed by his Co-host Doug Kierstein.  Rick tells his story of overcoming roadblocks in his life to become an engineer. Part 2 will continue the interview into the Real Estate endeavors.  

He has two associate degrees in electronics, an undergrad in Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Systems Engineering. 

On my way to get to a decent tech job, I worked at grocery stores, pizza place, painting and fixing consumer electronics. 

I worked 5 years at Rockwell Collins before going back to NDSU for my EE. 

After school, I worked 10 years at Ball Aerospace. 

For the last 15 years I have been working at a big engineering conglomerate that has been a great adventure. 

Secrets to his Success

God has had his hand on me and directing my path.  

Staying focused on your goal and prioritize them. 


Learning from life experiences. 

Having permission to fail, well, to give it my best shot and possibly fail, and then address the issue. 

My favorite books are "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and "The richest man in Babylon" and my favorite podcasts are "Bigger Pockets" and "The Double Comma Club". 

A book not referenced but has changed my mind about sending kids, especially boys, to school as early as possible is "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell.  He gave example after example about how the oldest kids in the class have a greater chance of success than the youngest. It took years of my adult life to overcome that sense of being always behind, so my son is one of the oldest in his class.  

Feb 06, 202139:30
SSfS Episode #5 with Doug Kierstein

SSfS Episode #5 with Doug Kierstein

This episode we interview my Co-Host Doug Kierstein. Doug is a Colorado native. 

He has always had an interest in working hard and making money. 

At 13 years old, he wanted to invest some money.  His dad took him to the bank and Doug didn't understand a word the guy said.  But he got the itch and bought his first book on finance at 15.  

He has three undergraduate degrees and some classes towards his Masters degree.  

He holds degrees in finance degree, economics, and information systems. 

On his own, he started a mortgage broker business and kept that going on the side. 

He started in the finance world with Charles Schwab trading stocks and bonds for 1 1/2 years. 

He liked being immersed in the stock market world but missed meeting face to face with people. 

Next at Bank One, he picked up his insurance license and kept his security license and worked there for 1 year. 

Then, with a friend, he started an advisory and mortgage business.  

He got married and started raising a family, so he took a more stable job at TIAPress, working at the outbound sales department. He again missed the face to face with people. After 6 years he moved on, getting closer to people. 

He did a fix and flip in 2013.  He learned a lot through helping and doing part of the work. Doug broke even on the project, but lessons learned were: 

1. The realtor overstated the After Repair Value. 

2. The house was out of place in that neighborhood and it took more rehab to bring it back into normalcy.  

3. He was using a hard money loan and the rehab took 6 months.  

After TIA Press, he works as a personal financial representative and building real estate business. 

Doug is a man of faith and that keeps him grounded and on track. His funny quote is: I don't always eat very well, but I sleep very well. 

Secrets Sauce to his Success;

He believe being tenacious is a key to success. 

He believes in education (as you can tell by his 3 undergrad degrees! :-) )

Favorite Books: 

The magic of thinking big - David Schwartz

How to win friends and influence people - Dale Carnegie. 

George Kilder - Wealth and Poverty.  Warning: Not an easy read

Contact Information:  

Cell Phone: 303-638-7245

Jan 30, 202144:26
SSfS Episode #4 with LaDawn Westbrook

SSfS Episode #4 with LaDawn Westbrook

LaDawn is a real estate agent and an investor.  She has some great tips on how to be successful.  

She has a good business background to run your business as your business. 

She likes working with people and her clientele is mostly through referrals. 

She had some extra money and bought a rental house and still has it today. 

She always wants to be her best client. 

LaDawn currently has 8 doors and manages the local ones herself.

She looks for communication, fees, what is their screening and does the property manager go and visit the home of the applicant. 

She likes self directed IRA's to invest in real estate. 

She bought a Duplex in Texas in 2008 and sold in 2020. She held it right through the 2008 housing crisis. 

She bought a fixer upper foreclosed property in 2014 and sold in 2018 for nearly 2x gain. 

She bought two local properties through a 1031.  In 2019, She sold one of those and bought 6 properties in Kansas City. 

Building a team - Networking, surround yourself with good people that you trust. 

CPA, attorney, lender and title company are very important to your team. 

She is investing money through a crowdfunding investment group, Direct Source Wealth.  She wants her money to be working to make her more money, i.e. no lazy $. 

Secrets Sauce

Research, talk to people in the know (network), be persistent and stay the course. Buy the first rental property.   

She doesn't give up! 

Her favorite books are: 

The richest man in bablyon - easy read about investing. 

The millionaire next door by Thomas J Stanley & William D Danko

Live below your means. 

Contact Info:  720-371-8798


Jan 22, 202146:58
Episode #3 with Brooks O'Hearn

Episode #3 with Brooks O'Hearn

Great interview with Brooks O'Hearn

Real Estate Investor, Real Estate Agent and Personal Coach

Played the game "CashFlow" while on family vacations. His parents bought Rich Dad Poor Dad for the kids friends. 

He decided to get his education in real life real estate instead of traditional college. 

Started his real estate endeavors by coaching and then started investing with his family. 

Brooks decided to get his real estate license to gain more exposure to real estate and gain multiple streams of income. 

Brooks has done some wholesaling and mostly focused on fix and flips. 

Now he has been expanding into commercial properties using the BRRR method. 

He has been raising cash to take advantage of potential market changes and being more conservative with the ever changing real estate landscape. 

He has been focused on shorter hold times to reduce exposure.  

Keeps his eye on the political landscape. 

Coaching - Internet and lead generation, social media branding and having the right mindset to think for yourself.  He helps remove the barriers that impede your growth.  

Secrets to his Success

Having his real estate license opens doors through access to the MLS, networking with other realtors, gives you control over the buy/sale of your own property and adds credibility to his business. 

He uses a small community bank to reduce the season period from the conservative 6 months down to around 3 months, after getting tenants in the place. 

Get multiple bids to get the best price/quality on your project.

Get a good team that consists of: 1. Buyers 2. Sellers. 3. Lenders. 4. Contractors. Contractors seem to be fluid, so always have good connections through having multiple bids.  

Your CPA is worth every penny you pay them.  

Lead generation, digital marketing, communication and negotiation. 

He is always learning and taking in new information and see how it can apply to what he is doing. 

He has a desire to help people succeed.  Operates out of an abundance mindset. 

His favorite books are: 

He reads How to win friends friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie once a year. 

The 5 love languages - Applies to communication

The 10x rule by Grant Cardone

Crushing it with Gary Vaynerchuk. 

He likes Audio books, Video and Podcasts and loves to golf. 

Contact info: Brooks OHearn - On all social media sites. 

Jan 15, 202101:02:21
SSfS Episode #2 with Elissa Tiprigan

SSfS Episode #2 with Elissa Tiprigan

A great show with Elissa Tiprigan that you don't want to miss.  Besides being involved with real estate, she has a online subscription box business called "Catholic Family Crate". 

She has a 4 year degree in Personal Finance and is married to David Tiprigan from Episode #1

She liked the AirB&B model, so they rented out their basement to offset their mortgage. 

They lived in a tiny house and rented out both the upstairs and downstairs of their primary house. What a sacrifice to increase their cash flow. 

She built up her online subscription box business to a point where she could quit her finance job.  

Lessons Learned: 

Maybe not the best situation to raise little kids above an AirB&B. 

Secrets to her Success: 

Live below your means and save money, but reward yourself. 

Having cash in the bank so you can take advantage of an opportunity. 

In your 401K plan, at the minimum, get the company matching money.  

Automated the AirB&B process to minimize the time required to manage it. 

Get started and then tweak the vision to where you want it to be. 

Jan 08, 202157:44
SSfS Episode #1 with David Tiprigan

SSfS Episode #1 with David Tiprigan

Interview with David Tiprigan, a local Denver south metro real estate investor.  

David and Elissa started in real estate by AirB&B'ing their Primary Basement. 

Once they tasted success there, they researched and branched out and looked out of state. 

They picked up five class C Duplex's in Texas with his family and eventually sold. 

They picked up a house AirB&B in Texas as well. 

They took advantage in a primary move and not paying capital gains to upgrade their primary house that has room for value ad. 

They financed a short term loan for 2 years.  

He tried renting out his truck through TORO and had limited success. 

His secrets to success are: 

Write a business plan and evaluate your progress.

Have cash on hand to be ready for an opportunity. 

Have a good team

Lessons learned: 

Long distance & poor property manager or poor relationship. 

Subscribe to receive emails from hard money lenders

AirB&B App: Your porter, VRBO, AIRB&B,, 

Property Management Apps: HomeAdvisor and Thumbtack


Rich Dad Poor Dad - Buy Assets versus liabilities. 

Millionaire real estate investor and HOLD by Gary Keller

Contact David Tiprigan via Facebook 

Jan 01, 202147:16
Secret Sauce for Success Trailer

Secret Sauce for Success Trailer

Doug and I want to find out what the Secret Sauce is for all those Successful people out there. 

Hopefully, you will benefit as we find the secret ingredient(s). 

Dec 27, 202005:14