You're listening to the REI marketing nerds podcast, the leading resource for real estate investors who want to dominate their market online. Dan Barrett is the founder of ad Edwards nerds, a high tech digital agency focusing exclusively on helping real estate investors. Like you get more leads and deals online, outsmart your competition and live a freer more awesome life. And now your host Dan Barrett.
(00:40): All right. Hello everyone. And welcome to this week's episode of the REI marketing nerds podcast as always. This is Daniel Barrett here for a Edwards nerds.com. Oh my gosh. I am so happy to be back now. I don't know if you even were aware that I was gone. I was been running some rerun episodes of this podcast because I was going through a lot of back sort of stage training, work training, new managers at Edwards nerds building out really what is a world class online marketing team. And I'm so excited for those folks to be working with our clients. But I gotta tell you, I really missed doing the podcast. I really, really missed doing the podcast and I thought, what better guest to kick things back off with than one of my favorite people in real estate investing. This is none other than Mike Simmons, Mike Simmons from just start real estate.
(01:44): You can find out more about firstname.lastname@example.org, M I K E S I M M O N S. Mike simmons.com. This is truly a remarkable investor and human being, and he's a great human being. He's just kind an incredible teacher. Someone who's very open about his own struggles and the things that he's done that works someone that shares and educates the community, but a world class operator, if ever there was one. And here is the proof that sort of shows you that this is true. Mike Simmons works two hours a week on his real estate investing business and does over a hundred deals a year, a hundred deals a year spending two hours a week. Not only that, but he's got a very busy coaching business, an incredible, beautiful family, great relationship with his kids. This is a person that is firing on all cylinders and I am so excited to get to share this interview with you. So without any further ado, let's dive into my interview with Mike Simmons. All right. I'm here with Mike Simmons. Mike, how are you? Welcome to the showman. Wonderful to have you. I've been very much looking forward to this. So I hope you have been too.
(03:07): Yeah, I'm gonna say something that really probably isn't smart for me to say, but I'm gonna say it because it's honest and I'm just feeling it in the moment. I look forward to very few things that I do online. Very few meetings that I have, I swear to you. I, I am an introvert by nature. And so I agree to everything in the world. And then 10 minutes before it's gonna start, I dread it. And I'm, I'm, I'm asking my assistant, why are we doing this? Why did I agree to it? This I am looking forward to, and I was sincerely happy to be doing it today, cuz I just enjoy you so much. So thank you For all right. Well thank you, man. The feeling is very mutual down to the why did I agree to do this? Uh, and in fact, I, I read the thing where they were like, oh, the question you should ask yourself before you agree to something is like, would I do this? If it was like today and the answer's almost like never. So I'm like, okay, no, that's good. I'm gonna start asking this. Well I'm
(04:00): Yeah, it's really, it's, it's significant too, because even family events at the moment I have to go, I'm like, why am I, why are we doing this? I don't wanna do this. Like you rank even higher than that. So you're just fun to talk to you, dude. So I enjoy it. Oh, well I cannot tell I, I very much appreciate that. And I was really looking forward to this because you have such a unique background. And the thing that I know about you after knowing you for a number of years now really is like, you are also, you're this really great combination of someone who is both an a level world class operator, investor, like the business side, you have a really strong grasp bond, but you also know how to teach and how to talk about what you do, which is those skill sets are different. Right? And they don't always come together. So I'm super excited to have you on. So for people that D know you, aren't familiar with your work, right? You are all over this place in real estate investing, you know, you obviously invest and you coach and you podcast and all these things. So give people kind of the elevator pitch for who is Mike Simmons, you know, what's your kind of current, uh, role or position in the, in the
(05:16): Industry. Okay. Um, so elevator pitch, I am a guy from the Midwest, Michigan, super, super young, you know, right. Like I'm not from the coast. I'm not exciting that way. Uh, I was a pretty average student, pretty average athlete, uh, went into the nine to five world in Michigan that that's the automotive industry. It's just, you, you get your hand gets stamped when you're born and you're gonna go in the automotive industry. And, and I did that and I was miserable, hated it, like a lot of people. Right. But what I got really focused and good at and, and really was, um, passionate about at, at some point in my life, in my early thirties was figuring out a way out. Right. I looked at it as to me as like the great, you know, jail breakout. Like I, I just, I was, I felt like I was in jail. I felt like I was just marching. You know, this dystopian kind of a marching down the, the, the, the halls and of, of these, this corporate world that I was in. And there was no obvious way out. And when I found a way out in real estate, I became real focused on doing it. Right. It was like, what would you do? You know, people come to me and say, I, I can't find deals or I'm, you know, real, estate's hard. I don't know. I don't know if I can do it. And sometimes I give them the example like, well, what if you have kids? Yes, I have kids. Well, what if somebody had your kid hostage? And they said, if you don't start your real estate business and show some sort of traction within the first couple of months, we're gonna kill your kid. Right.
(06:34): It's like horrible. But of course you would do it. You could do it. Right. You could, you would figure it out. And I sort of approached it that way. Like, I'm so miserable. I don't wanna live this life. And so I set upon this course to figure it out. And I had no great advantage. I'm from a mid the Midwest. It was like union family. Like my dad was in a union and my mom was a, I was a beautician. And like, like just normal, right. Nobody an entrepreneur. But I figured it out with no great advantage at all. Uh, I didn't even have any money when I started, like I was working at a job, not making very much money, uh, but I figured it out. And I became a student of being an entrepreneur and understanding not only how to build my business, but what I, what I learned was, and, and what I got really, really, uh, excited about was not just how to start a business, cuz a lot of people can start a business and get on this hamster wheel where they've, they replace the 95 with this business that they're a slave to and they're working more and they're less happy than they were when they could just punch out at five o'clock and forget about it.
(07:33): Right. They have this stress that's associated with it. What I became very excited about was how do you create an actual business that can function and thrive without you pulling all the levers and getting on that hamster wheel? Like I'm, I'm running a business right now that I, I probably spend no more than two hours in per week. We buy and sell almost a hundred houses a year. Like right now there are 21 houses in our pipeline. That's in some level of being purchased or sold or renovated or whatever. And honestly, I I've only been in like one of 'em and I was only in that one because my partner had to go out of town. And so I just went and looked at this house for him. Right. Like I never do it. Um, and so I got passionate about how do you create this business, but also create the freedom of not just financial freedom, but the freedom of time that everyone want. And honestly, I, I truly believe that people say who I want financial freedom. What they're saying is I wanna be able to do what I want when I want. And that's freedom of time. That's the holy grail I think. And that's really what I'm excited about in business. Not creating money because that can be done. Right. If I just wanna work 80 hours a week, but I wanna create that money and work a handful of hours a week or no hours if I want to go on vacation somewhere.
(08:51): Yeah. I think it you're. Right, right. It's like people always think money is the goal. Yeah. But if you said, well, Hey, I'm gonna give you all the money you want, but you're never gonna see your kids. You're never gonna watch TV again. Like whatever it is, like, whatever you love to do, uh, TV are kids, you know, equal things that are totally very equal, very equal. But, uh, yeah, but it's like, they don't wanna do that. Right. And you very quickly realize there's a, there's a set of things you're not willing to give up or at least most people aren't. So before we dive into that, because the second you talk about, I work two hours a week and I , you know, it's like we're doing a hundred houses a year or whatever it is, God, I just wanna dig into that so bad.
(09:27): So we're definitely gonna, we were definitely gonna get there, but before we do that, right. So let's go back to, you know, you're working in a place that you don't particularly like you don't have the entrepreneurial background. Um, like you said, like you were pretty miserable. And I read in the bio, right. That eventually was like, well, you, you kind of get into real estate investing a little bit online, but then you and your wife end up going to a seminar and you started get kicked off from there. But I was, lots of people are miserable, right? Like lots of people are miserable. And if most people, I feel like they don't do things like start a business or get in and, you know, start with real estate investing or anything really. They don't, they don't get outta their comfort zone because they just don't think of themselves as the type of person that can do that. Right. So why do you think that you were able to get started in the first place? Like what allowed you to kind of make that jump from, you know, I'm just a regular guy to, this is something that I personally am capable doing.
(10:26): That's a good question. So I think what did it for me and I'll, I'll tell you, like, I've talked about this before many times actually, but I decided that I wanted to be a real estate investor and that was how I was going to make my, my fortune. And that's how I was gonna have everything I ever wanted outta life. I decided in 2003, I didn't buy my first house until 2008. And so I did what most people do, maybe perpetually I did it for five years is I told myself I was gonna do it. I read books. I went to seminars. I listened to things online, podcasting wasn't so much then. But like, I, I procrastinated. I, I just sat in this like fear and I would go to the meetups like monthly, like real estate people meetup once, you know, once a month, usually on a Thursday for whatever reason, it's always a Thursday but they get together and they, and I would be in that environ.
(11:19): So I put myself in the environment, I read books, I listen to things and you can sort of fool yourself that you're kind of in the game because you're around it and talking it all the time. Mm-hmm , but I wasn't making offers on houses and it's like, you're not a real estate investor until you at least start making offers. And, and really until you get your first deal and I did that for five years. But to answer your question, what made me actually make that step, couple things? Um, something I never talk about literally like this is like breaking news here on your podcast. I've never talked about this. Even on my own podcast. When I decided I wanted to become a real estate investor in 2003, I was approaching, I didn't know it, but I was approaching the end of my marriage. I didn't didn't realize it.
(12:00): And so as I was trying to get the courage up and get my resources together and like, get my mind wrapped around doing real estate, I was faced with a divorce. Yeah. And it, and it sort of sidelined me and, and it's, it is an excuse. It's probably a fairly legitimate one, but it's still, you know, it's, it was an excuse for me to push it, push that ball down the field a little farther and not do it. But once that happened and I got to the other side of that, I eventually met someone and, and got remarried. I was in so much of a better mental space. Mm-hmm and I was working at a job. My kids at this time were like pre like teenagers, young teen preteen. And I realized after the divorce, the reason I bring it up is I got divorced. And it was like split custody. I wasn't seeing my kids all the time. And when I was seeing them, sometimes I had to work late or, or be at work later than I wanted to be. And, and, and that really started to weigh on my mind. But another thing that was really huge for me is growing up, my dad was a Marine. He was a Vietnam vet Marine hardcore. And if there was one thing that wasn't tolerated in my family growing up, all boys, by the way, with this Marine dad was fear. And to not do things because you're afraid the first sport I ever played, um, organized sport was baseball. And because my brother was a couple years older than me and my dad didn't wanna have to go to two practices or Dr. He's like, Nope, you're gonna play in that league with him, with the, with the older kids. Right. And I was like,
(13:30): That's a classic like dad solution to a problem. Like solution's gonna smash everything into one trip. That's gonna be Great. They, they won't let the older kid play with the younger kids, but they'll let the younger kid, apparently my dad talked to him into it, play with the older kids. And not only did I play, he didn't stick me in the outfield where I was relatively safe. He put me behind the plate. I was a catcher from these kids that were older than me. Two years is long. A lot of years when you're 11, 12 years old. Yeah. And they were throwing some heat. I was petrified. Yeah. But he made me get behind that plate, every single practice, every single game. And it's like, he just wouldn't tolerate feel, um, tolerate fear. And so really after five years of procrastinating and using my divorce and all these other things happening in my life as an excuse, I honestly got sick of myself. Like I got tired of the excuse.
(14:15): I knew I was lying to myself about why I wasn't getting started. It was just fear. It was all fear. I didn't wanna fail. And I didn't wanna tell people what I was doing, because if it didn't work, I didn't wanna, you know, all that kind of stuff. So that, that Marine dad in my, in my head and like my kids getting older and realizing I don't get to see them every single day, which sucks. Right. As a parent who really wants to see their kids. And so the time that I could see them, I was absolutely determined to be able to spend as much time as possible with them. When they get home from school, I wanted to be able to be there at two 30 or three. O'clock not have to work until six, right. Like all that sucked. So couple of, you know, a few of those things kind of converged to just make me finally like throw my hands up and go, I can't keep making these excuses. I've gotta do something. And by the way, I, I had a wife now that I felt like, well, we were on the same page and I got her on board and kind of explained my vision of what I want to do to her. And we went to that seminar that you, that you referenced. And it was really a local guy who did a, a weekend bootcamp. And it was 29 99. I remember. And you could bring a gastro, a spouse for free
(15:22): Back then. And still now I don't want to sound like 29, 99. Isn't a lot. I mean, $2,999. It's a lot of money, but it was a, oh, I thought you, I thought, literally thought you meant 30 bucks for a second. No, no, no. I'm sorry. I mean, that's nothing, right. That's a meal. And like, okay, now Exactly. So, so basically $3,000, I don't know why I'm giving you the exact numbers. $3,000 and Well, it's at the time, that was probably a big deal. Right? There's always super big deal. Which the investments that later seem like, well, of course, when you originally make them, it's a huge jump, right? That's no joke. Like, yeah, this is the first thing that you guys are doing. It's I mean, it's a big deal.
(16:00): Yeah. It was huge. And, and my wife, you know, I don't have a lot of fear. My, when I was afraid, by the way of getting started, it had nothing to do with risking money. I, I'm not afraid of that. For whatever reason. I, I weirdly have no feelings when it comes to risking money. It doesn't scare me, but my wife grew up really poor. Her family was really poor and she is not some she's frugal. She is not someone to spend money on something and not understand the benefit. So I knew if I convinced her to go to this thing and spent $3,000 for like three days, right. There was no way she was gonna let me sit around and not take action. And so it was a good fail, safe, right. It was like this good insurance policy. I had that if I got lazy, I know she's not gonna get lazy. So we went to that and honestly, the, the material wasn't worth $3,000. Like it was just okay. But what it did do was it gave us belief and it, it, because we spent the money, we were motivated to not have wasted that kind of money. And so that was really the, the, the jumpstart to my, to my real estate business.
(17:00): I mean, it's, it's such a cool story, right? Because you, you are combining so many things that go into any, like, anytime you dive into somebody's story of like a significant behavior modification, right. Whether it's like I lost 500 pounds or like, whatever. Right. Any dramatic change that somebody makes, you usually find some sort of painful situation, that's like more painful than doing nothing. Right. You find some sort of accountability mechanism, like you took your wife and she's gonna really give you a hard time, which is like amazing. Right. You find somebody that just makes it seem possible. Right. There's some reason to think you might be successful. It's a really cool, you've got the sunk cost of the, the, the program. I mean, all these things are so powerful. And especially if you stack 'em all together, it really, I don't know. I find that angle to the story.
(17:49): Really cool. So I'm really glad that you shared it with us. Cause I think that's, that's really awesome. So let's flash forward to today. So you were talking about, you spend two hours a week, you're doing investing, you're also doing coaching, right. You also work with real estate investors. Yep. You know, I, I believe the program is still called, just start. Right. Which is like one of my, I told somebody this earlier, it's like one of my favorite all time names of any coaching program, because it's like, you have to start like, that's the, the first part of it. So breakdown for people kind of like how your real estate investing sort of business is broken up now. Cuz you got the investing. I got the coaching kind of give people the lay of the land for what you're doing today. Yeah. And I should say in all like transparency, I work more than two hours a week. But on my real estate investing company, I spend two hours a week. Right. I do coaching and other stuff. So the, the bus, my real estate investing business that I have, we have been traditionally by and large a wholesaling company, which means for people listening, if you don't know, we, we find sellers who are interested in selling their house. We, we agree on a price. We get on a contract and then we assign that contract to a landlord or a house who wants to take it on and do the work. And we're kind of the middle man. So we've done that for years. We've, we've changed our model a little bit kind of irrelevant, but we're doing a little more land contract. We're buying things, holding them and selling 'em a land contract, little bit of different.
(19:09): But we, I created this business and this team that allows me to do that a little bit on autopilot as an owner. So that's one thing we can go back to how I built that team and why it's able to run without me and how that all happened. But I think you were kind of asking for a, a broader scope of what I'm up to. So that is the real estate investing company that I own. I also do coaching, like you said, and coaching for me is it's honestly a labor of love. It's nothing that like, I'm not that guy who like used to invest and now he makes a million dollars a year coaching and he doesn't really invest anymore. Like that lopsided model that some people do and it's fine, whatever, but I'm, I'm an investor. And I also owe, by the way, I do some coaching also on the side. It's not my, my focus. Um, ironically, I spend more time doing that, but I do my own business, but I love doing it because I have actually been very instrumental if not crucial in people starting, growing, scaling their business, finding that financial freedom. And it's just so fun to watch that happen. And it's so gratifying to have people send you a text or an email or something saying, dude, like there's this one guy who was in my coaching program. And he was like, you know what? I'm just not sure if this is working for me and blah, blah, blah, we got on a phone call and I've been on a phone call with him, like once a week for the last three or four weeks. And now he's calling me. He is like, I went from, I don't know where to find a deal. I'm not, I'm having trouble to, I've got like three or four going right now.
(20:31): Like things are exploding. This is amazing. And I love seeing that turnaround. It's super exciting for me. So I do a lot of coaching. Um, I've started a lending company about a year ago now I'm starting to lend money to investors because if there's two things that I know that investors have always, um, had a challenge with or struggled with it's finding deals and finding money. Right. And they're both very doable, but those are the two things, right? And so if I can help people do those things, I know that they can be successful because everything in the middle is very, it's very, figureoutable, it's not that big of a deal. But finding deals, finding money has always been the two big pillars. And, and I try to make sure that we always focus in on that. So I lend money to people now that are in my course. And some people that are, are other folks that I've just known through coaching. I'm very selective. It's not open to the general public. Generally you gotta be working with me or I have to know you a little bit because I don't charge a lot of interest. It's very reasonable, but I, I don't take big swings either. I don't, I don't bet on people. I don't know with very big projects. Like I, I kind of scrape the cream off the top and I work with people that I know, know what they're doing because either I've taught them, I just know their business. And then, uh, finally I do have a podcast and I started, uh, my kids are a little older now. So one of 'em wants to do some short term rental stuff. And so I'm working with her to buy short term rentals and help her create a little financial freedom and get out of the nine to five rat race and all that. So.
(21:53): Wow. That's cool. I didn't know that. That's amazing. Yeah. It's, it's awesome. It's so cool. And I have no, no, like I would never have said yes to that and under any circumstances, but when your daughter comes to you and says, Hey dad, I wanna do this thing. It's like, would you want do it together? Be kind of finds like dad daughter thing. Heck yeah. I will push some things aside and, and do that because if we can, you know, the goal is to get 10 or 10 short term rentals generating $10,000 minimum, $10,000, uh, a month. And that would get her out of her nine to five. Like that's awesome. That would be so cool. And she's she's 27 years old, like to have financial time freedom at that age. Amazing. Can you imagine, I mean, I don't know why maybe you were already, I don't think you were already started. Yeah, I was not doing that at 27. No, I was, I was in my late thirties before I really got going with real estate. So yeah. I had a long career of misery before that. Yeah, we thought that's weird. You used to work at misery. I also used to work, Want to find motivated seller leads online, but don't know where to start download our free motivated seller keyword report today. AdWords nerds have spent over $5 million this year researching the most profitable keywords for finding motivated seller leads. And you can grab these exact keywords when you download our report at www dot AdWords, nerds.com/keywords.
(23:22): So I am really curious. I would say that the, from my experience, right? So working at AdWords nerds, working with real estate investors, different real estate investors at various stages of their careers and their businesses, all different types of markets, the number one thing we look for as an agency, when we're trying to decide, do we wanna work with this person? Is this person gonna be around for a long time? And they gonna be able to be our client for a long time. Like, that's really what we're aiming for. Right. And the number one thing we look for is how are they fulfilling the service of being a real estate investor? Like what do their logistics look like? What does their system, what do their systems look like? You know, we used to work with all kinds of people and we just kind of started realizing like, Hey, if you are, you make something up, but like you're managing all your leads on the back of a napkin every day. Right. You're just writing 'em down. You're like, I got 'em, that's a warning sign for us. Like we're at, like, I went out, we went out to dinner for father's day with my family and it took, we me to a new restaurant and the server came up. They're like, Hey, welcome. And we're like, yeah, we're really excited to eat here. And they're like, great. What does everybody want? And we're like, okay, we're gonna get these appetizers. And then we're going through the entres and she's doing the thing where she's not writing anything down. Oh,
(24:34): I hate That. We were all like, oh, I hate That. My wife and I like slowly, like are like making eye contact and I'm like, it's not gonna go well. Right. And it didn't go great. But anyway, that's kind of what I'm looking for in a real estate investor. I'm like, are you writing this down? Are you gonna, you know, yeah. That's so funny Going from the full bore business to something that is extremely streamlined, it strikes me that you have to have a really good understanding of the process and where the processes can break down. And how do you prevent that? So let's start with the obvious place, which is when you talk to real estate investors, you work with your students, where do you see the biggest mistakes being in terms of how they are running their businesses? Like the processes, the systems, is it that they don't have systems? Is it that they, they feel like they have to do everything themselves? Like what are the big mistakes that if people can avoid, they're gonna put them on the right path to begin with.
(25:29): Yeah. It's a really good question. I've never been asked that, but it's a great question. There's so many mistakes, but some of the big ones are trying, okay. So I'm, this is in no particular order, but I'm just kind of going as I think of the big ones, trying to run the business by themself for too long, not knowing when they need to bring someone in for help and really not always bringing in the right person. For example, I had someone tell me recently, uh, one of my students, they said, Hey, um, can we hop on the phone? I have a marketing problem. I'm not getting enough leads. Or, you know, we're just not, I have a marketing problem. And I said, okay. So we got on the phone, we started doing some discovery. I'm like, okay, let see your marketing piece. Like, what are you doing?
(26:12): How often are you sending things out? Like, what are you doing? You know, pay, click, are you doing cold calling? What are you doing? Like I'm getting a handle on everything they're doing. And I said, all right, how many, so how many leads are you getting? How much money are you spending? And we went through all of this discovery on their marketing. And I was like, dude, you're getting better response rates than I am. You. You, you do not have a marketing problem. Tell me what happens once the lead comes in and he started explaining his process and it's like I said, you don't have a marketing problem. You have a sales problem. You have a phone person. Like your problem is coming after the marketing, you're getting a lot of leads. You're just you, you're not getting money at the end of this, of this pipe money.
(26:49): Isn't spitting out and you're blaming the beginning of the pipe, but it's the middle of the pipe. And so they had, so first of all, they were answering the phone and by their own admission, they hate talking on the phone and they don't think they're good at it, but they've, they're spending money to drive massive leads. And then those leads are coming to someone who hates dealing with the leads. And I said, that there's your problem. You immediately need to put yourself out of that position and get somebody in there who enjoys people, enjoys talking to people and can, you know, get, get something out of them in terms of motivation, that kind of stuff. So not knowing when to hire people. You mentioned on the back of the napkin thing, you know, it, it's a double-edged sword, CRM in our industry is important. It can be something that keeps people from moving forward because they're intimidated by the software they have to learn.
(27:35): Yeah. And so I tell people use a spreadsheet wherever in the beginning, but as your business starts growing, and when people come to you for example, and say, Hey, I wanted, I want to have this marketing channel. By that point, they really need to have some kind of a CRM that they're utilizing because the worst thing you can do, and the little joke that I have within my coaching community is when you create a lead, it's sort of like somebody has dropped a baby and put that on your doorstep. You can't leave it out there all night. It will die. So when you get leads in your business, they can't just come into a voicemail or someone takes a message and puts on CRM in no way. You have to actively work that lead. It's, it's precious. You paid for it. It's a it's alive. You're gonna kill it. If you just let it sit there. And so people that leads languish, surprisingly in this market, the people that I'm, that I'm coaching and talking to a lot of times are not having a significant problem. Creating leads. They're having a problem. Turning those leads into deals. That's where they're really struggling. And a lot of times that's a phone incoming phone call person that isn't doing a good job, or that's not what they should be doing, or they're getting that lead and getting an appointment and they're blowing it on the sales side of it. And so to your point with that person who said, I have a marketing problem, I don't blame you. You can come in and implement the greatest marketing strategy in the world and SEO and, and, and paper click, and the leads come in and they go, well, it's not, you're not doing a good job for me.
(29:06): It's like, no, no, no, you're getting leads. You are blowing it because you're not, you're not paying attention in, in working those leads. And so having that system and having the right often, this is a big problem, too. People really focus and they'll spend a lot of time, energy and money, what we call acquisitions or the salesperson, right? The person who's actually talking to the homeowner, going to the home, looking around and trying to negotiate a deal. Everyone acknowledges. And everyone realizes that that's a very important position in your company. And it absolutely is. And I made this mistake too huge mistake, huge. I discounted and devalued the person who answers the phone in my opinion, and this sounds terrible, but I'm just being honest. When I started my business and then we started ramping up, I really thought that was anybody with a heartbeat, right?
(29:52): With a hand to pick up a phone, could do that job. Who cares? Who does that job? Just put anybody there. And then let's focus on getting a world class salesperson. What I realized was that person who answers the phone, they're the gatekeeper. If they're terrible, I don't care how good your salesperson is. He'll never talk to that. That homeowner, because the, the gatekeeper is keeping the gate closed or they're causing people to not want to go through the gate because they're horrible. And so that's a big miss people just think, oh, I'll get a VA or like, and you can get a VA and they can do a fine job, but it's such a throwaway position for most people. And it's actually super critical that you have the right person answering the phones or taking those incoming leads.
(30:30): Yeah. It strikes me. Right. It's the first, it's literally the first impression, right? It's the, the very first experience, you know, maybe outside of a postcard or, or whatever, whatever got them to call you in the first place. Right. So first time they're really gonna engage with you and yeah. If it doesn't go well, that's such an interesting, so let's, let's tie that back into one of the other mistakes that you mentioned right. Which is leaving yourself in the business too long. How do you know when it's time? Right. How do you know when it's time to bring someone in? Is it just that you're overworked? Is it that you're dropping the ball? The, the example that you mentioned, right. It's more of a skill thing where it's like, I know I'm sort of throttling the business growth, but the fact of like, it's very similar to AdWords when I used to do all the sales calls for Edwards, which did not, it didn't are so high. Right. Cause I would always be like, eh, you know, whatever. Right. And that was kind of my, yeah. My vibe. Right. So how do you know when it's time to bring someone new it?
(31:25): Yeah. So there's, there's a old, like kind of a cliche that when you start wondering if it's time to hire it, it's already late. Like you should, should have already hired. That is kind of true. It's sort of cliche, but it's, it's actually really true, but I always tell people, you, when, if you see a bottleneck, obviously that's a time to hire. Right. But, but if you are doing, if the part of the business that you're, or if there is a part of the business and there always is that you dislike, you, you, you just don't like it. Chances are you're bad at it. Very rarely do people do something that they hate. And they're just amazing at it. It can happen, but usually they're bad at it. So it's really sooner than later, you should be hiring. And, and the really, it's not so much how, how, when should I hire it's for most people it's how can I hire?
(32:16): I don't feel like, and I fell into this trap too, for a long time in my business. I would say to myself, I need help. I need to hire, but I'm not big enough. I'm not a big enough company to have employees, but the, the reality was, and the circular logic was, but I'll never be a big enough company unless I hire, but I can't hire. Cause I'm a big, not a big enough company. Right. And this terrible circular logic, but what I was able to do, and I kind of stumbled upon it, but it's, it's it's, you can replicate it. It's not unique is I always thought, and I think most people think I can't hire because I can't afford the payroll and, or I don't wanna bring someone in my business is small. I, I don't want them to rely on me because what if I don't get a deal for a month or two?
(32:59): Like what happens? Right. And so what I didn't consider and what I discounted was hiring people. Not only part-time, but what, like, for example, I, I was bad at sales when, when sales calls would come in or like, I was the guy who shouldn't be answering the phone because I would get a call in my business and I would see it. I knew it was a seller calling about something I, some marketing I did. And I would watch it go to voicemail because I so badly didn't want to answer that call because I just don't like making, I don't like answering those calls. And so it would hurt me. Right. And then even when I went on appointments, I'm not a sales guy. I'm not good at that. And so I just was bad. Right. And so when I realized that I needed to change that I knew I wasn't doing enough volume to really keep a great salesperson interested.
(33:46): And so I stumbled upon it, but, but you can go out and, and purposely do this. But what happened with me is I got an email, uh, from somebody who said, Hey, I found you online, heard your podcast, uh, I'm local, would you have lunch with me? I'd love to pick your brain and like, blah, blah, blah. And I almost always ignore those or say, no thank you or whatever. I just want time. But I just went for whatever reason. And I sat down with this young guy and he's telling me he's in sales. He does pharmaceutical sales locally as a local route. It's on, he's on the road all day, but it's local. And he wants to buy rentals and he's just picking my brain. And he was a nice kid. He seemed super enthusiastic. And after the meeting, before I even got home, I received an email where he recapped our entire meeting and he gave me a bullet point list of things he thought he could do for me for free, that he would love to do just to learn. And I was like, wow, what a, go-getter how professional, how great sales, right.
(34:38): Fail doing a killer sales Done. Right? Yeah. Long story short. I hired him. Now the, the, the cool thing about this and the thing that I tell people that they can replicate is he had a full-time job, but he was great at it. He was a great salesperson. And so in his world, he would go out on the road, he would talk to these doctors, but he could, he could just crush his job in like just a few hours a week. He was spending most of his time at home playing call of duty cause he was, and, and by the way, they were giving him awards and sending him to Hawaii because he was the top regional salesperson. Wow. And he is like, this is so easy for me. Right? Yeah. Yeah. And so I hired him on a full commission basis, so I don't pay him unless I get money.
(35:19): He didn't need it to pay his bills. Right. So find someone who's really good at what they're doing. Really great salesperson, who can do it for you part-time they can ease their way in. And so he started answering calls for me and going on appointments while still crushing his normal nine to five, whatever job. And I went, like, I would go on five appointments and I would get one contract. On average. If I went on five, I'd get one. He would go on five. Once he came on board and he would get three on average, that is a monumental change in revenue and cash flow. And so once I did that, everything opened up to me. Now I could start bringing in dedicated phone people. I could hire other key people that I needed a bookkeeper. I mean, I was doing my own books. It was, it was keeping me up at night. So I could start building out this team that could help me. And it all started by bringing in the person who was great at what I was bad at. And it changed everything for me. Had I not done that? I don't know. I don't know what I would've done. I would've had a really crappy company.
(36:19): I mean, yes, you probably it'd still be car manufacturing or whatever you'd be doing. it's like, it strikes me. Right. It's like, it's all about understanding that it's not either, or it's not, well, I'm too small to hire someone for $60,000 a year salary. Right. It's like, you can hire someone per deal or on commission or on a temporary basis. Right. There are ways of trying to break that paradigm. God, I just, I love talking about this. I want to, I want to keep talking about this. I wanna touch base real quick on direct mail. Right. Cuz we we've sort of skirted around it. I know you are working on or you have, um, like kind of like a guide out right now is sort of getting into direct mail for people that, you know, oh, my thing is making noise, which is annoying. But so for people that, um, you know, direct, mail's been around real estate investing for a long time. And I think what people tend to think is it's too crowded. It's too competitive. There's too many people doing it. So, you know, when you talk to someone that's thinking about doing direct mail or, you know, they're thinking about implementing it in their business, what do you say to that person? That's like, ah, I just don't know if it's for me or it's seems like it's too, too difficult now.
(37:29): Yeah. So it, to me, it's always amazing that direct mail is a thing because it it's, it's like the same reason why I'm, I'm baffled, why they're still trains. Like how can there still be trains, trains were a thing in the 18 hundreds. People still get on trains. Like what are we talking about? Right. It's 29, uh, 2022. So direct mail is still the thing. It is, it is crowded. Everything's crowded. Right? So it's not too crowded. What I have found, the two, the two things that have gotten me the most deals in my business and I've done over 700 deals in the last seven years. Right? Wow. The two, the two marketing strategies that have far and away destroyed everything else that I've tried is direct mail and paper click. Those are the two things that have consistently worked for me. I don't have the knowledge to talk about paper, click intelligently.
(38:16): I can only talk it from a surface level. Uh, I hire that out, but direct mail. I have, I have been the one doing it and I have spent over a million dollars. Literally. I, I calculate, I went back so I wasn't gonna be lying and I wanted to make sure it'd be so cool. If I could say I've spent over a million dollars on direct mail. Yeah. And I have, I actually have, so I've spent that much money. And when you spend that kind of money, by the way, my direct mail piece is 35 cents. So imagine how many pieces have to be sent out to get to a million dollars at 35 cents a pop, right? It's a lot, it's a lot of learning and it, people do it so poorly. It's amazing that the amount of money they'll spend and not really know what they're doing, they're just sort of like guessing and throwing things out there into the, into the ether and seeing what happens.
(38:58): And so I get the question a lot. I decided I put together a five video course there's they're short-ish videos. I always split it into five so that the topics were very clear and, and very clear cut and distinct. But it's five, you know, 10 to 15 minute videos where I walk through my entire direct mail process, starting with the card that I use and why I use it. Because I think it's important not to just give you my card. Right. And go, here you go. Right. Because at some point you're gonna wanna try other cards and other creatives. And so I give you my card and the one that has definitely made me the most funny, but I also break down exactly why it works and what is right. And what can be wrong if you do other things. And so I give them, it's like, you know, give a man a fish, tell, teach a man to fish, kind of a thing.
(39:42): I'm trying to teach it to fish and give you the fish. But then I go through the entire process of how I create it, how I get it printed, how I get it mailed out. And I also, as a bonus, talk about when the calls come in, how, how do you handle that effectively? Like what is the best practices when the calls start coming in? And so I created all that and, and started thinking about what am I gonna charge for it? I mean, honestly, I, I could charge whatever I want because I know this can make people a lot of money. Uh, and I decided to make it free just to get it out there and get that information out into the world. And it's totally free. So if you go to my website, Mike simmons.com/winning direct mail, you can get that for absolutely free, no obligation at all. So you can go grab that. Um, but that's how I do it. And like I said, I, it is not it's antiquated for sure, but it still works for whatever reason. It still absolutely works.
(40:32): I mean, it's, we were talking before the show. Right. And you were like, oh, I don't know if like direct, mail's really your thing, cuz it's like, obviously like I do online marketing, but it, it for me, right. I'm not an absolutist in the sense that there's no one thing that's right for everybody all the time. And the thing that's that is undeniable is that direct mail is in REI so deeply and has been such a part of the business model for so long because it works. I mean, it just works. It's like impossible to argue with that fact because to do so you would have to say like, well everyone's irrational in the universe because it's, I think it's still the most common, uh, marketing methodology again. So if you're listening to this and you want to go check that out, it's Mike simmons.com. Simmons is S IMM O N s.com/winning direct mail. I personally am gonna take the course, cuz like I'm super curious about it. And I love, I love direct mail from like a conceptual point of view. Like all my favorite kind of like marketing heroes are guys like Dan Kennedy and stuff like sort of came up in direct mail. And I always have fantasies of writing like a four page letter. That's gonna make me like a bajillion dollars. I've never done it. I had terrible at, I know my strengths, but that's like my, you know, that's the, that's sort of the top for me.
(41:53): Uh, let me say this Dan real quick. And this is an important point and I wanna make this because direct mail is a crowded space, but something that my, one of my mentors told me and that I found to be absolutely true. And this is I'm, I'm directing this at like maybe the smaller investor who who's worried that they're competing with these other bigger investors who have more money and more resources and a bigger team and all this the one way, and this, this applies to me too, right? Cuz I'm I'm now I'm a scale up investor with a bigger team. The one way to beat the people with more resources, more money, bigger team, bigger company, more experience. The one advantage you have when you're doing direct mail as a newer or smaller investor is to beat them to the punch. You always have that advantage when you're small, you know, a speedboat can always, out-maneuver a cruise ship and, and you're a speedboat.
(42:41): And so when that mail goes out, answer the call, live, get on the phone and get out to their house as soon as possible and get the contract because companies like me or bigger companies, even they have a process in a team. And sometimes despite the best efforts to be efficient, it takes a little longer to get through their system and to get out there and to like decide they're gonna round Robin, their salespeople and who has time and who got, and it's like all that crap they're doing in the background. You just get out there and get the contract so direct. Mail's competitive. But if you use this, the one advantage you have or the one major advantage speed, you can beat the bigger guys. You really can. Yeah. I love that too. And it ties back to what we were talking about even earlier, right? We were talking about CRMs and we were talking about just picking up the phone and we were talking about the first person it's, it's like the, you know, the first person in that process, like the number one correlated factor that we see in terms of people who have sex of sex, who have success, Freud in slip, uh, who have success with paper, click marketing, the number one correlated factor is speed delete, right? It's always speed delete. And it is just a thing that so many people sleep on. Mike, I'm coming up on time and I will you please, please come back on this show and do this again because there's so much more, I didn't even get to talk about like the thing with your daughter. And there's like so much more I wanna get to, will you do another episode of this show with me
(44:03): A hundred percent? Yeah. Cause I would love to absolutely love that for people that are listening. Obviously we've said it a couple times. If you have not, if you're in the car or you're running or whatever, commit this to your memory, it's Mike simmons.com. Is there anywhere else that you want people to follow you or learn about you online? If they go there, they're gonna find everything. Right? I've got a podcast that I, I love and I'm very proud of, but you can find email@example.com. So go, go and checked out the website and you can see everything I'm up To. All right. Obviously we're gonna have all the links to that stuff in the show notes because that's what you legally have to do. If you have a podcast that's in the bylaws, you have to Oh, you'll get arrested, sir, if you
(44:38): Don't do it. Okay. Uh, but Mike, I cannot tell you again. I mean, I mentioned this before, but you're one of my favorite people in this industry. I was up. So, so much fun talking to you. We're gonna get a proper, I, I messed up the scheduling earlier and it's sort of a little shorter than normal. I'm gonna get a proper session with you where we really dive into the weeds. If that's something you want to do. So thank you so much for coming on. I really, really appreciate it. Thanks For having me. It's a blast. Like I said, all kidding aside. I you're one of my favorite people in this industry as well, and I was excited to do this cause I love talking to you. You're blast.
(45:09): All right. Awesome man. All right, I'll talk to you soon. All right. That's gonna do it for this week's episode of the REI marketing nerds podcast. As always, you wanna learn more about AdWords nerds, you can go over to AdWords nerds.com, where we help real estate investors do more deals online. We do pay per click marketing. We do Facebook. We do SEO. We do it all. We even do social media. So if you need help getting more deals online, you know where to go. It's AdWords nerds.com. And of course you can find show notes for this episode and all our past firstname.lastname@example.org slash podcast, go check it out. Of course, anywhere you get this podcast, if you got a chance to leave us a review or thumbs up or whatever, we would really appreciate it helps other people find the show. I just want to say thank you so much for tuning in every week. It really means a lot to me and I'm gonna really make every effort to get back into this podcast and make it the most kick butt podcast I could possibly make it. I hope you have an awesome rest of your week and I'll be talking to you very soon. Cheers.
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