December 22, 2017

JF1207: Ultimate Guide To An Ultimate 2018 #FollowAlongFriday

Today Joe and Theo discuss a concept that Joe learned after attending the Tony Robbins Unleash The Power Within. We’ll also hear business updates and how they can be applied to us as listeners and our businesses. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!

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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff.

We’re doing Follow Along Friday today, and I just thought of this, Theo… This is going to be our last Follow Along Friday together in Cincinnati.

Theo Hicks: I think you’re right.

Joe Fairless: Because next week – we’re not doing this week.

Theo Hicks: The next week we’re going to Dallas.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, the next week we’re going to Dallas to look at a property and the whole portfolio, so you can check it out… And then you’ll be in Florida. Well, we might have one more…

Theo Hicks: We might have one more on the 11th.

Joe Fairless: We might have one more, alright… The second week of January. Alright, well, never mind then. I won’t shut it [unintelligible [00:02:59].12]

Theo Hicks: It is the last one of the year, though.

Joe Fairless: Alright, we’ll roll with that. Today on Follow Along Friday we’ve got some updates, as well as a formula that was presented to the attendees at Tony Robbins’ Unleash The Power Within; Colleen and I went there last November, and they taught us this formula. I saw an application certainly for what we’re doing with real estate investing, from a finding deals standpoint and finding private money standpoint, because ultimately, to do deals, regardless of what type of real investing you’re doing, you need money and you need deals… So I figured we’d talk about that, and Theo’s got an example that we’re gonna talk through, and then we’ll go over some other updates. And all this is not about what we’ve got going on, it’s about how it can be applied to what you’re doing, so we can help you out. So how do we wanna do it?

Theo Hicks: I’d say we go through the five steps, then we kind of just briefly talk on each of them, and then I can go through my example. So the five-part success formula:

  1. Know your outcome.
  2. Know your reasons why.
  3. Take massive, intelligent action.
  4. Know what you’re getting.
  5. Change your approach until you reach or surpass your outcome.

Joe Fairless: Tony Robbins calls it the ultimate success formula, and Tony Robbins doesn’t shy from using hyperbolae, so clearly this isn’t just the success formula, this is the ULTIMATE success formula. So you’ve got an example of how you use it or how you plan on using it? What is the example?

Theo Hicks: Maybe a combination of both. I was kind of just thinking about this… What I really like about Tony Robbins is this type of formulas – it’s so simple that you can kind of look at it and interpret it and apply it to really anything; you can apply it to your day, you can apply it to your personal life, you can apply it to your business, you can apply to a year or a decade-long goal…

For me, I would assume that some people already unconsciously do this themselves, like they know “Alright, I’m gonna have an outcome in mind, because I’ve gotta know what I wanna do, so it’s gotta be specific.” Then step two, which I think is the biggest one, which I kind of go for my example, as to how you not only kind of reach your goal or surpass it, but kind of continue to do it over time, because if you don’t have a strong enough Why or you don’t have a Why articulated, once you kind of reach your goal and you’re at that point where you’re like, “Alright, now what?”, if you have a strong enough Why, it’ll keep you to either set a new goal or just consistently doing whatever your intelligent action is.

My example – it’s not a real estate-related example; it’s for when I started doing a podcast two years ago… When I started, obviously I didn’t have an outcome in mind, I kind of just did it, because of a conversation I had with Coach Trevor, actually. And over time I would say that it wasn’t a specific outcome, but I wanted to average 100 listens per episode (that was what my goal was). This was just strictly an audio podcast.

So I did that for about a year. My reasons why were also kind of shaky and vague, which is one of the reasons why I probably don’t continue to do it now, but we’ll get to that in a second… So my outcome was, again, let’s say 100 downloads. So I took my massive intelligent action, I committed to doing just one either interview-based, or like a solo podcast per week. The interview-based ones were a little bit more simple, because you’d just find someone and then you kind of– not simple, but it’s prepare less, because when I was doing the solo podcast, I would just like spend eight hours preparing for the podcast before I did it.

Taking the massive intelligent action, and then kind of know what you’re getting and change your approach – I kind of put those all together, because you’re taking action – I’m doing my podcast – but I wasn’t getting anywhere near the results I wanted. I was analyzing what I was actually getting, and I wasn’t reaching my 100 views, so what I did for changing my approach – I started doing the YouTube channel instead. So instead of just doing audio, I did a YouTube channel.

I also kind of changed up what I was talking about. At the time, I was kind of talking about more self-help type of things, and then for my YouTube channel I was talking more about social and political issues…

Joe Fairless: And current events.

Theo Hicks: Based off of current events.

Joe Fairless: Yeah.

Theo Hicks: So, surprise – my first (let’s say) two months of my YouTube channel, I would get 30 views, 60 views… If I got 100 views, I was like “Oh, this is awesome!”

Joe Fairless: Of your YouTube channel…?

Theo Hicks: Yeah. I think I had five subscribers, which again, I was happy about. Then I did one video on a current event, and it ended up getting over 100,000 views, and my subscriber base increased from five to about almost 3,000 in one thing. So if I would have never changed my approach, if I would have just kind of kept doing my audio podcast – I was getting good, positive feedback on it, but I wasn’t reaching the viewership numbers that I wanted, and I think that for my personality type or my unique (we always talk about) talents, I guess I was a better fit for the video than I was for just the audio. So I actually just scrapped the audio altogether and just focused on the YouTube… And obviously, I stopped doing it, for multiple reasons.

One of the reasons was that — I was thinking about it this morning before I came over… Me getting those 100,000 views kind of like compared to someone like winning the lottery. And you know, whenever someone wins the lottery, you think “Oh, it’s great! I’ve got all this money, now all my problems are gonna be solved.”

Joe Fairless: And they’re right back where they started in about five years…

Theo Hicks: Yeah, so when you go from five subscribers to 3,000, I felt a pressure. And based off of how I — again, this could be an excuse, or this could be actually true, but I didn’t think I knew enough and I wasn’t confident enough in what I was actually saying to talk to that many people. Because typically how it works is you start, and for the first two, three, four years you’ve got a very small listener base, because you don’t know what you’re talking about, and you’re improving your speaking skills, and you’re kind of learning more and more of what you’re actually talking about and how to present certain ideas… And I kind of just exploded into so many viewers, and I was like “I don’t think I know enough to talk to this many– I don’t think my ideas are well-articulated enough to present to this many people, and continue to do this for an indefinite amount of time.”

So for me, my next change of approach is I stopped – maybe this was about three, four months ago – and I’ve been educating myself, so that starting… And it just happens to be starting next year, not because of a 2018 new year’s resolution, but once I moved and I get my office all set up, I’m going to start doing the videos again, and it will be very similar to what I was doing before, but I will 1) have a lot more confidence in what I’m talking about, and 2) hopefully be less divisive on the topics and not be like, “Oh, this is my team and I’m against these people.” [unintelligible [00:09:36].07]

Joe Fairless: Well, I recommend — [unintelligible [00:09:39].12] on your first one coming out of the gate… It would be telling this story, and telling them that you have been preparing to then deliver to a larger audience, because that would be interesting.

To recap the five steps:

  1. Know your outcome, so we’ve gotta be specific.
  2. Know your reasons why.
  3. Take massive, intelligent action.
  4. Know what you’re getting, and during that process, analyzing – be self-aware. In your example, you were self-aware. “Okay, here’s what I’m getting. It wasn’t as much, so now I’m gonna go towards a different platform”, which then exploded.
  5. Change your approach until you get your outcome – which I guess that was when you switched from the podcast to the YouTube channel.

And I can tell you that I have clients who I consult on multifamily syndication, and one of them recently told me that he had a hard time being motivated because he was pretty comfortable; six-figure job, has equity in some homes, doing well, great wife… Just comfortable, and at the time he couldn’t find the motivation to really put effort towards growing his real estate portfolio in a larger way… And what I told him is that either you dictate the changes in your life, or life will dictate the changes in your life.

An example is think of someone who is paycheck-to-paycheck. It’s a family, they’ve got a couple kids… Well, they don’t have money for vacations, they barely have money to put food on the table for the family. Then they announce that they’re having another baby. Unexpectedly, the wife is pregnant. Well, what happens when the baby is born? Does the baby go hungry? Most likely not. Most likely, magically, they’re resourceful enough to put more food on the table and to buy diapers and whatever else. And the only thing that changed was that life dictated the change, whereas if that couple would have controlled and then thought of “Okay, I’m going to make a change. I’m going to pretend that I’m in the circumstance. I’m going to force ourselves into another level.” Tony Robbins talks about raising your standards… “Well, if we were to raise our standards and pretend we’re gonna have another kid – and we don’t plan on, and maybe we don’t, but we just pretend, and then we’re gonna tuck away that money for saving and other things”, then all of a sudden you’re farther ahead.

So when we talk about our reasons why in our approach, that’s one thing that I constantly think about and I’m always thinking about – “What could Armageddon mean for my business and how can I stay one step ahead, or as many steps ahead as I can to mitigate that risk from happening?”, and that’s something that is top of mind for me. And if you are feeling comfortable, then comfort is the opposite of what you ever wanna feel, in my opinion, over a long period of time. I’m cool with it over a short period of time, but really what I wanna feel is either disgusted or inspired. Because when I’m disgusted about something, that’s gonna make me grow and get out of a situation, or if I’m inspired by something, that’s gonna, again, make me grow and get out of the situation and move to another level.

Theo Hicks: That little story you’ve just told reminds me, I was having a conversation with my buddy… We were following this very popular psychologist, and he did this series on the psychological significance of the Bible, and he was kind of analyzing the Bible stories from evolution and psychology. He told a story about Noah’s Ark that has changed my view on planning, and the never being comfortable, and always striving for something to grow. And he basically says that the metaphor or Noah’s Ark is that a flood, a chaos, a major problem, an illness, a death in the family, a financial collapse is always something that’s going to happen; a flood is always coming, so you can either not prepare and just kind of live in the moment, and give into your impulse and just hope that everything will turn it okay, or you can constantly be building your ark, so that when chaos does come, when that flood does come, you’re prepared and you’re able to float on top of it and ride it out and survive, instead of get drowned by whatever the problem happens to be.

I thought that was so interesting, because yeah, even if you’re at six figures and you’re super comfortable, there’s no reason to think that that’s gonna sustain forever. If it’s all in real estate, the real estate market could collapse; you could get sick and you can no longer work, or your family can get sick and you’ve gotta pay for all that… Or even something even smaller than that. So that would be kind of the analogous to the flood, so it was like, “What are you doing with yourself, whether it’s personal growth, or what habits are you putting in place, or how are you diversifying your portfolio, or whatever happens to be?”, and that’d be you building your ark for the flood that’s going to come.

Joe Fairless: Oh, yeah. You could build a navy of boats, and then have them for others when the flood does come. Everyone’s got a boat. I remember people always say, “Winter’s gonna come. Are you gonna freeze to death or are you gonna go skiing?” One thing’s gonna happen. Winter is definitely coming, so are you gonna have your ski poles and your ski hat, or are you gonna be scrounging for food?

Theo Hicks: Exactly.

Joe Fairless: Cool.

Theo Hicks: So again, you can really apply this formula to anything. Alright, so let’s move on to any business updates or observations for the past week?

Joe Fairless: Yeah, real quick… I have been on three basically sales calls where people were calling to sell me on something… Ish. Let me just describe them. The purpose of me sharing this is that one individual did a great job, and I believe it was because of contribution – helping others was at his forefront, whereas the other two… One might have contribution at the forefront, but just needs to change the mechanics, and the other definitely doesn’t.

So here’s the scenario… And this is helpful for anyone who’s in sales, in any capacity. Are you looking to find a motivated seller? Are you looking to bring in investors? Are you looking to just get promoted in your company as a full-time job etc.? With Ashcroft Capital we are looking at platforms for investor relations, we’re looking at some companies that will allow us to provide a more robust experience for our investors; I don’t know if we’re gonna do it right now, but eventually we will… And I was on a call with two different companies, and then the third example is an outlier of this, so I’ll get to the third one in a second.

Company A, the individual called me Joseph, which my name is Joe… And I don’t mind Joseph, I just haven’t been called that other than by my mom or my sister, in a very long time. I mentioned on the call, “I go by Joe.” The follow-up e-mail, “Joseph.” I’m like, “Alright, you’re not listening.”

Secondly is I asked for the call to be 30 minutes or less, to both of them, and they both initially scoffed at it, like “Oh, well it takes 60-90 minutes to usually do the demo”, and I didn’t tell them this, but my assistant was helping coordinate this, so I mentioned to her, I just sent her a link to a YouTube video that described astrophysics in 9 minutes or less. If this woman can describe astrophysics in 9 minutes or less, I can certainly see a demo of some asset management platform. It’s freakin’ not astrophysics. I just sent that link and I was like, “If she can do this in nine minutes, we don’t need more than 30 minutes.”

So we jump on the call with person A, who called me Joseph. They clearly haven’t done any research on me, because everyone knows I go by Joe. And number two is they said, “Well, let’s dive right in”, and they just plowed through the demo, they didn’t ask me any questions, and it’s a condensed amount of time, so if I’m them, I’m thinking “What is my outcome? My outcome is – if I can’t get through everything, which I should be able to – then it’s at least to continue the conversation, so pique enough interest and continue the conversation and show value during this call.” Well, in order to do that, they need to know what their customer is seeking, because they’re not sure what exactly I’m looking for. So they just plowed through the demo and they went six minutes over, and I had to interrupt and say, “Hey, I had a call that started six minutes ago, I’ve gotta run”, and then they followed up about six times after that with “Hey, are you gonna join? Are you gonna sign up? Are you gonna join? What’s going on? Is it pricing?”

That was not with contribution at the forefront, because if they were focused on others, then it would not be about what they have to show, but rather what can they give that is helpful for the other person, and this is directly applicable to every aspect of real estate investing and entrepreneurship.

The other person, company B – great rapport; started out asking me questions. “I know we’ve got limited time, usually our demo takes 60-90 minutes… What are you looking for? What are some pain points or what can I show you?” I mentioned “Here’s the process I go through with investors from start to finish, and here’s what we’re looking to optimize.”

We went through everything after he asked me questions, and then we went through some stuff, and then we ended the conversation. It was beautiful.

The third is — they were someone who reached out to me on Bigger Pockets and said, “I’m creating something… I’m in the tech space and I wanna create something to help people in your industry. Can you jump on a call?” and I reply to all my messages, but I can’t jump on a call with everyone who asks for a call… So I wasn’t sure if I was going to or not, so I wanted to think about it. So I asked this person to e-mail Samantha, my assistant and right-hand person; she’s more than an assistant – my operations person… And they e-mail her, and they said “Joe would like to set up a 30-minute call.” I believe after talking to this person it was an innocent mistake. I don’t think it was intentional to put words in my mouth; I fully believe it was an innocent mistake, because this person seems like a really nice person, after talking to the person.

So anyway, at first I’m like “Ugh…” I see it on my calendar yesterday, and I’m like, “Who…?” I can’t even find it in my e-mails, and I don’t think to search Bigger Pockets, so I ask Samantha “Who is this person again? What are we doing?”, and she said to me like “I wanted to talk to you about having maybe a call with this person…” [laughter] So anyway, the call is later that day, so I jump on the call, but when I jump on call, I say “So-and-so, I have ten minutes”, and this person had talked to a couple people in my situation before, who do what I do, and he’s talked to them for more than that, for like 30 minutes… And I said, “I’ve got ten minutes”, and it frazzled him big time.

He started going through these questions that he probably was going through with other people who had a longer period of time, and eventually he said, “I don’t think I can get through this stuff in 30 minutes.” Ultimately, he was trying to create software that addressed pain points that I had, and that was the assumption that he had, that I had pain points. Well, I didn’t have pain points as it related to what he was looking to do, and that was a false assumption that he had. So if he instead of going into an assumption that I had pain points, if he would have asked me, “Well, first off I wanna challenge my own assumption – do you have any pain points in your business, as it relates to XYZ?”, I would have said “No”, and then that was really it; that would have been the end of the conversation. If he would have e-mailed me that, then that would be it. But he had the assumption that he was gonna ask me a bunch of questions, when in reality asking “Hey, let me challenge my assumption first, and then here’s the outcome of the conversation.”

What we ended up doing in 10 minutes or less was I gave him one of my clients who does have those pain points, and he’s gonna talk to the client and spend some time, and after he creates something, maybe help out the client and my other clients.

So taking a step back, it’s asking questions because we want to help out others first and foremost; we don’t have a predetermined agenda. And when we do ask the right questions prior to or at the beginning of the conversation, then our conversation will lead to greater results than we could ever generate if we just dove into whatever we wanted to talk about. And that is so true with investor conversations, when we’re meeting with an investor for the first time, that’s true for when I interview fix and flippers and wholesalers who speak to owners… If you take time and learn about their situation and learn what the solutions could be, versus “Here’s how I can help you.” You don’t know how you can help them, because you haven’t asked them the question.

Theo Hicks: At my previous job (at the last sales job) I took  months and months of sales training, and obviously in months and months of sales training you learn a lot, but the main theme is always, instead of just going out there and throwing up all the information that you have, you figure out what it is they actually care about, and then you find what you have, and what technology you have or what service can you provide to fix that specific problem, instead of talking about things they don’t care about. And if you don’t ask them what they care about, it’s impossible to know. So yeah, that’s the story.

Joe Fairless: Cool. What about you? What have you got going on?

Theo Hicks: Well, I found a renter for my current personal residence in Cincinnati.

Joe Fairless: Outstanding! You were trying to get…

Theo Hicks: 2,500 bucks.

Joe Fairless: 2,500. You got the highest end of what you were looking to get.

Theo Hicks: We did.

Joe Fairless: Craigslist?

Theo Hicks: No. It’s funny, I’ve put it on Craigslist, and one of the responses I got from Craigslist was obviously some sort of automated text service, because it goes “Hey, this is so and so. We’re interested in lease-to-owning your property”, and I was like, “No, not really…”, and then instantaneously it comes back with like a really long text…

Joe Fairless: They should change that algorithm.

Theo Hicks: They should, they need to delay it. Because once I knew what it was, I got turned off… But if they really said the same thing and delayed it by 30 seconds, I probably would [unintelligible [00:24:08].04]

Joe Fairless: They would have hooked you? Oh, man…!

Theo Hicks: They could have hooked me! So I found the renter on Zillow. Basically, there’s a thing called HotPads, and if you put it on HotPads it goes to Zillow, Trulia, and then obviously it goes on HotPads, and then maybe some other surveys; so it puts it everywhere.

So we got some doctors that are going to rent it out. I think the husband has a fellowship in Cincinnati for two years, so we’ll have to rent it out for two years at $2,500.

Outside of that, I’ve been really enjoying having a property management company manage my fourplexes.

Joe Fairless: Have you gotten your first monthly P&L?

Theo Hicks: Not yet.

Joe Fairless: With their fees included… We’ll talk to you after you…

Theo Hicks: Okay, after that… Because he hasn’t done it for a full month yet, so I’ll get my first statement sometime next month; so yeah, we’ll see how I feel after that, but it is just a huge weight off my chest. There have been a couple of problems and they were just right on it. He’s really good, because he owns his own properties and he’s got his contacts, but he’ll send me a long e-mail; he’s like, “Alright, here’s what the problem was, here’s who’s fixing it, here’s a link to their company, here’s how much it’s gonna cost, here’s how much it would have cost if we would have done this…”, it’s like, “Man…!”

Joe Fairless: I’ll tell you what, that’s not scalable for him, I guarantee you that. As he grows his business, you’re not gonna be getting those long e-mails.

Theo Hicks: I might though, if I keep giving him business. I’m his main customer.

Joe Fairless: Maybe, maybe.

Theo Hicks: And then besides that, we’re kind of just preparing for the move to Tampa, and once we get settled down there, [unintelligible [00:25:30].15] our bank account. I’ll send out that direct mailer I’ve been talking about; you’ve had a lot of podcasts recently about what the best practices are for direct mail, and so we’ve got a lot of — basically, all the best practices wrapped up in a pretty box for me that I’ll just implement and test over time, and the goal is just to find one property, and over time as I get more properties, figuring out what to do with those… Wholesale them, or whatever.

Joe Fairless: On the Best Ever Blog, do we have a section with just direct mail?

Theo Hicks: We have a section we call Lead Generation.

Joe Fairless: Lead Generation, okay. And that’s where all these direct mail…

Theo Hicks: I think as of yesterday there was about 29 lead generation articles…

Joe Fairless: Oh, my gosh… Alright, so you can go to, and then you can get all those lead generation articles.

Theo Hicks: Yeah. And this is kind of a new thing we’re doing, so if you see that and you have any advice on adding categories, breaking up categories, any positive feedback or constructive criticism, definitely e-mail it to us so we can improve it and make it better for everyone.

Joe Fairless: Yeah.

Theo Hicks: Also, we’re getting close to the Best Ever Conference in Denver, so that’s exciting. Make sure you go to to get your ticket for that.

Joe Fairless: We’ve just announced a couple other people on the funding side, so you can go to and check it out.

Theo Hicks: Also make sure, if you’re an active Facebook user – or not an active Facebook user – make sure you check out the Best Ever Show Community. It is a group on Facebook, and we should be streaming live from there right now, so if you’re on there, thanks for joining.

Joe Fairless: One thing about the Best Ever Show Community, one thing we do is a Self-promotion Saturday, and we randomly pick one person or company that mentions their stuff on that thread, and we promote it on the — where do we promote it, Grant?

Grant: On the Joe Fairless Page.

Joe Fairless: On the Joe Fairless Page, which has like 2,000 or something people who like it, so you get more exposure that way… And just something we make the community stronger. As everyone elevates their business, we all benefit, so that’s one tactical way of benefitting from becoming a free member of the Best Ever Community on Facebook.

Theo Hicks: Finally, make sure you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and leave a review for your opportunity to be the review of the week. This week we have ThePleadingTeacher, and he/she says:

“Joe is a fantastic podcast host, and does a great job of drawing out information during the episodes, that are super helpful for those in the real estate business. Great podcast!”

Joe Fairless: Well, thank you for that, especially if you’re a teacher, that means a lot. I’ve personally been enjoying doing the interviews a lot lately. I had a lull… I don’t know when, it was a while ago, but I had a lull, but now I’m really focused on the interviews again, and I think it’s because after attending the Tony Robbins Conference I was like, “Okay, love and contribution – those are gonna be my two driving needs”, instead of love and significance.

Now that contribution is more at the forefront and I’m more consciously focused on helping others, I’ve just enjoyed doing the interviews more, and I’m confident that that’s gonna show in the quality of the interviews that we do, and more thoughtful questions and just paying more attention to what they’re saying. And you’ll really see that in the new year, because that’s when the interview — because we’re about 60 days out; when I interview someone, it publishes in about 60-70 days later, because we’ve got just a lot of people who are wanting to be on the show and we’re also reaching out to, based on being qualified. So that’s something that I appreciate the complements, and my goal is to continue to improve and get better.

Theo Hicks: I wonder if the trampoline has anything to do with it, too…

Joe Fairless: The trampoline? Yeah, I do have an old trampoline in my office now… I bounce on that a lot prior to the interviews. That is so helpful. It just shakes things out.

Well, Best Ever listeners, thank you for listening to today’s show, and we will talk to you tomorrow.

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