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We all face obstacles in life.

Ordinary people use their obstacles as an excuse to have something else to complain about. While the successful ones use their obstacles as an excuse to grow and expand.

In today’s episode, I’m chopping it up with Josh Schoenly as he shares his secrets for pivoting from a failing real estate business to a successful one smack dab in the middle of the recession.

Show Highlights Include:

  • How to handle all the frustrations in your business without ripping all of your hair out (4:45) 
  • How to magically “flip” problems on their head so they work in your favor (6:35) 
  • The fatal mistake average, ordinary people make that dooms them to a life of failure (7:20) 
  • Why every single problem is 100% your fault (8:10) 
  • The subtle mindset shift that effortlessly turns living nightmares into your wildest dreams (9:25) 
  • How to grow a profitable and almost “recession-proof” business (11:09) 
  • The cold, hard truth about why you get stuck on certain problems with no solution in sight (11:40) 
  • Daddy’s secret for building a business without sacrificing being a part of your kids’ lives (20:25)

Resources mentioned in today’s show:

To learn more about Josh and how he can help you generate and close more real estate leads, go to https://clientalchemist.com and follow him on Facebook.

Are you a highly-driven dad who needs help creating your legacy? Then go to wherever you listen to podcasts, subscribe to the show, and leave a 5-star review to help other highly-driven dads find this show.

Read Full Transcript

No! Don't go in there! Daddy's working.

Jonathan: Welcome back to another edition of the Daddy's Working Podcasts. I know, I know you guys have been spoiled because it's only been me on the air for the last four weeks, and I had to bring someone else on. I can't carry this show all by myself. I'm not smart enough. I’ve got to find other cool daddy's out there who are doing big things and bring them here to deliver the good news to you.

So, what is up, Mr. Schoenly? Josh Schoenly on the air. This guy, I've been working with him on and off for years. I have been chasing his tail for probably longer than that. What's up, brother?

Josh: Oh, that's not true. That’s not true. He didn't put a lot of pressure on me here. I mean, you had to bring me on to break the chain there of the solo episodes. No, I'm excited to be here. This would be a good time, for sure, so thanks for the invite. [01:16.1]

Jonathan: Man, it's been a while since we have spoken. I've been following your career forever and when I said I was chasing this guy's tail, this guy came into a market, I thought, after me, took over the whole market, buried me and I went out of business, and then I had to come back and start a new business, just so I didn't have to compete with him. But for the listeners out there that don't know, man, tell them a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Josh: Sure. For, golly, 10 or 12 years now, my primary function, primary businesses that I've built and created have been around helping real estate agents generate and convert leads, primarily online through different platforms, etc. I built several businesses in that space over that time, and that has kind of been my passion. [02:06.8]

I've had a license since mid-2000s. It was inactive for a long time. I've recently reactivated it because of several things, and that may end up being a topic as we go along here. I've been a real estate investor over the years, at some points more active than at others, a little bit more active in that space currently than I have been in years past. But my primary day job, for lack of a better term, is to help real estate agents build their business, build their database of leads, clients and referrals. And so, yeah, that's been my bread and butter for the better part of a decade at this point.

Jonathan: Man, I don't know how to put this nicely, but I got tired from working with real estate agents after a couple of years and they wouldn't do the things that I knew were working. How do you keep that passion?

Josh: Full transparency. That is definitely that I have struggled with over the years, and, I would say, go through cycles of, where it's more frustrating than others. [03:07.2]

What I usually come back to is, What am I not doing? What can I do a better job of? How can I be sharper? How can I make this such that it is easier, simpler and there is less friction for them to implement the stuff that I know works?
I'm sure you feel this way, too. We may have a different understanding of what is the absolute best practices, the absolute best results that you can get, and doing all these, the minute details to get to that point. But then, you've got to take that and you've got to make it such that you can help the greatest number of people, and that may not necessarily be doing A, B, C, D, E, F, G, but rather getting it down to where it's more bite-sized and easier to implement sort of fashion.

It’s also why we've gone from a company that, for a long time, we just offered training, and help and support with that, but, over the years, we've also started offering actual hands-on help or agency kind of work, where we actually just do it for them. [04:10.6]

It’s because there are some folks or a percentage that want to do it themselves, either because of the cost or it just fits their personality type, and then there are others that understand the value in just saying, You're the expert. I'm going to let you do it, and I'll take the ball and run with it from that point. But it's real.

The other thing that I think about, too, back to the question is there are no perfect businesses. So, it may be frustrating at times to get our clientele to do the work, but I've dabbled enough in other businesses to know that there's always something. There's always going to be something that is frustrating about the business. Whether or not it's the clientele or the sales process, or whatever it may be, there's no perfect business opportunity or business. There's no perfect business, right? They all come fraught with their own hurdles and problems, and so forth. And so, that's kind of the thought process that I’ve tried to go through when I hit those patches of maybe greater-than-normal frustration with the market. [05:12.3]

Jonathan: This guy is politically correct. I'd be banging my head against the wall and ripping my hair out at times when they weren't listening to me. But that's beside the point. Clearly, I wasn't cut out for that.
How did you make the transition, man? You guys, yeah, I remember you always had tons and tons of info products. You had great funnels before funnel was a thing. You were bringing people in and selling. How did you make the transition from a more product model to the agency model?

Josh: There was no magic anything. It was just more that we knew that there was demand, so we put together an offer and we put it out there, and—full transparency—we’ve had to and are continuing to often change with that.
At the time of recording, Facebook has recently changed some of their terms of service, regulations and so forth when it comes to real estate ads, and that's been where we've had a ton of success, both for our agents and partners, and through our courses and so forth. [06:14.2]

And so, we're going through a little bit of an evolution right now because of that and that's another thing that there are two ways to look at it. You can get frustrated, annoyed or whatever, or you can try and look at, Where's the opportunity with that? and try to find that.

For me, I'm not always great at that, but I would say that that's one thing that I’ve gotten better at with age and experience of taking problems and flipping those on their head, and try to find the opportunity, rather than sulking and complaining or playing the “woe is me” card. Why is this happening? What's the opportunity inside of that problem or issue? And then, trying to really chase that opportunity and maximize that opportunity.

So, it wasn't something magical that we did. It was just a realization, Hey, there's a demand for this. Let's put together an offer for it and let's start having conversations with people that might be a good fit. [07:09.9]

Jonathan: Where or how did you figure this out? A lot of people, a lot of people, and it's not just real estate or just entrepreneurs, but I think most average, ordinary people will take an obstacle and let it knock them down, and cry about it and complain to the world, and soapbox on Facebook about it.

How did you make this transition? Because you said you weren't good at it and now you're getting better at it. Where was the realization that you were screwing up? And what were the moves that you made to change that mindset?

Josh: I couldn't pinpoint one thing, but, I would say, from listening to mentors, whether it be podcasts or people that I've had direct access to, reading books, having children, being married, all of those experiences—and getting my butt handed to me a lot and realizing, I'm not going to fix this situation by sulking or by complaining. No, none of that is going to help me get out of the position I'm in, regardless of if it was my fault or not. [08:14.5]

Again, there's still tons of room for improvement when it comes to that, but I know I'm drastically better at looking at things through that lens than I was five or 10 years ago. So, a combination of age, experience, exposure to people that I've seen either directly or indirectly, who have gone through tons of hardships and things like that.

Faith helps with that, too. There are tons of Bible verses that will reiterate this point that we're discussing.
There's a whole lot of things that go into that.

Jonathan: Here's the thing, Josh. I know my listeners and what they really like are stories. Can you share a butt-handed-to-me story that you’ve had to work through and show us how that went?

Josh: Yeah. I tend to find the worst time possible to do something, to jump into something new. I got my real estate license right as things were tanking, and was buying tons of properties, some properties, just as everything was absolutely falling off the cliff. [09:20.1]

My wife and I have lived in the same house since 2004. It is a house that, I would say, for some might be modest, but, for us, for the way both of us grew up, this is kind of our dream house. But when all of this was happening, it wasn't a dream. It was kind of a nightmare. There was a time of a couple of months when I was pretty sure that we were going to have to sell this house and move in with my in-laws. This is what I had. We had one, our first. It was pretty little.

I would say, that was the biggest thing. I remember the sleepless nights. I remember having this [burning] sensation in my stomach just from stress and all this stuff, and coming to a point of realization. I’ve got to do something. I can't just bury my head. I can't wish for something to happen here. I’ve got to get to work. I’ve got to figure something out that's going to work to build a business, to support our family, to stay in this home. [10:12.1]

Thankfully, by finding an opportunity that really fit my personality and my skill set that I was able to build over the years, I was able to work out of that situation. But it's happened several times since then, but not to that degree. That was the worst butt-handing situation.

It gave me. It changed my perspective on a lot of things on debt and risks, and so, I wouldn't change that. I think all of that happening has really shaped who I am today. I wouldn't not want to go through that experience, but I also wouldn't wish it on anyone else and I'd like to avoid going through a similar experience again if possible.

But, yeah, that would be the thing that, I would say, was the worst of my entrepreneurial experience, all of that coming crashing down and having to figure out, Okay, I need to really figure out how to build a truly profitable business, and to do so at a time that it wasn't real easy to do that. [11:16.9]

The crazy thing is the business that I built out of that was around helping real estate agents during a time when they were leaving in droves. All of that has shaped that and plays a big part in the ability to look at “What's the opportunity here?” and not “woe is me” and focusing on the problem. Because the other thing is what you focus on expands, so if all your energy is on, I've got this problem. I've got this problem. I've got this problem, then you're not going to find a solution. You're just going to stay stuck in that problem.

Jonathan: I have a quick question and I'll explain why I'm asking it. How long did it take you to switch that situation around and get back on your feet?

Josh: I think I've tried to block some of that out. But here’s the thing. I was starting to get out before it got really bad because it was one of those things where it was happening slowly enough that I was at least aware of that I had to figure something else out, so the solution started before the bottom, if that makes sense. [12:15.8]

It might just be luck. I can't say it was for some specific reason per se, but I had started to build an asset, which was, in this case, an email database of real estate agents who were looking for help. They wanted help in generating leads and clients, and so forth, so I was building this database, and because I had been building that out and putting the work into that prior to hitting rock bottom, I had this base to go from that was this asset that I could leverage and build a business out of.

I would say, probably anywhere from 90 to 120 days was the real bad time, and there are lots of things you can learn from that—I mean, the idea for the entrepreneurs on here that one offer, one product is really all it takes sometimes to really dramatically change your life? That was the case for me. [13:10.5]

It was a product called by Buyer Leads by Tonight. It was a Craigslist training product and it turned into a monthly continuity program, just from different things that happened, and that all is what got me out of that mess and it turned into a multimillion-dollar business that we eventually sold. It has kept me moving down that path and it’s the reason why we're still in that same home, and we have four kids, and, yeah, led us through to having this conversation right now.

Jonathan: You don't even know this. This is so amazing. I got rocked in that market. I didn't get out early—it looks like you're sporting the Yeti cup. Hell yeah—but I got rocked in that market. I didn't get out in time and I got stuck with a bunch of property, a bunch of foreclosures, lost everything around that time. It took me years. It took me almost two years to get out, so that's why I was asking you how quickly you rebounded. [14:10.7]

Josh: I had some of that, too. I had foreclosures. We had to file a bankruptcy. Again, I can't tell you why, but, thankfully, the getting-out process started before it got to that point. Otherwise, it would have been longer and we probably would have had to sell the house. And who knows where we'd be at this point? Who knows if we'd have four kids? I don’t know any of that. Who knows what may have been different if it didn't happen that way? I've never really thought about it. You're making me replay things that’s interesting and there are definitely things that can be learned from that. That's an interesting question.

Jonathan: That's what we do here, brother. That's why we don't have any canned questions. But, yeah, we have that in common and I didn't realize, I actually came in a little bit afterwards, trying to build, and I think you'd remember the real estate referral group, because I was doing AdWords and I was getting leads out of my area. Back then, you could get AdWords and leads for, like, 10 cents. [15:06.9]

Josh: Yeah, crazy.

Jonathan: I wish I could go back to that time.

Josh: No kidding.

Jonathan: Boy, but crazy times. But, yeah, building that asset, that one didn't pan out. I guess it did pan out because then we went into Making Agents Rich, and that's where we finally got the first product that hit. But here's what I wanted to ask you about that, because it took me a long time to get out of that funk.

This is what I see and I'm wondering what your take on it is—as you put in more time, as you get more experienced, as you do more deals, do more business or take more risks, have you noticed that when you hit those dips you recover quicker or is it still taking a while?

Josh: That's a great question. I would say, generally, yes. But, also, what I've noticed with me is that I recover faster if I am in a growth mode, if I'm out there seeking to get better, and there have been times over the last few years where that doesn't happen. [16:08.0]

Between having four young children and just other things, there are times when I find that I kind of get stuck in my own way of thinking. I’m not seeing. I’m not going through courses or reading books, or listening to podcasts that are feeding my mind and keeping me ahead of the game. And so, those are directly correlated, right?

If I hit a dip and I'm not growing, it takes me a lot longer to get out of that. Quite honestly, at the time of this recording, that has happened recently where I felt like I've become stagnant and, therefore, our business has been a little stagnant and I've got to get better. I've got to start growing and looking, getting a different perspective and bringing in new experience and so forth. And so, I think those things are definitely directly correlated and, oftentimes, are probably the reason for the dip as well. [17:00.2]

Sometimes those things are outside, truly outside of your control. There can be things that happen in any business that truly you can look back and say, There's really nothing I could've done to avoid that. But a lot of times, there are. You can see the writing on the wall or whatever, if you're in the right kind of mindset, and you're bringing the right perspective and energy to the business every day. And that's a hard thing to do. I marvel at people that are able to do that so consistently.

Just as an aside, I'm a huge Tim Ferriss guy and I think one of the reasons why I love him is because he's so transparent. He never shies away from sharing hardships and things like that, and a) it humanizes him, even though he's on some levels, a bigger than life type of personality at this point, and b) it reminds me that everybody struggles with crap. Their crap may be different, but everybody does, right?

Sometimes you've got to pick and choose what you're going to have to work through, and I think this was before I went live, you used the word “balance,” but you switched to “harmonize” because it is hard to do it. If you try to balance everything, at some point, if it falls down, right? So, harmonization is a more accurate term. There are costs. You have to weigh the cost of all your decisions. [18:18.6]

I'm someone that tried to do my best to be someone that can have it all and bring that idea to our children that you can have it all if you approach it the right way. But the reality is, there's still going to be some times where you're going to have to choose one thing over the other.

I'll give you an example of me. For me, with four young kids, I've strategically chosen not to travel that much and this has been for a long time. That probably has had a direct correlation with my income, whether it be traveling for a seminar that might help me grow or being able to travel. I've had offers to travel, to speak at seminars. Not that I avoid it entirely, but I've just strategically made the decision that, yeah, I might pursue that a little bit more once our kids are older, but I've chosen to be around as much as possible. [19:06.9]

Jonathan: Why do you want to be around?

Josh: Because … I don't know, I don't want to miss out on any of that. My dad was and is awesome in so many ways, but I remember that they've owned different small businesses, entrepreneurial, yes. Their businesses were always and have always been the kind of self-employee quadrant, where if they're not working, they're not making money.

I just remember him working like crazy. Not that he wasn't around per se, but … I don’t know, I just remembered that. It's always stuck in my mind, so I just always wanted to make sure a) that I can coach my kids sports, and b) that I'm here when they go to school and I’m here when they get home, and just be able to eat dinner together and just spend time together.
When we first started a family, that was what was driving or the underlying “why” of why I wanted to build a business and build the type of business. It was that, the underlying driver to make sure that I'm here as much as possible and could spend as much time as possible with Pam, my wife, and with the four of them and to make sure that I don't miss any school concerts or whatever it might be. [20:23.3]

That has always been something that was a nonnegotiable for me, and there are always exceptions, but for the most part, that has been the case. I haven't really had to miss much as far as that goes, and for that, I'm incredibly grateful and thankful to have the kind of business that I've been able to build and the kind of lifestyle that has been able to afford.

Jonathan: Well, guess what? Time is up for this week. I know you were just getting into that, and I don't blame you because it was just getting good, but we're trying to keep these episodes under a half-hour, so we split it up into two. We'll be back next week with Part 2 of this interview. Make sure you tune in then. [21:10.4]

And if you love what you're hearing, why not share this episode with someone who will also love it.

Thank you. Daddy's out.

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