May 12, 2021

JF2444: How to Automate Your Money Raising Process Part 1 of 2 | Syndication School with Theo Hicks


In today’s Syndication School episode, Theo Hicks shares how you can automate your money-raising process to help you succeed in your syndication business.

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Theo Hicks: Hello, Best Ever listeners, and welcome back to another episode of the Syndication School series, a free resource focused on the how-to’s of apartment syndications. As always, I’m your host, Theo Hicks, and today will be part one of a two-part series about How to Automatically Raise More Money. So how to set up an automated process, a funnel of sorts to automate your money-raising process. So in part one, we’re going to talk about the beginning stages of this funnel, and then in part two, we’re going to talk about the actual three-step process of the actual funnel. And, of course, this is going to all be surrounding a thought leadership platform, which is something that we talk about a lot at the Best Ever brand, the importance of creating that thought leadership platform.

So today, we’re going to talk about what a thought leadership platform is, what it will allow you to achieve, which is, in part, automating the money raising process, and then we’ll talk about the three pillars of a successful thought leadership platform.

And then in part two, we’ll talk about how to use this thought leadership platform to automate your money-raising process. But it all starts with the thought leadership platform, so let’s dive into that. But before we begin, this two-part series is based off of a presentation given by Michael Blank of Nighthawk Equity, at the Best Ever Conference.

So what is a thought leadership platform? Well, you’re listening to one right now. So a thought leadrship platform is something that offers unique information, insights and ideas that will position you or whoever the owner of that platform as a credible and recognized expert in a specific business niche. So that’s the textbook definition that I would give of a thought leadership platform.

Basically, it’s some sort of online platform where you’re creating free content in order to add value to whoever your target audience is, and then have them enter your funnel in a sense, and ultimately ideally for syndications become an investor. So that’s, again, the entry point into the funnel, with the exit point being investing in one of your deals.

So the thought leadership platform can take many different forms. There’s lots of examples of different types of thought leadership platforms, the most common probably being a podcast or a YouTube channel that’s interview-based, or some sort of daily, weekly, monthly solo podcast, like a Syndication School, for example. You also see a lot of people creating blogs, or a type of blog post which is their own personal sites, and then leverage other platforms like social media, BiggerPockets, LinkedIn to get people to read that blog. Those are the most popular – the blog, the podcast and the YouTube channel, but there’s, again, other forms of thought leadership platforms. They’re really anything that’s providing content, either for free – I guess also paid, too – that adds value to the target audience and then the person who’s creating it is perceived as credible expert in that field. So writing a book, self-publishing on Amazon or having to get published to a publisher…

And also there’s in-person things you can do, like an in-person meetup group in your local market, or an annual conference that is once a year, that people from across the country, across the world come to. You could also start an exclusive investor clubs – that’s what Michael Blank does. They have an investor club that you sign up for, and that’s how you get access to all of the free content that they have. And then most people will have a newsletter too, right? So the first step in the automation process is to get the people to sign up for your newsletter. So the thought leadership platform is really pushing people to that newsletter.

Break: [00:05:40] to [00:07:41]

Theo Hicks: So that’s what a thought leadership platform is. What will a thought leadership platform help you achieve? Why should you have one? And how does it help you scale your syndication business? And the first and the main point that we’ll talk about in this two-part series is it helps you automate the money-raising process. So without having some sort of thought leadership platform that is attracting people to you, you need to do a lot of manual work, reaching out to people in your family, friends, other people in your circle of influence, one person at a time, right? Whether it’s on the phone, through email, in-person… But it’s all one person at a time. So you spend an hour with one person and you’re only with that one person and all of the effort put forth is towards that one person. And then there’s only a certain number of hours in a day, a week, a month, so you can only talk to so many people.

In theory, you can rely on things like referrals from the people you’ve talked to, but you still need to talk to those referrals, too. So without a thought leadership platform, it takes a lot of time to raise capital, and it’s not very scalable. Whereas a thought leadership platform helps you scale your money-raising efforts, because you’re creating content for an hour. Instead of having a one hour conversation with one individual, you’re creating content for, say, one hour. You post that podcast, and then hundreds, thousands of people can listen to that and get that information. So you’re able to build new relationships with people who have never heard of you before and that listen to your podcast. You can strengthen and grow existing relationships that you have, because maybe they talk to you one-on-one for a little bit, but then they get to listen to hundreds of hours of you talk on your podcast, or read a bunch of blogs that you’ve written or read your book. It’ll help you stay top of mind to your target audience, in this case passive investors, but also other real estate entrepreneurs, because you’re constantly pushing out free content that’s valuable to them, so they keep coming back.

Essentially, it’s going to help you automatically network with people all across the globe, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, automatically. It’s not something that’s manual. Sure, you put the manual work upfront to create the content, but once it’s created, people can listen to it, get to know you without having to actually talk to you on the phone first. That’s the main thing that having a thought leadership platform will help you achieve.

A secondary quality of a thought leadership platform is that it’ll help you target the right investor. So I’ll talk about that here in the next part of this show, but you can be hyper-focused with your thought leadership platform to make sure that the right person, the person that you want to invest in your deals, that can invest in your deals is the one who’s reaching out to you, contacting you, entering your funnel.

So also a positive feedback loop of a thought leadership platform – because once you create it, it allows you to automatically attract the right investor, so that’ll increase the amount of money that you can raise… And then the more money that you can raise, the bigger deals you can do. The bigger deals you do, the more money you have to reinvest back into your thought leadership platform to attract even more investors. So that’s why the thought leadership platform is the key to automatically scaling your syndication business and serving your passive investors. So that’s what it can help you achieve, automatically raising money from the right investors.

What makes a good thought leadership platform? That’s the outcome, but how do I make the thought leadership platform so that I’m attracting the right investor, so that I’m automatically raising money and networking while I sleep?

And so Michael has three pillars to a successful thought leadership platform. They are attract, develop, and scale. And these are all things you need to think about when you are creating the thought leadership platform, because this is what you ultimately want the thought leadership platform to do for you.

So the first pillar is attract, and that’s attracting the right investor. And so to make sure that you’re attracting the right investor, you need to know who your ideal investor is. And so be very specific about what their demographic is, what’s the age range you’re targeting, what do they do for a living, what’s the occupation, where do they live, what’s their income level, what are their interests? And once you define that and you know who you’re trying to attract, the second part is creating a thought leadership platform that allows you to capture their contact information.

So you need to know who they are and how to reach them, in order to convert them into being a passive investor in your deal ultimately. And the best way to capture their contact information is to offer them something – this is your lead magnet, in return for their email address. And so the thought leadership platform is what gets them to you, and then your lead magnet is what gets them to give you their contact information. And so as I mentioned earlier, for Michael Blank, his lead magnet is his investor club. And so if someone provides their contact information, they receive membership into this exclusive club of passive investors. But they find his club through his thought leadership platform, and they’re willing to sign up because he’s perceived as a credible expert because of his thought leadership platform. So the thought leadership platform, as well as a lead magnet together, are used to attract that right investor and get them to provide you with their contact information.

So the point is that people aren’t just going to proactively, randomly find you, and then give you their email address; they’re going to find you through your thought leadership platform, but then they’re still not just going to give you their contact information. They still need an incentive, and that’s the purpose of that lead magnet. So overall, you need to define who the ideal investor is and then create a thought leadership platform and a lead magnet that would be attractive to that ideal target audience.

Break: [00:13:35] to [00:14:16]

Theo Hicks: Now, once they’ve given you the contact information, the next step is two, which is developing the relationship. So they’re most likely not going to find you through your a thought leadership platform, provide you their contact information and then invest in your next deal. It is possible, but most likely, you’re going to need to earn their trust first. So this is going to be accomplished by continuously serving them with valuable, free information that educates them on what your syndication strategy is. And so again, this is, in a sense — basically the thought leadership platform will help you accomplish this, depending on how it’s set up, right? So this could be a podcast that’s focused specifically on passive investing. This could be FAQ documents on your investment strategy, provide them the company presentation, adding them to a newsletter where they get consistent updates on not necessarily your deals, because they are not invested in the deals yet, but updates on the state of the market, what’s going on in multifamily… Anything that would help educate them on becoming a better passive investor.

You can create a YouTube series that focuses on how to become a better passive investor, there can be a category on your blog about passive investing, there could be an email drip campaign that you send them on passive investing… Something that not only educates them, but since you’re educating them for free and you’re showing them all this great information, they’re going to perceive you as being an expert in something that they can trust and someone that they want to invest with.

So when you’re developing this relationship, you need to think about leading them on their investing journey with content, to take them from someone who has very little knowledge or even no knowledge about what your investment strategy is about apartments syndications, to have the confidence to invest in their first deal with you, and that’s done through developing that relationship with your free content.

And then the third pillar of the thought leadership platform is it needs to help you scale your business. So after it’s helped you attract the right investor, after the free content you provided has developed that relationship, that investor will trust you enough, have enough confidence and understanding of your investment model to invest. Then this isn’t the end of the strategy, because as you convert more and more leads into actual investors, your company will begin to generate more and more money, because more people that invest allows you to do more deals.

So if you want to benefit the most from this thought leadership platform and to create that positive feedback loop, as I kind of already mentioned earlier, you want to reinvest a portion of your revenue back into your brand. So there’s a lot of different ways that this could look, a lot of different ways you can invest into your brand. This could be hiring additional team members to help you manage the brand and help you grow the thought leadership platform. You can invest that money to create additional platforms, whether it be like an in-person conference, a meetup group, a book. You can improve the quality of your current thought leadership platforms by hiring a podcast editor, a video editor or graphic designer to create visuals for your videos or thumbnails or pictures for your blogs… You can invest in higher quality equipment, so a nicer microphone, a better camera, a green screen; you can invest in paid advertising on social media, you can revamp your website and—the list is really endless of how you can reinvest capital back into your thought leadership platform. But the point is that if you want to scale the most out of this, you need to continuously improve that thought leadership platform, because the better the thought leadership platform is and gets, the more investors you’re going to attract and develop that relationship with and have them invest into your deals.

So overall, a thought leadership platform is a really solid way to efficiently scale your syndication business. You create the thought leadership platform with the purpose of automatically raising more money. And the three pillars of the thought leadership platform is that it must attract the right investor, which means that it must be targeted towards a defined demographic, and it needs to include a lead magnet that gets them to give you their email address.

Pillar number two is developing that relationship. So the thought leadership platform provides continuous free content that educates the person who’s providing you their contact information, which helps you earn their trust, and you’re in a sense of leading them on their journey towards investing with you.

And then the third pillar is to reinvest a portion of your money back into your thought leadership platform so that you create that positive feedback loops, so you attract even more investors, developing even more relationships, make more money to reinvest it back in it, and ultimately scale your syndication business. So that’s part one.

In part two, we’re going to dive into a little more detail of what exactly the step-by-step process looks like from creating that lead magnet and someone’s giving you their contact information, to developing that relationship, to getting them to ultimately invest in your deals. And we’re talking about this specifically for the 506 B exemption, which requires you to have a preexisting and substantive relationship with the investor. So it’s not a 506 C, where you just advertise and anyone who’s an accredited investor can invest. This is a three-step process to automatically develop these relationships so that you are meeting the 506 B requirements. That’ll be in part two.

So thank you for listening to part one. Make sure you check out our other Syndication School episodes, as well as a lot of the free documents we’ve given away at Thank you for listening, have a best ever day and we’ll talk to you tomorrow.

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