January 4, 2019

JF1585: 3 Tips to Make Your 2019 Real Estate Business Better Than 2018 #FollowAlongFriday with Joe and Theo

Happy New Year! Joe and Theo are back for the first Follow-Along Friday of 2019 to talk about how they approach setting goals.We’ll hear three strategies to make your real estate business better in 2019 than it was in 2018. 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’ve got Follow Along Friday. Happy new year if you’re listening to this episode when we publish this episode. If you’re listening to it three months later, then hey, it’s always nice to hear “Happy new year” whether or not it actually is or not. It puts a smile on your face, right?

Today we’re doing Follow Along Friday, we’ve got Theo Hicks with us like we normally do. The purpose of Follow Along Friday is to talk about things that we’ve noticed through our entrepreneurial journey in real estate, that can be beneficial for you as the Best Ever listener. That’s the whole point of doing Follow Along Friday.

Today we’re gonna be talking about goal-setting. Isn’t that relevant, with the new year…? And if you’re not listening to this episode around the new year, then that’s fine, you don’t have to wait until the calendar flips over to January to set a goal, right? It’s all about setting it whenever you identify the goal, and then tracking progress and optimizing along the way.

First off, Theo Hicks, happy new year! How are you doing, my friend?

Theo Hicks: Thanks, Joe. Happy new year to you, too. It’s great to be back on the podcast. I think we’ve taken two weeks off from Follow Along Friday, so it’s good to be back, good to see you, and looking forward to talking about goal-setting today.

Joe Fairless: Yup, looking forward to it, and good to see you, too. So here are three things that I’ve identified, that can help you enhance your goal-setting process. The three things that I’ve identified – it’s based on my experience setting goals, so to give you an idea of how I approach my goal setting… I do do it every calendar year, just because it’s convenient to do so, but last year I did a second-half goal-setting session, and I believe I spoke about that on one of our Follow Along Fridays, where I set second-half goals and just updated my status of all the goals that I had… So it was a good check-in.

What I do every year is I create a vision board. It’s a three feet tall by four feet long poster that I put on my wall, in my office, and I also saved that image — I’ve put it in a PowerPoint, that’s where it’s created; I save that as a JPEG, so that I get it printed out at a local spot. It used to be VistaPrint, but the resolution on the images isn’t good enough for VistaPrint; they changed something on their website… So now we get it printed locally.

Anyway, I print out that poster on my wall, I then take that image, I save it as a JPEG, and then I use that image, the vision board, as my desktop background on my laptop, and then I use that same image, I save it as a picture on my phone, and then I use it as a wallpaper for my phone, both on the locked screen, as well as whenever I’m actually accessing apps, or lo and behold calling people on my phone. So it’s constantly in front of my face, is the point. Constantly.

That is one of the suggestions I have – when you’re doing goals, have them all around you, all the time. Immerse yourself in them. That’s number one.

Number two – this comes from when I was doing my vision board, I asked the Best Ever listeners who are part of our Facebook community, which is BestEverCommunity.com… Is that right, Theo?

Theo Hicks: Yeah, BestEverCommunity.com.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, BestEverCommunity.com. So you can go there, it is our Facebook group; you can go join, and join the conversation. I asked everyone on there “What is your mantra for 2019?” My mantra is “What can I do today to be better than yesterday?”

My second thing is “Ask an empowering or a quality question.” Ask a quality question. When you ask a quality question, as Tony Robbins says, you get quality answers… Or you tend to get better answers than if you ask a poor question. “Why can’t I do well in real estate?” Well, then “I’m not smart” or “I don’t have enough xyz” etc. That’s not an empowering question… Versus “What are other people doing who are achieving success, that I can do better?” Well, that makes me think, “Okay, other people are networking more, and building relationships, or they have a thought leadership platform, or they’re underwriting deals better”, or whatever it is.

So my quality question that is printed on my vision board, that constantly will trigger something in my mind to think about how to improve is “What can I do today to be better than yesterday?” That also comes from a Jordan Peterson I attended when he was touring in Cincinnati, where he talks about “Compete with yourself, and focus on improving yourself better than yesterday, versus how someone else is today.” I think that’s such a powerful thing, to continually improve on yourself, and that’s what I’ve noticed with this podcast, too… Daily consistent action, so a daily freakin’ podcast, every day… I don’t know how many – 1,600-1,700 episodes, or wherever we’re at today – that has compounding results on my business, and I’m sure on your business too, Theo.

The more you’ve participated in these episodes, the more you’ve been on stage, so to speak, on this podcast, had Syndication School episodes, you’ve seen some traction from doing so… And then I’m telling you, my friend, and you probably know this – the more you do it, the more traction you’ll receive and the more you’ll benefit. So it’s just that daily action, that daily stuff… So I really wanna focus this year on  what can I do today that will make me better than yesterday, and that covers a variety of things, from my physical body, from  my mind, to personal development, to professional stuff, to relationship stuff, spiritual stuff – all that.

That’s the second thing that I would suggest – to ask quality questions, that will trigger your mind to think of ways to improve yourself on a consistent basis… And if you wanna use the question I have on my vision board, then use that. You don’t have to recreate the wheel.

And then the third thing I’ll say, and then I’d love to get your thoughts on this, Theo, is when you create goals, or a mantra – let’s talk about a mantra… When you create a mantra for yourself — I remember attending a Rich Dad, Poor Dad seminar, and they gave out wristbands, and the wristband said “Never fail, always succeed.” People tend to have a mantra that they follow. My suggestion to you is when you create a mantra, use positive, empowering words; because the words that we surround ourselves with tend to be the emotions that we experience, and the emotions that we experience tend to be the results that we achieve, and quite frankly, the quality of life that we have.

So when you have a mantra such as “Never fail, only succeed”, then the thought immediately goes to fail. Sure, “never” is in front of it, but still the word “fail” is incorporated in a mantra that you’re living by. My suggestion, and based on my experience, is to only include positive, empowering words in a mantra. Why I’m bringing this up is because when I posted in our Facebook group “What’s your motto/phrase you’re keeping top of mind for 2019?”, I saw a lot of people who had negative words in the phrase that they’re keeping in mind in 2019, for example “Never settle.” That was one. Another is “Don’t give up.” “Continue to make progress, however small it may be.” Another that falls into this category is “Continuous progression, not immediate perfection.” I like that one, because you’re focused more on the progression, and “Done is better than perfect” type thing. One good one is “Lead with love.” I love that. Tamar Mar, props to you. I love her motto there.

So what I noticed is there were some that had those negative words. This also ties back to — when I was in advertising, I attended a conference where a woman who worked with many presidents of the past – I don’t remember which ones – she was a PR or a spokesperson for them, and she said one of the rules that she and her team had when addressing questions from the press was to never repeat a negative word. So if they said “Why did the president raise the taxes and hurt these people?” or “Why did the president do something else…?”, she would never repeat “Well, they didn’t raise the taxes and hurt these people…” – she would never say that. She would say, “Oh, well, they did such and such…” and it would be an empowering thing that they did, whether or not that was the right or wrong thing to do in terms of the actual policy move – that’s not the point. The point is they would never repeat a negative word, because the press is also fairly savvy, in that they’re looking for clicks and eyeballs on their stories.

So they know if they can get that word repeated in a response, then that would help get more traction for their stories… And the same thing with what we do when we’re thinking about our goals and our vision board and our mantras – if we remove the negative words in there and we don’t say that we’re not gonna do stuff, but instead we say “We’re going to do things”, then it tends to lead to greater results because of the positive emotions and the positive feelings, as well as more progress, because you’re going towards things that are attracting you to them.

So in summary, one, surrounding yourself with your vision board and your goals; if you don’t have a vision board, get one. Two, ask quality questions that trigger consistent, daily improvement. Three, use positive, empowering words when you’re thinking through your mantras for 2019, and beyond.

Theo Hicks: Yeah, those are three amazing tips. I’ll work backwards on my comments, starting from three, two, to one. So for the positive word in your mantra, and not using negative words – another spin on that, the cartoonist and persuasion expert Scott Adams always talks about that; he’s talking about this in the context of persuasion, but in reality, when you’re setting your goals, you’re essentially persuading yourself to actually do what you’re setting out to do, so kind of the same logic applies. But if you say to don’t do something, like “Don’t smoke cigarettes”, for example, like “I’m gonna stop smoking cigarettes”, you have the smoking cigarettes part. If you repeat to yourself over and over again “Don’t smoke cigarettes”, you’re more likely to actually smoke the cigarettes, as opposed to saying “I’m going to exercise –” kind of what you’re going to do, instead of what you’re not going to do.

Joe Fairless: One thing we don’t do in our household is say “Don’t forget.” We say “Please remember.” It’s just a shift in wording, and that’s low-hanging fruit if you wanna practice this; just say “Please remember” instead of “Don’t forget”, and then that will trigger other things for what I suggest you say versus not say, because of what you’ve just said there.

Theo Hicks: Yeah. Me and you were joking about this before, but I’ve drinking a lot of pop lately, so instead of my goal being to stop drinking pop, my goal will be to drink more water. This will be my goal. I’ll get a vision board with a big glass of water on it, and that’s it.

Joe Fairless: Boy, you have quite the ambitious 2019. [laughter] That ties into how we create habits. If you’ve read the book The Power of Habit — I haven’t read through all of it, because I got the gist after the first couple chapters, because Tony Robbins broke this down for me in seminars and YouTube videos I watched for free way before that book was published… And basically, he says (and the book says) if you have a habit you wanna break, you have to replace it with something else; you can’t just remove it and then there’s a void, you actually have to replace it. So I love how if you’re looking to drink less soda, then you replace it with something else, in this case water, that way you have something that fills that void once there is a void that’s created.

Theo Hicks: Another way is for me personally — I’ve analyzed in the past how I’ve broken bad habits… Doing it for the new year’s is very helpful, because you see a lot of posts right now saying how useless new year’s resolutions are – I completely disagree, and the main reason why is because typically you’ve got your Christmas break, and then you’re off for new year’s, so you’ve got about seven days where you’ve completely halted whatever routine you had for the past 11,5 months technically, because in most people’s routine’s there’s a certain amount of work, so they’ve got their pre-work and their post-work stuff… But when you’re off all day, then your routine completely goes away and you either just don’t do much, or you just get a new routine… But then when you’re put back into work, you’ve got this opportunity to kind of have a blank slate and start a brand new routine from scratch.

And yeah, you could possibly fall back into the old routine, but for me personally, it really helps when I halt an old routine for like a week or two, that way I can start completely fresh and be like “Alright, what exactly do I wanna do over the next month?” and then each week — say I wanna do four new things, so each week I’ll introduce one new thing. Week one, I’ll start drinking more water. Week two, I’ll start working out more before I’ll start doing something else. That’s my main thought around why I actually like new year’s resolutions. Again, I understand why people don’t like them, but it’s just more of a personal opinion, and things that I’ve seen from the past for me.

Joe Fairless: I agree. I think the reason why people say new year’s resolutions are useless – if people do say that – is because generally people who have new year’s resolutions won’t follow through with them… But it has nothing to do with the new year’s resolution and it has everything to do with that individual following or not following through with what they say they’re gonna do on an ongoing basis throughout life. So the new year’s resolutions just gets attached to the poor follow-through of that individual, but it has nothing to do with the resolution, it has everything to do with how that individual accomplishes or does not accomplish what they say they’re gonna do and what they’re committed to doing if they are actually committed.

What I mentioned earlier, those three ways, will be helpful… And I love what you said with the cartoonist. That was from the Tim Ferriss interview, right?

Theo Hicks: I’ve listened to his Periscopes, and he talks about it a lot.

Joe Fairless: Periscope is still around?

Theo Hicks: Yeah, it is.

Joe Fairless: Huh. Okay.

Theo Hicks: I’ve listened to a few of his Periscopes in the past, and some of his tweets, and he’s kind of broken down other people’s tweets and saying how “This is why it’s very powerful persuasion, because they focused on this word, and the only thing to think about when you’re — it’s basically painting a picture in your mind when you’re saying some things.” Saying “Don’t smoke cigarettes”, the first thing you think about is smoking cigarettes.

Joe Fairless: Yup.

Theo Hicks: I have two more comments I wanted to make, some quick ones.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, please.

Theo Hicks: Your second one, about asking quality, empowering questions, so that your question is “What can I do today to be better than yesterday?” – I really like that question, and that you offered that up to other people to use… I think they should, because you’ve got your 12-month goal, your vision for the year, but if your secondary aspect of that is a mantra that is essentially you reviewing each day, figuring out what you did that made you better than the day before, you’ve kind of got both your bases covered, so you’ve got that grand vision for the year, but then also you’ve got it broken down to essentially every single day.

You can kind of even put a twist on the question, saying “What did I do today that got me closer to my annual goal?” And overall, I really like the daily aspect of it.

Joe Fairless: When I married Colleen, at our wedding, I got up and I had a little speech… And the thing I talked about was when she and I are together a week from that time, when all of the guests will have gone, cousins back to Michigan, Texas, California, all the activities have subsided and it’s going to be us, and all the pageantry – which, I didn’t have a fancy wedding at all – of getting married is gone, then what? And my commitment to her at that time (and it still is) is to every day treat it like it’s the beginning and show her that I love her every day. That is tied directly into what we’re talking about today, which is “What can I do today to be better than yesterday?” Because if there’s that focus on just that daily stuff, that daily commitment, then 99% of the time it’s gonna be from powerful freakin’ stuff in your life across all aspects, all categories, whenever you just put your head down and just do simple things every single day.

Theo Hicks: The only hard part about the daily action is at the end of the day you’re not gonna see your massive results. As Joe mentioned, it’s a long-term thing, but it’s exponential. At first it’s nothing for a long-time, and then all of a sudden it just explodes out of nowhere.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, and just asking that question – if you forget about it, and then the next day you’re like “Oh man, what did I learn yesterday?”, just the exercise of thinking about what did you learn yesterday improves you from where you were. Just the exercise of “What did I learn? Let me think about yesterday – what takeaways can I have from yesterday?”, even if you forget about it that day, then you’re much better off than you were before.

Theo Hicks: And then transitioning into the last point, point number one, you won’t forget about it if it’s on your vision board, that you’re surrounded by all the time. I actually just put a really tiny TV up there – I bought a bigger one just for gaming, and so I’m gonna make a vision board, buy an HDMI cord and kind of hook it up to my computer, because I only have a screen here… And I’ll just put it on there, and have my vision board on my TV. I’m in my office all day, so I’ll see it all the time; it’ll be very easy to put it on my phone… But I don’t really look at my phone that much, so it won’t be as relevant, but definitely on the TV — because I was thinking, I don’t really have anywhere in my office to put it, but the TV is perfect.

Joe Fairless: Yeah. So you’re gonna put it as the backdrop on the TV itself, or actually taping it over the screen?

Theo Hicks: No, I’ll figure out a way to make it on the TV. It might mean making my desktop background the vision board, and then plugging in an HDMI cord and putting it up there.

Joe Fairless: Oh, right, right.

Theo Hicks: I feel like there’s gotta be a way to put it on there without having to hook it up to my laptop… So I’ll figure it out.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, good stuff.

Theo Hicks: I always enjoy these conversations around goals and learning new ways to set goals, so  I think those three tips are very powerful, and if you just do those and that’s it, you’ll definitely be way ahead of everyone else in 2019.

Joe Fairless: And most importantly, you’ll be way ahead of where you were from 2018.

Theo Hicks: There you go, exactly.

Joe Fairless: That’s the key. There’s fulfillment in progress, there’s not a lot of fulfillment in maintenance.

Theo Hicks: Great. Moving on to the trivia question… It wasn’t the last week – I guess it was 2-3 weeks ago we had a trivia question, and I think you asked me was the population over 10,000… Is that what it was, for the city?

Joe Fairless: I don’t remember.

Theo Hicks: Well, the answer was yes. So the question was “What is the city with the lowest crime rate?” And I’ve never heard of this one before, but maybe you have, Joe, since you were in New York for a while… It’s called Lewisboro, New York.

Joe Fairless: No, I haven’t heard about it.

Theo Hicks: It has a population of about 12,000 people, and it had zero violent crime, and 0.16/1000 in property crime.

Joe Fairless: Wow. Alright… Well, so New York was the answer.

Theo Hicks: New York was the answer, yeah.

Joe Fairless: Alright. What are we giving away? The book, volume one… Right?

Theo Hicks: Yup, a Best Real Estate Investing Advice Vol. 1 copy.

Joe Fairless: Cool. Congrats to the winner there. New York… Huh. What did I say, do you remember?

Theo Hicks: I don’t remember now.

Joe Fairless: I don’t, either. It wasn’t New York, though. I wouldn’t have guessed it.

Theo Hicks: Ohio.

Joe Fairless: No, I wouldn’t have guessed Ohio.

Theo Hicks: So this week’s question is going to be “What is the MSA (metropolitan statistical area) or city that had the largest population growth percentage-wise in 2017?” Data is not out for 2018 yet. That will probably come out around April or May. For the year 2017, what city had the largest population growth percentage-wise?

Joe Fairless: I’m gonna go with Fort Worth.

Theo Hicks: Okay. So if you reply to this YouTube video, or send an e-mail to info@joefairless.com, the first person to get that city correct will get their free copy of the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Book. I actually don’t remember what the answer was, because I don’t have it in our outline.

Joe Fairless: So then what’s your guess?

Theo Hicks: I’m actually not gonna guess, I remember it right now. The other thing is the Best Ever Conference. It’s next month.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, next month…

Theo Hicks: Next month, 22nd-23rd, Denver, Colorado. In the podcast we’re gonna continue to talk about the speakers that are there… And honestly, this was one of my favorite speakers from the first conference, or at least the speaker that had a lasting impact on me – that was Jeremy Roll, of Roll Investment Group. He’s actually a passive investor, so essentially he just passively invests in apartment syndications and in other real estate investments.

When I was listening to him, number one, he provided a lot of good links and resources to websites that talk about the economy, and real estate, and kind of just the world as a whole, that I really appreciate, and kind of gives me a different point of view than what you read on the CNNs and Forbes and things like that… But also, he, again — it’s crazy how much I’ve changed since that first conference, because I really didn’t know anything about real estate… But I didn’t understand how it is possible for someone who’s not  a massive hedge fund to be strictly a passive investor; just kind of accumulate enough wealth that you’re able to passively invest and live off of the interest. That way you’ve got a ton of time on your hands to pursue other interests. So that was one of the things that I came away with from his talk.  Jeremy Roll, Roll Investment Group. He’s very knowledgeable, so if you do come to the conference and have an opportunity to talk to him one-on-one, I’d highly recommend doing that, because he’s very knowledgeable about a  wide range of real estate investments, just because he spends all day researching those to decide which to passively invest in.

Joe Fairless: Cool. And then there’s a code on the conference website, I believe it’s “TAKE5”, to get an additional 5% off, and ticket prices go up weekly, so if you haven’t got a ticket now, go grab one.

Theo Hicks: And then lastly, to wrap up, we’re going to do the review of the week. If you’ve bought The Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book, and if you leave a review on Amazon and send us a screenshot at info@joefairless.com, we will 1) provide you with a link to a bunch of additional apartment syndication goodies, as well as read your review on the podcast, on Follow Along Friday.

This review of the week came from [unintelligible [00:26:23].05] They said:

“I really appreciate that Joe put this book out. My business partners and I treat this as our real estate investment bible. We really can’t believe that this guy divulged all this information. We absolutely love this book.”

Joe Fairless: Well, I’m glad you love it… And I’ve heard that a lot, how people are astonished at the level of detail that you and I provided in that book. That was the whole point, “Here’s how to do it, and here’s a step-by-step process”, and it was really focused on the how-to part of things. We wanted to get detailed, because there was not anything and still is not anything out there that does this… So apartment syndication people, or even passive investors – it’d be a good book for you to have… Apartment syndication people, and just people looking to raise capital – it’s a necessary book to have.

I enjoyed our conversation, Theo. Happy new year, my friend, happy new year, Best Ever listeners, and we’ll talk to you tomorrow.


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