This is episode #379, and my guest today is my pal Martin Boonzaayer.
Most real estate investors get started in the business as a one man (or woman) band – where we’re doing every aspect of the business. If you enjoy that, there’s nothing wrong with it. However, if you want to move beyond being “self employed” and have a team to help you grow your business, this is the show for you.
Today we discuss the typical key roles in a small real estate investing business, as well as a bit on how to find the right person. Having the right people in the right seats is critical, and can ultimately make or break your business.
Martin is an awesome guy, and in today’s show, we casually discuss both of our experiences with finding the right people in our businesses.
Mike: This is the FlipNerd.com Expert Real Estate Investing show. The show for real estate investors whether you’re a veteran or brand new. I’m your host Mike Hambright and each week I bring you a new expert guest that will share their knowledge and lessons with you. If you’re excited about real estate investing, believe in personal responsibility, and taking control of your life and financial destiny, you’re in the right place.
This is episode number 379 and my guest today is my pal Martin Boonzaayer. Most real estate investors get started in the business as a one-man or a one-woman band where we’re doing every aspect of the business. Now, if you enjoy that there is nothing wrong with it. However, if you want to move beyond being self-employed and have a team to help you grow your business you’re going to love this show. Today, we discuss the typical key roles in a small, real estate investing business, as well as a bit on how to find the right person.
Having the right people in the right seats on your bus is critical and can ultimately make or break your business. Plus, Martin is just an awesome guy. So on today’s show we really casually discuss both of our experiences with finding the right people to put in the right seats in our real estate investing businesses, all aimed at trying to help you overcome some of the challenges that you might be facing. So let’s get started. Please help me welcome Martin Boonzaayer to the show.
Hey Martin. Welcome to the show.
Martin: Thanks Mike. It’s great to be back.
Mike: Good to see you again, man.
Martin: You too.
Mike: So I’m really excited to talk about this topic today because, you know, a lot of real estate investors and really, almost all real estate investors start as a one-man band. And then we all have these challenges of trying to grow a team and build this into something where we’re not effectively just self-employed. So it’s going to be a good discussion. I mean, I know I’ve had challenges with it. You’ve had challenges with that. I think a lot of us that really are into this business sometimes look back and say, “Man, I don’t think I’m that good of a manager.”
Martin: I relate to that.
Mike: Or even if you are a good manager like sometimes we find it . . . it’s just hard to find good people, right?
Martin: It is. It’s really hard.
Mike: Well, hey. Before we e jump into this topic maybe just tell us . . . for those of you that don’t know you yet maybe share your background because you’ve got a pretty exciting, pretty interesting background.
Martin: Well, thanks. I’ve had an opportunity to do some pretty exciting stuff to be sure. You know, my story, I . . . to go all the way back, I’m really proud to be the child of immigrants. It’s not as common from Europe these days for kids to actually be second generation. My parents came across on a boat with $40 in their pocket my older sister in their arms. And so that work ethic has just been an inspiration to me and it’s just part of what’s really driven my evolution as an entrepreneur because I went to school to be an engineer. Worked at Motorola and I really enjoyed it, but I always had that entrepreneurial bug.
And then kind of completely on a different realm all together I was also involved in the sport of Judo. And just turned out while I was in graduate school that I started to have some success there, and while I was working as an engineer I actually managed to make two Olympic teams back in 2000 and 2004 and so represented the U.S.A. in the sport of Judo as a heavyweight. But as that started to wind down that’s really when my focus went back to being an entrepreneur. I enjoyed being an engineer, but just boy, sitting in that cubicle all day, every day.
It was dark when I arrived. It was dark when I went home, it just . . . I wanted something different. And so I moved around, did a few different things. I won’t say, “Moved around,” I bounced around from couple different types of opportunities, but settled into real estate investing about 10 years ago. And as you pointed out I started as a one-man band, but I haven’t been . . . couldn’t have been happier. It’s really . . . real estate investing provides so much variety and opportunity, and I’m just really feel privileged to have the opportunity to build this type of business.
Mike: That’s awesome man. And by the way, for those that are listening right now, Martin was on the show about a year ago, and we’ve known each other for several years, but he’s on show number 328 and he talked about . . . a little bit more about the similarities between being an Olympic athlete and real estate investing. And just kind of the lessons learned and just working hard and never giving up and when you’re a professional athlete, a lot like a real estate investor you fail a lot, right? I mean, you just have to go through those processes. You just got to get back up and keep going, so that was a great episode. So if you guys want to . . . we’ll add a link down below the video here back to that one, but, yeah you should check out that show as well.
So, awesome man. Well, so today we’re going to talk about . . . I know the fact that a lot of us start as like one person or individual we’re doing everything. And if you left like . . . you’re like me. You left corporate America, right? I’m not like you in that I was never an Olympic athlete. I can’t claim anything there though, but for sure, you just wanted something different and better. You wanted to not be limited by your upside potential. But then what happens is we get thrown into this world of real estate investing where we’re kind of doing everything. A lot of times we’re probably working harder than we did when we were in corporate America.
Martin: For sure. For sure. I sometimes I got to admit. There’s times I look at some of my friends with envy, you know. They continued to climb the corporate ladder. They’re, at this point in their life they’re getting five, six weeks of vacation, and they get to turn the phone off every day at 5:00. There’s definitely some advantages to be a part of corporate America and I miss some of it, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But as you pointed out it’s not always for the money. You definitely put in the hours when you’re self-employed.
Mike: Especially early on when you’re doing everything yourself. If it’s a rehabbing it’s like everything becomes your problem, right? Like there’s the water heater that’s not working. I remember some of the early days of things like that. I met my sons . . . I was somewhere with my son . . . I was like at a . . . like a school event on a weekend and somebody called. We had a house that was rehabbed and for sale, and somebody called the realtor sign which got routed to me at the time, which I don’t do any of that anymore.
But it was like, “Hey, there’s like . . . there’s a flood of water coming out of the front door of this house.”
Martin: Oh, boy.
Mike: I was like, “Oh, man.” So the water heater had burst, but I was like, “Okay, I have to drop everything, and I got to go.” And I don’t know how to fix a water heater, but I had to go deal with it, right? So, but yeah. So talk about maybe . . . because I think there’s a lot of people that are real estate investors they get stuck . . . you know, they say, “I’m an investor,” “I’m a business owner,” they all these words, “I’m an entrepreneur,” but really, they’re self-employed at that point. So just talk about that reality and then how you need to move forward, just get started.
Martin: Well, I think you point out something it’s very . . . you know, there’s a lot of confusion out there in the sense that a lot of people do call themselves business owners or entrepreneurs, when there’s really two different categories. When you’re an investor and you’re a one-man band as you put it, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I know some extremely . . . and I’m sure you do too, some extremely successful and wealthy investors who whether they’re doing single family or multifamily or whatever it is they’re doing, they manage to make a phenomenal living with a lot of freedom.
In fact, I think there’s a lot to be said for being and remaining an investor. Or even like notes, for example, that’s another great way to be an investor where you really don’t need a team.
And so just because we’re going to kind of start talking about building a team and trying to transition from being an investor to being a business owner, I guess I just want to put that out front it’s just because you can or maybe you don’t, doesn’t mean you should because it is very different. It is very different from being a guy that’s going out there identifying opportunities, seizing those opportunities and then flipping them or turning into rentals, versus building a company that does that. There’s a lot a lot of different components to that conversation, but certainly for me it was a pretty slow process.
I know some people, bam. They just made things happen very quickly, but the first step for me, Mike was just to bring on administrative assistant. That’s still kind of . . . I see that as kind of the first step, but you’re still an investor. You’re an investor with some help, right?
Martin: And it . . . was that your experience too, that just the first [inaudible 00:08:46] hire?
Mike: Yeah, it turns out . . . so my first hire was an admin, yeah. And I think that’s pretty common. A lot of people say, you know, “Who is the first person you should hire?” because I know we’re going to talk about some of the key roles, which are typically an admin and then an acquisitions manager, sales person basically or home buyer, whatever we might call a lot of different things.
But, yeah, I think the admin role is critical to help alleviate you because it turns out there’s just, you know, no matter how much technology and stuff we have this is still a pretty administrative heavy business. Write contracts, lots of paperwork and lots of sending emails to kind of deal with transaction management. Like all those things they really are a very, very, administrative role, right?
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Lots of paper work and lots of sending emails to deal with transaction management. Like all those things that really are a much, you know, a very, very, administrative role, right?
Martin: Right. My path is the same as yours in that first hire was an admin and then the first sales or acquisitions person. And I think that the acquisitions person is where you really start to see the potential of transitioning from investor to business owner, because now somebody else is out bringing in deals while you are doing something else. And that’s a really exciting feeling when the first time that happens. I remember that actually the first guy I hired it just so happened about a week later my wife and I went on vacation. And I think I got three or four messages while we were in Mexico, you know, “Picked up another one. Picked up another one.”
And he actually got off to really great first start and it was just super exciting to sit there and go, “Wow, I’m literally on the beach,” you see all those commercials of real estate pictures, never been my life but in this instance, I was literally on the beach getting text messages about another deal that he picked up. And so that is really, really, exciting to make that transition. But it’s probably the scariest as well because most of us are who we are and the service we provide is so wrapped up in that one-on-one, belly to belly experience sitting down with the property seller to try to work out a deal and to hand that off to somebody else is really challenging.
And you really do need to have some real confidence in that person to make that transition.
Mike: We were talking about, you know, we just had our . . . I told you we had our first mastermind this past week, an investor fuel is [inaudible 00:12:07] a mastermind.
Martin: Oh, cool.
Mike: We talked a lot about that, about how you’ve got to rely on somebody else to do . . . so a lot of us as real estate investors we probably would say the . . . every role is important. The administrative stuff is important because stuff could get really screwed up, but that key role of going out, we spend so much money on advertising and lead generation to basically be funding that to somebody else that’s out, kind of, on your behalf trying to buy houses is scary, right? When you first started . . .
Mike: I was like, this is like everything in my business. If we don’t buy houses we don’t have a business and I’m just kind of investing in this person to go buy on my behalf. I mean, that’s one of the scariest parts. But you know what we were talking about this past week at Investor Fuel was like a lot of times we get hung up on how people can’t do things as good as us. If you’ve done it by yourself for a while even if you don’t like to do it you just get good at it because you have to, to survive, right?
And so you’re always worried about like, “Well, they can’t do it as good as me.” And there’s something like a rule of thumb, “Well, if they can do it 70% as good as you, then that’s good enough because you could scale, or you get a little bit of your life back or whatever. Talk about how you kind of overcame that because you, you know, a lot of times for me this is what I’ve generally thought. I’m the best acquisitions manager I’ve ever had, but I would be in my car 24/7 on appointments if I was the only person doing that role.
Martin: Well, I think it was a factor of a couple things. One, I’ve done a lot of reading about, and talking to other investors about growing, my business. And one of the things you’ll hear over and over again, and I’m sure people listening, this isn’t the first time you’ll hear this, but hire people that are better than you. And so I think the first step to that is acknowledging that there are people better than you. So, for me that was actually that hard to accept. As an engineer in my background, when you think of engineer you don’t necessarily think of stellar salesman.
So it’s something that I learned, and I know that I did well at that I could . . . for me it wasn’t a stretch to believe that there could be somebody that could do better than me. And it was just a matter of finding that person and so I think that’s a big part of it is not only finding someone who is better than you, but then also then letting them do their job. And it can be a tendency to micromanage. I know that can be one of my tendencies, but just find somebody that’s better than you and then let them do it. Because if it’s going to be a business you have to really believe . . . you have to see the end from . . . you have to see the goal that you’re moving towards.
If you truly want to be a business owner then it really starts boiling down to numbers. I’m spending this, and every dollar of advertising is bringing this much in revenue and that type of thing. And if you want to make sure you are maximizing every single penny and you are the one in that appointment that’s okay, but then you’re an investor. You’re not a business owner, and so I guess it really comes back to what do you really want? You have to believe in in your team if you want to be that business owner and like I said, it’s not for everybody. But if you do find somebody that is better than you it’s a great feeling.
Mike: One thing, when you make the decision, just like kind of give us some advice here, when you make a decision to build a team you have to offset that cost, right? So you’ve got to . . . and ideally and then some, right? So if your goal is to buy a house a month well, you’re not going to be able to afford to have a team and you’re going to do everything. So sometimes like deciding to bring other people on board kind of goes hand-in-hand with scaling up.
Martin: Yeah, and that’s actually something I’ve thought a lot about as well because when you’re small you might be able to have a relatively small, a minimal marketing budget and pick up a couple of easy deals. And that might be enough volume to make the money that you’re looking to make. But once you start hiring people you need to have much more consistent revenue, and at least our experience has been in the Phoenix market, I expect yours in Dallas as well it’s gotten so competitive that if you want to do twice as many deals it’s not as simple as doubling your marketing budget. You might have to quadruple your marketing budget in order to get twice as many deals. Because the whole bell curve. You start out at the peak but the further you go, you’re spend might become less effective.
And actually, I think, we were talking about just a second ago identifying what your strengths are and maybe what somebody else might be able to do better, that’s one of the areas where I feel my engineering background has helped out. I really enjoy the systems and designing a process to maximize the return and to be able to track your business and that type of thing.
And so I’ve invested a considerable amount of energy and effort in that regard because it can easily get out of hand. That’s something we experienced as well. We’re like, okay, you hire a few more people and you start dramatically expanding your budget, but then all of a sudden if your conversion ratio starts dropping substantially, you can start losing money pretty quickly as well.
And so it’s really important to have not only good people, but you also have to have good systems if you’re going to scale.
Mike: And sometimes I think too that’s what where it’s good to have an acquisitions, we call them acquisition’s manager, acquisition specialist, home buyer, whatever you call them. The sales role that’s out looking at houses is, it’s a little bit of a challenge when you first start if they’re 100% commission based.
But if you have a really good sales person that basically, if they don’t kill it they don’t eat, and if you find the right person they thrive in that atmosphere of finding deals. Sometimes as a business owner if you’re not sales acclimated, if you’re not . . . if you know that you’re not the best salesperson that you could find then sometimes we get a little bit comfortable with like, “Oh, we made $30,000. We made $40,000,” whatever the number might be.
And you start to get a little complacent where if you got a sales person that only gets paid if they’re doing deals they’re usually much more aggressive with finding more and more deals. They’re never kind of full, if you will.
Martin: Right. Absolutely. Yeah, I would agree 100% they’ve got to be commission driven.
Mike: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, let’s talk about the key roles. We talked about them a little bit here, but I would say like a admin or sometimes we call them a coordinator, or I call mine an office manager, whatever that role might be for you. If you think about your business, if you’re listening to this right now and you’re a one-man band or a one-woman band, think of the roles you do. There’s a whole bunch of administrative stuff. There’s kind of the acquisitions piece. There’s maybe raising money or something like that. If you’re managing rehabs like managing projects, you’ve got to have a project manager type role.
And there’s a like a marketing manager role if you’re doing . . . for lead generation. So typically, we’re doing all those ourselves at early on, right?
Mike: And then like you said, for a lot of people their first hire is an admin and then an acquisitions manager. So let’s maybe just talk about those two because those are the primary ones that a lot of us have filled out. Because like a marketing manager, you know, I still do things myself. There’s stuff like that that I don’t . . . That’s not a full time role for me and probably not for you but . . .
Martin: I would agree. I think marketing is one of the highest return activities in your business. It’s probably one of the last ones to outsource, at least in my experience in this, and it seems like other investors including yourself would agree. You put it out there for just a second, you said the office manager and acquisitions manager, correct?
Mike: Right. Yeah.
Martin: Okay. So the one of the challenges I think you’ll find, at least I found when hiring is, this when you wear all those different hats my tendency is I wanted to find somebody that had experience in all those areas so they could help me in all those different things.
And I just . . . well, I guess the short version to that . . . conclusion to that is you’re not going to find it because . . . so what I ended up figuring out is rather than trying to find the person with all sorts of great experience, I just wanted to find the right person that I wanted in my office all day. Somebody that I can connect well with that wants to do this work. I can teach pretty much anything. But if you don’t have somebody that you enjoy working with it doesn’t really have the desire to be part of your company, even if they got all the experience in the world it’s going to be a struggle.
We’ve recently re-tooled a lot of different things in our company including the personnel and that’s what we’ve really focused on this time around with much better results, is let’s find the right people and we can train what they don’t know. But I can’t train somebody’s attitude, somebody’s perspective and just their outlook, and that’s where . . . that’s really made a big difference for us. So I think for the office manager that’s really a key.
Obviously, experience running an office is great, but I would say the first and foremost, find somebody that aligns with your values, that you can want to be around that understands what you’re about, and is interested in supporting that, not just the activity but the values.
Mike: And has a good work ethic too, right?
Martin: Oh, for sure.
Mike: I’ve had people that are like if they work 5:00, it’s like 4:55 and you see they’re like packing up like ready to go. And then I’ve had people that . . . I don’t expect people to like work overtime or like . . . there’s no such thing as overtime when you’re an investor like [inaudible 00:22:13], you’re just on. But there’s people that I . . . I have somebody now that’s like, she stays late if we need to, just gets it done whatever needs to happen, and so I think that’s an important part.
I would say, and I don’t know about you, I would say at this point I generally try to find people that don’t have real estate experience because they tend to come with some baggage and like pre-conceived notions about how things are supposed to be done.
Martin: You know, that’s a great point, and now that you’ve mention it my last two hires they fall in that category. Just great people that I wanted on the team, don’t really have the real estate experience, but I agree with you. In my mind that’s the least important. The main thing is what we’ve already been talking about, the values, the work ethic, just a good fit personality-wise in your office. And that office manager it’s really an important position.
Almost everything in our business will go through her at some point or another. And so it’s in a way kind of like the glue, and so it just makes it that much more important that they can function as, you know, a glue in your business and they’re not creating problems or division.
Mike: For sure. And would you want to maybe take a couple minutes to just talk about . . . because I know you from a systems and a process standpoint, you’re pretty buttoned up on at least the process for recruiting. You want to maybe share a few thoughts about like how you find people, like where you place ads and what kind of criteria you’re looking for?
Martin: Well, I think you’ve given me a little more credit than I deserve. I did just say a few minutes ago that I’m a process-oriented guy. I wish I had a great process that could just predictably churn out great people, and I have not found that process. In fact, my experience the last year it’s kind of taught me that . . . well, a couple principles, was one is increasing the salary advertised amount Indeed or Craigslist is not going to actually bring you better people.
And actually, I’ve tried hiring and interviewing directly. I’ve tried hiring through a recruiter, but the best choice that I’ve made have been people that weren’t necessarily looking. They came through referrals and through relationships, and so that’s my preferred hiring strategy at this time, is to continually to keep the door open, to let through the network of people that I do business with professionally, personally. And if you find, that meant . . . I don’t remember . . . I think it might have been Gary Keller from Keller Williams. He’s got a really well-known reputation as being a systems guy and a recruiter. I believe it was him but I could be wrong.
So, he’s always looking for the right people, and if he finds the right person, he’ll hire them and then find the place to put then on his team. I wish I could say I have the budget to do that and I don’t necessarily, but that is the type of mindset that I’m trying to incorporate is really just to be focused on the right people.
And I would say even more so for the sales position, because if somebody is a really outstanding sales person that wants to make the kind of money that’s possible to be made in this business as an acquisition manager, chances are they’ve got great work ethic, they’ve got great people skills, they get along. They’re probably not looking for work, and so that’s my thoughts on finding that person is really . . .
It’s if you’re in a rush you’re in a hard . . . you’re kind of under the gun that makes it much more difficult. But if you can keep those feelers open, put the word out through your, I don’t know, LinkedIn, through your church, through Facebook, whatever your network is. And then try to hire based on a connection rather than the instant need.
Mike: For sure. That’s been one of my biggest challenges is sometimes, as a small business you can’t . . . generally, you can’t afford to have redundant positions. Like if somebody, if my office manager leaves today I don’t have a . . . for a long period of time I had two admins. Well, I do still have. I mean, I have a bunch of virtual assistants too, so we just fall back on them now when we need to. But when I first started 10 years ago it was a few years before I started using VAs. But I had one office manager and if something happened to them like, there was no way I would ever [inaudible 00:26:53].
Then when I went to two then it’s like, “Okay, if something happens to one of them, the other one could take it over for a while and so we fill that role.” But I agree with you. One of my biggest challenges has been that I historically, am hiring when I’m in a difficult position and I need to fill that role fast. And you just start to overlook stuff like you say, “Oh, I’m not very good at that, but I’ll just do that,” and that part of it, and that’s a bad position to be in.
Martin: And I went through that several times this year and that’s why I’m not claiming to have any answers. I feel like it was really for me as an answered prayer. We lost our last office manager and I just made the decision, “I’m not going to rush into this.” And so I just . . . we just stepped up. A lot of it was me. I started working extra long days and just because I didn’t want to force myself into another hire that may not be the right fit. And through that though, we did find somebody that’s just wonderful and an answered prayer.
But I’ve been in business for a long time and so I guess, all of us get a stroke of good fortune occasionally.
Mike: For sure, for sure, yeah. But I think you’re right. You always kind of . . . when you’re a small business even though you can’t afford to just hire people left and right generally, you should always be looking for . . . I always say, historically, I always said, “I’m always looking for good athletes.” Like if I could find the right person then I might be able to find a role for them, especially like you said, salespeople.
Martin: Right. Yeah.
Mike: So what makes a good salesperson? Let’s talk about the kind of acquisition manager role. What are you looking for in those roles when you hire somebody, or when you’re looking to hire?
Martin: A couple things. One, work ethic is extremely important, because a sales person is essentially self-employed. They earn commissions. Even though they might be working for you or for me, their income is entirely derived from their level of activity. So they need to be able . . . because sometimes the best lead is the person that calls on Saturday night or Friday night at 7:00. They want to meet on Saturday morning and then leave town because they are just in town for the weekend and want to take care of this property, or whatever. It’s just an example.
But sometimes the most motivated people that you can help the most call at goofy times. So that work ethic has to be there to be willing to pick up the phone and return calls. And just as an example, Kim, the latest sales person I just hired. We we’re just talking yesterday. One of the things I really appreciate about her she’s like, “You know what? I’m done for the day. And then I think, okay, I’m just going to make 10 more calls.” And she goes through some, 10 other leads that maybe just haven’t shown a whole lot of interest.
We picked up a deal this week because one of those people just happened to be at the right time, and she was able to go out and now there was no longer a big line of people knocking on their door because it kind of faded off, and locked up that deal. So it just goes to show that that extra . . . just willing to walk that extra mile, not only for work ethic, then also . . . so that’s point number one, is the work ethic for me not necessarily in priority or sequence, but just . . .
Mike: It’s on the checklist.
Martin: Yeah. But then also I don’t know . . . I wouldn’t say they have to have experience as a sales person, but it’s certainly really helpful if they do. But the main thing is, is even if they don’t, they have to just have a natural ability to establish rapport, to show empathy, and to know when to listen. Too many sales people just want to talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. It’s not about the condition of the house. It’s not about, “Well, I don’t know enough about construction.” None of that really . . . all of that’s overcome-able if you can just establish . . . you’ve heard the saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
And so that’s really . . . those are really to me things [inaudible 00:31:01]. Somebody’s got to be willing to work, and they’ve got to be able to connect with people. And if they can do those two things I can teach them everything else they need to know.
Mike: That’s great. A lot of times people are looking . . . historically, I was looking for the like slick polish like sales person . . .
Martin: Oh, no.
Mike: But, no. I mean, early on that’s why I looked for. It’s like, “No, I just need somebody that can be a good listener,” you know?
Mike: And truthfully, actually I trained a couple of people yesterday on my team for acquisitions. And I was just like the best advice I could give them, because it takes going on appointments to learn. And I was like, “It’s okay to just kind of play dumb. Like just . . . you don’t really know. Just be a good listener. Show them you care and you want to help solve their problem, and that will overcome like 75% of the concern you have with being a good salesperson.
Martin: I agree 100% and people, I think, appreciate humility and candor, and there’s . . . yeah, I agree with you. I teach that to my team too. There’s nothing wrong . . . and even if it’s, you know, you as the investor, the owner of the company, if you have an appointment and somebody asks you something that you don’t know just, “I’m sorry. I’m not really sure about the answer to that question, but here’s what I . . .” you know. But if you listen to them, you show that you care and you want to get them an answer, just get back to them, rather than make something up or whatever, I don’t recommend that at all.
Mike: Right. Right. That’s awesome. Awesome. Let’s kind of talk about some advice on how to move forward. I think what you said up front which I want to emphasize again is, if you’re a one-man band or a one-woman band, let’s say. You’re doing it all yourself, you just have to think . . . like some people would do that forever and they’re okay with it.
It’s not a bad thing, like I don’t want to actually [inaudible 00:32:47] position that as a bad thing. It’s just like there’s this concept of stay small and keep it all, right? Like you don’t start [inaudible 00:32:53] on all this burden and overhead, you have to manage people. If you don’t mind hustling like that and doing whatever it takes whenever it takes to get stuff done, and you don’t mind doing a lot of the work, then there’s nothing wrong with that, right?
Martin: No. Absolutely not. There’s a real upside actually being able to . . . if you wanted to shut it off for a little while, so you know what? I want to do something different, or I’m going to just take a couple months and go travel with my family or whatever. You can do that. When you have a team of people that all have families to feed you’re on all of the time. So there’s definitely some real advantages to staying . . . and we say staying small. It’s doesn’t even [inaudible 00:33:35] if you’re small. Like I mentioned earlier, there’s investors who learned how to grow really a lot of wealth, but just by doing different or bigger deals.
And so I don’t think it’s something that somebody really ought to . . . if you feel like you ought to do it but you don’t really have the heart to do it, then don’t do it because just like starting in business as an entrepreneur, it’s a whole . . . it’s that same type of all over again to go from being an investor to being a business owner. It’s almost like a different enterprise altogether.
Mike: For sure. For sure. Awesome. Well, any kind of final words of wisdom Martin, on people that . . . let’s say that maybe give some advice to the person that says, “I’m doing it all right now. This isn’t really what I want. Like I want to build a small team so that I can grow a little bit and be able to expand, and be able to . . . well, a lot of us get in this business so that we can have . . . we can have a little more freedom and when we’re taking our kids to school, or going home early, or taking a long weekend even if it’s every week or whatever it might be, which is hard to do that if you’re the only person doing everything.
But for that person that wants to grow a little bit, maybe kind of give some words of wisdom on where they should start.
Martin: So I think the first place I would start, I would recommend, is if you aren’t part of a group of people that are at the level of success you want to be at, join a group. And this is not a shameless plug for your mastermind, whether it’s your mastermind . . .
Mike: And I didn’t pay you to say that but we’ll add link for it anyway.
Martin: But that was really pivotal for me. I started in a mastermind because this business can be a little lonely, you know. Nobody at church or even my friends really understand this business. They think you’re a real estate agent or whatever. They just don’t really know. And so just to be around other investors who are . . . for one it’s just nice just to be able to kind of be open and talk about your struggles and see what other people are doing, so it’s fun. It’s really informative and for me it really challenged me to grow and to take on some things that maybe I otherwise wouldn’t have done.
And so I would say that would be something I think any investor should do, is join some type of Mastermind. Not necessarily just your local REIA group, which is great too, but that’s not what I’m referring to yet. That level you’re probably going to . . . you’re probably the most successful person in the room if you’re doing more than a deal a month. And I would encourage you to be part of a group where you’re not the most successful person in the room. And so that will really stretch you. If you have a resource, a place to go to get some advice and some help when you’re like, “Well, I’m encountering this,” you know. “What do you think about that?” and just have some people to talk to. I think that’s extremely important.
The next piece of advice, I mean, if you want to start growing, if you haven’t hired that administrative person, do so. I know sometimes that first hire can be the hardest, but it’ll really make your life so much easier just to have somebody that you can just send a message, you’re like, “Hey, I need you to do this. Hey, I need you to do that,” and you’re not running around. If you want to . . . again, I like to credit the source and I forget the source, but I would encourage you assign a dollar value to your time.
So if your time is worth $100 an hour, $500 an hour, $1000 an hour, don’t do anything that you can hire somebody for less than what your time is worth. And that will allow you to focus on your business and more revenue producing activity, rather than running around and doing the things that you can hire somebody else to do.
So that would be my advice, and then I think, you know, figure out what you’re good at. And try to find a way to leverage what you’re good at, so for example in my business, I know it doesn’t look like much. We just bought this office that we’re moving into and renovating right now. It’s an older house, but what I mentioned earlier, what I’m good at is systems and process.
So one of the things that I’m going to do to try to leverage that is I know that there’s a lot of sales people or investors who want to grow, but they don’t really want to deal with all the things that we’re talking about. They don’t want to deal with finding a better technology to manage their lease.
They don’t want to deal with managing phone systems. They don’t want to deal with building landing pages for pay-per-click, and Facebook marketing and all these things which are becoming increasingly important in this space. And so what I want to do is I want to partner with people like that. I’ll provide the infrastructure to support the marketing and the technology, and allow them to focus on meeting with sellers growing their business. The idea is kind of whether it’s this particular example or another, one of the examples I’d love is the Clydesdale horse.
One Clydesdale can pull 4000 pounds. So you would think, “Well, two Clydesdales can pull 8000 pounds, right? Actually, it’s not true. Two Clydesdales can pull 12,000 pounds. But what’s even more impressive if those two Clydesdales are experienced in working together they can actually pull 16,000 pounds. And that’s I think what we’re talking about with here in building a business it’s not just about doing a couple more deals or a few more deals.
If you have the right team and there’s synergy, and you’re building on each other’s strengths instead of doubling your volume you can 4X or 10X your volume just by bringing the right people into your business, and letting somebody who’s good at what they do, do what they do, and you can really focus on doing what you’re good at.
Mike: That’s awesome, man. That’s a great tip. One other thing I’ll add to that that I was just talking about last week when we were in the Investor Field Mastermind was it took me . . . somebody said this to me at one point, like a light kind of came on, like I’ve been doing it wrong for all these years. But I would kind of hire people in the admin . . . like say an admin role, and in my mind, it’s like, “Well, there’s no way they’re going to generate revenue for us.” I didn’t necessarily . . . I didn’t say that out loud but it was kind of implied, like they’re just an expense.
They’re going to help make my life easier. And then somebody said, “With every role you hire even if it’s a virtual assistant you should have a component in there that they can help generate more revenue.” So all I did was like have my admin, for example, start evaluating . . . like I was getting all these emails for investor deals and kind of come my way which truthfully, I didn’t have time to look at. And I was like, “Why don’t I have my admins and my virtual assistants or everybody out trying to help us find more deals because then I can not only offset their costs, but we can grow revenue by . . . it’s not just offsetting their cost, it’s actually growing it above and beyond what it cost them.
Martin: [inaudible 00:40:19] idea. And it’s an important bench mark in a business, is what is your . . . how much revenue is if you take the revenue of the company and divide by the number of employees that’s to kind of get an idea of yeah how much revenue. So even if it’s not directly generating a deal, your people should be increasing the capacity of your company to do business. And that’s a really tangible, practical way to tackle that. I think that’s awesome.
Mike: For sure. For sure. So Martin if folks want to get ahold of you or learn more about what you’re working on, I just mentioned some opportunities that you might be rolling out where people can partner with you, where do they go to learn more about you or to get in touch with you?
Martin: I would say go to my website, thetrustedhomebuyer.com, and again there’s a “the” in the front. So thetrustedhomebuyer.com. And we have if they want to learn more about me and how we do business we have a really great 30 minute webinar that kind of describes what we do. I’d encourage them to watch it if they’re interested.
Mike: Of course.
Martin: And then we also have, of course, there’s the Contact Us button if they wanted some of us to send me a message, I’d love to hear from them and just take it from there.
Mike: Awesome. We’ll add a link down below for that as well, so. Martin, great to see you my friend. Thanks for sharing with us.
Martin: You’re welcome Mike. It was great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Mike: It was good talking to you. Thanks for being with us today. Everybody, hey, this is show number 379, so getting a little bit better at asking people at the end of the show, if you enjoyed this show and you have listened to more of our shows, we really would love a positive rating in iTunes or Google Play, Stitcher Radio or even YouTube. Anywhere where you watch us or listen, if you can subscribe and share a little love that gives us the energy to do an additional 379 shows. So appreciate the support of the show. Thanks for watching us and we’ll see you on another upcoming episode. Have a great day.
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