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 AdWords 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 you're host Dan Barrett.
(00:40): Hey guys, welcome back. You're listening to the second part of last week's episode. Let's jump back in. So let's, let's transition. There's like so much I want to go, I'm like rushing and I'm like, Oh, I got into everything. We've gotta talk about OJ Labs. So for people who are not, uh, familiar, this OJ o right? I think it's just oj o.com is at the website. Yeah. Ojoe.com. Yeah. So walk people through Ojo Labs and what you guys do, because it is sort of a varied offering. You've got multiple, you're touching multiple pieces of the real estate market. So, so talk people through what Ojo
(01:16): Is. I can describe it a number of ways, but I think of it as a marketplace. It's where technology company in the real estate space, on one side we have consumers on the other side, we have service professionals, real estate agents, mortgage, uh, professionals, um, and eventually other types. Insurance, you know, home improvement, all those type of things. And we're able to help consumers no matter where they're at in the process, if they're just starting out, um, they may spend time on one of our, our, our, our, on our primary site, which is mooto.com. Eventually be rebranded to odo.com. But mooto.com is the fifth largest real estate site in the country. And a consumer will start there. They'll, whatever they need, we hope they can find it there. When they have specific questions or needs and they raise their hand or fill out a form or ask a question or call us, we talk to every one of 'em. We find out how we can best help them if what they need is to see a specific property or be connected to a great agent. We have a network of 30, about 32,000 top agents across the country where we can make those introductions, uh, wherever, whatever market they're in to help them achieve their goals. So it's helping people buy in and selling, investing in, in real estate that don't have a strong connection to a great agent already.
(02:38): Yeah, I, it's, this is, this is gonna be the connection to what I do, right? Because Mooto Mooto specifically, which is M O V O T O, if anyone wants to go check that out, is one of the search terms in Google ads. It really seems to be on the rise, something that we really started to see cropping up in pretty much every market a couple years ago and has just been like, steadily increasing in traction. So it's like one of the things that, you know, just sort of crosses over into what I do. So I am curious, like you really could have gone anywhere, uh, after your sort of career trajectory. I'm curious what drew you to Ojo specifically? Like what was it about them that really made you want to not just be on the board but take a leadership position and really get involved in the company?
(03:24): Yeah, so, um, what got me on the board and what had me be wanna be part of them were the founders, the co-founders, um, one of which is the CEO of the company, John Berkowitz. He's a great leader, you know, he has all the attributes that we've talked about. And that was, that was someone that I felt very comfortable with, as I mentioned, for me to go do anything. And I have to have that, that trust, that respect, um, and, and feel like, okay, here's someone who understands me at a deep enough level that it can help me achieve my goals or, or put me in a situation where, you know, I can, I can help the, the team win. And he had all those, all those attributes. Uh, what they were doing was, at the time when, when the company was younger, was again, this big mission we were on, you know, we didn't acquire him of OTO until, um, June of 2020.
(04:19): And that was one of several companies that we've acquired. And, um, so the first and foremost thing, Dan was, it was the team of people. And there had been people with him that'd been with them through multiple companies. Uh, these are people that I had spent and got to spend a lot of time with, you know, as an advisor and then a board member. I got to see sort of inside. So taking that, that leap wasn't that big of a leap cuz I, it was a known entity for me, the company and the team. Um, at the time I was, as I mentioned, I was at Loan Depot and the CEO of their sister company. And at the time the mortgage industry was similar to what's going on right now, was in a, had gone into a really tough place. And so a lot of the things that I went to that company to do, we just couldn't do.
(05:05): We had to focus on survival and, and, and, you know, keeping the doors open and focusing and narrowing our focus to what the company did best versus all the things we aspired to do. And so I felt like, although it was, I, they were, I was well compensated in a great position and like the people I was with, I wasn't able to do the stuff I wanted to do. And at Ojo they were growing big enough to where they said, Hey, we could really use you. It's super important to me to feel like I'm contributing at a high level every day that if I don't feel like I'm doing that, then I don't feel productive. It doesn't feel good. Yeah. And so that was the, those were the reasons that had me make that move and, and join the company that I'm with.
(05:50): So. Alright. I love, I love that. Right? And I love that such a big part of your decision, right? Was your pursuit of this sense of sort of productive fulfillment, Right? Which to me, I think comes across in a lot of the stuff that you do. So that ties into one of the questions that I had for you, which was how do you make decisions because you are clearly highly analytical, right? You have the, the sort of that mindset you've got, you know, the, this sort of hard, what do you wanna call it, investment math piece, right? Where you are clearly weighing that, but you are also clearly weighing these sort of more ambiguous things like your sense of fulfillment and your enjoyment and leadership and you know, teamwork and things like that. So how, how would you describe how you make decisions?
(06:44): Yeah, that's a, that's a really good question and, and different stages of my career, I probably use different, uh, different skill set and different experiences. So I probably made 'em differently. I'll talk about how I do it today. It's gotta feel, right? Right. It's, it's, there's a feeling. You know, I I I think of the real estate investments I've made over the years and, and I make quite a few of 'em being in the business and you know, you have those ones where every selling your body knows like, this is a great opportunity and you take that opportunity and you benefit from it. And the ones that you don't, even if it was 20 years ago, you remember like, wow, that felt right and I didn't act on it and I should have. So that's, that's part of it, the decision making process. But to your point also, I am, I am very analytical by nature, so I think one of the things that I do fairly well is the bigger the decision, the quicker I can analyze it.
(07:38): Um, I get stuck sometimes on little decisions, you know, what am I gonna wear today? Those type of things, . Um, but on big decisions, whether it's investments or companies or acquisitions or mergers or strategies I have, and I don't know, I don't know where this came from, but I, I tend to be able to see things in, in sort of a 300 to 60 degree view and see what's around the corners and what the consequences are intended and unintended consequences of some of the decisions that are made. And so then I do a risk analysis. Um, I was sharing with a friend this weekend, I think from the outside, a lot of things i, I do and decisions I make look like I'm, um, I have high risk tolerance and that are, are risky and big moves, but they don't feel that way to me because I've, I've already weighed, you know, the downside and I, and I don't do anything that I'm not prepared to deal with if it doesn't work out. So, you know, quickly assessing, you know, the ups, the upside and the downside, does it feel right? Is there a high op, uh, is there a big opportunity? Is there a, like a high likelihood that if we do the things we know we can do and I have things I know I can do, that we can succeed cuz I like to succeed and I like to win. So those are all part of the criteria that goes into the decision making process.
(08:56): So let me ask kind of the inverse of that question, which is, where do you think most people mess up their decision making process? Like what do people overlook or miss or maybe don't even think about that sort of leads them down the pathway to suboptimal decision making? I think a lot of people either make assumptions or, or think they know things and, and don't really explore whether they do know it or not. So they aren't asking enough questions, they aren't talking to enough people. That's part of my decision making process too, is I have some very trusted advisors and mentors and coaches that I can talk to and bounce things off and make sure I'm not missing something. Or am I looking at something through a biased filter or am I looking at it, you know, in a realistic way. I think a lot of people don't do that. They either don't have access to that or they haven't developed the, that network of people that they can talk to about those decisions because it's, it's, it's very easy to miss things or to see things that you think are, you're seeing it clearly and you're, and you're not, you're missing the obvious signs of something.
(10:04): So I think that's a mistake people often make cause they just don't take the time to, to seek the advice of others that have already done it or, or have achieved at a really high level. I think another, uh, mistake is that, that people, a common mistake is making fear based decisions. People make decisions out of fear, right? They don't do something because of fear or they do something because of fear. And, and that's, it's very rare that we ever see, uh, a good outcome out of fear based decision. You know, it usually doesn't go well. So, you know, uh, we all have fear. Um, I have it, but I, I think I tend to move through it very quickly and deal with it and, and, and get through it because I know it's always better on the other side than being on this side of it. And so I don't, if, if I find myself making a decision or having a thought out of fear, I quickly catch that and then change that, that course.
(11:04): So that brings me to risk. Now, one of the things that we talked about, we, we, we had an earlier conversation, we were getting to know each other and we kind of talked a little bit about decision making and one of the things that you mentioned was de-risking your decisions, right? Sort of doing what you can upfront before you commit to either alleviate risk or sort of re you know, make it less likely. I'm curious, how do you do that? Like how do you think through that process, if you are, for example, making a move that to, to an outsider seems quite risky, how do you make it less so for you so that you can experience that big upside without taking on the risk of the downside that other people at least might perceive as there?
(11:50): Yeah. Um, I think it's healthy to always look at worst case scenario. Okay. Like, what's the worst that's going to happen? Then oftentimes it's not as bad as we think it would be or that we had built it up to be in our minds. So that's one thing, one thing to look at when you're assessing risk. The other is, you know, I think, I, I think my dad told me this a long time ago and it was, it was in, in, um, relationship to gambling. I don't ever gamble anything that you can't afford to lose. And so I sort of take that same philosophy with, you know, when I'm assessing risk and, and decisions that are being made. I think another thing is I, I've really have, have developed the ability to focus on the opportunities, right? So even when it doesn't pan out or play out the way that we want it to or thought it was going to or had hoped for, there's opportunities everywhere and looking for the opportunities so that what, what might look like a defeat turns into an opportunity.
(12:53): What might look like a loss becomes an opportunity, but it might look like a setback is just another step towards another opportunity. So those are the things that they look at. You know, worst case scenario, am I going to, I'm not going to lose anything I can't afford to lose, right? I'm not gonna, you know, bet the farm on something that's a, a coin tile and, and then looking at always for the opportunities. So, which is another way to mitigate the risk because if things don't go as planned, instead of just accepting that saying, ah, right back to the drawing order, you gotta do something new. You're, you're looking for finding the opportunities to turn that, you know, that lemon and eliminated,
(13:34): Man, I so definitely been gonna go back and transcribe this and put it in a little template that I can just paste into everything and journal about every time I wanna make a decision because I love the idea of just thinking up front, like what's the worst that can happen and making sure that you can handle it. Something we talk about with our clients all the time, right? When we're talking about a budgets or marketing budgets where we say like, well, you know, I always say budget what you can afford to lose for six months. Cause it's not that I think that's gonna happen, but I wanna know that you're not gonna go out of business if you, everything doesn't go your way, right. Because that's not usually the case. So I wanna shift focus a little bit. We're, we're coming up on time. I wanna start wrapping things up, but I am so curious for someone who has such an insider's view of real estate and it's particularly PropTech and real estate tech and the internet and how all those things are interacting and that you could take this question wherever you want to go, but what do you think the future of real estate looks like?
(14:34): So I'll try to answer that from a couple different perspectives. From a consumer perspective, I think it, it's going to, we're going to have more options than we've ever had before and the, the optionality will continue to increase some multiply and I mean options for how we buy properties, options for how, how we sell properties, options for how we own properties, options for how we finance properties. There are, there's so much money and focus being spent on creating new options and in, um, in products and platforms for consumers. So from a consumer standpoint to have more options. Now, generally that's a good thing, but not always, right? The more options you have, the more difficult the decisions are sometimes and, trying to choose the right path or best path for you. When we talk about the real estate industry from an agent or a broker's perspective, that's one of the opportunities I believe that with big decisions and big purchases of, and real estate certainly is the top of that, the top of that list people always will want in need consulting, advising.
(15:42): And the more options people have, the more the need for someone to help them really assess those options and analyze those options and come up with the best one for them. So that's at a real high level, you know, what the, what things look like going forward, there will continue to be technological advances, right? Technology is growing and advancing at a faster pace than we can even really imagine. And that will create, um, you know, new products and new platforms and ways for, for, uh, if you're in, in the industry as an agent or broker, new ways for you to do things and things that you had to do before that you no longer had to do, which is now automated or, or has, has a more efficient or effective way of doing it, has been created using use of technology, but also being able to do your job at a higher level because you're now being enabled by the technology and technological advances.
(16:37): I think another thing that'll change going forward is, will continue to change our expectations and, and consumer behavior as consumers. We get spoiled really fast. You know, the Amazon effect changed how we, how we shopped online forever. Mm-hmm. and, and set a bar and set an expectation. And that happens with every new technology and every new adoption of technology. So that will continue on at a very fast pace. And then the industry will, one of their challenges will be to, to stay at or ahead of that to be able to offer, uh, experiences that and, and come to demand and expect. So, you know, I don't, uh, there's the way I could go so deep into different areas, but that Dan, that's a, that's a quick overview of, of, of the future. And
(17:28): We have time. Just keep going, keep going. I'm gonna taking notes. Where do I put my money? No, I mean I think your take on it is so insightful, right? Because there obviously are multiple stakeholders in any real estate transaction and every single one of them is being affected. You, your, your remark about the Amazon effect, that's so funny because we are literally just having the conversation with my wife the other day where she ordered some pottery, you know, ceramics equipment, right? And from a independent, uh, seller cuz she wants to support a small business, but she's complaining that they charge for ship and I'm like, everybody used to charge for shipping and it still costs money to ship stuff, right? We've just forgotten that. It's like it never happens, right? Which is, which is, uh, fascinating. All right, I'm gonna, last question, uh, cuz I, I wanna let you go.
(18:16): You're a busy man, but I, there's just so much I want to ask you. One thing that you have mentioned a couple different times that's really, really obvious to me is that you work very hard to put yourself in the room with people that you perceive as smarter than you, better than you. Uh, great leaders like you said, right? You, you want, you wanna put yourself in that room with people that really push you to be your best. That's such a core part of your kind of personal development philosophy that I really appreciate. I am curious today, so Chris Heller today, who do you look up to? Like, who do you look at as someone who is really killing it in, in any, you know, it could be business, your personal life or whatever, Um, but who do you look up to today?
(18:59): You know, there's, um, and, and I've said this before, but you just made me think of it. There's leadership lessons all around us and all the time, and it's really whether we're paying attention to them or catching them. So there, but back, but to answer your question, look at some of the leaders that I work with. You know, when we focus on people's strengths and we focus on their superpowers, there's a lot of people that you can look up to because of those. And we get into trouble when we try to make them everything fresh. We use someone famous, for example, Elon Musk. There's certain things about Elon Musk that I admire at the highest level, and there's other things that I don't care for or, or aren't congruent with my beliefs or, or standards or, or, or, or, or the likes.
(19:53): And so I take pieces, you know, from, from different people and the people that I admire and I admire them for certain things, but I don't put 'em on a pedestal and say, Okay, this is a great person because none of us are great at everything. We all have things that we could be better at or that we aren't as good as we should be at. Um, so I just look for, you know, the gold and whoever I'm dealing with or whatever situation I'm in, or whoever I'm, I'm looking at. You know, I, there's in our, in business, there's so many great leaders. Um, you know, one person I spend a lot of time thinking about and reading about and following, uh, is Adam Grant. You know, he, um, is the Wharton professor and, and author and, and I really like, I really like how he thinks and I really like how he assesses things. Um, and, and, but there's many, many, many like that. Cool. Is there somewhere I should like, like a particular book or piece of writing that I should check out, Grant at Any of his books? The first one, um, that I read that I fell in love with was, I think it was called Givers and Takers, or Give and Take, uh, his last two books and, and I'm drawing a blank on the most recent one. I can picture the cover, but I can't picture the name. Uh, but anything that Adam Grant writes is worth reading.
(21:15): All right, cool. Well, I will look up some of those books. I'll put them in the show notes, which you can firstname.lastname@example.org. Chris, this has been amazing for me. I really enjoy jumping more than deep diving on people's decision making process and you are one of the best people to ever be on this show and do that with me. So I really appreciate it. So if you are listening to this, you wanna follow up more with Chris, obviously the book Dominant Thoughts, which you can email@example.com. You also have a website, Chris Heller dot coo. Heller is spelled h e l l e R. So Chris Heller, c o is there anywhere else that you want people to find you online? Do you, do you use social media much or anything like I do? Yeah, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram. Um, I'm, uh, people reach out to me all the time on those platforms. I, and I do my best to always respond. So yeah, reach out, however works for you.
(22:05): Uh, well, that is an incredibly gracious offer that I hope people will not abuse. Uh, but Chris, thank you so much for coming on the show, man. This was a real treat for me. I really appreciate it. And you, you delivered a ton of value to our audience, so thank you So much. Oh damn. Thanks for having me on. Thanks for making it easy. That is it, That's the end of this interview with Chris Heller. I hope you enjoyed this one. I certainly did. Look, if you want to get show notes, links to all this stuff in all these episodes, you can go over to AdWords nerds.com, just click on blog or podcast or whatever. You will find it. And while you're there, think about reaching out to our team. Look, all we do is online marketing for real estate investors. That is literally all we have done for more than a decade. We have a proven track record of results, and we would like to help you. You get on a phone to someone from our team for free. We will help you put together a strategy for your market. And if you want us to help you with it, awesome. If not, take it and go be successful. Look, I really appreciate you listening to this podcast every week. It means the world to me. If you need anything, drop me a question, drop me a comment, drop me a review wherever you get your podcast. I read every single one and I will see you next week. Cheers.
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