March 28, 2022

JF2764: Building a Business Around Your Lifestyle ft. Tim Bratz

  • Tim Bratz shares his insights on starting a business, starting over, making your time count, and maintaining balance through it all. Here are some of his top tips: 

    • Humility is key. After liquidating his portfolio and starting back at square one, Tim realized that spending money to display wealth actually keeps most people from truly achieving wealth. Today, he prefers to spend money on vacations and experiences with friends and family.
    • Audit your time. Tim wanted to see how much time he was actually spending generating revenue each day, so he performed an audit. Every 15 minutes, he wrote down what he did, followed by either a zero or a dollar sign to indicate whether or not that activity made money. His next move was to hire an executive assistant with all of the “zero” items in their job description.
    • Focus your energy on things that are fulfilling to you. Tim did another thing when he audited his time — he followed each task with either a happy face or a frown to indicate whether or not he enjoyed it. Items that received zeroes and happy faces included spending time with family, exercising, and walking the dog. He made sure to continue to prioritize these things as well.
    • Learn to time block. Tim says that the greatest indicator of your priorities is how you spend your time. He realized that, while he constantly blocked off time for work, he didn’t do the same when it came to spending time with his family. He began time blocking evenings, weekends, and Fridays to do just that. Although he might miss out on a deal, he says he is no longer willing to miss out on his relationships to make an extra dollar.
    • Don’t be surprised if you become more efficient. When Tim began time blocking, he condensed his work schedule to seven-hour days, four days per week — and he noticed that he was suddenly much more efficient. Because he had less time, he was able to focus and prioritize better than he ever had before. His business also grew as people noticed and respected the fact that he valued relationships over money.
    • Life isn’t about what happens to you — it’s about how you respond. Tim’s Best Ever advice is to take 100% ownership of your life and your business regardless of what might stand in your way. Doing this, he says, will move you in the direction you truly want to go.


    Tim Bratz | Real Estate Background

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Ash Patel: Hello Best Ever listeners, welcome to The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show. I'm Ash Patel and with today's guest, Tim Bratz. Tim is joining us from South Carolina. He's a previous guest on episode 1471. If you Google Joe Fairless and Tim Bratz, the episodes will show up. Tim is the CEO and founder of Legacy Wealth Holdings, a multifamily and commercial real estate investment company. His portfolio consists of being a GP on approximately $400 million of assets. Tim, thank you for joining us, how are you today?

Tim Bratz: Doing awesome, Ash. Thanks for having me, buddy. Excited to be here.

Ash Patel: We're glad to have you back. Tim, before we get started, can you give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and what you're focused on now?

Tim Bratz: Yeah, absolutely. Again, I love what you guys are doing and I appreciate all the value that you guys put out there. It's an honor to be back. My background is in residential real estate. I was going through college when the market was going crazy before, so in ’07, I graduated and I got involved in real estate. I think a way a lot of people do it is you get your real estate license. So I'm a kid from Cleveland, Ohio originally, I moved out to New York City, got my real estate license, brokered some deals, actually parked my license with a commercial shop. So I brokered some retail leases and office leases and I saw how much money there was to be made on owning real estate, not just brokering real estate. I was like "I want to be on that side of the coin."

So I moved out of Charleston, South Carolina, started out in residential real estate doing single-family wholesaling, and single-family flipping. Eventually, I raised some private capital, joint ventured with some private money investors, and started buying and holding single-family rentals. I built that up to about 10 units, chased some shiny objects, almost went broke, and decided I want to get back into real estate. Some of the shiny objects were other businesses, and things like that.

Ash Patel: It wasn't trips to Vegas...

Tim Bratz: It was buying a Mercedes, it was going on fancy vacations, it was joining the private dining clubs, and then it was pursuing other fanciful businesses that were "make more money in less amount of time" kind of a thing. I think a lot of people, at least for me, you see get rich quick on these e-commerce stores, cryptocurrency, NFTs, and a lot of different other things... But to me, real estate's always been time tested; since the beginning of civilization, wealth has been measured in landownership. I knew that it wasn't an experiment, I knew that it wasn't a tech startup or something like that, that could go boom or could go bust. I knew that it would eventually work if I just stuck with it. So I got heavy back into real estate in 2000. I was really still involved, I still had a couple of properties, but went full-time back in real estate in late 2012.

Started doing everything again, fix and flip, high-end, low-end, buying and hold, single-family, and then I found my first apartment building in December of 2012. I just loved the efficiencies, I loved the economies of scale that were available there, and I went all in on apartments. So ups and downs, business partnerships, had to liquidate my portfolio in 2015, start over again... But you don't really start over because you always have your business acumen, your experience, your knowledge, your resources, your connections. Since 2015, I built my current portfolio. Yeah, it was up to almost 500 million in portfolio value, but I sold off a bunch, and I'm actually still selling off a bunch. I'll probably drop down to around $200 million in holdings in the next six months, and then I'm going to go back on a buying spree.

I think a lot of times, properties that got us here aren't the ones that we want to hold on to maybe long-term. I started out in really war zones, in tough areas. Then I elevated into more C class and B minus properties. I bought some small buildings, then some big buildings, and I sold off a lot of my small buildings, now I'm selling off my C plus, B minus type properties... And really just focusing on A class, B plus class, 100 units and bigger in the Southeast. That's where my buy box is now.

Ash Patel: You already put your time in, it's time to move up now.

Tim Bratz: I think a lot of times, especially on social media, it's so easy to start comparing and seeing what other people are doing and being like, "I need to start buying more." But the reality is what I've seen in my businesses, we go really hard, we go in acquisition mode for a couple of years, and then we refine that portfolio. We trim the fat, we get rid of the small buildings, the management-intensive buildings, the headache properties, the bad joint venture partnerships or operating partners, whoever we're joint ventured on in any of those, if we are... And we just kind of refine. We'll spend a couple years growing, and then we take one step back in order to make some bigger leaps forward.

Ash Patel: Tim, when you had to start all over what was the hardest part?

Tim Bratz: Well, I kind of pressed reset twice. One was in 2012 when I chased all those shiny objects. The difficult part on that was just having the humility. I had a Mercedes, I traded it in for a 2005 Honda Accord instead. I owned my own home, I had to sell it and then go and live in a family-owned property for a couple of years just to get my finances back organized and get that going again. I think a lot of people try to still maintain the lifestyle. Here's what I find - they try to prove something to other people, fake it till you make it. And that entire mindset of spending money on garbage that gives you a perception of having money actually denies you the ability to actually make money. Buy those things once you have assets. It's wildly ironic that you trying to show off wealth by buying fancy clothes, fancy cars, fancy watches and gimmicks, and all this other nonsense, is actually the one thing keeping you back from actually achieving wealth.

I think having the humility early on of saying, "Hey, I was a bad steward of money..." By respecting money and giving it the respect that it needs, I've become a much better steward of capital. Now I don't buy fancy things even though I can. Knowing that I can is enough for me. I'm not trying to fill some void because I didn't have money before. I was trying to fill a void by buying fancy things that really didn't fill that void. Does that make sense?

Ash Patel: Yes, such an important lesson. Everybody wants to flex with the cars, the watches the clothes. Once you have the ability to buy all that, it doesn't bring any satisfaction to you.

Tim Bratz: No. Now here's the thing, you can tell that to people 100 times and they'll be like, "Ash, let me figure that out for myself." You know what I mean? I was too strong willed that I was like, "Let me go and screw this up, let me achieve that, and then figure it out for myself." But it's an absolutely 100% true and accurate to what you stated. If you get it and you're like, "This is it?" I'd much rather today spend that money buying back time to hang out with my friends, to hang out with my family, to go on awesome vacations and trips, and do experiential type things. I have no problem spending money on that stuff, but spending money on material objects just doesn't give me a rise or fill my cup at all.

Ash Patel: A crazy segue or question, but Tim, knowing that the young people in their 20s, the young Tim in his 20s, wasn't going to listen to that advice... Still, what would you say to that young Tim to try to ingrain this advice into him?

Tim Bratz: I'd say, “Hey, listen. You can go and buy the toys, just buy the assets first. Have the assets that then pay for those liabilities; or take that liability and turn it into an asset.” I'll give you an example. I fell into this psychology back in 2017. I'm from Cleveland originally, I had moved back to Cleveland after I went broke in 2012, and I lived in Cleveland for about seven more years, and moved back to Charleston about two years ago, three years ago, four years ago, I don't even know this. Anyway, I lived in Cleveland when the Cleveland Cavaliers won the championship, they beat the Golden State Warriors in 2016 and I had season tickets that following year in 2017.

The season ticket person emailed me when the Cavs went back to the playoffs and they said, "Hey, we have a suite to the Cavs, the last suite left. Do you want to buy the suite? It's for the Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics. It's $30,000 for the suite." I was like, "What?!" I remember sitting in my chair in my office reading that email, deleting it, and being like, "Who the hell would pay $30,000 to go to a basketball game?" Then I thought audited, I started thinking about my thoughts. Why am I saying that? Because obviously, other people are buying these suites; it's the last suite left. Chances are, it's probably one of the worst suites because it's the last one left. I was like, "Somebody's buying these things. Okay, well, who's doing it? Are they making it a business expense? Are they paying for it? Are they getting somebody else to pay for it? Are they selling tickets? How are they monetizing it?"

It led me down this path of "How can I take this liability of going to a basketball game and getting a badass suite, how can I turn it into an asset?" I thought, "Hey, maybe I can put 15 people." They gave me 18 tickets to the suite, I was like, "Maybe I can put 15 people in a room, host a one day roundtable mastermind event during the day, and then package that up with a suite. I might be able to sell tickets for $2,000 apiece." Because I don't think I can sell a ticket just to a basketball game for $2,000. Could I sell it to a mastermind for $2,000? Maybe, but really attaching the suite to it made it that much cooler and enticing. So I put it out to seven of my buddies that were in real estate or entrepreneurship and I said, "Hey, two grand, one day mastermind with a ticket to the suite to the Cavs Eastern Conference Finals." I went seven for seven of people saying yes.

So I put the suite on my credit card and I filled up the last eight seats, I had hosted a one-day mastermind. Then I was able to come in full circle, to your question, of how do you take a liability -- I was able to take something that was a liability, that would usually take money out of your pocket, and I was able to turn that into an asset, get people to pay me to come out and do this event. By the way, from doing that event, I raised $700,000 of private money, I wholesaled a small multifamily property and made about 25 grand on it... So those are things that that came that I didn't even think would come from turning this liability into an asset. I was able to do that just by thinking a little bit differently; not just spending the money, but trying to figure out how you make a liability into an asset.

You could do it with Airbnb, you could do it with Turo on cars, you could do it with all these different things. Take cool vacation homes or second homes, or a cool car and exotic car and rent it out, get it to cash flow and pay for itself, instead of you paying for it out of your own pocket. So that's what I would try to tell 20s Tim on how to not blow all your money and go broke.

Ash Patel: What an extreme example. I love how your mind works. Man, very few people would have thought along those lines. Thanks for sharing that with us. One more challenge to you, Tim... I had a conversation with somebody earlier, maybe a couple months ago. It was me telling them a story where I would go out and replace a toilet in an office building, just because I could. I'll do it when the kids go to bed, it's 10 minutes from my house, I'll do it... And then I realized how stupid it was, because it took me two and a half hours fiddling my way through this. The Home Depot sign said "Installation for $99." And what an idiot I was. My wife brought up the fact that at a young age, they have more time than they have money. So young people don't understand the value of time; we do now, because we're a little bit older than our time is stretched thin. We don't always get to do everything we want to do, so how do you have that conversation about time with young people?

Tim Bratz: That's a great perspective to look at it. They maybe have time, but they don't have money, and they can use that to their advantage. There are people like me who don't want to work as hard as I was willing to work in my 20s. Somebody with that, "Listen, I will run through a brick wall. You can call me 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you need anything from me. I will list your property or joint venture with you, or I will run into those war zones. I'll manage that stuff, if you just believe enough in me." That's a really cool angle that you can take as a kid in your 20s who may not have the business acumen or the access to resources that maybe you or I do, but that gets him a seat at the table.

I remember when I first got started in real estate, I reached out to a guy actually here in Charleston, his name is Patrick Riddle. He's big in the copywriting space and that kind of stuff. He used to be like a guru in real estate back then and I remember sending a message. I was like, "Dude, I will shovel dog crap in your yard for free two to three days a week. I'll do anything, work for you for free, two to three days a week, if you just pour into me." He's like, "You know what, dude? Nobody really reaches out to me and offers to work for free, or do anything I need them to do for free. That's a different mindset that you have. You're worth sitting down and grabbing a cup of coffee with." You know what I mean? A lot of people are like, "Let me pick your brain." Think about your brain being picked, Ash. It doesn't sound very appealing... And they don't lead with value.

I think what people, especially young kids, don't understand is that money is a measurement. It's like a ruler measures distance, or a clock measures time; money is a measure of value. The more value you can create for other people, the more money you can attract to you. So you've got to go out there, you've got to figure out a way to how do you provide value to somebody who really doesn't need more access to money or they have the business acumen. Instead of you just sitting down and trying to take, take, take and pick somebody's brain, lead with value.

I think that's a big deal of how you can get yourself into the right circles, the right networks, and attract attention from somebody who has the business experience and the level of success that you're looking for, especially at a younger age. I think that's a big deal; and you use some of those things as your advantage. "Hey, I'm willing to work for you, I'm willing to take phone calls in the middle of the night, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to show you that I'm willing to pay the price here." I think that's just a different angle that you can definitely take and use to your advantage as a young professional.

From a time perspective, I think the simplest example is just understanding $99 for something that would take you two to three hours to do. Essentially, you're paying yourself $33 per hour, if it takes you three hours on that. Do I want to make $33 per hour? You start doing the math and you make --I don't know what the number is-- 50 grand a year, 60 grand a year, whatever. If that's what you want to make, then yeah, go ahead and do those kinds of activities that yield that dollar per hour. If you want to make $100,000 or $500,000 or a million dollars a year, then you figure out what the hourly cost is on that time. If you're working 40 or 50 hours a week, you can reverse-engineer the numbers and say, "Hey, my time is worth $250 per hour." Now, anything that's $250 per hour or less, you've got to staff it out.

I think it's hard to think that way early on, when you don't have access to a lot of money or you're trying to do everything, get your hands on everything... I was doing accounting, I was doing bookkeeping, I was swinging a hammer sometimes, I was collecting rent, I was taking the maintenance phone calls, I'd find deals, sell deals, raise the money... I'd do everything. It's hard to let go of some of those things, I think. But when I really put it in perspective of what are the revenue-generating activities, and what are the not revenue-generating activities, and I just audited my time.

I took my calendar for a full week, and every 15 minutes, I wrote down exactly what I did, every 15 minutes. I woke up, went to the bathroom, got cleaned up, had breakfast, walk the dog, worked out, went to work, spent two hours on social media wasting time, did this, did that, did all these different things. I audited my time after an entire week of everything that I did. For every line item, every 15 minutes, I wrote either a dollar sign or a zero next to it. Meaning did it make money or did it not make money? Is it a revenue-generating activity or is it not? And my first hire was all the zeros on there, that was their job description. This is your responsibility now, this is your roles and responsibilities for my personal assistant, my administrative assistant. That was the first hire; they took all the non-revenue-generating activities off my plate, so I could then focus on the revenue-generating activities.

2014 was the first year ever made six figures, I made 130 grand. I hired an assistant and did that exact same thing. I hired the assistant March 1st of 2015. In the next 10 months, I tripled what I made the year before. I made $400,000 in 10 months, because I just focused on revenue-generating activities.

So understanding the value of time and what you're spending your time on - if you can learn that early on, it's irreplaceable. It will set you up -- and stuff compounds, it gives you quantum leaps forward in your life and in your business, if you're spending your time on the things that actually count, that move the needle.

Ash Patel: Incredible, powerful advice. I had a visual of the scales of justice; on one side there's money, and the other side there's time; it's a constant balancing act. I've got to ask you - I struggled with this for years... Yeah, sometimes my time could be worth thousands of dollars an hour, but other times I'm idle and it's not worth anything. So why wouldn't I go out and do some of these menial tasks? What do you tell that person who hasn't fully grasped what you're saying because they still have a bunch of free time?

Tim Bratz: There are certain things... I remember early on, there's a lady who came in and spoke at an event that I was at, let me tell her story. She goes, "I own my business. It's a consulting business." She started out as a solo consultant; she would go in and coach executives of companies on how to live a more balanced life; I don't even know what it was. Or be more productive, whatever. She goes, "The company started growing, I got all these contracts, I'd hire other people. Other people then went out and I found myself running the business, essentially being the HR person, managing all these different consultants, and all these people. I didn't enjoy my business any longer." She said, "Just because I own the business, it doesn't mean that I can't go out and do the certain tasks that fulfill me." So she loves going out and coaching. So instead of hiring other consultants that were kind of lower-level on the totem pole, she hired a CEO to run her business. Even though she owned it, she paid a CEO a salary, and then she went back to doing the things that fulfilled her. So if going out and doing those activities is fulfilling to you, then by all means, go and do it.

The other thing that I did when I audited my time - I didn't only do a dollar sign or zero, I went back and I put either a smiley face or a frowny face also. That was like, "I want to do the activities, even if they don't potentially make money." It's hanging out with my kids, walking my dog, working out. Those are things that got smiley faces but they had zeros next to them. Those are things that fulfill me personally, that I still had on the calendar. The things with a frowny face and had a zero next to it, that's the stuff that I gave really, to my admin.

So if it's things that still fulfill you, great, go ahead and do it. If it's not something that fulfills you and you're just like, "Yeah, well, I've got extra time", I'd say spend that time on something that actually does fulfill you, that does give you some sort of enjoyment. Why the hell are we doing this? We're doing this to actually enjoy some life and buyback lifestyle. We're focused on doing things that's going to make more money, that then you can pay somebody to go out and do those activities.

So go out and source more deals, raise more capital, focus on operations or dispositions in your business. Those handful of things are really the things that move the needle, and will give you the highest return on your time, until you get to a level where you got a team built out doing those things for you. Then it's probably doing things that are painting a vision, building out the organization. That's the next level of what I spend my time on today.

Break: [00:22:37] - [00:24:33]

Ash Patel: Such incredible advice. Best Ever listeners, if you know somebody that's younger, starting out, that can appreciate this advice, please send them this podcast. Because I wish I had a lot of this advice when I was starting out. This is incredible. I want to share a quick story with you, Tim... I was at a dinner, and I met a guy who was a score counselor, but he was also one of the most well-connected people I've ever come across. I wanted to pick his brain or get some of his time and advice, because I know he could add a lot of value to me. But I didn't want to just come out and ask for it. I knew money wouldn't move the needle. He was retired, did very well, he's not looking to make any more money.

The way that I approached it, I said, "Hey, Lee, I would love to get some of your time." During the dinner, I found out what his favorite restaurant was. So "Happy to meet you at this restaurant, buy you dinner. In return, let me know what I can help you with, whether it's things around the house - cleaning the garage, hanging a TV, odd jobs that just need two people to get done." He was blown away, and we're very good friends to this day. It's important to add value. Tim, one of the things that you're known for is building a business around your lifestyle. Man, that sounds like a T-shirt. Let's dive into that.

Tim Bratz: Not always. Before, it was work, work, work. It kind of bought into that bag of goods that I think a lot of people do... Just like, "Let me work my tail off and tell myself I'm doing it for my family." Does your family care if you make an extra 10 grand a year, even 100 grand a year? I guess maybe it depends... But once your basic needs are met - you've got a roof over your head, you've got food on the table, you've got clothes on your back, you live in a safe neighborhood where you don't have to worry about getting broken into or robbed or whatever - once those basic needs are met... And in most communities, that's $50,000 to $60,000 a year in household income. It doesn't make a difference if you make 70 grand a year or $70 million a year to your happiness. There's statistic after study after study after study, metrics on all this stuff, there's no difference in level of happiness once your basic needs are met.

Now, it's about fulfillment, now it's about making impact - that's the stuff that actually moves the needle, not making more money potentially. "Well, let me try it out for myself", and I did. I just kept on trying to make more money, and it got to a point where... I had a daughter, she was two years old, and I came home from work one day from the office, and we had dinner as a family... And after, I quietly sneak into my office, I answered some text messages. My little girl, right after dinner, right before bedtime, I haven't seen her all day and she comes in, she's tugging at my shirt, "Daddy, daddy, will you will you come and play with me?" I was like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, hang on one second." I don't even look at her, I'm texting, and I'm sending this text. "Daddy, Daddy, will you come and play with me?" I was like, "Yup, baby, hold on one second. I'll tell you what - why don't you just go and play and I'm going to be over there as soon as I'm done sending this message, and then we'll play together." "Okay, daddy." She goes over to the play room, which I can see from my office; she's over there playing by herself. I finished sending the message, and I look at my daughter playing by herself, because I just sent her over to play by herself... I looked down at the message and I realized it's not urgent and it's not important; it could have waited until tomorrow. Potentially, I could have just deleted it and not even responded at all and it would have handled itself. Yet, my daughter came over to me and she's tugging on my arm wanting to spend some time with her daddy, and I'm trying to make an extra dollar. And I'm ignoring my daughter; whether she knows it or not, I'm planting a seed subliminally in her mind that this phone and this work is more important than she is. How many times do you plant that seed before it actually takes root, before it actually starts being cultivated over and over and over, and then it actually grows? Then all of a sudden, she associates daddy, not with love, comfort, safety, and somebody she can confide in, somebody she can laugh with, and have a good time with, but instead, of being ignored. She all of a sudden associates love with being ignored, and not being treated the way that she should be treated, as a little princess.

All of a sudden, she starts dating guys in high school who would treat her like [bleep 00:28:56] or who are [bleep 00:28:57] or tries finding fulfillment in different ways that nobody wants to talk about their daughter doing; through sex and drugs and other horrible stuff. This all happened to me, as I'm sitting there after dinner, looking at my daughter... I canceled everything the next day. Next day was a Friday, and I cancelled all my appointments. I realized I block out time for a podcast, I block out time for a phone call, I block out time for lunch meaning, I block out time to post on social media or whatever; why don't we do that for our family? We time block for work but we don't time block for our family.

So I essentially deleted everything that I had the next day, I canceled everything, and I time blocked the entire day. Not answering the phone, not taking a phone call, not doing any meetings... I took my daughter to the zoo. We went to the zoo, my wife, me, and we hung out at the zoo that day, we had a great time. I was like, "I'm not going to let this happen again." I started time blocking in the evenings also. So "Hey, you want me to jump on a podcast, or do you want me to come out and speak at an event, or even attend a meeting or something in the evenings? I can't. I have an appointment. It's with my wife, it's with my daughter, it's with my son who then came along, it's with my family."

I started time blocking in the evenings, I started time blocking the weekends, and then eventually Fridays. We call it Friday family fun day; it was a fun thing to come up with. Before the kids got in school, Friday family fun day, Friday family fun day! It was fun. They get to decide whatever we wanted to do, go to the park, go to the zoo, go hike in the woods, go to Chipotle, just go play at the playground; whatever they want to do, it was up to them. You're like, "Damn. Well, Tim, I'm building my business. I can't not be available. I've got to take that phone call. It could be a client, it could be a private money lender, it could be this person, it could be that person." I was very clear with everybody I did business with that I do not take phone calls after five o'clock. I put my phone away, that way I can recharge the batteries, personally, and spend time with my family.

If I miss out on a deal or if we don't do a deal because of that, I totally understand, but I'm not willing to sell out my relationships to make an extra dollar. You know what happened by time blocking and creating constraints with my work schedule? Because now I'm only working 10 to five, Monday through Thursday - what is that? That's 30 hours a week.

Ash Patel: Did you become more efficient?

Tim Bratz: I became more efficient. Now you're not wasting your time on a bunch of crap that didn't matter. Now you're in the office and you're like, "I've got to get things done." You zoom through emails, you zoom through messages; you don't drive a half hour to go grab coffee and then drive a half hour back, waste an hour in a meeting that could take a 15-minute phone call. I started doing things like that, that made me way more efficient, that actually I started growing the business more because I focused on those things that moved the needle. The other thing that happened is there were people who are now business partners in my organization, that before they were just clients, or like -- my business attorney is who I'm thinking of right now.

He was my business attorney, he's like, "Dude, I respect you more because you don't value money over relationships. Because of that, I want to do more business with you." He eventually came in-house and is now a partner of mine. We've bought hundreds of millions of dollars of real estate together because of that. So you think you're going to lose out on business - I actually gained business from it; I actually grew my business because I created those constraints in my schedule. It's a powerful, powerful notion is to time block for yourself personally, to work out, to meditate, to read a book for personal development, whatever that looks like, and then for your family, for your friends, time block some of those things; schedule a date with your wife, schedule a date with your daughter, schedule a date with your son, go and play putt-putt.

Here's what's important to understand - we all play the psychological game of ourselves of "I'm doing it for my family. Eventually, I'll be able to retire. I'm going to do it for my retirement." I get it, I actually forego a lot of present, where you give up present benefits...

Ash Patel: Living in the moment.

Tim Bratz: Yeah, for long-term benefits kind of a thing. Here's what I found, though...

Ash Patel: Are you thinking like short-term pain, long-term gain?

Tim Bratz: Yeah, I've always believed in that. But the reality is, by creating those constraints, you're going to be happier. Because you're going to be happier, you're going to show up better to work, you're going to be more productive at work. People are going to hear on podcast and in phone calls, and in your business dealings; it just moves everything forward so much more. So time blocking - the greatest indicator of your priorities is how you spend your time. We tell ourselves, "I'm going to work, and I'm working all these hours because it's for my family." The reality is you're prioritizing work, not your family. It's how do you spend your time, and that's the greatest indicator of your priorities.

Ash Patel: Again, just mind-blowing advice; a lot of good points in there. A lot of excuses that we all use, "Okay, listen. If I can get to X number of dollars, I can retire." And you keep moving that needle; "Well, that might not be enough. "Okay, I'm going to get to this dollar amount." In all honesty, we've established that once you have enough discretionary wealth to buy whatever you think that'll make you happy, you don't end up buying it. So really, why do you keep moving the needle? I've never seen anybody happier at a $2 million net worth versus a $500,000 net worth. Such great points... The efficiency - you think back to college or high school even, when kids had jobs, they get better grades, and it's proven. They get better grades in school because they have a scarcity of time, they use it more efficiently.

Tim Bratz: To your point, I think that's so powerful and something that needs to be addressed. Because I remember in high school, my mom told me, she's like, "No, you need to play a sport or do something every single season." I was like, "Why?" "Because if you don't, Tim, you're going to get in trouble, because you're going to have too much time." So I always played three sports. Hi, beautiful. This is my little girl.

Ash Patel: How are you?

Tim Bratz: She's almost seven years old.

Ash Patel: Tell me your name.

Tim Bratz: What's your name?

Penelope Bratz: Penelope.

Tim Bratz: Penelope.

Ash Patel: Penelope, my name is Ash. So good to meet you. We were just talking about you.

Tim Bratz: We were just talking about you. So one of the things that my mom told me, she's like, "If you're not busy, then all of a sudden you find trouble. You go and find things to make yourself busy. Typically, it's not good, positive, productive, positive influences in your life." That always resonated with me, because I watched the kids who weren't busy, and they were doing drugs after school, or they were at the mall, stealing stuff, or they were just getting into trouble and not getting good grades. I had a finite amount of time to study because I had work, and then I had fun time, or whatever. I had to go and study and get it all knocked out, be very productive with all that stuff, because I was constrained on time. If you want to move the needle forward, don't have too much time. Time-block for these specific things and really be all in during those time blocks.

Ash Patel: Tim, I want to touch on a couple of those things. I had a pivotal moment as well, where I think my daughter was one or two, and just learning how to walk... I'm sitting on the sofa, on a laptop, and she would come over and try to close the laptop. I didn't think much of it other than, "Well, listen. I've got to get this work done, blah, blah, blah," all the excuses. In reality, that was the same thing that you mentioned earlier, is that was competing with her time. I'm glad you had your daughter just come in here when she came home from school... I hope we don't edit that out, and I'm asking that we don't edit that out. Because I used to let people know, if I'm on a podcast, if I'm in a Zoom meeting, my door is closed, these studio lights are on, you can't come in. Now the rule is, come in anytime. If you need something just come in; know that I'm on a podcast, but if you need me, come in. Same thing with your phone - guys, take baby steps. My phone would never leave my side before, and then it's incredibly powerful to know that you can leave your phone on your desk, in your office or wherever, go to the kitchen, hang out with the kids... It's just refreshing, man. You don't have to be glued to these things.

Tim Bratz: It boils down to awareness. The reality is these phones are created to be addictive. They feed the same dopamine in your mind, the same thing that the cocaine does, the same thing that drugs do. It's meant to do that and to be addictive; there are studies on it. If you feed a bird, they tap, tap, tap, tap, tap five times, and then you feed them a piece of seed, they tap, tap, tap five times, you feed them a piece of seed; tap, tap, tap five times, you feed them a piece of seed. They get to know that every five taps, they're going to get a piece of seed. If you feed them randomly, and they tap, tap, seed, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, seed, tap, seed, tap, tap, tap, seed, and you feed them randomly instead, they will continue to tap, until they essentially fall over out of exhaustion. That is what happens with our cell phones. That's exactly how social media is created.

You scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, dopamine; scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, dopamine, scroll, dopamine; and it feeds the exact same thing until eventually, two hours, three hours later, you're like "What did I just do with my time? I wasted all of it." When you realize, when you have awareness that you can actually put the phone away, not be addicted to it, and it doesn't control you, and instead you control it, it's a game changer for sure.

Ash Patel: Tim, we're heading to the end of our allotted time. Normally, I asked what your best real estate investing advice ever is. Today, I'm going to ask you, what is your best advice ever?

Tim Bratz: Oh, man... I'd say, I think the big thing that I want to convey to my kids is take 100% responsibility. You are who you are where you are. There are some external forces that sets you up, but the reality is, once you're an adult, you are where you are because of the decisions that you make, or don't make. It's the rooms that you put yourself in or don't put yourself in. The books that you read or choose not to read. The shows that you watch or choose not to watch. All those things feed into who you become as an individual, and it's your decisions. It's all 100% up to you of are you putting yourself on a path of progress, or putting yourself on a path of more regression or stagnation? What does that look like? You are 100% responsible for you.

Yeah, the economy happens to everybody, social impact happens to everybody, all these different things happen all of us; we all have negative influences on our life. But it's like what Jim Rohn said, he said, "All these winds blow on all of us." Social winds, economic winds, political winds; all these winds blow on all of us. We're all like little sailboats. The difference is not the wind that blows, but it's the set of sail. If you set the sail, it'll take you anywhere that you want to go, and it's up to you. All these external things; not about what happens to you, it's about how you respond to what happens to you. And if you take 100% ownership over your life and over your business and over your family, I think it's going to set you on a path to really move things in the direction that you want to go, knowing that you have control over it and you can dictate what your life is going to be designed to be like.

Ash Patel: Tim, do you do any coaching now, or is that part of the plan in the future?

Tim Bratz: A little. I'm really active on social media. Connect with me on Facebook and Instagram, I'm real active on there. I do a little bit of how to scale from a single-family into apartments, I'll do that maybe three times a year, two or three times a year. Then I have the mastermind group as well, where we get together a few times a year and talk about business and life and all that kind of stuff.

Ash Patel: What's it called, the mastermind group?

Tim Bratz:, that stuff is cool. It's a lot of real estate people, but we have a lot of other general business folks too. It's more about business building and stuff. We offer a lot of real estate type things, insights and concepts. I'm just a real estate guy, so most of my network is real estate, but it's more business building, lifestyle building, and it's a powerful group. We get a lot of good people in there and it really checks all the boxes on fulfillment for me. It's not the biggest moneymaker for me; actually, probably last in line, but it's the most fulfilling thing that I do. I love doing the coaching, I love helping people see themselves as more than maybe they can see themselves on their own, and connecting with the resources, help them fast-track that success.

Ash Patel: I think when this podcast airs, a lot of the Best Ever listeners are going to reach out through that website. Tim, are you ready for the Best Ever lightning round?

Tim Bratz: I love it. Yeah, let's do it.

Ash Patel: Alright. Tim, what's the Best Ever book you've recently read?

Tim Bratz: Who, Not How, it's really good. It's all about instead of you saying, "Hey, I need to take on something new and put it into practice. Oh, hey. I went to this conference and got a lot of amazing things and I've got to add all these things to my plate." Instead of saying, "I have to add all these things on my plate," you say, "Who do I need to hire to then implement these things in my business?" It's a totally revolutionary thought process. It's a really, really good book.

Ash Patel: Yeah, that was a huge eye-opener for me. Tim, what's the Best Ever way you like to give back?

Tim Bratz: Doing the coaching, social media. I get people "Hey, can I pick your brain? Can I do a lot of this stuff?" I love social media, because if you use it to create content, not necessarily consume. Or if you are going to consume, make sure it's a very disciplined consumption. But for me, I can reach out to a lot of people, I can make a big impact across many people; it's a one-to-many platform that can be used as a phenomenal marketing tool. So I try to put out as much valuable content on social media as I can.

Ash Patel: Tim, how can the Best Ever listeners reach out to you?

Tim Bratz: Hit me up on Facebook, Instagram, I'm very active on those two platforms. I even have a TikTok, LinkedIn, and stuff now. But Facebook and Instagram I'm most active. Hit me up there, and if there's anything that I can help you out with, a resource that I could connect you with, or a direction I can point you in, happy to do so. I appreciate you, Ash. Thanks so much for having me, brother.

Ash Patel: Tim, thank you. It's been our pleasure to have you. We didn't have an agenda but, man, what an incredible conversation. Thank you so much for giving up your time today and sharing that with us.

Tim Bratz: Thank you. Appreciate you, man.

Ash Patel: Best Ever listeners, thank you so much for joining us. If you enjoyed this episode as much as I did, please leave us a five-star review, share the podcast with someone who you think can benefit from it, follow, subscribe, and have a Best Ever day.

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