Interview with Britnie Turner
Business As a Force For Good with Britnie Turner
Today, I’m speaking with Britnie Turner. Britnie is a serial entrepreneur, real estate investor, humanitarian, and philanthropist who is positively transforming the world, one business at a time.
At the age of 21, she founded Aerial with the mission of elevating people and places. She went from living out of her car and working for free, to becoming a multimillion dollar real estate investor with active domestic and international projects.
She went on to form multiple companies under the Aerial brand, all accelerating the mission of empowering people, sustaining the planet, and utilizing capitalism as a force for good.
In this episode, I’m talking to Britnie about how business can be used as a transformative vehicle to change lives. You’ll hear about her missionary work in Africa, how she went from homeless to becoming the biggest real estate flipper in Nashville, why she revitalizes distressed neighborhoods, and the private island she bought that serves as an incubator for positive transformation.
Featured on This Episode: Britnie Turner
✅ What she does: Social Entrepreneur on a mission to elevate people and place by using business as a force for good.
💬 Words of wisdom: You’ve got to find a way to give first and from a humble heart.
Key Takeaways with Britnie Turner
- Becoming the person you were meant to be.
- The little girl that inspired Britnie to become a force for good.
- Realizing that your darkest moments in life are just preparing you for the best of what’s to come.
- From homeless to becoming the biggest real estate flipper in Nashville.
- Buying an island that serves as an incubator for positive transformation.
Britnie Turner – You Are Not Defined By Your Professions
Britinie Turner Tweetable“You’ve got to find a way to give first and from a humble heart.” - Britnie Turner Click To Tweet “You never really know what a fruit is until it's squeezed. Who are you when you're squeezed? And if you're not liking who that person is, start working on that.” - Britnie Turner Click To Tweet
- Britnie Turner Website
- Follow Britnie Turner on Instagram | YouTube | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter
- Aerial Recovery
- Aerial BVI
- The G-Force Mastermind Community
- Aerial Development
- Aerial Produced
- Aerial Global Community
- Operation Underground Railroad
- Love Justice International
- We Buy Houses
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Read the Full Transcript with Britnie Turner
Justin Donald: Well, hey, Britnie, I’m so glad to have you on the show. Thanks for joining.
Britnie Turner: Thanks for having me. It’s good to see you again.
Justin Donald: Yeah, nice to see you too. And by the way, I already miss the island. Your island is gorgeous and wonderful, and I love seeing this backdrop here. Yeah, I’m excited to connect because I feel like the trip, the experience, you spending so much time hosting an incredible event for a handful of people on your island was just an epic experience and is so needed for the Lifestyle Investor community. So, I want to dig into it. But before we do, I want to learn a little bit more about you, and I know a bunch of your story, but I’d love for my audience to learn more about you because your story is incredible. I mean, it is such an underdog story, and I think the world needs to hear it.
Britnie Turner: Thank you. The weird one, for sure.
Justin Donald: Yeah. And by the way, just as like a disclaimer, I mean, I’d love to just give the two extremes from being homeless, living out of your car to owning your own island, a private island. I mean, that’s just incredible. And as you and I know, owning islands is a billionaire’s game, and it is really hard to creep inside that ecosystem, especially in a place as nice as the British Virgin Islands. And so, it is so incredible and cool to see how you’ve been able to navigate this and create just an epic life for you, but the impact that you are having on so many others is so palpable.
Britnie Turner: Thank you very much, and you got to stay inspired, it pays.
Justin Donald: Oh, that’s a nice view.
Britnie Turner: Well, I’m so grateful to be on the show and I appreciate you having me. And if I could impart one thing to people, if you just have to stop listening to this right now, it’s that you’ve got to find a way to hear God’s voice in your life. You’ve got to find a way to tap into that guidance and to understand that the desires he’s putting in your heart are for a reason. And we all have different ones, but when you start to activate into your purpose, you’re going to have a thing called fulfillment that we all have this giant gaping hole in our life looking for it because it’s crucial that we step into that. We’re born for those reasons.
And it’s not one purpose, it’s probably multiple purposes and multiple seasons of your life. And if I’ve done anything correct in my series of epic, I can’t call them failures, but flops or whatever, it would be that I never lost sight of what I felt like God was leading me into. And you know that phrase, God won’t give you something you can’t handle. Well, that’s good or bad. He won’t give you something so good you can’t handle it. He won’t give you something so bad. And so, what I found is he typically gives us our life calling in the form of puzzle pieces.
Now, before somebody who doesn’t believe in God hops off this call, just listen. Just listen. Listen past whatever it is that you do or do not believe and just see what does resonate with you and take those pieces. But my understanding in my experience on this Earth has been that again, these desires come in the form of puzzle pieces. And the reason they’re not the full picture is because if you saw the full picture of what you are capable of achieving in your life, you wouldn’t believe it. And God knows that. So, that’s why he has to give it to you in pieces is because you can’t handle it. You wouldn’t even take that first step. And that’s this whole journey of trust and the human experience and enjoying growing along the way versus just everything’s about the arrival. It is about the becoming. It’s about the person you are and how you reflect love in your actions and your life and your expressions.
And for me, my businesses have become an expression of love. It’s an expression of who I am. And it is a very cool soundbite to say I went from living in a car to first getting the island, I say first getting, we’ll talk about it in a little bit, the island within seven years, seven years from homeless to private island owner. And it is a very tough thing to own an island, especially somewhere this amazing. How did I do that? That is a very cool soundbite, but I am the same Britnie that lived in her car that owns this island. I’m still just as valuable. I was born valuable. I’m going to die valuable, and no thing makes me worth more. You’ve got to figure out who you are beyond your stuff so that you can own your stuff and your stuff doesn’t own you.
And the island is not the pinnacle of my career. This is a tiny piece, it’s a wonderful, beautiful, tiny piece, but it is still a vehicle in which I get to engage my calling. I get to surrender this asset as a force for good to be used as God’s hands and feet to reach people and heal them so that they can activate into their purpose. But I want to be very clear, as cool as that soundbite is, this island still does not define me or my worth, maybe my net worth, but not my real worth.
Justin Donald: Yeah, you put that into perspective so well, Britnie. And yeah, our material possessions will never define who we are. But I think that when we can use those possessions for a greater good, when we can use just things in our life, that we can use our assets as a blessing to other people, I think that’s where the power lies. And it’s interesting because when I heard your story, it was never being a real estate mogul, an entrepreneur, an island owner. It was never this, like your story was you wanted to be a missionary. You were a missionary. You didn’t see this whole world of entrepreneurship or investing, probably even close to what it is here today. And I’d love to hear how you kind of shifted from– first of all, why do you have a heart for people and specifically children? And why do you feel called to be a missionary? And then, secondly, how did you kind of pivot from that to become an entrepreneur so that you could be even more on mission?
Britnie Turner: Great question. Have you ever seen something that really makes you mad?
Justin Donald: Oh, yeah.
Britnie Turner: Or really, really makes you sad, like it’s an emotional conviction that what you’re seeing is not something you’d like to continue seeing. And I knew I wanted to be a missionary since I was 12, and that became my first identity. You know everybody, your whole teenage life, what are you going to be when you grow up? And it was a missionary in Africa.
And so, I went to a missionary training school where it’s really all about leadership and it teaches you how to survive no matter what situation is going on around you. And it was led by Green Berets and survivalists from Australia. And so, I’m pretty hardcore, I’m secretly hardcore. I know I got long hair, but I can survive. And at the end of that school, I was going to graduate and just move to Africa. The whole point of survival school was really to put you through hell and make sure you can make it. And you’re not going to get knocked out of the game by physical obstacles, mental obstacles, spiritual obstacles, all the things.
And so, the final exercise was they dropped us off in Costa Rica about eight hours away from regular civilization. And they said, figure it out, find a way to create value. And from 12 on every summer, all year, I’d worked about five jobs at a time. I did not grow up in a wealthy family and I worked five jobs at a time to save up money to go on these mission trips. And similar to this one in Costa Rica. I thought I was going to have this holy experience where you’re holding the baby and like, you just get the long skirt on and you look so happy. And I was just angry. Every time I went, I was just, I’m like, I’m the worst missionary ever for feeling the way that I do. I was mad because I saw suffering. And as cool as it was to feed them that day and to get that picture, it was not cool that they were going to be suffering again the next day.
And in Costa Rica, I met a little girl who at the very end of our little women’s conference we put on, we were praying over everybody, and the final little girl, I said, “Hey, what is your name?” And she couldn’t answer me, so I asked the translator, I said, “What’s going on?” And she let me know that this child had been sexually abused as an infant, and it destroyed her vocal cords. And I was so mad in that moment that this is something her father had done to her. Then I asked a few more questions, and as horrifying as that one situation was, I was even more horrified to find out that one out of every four babies in that community die before they turn one because of sexual abuse, and that it was socially accepted in that community as normal.
So, I went back to my tent and got on my knees. And I remember praying and just saying, “God, I don’t want to live in a world where this is okay.” And though I again didn’t come from a wealthy family at all, I was going to be a missionary, so money was never going to be part of my life, I had nothing at 17 years old. I knew that I could have been that little girl. And the hopelessness I saw in her eyes, it’s something that I will never be able to forget. And it’s been what’s carried me through every single hard time of my career is, though I wasn’t what would be considered born into privilege in America, I still recognize that I had access to opportunities that she never would. And if I was her because I could have been her, I would pray every day that somebody would do something about this.
And so, I want you, listeners, to look at your life and stop looking at what you don’t have and start looking at what you do have. And if all you have is a country that allows you to Google and to start learning things and to start putting pieces together, and there’s not some giant corrupt government construct that makes sure you never get ahead, then you have access to so much that the rest of the world does not. And with that access does come a responsibility to be able to be a blessing, but it’s also the most fulfilling thing in the world.
Now, that doesn’t mean you’re throwing money at problems. Money is an expansion tool of the heart, but it’s also an expansion tool of whatever it touches. You throw money at poverty, it will expand the poverty. So, I really work to build my life, to create hand-up, not hand-out opportunities, to be able to open the door for people who want it, to be able to step into it. And as you are learning, depending on the level you’re at when you’re listening to this, some of the best advice I heard is feed the hungry because as you start growing your new awareness, or some people would call it consciousness, some people would just call it education, whatever you’re growing in this whole new possibilities and wealth creation, you’re going to want to help your friends and family. And they will test you because humans think you’re a con artist when you’ve changed, there’s a five-year lag time. They’ll test you and say, “Hey, is this real? It’s not real. You’re trying to da da da da.” Oh, you went to some island and your life changed, or you went to some conference and your life changed. You listen to some podcast and your life changed.
And your callings between you and God, you’re not going to take anybody with you. You’re born alone, you’re going to die alone. So, your life decisions you are accountable for. And so, therefore, there’s only so much space you can give other voices in your life, especially when humans can only see the past. Why would we let them dictate our future? You’re going to want to carry them with you, and when they don’t want to come, you have to just say, okay, it’s my job to feed the hungry. I’m going to open the door of opportunity for people who do want it.
Justin Donald: That’s an incredibly powerful story. It’s also a horrific story, I mean, I think you and I, we very much share this desire to help children, rescue children. You’re partnered with Underground Railroad. I’m partnered with Love Justice International. Both our organizations are incredible organizations with international reach that are really working hard to help and save children and women in a lot of communities, not just underserved communities, but I mean, we’re talking about First World countries as well. And it’s a shame that this even exists. And so, I’m so thankful that there are people like you out there not only willing to get involved with your resources, but also with your time.
And so, with your heart the way that it is and with the path kind of being proven out as a missionary, your parents had to have thought you are crazy and probably didn’t believe in you or didn’t have the confidence, they lacked the understanding of you pivoting as a businesswoman, as a real estate professional. And I’m curious about that transition. Like, why did that happen? I know the story and I love the story, but I feel like, in life, there are these moments, these defining moments, and you can fight them, sometimes you feel like this is the direction I should be going in and you don’t know why, and it seems off-course. But just one decision can change the trajectory of your entire life, and I feel like that’s what happens to all of us. It certainly happened to you. I feel like that’s what happens to all of us. I think most people don’t recognize it. They don’t give it a chance. They may not even see the gravity of a yes or no decision like that. And I’d love to hear your story in that regard.
Britnie Turner: Well, after that night, I got on my knees in my tent and I said, “God, I don’t want to live in a world where this is socially acceptable. If it’s the last thing I do, I want to make this not a thing.” And I realized in that moment, not one thing I had been caring about, all the stuff I was worried about accumulating at that age, or the affirmation you’re looking for, whatever. Nothing mattered more than doing something about that.
And I heard God say loud and clear, I’m going to take you out of the mission field and I’m going to put you in business. And that sounds simple unless your whole identity is around doing one thing, and that’s all everybody knows you’re going to do, and you’re moving to Africa the next year. That’s a big life change. And again, the testing of family and friends will do is really hard on people, especially the young people listening to this, like you’ve listened to your parents your whole life so that you don’t fall off a cliff or do something really stupid because they’re older than you, they’re constantly like making sure you’re okay. They raised you. They’re the voice you listened to.
But then coming into adulthood, you’ve got to start, again, building a different foundation and listening only to people you want to be like in that same area. And it’s not that you would disrespect your parents or anything like that, it’s that you’re building your own life’s calling, and therefore, the voices you listen to and the words you act on are potentially different sources, and so, you thank them and love for their opinion, but you still make your own decision.
So, I went back. And I used to hate rich people, I thought that I don’t know if it’s like Disney that made all the rich people bad guys or what, but it was in my subconscious that all rich people were evil. And I was raised that money is the root of all evil and greed and pride and all these things and such bull crap, such bull crap, and I really want to eliminate that lie from these listeners. And I think that you’ve got wealth-minded people listening to this, but why in the freak would it be holy to only provide, to only be able to provide for yourself and your family? Well, it sounds like this crazy, I’m just good enough for me and my family. Cool.
Oh, when a hurricane hits, you can’t help anybody else. How is that holy? And what are the holy-sounding excuses that you are engaging in to stay small? It’s ridiculous. So, start seeing like on a practical basis, I want to do great things in my life. I probably need some resources, anyway. So, I’m sitting in class. And I had heard that this rich guy is coming, so like a really good student, I skipped class because that was like money has nothing to do with my life. And then like a really good student.
So, he said, “Did you know you can buy a house with no money down? And if your mortgage payment is $900 a month that you rent it out for $1,200 a month, you get to keep that $300.” I was like, “Go on.” He said, “Do that 10 times, and you can live in Africa and you don’t ever have to ask anybody for money again.” And I was like, this is genius. It’s not easy, right?
And so, in 2007, when it was that easy, I was a waitress, 18-year-old, and I was able to buy my first house because they were giving anybody loans. And in the process of buying it, I heard about this thing called flipping houses, which I’ve never heard of before. And I’m a hard worker raised on a farm, one of the six kids. Like I know how to do it. You can buy a crappy house, work hard on it, fix it up, and when you go to sell it, you can make like $10,000, which is a billion dollars to an 18-year-old that wants to be a missionary.
And so, I had this grand plan because I started learning a little bit more about this, that I would flip a bunch of houses and save those $10,000 and I would have $100,000 and I could use that as a down payment on an apartment complex. And that apartment complex would spin off $10,000 a month of cash flow, and then I can build my own freaking orphanages and nobody can cap my calling, nobody can ever tell me what to do because they can’t cut me off. And I love that idea. And I want you to love that idea because may you educate yourself on whatever it is, you need to learn to be able to be resourced enough to make sure nobody can cut you off from your calling.[11.1s]
[00:01:53] And if one of the things you’re dealing with is crushing debt, you’ve got to find a way to get out of this. And it is absolutely, totally possible. We’ve spent so much of our life learning a skill to be able to go get a job to make money that nobody takes the next step of learning what to do with that money. And so, I really want you to get a financial education and realize money’s not as mystical as we’ve all imagined it to be. Don’t over-spiritualize it. Don’t give it more power than it is. It’s a thing, and it’s fake. So, use the tool to get done what you need to get done.
So, it sounds like the Red Sea is going to open, I was raised Christian, I was really trained that if you hit obstacles, that means God’s closing the door. And especially my ladies listening to this, we’re very intuitive and we think that things are signs a lot more than we’re willing to face our own insecurity and realize we’re just scared to do the thing versus it’s a sign from God. Because if obstacles were signs from God, then I’ve gone the whole wrong path. My entire life has had a ton of obstacles and looks like that doors have been shut, but it wasn’t. It was realizing that a lot of the obstacles are just because I don’t know what I’m doing, never done it before.
So, again, don’t over-spiritualize things that are just because you’re new. When you’re learning to walk, you’re going to fall. It’s part of the deal. You’re getting into business, you’re going to just not sign the right paper sometimes or say the wrong thing to your first staff member or whatever. Like you just knew, so give yourself some freaking grace and get back up. And I wanted to quit a million times because when I decided to not go to college, my family stopped talking to me for almost two years, except for to tell me that I was a loser, that I would never make it.
My boyfriend said, “This is the stupidest thing you could’ve ever done.” My boyfriend at the time. And I googled, again, which colleges teach you how to flip houses, and none of them did, so I didn’t go to college. And this is why they were boycotting me. So, when I said I have to learn real estate another way I call the We Buy Houses signs, and anybody remember what happened in 2008?
Justin Donald: Oh, yeah.
Britnie Turner: 2009? Wasn’t the coolest time to get into the real estate, so I did look like an idiot, but I’ve learned how to work. Extremely long story short, I’m waiting tables, I end up meeting somebody on the last dollar in my life, I mean, crushing debt. I’d studied 12 hours a day, I could get anything I get my hands on real estate wise, and I end up getting an opportunity to be somebody’s assistant in Nashville, and they would teach me how to flip houses.
I put my house on Craigslist and I rented it to these guys. I took a job that was $600 less than the minimums on my credit cards, and I moved to this place called Nashville Family, saying, you’re an idiot, why are you doing this? Real estate’s not a good thing to get into, like pick anything else in the world. It’s like, no, it’s God, it’s going to work, I’m doing this for the orphans. And within 60 days, I got fired from that job because real estate was doing so bad. The first month’s rent check bounced from these guys on Craigslist. This is my first time having tenants, so I believe to them. For eight months, they trashed the house, did all these drugs. And I end up just moving into my car.
And the day I got fired, I found these guys, and they were actually doing deals. And I said, “Can I work for you for free?” Because if I learn anything in three years of abysmal failure, living off of credit cards trying to get this going, I had learned to give first. You got to find a way to give first and from a humble heart. And I worked for free for them 21 hours a day, lived in it. So, it’s not like I was in the car that long. But it is still scary. It was cold. Truck drivers are banging on my window, and I did feel like God left me. I did not know he was teaching me so many things that would make me an excellent island owner.
Would it allow me to speak into the lives of people who have been abused, abandoned, homeless? I didn’t realize I had a grace to be able to create templates on how to transform entire countries and bring them back to life after manmade or natural disasters. And I didn’t realize, and I just turned 34 yesterday, that I would be able to consult with presidents of countries and wipe out sex trafficking at its root and bring in economic opportunity so people don’t have to sell their kids.
I had no idea living in that car, that those were the days I was being prepared for this. And so, though it might look bleak, and though you may feel stupid, please write down on your mirror in your bathroom, everything is a blessing. You’re just not far enough away from it to see it just yet, but don’t label anything a problem, don’t label anything a curse, label it all a blessed thing, and just say I trust, I don’t have to understand just yet, but I will always get up. I’ll never give up on my calling because other people’s lives depend on me stepping into what God has for me.
Justin Donald: It’s interesting, Britnie, that you bring up this great point of the fact that all these things that happened to us are blessings, we just may not look at it that way in the moment, especially if it’s not according to our own plan. And so, any crazy situation, if I think of like the worse situations that have ever happened to me, fast forward five years, 10 years, and they’re some of the greatest blessings that I’ve ever had and some of the greatest opportunities to learn and grow, and maybe I wouldn’t be humble enough to learn it if things were going right. Or maybe I wouldn’t see this need for this education because I’m not broken down, I’m not desperate. And I think that that is an important opportunity in all of our lives to be willing to learn, to be willing to listen, to be willing to be mentored or find the silver lining when it seems like there is none in so many of these situations. And so, that’s very powerful.
What I love about your story is you went from knowing nothing about real estate. I mean, most of the successful people in real estate did not go to college for real estate. It wasn’t really a thing for a long period of time. When I went to college, there were some classes at the University of Illinois, but they were such a vague overview. But luckily, I had some people that they were adjunct professors, which means they were business professionals that were teaching a course in the thing that they did really well.
And so, I at least had a good bird’s eye view. I had people that I could reach out to. But like you said, there’s no class called flipping homes. I mean, most of the things that people do in real estate today, there’s no class in college for this. You’ve got to find a mentor and you’ve got to learn that craft. And I love that you’re like, hey, I’ll do it for free. Even when you needed money the most in your life, you’ve never needed money worse than this moment, and you said, I’ll do it for free. And you just opened yourself up to that opportunity, which opened up many doors because you went on to be one of the largest real estate investors and owners in the city of Nashville, which is a booming city. It’s a massive city. A lot of people are flocking to live there today, and I’d love to hear more of that before we kind of hear how you embarked on buying this island, Aerial BVI.
Britnie Turner: Well, sorry to correct you, Justin, but it’s actually throughout the entire southeast of America, not just Nashville.
Justin Donald: Nice. Even better.
Britnie Turner: I did go from living in my car and working for free for these guys and watch how they did it. And for my young people listening or for anybody listening, you got to find a way to create value or people are going to keep you around it. So, they wouldn’t teach me, they are too busy. And so, I would just sit in the car and take notes on their frustration. What are you mad about? They’re mad at their contractor. They’re mad that they don’t have enough investment. They’re mad they don’t have enough deals, whatever their irritation is. They hate their realtor.
So, I would just start making their life easier by helping research this or finding them properties and bringing them to them. And then they told me why they didn’t like it. I take a lot of notes so that I wouldn’t bring them another one they didn’t like. And that was such a good education. Though they did not pay me that whole time, I was able to learn in a safe place and I was able to financially survive because I filled up their rental portfolio in the most dangerous neighborhoods ever. And at the end of that nine months, I said, “Hey, guys, I found the property, it makes $45,000 of profit. The agent commission is $6,000. I will find all the investor money. I’ll design the whole thing on me. And here’s the crew. I just want and I’ll throw in my commission. All I want is $5,000.” And they’d have to think about it for three days.
And I finally pressured them into it. And at the end of the project, they only gave me $3,000. I was negative $836.27 in the bank. And then I spent the other $2,000 sending them and their wives on a cruise to say thank you for being the first people to ever believe in me. And they were there. I’m sure my parents did, too, but they were the first people to really give me a chance and they did not pay me. And so, I was always grateful. And that gratitude has opened so many doors. I’m not entitled. Like nobody does owe you anything. And with that humility, like how can you serve other people who are doing what you want to do, have the mindset that you want to have, or the impact that you want to have?
And in the following year, I’m telling you everything that could go wrong went wrong. But I became the biggest rehabber in Nashville. And people weren’t used to seeing somebody that looks like me in that field. And I’m not mad about it. It was harder, but I’m not going to be a victim because I’m a first. And for my ladies listening to this, if you’re irritated that people don’t give you a chance or they’re harder on you, it’s our own fault because you aren’t sharing your story, you’re not sharing your light. We’re going to continue to be a freak of nature. If humans have never seen it done before by somebody that looks like us, then they won’t believe it’s possible until you’re willing to share and be public and have haters and whatever comes along with being open with stuff.
So, if you feel like you’re the wrong color, if you feel like you’re the wrong age, if you feel like you’re the wrong gender, you’re not the wrong one, you’re just showing people what’s possible and you’re going to do that through love and like, you’re not going to do it through anger or hater taking people down or any of that stuff. And so, just be willing to be first, be willing to make a way. But yeah, they were extra hard on you. It was not cool for a 21-year-old girl to be in that business for a lot of people, and I guess that came off as threatening. I don’t know why that matters to people. There are so many projects to do in the world. There’s so much abundance of good work that needs to be done. I don’t know why people care, but people are weird, so whatever.
When I wanted to quit, which was all the time, pretty much every day because construction can be trying, and dealing with contractors and dealing with the ups and downs of the economy, all the things, many times, I just want to curl up and die in a corner and just quit or run away to Hawaii and be a waitress. But I would think about that little girl, I would see her eyes. Every time I close my eyes, I was crying and I just really couldn’t go on. I see her eyes and I remember this is bigger than you. And I said I had to find a way to remember that emotion, that keep the big picture in mind, Britnie. Don’t get lost in this obstacle. Pull yourself out of this moment.
And that’s why I named the company Aerial. Every company I have is Aerial because it’s about that aerial perspective and looking at the fullness of your life and saying what is possible versus what’s just handed to me, what was told to me versus what God says is something he wants to do in this planet while I’m alive. And that level of surrender really helps me because I’ve never really had anybody believe what we’re saying we’re going to do and be done. And we had to normalize it for my staff and say, “If people aren’t calling us an idiot, then we’re too late.” And so, it’s become part of the checklist versus being offended when they say that’s a really dumb idea, Britnie.
And so, I was able to rise through the ranks of growing my real estate business and I was in a rush because I wanted to buy this apartment complex before I turned 26. And I thought that this whole journey was about learning how to make money so that I could leave. But when I went back to Africa and when I saw that I was able to use my skills in a region where parents were selling their babies for $25, knowing that they were going to be sex trafficked every day, knowing that their body would shut down in a matter of years, and then they’d be sold for parts, like parents made those decisions because they had no other way, and the whole family would die if they didn’t sell one.
Now, that’s horrific and not right, but hopefully, none of the listeners have ever had to be in that desperate of a situation. We don’t even understand what that feels like. But if given an amazing opportunity, they’re going to take it, they don’t want to sell their kids. So, I saw how instead of just making money with my skill, God had actually been preparing me, even though I had, to be honest, to say, a bad attitude for 10 years thinking that I was on track. And I just want to save babies. I didn’t realize that gaining the skills to develop communities that would attract economic opportunity to region to where it would wipe out sex trafficking in the building of an orphanage.
And all of my real estate skills are what I can bring to nation leaders to bring in economic opportunities so that people aren’t making desperation rooted, horrific selling of their children. And it’s not selling them all the way, sometimes it’s just renting them out, and it’s so much more prevalent than you guys would understand and it’s got to stop, but it starts with creating better options for people. And if we’ve ever solved poverty before in any part of the world, then it can be done again.
And living in my car, I was a sloppy kid, like always a sloppy, goofy kid, you learn how to take notes because you can’t afford to make the same mistake twice. Now, that note-taking has bled into note-taking after a disaster. How do we rebuild a country that just lost everything and come back better than before to where I can actually live this calling and do it at scale? And it’s important to help the one, always, but if you raise your hand and say, “I want to affect millions.” Then you’ve got to get educated, you’ve got to have the research, you’ve got to have the network, you’ve got to have the tools, you’ve got to have the mindset, you’ve got to have that connection and to be able to walk that out. And that’s something I’m practicing every day.
Justin Donald: That is powerful. And I know that the story of buying the island is in itself an incredible story, and I know we don’t have a lot of time. And you’ve got an event going on there right now. You’re leaving tomorrow to go back to Ukraine to help rescue more babies and children. Your husband, a Green Beret, Jeremy, is there right now, running point on this operation, which is just incredible seeing all the great things that you’re doing. And I’m so thankful to have even a portion of your time here for our audience here. But I’d love to hear any of the story of acquiring the island, like how you even thought you were going to do it with the time that we have remaining?
Britnie Turner: Well, I again was learning after I did that orphanage in Africa and I saw where they’re selling their kids for $25. Now, they have this thriving community. And it was because of our real estate development. And it was building hope and hopeless places. That’s where I started really seeing the connection of what God put in my heart at 12 and 17 and the skills I had been learning. I saw putting this together were huge, and so, I started practicing in my own backyard at 24 and I started buying up the most dangerous areas that nobody believed in and had no investment. I couldn’t even get in. I think it’s called redlining. But banks would not even fund me because they said nobody will ever buy there.
And so, I bought places called Murder Acre, Stab City, and it was practice for me to say I got to learn this in my own backyard because Africa was super far away. How can I get people to believe in this section of town? And so, it was, again, just practice, and I would probably call myself what, like, I had the worst strategy on paper for being a real estate developer if you’re just starting a business. That wasn’t even about the business, it’s always been about education and purpose and calling, and this ending sex trafficking for me. And so, my businesses are just my vehicle to learn and create resources. They never again were my identity, which is probably not the right way to start a business. But I’m a weird person and I had a weird approach, and that’s fine. It worked out for me.
So, I became this urban developer throughout the southeast, and instead of gentrifying, I learned how to mindfully revitalize, taking the community into account, and again, trading better opportunity for people to pull themselves out. No, I have not done that perfect every time because I didn’t have any ability to learn it from, but we have gotten it right in the end. And so, after I had just won Forbes 6th Fastest-Growing Women-Owned company in the world and Women-Owned and Women-Led in the world. And I don’t even go pick up the award because none of these awards ever meant anything to me. I know it sounds terrible because it’s nice to win cool stuff. And I was Fortunate #3 Fastest-Growing Urban Company in the nation, not women and men.
And I just wanted so badly to go save babies, and I said, “God, how do I go from this awesome skill set I have now of being able to transform blighted areas into economically thriving areas?” I said, “How do I go from that to Africa?” And he said, “Start on islands.” I was like, islands, never thought of that before. Start on islands. Build this resort that gathers the greatest minds in the world, people who are passionate about using their life as a force for good. Help them heal, help them act into their purpose, and start connecting them to the problems on the planet, the ones that they are passionate about. Help them see, help them have the resources and the tools to be able to think about more than just themselves and their own life and their own financial stress or own relationship problems. How do we heal them to where they can be a force for good in the world?
And I thought that was a really weird idea. But okay, I’ve never done a resort. I’ve no idea what that looks like. I’ve done all the other real estate assets, God, and you’re going to make me do a one I have no idea how to do it. And so, I made this plan. I spent over 100 hours in the fort in my office. I made this plan on how you would change the world with an island. And I figured the island would be near somewhere really rough, like the areas in Haiti that need help. The island would be a ripple effect, a blessing in a community, but even though I was a decamillionaire at 24, which was very cool and awesome because I was homeless three years before that, I still never thought I’d own nice stuff and I still had that weird, I would call it a poverty mentality where it’s holy to be poor. I didn’t know how– so I just thought even the island would need to be somewhere that I’m still struggling.
And the reason I’m taking a second in our last couple of minutes to share that is if I could, I’m not into regrets or wanting to go back, but if I could impart something to you, I had a very hard journey. And I don’t know if it had to be as hard as it was, but I think I attracted a lot of the problems accidentally because, in my subconscious, I didn’t think I was worthy. I didn’t walk in the fact knowing I’m a child and a daughter of the Creator of the entire universe. And the abundance that flows from that place, I thought in order to have anything, I had to go through the fires of hell to prove that I earned it. And I don’t know how much faith that really reflects us.
And now, it’s not like my life is perfect in any way, but I’ve lost the striving aspect. I’m into here’s the vision, here’s the best plan I can come up with, I’m going to put in the action, but it’s always surrendered because when I look back on my life, all the suckiest times, I mean, I’ve had to put two guys in jail for trying to kill me, I’ve been sued a million times by these turds just trying to take money. I’ve had the trail, I’ve had people trying to blackmail me. And I just don’t know if it had to have been that hard, and I want to encourage you to know who you are and whose you are. And with that, anything or person can come in and out of your life, but it still doesn’t make you more valuable.
And if you want to hear the full story of the island, you got to come here because we are out of time. But even the islands, and when I got it, and the journey of walking this out took 10 times longer than I imagined, 10 times the amount of money, 10 times the resiliency, but it’s not about the endgame, it’s again who you become on the journey. And I want you to be able to look back on your life, and when challenges do arise, who do you become? You never really know what a fruit is until it’s squeezed, I’ve heard. Who are you when you’re squeezed? And if you’re not liking who that person is, start working on that.
Justin Donald: You’ve got such great wisdom and just phrases, analogies, I love it. There’s so much fruit here for us to be able to take home. And by the way, I can’t wait for people to learn more about the story because it was– I mean, there were ups and downs just in buying the island, just in trying to secure it. Then, there was a hurricane that came through. And there’s a complication with the storm insurance. And then we had COVID, I mean, it seemed like everything would be– like if you look at it today, you’d say, “Wow, what an easy opportunity. How nice. This is gorgeous.” But to learn the trials and tribulations along the way is really, I feel like, what makes it so special.
And from being a guest on your island, experiencing it firsthand, this is a place that just restores. The food is delicious, but it’s some of the healthiest food you’ll ever have and some of the best-tasting food you’ll ever have, just the menu itself, the drinks, the mocktails. You’ve got these cool little electric vehicles called Mokes that take you around, and it’s just so neat. The castle on the top at the highest points and all the different rooms, you’ve got 16 different incredible rooms and spaces to recharge, water activities, rescue animals, rescue zebras and horses and ponies. I mean, the list goes on and on and on.
And so, I’m just thrilled because The Lifestyle Investor Mastermind is going to be hosting an event on your island and getting a chance to learn more and meet you and experience so much of what you’ve been able to build and the impact that you’ve had. And I am thrilled for others to be able to figure out how they can kind of take a piece of what you’re doing, maybe activate it in their own life, maybe just come and experience it. So, where is the best place that we can find out more about you and about Aerial BVI?
Britnie Turner: Well, you can go to your website to find your events that we are going to be hosting. Find the date, sign up. I’ll make sure that I’m here, I can meet with you and help journey with you through. Any limiting beliefs if I can do anything because I’m way less qualified than probably everybody listening to this, but once you’ve seen it, it can become possible for you, whether or not you want to be an island owner someday or you want to see somebody really walking their purpose because had I given up– and I’m not going to ruin the story of the island, you have to come here to hear it.
There are still complications in the insurance. The insurance got canceled by somebody who was trying to actively destroy me. And so, if I’d given up when after I’d invested millions of dollars into fixing this place up and it was all blown away and I had chosen not to find a way to serve the people at BVI and be a blessing in their lives and serve when they lost everything, even though I had just lost everything, if I had given up, and today, 548 orphans in Ukraine would not be rescued from war. I chose to not just rebuild my life but use the pain of a disaster to say, how can I help ease other people’s pain? How can I go in and help when people need it most and stay not just one off trip? And I built an organization called Aerial Recovery, and my team has been boots on the ground in Ukraine since 48 hours after the fighting began. And my team is all veterans and they can do undercover operations and rescue missions that nobody else can. So, it’s repurposing them after they retire, but they’re the most skilled people in the world to be able to do these operations that save lives.
And that today, we’re about to get 300 more, and it’s horrific, what’s happening in the world. But instead of even as an empath, somebody who feels everything, wants to cry all the time. I feel that pain, but I do something about it and I build businesses to do something about it. And I’ve created experiences and I’ve got teams working around the clock to solve these problems. And you have that choice in your life. You can become a hater activist. You can become an ostrich that just I can’t hear those problems. Or you can say, I want to create a better system that makes this old system obsolete. I want to find a way to create those opportunities. I’m willing to do what it takes. I’m willing to be different, I’m willing to be first, I’m willing to go through the hard times if they arrive. And I’m willing to get out of my comfort zone and learn what I need to, meet the people I need to, and come find center and do the inner work, whatever it is. But you have that choice and your one chance on Earth.
And I hope to see you all here, I hope to meet you guys, I hope to walk on the beach with the ponies and have deep, meaningful conversations about how you can activate into your purpose. And I look forward to singing karaoke with y’all and eating dinner and all the things. This is a place where people come to activate into their purpose. That’s the whole point of it. And I’m so excited to have you and your group out here, Justin.
Justin Donald: Well, thank you for just spending the time. This has been incredible. And I mean, you’re the real deal. I mean, one of the things that I feel like separates you from everyone else is that you get in it, you get your hands and nails dirty. You get the dirt stuck underneath those nails from the hard work. It’s not just financial help you get in there, and it’s just so exciting to see. And I’ve seen the pictures on your phone of these children that you’re rescuing. And so, I mean, I know this is happening at a high level. It’s an honor to get a chance to really do life with you and see all the cool things that you’re doing in the world.
And I just want to leave and close out this episode the way that I close out every episode. And that’s this. What’s one step that you can take today towards financial freedom and towards living a life that you truly desire that’s on your terms? It’s not a life by default but rather a life by design. Thanks so much. Check out AerialBVI.com. And I’m excited to catch you next week.