July 29, 2020

JF2157: 8 Apartment Syndication Lessons From Tools Of Titan | Syndication School with Theo Hicks

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In today’s Syndication School episode, Theo Hicks, will be going over 8 key lessons he learned from the book Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris. 

To listen to other Syndication School series about the “How To’s” of apartment syndications and to download your FREE document, visit SyndicationSchool.com. Thank you for listening and I will talk to you tomorrow. 

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Theo Hicks: Hello, Best Ever listeners and welcome to another episode of The Syndication School series – a free resource focused on the how-tos of apartment syndication. As always, I’m your host, Theo Hicks. Each week, we air a Syndication School episode that focuses on a specific aspect of the apartment syndication investment strategy, and for a lot of these episodes, we’ve offered some free resources for you. These are free PowerPoint presentation templates, Excel calculator templates, PDF how-to guides, some resource to help you along your apartment syndication journey.

All the past Syndication School episodes as well as free documents are available at syndicationschool.com, and in this episode, we are going to go over some of the top apartment syndication lessons from Tim Ferriss’ book Tools of Titans.

So we’ve actually referenced this book before on the syndication school when we talked about the concept of 50-50 goals, which I will briefly reiterate later on in this episode, because that is one of the lessons, but in addition to that, we’ve got seven other lessons that we took from the book, Tools of Titans. A really big book, but it’s written in a way that allows you to go to a specific type of person. It’s got a really good index, and it’s got really good searchability. It’s the kind of book that you can read front to back, or you just read it to get little tidbits, little pieces of advice that you want to get from the Titans, the billionaires, the icons, the world-class performers, and maybe by Tim Ferriss. I have a blog post on this, but the blog post was written geared towards passive investing. So I wanted to take these same lessons and apply them to you, who is an aspiring apartment syndicator. So again, these are eight lessons; let’s jump right into it.

The first one is to ditch conventional marketing. Essentially, what Tim Ferriss means here is that the traditional conventional way of advertising, those days are gone. He says that if you want to breed substantial results for your marketing efforts, you need to think outside the box; you need to be creative. He talks about how the traditional way is the hard sale, whereas now it is better to abandon that super aggressive approach and be not more passive, he says, but more elegant and more subtle. So a perfect example of this would be providing free content to potential customers. So as opposed to a straight-up going from meeting someone to asking them what you want, add value to them first. That’s a lot more subtle and elegant way to, in a long term, create and breed better results, as opposed to as Tim Ferriss mentions the conventional way, which is the super hard sale, and both in person as well as in your copy. So maybe a good first step would be to, for example, take some writing course. So there’s the Udemy who has a lot of good courses. You can take a copywriting course to figure out what’s the best way to create copy that is able to attract customers without turning them off by being overly aggressive. So Ferriss swears by this method of subtle and elegant advertising as opposed to the super-aggressive approach. That’s lesson number one.

Number two is to not fear fear. So rather than avoiding unpleasant feelings, foreign feelings, he says that it’s better to actually embrace those. He says that, for example, the fear of taking some risk. Of course, it’s good to take calculated risks, but if you let your fear dictate your actions, then you aren’t going to take really any action at all because there’s always some excuse we can come up to ourselves to tell us why we shouldn’t reach out to that broker property management company or why we shouldn’t get into apartment syndication in the first place.

He says that if your behaviors are often dictated by fear, be more mindful about the emotions that you’re giving your energy to. So just your standard mindset advice, which is just to be aware of your fears. I was interviewing someone today and a good exercise she says was to journal. Say, for example, you have some thoughts that’s keeping you from taking action. Let’s say taking action from, I don’t know, reaching out to a broker – so journal and write down specifically what that thought pattern is in your mind and that’s resulting in you not taking action, and then ask the follow-up question – Is this true? Do I have evidence to support that this thought is true? Do I have evidence to support that the outcome I’m afraid of is going to happen? If that outcome that I’m afraid of actually happens, what is the result of that? Is it the end of the world or will I actually learn from it and grow from it? So that’s the point, I think, Ferriss is making here is that– as Trevor McGregor says, “There’s no failure. There’s only feedback.” So don’t be afraid to fail, because when you fail, you’re going to learn a valuable lesson that as long as you apply that lesson moving forward, you are better for it. So that’s number two – don’t fear fear.

Number three, and this is very, very important for apartment syndications, is that qualifications don’t matter. So the idea that you need to have this massive amount of knowledge on a specific topic or a specific industry in order to take action doesn’t sit well with Ferriss, and he says that as long as you have a passion, then you’re going to be able to get through any obstacles. But a big obstacle from people starting in apartment syndications is “Well, I don’t have the knowledge or the education or the experience. There’s something I’m lacking that I need before I can go out there and do big deals and raise money”, and while it’s true to a degree, it’s unlikely that you’re gonna go from graduating high school or college with no relationships, no knowledge whatsoever of multifamily, and then do a 500-unit deal with $20 million raise. Sure it’s possible, but there’s also on the opposite of the spectrum is don’t spend years and years of years educating yourself on something and saying that “Well, I can’t do anything until I’ve reached some arbitrary point of knowledge.” So have your bases covered, but as long as you have that passion, as long as you have that drive, and as long as you have at least some foundation set up, what Tim Ferriss believes is that failure– you ultimately not reaching your goals is something that’s just not going to happen. So he thinks that passion and drive is more important than having the right qualifications.

Something else he doesn’t necessarily talk about here is that you can hack this qualification process by bringing on team members who have that experience. Finding that product management company that has that experience, finding that mentor that has that experience. So again, ultimately, you do need to have that education part covered, which is what you’re working on right now, but you don’t need to spend ten years educating yourself on apartment syndications before you do your first deal. So that’s number three.

Number four is to become comfortable with public speaking. So he talks about how a lot of people have a fear of public speaking; maybe one of the biggest fears. But Ferriss believes that there is a strong connection between being successful and being a good speaker. So a thought leadership platform is a perfect example. Let’s say you’re already super successful; then by you getting good at public speaking, you can inspire other people to follow in your path. So obviously you might not be a master, but as you become more and more comfortable with what you’re doing with the apartment syndications, make that thought leadership platform. Get out there and share your advice with other people even if you’ve done one deal. It’s huge that you’ve done one deal, but even when you’re in the process of doing your first deal, that information is going to be valuable other people. So focus on that as opposed to focusing on how scared you are, a public speaker.

That’s Joe’s big piece of advice is that whenever you are public speaking, as opposed to focusing all of your attention on yourself and how you feel your anxiety and fears of speaking, focus on the audience and adding as much value to them as possible. Another really good way to get better at public speaking would be to take some course. So I took the Dale Carnegie public speaking course, and at the end of the day, once you have that training, it’s very difficult to be afraid of doing a normal talk in front of people because of the different outlandish, goofy things than if you do in front of a complete stranger. So they make you go through these exercises where you humiliate yourself, not in a gross way, but you act and you say completely absurd, outlandish things.

One of the exercises was you had to go up there and sing the “I’m a little teapot” song while doing a teapot thing and singing it in a really high pitched voice. Then everyone’s sitting in a circle and you act like you’re a mountain troll or something, and you say the fee-fi-fo-fum thing. Some girl got so into it; it was really funny, but it shows you that if you’re able to do something like that, then you’ll be able to stand in front of people and have a normal talk as opposed to having to do the little teapot, I guess is the point. So Dale Carnegie; you can look that up. It’s pricey, but again, just think of it as an investment. So that’s number four – become comfortable with public speaking.

Number five is to ask these stupid questions. So you’d think that this would be only relevant to passive investors, but this is also relevant to you, for a longer learning process; and this could be literally asking a mentor or a property management company or a broker stupid questions, or it could be you asking yourself stupid questions to make sure you actually know what you’re talking about. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing, there’s nearly an unlimited amount of information that you could discover, and the more information you have, the better decisions you’re gonna be able to make. So if you’re interviewing a bunch of property management companies, don’t be afraid to ask them a question that you deem to be stupid. It is going to provide you with information that you need in order to make the correct decision on who to invest with. So there really isn’t a stupid question when it comes to interviewing people, and at the same time, if by asking yourself what might seem like stupid basic questions and then seeing if you can answer them, it’ll also promote growth. Because if you realize, “Well, hey, I actually don’t know the answer to that question. So now I need to go out and get the information,”  and even if no one’s going to ask you that question ever, you’re still gonna have more knowledge and get closer to mastery of a specific subject, and then ultimately, more mastery of the apartment syndication strategy as a whole. So that’s number five – ask the stupid questions.

Number six is to not sell yourself short. This is where that 50-50 goals comes into play. So it’s easy to think that you are not progressing. You set a goal for yourself to do apartment syndication for the year and then you don’t do that goal, and then in your mind, the year was a complete failure. Keep in mind something that Joe always says that he got from, I believe, Tony Robbins…. It’s that you think you can do more in a year than you can actually do, but you think you can do much less than you can actually do in five years or in a decade. So this is a very long-term strategy. Real estate is a long term strategy. It’s not a get rich quick scheme. So if you end up not achieving your quarterly goal or your yearly goal, try not to stress out about it so much and instead use the 50-50 goal approach, which was from this book as well, and it says, “50% of the success of a goal is actually achieving that defined outcome.” So if your goal is to do an apartment syndication, then half of your success is if you actually did that deal, but the other half of this it says, “Did you learn anything during that process?” So let’s say you didn’t achieve your goal of doing an apartment vacation in your first year… What did you do that got you closer to doing an apartment syndication? Who did you meet? What piece of education did you gain? Do you have a team built? Have you spoken with people about raising money? Have you attended some– I guess you can’t really attend much stuff now, but have you taken a lot of online courses or have you been listening to a lot of podcasts to determine if you actually made progress towards doing apartment syndications. Did you create some process or system that you’re going to take with you for the next 10, 20 years in your journey? So half of it is the defined goal; the other half is actually the systems and the information and the people that you gained along the way. So that’s number six – don’t sell yourself short.

Number seven is to find an uplifting community. So it’s technically impossible to do anything in life by yourself. Even if you’re in a cave by yourself, eventually you’re gonna have to interact with someone to get food or water or whatever. But obviously, we’re not in caves here, but the whole point is that no matter what you do, you need other people, you need help from other people, and this is especially true for syndications. You need your team to help you manage the deals, to close on the deals, to fund the deals… But at the same time, you also want to have another team of people who are doing what you are trying to do or have already accomplished what you are trying to do, and surrounding yourself with a community of people that align with you, align with your goals, align with your values. A fellowship of sorts, where you’re doing the more technical stuff with your property management company, your broker, and then you’ve got your other team where you can talk more abstract, long term strategies, get tips and different processes and things that work for them. Overall, have people that you can talk to that have similar interests, similar goals, similar values. So this is your core group of people that you can rely on.

Then lastly, and this is pretty straightforward, but you got to show up. At the end of the day, none of the other things are gonna matter if you don’t actually take action and show up. So this is the glue that holds all the other lessons together, is that you have to show up to do marketing. You have to show up to overcome your fears. You have to show up to be a public speaker. You have to show up to ask questions, to find a community. You have to take action. You have to, every single day, do something that is bringing you closer and closer to whatever your goal is.

So those are the eight lessons from the Tools of Titans book that we took away and again, there’s this based of a blog post, but it’s not written towards syndicators, so I thought it’d be great to go over today’s lesson. So to summarize is ditch conventional marketing, don’t fear fear, qualifications don’t matter, be comfortable with public speaking, ask stupid questions, don’t sell yourself short, find an uplifting community and show up.

If you do these eight things, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a syndication titan like those who are interviewed in the Tim Ferriss’ book. So that concludes this syndication school episode. Thank you for listening. Make sure you check out some of the other Syndication School episodes about the how-tos of apartment syndications. Make sure down all those free documents; that’s at syndicationschool.com. Thank you for listening. Have a best ever day and we’ll talk to you tomorrow.

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