Do you have a business or have you simply created a job for yourself? For many reading this, it’s the latter, though that wasn’t the initial plan. Frank Curtain works with many of the top real estate investors in America to help set up processes and systems that will allow you to step out of your business and truly become an owner. This will not only allow you to live a better life, when done right, your business will prosper more than ever before. Check out this episode of the FlipNerd.com Expert Interview show to learn more…and just maybe…change your life.
Highlights of this show
- Meet Frank Curtain, business process design expert.
- Learn how many fall into the trap of not putting in place the right systems and processes, while ultimately holds owners hostage to their businesses, and severely limits growth opportunities.
- Join the discussion on how setting short term goals in your real estate investing business, determining your core values, getting focused and determining what to delegate can set you free!
Resources and Links from this show:
Listen to the Audio Version of this Episode
FlipNerd Show Transcript:
Mike: Hey everyone, it’s Mike Hambright with FlipNerd. Welcome back for another exciting Expert Interview show, where I interview great guests from across the real estate investing industry, and other entrepreneurs as with today, to help you learn and inspire you.
Today’s show is really going to be awesome in terms of helping you grow your business and have the business that we all aspire to have. Today we’re joined by Frank Curtin who is an expert in business process design and system design, and I don’t want to bore you with those words, so hang with me here. So Frank is also a recovering real estate investor as well. But he works with a lot of really high caliber real estate investors, and lots of other small and medium sized businesses to help improve their operations.
So as you know, if you’re listening to this, the struggle with a lot of real estate investors is that we are entrepreneurs and we got in this for all the freedom that it provides. But as entrepreneurs we all too often get caught up and kind of chained to our business. To where even if we’re doing well financially we’re just maybe not enjoying the very freedoms that we got in this business to do, and that’s kind of how self employment works sometimes. We may just create another J-O-B for ourselves.
So Frank sees that all the time and helps solve these problems for a lot of small businesses and small entrepreneurs like us, and today that’s exactly what we are going to talk about is business system and processes to help us really have a business and not a job and help us enjoy our lives more. Before we get started with Frank though, let’s take a moment to recognize our featured sponsors.
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Please note, the views and opinions expressed by the individuals in this program do not necessarily reflect those of FlipNerd.com or any of its partners, advertisers, or affiliates. Please consult professionals before making any investment or tax decisions, as real estate investing can be risky.
Hey Frank, welcome to the show.
Frank: Hey Mike.
Mike: I’m glad you’re here. I feel those pains in myself a lot. I think a lot of people assume I’ve got it figured out, I’ve got a podcast, somehow we got Frank Curtin on the show even, done hundreds of shows, I bought hundreds of houses, I do all this entire stuff. And it’s been great. It’s been great life for me. But we work hard and I think a lot of small businesses, even if you do well sometimes, sometimes you feel like you’re in a bit of a hamster wheel, right?
Frank: Without a doubt. It’s funny you say that about doing business on your own. A lot of people leave the corporate world thinking “The freedoms I’m going to get with my business,” so they trade in that 40 to 50 hour week for an 80 hour work week. Great freedom.
Mike: Especially in real estate because so many people have been conditioned to think “Well it’s just easy. They do it on TV. Just slap some paint on something and make 30 grand,” and it’s like not quite that easy.
Frank: Come one, [inaudible 00:03:55] make it look easy.
Mike: Hey, I’m excited to talk about this because I aspire, for people that kind of follow the show, a big part of what we do at FlipNerd, is we really want people to have a better life through real estate investing. Improve the life of their families, their community, all those things. My wife Lindsay and I are very passionate about that for ourselves and for everybody around us. Yet we see so many people get in a situation where they are maybe solopreneurs, and they’re working their tail off.
And in your mind you’re building a business, but if you stop working tomorrow or something happened to you tomorrow, you wanted take a vacation or something then everything kind of stops or gets kind of messed up. So it’s a really important topic and I’m glad you’re here.
Frank: Great. A question I ask people a lot when they’re in business for themselves is I’ll say “If you took a vacation for 30 days, what would your business look like when you returned?” That’s an indication for how much automation you got in place and how your systems are operating for you to earn you money when you are not present. It’s a segue.
Mike: I know we’re going to talk about systems too. It’s not like, hey I have an app for that. It’s like, what are the systems or how you process things. Before we get too deep into this why don’t you tell us . . . you have a really incredible background, why don’t you share your background and how you got to where you are today?
Frank: Sure. I’ve got over 25 years in project management type work. I used to be an environmental consultant. My undergrad degree was in geology of all things. So that would put you with houses and digging dirt. So I was in environmental geology doing project management for a while. I went back and got my MBA, so I’ve got an advanced degree from Harvard and I also have an MBA from Ohio State.
I left out of the MBA program, went right to IBM and I worked as a management consultant. I was doing business process work. So I’d go into these large Fortune 500, Fortune 1000, Fortune 2000 type companies and we do these really big engagements. This would be anywhere from $10 million to $250 million.
So a lot of people doing a lot of things and my job primarily was to do process work. And it was lot of fun doing that kind of stuff because you’re sitting there actually observing what people are doing and sort of they don’t even realize what they do. So just like many of us, we do things all the time, we don’t even realize we do half the things we do. So I’m just like “Hey, tell me the top 10 things you did today?” They probably come up with three and they probably did hundreds, but they [inaudible 00:06:24] three. So that’s an example.
So worked at IBM for a number of years. In 2001 I left IBM and decided I needed to spend time with my family and I had young kids at home. I was on the road 45 weeks a year. That was too much. So put my five years in with IBM, thought that was great, got good experience with them. So I started my entrepreneurial road. So I started flipping houses. I did short sales. Short sales got big right around the 2002, 2003 mark. They were pretty popular, even though the real estate market was growing fast, there was still plenty of foreclosures and not a lot of people in it.
So I was doing that in the DFW market. Had a couple of people doing that with. Right around the 2006 mark things changed a little bit. We started to get into spec home building and building McMansions and so I got experience with buying and turning house quickly. Buying and renting them out, buying and then fixing them and then reselling them and then lastly scraping, scrap the dirt and raise a brand new house to these multimillion dollar homes. And right around 2008, it’s kind of playing musical chairs, there were no chairs for me. I had nowhere to sit. When I was sitting there with all these houses, so that’s what ended my real estate run at that point.
But because of my background, because of the process work, because of the project management work, when the product launches for the real estate gurus if you will or for these various individuals who sell products and services that teach others how to do real estate, I got involved with that. So they came to me, started out with Tim. I love Tim, he is a great guy and he pulled me into it. I went in reluctantly kicking and screaming, said “No, I know I don’t want to do this” and he says “Please help me with this.” So I did and I found out it was a need that the small business guy really needed, doing the launches, I was helping them.
But what I did that was different than a lot of other people who assisted with launches, and as you know there’s tons of Jeff Walker disciples running around and stuff. What I did differently though was when I saw a business that was about to take on a lot of new clients, I’d look at their operations and see how ready they were for it. I’d ask them a question, can your customer service handle this? Can this happen? And little by little people stopped hiring me for launches and started hiring me to fix their business. Because they realized I have this problem whether I launch or not.
And so it’s been evolving over the years into that and now we’re pretty much doing that regularly for small businesses. I see it all the time. Everyone that I talk to, they’re struggling, they hit a ceiling. They don’t understand what the ceiling is, and there are tools and techniques that we can use to help people get past that.
Mike: Yeah, it’s interesting. What is the difference between somebody that may live a very good life and buy 20, 25 houses a year, and some of the people that we know that are doing hundreds of houses a year, and it’s systems and processes and business maturity and treating it as a business. And often times its finding ways to get yourself out of the way.
Frank: It is and in fact that’s the number one thing, there’s a term called letting go of the vine and that’s one . . . Gino Wickman did a book called Traction and for those people that have read it, if you’re an entrepreneur and you haven’t read it, I encourage you to do so. You definitely want to take a look at that because what he’s talking about letting go of the vine is, we as entrepreneurs, we feel like we know what we need to do and we have a lot of knowledge about the things that we do as a practitioner in the business.
What we struggle with is trusting someone else to do what we need done. It’s like I could let somebody do that but they’re not going to do it as good as me, and so you just keep doing it. Well you hit a human capital constraint. You only have so much time and even if you do hire people, do you know what you’re hiring them specifically for and how they’re going to help you in all that? Most entrepreneurs they kind of struggle with that, they deal with it from “Well I need an assistant.” “Okay, what is this assisting going to do?” “Well, I’m not sure yet.” So they hire an assistant.
Mike: They’re going to do stuff.
Frank: Yeah, things, I’ll just give them things. Well these giving things also come with instructions. So you not only give the person something me to do, you have to give them the instructions too, which means you’re kind of still doing it. So you’re doing your job plus a little bit of their job. And every time you hire somebody without proper documentation of getting all that great knowledge you have in your head out on to paper at some point, how are you going to actually expect somebody to deliver that same outcome that you could do without you being present? Makes it very, very difficult. That’s where it comes from.
Mike: Small businesses Frank, especially in real estate let’s say, things change all the time. So how do you get to a point to where you don’t train somebody how to do something that is so rigid that they can’t evolve with you? Especially as a real estate investor, a lot of times the owner of the business has all the knowledge and not just the knowledge for how to do certain things or this is how we do at our office, but just what’s going on in the market place and how things are evolving. How do you get a team to evolve with you?
Frank: I love that question because there’s only one thing that should stand the test of time and that’s your principles. Whatever principles you live by and you’ve built your company around the core values that you truly set in place, those are the things that they stand the test of time. Everything else is subject to change. Political, social, economic, anything could happen. Regulations, I’ve seen businesses get erased with a stroke of a pen, cash businesses, those 24 hour cash places.
Frank: Had a friend with a $3 million book of business, with a stroke of a pen they made it illegal and he was out of business the next day. So those things happen and in real estate you got regulation all the time, and not just regulation at a government level at the highest level, it’s at the state level, and sometimes at the county level. And so you get so many nuances about how that business works.
How do you stay mobile and flexible in all that? Again it goes back to your principles. You stay firm on your principles, but you have to be at the fore front of what you are doing. You cannot be in a closet, you can’t be in your office, you can’t be in your office, you can’t be in your house in your basement and not getting out and finding out what’s going on. You have to be engaging with people. It’s really important for people to get involved with masterminds or at least some sort of a social environment where other people are in the know and you’re sharing knowledge back and forth.
Then you also have to be open minded. You have to identify and recognize when the market is starting to shift you have to shift with it. You cannot say, “Well we’ve always done it this way,” that doesn’t work. Ask Eastern Airlines and if for some . . .
Mike: Who? I don’t know who that is. I don’t have an idea who that is.
Frank: You don’t even know who they are. They were the largest airline in the ’80s, in the 1980s, ’87, ’89 in that time frame. Gone.
Mike: Frank, take us from the top. Sometimes it’s hard to even realize you have a problem right?
Mike: You just think you’re so caught up in the day to day stuff and it kind of hard to step back. And I know a lot of people . . . as a consultant a lot of people kind of pay you to come in, but there’s a lot of small businesses that are hearing this that probably don’t have the resources to even do that. But if they think, I like everything I heard here, I read Traction, whatever. How do they step back and kind of diagnose the situation for themselves they may not even know they’re in?
Frank: That’s a great point. When people are first starting and they’re unaware of any of the stuff that we’re talking about or it’s a distant thing for them, if it’s something like that, they start with 90 day goals. And the reason that you want to set up a 90 day goal pattern for something is you have to get discipline and focus in your business and in your activities. For us little guys, for the ones that don’t have a big staff of people to hand and delegate things off to, focus is the most important thing that’s going to get you from point A to point B in the quickest fastest amount of time.
So if you think about it from this perspective, if I want to achieve a certain objective in 90 days and I stay focused on it, did you ever notice how Wall Street works? Everything is in 90 day cycles. If I don’t get my numbers every 90 days when the quarterlies come out, it can be disastrous. You see layoffs, you see firings, you see celebrations. You see both sides of it based on, did we hit our number? Did we not hit our numbers? Is this the right management team to run this company and all that sort of stuff? They operate a 90 day window for all of these things.
Well it just so happens that 90 days happens to be about the time when we put our focus on something, we start to lose it. If we try to use a year plan, which a lot of entrepreneurs do, they read these books, you read 100 books, I guarantee you have a 100 different opinions of how to set up a business.
Frank: You just do. But the one that’s going to work, is the one you’re going to follow. None of them are wrong, none of them are right. But for you there’s only one way. It’s the one you’re going to follow. So when you think about it from that perspective. Well it’s okay to have a one year plan, but if you don’t break it down to a 90 day and you figure out what am I going to do in this next 90 days? And come hell or high water, you’re going to focus on getting those things done in 90 days and you don’t allow the shiny objects to come in.
If something comes in and enters an opportunity, “Hey, there’s a new Podio software. If you put this in, you’ll have the best sale system.” And everybody drops everything and they install Podio. Or, “Hey, you need Infusion software.” Or, “Hey, you got Kajabi.” You got all these things and they do all this stuff, or there’s this deal flow [inaudible 00:15:56] software. You put all this in your business, you’re going to be rich tomorrow. No you’re not.
Mike: There’s so much of that out there too. It can be so distracting.
Frank: The tools that people need in their business, the ones that they use to operate their business and stuff like that, it starts with a pen and paper. That’s what it really starts with. It starts with focus and a pen and paper. You can use a lot of tools and I’m a software developer. I own a software company that helps manage process and stuff, but I’m not a pushing that first.
I would never do that because there’s so much more that has to be done structurally that requires your mind. You have to think it through. Only you can focus. You can’t use a tool to focus. We think we can, but that’s not realistic for any of us. That’s the next step once we get dialed in on what we’re going to do.
So now we all have our sales and operations and we have our finance, we have all these things. And yes, we have tools and software to help us with all that, thank God we do, because we’re all much more productive than we would have been in the ’80s when we had none of that. So because we have that, that’s great, but the focus I’m talking about is what are you trying it achieve?
An example might be in the real estate community you might say, “I want to buy and sell five houses in the next 90 days,” maybe you’re small and you’re starting out and your goal is to do 20 in a year. Well if we break that down that might be five and a quarter. Great. Your focus should be doing nothing but that. That’s what you should be focused on doing. How do I get those five houses? How do I bring them into my organization, to my asset pool and how do I unload them? How do I do that?
Not about whether or not I get Podio in or not. Not about whether or not I get this new widget that’s going to now get me more email lists. Yes, you need buyers, yes you need people that want to sell to you and stuff like that. Yes, you need that stuff. But you got to focus on the five, and that’s what I’m talking about when you’re talking about getting really dialed in and focused and not changing focus because you hear somebody else is doing something different than you.
So that comparative thing where you look at somebody else and go “They did 12 houses last month. They’re gorillas out there,” but you are not. That’s not who you are. That’s not what you are. Your only comparison is you want to be better today than you were yesterday and better tomorrow than you are today. You keep moving in that line, you can do that in 90 day sprints. You try to do that over a year, whatever you’re focused on a year from now, you’re going to put it off because what do people tend to do?
Mike: Wait till the last minute.
Frank: Procrastinate if I have a 90 day goal at least I’m going to do four things in a year. If I have a one year goal, I’m going to do one thing in that year and I’m probably going to do it in December. Because things get in the way. There are so many things happening.
Mike: So Frank, short of people having a consultant or somebody there to kind of hold their hand through this, how do they hold themselves accountable for going through a process like this? Some people that don’t have somebody holding them accountable for let’s say losing weight or getting fit, they never get fit. Despite the best of intentions, they just never make it to the gym because things get in the way. It’s the same thing in business, how do people hold themselves accountable?
Frank: Now as you know, I’m a fan of people hiring me to come and do their stuff. Let’s look at it the other way, let’s say you’re started, you don’t have the kind of budget to do that. You should be partnering up with other people in the industry and using each other as accountability partners. You could do that for free. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. What you need is a voice of reason who thinks like you and they share some of the values that you share. That can help you get to the next level that you’re looking for and it needs to be something that you do in a regular basis.
If you’re not talking to somebody weekly about what’s going on, who are you talking to? And who’s giving you the opinions that you need or who’s giving you the feedback or the opinion that you’re seeking about whatever it is that’s going on? How do you solve issues if they arise? Issues come up in business all the time. Whether it’s an employee issue, a money issue, they just happen. How do you solve those? If you don’t have anybody to bounce it off of you other than yourself, well chances are the issue is yours to begin with.
Mike: So in the real estate investing space specifically there are masterminds.
Mike: We know some great masterminds. But at the smaller scale level a lot of real estate investors let’s say, that’s a big part of our audience, or even folks like title companies, lenders, in any one market they tend to, maybe they put themselves there, but they’re often on an island. They don’t talk to other people in the market because they’re worried about competition or somebody learning their trade secret. Which there are very few trade secrets in this industry anyway.
But all those things usually tend to keep people from talking to others and kind of masterminding if you will, talking about best practices and things like that. So how do folks get around those issues in their head? Is it just finding people that are outside of your market? There’s a ton of ways with Facebook groups and things like that.
Frank: I think that people should just overcome that mind set first and foremost. Yes there are competitors in there, but all you’re looking to do, is when you get into a group, is you’re looking to get into a group, a small one. You’re not looking to say, “Let me go to a meetup that has 1500 members in it, let me get up in front and tell them exactly what my strategy is for [inaudible 00:21:08].” That’s not what you’re talking about. But there’s nothing wrong like getting three to four people together sharing strategies when you’re small. I’m talking you’re real small. This is when it’s you and maybe an assistant, maybe one or two bird dogs or something like that.
If you’re in that predicament, you shouldn’t be worried about competition. You should be worried about survival. Because you can only do so much and if you don’t get some guidance outside of yourself, when things do change and you spend that time hibernating and things start to change, you’re going to feel the pinch. You’re going to feel it worse than somebody else who’s been out there sort of taking it on. So when you start putting together your little group of people and what’s wrong with . . . if you’re going to do it how about if you do it with a broker or real estate agent and somebody else? Use that as a mastermind.
So now you need a real estate agent many cases to help you find deals, and help you off load properties if you need to do that, unless you’re wholesaling, then you need a wholesalers list. But you need people like that. So you need a title company person. Maybe they’ll be your sounding board or maybe they’ll be your board of advisers to help you. Because let’s say face it, you’re feeding them. Those are people that benefit from you.
Mike: That’s good. So Frank, what about folks that are . . . a lot of what I would say about real estate investors is they tend to be in the opportunity business and opportunities come up, things change, they move in different directions. And it’s maybe more difficult, I’m just playing devil’s advocate here, more difficult to kind of build processes around, this is how we do things because the way that we do things changes periodically as opportunities kind of arise. Any thoughts there?
Frank: If you structured yourself around accountability rather than on an org chart type thing and you put the responsibilities within the different departments. So let’s say everybody is got a sales and marketing group, everybody’s got an operations group, everybody has a financer. So what does that all look like for you? If you started structuring it around there, when opportunities come, you’re going to first and foremost know how that’s going to impact your business. Because if it’s just people, if it’s Frank and Mike and Mary over here, if something comes, we don’t even know what we’re going to do with it.
Who’s going to do what parts of this if that were to be a true opportunity? You might be flipping single family homes and somebody comes along with a 12 unit apartment complex and wants you to get in and you’re like “That would be great. That’s like 12 houses.” Is it? It’s a whole other animal. Are you even built and structured to be able to handle that kind of an opportunity?
Now granted the entrepreneur in you is like going “This would be awesome.” And it just might be if you were partnered with the right people that can help you help go through that process, it might. But then we go back to the focus part. Is that anywhere in your plans? Is that anywhere in your financial realm? Are you able to even execute something like that? Do you have the resources to go and knock down a deal like that or take it down? Can you do that?
So you have to be honest with yourself too and I think a lot of times when entrepreneurs are first out there they’re sold a bill of goods about what they’re capable of doing with absolutely no resources. How’s that been working? I think you’ve been in business long enough. You’ve done enough homes yourself. It takes a lot of work.
If it’s not your money, it takes access to money. You can’t go in and expect a bank to do this for you. That’s probably not going to happen. You’re going to need the help of some private money. You’re going to need somebody to believe in you and do this with you, or you better have some deep pockets of your own which that’s cool if you do, but that’s not usually why people get into real estate in the first place.
Mike: So what have we not covered yet Frank? What haven’t we covered that is part of the process of not just figuring out what you need, but how you kind of get down the road of putting systems in place to help you live a better life, I guess?
Frank: Once you layout your accountability, something else that they need to start thinking about is as you list the roles that are done by those functions, and we do functions and structure first before we put peoples names in there. Now when you’re by yourself your name is going to be in every one of those boxes. We know what that looks like. The org chart [inaudible 00:25:15].
Mike: Chief bottle washer.
Mike: CEO and chief bottle washer.
Frank: But very quickly you’ll have the need, if you will, you’ll realize that your 80 hours. You can’t sustain that. And yet the business requires 80 hours of work in order to keep moving forward week after week. So you know you need another body to help you do that. Now hopefully you have the resources to do that. But you’re going to take on this new person.
You have to have to be giving them the right things, because do you even know what you’re going to hire? A lot of people think, I need an assistant first. Really? What if you had a sales person? What if you had somebody that was great at acquisitions? What if you had somebody that was great at whatever? Pick the thing that you do.
And one of the things that I like to tell people is if you do a delegate and elevate activity vision a quadrant and across the top is everything you’d like or love to do. Across the bottom is everything you don’t like, you just don’t like to do it. And then put the line over here and on this half over here these are the things that you’re good at and this one down here, these are things you’re not good at. But up here it’s like and love, you really get at them, like and love them down here. I don’t like it and I’m good at it. I don’t like it and I’m not good at it.
People tend to do what they have a consistency of doing is they’re giving away the stuff up here and this is the one that gives them the pain. This is the one that they’re asking themselves very clearly, they’re going “I can’t trust somebody to do this plus I’m really good at this.” The other one that’s the hard one on this, the one they have to learn to give away, they’re okay with giving away, I don’t like it. I don’t want to do it. That’s what the assistant is there for.
But what their real need is usually is I’m good at it and I don’t like it. So the joy in business when you get rid of all the I don’t likes, when you get rid of those and start having somebody else do those, by the way, somebody will enjoy doing that. It’s all based on different personalities.
Frank: There are people that enjoy doing . . . there’s people that like to do accounting. God bless them. I’m not that guy. So that’s there. But when you’re doing this stuff up here, you don’t have a job. You’re not working any more. It’s too much fun. It becomes fun because now you’re doing all the stuff you really enjoy doing.
And so any entrepreneur whether you’re starting out day one, it’s just you, if you lay out your business in terms of what the structure looks like and what the roles are under each of the pieces, and again that book Traction would help somebody just guide them through. It’s just got enough information in there to help to get them started anyways.
Mike: It’s a great book. I’ll definitely add a link down below the video here for that.
Frank: Definitely worth it. Throw it on there, I think they’ve got it on Amazon or whatever, its well worth it. I make all my clients read it by the way. I won’t even work with them until they read it, because it’s got the tools that I’m going to bring to them and bring to life for them. So the point that I’m getting at though is the next step, you can’t grow until you find a way to remove the hours that you just don’t have. You can’t give 80 hours every single week. At some point you’re going to burn out.
So as you start delegating, removing all the things you don’t like and adding people in, maybe you hate the finance side of the business. So you’re going to get somebody in finance. They’re going to take care of all your books, they’re going to take care of all the HUD paperwork, they’re going to take care of all that stuff. You hate that. But you love relationships, you love talking to people. Great. You go in sales. Good for you, that sort of thing.
Maybe you got some project manager that’s able to flip houses or fix houses. They can come in and they can work anywhere from 5k to a 30k budget and make the house beautiful. That’s their thing. Awesome. You never liked that anyway. They can do it everyday. So you don’t have to do that.
So again delegate and elevate. When you look at the tool from this perspective, you keep this stuff up here, you give away this stuff here, very quickly you start finding yourself building a team, and you find the businesses getting all the work that it needs to get done, done which produces profits.
This of course assumes you have the right business model to begin with, one that if I buy a house here and I input this much of improvement to it and I sell it here, there’s enough money left over to support me and all the people I hire. So as long as you’re doing that right, you can grow your business. You can get over that ceiling. You just break through.
Mike: And Frank, maybe you can share some thoughts on if somebody just doesn’t want to be a manager, they just doesn’t like to manage people. I think for younger people, I think it takes a time in your career and your life to kind of realize whether I enjoy working with people, or I can do it if I have to, or I just simply don’t like to manage other people. Just share some thoughts on it because I think a lot of entrepreneurs find themselves in that situation where they know their limit about their own capacity and they just don’t like to manage other people.
Frank: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Sometimes when people leave corporate world and they go into business for themselves, they truly enjoy doing this by themselves, and there’s nothing wrong with it. You can make a great living, far better than what you get from a wage, if you’re doing all the work yourself and you limit yourself. So let’s say you knew you had the personal capacity to do five homes a quarter, we’ll go back to that example. Well then you don’t have to keep worrying about hiring. As long as you don’t set a goal to do 20 homes in a single quarter. If you try and take that on, you’re going to quickly realize you can’t be in 20 different places within that 90 day window and then selling those 20 places to make it worthwhile. And we all know what happens if we buy something that we don’t sell. Not good.
So again, you could do this business as a single person and I don’t mean not married. I mean single individual, as an individual you could do this business. You could do it part time on the side while you have a job. That’s very possible too and there’s nothing wrong with that.
And so one of the things I often tell people is don’t be pressured by what other people are doing to think you need to do that too. “John got an assistant. I got to get an assistant.” Do you really need an assistant or is it just because John has one? No need to take on additional expenses that don’t pay off a dividend for you or that you’re not even going to know if you’re going to get the value out of it.
Mike: And this is an industry that I think people tend to historically thump their chest and it’s all about units and which doesn’t matter at all and it took me a while to realize that. I’m part of a franchise system. So there’s award ceremonies and lots of celebrations, and lots of awards and ribbons and placards and stuff like that and people want that stuff even though it doesn’t matter. I think people get hung up, and I’ve had people say to me, I coach and mentor a lot of people that are I’m are like “I want to buy 100 houses a year,” and I’m like “Do you know what that means?”
Frank [inaudible 00:31:59] exactly.
Mike: You may not want that.
Frank: You absolutely may not. Now if you have the whole staff running the business and you’re gallivanting around at all the events and everything, that can be a great thing.
Frank: I know lots of people that do 100-plus homes a year, some that do upwards of 300 homes a year. They have a very large staff though. They are not doing it as an entrepreneur out of their basement. I promise you that.
Frank: So there is a big difference. I just say at the end of the day your personal happiness is going to come from are you satisfied with the amount of money you’re making for the effort you’re putting in? That’s the bottom line. If you’re happy, don’t worry about what somebody else considers happy for them.
Frank: The number of times I have heard people say . . . you would tell them . . . I remember one month we did five homes and they were like “I bet you can wait to do 10.” I’m like “Can I celebrate the five first?” I never did five before, like, can I celebrate the five before you tell me I’m not good enough all of a sudden? Guess what? Five I was good enough and so are you.
Mike: Awesome Frank. Any kind of final words? I want you to tell people how to get a hold of you. But any kind of words of wisdom here for people that are listening saying this resonates with them. They feel like I understand that I’m a slave in my business. I need be able to put some things in place to help truly have this as a business and not a hobby or something that’s totally enslaved me to it. Any kind of final words of wisdom to those folks on where do they go from here?
Frank: First and foremost is ask yourself, am I really a slave to it or I’m I just buying someone else’s story that says I’m a slave to it? If you’re comfortable doing what you’re doing, there’s nothing wrong with that. You have to be happy with what you have anyways. If you’re not happy in the present moment, there’s nothing in the future for you that’s going to make you happy.
Mike: Very true.
Frank: That’s the honest truth. So be content with where you are at now, that’s first. Second thing is get your plans in order. What do you want to get done in 90 days? Get very focused on that. So if I’m happy today and I have a 90 day plan and I truly believe that if I achieve that goal in 90 days, I’ll still be happy like that will make me happy that I did that 90 day run. There’s your start.
Now if you’re truly looking for growth and you’re ready to take it on and you want to do that, that’s when you need to start structuring yourself and your plans need to be involved, you getting rid of tasks you don’t like to do anymore. And you have to be able to step out of your comfort zone and bring people in, and you have to trust them. But I don’t need to document things that I do myself over and over again if I already know how to do it. But if I’m going to hire, I’ve got to get my documentation in order, at least for the things I’m going to have them do.
So when documentation is in order, called for, because I’m ready to hire somebody, that’s fine. That’s the only time I really need to do it. I don’t have to do it when it’s just me. Not yet anyways. So you can walk this thing through with baby steps. You don’t have to grow at rapid speed. You don’t have to be a multibillion dollar Facebook company in eight years like they did. You don’t have to do that. This is all about what’s your comfort level, take it at your pace, it’s your race, no one else’s.
When you decide its time to grow, then you now know what you need to do. You’ve got make the job something that someone can do, you’ve got to get out of your head what needs to get on paper so they can do it like you want it. And you’ve got to be willing to take that risk because you’re going to own the responsibility of feeding that mouth.
Frank: Just like you do with your family. Now every time you hire you have that responsibility to feed that person.
Mike: Awesome Frank. Hey thanks for sharing with us today. If folks want to learn more about you, I know you have a consulting business, but if they want to learn more about you or some of the things you do, where should they go?
Frank: My website is TheSmartGuides. So it’s TheSmartGuides.com.
Mike: Awesome. We’ll add a link down below. We’ll add a link for the book Traction as well. It’s a great book. I definitely recommend it. Now that we have talked about it, it’s been a little while since I’ve read it, so I’m going to crack that thing open this weekend. It’s on my iPad.
Frank: There you go.
Mike: I’m not going to crack my iPad open, you know what I mean. So Frank, really good to see you again. Thanks so much for your time, I appreciate it and I hope a lot of people got value out of this. And I’d love to get some feedback on today’s episode. So hit me up on social media.
Actually if people don’t know this, you can actually connect to each other, kind of like LinkedIn on FlipNerd now. So we had our launch that came out where you can connect to people, you can message each other.
So shoot me a message. Let me know what you think. And Frank, we’ve got to get you hooked up with a profile. I don’t know if you have one or not. We’ve got to get you hooked up.
Frank: Make sure we get that going.
Mike: We might be able to even find you on . . . I was going to say Facebook. FlipNerd. Frank, thanks so much for your time today. Great to see you. Appreciate the information. Good stuff.
Frank: Thanks Mike, appreciate it.
Mike: All right. Have a good day.
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