We know by now how beneficial BiggerPockets can be for our real estate investing business. Theo is often a top contributor in BiggerPockets and is telling us how he does it. We’ll also touch on why it is important to hit the top contributor status. 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 today. The purpose of Follow Along Friday is to talk about what we’ve got going on, so that we can help you with whatever you’ve got going on in real estate. Theo Hicks is with us… Theo, let’s kick it off.
Theo Hicks: Let’s do it, Joe. I recently became a top contributor on Bigger Pockets again, and I know we’ve discussed this on the podcast before, but I wanted to just reiterate the strategy and tell you exactly how I did it. Obviously, recently we’ve had the Christmas break, so I wasn’t posting to Bigger Pockets for a few weeks, so I lost my top contributor status… And when I got back on the 2nd…
Joe Fairless: Before you talk about how you did it, with does top contributor status mean?
Theo Hicks: Okay, I’ll get a little bit into that. Essentially, for each of the forums on Bigger Pockets, when you click on Posts, for example, whatever forum that’s under, it’ll have a top contributor list on the right-hand side. It’ll be the top five contributors to that forum, and it’ll have a score. The highest score I’ve gotten is around like a 9 or a 10. I’m not exactly sure what the score means, but I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of number of posts within a certain timeframe, plus the number of interactions you’re getting on that post.
Joe Fairless: You mean votes?
Theo Hicks: Yeah, votes… So it’s a combination of votes and number of posts.
Joe Fairless: Before we go down the path of how do it, let’s take a step back and talk about why we’re on Bigger Pockets first… And this is gonna be really quick, because Best Ever listeners, you know the importance of Bigger Pockets, but one thing I just want to reiterate and just shine a light on a little bit is when you’re partnering up with other people in real estate, especially if you’re bringing on investors, but even other people, whether it’s a business partner who brings a skillset that you don’t have, or even perhaps vendors, and certainly investors in your deals, you need to have trust… And the two types of trust you must have – you have to have both with them – is one, they have to trust you as an individual, and then two, they have to trust you as a business person.
So they have to trust you as a person, number one, and then number two, they have to trust you as a business person who is an expert in whatever your focus is. If you’re a fix and flipper, you must be a trusted individual who they know is an expert at fixing and flipping, or wholesaling, or buying apartments. And what Bigger Pockets allows us to do is to establish the trust as a business person who is an expert within our area of focus… And it’s incredibly scalable, because you post once and it lives forever. I know this because a long time ago I offered to give people a developer template that I came across randomly – I don’t develop deals – and people are still asking me for it… And I’m like, “Oh, man, another one…?!” [laughs] And then I send them to Samantha on my team and she gets them this developer template. Please don’t ask for it, by the way; it’s not that good of a template, I just randomly ran across it… [laughs] But it’s a way that you can accomplish the objective of creating that trust in a scalable way, that shows you’re an expert on the particular area that you’re focused on, and the outcome of that is developing long-term relationships with people, who could be business partners, who could be passive investors, or who could be vendors who are like, “Hey, that guy or gal knows what they are talking about. I wanna work with them…” Perhaps give them some sort of exclusive discount, or some sort of rate or partnership that they don’t offer anywhere else, so that they can ride your coattails as you’re growing.
So trust is the foundation of what we do. Bigger Pockets is one platform that we use to grow our business, in addition to others, like this podcast, and meetup groups, my conference etc. And all those platforms – it’s all about scalable trust that’s relevant. So that’s why we’re talking about how to become a top contributor within ten days on this episode, because regardless of you raising money or doing other stuff in real estate, you need to be attractive to those you’re looking to attract, and Bigger Pockets is a way to do that.
Theo Hicks: Exactly, and you’ve hit on all the benefits of getting this top contributor status. Something else I was thinking about last night – I can’t remember what website I was on, but on most website they have ads, and they’re usually on the right-hand bar, so they’ll have that picture ad or whatever, and obviously you’re paying a ton of money for that, so I’m pretty sure with Bigger Pockets it’s the same thing, they’ve got their ads… So if you think about it, if you follow this strategy and you become a top contributor, you’re essentially getting a free ad on Bigger Pockets, but it’s even better, because you’re not paying for it; you’ve actually earned it through adding value to other people, and people will see that and rather than be like “Oh, he paid for that ad spot” – which obviously is still great, but this is another way to promote yourself, in a sense, without having to pay, but also people will know automatically that you’ve got that credibility, because you didn’t just give money to get that spot, you actually had to put forth effort, frequently, for an extended period of time, in order to earn that spot.
Then one more thing before I actually go on to the strategy, because you might be thinking “It’s different for you guys, because you guys have the podcast, and YouTube channel, and everything like that, so more people will recognize you and therefore vote on your posts”, but it’s not necessarily the case, because I get a ton of messages on Bigger Pockets, but there were a lot of times where I’ve gotten messages on Bigger Pockets where all they said is “Hey, I saw you posting on the forums…”, and whatever else they wanted to say. They didn’t say “Hey, I saw you posting on the forums and I recognized you from Joe’s podcast and I wanted to reach out.” I do get those messages, but I would say the majority of them are just people saying “I saw you posting on the forums a ton. You seem like you know what you’re talking about… I wanted to reach out and ask you some more questions.”
From this, I’m telling you, I keep getting people offering to underwrite my deals. I’m up to seven or eight now, just from Bigger Pockets; they’re all coming from Bigger Pockets. Obviously, they’ve heard me talk about it on this podcast, but that’s how they’re finding me, through Bigger Pockets. “I heard you talking on the podcast about underwriting, and I happen to see you posting a bunch a bunch on the forums, so I decided to reach out.”
Joe Fairless: Awesome.
Theo Hicks: Now on to the strategy, and I know we’ve talked about this before, but this is, again, exactly what I do every single week. I obviously go to BiggerPockets.com, and I’m gonna talk about specifically for the multifamily forum, but this can be applied to any other forum that they have on the website.
So you go to the top, you go to Forums… Typically, when click on Forums, it’ll bring you to the main forum page, where you’ll have every single forum post in chronological order, so usually the ones posted a couple of minutes ago. Now, you wanna make sure that you’re posting in the forum that you want to be a top contributor in. Obviously, for Bigger Pockets there’s notifications that you’ll get, if people vote on your posts, or if they reply to one of your posts, so you definitely wanna do those first.
So go to that top right of your screen, it’s got that little bell – click on that, and it’ll just say Notifications, Keyword Alerts, Inbox. You wanna do Notifications first, and anyone who’s replied to your comment or mentioned you, make sure you upvote their comment and then reply, even if it’s something as simple as “I appreciate the kind words. Feel free to send me a DM if you have any other questions.” As simple as that.
Now you actually move on to keyword alerts. Keyword alerts are not as relevant to this strategy, because what I’ve noticed is I’ve got my keyword alerts for “apartment syndication”, “accredited investors”, things like that, but if you actually click on those keyword alerts, you wanna make sure that that post is within your multifamily category, or your fix and flip category, or whatever your category is… Because again, it’s based on the top contributors per forum category, not for the overall forum.
I’ll reply to those regardless anyways, just because people are still asking questions, and I still have pretty solid answers to those questions… But [unintelligible [00:09:15].14] make sure that it’s actually on that forum, or at least you know that it’s on that forum, so when you’re keeping track of how many posts you’re doing, if you’re posting on a keyword alert that’s not on your multifamily forum, you just keep that in mind and make sure that you do an extra post on the multifamily forum.
After that, once you’ve exhausted the notifications and the keyword alerts, that’s when you wanna go to your forum. So you’ll go to Forums, it’ll be Commercial Real Estate, and then there’s two categories in there – there’s Commercial Real Estate and there’s Multifamily Investing. Click on Multifamily Investing, and if it’s Tuesday, through Friday, I will go to the posts within the last 24 hours. If it’s Monday, I’ll do the posts within the last three days. And I literally just go through every single post and I read the title, and if it’s something that I know I could have an answer to, or I might potentially have an answer to, I just open it up in a new tab. So by the time I’ve gone through the posts, I’ve got 5, 10, 15 tabs open.
Then you just go through, you read the thread, and you reply to it, making sure that you mention the person who asked the question, so that they see it. It’s really as simple as that.
The next day you come back, you’re most likely going to have notifications from the posts from the day before, new keyword alerts, plus 24 hours’ worth of new multifamily posts. I do that again, so I do that for obviously the first five days. For me, I did it for five days, and I did it for a few more days the next week, and then I got that number five spot on the top contributors.
Typically, I’m higher up, and I think I’ll work my way back up that list over the coming weeks, but yesterday was the first time I was back up on that list. The only reason why it might not work is two reasons – number one, if you’re in a forum that has a lot more people involved than in multifamily. Multifamily is probably one of their top forum posts, so it shouldn’t be that big of a problem, but I think they have some that are more general, like literally general real estate investing advice, so I’m sure that would be a little bit more difficult to become a top contributor on.
Also, I’ve been posting for three months prior, every single day, and I took a two or three-week break, so that might have given me a head start… So this might take you a little bit longer than ten days, but regardless, if you just follow this strategy five days a week, you will become a top contributor in your category, at some point with a month, I would bet.
This strategy literally takes me between half an hour or 45 minutes every single day, that’s it. So it’s not like I’m spending hours and hours on there. Once you get your system in place and you get used to clicking through the forum, it shouldn’t take any more than half an hour to 45 minutes, and everyone’s got half an hour to 45 minutes in their day to spend on something like this, especially, as Joe said, with all the benefits.
Heck, I’ve gotten so many people interested in underwriting my deals, I’ve gotten coffee with so many people, I’ve gotten so many kind words, so many people talking about our book, talking about the podcast and how helpful it’s been… Overall, it’s been an amazing experience on there.
Joe Fairless: And you mentioned you’ve been doing it daily for a long period of time, then you took a break for the holidays… But you are consistent with it, and I wanted to ask you a question, Theo – what does the number 6,702 represent?
Theo Hicks: I don’t know.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, it’s an impossible question to answer. [laughter] It represents the number of Bigger Pockets members who have the addict award awarded to them. You know how you get awards on Bigger Pockets for your first post, first vote, 100 votes, 1,000 posts… A bunch of different things. And if you go to BiggerPockets.com/awards, you’ll see all the awards that they give.
There’s no ceremony or anything, but it’s a recognition of what your contributing on Bigger Pockets. They’ve got a Genius award, and some other stuff, where a bunch of people — if you have a certain amount of votes on your posts, you get a Genius award. But 6,702 people have been awarded the Addict award. I am one of those people, and I don’t do it every single day now, because I’m at a different stage in my business. But I go on Bigger Pockets frequently, and — I’m still building myb business, but when my business was in a different stage earlier on, I went on Bigger Pockets every single day. The Addict award is defined by posting every single day for one month. Just posting every single day for one month. 6,702 people – as of yesterday when I looked at it, because they should you how many people have been awarded it on that page I mentioned… 1,200,000 people according to Bigger Pockets are on the website. 1,200,000 people are members of Bigger Pockets. 6,702 people are crazy enough to get that Addict award, where they’re on Bigger Pockets every single day for one month. That is half of a percent of Bigger Pockets members do that.
My theory is that if you do posting every single day for a month and you get that award, and you become in the top half of a percent of Bigger Pockets users who are all-in on it, your income will increase dramatically, assuming that you’re adding value during your posts.
It’s something that I was looking and I was like “Wait a second…”, because my income is top half of a percent for America, my net worth is that, and the top half of a percent of Bigger Pockets members do the Addict thing. So a challenge I have for the Best Ever listeners is to do that and get that award; get that Addict award on Bigger Pockets. You follow Theo’s approach that he mentioned, and you do it consistently, and get that Addict award that I’m mentioning, and good things are gonna happen for you.
Theo Hicks: Oh yeah, I totally agree. I actually don’t have the Addict award yet, because I don’t post on weekends, but I’m gonna actually start doing one extra post on the weekends, so I can get that award. Clearly, that’d be powerful.
Joe Fairless: There’s power in momentum. People are generally inconsistent, and generally don’t do what they say they’re gonna do – I don’t know why, that’s just how it is – so those of us who are consistent and do what we say we’re gonna do, we’re gonna stand out, and we’re gonna be rewarded for it.
Theo Hicks: Yeah, it really is all about momentum, and if you’re trying to start a new habit, it’s gonna suck, it’ll be hard to do it for first 10, 20, 30 days, but… Just think about anything that you’re doing right now consistently that you have been doing for a long time – maybe you started doing it a couple years ago – think about it’s just everyday nature now, whereas before it was more like, “Oh, this is so difficult.”
Working out is the perfect example – it’s really difficult to start a workout routine, but once you’ve been doing it, you don’t even think about it; you’re just naturally like, “Alright, it’s time to go to the gym.” Your body says “It’s 2 o’clock, it’s gym time.” The same thing for things like this.
Maybe post four days this week, and then next week you do five days, but it was really hard, and you didn’t wanna do it that fifth day, but you did it anyways – it’s gonna be that much easier the next time you try to do it, because you realize “It was half an hour or 45 minutes of just moving my fingers and just thinking a little bit. It’s not that difficult to do.” And as you’ve said, think about all the benefits that you will get from doing it.
So yeah, how to become a top contributor on the multifamily forum – or any forum on Bigger Pockets – in ten days is to essentially post to the forums every day. It’s pretty simple.
Joe Fairless: A little more complicated than that, but yes. [laughter] Everyone’s like, “Man, this episode could have been seven seconds… What the hell, guys?”
Theo Hicks: [laughs]
Joe Fairless: Alright, cool. Let’s move on.
Theo Hicks: Alright, trivia question time… So last week’s trivia question was “What MSA had the largest projected population growth in 2018?”
Joe Fairless: I said Fort Worth, right?
Theo Hicks: You said Fort Worth, which I believe was in the top five, for sure… The answer was actually Cape Coral – Fort Myers, Florida MSA.
Joe Fairless: Oh, get out of here, alright…
Theo Hicks: With like a 3.38% population growth, I believe.
Joe Fairless: Fort Myers, Florida…
Theo Hicks: Yup.
Joe Fairless: Huh.
Theo Hicks: So remember, this is a percentage-based growth, not overall number growth.
Joe Fairless: You’ve got some tricky questions, Theo.
Theo Hicks: Well, this one’s gonna be tricky, too – you know the answer to this one – but trivia is supposed to be pretty tricky. I’m trying to make it more complex this week, but I think this is an interesting statistic…
Joe Fairless: I wonder what’s driving that population growth there. You’re in Florida… Any idea?
Theo Hicks: I wonder if it’s just more snowbirds moving there… Because the majority of people, at least that live here, maybe 50% are from here, but the other 50% have moved here because of the weather. I’m not necessarily sure exactly what’s driving that… Especially that Fort Myers is literally just a vacation town… So it’s most likely that, more people moving here for vacation homes.
Joe Fairless: Yeah. Aging population, people from California — well, people from New York move to Florida, and then everyone else moves to Texas, it seems like.
Theo Hicks: Exactly. So this week’s question – I know Joe knows the answer to this, and all of his investors know the answer to this, so I guess you guys aren’t necessarily allowed to answer this one…
Joe Fairless: [unintelligible [00:18:23].27] hint then…?
Theo Hicks: It could be.
Joe Fairless: So what’s the question?
Theo Hicks: In 2016 – this is the most recent year’s worth of data – a record number of companies left California. 1,800 to be exact, which is a record high since 2008. What state did the largest proportion of those companies move to?
Joe Fairless: Oh, come on. Alright…
Theo Hicks: What state did the largest proportion of those companies move to? If this is super-easy, then whoever answers the fastest is gonna get the free book this week.
Joe Fairless: Okay, it’s an easy one. Someone’s get the book real quick. By the way, everyone who’s won, sorry for delaying mailing the books out; we messed up on our side, but we will send those out on Wednesday of next week. They’re being mailed out, signed copies, so they’re all coming for everyone who’s won so far.
Theo Hicks: Perfect. Moving on, the Best Ever Conference is very close. Today is the 17th, this will be airing on the 18th, so a little over a month away… Make sure to check out our thread on Bigger Pockets. I’m updating that daily now. I just did a post Friday about the venue; we’re upgrading to the big house this year… The venue looks really sweet. We’re actually in the Opera House this time, so in that actual theater… So it’s gonna be an upgrade from last year, where we were in another room in that venue. So we’re moving up to the Opera House, the Ellie Caulkins Opera House I believe it’s called.
If you go to the BestEverConference.com and you scroll down to the BEC 2019 Line-Up, we’ve got the majority of the panels, the discussions, the presentations – those topics are on that schedule. Last week we told you about one of the first keynotes, which is gonna be a discussion on the state of the commercial real estate market in general… One of the next presentations is going to be a panel about niche asset classes. These are gonna be people who invest in things like marinas… I know all about marinas now, since I live in Florida, because we’ve got a lot of those down here. Those are basically those big buildings that hold people’s boats…
Joe Fairless: Everyone knows what a marina is…
Theo Hicks: As was land banking, which I’m not necessarily sure what land banking means… And then RV parks. So it’s gonna be a panel discussion on those three niche asset classes. Do you know what land banks are?
Joe Fairless: I should… I’ve certainly interviewed someone on it. I’m not gonna pretend — my thought is that it’s just buying raw land and then using that as cashflow to doing a joint venture with someone who leases it from you… Or you do a lease option on the land. That’s my thought, but I could be off.
Theo Hicks: I think it’s when you buy undeveloped land, and then sell it to a developer who is going to develop it for a profit.
Joe Fairless: Okay, yeah, and you do a JV with them where you’re in on the deal, or something like that. Okay, cool. Yeah, so I was 90% accurate.
Theo Hicks: There you go. And then one of the last things is, of course, the Best Ever APartment Syndication Book on Amazon. I think yesterday we were up to 120 reviews. Buy that book, leave a review on Amazon, send us a screenshot to firstname.lastname@example.org and receive a package of free apartment syndication goodies, plus the opportunity to have your review read aloud on the podcast.
This week’s review is from Paul, and… Wow, Paul left an eight-paragraph review, so it was very long. Obviously, I’m not gonna read the whole thing… [laughs]
Joe Fairless: Thank you, Paul, but… We’ll summarize this one, right?
Theo Hicks: I’m just gonna read his last two paragraphs. Paul said:
“There are many tools, sites, reports and spreadsheets that are shared throughout the book. They’re kind of scattered, however, so you many want to mark them down as you find them. I was curious about him, so I visited his website. I think it would be a great value-add (see what I did there?) to have these available in his Resources section.” Paul, if you go to apartmentsyndication.com, some of these documents are there; the other ones – yeah, you do have to receive an e-mail. Continuing:
“Go ahead and pick up this book if you’re still interested. As I said it is DENSE, it will be your first key advisor in your Apartment Syndication journey. Keep your eyes open, your wits about you, and build some great relationships, trust Joe and I’m confident you won’t find a better system.”
Joe Fairless: Paul, thank you my friend for writing that, and Theo, thank you for only reading the last two paragraphs. The Best Ever listeners would be like, “Dude, come on…”
Theo Hicks: I do talk really fast, I’m sure I could have gotten through it pretty quick.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, well… Thank you, Paul, sincerely, for that, and most importantly, I’m glad that it added value to your life. One thing I do wanna mention before we sign off is I wanna honor Linda Liberatore and her life. She passed away, as some of you all might know. She was a guest on episode #1082 and episode #714. She was the founder of Secure Pay One, which was also a sponsor of the show.
Linda was such a warm person, someone who didn’t meet someone who she wouldn’t help out. I’ve met her multiple times in person, at our conference and other places, and just a kind-hearted individual… So I just want to pause for a moment, honor her… We will be donating towards a charity that she supported; I’m not sure which one that is yet, but we’re finding that out. So I just wanna give her a moment of reflection, and then we’ll sign off.
Okay, we’ll talk to you tomorrow, everyone.