In today’s episode, Allan welcomes Tom Lelyo. Tom is a professional Jet Broker, husband, father, and lover of aviation. He helps jet owners buy and sell their jets with ease, without wasting time or losing money. Allan and Tom discuss the importance of finding the balance between passion and money, which is a common challenge faced by many entrepreneurs. In addition, Tom shares how he taught his kids to overcome struggles in his business by never giving up.
Allan has started and grown several multimillion-dollar businesses, his mission is to help you do the same. Welcome to The Business Growth Pod, building the future, one entrepreneur at a time.
Everyone, Welcome to The Business Growth Pod. I’m your host, Allan Draper. Happy to be with you today. Thank you so much for spending some of your time with us. I know I’m a busy individual. And I assume that my listener is also so thank you for being with us. Today, I am going to do my best to make it worth your while. We have a fantastic guest today, we’re gonna get into that in just a bit, make sure you go to my website, www.allandraper.com
Most of you know by now that I’m the startup expert, I’m an angel investor, I am looking for my next angel investment. Last week, I invested $150,000 into a tech startup. And there’s a decent chance that I lose all my money in that deal. But there’s also a chance much smaller, albeit that that company blows up. So you’ll have to follow along, check that company out. It’s called swyf, that is SWYF. It’s a peer to peer payment platform with rewards, we’re going to be focusing on international payments. So it’s a Venmo type structure. So it’s, you know, quite a bit of competition in that space. But an interesting journey, go to SWYF.app, download the app they’re launching in the next couple of weeks. So that will go live. It’s already been tested. today. I’m very excited to welcome to the show. Tom Lelyo, Tom is a husband, father, and lover of aviation. And we’re going to get into that a little bit. When he first started learning about private jets, he noticed that there wasn’t a lot of content available for people who wanted real down to earth information. without all the fluff. Tom is the author of The Ultimate jet guide. And his most recent guide focuses on investing in a private jet to generate revenue when you’re not using it. That’s very interesting. Welcome to the show. Tom. Very happy to have you. Hello, Allan, thanks so much for having me.
So you’ve been passionate about aviation. And it’s led you to find business opportunities, which is fantastic. I, you know, I talk a lot about and I get a lot of questions about, hey, what’s the industry that I should start a business in? And my first non real estate related business was actually pest control. And I love that industry. I’m very passionate about the industry. But I’m not really passionate about bugs and critters and stuff like that. So it’s a little different than your take. Tell me about how you got interested in aviation and how you parlayed that into a business slash career.
Yeah, for sure. Well, I first got interested in private aviation, and probably like many, you know, people, my age when I first saw Top Gun, in the movies, I want to, I want to be a fighter pilot man. And so I told my mom, she’s took me out to the local airport, I started doing private lessons. And within three lessons, I quit. I couldn’t take it. I got headaches every time I went up there. And it just wasn’t enjoyable. For me. I thought I wanted to be a fighter pilot, but I couldn’t I couldn’t handle it. So I kind of put that on the back burner for a little while. And my main career when I first got out of college was actually a youth pastor, I was really passionate about my faith, and I had a good experience growing up and my Catholic Church locally. And so I wanted to be a youth pastor. And I did that for about a decade. And then I turned my attention to helping a local music school, grow with the marketing sales as a manager there. And at that point in time, my wife and I, we had five kids, and we were just sick and tired of you know, living paycheck to paycheck, even though we were passionate about something, you know, we still needed to pay the bills and we always felt like there was something more for us out there. And that’s where I saw an ad online for sales. I don’t even think it said jets. I think it just said high luxury items. I walked into the office found out it was at the airport and found out that it was selling private jets and I guess they liked my smile. They took a chance on a guy that you know didn’t have much aviation experience. And you know the rest is kind of history and just kind of rekindled my love for aviation and flying. And when you fast forward a couple of years I successfully did complete my pilot’s license. So I am a and actual pilot now and I own my own little 172 plane and aviation’s been my life for the last couple of years.
That’s cool. So what year was that, that you walked into that new opportunity?
Yeah, well, funnily enough, it was during COVID, I had put my two weeks notice in at the music school, and then two weeks later, everything got shut down. And the agency called me and they said, Hey, dude, just so you know, we can’t hire you right? Now. You’re gonna have to wait. We don’t know how long. And so I was, I was out of a job. But I just kind of had to sit there for six weeks, which, you know, I ended up doing another side project that I was working on at the time and, and made stuff happen. And then six years later, they brought me in.
I mean, that’s an interesting dynamic, right? Like you were, you were really passionate about being a youth pastor, you’re passionate about the music store. If someone were to ask you a Tom, you have to choose passion or money. Which do you choose?
Well, it’s kind of funny, because we’ve, my wife, and I’ve had that conversation, you know. And what I have found is when the stars align, it’s having that enough finances, so that we can also not just participate in our passions, but participate on a higher level. And so now I can pour in, I’m still involved in the church as a volunteer youth minister, because my kids are middle school, high school age, my wife and I still play music at church. But now I’m able to pour into these kids from a different place. I’m not pouring into them from a place of wants and scarcity, which has its own merits, you know, from a faith perspective, you know, there’s the humility component of it. But now I can pour into these kids and into my passions from a place of abundance. And I think there’s something to that.
I’m a father, I have three wonderful children 90% of the time, they’re wonderful. I have a 10 year old boy Maddix, I have an eight year old boy Jackson and a four year old daughter, Olivia. And I don’t talk about a much on this show on my social platforms a little bit here and there. And I think people get confused with how much time and how much of my life they are. And right now they’re at really pivotal ages, I think kids are no matter what age they’re, I think it’s really cool that you worked with youth, because the world is such a crazy place right now. I think it’s kind of always been, but with the internet, with social media with access to like crazy information with, you know, COVID happening and all these moving parts, being a father is, you know, much more important to me than being an entrepreneur, I believe that I’m going to be a Father forever, right? I believe, you know, I have a strong faith in God, I believe that it’s going to last in perpetuity. Whereas, you know, my career as an entrepreneur, as an investor is more of a short term gig. So I think it’s really cool that you’ve had this opportunity to, you know, spend some time with the youth. And, and they’re so impressionable. One thing that I’ve learned kinda, and this goes back to the question about passion versus money, it’s like, you’re measured, you know, people, we try not to judge others, but it’s natural, it’s a survival mechanism. And there are some people that you will not be able to reach without achieving a certain level of success, you will not be able to reach them. And it’s not that your goal should be to reach everybody. But you know, people talk, you hear a lot of usually in the religious community or whatever, they talk a lot about money’s evil, or whatever. And it definitely can be used for evil, but my opinion has always been that it’s more of a tool. It’s kind of like a shovel, right? I could do bad stuff with a shovel, I could hit somebody with it, right? Or, you know, whatever. There’s a few more analogies there. What has working with the youth? How has that impacted you in terms of your professional life and what you want to achieve? Financially, professionally? Yeah. So
what was kind of interesting about you know, the story as I was going through as a youth pastor, music person, a lot of my quality time with my kids was through volunteering through coaching and stuff, and I loved that. But then when I went into sales with aviation, I had to put that on the backburner and the company was pretty you know, clear about that you can’t leave early to go coach your kids. And so what was interesting was there was a shift there from being present to them like after school stuff to not being present, but when I was present with them, I was present in a different way like hey, we could take a trip now like we can go on vacation this year because that we actually have funds for or when I take him to a soccer game Hey, we can actually afford a Chick fil A sandwich. Hey, bring your friends like we can pay for your friends and that was that was rewarding in his own way. And so for me, when it comes to giving back or when it comes to quality time when it comes to how my faith life and my working with the youth has informed me moving forward. My goal in the field Just like I just recently started my own brokerage, my goal is to reach out to people who were like me that had the heart of a servant, that were hungry for success, but just never had the right vehicle. So now what it does for me is I now have a vehicle, I now have a way that I can I can transform my life with income. And I want to share that with other people that, you know, most brokerages are probably looking for someone that’s a pilot, or has sales experience or whatever, I’m looking for the right, like the kind hearted people that are going to work really hard, because I can teach you the soft skills on how to talk to someone and how to sell a jet so that it can transform your life. So I’m looking at it from that perspective of how can I transform someone’s life, not just how can I sell more jets for myself,
you hear this analogy quite a bit, I’ve heard it probably 100 times in my life or more, but you know about how to get the most rocks. And you know, if you have a bunch of rocks and water and you need a foot, put it in a glass jar, right? You start with the big rocks, first, you start with the big rock first. And then you can kind of fill in the gaps with the smaller rocks and the gaps there with the pebbles and then the gaps there with the sand and then you top off the water. And if you do it that way, you can get the most out of the jar, right? The proverbial jar. But if you put the sand in first or the water in first, you’re not going to get those big rocks. And I’ve seen that in my life, I have somebody that relatively close to that. He’s very, very successful, he put, you know, but he put the water in first. And for me, my faith and my family, those are the big rocks. And what I worry about, a lot of times when I’m talking to entrepreneurs, especially folks getting started, because the startup phase is such a grind is I want to make sure that they have those big rocks in the jar first, those things that because the other stuffs gonna come. That’s what I’ve learned, if you get that stuff, right, you don’t screw that stuff up, you’ll be able to fit the rest, you can pave the way to success, you can figure it out. But a lot of people Tom, they’ll say no, this is like it has to be my life for a decade, or this is all that matters. And I’m not saying that they don’t have initial focus isn’t required, because it is. But you know, it’s so important. Because people will say, hey, you know, a lot of times they’ll say, Hey, I don’t have anything to give. But once I do, I will. And then once they do, they don’t, it’s like you have to figure out how to give of your time and money before you have it. That’s when it’s interestingly enough, that’s when it’s the easiest. And you develop these, you know these patterns. But that’s kind of interesting, you know, path that you’ve taken, I think it’s really cool. Because you have this perspective, I experienced a lot of guilt. I got married later, I didn’t have my first son until after I graduated from law school. And things were pretty tight back then. But it was never, you know, like some of the stories that I hear with people really struggling. But your perspective is very refreshing. Because you’re thankful with the situation that you’re in now that you can go to Chick fil A, and take some of your kids buddies with you. And one thing that I’m worried about is making sure that I pass it on to my kids, like how do I pass this on to my kids when I definitely didn’t grow up as my kids are growing up? Have you come across that at all? Have you ever had thoughts about hey, how do I? How do I instill this attitude of gratitude and, you know, thankfulness in my children?
Well, I think it’s been kind of an interesting journey for our kids. Because the older my son who’s 13, you know, he started out with us were, you know, when we first got married, we lived on the same property as my parents and like their guest house. So like we were always there. And you know, he’s experienced, like, grandma was always helping us he experienced paycheck to paycheck, he experienced not being able to go to Chick fil A, so he kind of grew up with that. Now, there was kind of an opening, we had a couple of cool opportunities, you know, for the past couple years while I was working with a brokerage, you know, and my income just, you know, kept increasing doubling year over year. And what’s interesting is now that I’ve gone out on my own, like, there’s a big scale back. So we’re kind of like going back to like, okay, like, you know, how do we balance between, you know, growing something and the lifestyle that we were getting accustomed to the last three years. So I think for my older, the older half of the kids, the first three, you know, they kind of experienced a little bit of what it used to be like, and then they came out of it. And now we’re kind of going back. So I think they’re going to have a good perspective of it. And what I’m kind of excited about is that challenge that you’re talking about, you know, for the younger ones, because I see this as just like the start and it’s only gonna get better moving forward.
There’s this balance between, I think with kids, especially where it’s like you want to show them what’s possible. I grew up in a small farming community on the Oregon Idaho border. And I was just there this past weekend. Actually, we go back quite a bit for a couple of reasons spend our summers there, but you know, in the town that I grew up in and I learned a lot of really good skills, I learned how to work hard, and things like that. But people rarely leave the area, they don’t go see what’s out there. And luckily, my mom, she wanted me to get out as soon as I could, and go, you know, go explore the world. And so that on one hand, you want your kids to, you know, see what’s possible, which is pretty much anything, you know, they can be, they can be whatever they want to be. But on the other hand, you want to keep them grounded. And as parents, I mean, we’re in a really tough situation, for a lot of reasons. It’s tough, being a parent. And being a husband is, you know, those are the two of my toughest jobs, my most rewarding jobs, but two of my toughest and, but it’s important that we, we help them realize, hey, you can go conquer the world, you can. But do it in a way where you don’t run over people. Don’t do that, because then the reward will be empty. You’ll get there and you’ll feel some sense of achievement, but it won’t last. So interesting conversation. I’ve never chatted with anybody about this, before we move on, what are your kind of closing thoughts about being a father and working through these types of issues with your children? Well, I
would say I’ve got two quick stories, one, as far as like trying to show my kids how to grow in business. You know, one of the things that cracks me up is my oldest son who’s in middle school, he has learned that if he goes to you know, the local Publix and buys a pack of gum for like five bucks of like, you know, 20 sticks, he can go to school and sell them for like two to five bucks apiece. And so he started the entrepreneurial. Yeah, no, it’s crazy. He started that, because he’s seen, you know, guys try things with them, like, try that Facebook marketplace stuff and expose them to that kind of stuff. So I try to show them and if they ever asked for something, it’s like, yeah, what money do you have, you know, we kind of started that early, because we didn’t have any money. So if you want something, you know, go find a way to make it happen. And then the second one was one day, I was in the car with talking to a client of mine. And some things had gone south or whatever. And this client just went off on me. And he was on speakerphone, my son heard it. And you know, we’re sitting there, and I get it all the time. So I’m just like, Okay, fine, someone went off on me. But my son is sitting there crying with his, with his head in his hands. And like body, like, it’s okay, like, don’t worry about like, what’s wrong, he’s just like, I’m just so upset that somebody was so mean, you know, to my dad, I’m like, I get it, you know, I understand you. But like, watch me, like, watch what I’m going to do after this. Like it because that was a pivotal moment in my career. And I can’t get into like the details of what that conversation was about. But that was a pivotal moment in my career, where I had a choice to either back down and pretty much walk away from what I was trying to do and what I was looking to do in my career, or I could step up to the plate, take my best Swing and move forward. And that was almost a year ago or so now. And you know, recently back to my son, and it’s like, remember that, that conversation with that guy went off. I mean, it’s like, see where we are a year later, you know, and that’s because I didn’t quit, I, you know, I want it to move forward. And I am so thankful he was in the car with me that time because he that’s just now ingrained in my brain. And in my life, like that was a pivotal moment for us. And he was kind of the catalyst for that, because I want it to show him, you know, watch what’s going to happen. And I guess maybe that’s part of what we do as parents, you know, sometimes we try to shelter them from our struggles, our failures, but if they see a struggle, and they can see us overcome that struggle, then they can know that they can overcome those struggles as well.
Yeah, that’s awesome. Man. There’s so many great lessons in there. I think as business leaders, as well as parents, you know, I believe in these ultimate principles of truth. And that’s one of them where it’s like, if you want to lead somebody, don’t tell them to go do it. Tell them watch me. I mean, that sticks with people that’s, that hits different, you know, and, and the struggle component. Man, I try to get not having enough struggle for my children is one of my biggest concerns. And so I’m always looking for ways that I can struggle in front of them. And I’ve recently started over the last month or two jumping in really cold water, really uncomfortable, like, you know, doing the cold plunges and stuff. And because our kids don’t see that, right. I’ve been blessed in a lot of ways with my businesses financially. I have a couple of decent vehicles and things like that. And that’s what my kids see. They see the cars or whatever. They don’t see the struggle that went into it. They don’t see the people that quit on me. They don’t see the people that yelled at me like customers and all that. So I think that man, that’s such a cool story. And the funny thing is that nothing could teach your son that lesson like that. Right? Here’s the real world stuff for sure. Tom, we’ve got about five minutes left. I am interested in hearing about the aviation side of your career. I’m especially interested in hearing about helping People can monetize owning airplanes, jets, whatever, when they’re not using them. And tell me about that. That’s very interesting.
Yeah, so in aviation, there’s a couple of different ways to make money, you can become a broker. The interesting thing about becoming a broker is there’s no license, no certifications, like, you just kind of start, you know, you kind of get yourself going, like I was a youth pastor beforehand. So, you know, for those people that might be listening to you show that like, what do I do? I like planes, but like, how can I make money with aviation? Well, being a broker is one way that you could do that. And it’s just, it’s the sales skills that you talk about, it’s the marketing skills that you talked about on your podcasts, and you can grow your own business, from that perspective of just listing selling planes, kind of like a realtor. But with airplanes, or private jets, you know, you can do both, you can do everything. So, I mean, that might be one way that your audience would be interested in. And then of course, you know, if you’re at the end of the spectrum, where you’re looking to invest, you know, basically what you do is you buy a jet, and you hand it off to a charter company, to rent it out and work it out, and they will pay you back, you know, the revenue. It’s basically like Realty, it’s like Airbnb, right, you hand over the asset, to a management company that will handle you know, getting the clients and generating income from that specific asset, there’s a lot to it, obviously, in a lot of things that, you know, I wouldn’t advise it for everybody, there’s some things to be aware of. But more and more people are becoming excited about private aviation. And I’ve watched a couple of videos from Chris corn and Nick Marietta, and other people like that, that they’re like, I’m more excited about private aviation than I am about real estate right now. Because of you know, what they’re seeing in the market.
That’s interesting. So it’s kind of like buying a piece of property, handing it over to a property management company, promising off some dates, or whatever, where it’s like, Hey, I’m gonna be using it on these dates, and fill it up. So is that what you do, as a broker? Tell me a little bit about what it means to be a broker? Or are you involved in the transaction of buy sell.
So I primarily do the Buy Sell, the investing part is kind of a newer service that we’ve been offering. So, you know, I will work as an acquisition broker. But now because I’ve been making the connections with the operators, and explaining the opportunity to people, now people are hiring me to be their acquisition broker to buy a jet, but also take them through the process of setting up that they can buy a jet and make an investment of it. I mean, it’s a very long sales cycle, you know, we’re talking nine months to a year from, you know, someone talking with someone and then finding the right operator, finding the right jet, and then actually buying the jet. So to your original question of like, how it works, you basically need capital upfront to buy the jet. And the jet that we’re looking at is gonna be probably $2 million or more, you know, all the way up to like a Gulfstream that’s, you know, 1020, whatever million dollars, so you’re gonna lease the $2 million to kind of get into the game. So it’s got high acquisition costs. And then from there, when you hand it over to the management company, they’ll charge a fee, it could be, you know, a couple $1,000 a month to manage it. And then on top of that, they will rent it out by the hour. And so if it costs you, let’s say, $3,500, to operate the jet, they will charge let’s say, $5,500 an hour to the retail person to use it. And they’ll usually take a percentage like 15% of that $2,000 per hour margin, or they’ll take a flat rate of that $2,000 per hour. And that’s how they make their money.
That’s interesting. Are you seeing people that get into aviation for the first time going straight to that type of model, or is this usually people that, you know, they’ve had a private jet for a while for their own purposes, they decide to do it.
But surprisingly enough, a lot of them are first time aviators, because part of the key is that you’re not going to use the jet for yourself. So you really don’t want someone that’s already using their jet for 100 to 100 hours a year, because then it doesn’t give the charter company enough time to make money and make revenue. It’s like buying a vacation house that you’re gonna use three months, four months out of the year in the summer in terms of peak, you know, where you would want to sell it. So it’s usually either first time operators or operators that want to buy another jet in their portfolio and hand it over to an operating company. Awesome. Oh, and the other thing I forgot to mention was, one of the reasons why people do is because of the depreciation. So last year, you could actually accelerate depreciate 100% of your purchase. So if you bought a $4 million jet, boom, $4 million in that year was done. Now it’s down to 80%. And it’s gonna phase itself out. But the accelerated depreciation that was applied to private jets was a huge boost for the past couple of years.
That’s awesome, man. That’s very cool. I definitely have some more questions that I’d like to ask you once we pause the recording, but that’s fantastic. This has been great man. This has been a really cool conversation, very applicable. Just a lot of my listeners. They’re looking to get to the next level. And sometimes, the more product People aspect of doing that is, is what’s important and maybe holding them back. So this conversation when great people have questions for you or they want to reach out what’s the best way for them to contact you just go to Www.theultimatejetguide.com
Love it. Well, thanks for joining us today, Tom. I appreciate all the great info and best of luck, man. Thanks, I appreciate it.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai