January 20, 2021

JF2332: Balancing W2 Work and Real Estate Investing with Kevin Galang and Adam Ulery

l-time, Kevin Galang and Adam Ulery are active real estate investors. Adam prefers to build his portfolio by being a syndicate partner, while Kevin primarily focuses on notes.

Prioritizing and finding a balance is the key when pursuing multiple directions. Kevin works from home, and Adam has a lot of flexibility as a consultant. They both utilize their free time to tackle and execute their real estate objectives and share their knowledge on a podcast show of their own.

Kevin Galang and Adam Ulery  Real Estate Background:

  • Kevin is a full-time software sales engineer and Adam is a business agility coach
  • 6 years of combined experience in real estate
  • Kevin’s portfolio consists of 4 performing notes and 1 nonperforming note
  • Adam’s portfolio consists of 308 doors across 6 properties
  • Based in Tampa Bay, FL
  • Say hi to them at: www.dreamstoneinvest.com and www.notenuggets.com 
  • Best Ever Book: Can’t Hurt Me

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Best Ever Tweet:

“You need to understand how you want the system to run. A system isn’t just magically going to make your life better.” – Kevin Galang.


Theo Hicks: Hello Best Ever listeners, and welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Theo Hicks, and today I’ll be speaking with two guests. We have Kevin Galang and Adam Ulrey. Adam and Kevin, how are you both doing today?

Kevin Galang: Doing fantastic.

Adam Ulrey: Awesome. Thanks so much for having us on the show, Theo.

Theo Hicks: No problem. Thank you for joining us today. So a little bit about Kevin and Adam’s background. Kevin is a full-time software sales engineer. And Adam is a business agility coach. They have six years of combined experience in real estate. Kevin’s portfolio consists of four performing notes and one non-performing note. And Adam’s portfolio consists of 308 doors across six properties. They’re both in Tampa Bay, Florida, and the websites are dreamstoneinvest.com and notenuggets.com. So starting with Kevin, and then going to Adam, do you mind telling us some more about your background and what you’re focused on today?

Kevin Galang: Yeah, so as you mentioned earlier, I have a full-time job. I’m sure many of your listeners do. And outside of that, I focus primarily on mortgage notes. I like note investing for a number of reasons. I like the protection aspect. What I mean by that – if the borrower ever defaults, you could take back the property, you’re protected by that asset. From the non-performing note perspective, I love the ability to help solve a problem. Let’s face it, Theo, you know that the average American is kind of one crisis away, as COVID is showing us, from not being able to afford their mortgage. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad borrowers. So I want to be able to come in there, solve the problem, and make a difference in somebody’s life, but at that same time, you’re able to make a return.

Adam Ulrey: Yeah, that’s great. And my background is I work in primarily the software space in the tech industry as an enterprise business agility coach. I help transform businesses. What I invest in real estate wise is multi-family, focusing on large multi-family. I’m a syndicator, and we focus primarily on value-add apartments in the Southeast. I really like that asset class and that focus, because it’s in my opinion the best way to grow your wealth very rapidly. That’s the primary reason why I kind of focus in that area.

Theo Hicks:  So Adam, you’re an active investor? You’re actively on the GP as a syndicator?

Adam Ulrey: That is correct. Yes. My team is Dreamstone Invest, and I’m a partner with those guys.

Theo Hicks: Perfect. So you guys both mentioned that you work full-time jobs. Kevin, would you consider notes passive? Or do you still consider that active investing?

Kevin Galang: I personally am the active investor. So I’m the one finding notes, talking to my borrowers, talking to sellers… But it can be a passive investment. One way that people do it is through partnerships, where I’m be the active person, where I find the note, work with somebody to work with the borrower, and the financial friend is more passive, for lack of a better way of putting it. But there are other passive options, like investing in funds out there that are with notes, and things of that nature.

Theo Hicks: Perfect. Okay, so you both have full-time jobs, and you’re both active investors… So my question for both of you is, how much time are you spending on your real estate business? When are you doing this? What happens if you need to do something and you’re at work? How do you decide what’s given a priority? And anything else you can think of that is a challenge working full-time, as well as being an active investor?

Kevin Galang: Well, sleep is a friend that I’m not familiar with anymore. Just kidding. I really focus on prioritizing. So the nine-to-five during the daytime takes precedence because I have that obligation to the company that I’m working with, to maintain my value as an employee. And I take lunch — for example, I’ll schedule calls to take lunch calls. I work from home, so it’s a bit easier… And then I try to schedule things in the morning. So before eight o’clock, I’m working on stuff, reading about the mortgage industry, writing and creating podcast episodes. And then at night, same thing, I go back to analyzing notes, and Adam and I will record podcast episodes on the weekends… So it’s really a finding that balance; you just kind of make the time for it and figure out what is the most important thing that you need to tackle, and just execute.

Adam Ulrey: Yeah, that’s exactly what I do. You just hustle and make it happen. As a consultant, I’ve got quite a bit of flexibility in my schedule, so I let Kevin put the client’s priorities first, and then I just kind of work around that and fill in. So if I’ve got little pockets of time where I can do something, take a call, or perform an activity, I’ll do that, and then just make up for it later in some way. Fortunately, my work schedule doesn’t need to be like that traditional nine to five. I can work a little earlier or work a little later, or kind of fit work in where I need to, as long as I’m not in front of a client. And when I am, of course, I’m dedicated to that.

Also, systems are a big help. You’ll see social media posts coming out for me at different times during the day – I systematized that; it’s automated. So it’s not always me scheduling the post. A team is a huge piece of how I’m able to achieve that. So I’m partnered with other people at Dreamstone Investments, and they’re working on things during the day while I’m at work, and then I can work on things at night when I’m not working.

Theo Hicks: It sounds like you guys are just working all the time. So on the–

Adam Ulrey: That wouldn’t be wrong… [laughter]

Theo Hicks: I just want to say, what time in the morning are you guys getting up, and then what time are you guys done working at the end of the day?

Kevin Galang: I wake up at around five or 6am, and that’s part of the routine. I’ll meditate, do some journaling, get some workout in, and that for me helps set the momentum, to allow me to figure out, “Alright–” Part of my journal, I kind of future-set, saying “This is what I will accomplish that day.” Then I execute according to that. But I also have the vision of how it connects to everything else. And as far as when I stop working, my girlfriend and I love to watch Jeopardy and compete with each other, so at [7:30] – I’m done by them.

Adam Ulrey: Nice. I also get up early, usually, sometime between six and [6:30] on most mornings. I have a morning routine as well. I use that SAVERS routine that Hal Elrod created in Miracle Morning; that really helps me stay focused during the day. And weekends, I work quite a bit, actually quite a lot.

In the evenings, it just kind of depends. I’m usually trying to wind down sometime around nine to 10 on most evenings. It just kind of depends on what’s going on. And Theo, I’ll say, I just consider this paying my dues. I didn’t learn about real estate investing until later in life. And I’m just trying to make up for lost time and get something going. I do not intend to go like this forever. But I just have to pay my dues right now. And then once things start to level out, I won’t be working like this.

Theo Hicks: I’ll just say really quickly, Kevin, I know someone – I think she won either two times or three times on Jeopardy.

Kevin Galang: Oh, you know her personally? That’s awesome. That’s so cool.

Adam Ulrey: That’s one way to create wealth.

Kevin Galang: Yeah. Exactly.

Adam Ulrey: Did she get some real estate with that earnings?

Theo Hicks: I don’t think so. I think she said that she won 60k, something like that. So anyway, so both of you have mentioned, and if you’re watching on YouTube, you can see the little emblem they have next to their heads – Tech Guys Who Invest, which is the podcast. So not only are you working full-time jobs and actively investing, but you’re also, as Adam kind of mentioned, doing other types of thought leadership things, maybe social media or podcasts. Maybe walk us through what all you’re doing in that realm for thought leadership, why you selected those, and then what benefits it’s having to your businesses.

Kevin Galang: So Tech Guys Who Invest was founded because Adam and I connected in a mastermind group and we realized we had great chemistry. We also realized that we both love educating people, and the Tech Guys Who Invest was just a natural title that we came up with, like, “Hey, you’re investing, you work in tech. We’re the tech guys who invest.” And it’s our way of really giving back and sharing information about how to take control of your financial journey, how to invest wisely and safely from the experienced advice of guests we bring on, the mistakes that we’re making, the wins that we have – we share all of that. We try to be as transparent as possible because if we can do it, we firmly believe that other people can as well.

Adam Ulrey: And we have found we just love this so much more than we thought. Part of the reason we did it is to not only educate people and give back in that way, but to attract people to us. They could be people that we would potentially invest with, or partner with in some way, or add value to. So we just wanted to do it for that reason. But it’s ended up becoming more than that. We actually just really love doing it now. We’re learning a ton, we’re having fun, it is attracting people to us, and it’s definitely paying back.

Theo Hicks: Do you guys do all of the bookings, the editing, the posting, the writing of the descriptions yourselves? Or is that outsourced to someone else?

Kevin Galang: So we’ve recently just started outsourcing the podcast editing and posting the show notes. And to Adams point, talking about systems, eventually we would love to graduate, to be “Alright, we recorded it; push it out to the team”, and that’s it. Because we love the podcast recording aspect, and the editing just kind of comes with it and it’s paying our dues.

And another point about systems is you need to understand how you want the system to run. A system isn’t just going to magically make your life better. You can get a system without figuring out how you want the system to operate and just end up with a really big problem. So now that we have the comfortability of almost two years of it, we can say, “Hey, this is how we want it to sound, please do X, Y, and Z,” to our editor.

Adam Ulrey: Yeah, we’ve got our processes down now. We understand them well enough to be able to standardize them and then outsource it at some point.

Theo Hicks: Are all the episodes with a guest, or sometimes just you two?

Kevin Galang: It’s a combination of both. We try to keep a cadence of an episode with a guest, an episode of us, and maybe two of us in a row, or two guests in a row. But we like to mix it up.

Theo Hicks: How do you find the guests?

Adam Ulrey: We like to find guests that mostly focus on real estate, but occasionally put in someone who’s just interesting or does something that not a lot of people know about. So an example is the guy we had on who invests in ETFs. He had started a gold fund in his past, and it was just super interesting. So every now and then we’ll throw someone like that in there, just to kind of share with people there are different things to think about when it comes to investing. And to answer your question about how do we find them – a lot of it is networking and just discovery, and then we’ll just reach out to them. We’ll just take action and invite them on.

Theo Hicks: Is it like an email, I’m assuming?

Kevin Galang: Exactly, yeah. Send an email, send them a Calendly link, that way we don’t have to go back and forth with “Oh, we’re free at this time. Are you free at this time?” “This is our updated calendar. If this works with your schedule, pick any time there.”

Theo Hicks: What’s the conversion rate you guys have? Is it most people say yes or most people say no? I’m just curious.

Kevin Galang: I would say most people do say yes. And I think that’s a cool thing about having a podcast, I think it’s a low barrier to entry. And selfishly, you can use it to learn from experts that are out there. So if anybody’s kind of on the fence of whether or not they should start a podcast, I would highly recommend it.

Adam Ulrey: Yeah, it’s been very rewarding. And we’ve had some people we reached out to you who are really popular, and we were not sure if they’d even respond to us, and they came on the show.

Kevin Galang: Yeah, the worst somebody says is no.

Theo Hicks: What was your best episode so far? In number of views.

Kevin Galang: For a while, the one with Gino Barbaro was one of our highest-performing ones. I have to double-check which else is out there. But that was a big one.

Adam Ulrey: Dave Van Horns was big too. His was…

Kevin Galang: Oh, yeah. Dave Van Horns was a high performing one as well.

Theo Hicks: I recognize both of those names, so good for you guys. Alright, starting with Kevin, and then going to Adam – what is your best real estate investing advice ever?

Kevin Galang: I would say you need to get focused. So figuring out your investor identity early is huge, because there’s a book out there, there’s an expert out there, there’s a podcast out there for every niche in real estate. And every niche in real estate can make money. But there’s a component I feel not a lot of people talk about, where you have to enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy investing in real estate, you might as well just continue to work your job because you’re going to burn yourself out so much faster by trying to grind everything out in an asset class you’re just absolutely miserable with. So get focused and figure out what you really want to do with your time and how you want to invest in real estate.

Adam Ulrey: Yeah, I love that, Kevin. And clarifying your goals is really important. So you focus on what is the right thing for you. That’s really important. Be honest with yourself about what those look like, so that what you’re working on is in alignment with what you really want to achieve deep down inside. But I think at the end of the day, taking action is super important. It’s one of the things that we see a lot of people just stall out on; they let themselves be held back by self-limiting beliefs or fears, and they get stuck in different modes like education forever, analysis paralysis… And at the end of the day, at some point, you have to take action.

Theo Hicks: Perfect. Okay, are you guys ready for the Best Ever lightning round?

Adam Ulrey: Oh, yeah.

Kevin Galang: Yes, sir.

Theo Hicks: Alrighty. Well, first, a quick word from our sponsor.

Break: [00:16:48][00:17:33]

Theo Hicks: Okay, so starting with Kevin and then Adam – what is the Best Ever book you recently read?

Kevin Galang: Best Ever book I’ve recently read… I would say, Can’t Break Me by David Goggins. I know it’s not real estate related, but it is one of those things that it shows you how capable you are as a person, and that mental shift that you need to make to continue to work even though you’re tired, it’s been a long day from your nine to five, but you know you have podcasts or record or something like that… That helps you really dig deep. So it’s not real estate related, but I really like that book.

Adam Ulrey: Also not real estate related, but I think it can be applied… Late Bloomers by Rich Karlgaard. Fantastic book, especially for people who are a little bit older, or think they’re too old to start this thing – read that book, it’s amazing. It explains that you’re not too old, no matter how old you are.

Theo Hicks: In Late Bloomers, I know one of the big examples people use of that would be the KFC guy. Do they talk about him in that book?

Kevin Galang: Right, Colonel Sanders.

Adam Ulrey: Yeah, he even talked about it in the book.

Theo Hicks: Yeah. I figured. Nice. If your business were to collapse today, what would you do next?

Kevin Galang: Podcasts all day. And that’s what I would turn into, I guess, a business. But the idea of being able to just connect with people in different areas of life, doing different things, being able to converse and share that story with the hopes of inspiring somebody else to take action and achieve their dreams – that to me is what would be really cool to do.

Adam Ulrey: That’s awesome.  I’m with you, podcasts all day. That would be great. Definitely learn from the experience. I’m a big inspect and adapt guy, continuously improve, I love to take feedback and learn from that. So I would learn from why did I fail, and take that, roll those lessons into my next venture. And I think it’s important to never give up. That’s super-important to be successful. It’s just don’t stop. So I wouldn’t stop.

Theo Hicks: Yeah, you guys both have the voice and a cadence for podcasting, so that could work.

Adam Ulrey: Appreciate that. Thank you.

Theo Hicks: Okay, what is the Best Ever deal you have done?

Kevin Galang: So one of the performing notes that I recently did, I was super happy about it because I had zero money in; almost negotiated an equity deal. And as a performing note goes, you wouldn’t write home about the amount of money you get, $50 a month from it… But the fact that I had no money in, and it was the first one that I did, I was really excited to do it. Because for me, the first one was the hardest one. Once you get over that hump, you’re like “Okay, proof of concept. I can do this. Let’s just keep taking swings of that bat and see where it goes.”

Adam Ulrey: Yeah, I feel like the mastermind class I invested in might be the answer, because I wouldn’t have met Kevin, I wouldn’t have the Tech Guys Who Invest podcast if I didn’t. And a lot of people don’t think about an investment in yourself is an investment, but I really think it is.

Real estate-wise, we bought a 56-unit Class B here in the Tampa Bay area. It was our second deal as Dreamstone Investment as it’s known today… And it’s a great one, because the class B properties have low delinquency. It’s really weathered this COVID storm very well, and the numbers are strong. It’s been low hassle due to the higher class of residents we have in there, so that’s been a fantastic deal.

Theo Hicks: What is the Best Ever way like to get back?

Kevin Galang: I would have to say the podcast, a great way to get back that I personally love and I’m passionate about it. But I’m always available if somebody wants to reach me and has a question. I won’t turn anybody down if you want to book a time on my calendar. So many people have done that for me, and I want to kind of pay forward in that regard. So being out there as a resource I think is one way that I give back.

Adam Ulrey: Tech Guys Who Invest podcasts for sure is one of my favorites. Sharing lessons learned with others, so they can grow and learn from my experiences. That’s awesome. And as kind of a follow-up, I volunteer with my daughters at Metropolitan Ministries, which is kind of like a homeless mission in the Tampa Bay area. It’s just really great to pass that along to them as something they’ll carry for the rest of their lives.

Kevin Galang: We also host a meetup – that was pre-COVID – where we would use the cash flow game to kind of educate people… And the look on people’s faces when they realize that “Wait, you can do that in real life?” Or “There’s no way people are doing what the game is teaching you in real life”, and having that look on their face of realization is so fulfilling.

Theo Hicks: And then lastly, what is the Best Ever place to reach you?

Kevin Galang: Come take a listen to Tech Guys Who Invest podcast. We share our experiences, wins losses, you get awesome guests on that show… And we have an investor identity canvas that we have created. And it came about because I jumped from various different asset classes – Airbnbs, mobile home parks, multi-family, house-hacking… I looked into all of those things for a few months at a time, but never really got focused. And I wish I had something like the canvas we created to help me narrow down that list. If you want to check that out, it’s canvas.tgwipodcast.com.

Adam Ulrey: Awesome. So dreamstoneinvest.com. You can email me, adam@dreamstoneinvest.com. Find me on LinkedIn, Adam Ulrey. As Kevin mentioned, tgwipodcast.com. You can email either one of us at techguyswhoinvest@gmail.com. And the canvas he mentioned, once again, it’s canvas.tgwipodcast.com.

Theo Hicks: Well, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy, full-time, all-day-working schedules to talk to me for half an hour today. I really appreciate it. Just to kind of summarize some of what we talked about – we talked about how you guys are able to balance the full-time job and active investing… And it’s just a grind, and as you said, hustling, and automating, and prioritizing things.

You also both briefly went over what you guys do with each morning to prepare for your day. Specifically, Kevin said he’ll set a goal each day, and then everything he does kind of based off of that, and then Adam talked about the Sabres routine. You both talked about your thought leadership with the podcast, why you do it, how it’s benefited you, and then more tactics on how it’s done. And then the Best Ever advice from Kevin – I really liked when you talked about how in reality you can make money and be successful in really any niche. So just find out which one you like, because if you don’t like it, then just keep working, because you’re going to burn yourself out, as you said. And then Adam said kind of similar to the same thing, focus on what’s right for you,  be honest on what you’re good at, what you like as well. Then also you added taking action is also very important. And I couldn’t agree more.

So thank you both for joining me again today. Appreciate it. Best Ever listeners, as always, thank you for listening. Have a Best Ever day and we’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Adam Ulrey: Thanks, Theo.

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