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Most everybody loves to travel. Running your own business gives you the freedom to work from wherever you want. But running a business while you're on the road is hard.

But that doesn't mean you have to give up on your dreams. When you build a team, you can set yourself free and live wherever you want. And, when you delegate responsibilities to teammates that helps you tackle running your business from another state.

In this episode, multi-million dollar loan officer and avid tennis player Michael Houg explains how to run a million dollar loan office while traveling between two states.

Show highlights include:

  • How moving your business to another state doubles your revenue (2:07)
  • Why a market crash lets you build a stronger team than prosperity ever could (7:00)
  • How having phone calls closes more prospects than sending a quick text (9:17)
  • Why giving up control in your business gives you the freedom to work from wherever you want (12:12)
  • Why working “Banker's Hours” keeps you from closing leads and ruins your mortgage business (16:43)
  • The “Johnny On The Spot” method that keeps you from resting on your laurels and lose clients (17:08)

Want to get your questions answered live? Head to MLOlive.com and discover how you could become a Millionaire Loan Officer!

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to The Millionaire Loan Officer podcast with your host, Scott Hudspeth sharing tools, tips and strategies so that you can go from a mortgage loan officer to a millionaire loan officer. It's your host, Scott Hudspeth.

Scott: Alright, alright, alright! Welcome to The Millionaire Loan Officer, hey, this is Scott Hudspeth. I'm super excited to have friend of mine, Michael Hogue on the show with us today. Michael, how's it going, buddy?

Michael: Not too bad. How are you?

Scott: I'm doing great, man. Thanks so much for taking time out of your day, man and being here on Millionaire Loan Officer. And man, the reason your kind of a, it seemed like we were brothers from other mothers when you said, yeah, man, I'm living in two different States throughout the year. And I was like, really? And you're kind of a man after my own heart, man. You're like living the dream brothers. So so where are you at right now? [01:02.0]

Michael: Well, right now I'm back in Minnesota cause it's the summertime. So, I'll go back to Florida in the wintertime.

Scott: Excellent. Michael, how long have you been doing that?

Michael: I've been doing mortgages I'm in my 24th year.

Scott: Wow. And how long have you been going back and forth from Florida to Minnesota?

Michael: I just closed on March 2nd of this year. So.

Scott: Wow.

Michael: I just started.

Scott: Wow. Okay. So, man, you know, and that's what I want to make this topic. So, you have found a way to somehow and I want to talk about it. How do you leave Minnesota? It’s your hometown, correct? That's where you've lived pretty much your whole life?

Michael: Yeah, I came up here after I graduated high school and I've been here ever since.

Scott: Beautiful. So now you're going to be spending your winters, I would assume in Florida. Beautiful Florida, Naples. And so how did you, like, what does that look like for somebody that's thinking man, you know, cause I've talked to a lot of people and they're like, man, I'd love to be here or there different times of the year and just kind of brings some excitement to their life if you will. How have you managed to put that in place? [02:07.2]

Michael: Yeah. Well, it started, you know, it had been something I'd been my wife and I had been thinking about for a while, but when we got the most recent W2 forms and tax returns and we're looking at how much the state of Minnesota takes out in state income taxes, I get more taken out or as much taken out in taxes as what my wife makes it for a job in a year. And it's like, we're scratching our heads. It's like, so we can move to Florida and not have a reduction in income, even if she wasn't employed.

Scott: Wow.

Michael: And so, we came to that realization. That's like, okay, what are we waiting for? There's really no reason to wait any longer to move. And you know, my kids are, you know, married and so I don't have that to take care of anymore. So really nothing holding us back. And you know, obviously in this industry when you can work from home, you know, why not? [03:03.3]

Scott: Amazing thing, right. It's an amazing thing. So, a state tax in Florida is zero zilch Zada, correct?

Michael: Right.

Scott: So, you're a legal resident of Florida. Congratulations, man. It sounds like an amazing feeling or what man. Is that fun?

Michael: Yeah, it's so nice because it's like living in paradise. Every day is, you know, sunny in Florida.

Scott: Is there a reason you pick Naples or just, that's just where you guys felt the warm and fuzzies?

Michael: Yeah, Naples is where one of my friends that I played tennis with.

Scott: Okay.

Michael: And so, he had we had come to visit him and just fell in love with it and really had no desire to look anywhere else.

Scott: Alright, I love it. And so, you close a lot of loans. What are your realtor partners think? Do they know? Do they ever feel it like, do you have a team that stays back in Minnesota? What does that look like?

Michael: Yeah, my whole team is all in Minnesota and I don't know that the realtor partners really know, one of them does. I'm not like hiding it from them, but it's, they know I work from home and I guess they don't necessarily care where home is as long as I'm, you know, me and my team are getting their client's taken care of. [04:08.5]

Scott: Crazy. Good for you, man. Good for you. So, you haven't felt any loss of, or cramp, like when you were gone because you just got back to Minnesota from our conversation yesterday. And so, you haven't felt any lack of business or referrals being in Florida for the last six months?

Michael: Yeah. Haven't skipped a beat. I mean, I have a really good team that I can rely on too. So, I've got things pretty well organized where, when clients and leads and applications come in, I can direct them to appropriate people on my teams. So, I know that they're going to get the best service and have the highest chance of conversion, so.

Scott: I love it.

Michael: That way we maintain a high capture ratio.

Scott: I love it. And so, somebody that's listening to this podcast and they're like, man, Michael, I mean, I've been wanting to do that for a long time. What's the first thing that you would give them to do to make this happen to where they can do the same thing you're doing living in Florida in the winter, and Minnesota, in the summer? [05:08.6]

Michael: Well, you know, first of all, if you listen to things that Carl White says, for example, he's always taught that, you know, nobody's ever going to be able to do anything as good as you can do that.

Scott: Hmm.

Michael: And you have to just come to grips with that and know that, you know, someone might only be able to do 80% as good as you or 70% as good as you, but at the end of the day, you know, you're only one person. And if you want to grow your business, you just get, you know, someone that can do the best that they can do and then just continue to add people as needed.

Scott: I mean like Carl White, you know, is my brother. Man, I love that guy. So, when he said that was that, like you said, okay, I'm going to do that. Was it harder than what you just said? Or did you set all right, if I want to do this, I gotta let go. Cause you have to let go of something right?

Michael: Yeah, yeah.

Scott: Yeah.

Michael: I mean, I've always kind of known that inherently, but you know, hearing it from somebody else, it's like, yes, that's right. I do need to continue to be mindful of that because otherwise you just tend to stagnate and get complacent. And yeah, the only way to grow is if you are able to come to grips with that. [06:13.0]

Scott: Yeah. So, it's pretty tough, isn't it, sometimes let go of some of that stuff?

Michael: Hmm…hmm.

Scott: Yeah. So, congratulations, man. So hey, I got a couple of questions for you. How has an apparent failure set you up for later success?

Michael: An apparent failure? So, give me an example of what you mean.

Scott: Is there anything that's happened in your 24 years, long time being in the mortgage business that has catapulted you to success where most people might have taken the failure is I'm not good enough, man. Maybe I shouldn't do this. Have you had any failures that said, Oh man or, you know, maybe a failure, something broke and you just had to fix it. But like, you know, you know, a lot of people have failures.

Michael: Oh Yeah.

Scott: That set them up for future success. Like man, if that had never happened, I probably wouldn't have been in this spot, in that space or at that time.

Michael: Absolutely, yeah. So, you know, this isn't the first time I've had a team I had previously had many years ago in the mid two thousands. I had a team, five people working underneath me and everything was great. And then the mortgage meltdown happened and the crash and long story short, I ended up going back to being a one-man team. [07:24.9]

Scott: Hmm.

Michael: And but, it was a blessing in disguise because I had gone from working from Wells Fargo, which obviously, you know, we don't need to go into the, but yeah. So, it caused me to leave there, work for a smaller organization, which gave me much more freedom and flexibility. And because of that, I was able to happen to do a better job of regrowing my team. So yes.

Scott: Awesome.

Michael: That would be one example of an adversity that actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Scott: Isn't that weird? How at the time that you're going through that, that you think, man, this is the end, this is, I’m all done. I need to go find something else to do. I know I've had many of those times during this business, right? [08:09.2]

Michael: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it can be very frustrating at times.

Scott: Very frustrating.

Michael: That's where growing a team can help alleviate some of that frustration cause like Carl White says, you're not eating the frog. You know, you're working on the things that you excel at and you've got other people that are helping you do some of those things that maybe you don't enjoy as much.

Scott: I love it. So what I just heard you say is, man, if it doesn't work with the first assistant or first team, that's not the end of the world. Just keep going and looking for the right people.

Michael: Exactly.

Scott: Good for you, man.

Michael: Yeah.

Scott: So, hey, you got a book that you recommend. I don't know if you read book or audiobook, do you have a book that you recommend that has inspired you or lifted you up or one that you would give away to somebody on an occasion?

Michael: Not a big book reader.

Scott: Okay kool!

Michael: I'm more of a deal guy. I recommend you the name of your book, but I don't remember what it is.

Scott: Millionaire Loan Officer. Yeah, no worries. Man, I appreciate that

Michael: Yeah, there you go.

Scott: Yeah. I think that's how we kind of got hooked up, so.

Michael: Yeah.

Scott: Pretty cool. All right. And what are some things like some, maybe some ad recommendations you hear in your area of expertise that to stay away from it? Like what are some things that you go, no, no, you shouldn't do that. You have anything like that? [09:17.8]

Michael: Well, this isn't so much a bad recommendation that I heard about, but one thing, well, I have two golden rules. Golden rule Number One is maintain a really, really good contact management, CRM that's rule number one, rule.

Scott: Yeah.

Michael: Number two is don't converse when you have, when you're dealing with somebody, whether it's a borrower or a realtor or anything where you sense even the slightest confrontation or adversity where something could potentially devolve into a negative confrontation, never, never, never, never, never use email or texting in your communication.

Scott: Ahh.

Michael: And it's very easy to want to, you know, you're very, very busy. It's very easy to just be tempted to send that quick text or that quick email and then be paying the price later for that quick text or email that you thought was going to solve the problem. But now all of a sudden people hide behind email and behind texting and they tend to be nastier than they would if they're on the phone with you. So, my second-best piece of advice for anybody listening is never, never communicate by email or texting if there's anything that even has a whiff of confrontation. [10:34.1]

Scott: And that's some of the best advice. I, a 100% second, third and fourth that. I think a lot of people lose track of what somebody is going through when they're looking to buy or, you know, when they're buying a house or working with you and man, I can't agree with you more, man. I love that. Love that tip man. So, I'll make sure to pull that out there. And that's probably why you've done so well, man, like you just communicate with people, you pick up a phone, your team picks up the phone, you know, there's no email going back and forth, like getting lost in the translation, you know?

Michael: Yeah. One thing I've always prided myself in is, you know, answering my phone even to the extent of when I'm on the other line with somebody, I'll generally answer it because it's easy to say, hey, listen, I wanted to take your call, but I have to finish this other call first. Now I’ll give you a call right back.

Scott: Yeah.

Michael: People, I found really, really appreciate that. And that's another, you know, it goes back to if you've got people on your team that can help you with things, it frees up the time for you to be able to be that person that can answer the phone. And I know that you kind of operate to some extent the same way as well. [11:36.9]

Scott: Yeah. I'd rather talk than text and email, cause people take texts and email out of context, you know, especially if there's a capital here, you know, if it's all caps.

Michael: Hmm.

Scott: Cause it's just, it gets pretty crazy. So amazing tip man. Thanks for bringing that up. Thanks for bringing that up. So big, big, huge tip there for, for all your listeners out there. Stop doing email back and forth, if there's a bad situation, pick up the phone and have the conversation. So, thanks Mike on that one.

Michael: You're welcome.

Scott: So, what's next for Mike man? I mean, you just bought a house in Florida that you're enjoying an amazing place. You got a beautiful place in Minnesota, your family's doing good. Everybody's married. Like what's next for you and your wife Mike? [12:12.6]

Michael: Ideally just continue to little by little delegate, more of my.

Scott: Ahh.

Michael: Mortgage responsibilities to other people on my team. Not just overnight, but just little by little so I can.

Scott: Ahh.

Michael: Ultimately have an early retirement because you know, I have worked very hard. I mean, I haven't always just delegated everything off to everybody else. It just doesn't work like that. I've had to put in 60, 70-hour weeks to work up to that point. And so, I feel like if the amount of hours I've put in and in the last 24 years, I've earned, it being able to eventually get to a point where I'm semi-retired and then fully retired later. So yeah, it's the ultimate goal. I'm not trying to force anything, but that is the ultimate goal is.

Scott: Awesome.

Michael: At least some form of early retirement or semi – retirement.

Scott: Very cool. Very cool. And Mike, what results are you most proud of man? I mean, I mean, you started this business when you were like four years old. You're like 24 now I'm just kidding. What results are you most proud of over the last 24 years in your business man? [13:22.1]

Michael: That’s a good question. I think probably just, you know, the fact that I've had so many clients that I've worked with for extended periods of time and I've hung with them and I've not given up on them because you know, everybody, I, I don't do as much with refinances. I mean obviously all my refinances, my past clients I'll refinance it, but I don't, you know, seek out refinances. So, I'm mainly working with my past client database and, you know, any new referrals that come in. And for example, probably one of the things I'm most proud of is the fact that two weeks ago, I, I had a client close that I had begun working with in 2009. So, it was literally 12 years that I was waiting.

Scott: Ahh.

Michael: For him to buy. But I mean, so how many other people can say that they've hung with a client that long.

Scott: Yeah.

Michael: And ultimately got their paycheck and didn't give up on them. And prior to that, I had another one that I had started working with in 2005 that didn't close until 2011. So that was six years that I waited for my paycheck. And that particular client had three different realtors had given up on him because they just got fed up because, you know, while he was being fickle and just wasn't finding the right place and they just got impatient and just, you know, but every realtor tried to refer them to a different lender of course. [14:39.5]

Scott: Hmm.

Michael: You know, their preferred lender.

Scott: And each and every time he stuck with me and that's because I stayed in good communication with them, you know, send my challenger mailers for the holidays at Christmas time and you know, you know, send my happy birthday texts and emails.

Scott: Yeah.

Michael: And all the things that, you know, you need to do to stay in contact with your prospects and your past clients.

Scott: Unbelievable man. So just persistent, consistent, build the relationship. More importantly, you're keeping the relationship and I'm sure that that's going to turn into much more fruit down the road being that you've stuck with them for so long. And not only that, the realer that ended up working with you should, you know, you should tell the realtor that story, you know, cause that's something that most people don't do is the follow-up game, you know, stay in contact with remind them who you are, what you do for living in you're like a professional at that. You know what I mean?

Michael: Yeah.

Scott: You've made that number one priority, it sounds like. [15:29.4]

Michael: Well, so many people, the first words out of their mouth, if you're talking to a new prospect is they want to say, Oh, I'm not ready right now.

Scott: Hmm.

Michael: And before they can even say that, it's like, hey, I specialize in helping people that are not ready to buy a home yet. People that are just gathering information, getting their feet wet and you know, are maybe wondering about determining an affordable and comfortable monthly payment and price range. And that puts them at ease right before they have an opportunity to put up the wall and say, they're not ready. So, I think that's another reason why I'm able to have a good conversion ratio and you know, I've trained the other people on my team to operate the same way.

Scott: Mike you just dropped a huge nugget that I just got chills on. And I can tell that you've said that over and over. You defused somebody that is afraid of being sold right off the bat. You know what I mean. Cause everybody has their guard up when they come in to get a mortgage, buy a car, doesn't matter what they always have their guard up. And you just, you literally diffuse that so magnificently. If you guys miss that I would rewind this podcast and listen to what Mike just said. That was huge Mike. So, amazing, amazing. Thanks for saying that. [16:33.6]

Michael: Yeah. You're welcome.

Scott: Any parting thoughts, Mike, for anybody that's maybe getting in the business, you know, struggling in the business, having major success in the business, which you have any parting thoughts for anybody in the business?

Michael: Yeah, for those new to the business. You can't expect to just work bankers’ hours and be successful. You can't expect to get a lead from your manager or whoever's providing you with your lead source and just like, oh, well, I'll call them back two hours later or I'll call them back tomorrow. Or I'll, that's just not going to cut it. You know, you do need to be really Johnny on the spot with most lead sources, you know, as a new person. Now, obviously if you've been in the business a very, very long time and you know, you want to coast a little bit and you know that you're going to run the risk of losing some business because you're not right on top of people, you know, that's your prerogative. But if you're a new person and you're trying to be successful, you really statistics have shown that you have to get on these prospects, these leads as quickly as possible because if you don't, somebody else will. [17:40.5]

Scott: Amen. Amen. Thanks Mike. And Mike, if someone wanted to get ahold of you or a realtor is listening to this and say, Man I want to work with that guy, what’s the best way to get ahold of you Mike?

Michael: Probably my email. I just use my personal email for that. So, M D H O U g@gmail.com (mdhoug@gmail.com).

Scott: Perfect. Perfect Mike dude, I love what you're doing. I love sudden the huge level of freedom by being able to go to a beautiful state for, you know, I don't know. I call it chasing sunshine, right?

Michael: Hmm…hmm.

Scott: That's what, chase the sunset. So, congratulations Mike, on all your success past and future, I wish you nothing but a ton of freedom and ton of success. And thank you for your time today and being a Millionaire Loan Officer, man.

Michael: You're most welcome, man. It's my pleasure.

Scott: All right guys, until next time, and as Mike said, get out there, make it rain, but more importantly put a plan in place that you can enjoy life while you're making it rain. And I'll see you guys on the next Millionaire Loan Officer podcast. Take care everybody. [18:39.1]

I'm a Millionaire Loan Officer.

Thank you for tuning into the Millionaire Loan Officer podcast with your host Scott Hudspeth, don't forget to visit MLOlive.com to have your questions answered. See you next time. [18:58.7]

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