Branding Real Estate Thought Leadership

As I have discussed frequently over the years, creating a thought leadership platform is a crucial task for investors who want to achieve success in the real estate industry.

Doing so is not easy, however. Far from it. There is an overwhelming number of voices competing with you—some espousing good advice, others doing the opposite. Breaking through the cacophony and directing attention to your opportunities and ideas requires a lot of work.

Some of that work may come naturally to you. Some of it may require you to step out of your comfort zone. If organizing meetups and hosting real estate conferences are foreign territory for you, this is a chance to step up and grow, because being a leader requires you to get outside, meet new people, and command a room.

Additionally, in today’s market where so much can be accomplished online, I strongly believe that bringing your real estate leadership online is necessary to reach your potential. Indeed, writing blogs, marketing yourself on social media, creating YouTube videos, and composing newsletters can take you a long way.

All this may seem daunting, but I promise you it is worth the effort. By establishing myself as a thought leader, I have enjoyed many key benefits. I have built new friendships and business relationships. By constantly providing valuable and free information, I have kept my name in the minds of top real estate entrepreneurs. Moreover, I have been able to construct a global network, one that leads to new connections every day—even when I am not working.

Of course, leadership in the real estate world takes a lot of time to develop. To begin that journey, check out my posts below, and be sure to check out the Best Ever Show for daily investing advice.

20 Out-Of-The-Box Gift Ideas for 2020

Research has found that experiences are what really make us happy rather than buying “things”. For example, looking forward to an exciting event or vacation will actually make us happier, compared to opening a gift box in anticipation to see what’s inside.

This holiday season, I compiled a list of meaningful gift ideas for your family and friends. These “out-of-the-box” gifts are an opportunity to show your loved ones how much you care, while going beyond sending another gadget or gift basket their way. These gift ideas are sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and require no shipping; something your postal carrier can be thankful for this year. Without further ado…

1. Take a road trip
2. Go on a hike
3. Take a lesson together
4. Hang out at the beach
5. Rent a cabin on Airbnb

1. Dance classes
2. Language classes
3. Yoga classes
4. Horseback riding classes
5. Tennis classes

1. Membership to the science museum
2. Membership to the zoo
3. Season tickets to the opera
4. Season tickets to the local theatre company
5. Gym memberships

1. Brunch on the beach
2. A romantic candlelight dinner at home
3. Cocktail (or mocktail) hour
4. A tin of fresh homemade cookies
5. A picnic in the park

Happy Holidays

Travis Watts

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10 Ways to Promote and Market Your New Book

Whether you are a multifamily investor, fix-and-flipper, real estate agent, or any type of real estate professional, publishing an ebook or hard copy book is a powerful way to grow your business.

The main reason why is because whenever you publish a book, you instantly increase your credibility and reputation in the eyes of customers (buyers, sellers, investors, etc.).

“Wow, they’ve written a 450-page book on how to complete an apartment syndication. They must be experts.”

By positioning yourself as an expert with your book, you build trust with your customer at an accelerated pace. And as Bob Burg says in The Go-Giver, “All things being equal people will do business with, and refer business to those people they know, like and trust.”

He is a real-world example of the power of writing a book: I recently interviewed Max Keller of “Deals Chasing You.” On the podcast. He wrote the book on senior housing. When he sends direct mailers to generate senior housing leads, he includes a note that if they call, he will send them a free copy of his book. As a result of this simply tweak to his marketing, he quadrupled his response rate.

Writing a book = increased credibility = increase trust = more business.

We have previously written about the logistics on writing a book, which you can read here.

The purpose of this blog is to outline the best ways to promote your new book before and after it is published to ensure a successful launch, getting the book in front of as many of the right people as possible in order to maximize its impact on your business.

When creating a marketing strategy for a new book, it is important to keep top of mind that there are three parties involved in the publication of a new book:

  • The authors: you and any co-authors or ghost-writers
  • The end customer: the people who will purchase and benefit from your book
  • The contributors: anyone who contributed to the information in the book, including editors, formatters, the person who wrote the foreword, people who give testimonials, people who are features in the book, people who provided advice that was included in the book, etc.

Therefore, when you are thinking about strategies for promoting your book, how to tap into the self-interest of each party must be top of mind.

Each of the following strategies benefits either the end customer, the contributors or both. Obviously, the authors benefit regardless from the book sales.

We marketed our most recent publication, Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book, in 10 ways, which I will outline below. However, one strategy that we didn’t utilize for our syndication book but do plan on utilizing for the book we are currently working on (the working title is Best Ever Passive Investor Handbook) is giving the book away for free.

This is the strategy Max Keller implemented (discussed above). Giving a book away for free adheres to something we consistently talk about here – adding value for free.

When Max Keller receives inbound calls from prospective senior housing leads, he not only sends them his book for free but also directs them to the chapter or chapters that will address a specific problem or challenge they are facing. By going above and beyond for these callers before they’ve even expressed interest in selling allows him to receive exclusive deals with no other active buyers or competitors.

Max says his goal is to give away 1 million books!

This is even something that can help you generate book topics. Do you receive the same questions repeatedly from customers? Right a book on the subject. Whenever you receive an inquiry, rather than answering the question (or in addition to answering the question), offer to send them the book for free.

As I mentioned above, we plan on utilizing this strategy for the passive investing book we are working on. Passive investors ask similar questions when presented with opportunities or when initial inquiring. Therefore, we are writing the go-to book on passive investing and will send a copy to investors.

In addition to sending the book for free, here are 10 other ways to promote a new book:

1. Social Media

One of the first ways to start promoting a new book is on social media. In fact, you can start marketing your book on social media before you’ve written a single word.

Here are some examples of social media posts ideas pre-launch:

  • Announce the topic of the new book you are writing
  • Ask for feedback throughout the process, like titles, questions to address, cover designs, etc.
  • Provide frequent updates on your progress (i.e., outline is done, first chapter is done, 50% done, etc.)
  • Provide advice on writing a book that you have learned along the way.

As an example of this last point, we created a post where I posted a few lessons he learned on how to effectively overcome writer’s block.

The purpose of pre-launch promotion activities is to engage your audience and would-be purchasers in the process of writing the book. That way, they feel as if they have a stake in the book since they were involved in its creation process. Plus, they are aware of the book and what will be included far in advance, which increases the chances of them buying (and maybe even promoting the book themselves).

Once the book is published, you can create a post on social, announcing that the book is now available for purchase. On Facebook, you can create a paid advertisement for the book. A 30 to 60 second spoken video explaining what people will learn from the book is the most effective type of Facebook advertisement.

You can also use social media to share some of the other promotion strategies I will outline below.

2. Pre-Order Page

Another effective pre-launch promotion strategy is to allow buyers to pre-order your book.

How to tactically setup pre-orders will depend on how you publish your book. If you are working with a publisher, they will likely need to be the ones who setup the preorder process. If you are self-publishing on Amazon, click here for the process we used to set up preorders.

Once the preorder page is live on Amazon (or somewhere else, again, depending on the publisher), you promote the page on social media.

3. Book Page

Creating a book page on your website is another way to promote your book. The timing of the book page can coincide with the preorder page going live.

Here are examples of the book pages we created for our three books:

Your book page needs to answer the question, “why should I buy this book?” Therefore, it should give would-be buyers an exclusive look, a sneak peek into the valuable information they obtain.

4. Free Giveaways

One of the benefits offered to those who pre-order the book, and something that should be presented front and center on your book page, is a free giveaway.

The free giveaway should be one or more resources above and beyond, yet related to, the book.

For example, for those who pre-ordered our Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book, they received eight free documents. We asked people to email us their receipt of purchase and in return we emailed them the documents.

I think this is the best strategy for promoting a new book. People are more incentivized to pre-order the book because of the fear of missing out (FOMO). Therefore, while writing your book, constantly think about excel calculators, PDF guides, eBooks, etc. you can create and give away.

So that people continue to purchase the book after it is published, you can still giveaway completely different documents or a portion of the ones given away to those who preordered.

Another twist on the free giveaways is to create a contest where people can win a free signed copy of your book. For example, when Theo and I used to do weekly Follow-Along Friday podcast, we did a Best Ever Trivia Question of the Week. The first people to email us (or comment on the YouTube video) the correct answer received a free, signed copy of our first book.

5. Reviews

For the people who organically find your book (i.e., people who are not already in your audience) will make their purchase decision on the reviews – both the quality and quantity. Therefore, you want to obtain many quality reviews as fast as possible after launch. The most effective way to accomplish this is to get reviews before the book is published.

You don’t want fake or generic reviews. These turn off would-be buyers. Instead, to ensure that the reviews are genuine, send a PDF of the book to people before it is published and ask them. Tell them when the book will be published and ask them to leave a genuine review within a few days of launch. Then, once the book is launched, follow-up with that person to make sure they left the review.

They benefit because they get access to your book before it is public for free.

For the Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book, each person on our team was responsible for getting at least five reviews and then following up to make sure those reviews were posted.

Once the book is published, you can generate even more reviewed by leveraging another free giveaway. For the Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book, those who left a review and emailed us a screenshot received a free document.

We were able to generate over 300 reviews for the Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book using this strategy.

6. Testimonials

Obtaining and putting testimonials in your book and/or on your book page is a great way to get other people to promote your book. Therefore, for whatever you are writing about, get at least five people who have already benefited from the advice in the book to write a testimonial. Or, even better, get one person who is well known. For example, I was able to get a testimonial from Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank on my first book and Brandon Turner on my second book, which were featured on the front cover of the book.

They benefit by having their name and business included in a best-selling book. You benefit because you can use the testimonials to promote the book.

You can include the testimonials on your book page too. Then, people who view the page will not only learn what they will learn by reading the book, but also how the advice has already helped someone else achieve success.

Additionally, the people who wrote the testimonials are more likely to share the book on their social media and other platforms, allowing you to tap into their audience.

7. Foreword

You can use the foreword to promote your book in the same way as the testimonials. Except the person who wrote the foreword is even more likely to share the book with their audience. The foreword is usually multiple pages long compared to a one or two sentence testimonial, and their name is oftentimes included on the cover.

For example, Master Platinum Coach and former Tony Robbins’ Master Coach Trevor McGregor wrote the foreword to the Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book. As a result, we were able to get our book and name out in front of his high performing, large audience.

8. Other Contributors

In addition to the people who wrote the testimonials and foreword, anyone else who contributed to the book can be a promotion source.

This was how we were able to get exposure for our first two book – Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Volume I and II. For both books, each chapter was dedicated to a real estate professional I interviewed on my podcast. Once the book was published, nearly all of them shared it with their audience. And why wouldn’t they? The book was basically a biography of their investing careers and their Best Ever advice.

Other contributors that can promote your book, as I mentioned in the introduction, are:

  • Editors: the proofreader and/or copy editor may share the book with their audience to promote their own editing services
  • Designers: the people who designed the cover and/or any interior designs may also share your book to promote their own design services
  • Acknowledgements: anyone who helped in any other way with the book are usually included in the acknowledgments section. Since their name is included in the book and they benefited the creation of the book, they may share it with their audience

Overall, the more you can include other people in the book, the more potential promoters you have once the book has been launched.

9. Your Thought Leadership Platforms

Using a similar approach to promoting your book on social media, you can promote your book on all your thought leadership platforms, like your newsletter, podcast, blog, or YouTube channel.

Once the book is published, you can do a mini-series about the book. For example, Theo and I did a 10-part podcast series summarizing the Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book.

10. Other People’s Thought Leadership Platforms

Another way to tap into other people’s audiences is to promote your book on their platforms. The simplest approach is to be interviewed on someone else’s podcast. You would want to make sure you request that the episode air the week of the book launch.

In addition to providing a sneak peek into the content of the book, offer to giveaway a free document to anyone who buys the book or provide an exclusive discount code.

Once the interviews are live, share them on your social medial and other thought leadership platforms.

In Conclusion – Be Creative

My last piece of advice for promoting your book is to be creative.

The examples above are the things we did to market our three books. But there are countless more ways to increase the exposure of your book. So, for each of the 10 categories, brainstorm other ways you can leverage them to promote your book.

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Real Estate Investing Advice from 7 US Military Veterans – Happy Veteran’s Day

Many former US military service members become real estate investors after transitioning to civilian life.

Discipline, a strong work ethic, loyalty, collaboration, leadership, effective communication, problem solving and many more skills obtained in the military are also beneficial to growing a real estate business.

Additionally, because of their background, they bring a different perspective to real estate investing – things that civilians like me may not have thought of. Fortunately for you and me, many veterans have come on the podcast to share these unique insights.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, here is the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever from 7 US military veterans interviewed on the podcast.

1. Think Big, Act Small

Seth Wilson: Founder and Managing Director of Clarity Equity Group

Military experience: Four-time combat veteran of 14 years, and currently serves in the Missouri Air National Guard as a pilot of the C-130 tactical airlift aircraft

Episode: JF2208 Veteran To Founder

Best Ever Advice: Thing big but act small. When setting goals, always aim high. But make sure that you paying attention to the details and taking massive intelligent action every single day in pursuit of your goal.

2. Get Out There and Take Risks (That Won’t Destroy You)

David Pere: Founder of From Military to Millionaire

Military experience: US Marine Corps since 2008

Episode: JF2102 From Military to Millionaire

Best Ever Advice: Just get out there, do it, and take risks. Having a safety net (in David’s case, his job in the military) can give you more confidence to take greater risks. But, David did put a ceiling to the level of risk one should take – if you take a risk and fail, it shouldn’t utterly break you. That is, you should be able to mentally and financially dust yourself off, recover, and get back in the game. The greater risks you can take, the larger the payoff.

3. Find Your Own Unique Niche to Reduce Competition

Phil Capron: Multifamily investors and Senior Mentor with Michal Blank

Military experience: Naval Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewman

Episode: JF1984 From the Military to Multifamily

Best Ever Advice: When in the military, Phil’s smaller special ops unit did the missions other crews weren’t able to. The other, bigger units lacked the tactics, training, equipment, or personnel. Similarly, Phil pursues deals and strategies that other, large operators aren’t willing or able to do.

Whatever the big operator’s investment criteria is his is the opposite. As a result, he has access to deals that they don’t have access to, which has allowed him to do deals in competitive markets.

Therefore, if you are having a hard time finding a deal, ask yourself what you can do differently to create a niche for yourself with minimal to no competition.

4. House Hacking and the Real Formula to Success

Eric Upchurch: COO and Co-Founder of Active Duty Passive Income and Senior Managing Partner at ADPI Capital

Military experience: Army Special Operations

Episode: JF1890 From Military Life to Civilian Work & Real Estate Investing

Best Ever Advice: First is to use the VA loan if possible (the similar option for civilians is the FHA loan). Zero (or minimal) money out of pocket for a cash flowing asset. Target a four-plex, live in one unit for at least one year and one day, and repeat. You will live rent free(ish) and/or generate cash flow each month.

Second was Eric’s real formula to success: “Learn, network, add value, take action. If you do those things over and over again, success will hunt you down.”

5. Always Follow Through with Commitments

Jamie Bateman: Founder of Labrador Lending

Military experience: Captain in Army Reserves

Episode: JF2224 Note Investing Strategies

Best Ever Advice: Jamie’s best ever advice was three-fold. First is to focus on your strengths and outsource your weakness to others. Second is to consistently think about how you can add value and contribute to something bigger than yourself – both in business and your personal life. Third is to just do what you say you are going to do. Keeping your word is very important. There are many people who make a commitment to do something and then disappear, never follow-up, or follow-up too late.

6. Set 10X Goals Based on Your Potential, Not Current Abilities

Vincent Gethings: Co-Founder and COO of Tri-City Equity Group

Military experience: 14 years in Air Force

Episode: JF2204 Investing While Overseas

Best Ever Advice: Set goals based off of your potential and not your abilities. Many people have limiting beliefs, which force them to set goals based on what they think they can accomplish based on their current experience, education level, relationships, etc. As a result, they set the bar extremely low. They use the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based); Vincent hates SMART goals because of the R, realistic.

Instead, Vincent is more of an adherent to Grant Cardone’s 10X rule. Set big, scary, audacious goals, and then take massive action toward them. Don’t be realistic, because that doesn’t give you any chance to grow.


Bill Kurzeja: Owner and Founder of Professional Success South

Military experience: 8 years of service as a Sergeant

Episode: JF2155 sales Skills to Improve Your Business

Best Ever Advice: Shut up and listen. We have two ears and one month, so use them accordingly. In sales, most of the time people will tell us exactly what they want and how to win them over. We just need to listen, use the information, and apply it back. This starts by setting the table – that is, proper preparation beforehand, which includes research and practice.

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The Ultimate Guide to Publishing Your First Real Estate Book

Having a successful thought leadership platform is a must if you want to start and scale an apartment syndication business. As a reminder, the best thought leadership platforms are interview-based, online platforms that offer unique information, insights, and ideas to a specified target audience for free. The most common thought leadership platforms are podcasts, YouTube channels, and blogs.

It will allow you to build new friendships and business relationships, as well as strengthen and maintain existing ones. It will allow you to stay top-of-mind of real estate professionals and potential passive investors because you will be consistently providing valuable content for free. It essentially allows you to continuously network with people on a global scale – even while you are asleep. And it will allow you to create a reputation as a credible expert on the apartment syndication investment strategy.

In order to take your thought leadership platform to the next level and maximize its benefits to you and your real estate investing business, consider publishing a book on Amazon.

I have published three books and have a fourth book in the works. Here is my process for preparing to write my books, how I write and edit my books, my prelaunch preparations, and how I promote my books once they are published.


Before Writing   

The first step is to create a high-level outline for your book. The outline should include the titles of the chapters and a checklist of information to include in each chapter. This should take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how complicated the book subject. 

Once the high-level outline is completed, the next step is to perform research about the items on your checklist. This research may include reviewing your thought leadership platform interviews and blog posts, performing more interviews with experts, or miscellaneous online research. This should take anywhere to one week to six to eight weeks, again depending on how complicated the book subject. 

The last step before writing is to create a more detailed outline for the book. This outline will include chapter titles, the section titles for each chapter, the information included in each section, and a one sentence outcome for each chapter. Since most of the work is already completed, this should take no more than two weeks to complete. 


Writing and Editing  

Once you’ve completed the research phase and created the detailed outline, the bulk of the work begins, which is writing the first draft of the book. At this point, I recommend that you focus on just writing the chapters. Depending on how much time you have to dedicate to the book and your writing skills, each chapter should take anywhere from one week to a few weeks to write. The ideal approach is to schedule a large block of time and try to write the entire chapter in one sitting. At the very least, try to write an entire section of a chapter in one sitting. For example, if chapter one has four sections, either write all four sections in four hours one day or write one section per day for four days. 

When writing the chapters for your first draft, don’t worry about editing. Just get words on paper (or words on Microsoft Word). Because once you’ve finished the first draft, you will then go back over each chapter and perform an internal edit. A good strategy is to edit one chapter per day. First, read through the chapter and make any major content changes, like removing large portions or adding large portions. Then, read through the chapter again and make any minor content changes, like grammatical errors, formatting or style changes, etc. These are internal edits that you or someone on your team performs. Depending on how long the book is, this step should take four to eight weeks to complete.  

Once you’ve completed your internal edits, send the entire book to a professional copy editor. If you do not know a copy editor, I recommend posting a job on Ideally, the copy editor has experience editing books of a similar topic (i.e., has experience copy editing real estate books). The copy editor will review and correct your book to improve accuracy, readability, and fitness to ensure that it is free of error, omission, inconsistency, and repetitionDon’t worry about formatting, grammar, or misspellings with the copy editor. That will be covered by the proofreader. 

The best approach I have found is to have the copy editor track their changes in a Word document. That way, you can easily see what changes they made. You can review each of the changes and manually accept or reject their changes rather than comparing your draft to the edited draft, re-reading each word to see the differences. 

When we’ve written our books, we write the chapters first and while those are being edited by the copy editor, we write the remaining content, like the introduction and conclusions. Once we’ve written the introduction and conclusion, we send those to the copy editor. You can either follow this approach or you can write the entire book from start to finish before sending it to the copy editor. Make sure to send all content for the book to the copy editor, including dedication chapters, glossaries, biography pages, foreword, testimonials, back cover descriptions, etc. 

Another thing you will want to work on while the copy editor is working on the book is to create any designs you want included in the book. You may want to include nicely designed flow chart, graphs, data tables, etc. in your book. I recommend posting another job to  to hire a graphic designer. 

Lastly, you will need to create a front cover, spine, and back cover design for your book. At this point, you will want to make our first visit to the Amazon Self-Publishing page to find the requirements for the cover and spine designs. Here is everything you need to know about creating your paperback and eBook cover. 

Once the copy editor is finished and you’ve approved/rejected their changes, the next step is to send your manuscript to a proofreader and an interior formatter. I’ve found that using the same company for proofreading and interior formatting is ideal. We use the company EbookPbook. EbookPbook’s specific process is that you send them your manuscript in PDF form. They will first proofread the book, tracking their changes using the comment function in PDF. Once you’ve approved the changes, they will then format the book. They will ask you to send them an example book for inspiration (for example, we sent them a James Patterson book for our apartment syndication book). Once you approved the format, they will send you the final manuscript in PDF form (to post as a paperback) and/or MOBI form (to post as an eBook). 

 This is the process and services we used to edit and design our book. For more options, here is a list of providers that Amazon has on their self-publishing site. 

 Whatever servicer you use should be familiar with the Amazon self-publishing process. However, just in case, here is everything you need to know about how to format the interior of your book. 

Now that you have the manuscript/s, you are ready to begin the publishing process. 


Pre-Launch Preparations  

If you are interested in setting up your book for pre-order on Amazon, here is an article on the pre-order process.  

You will want to start the process of publishing your book on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) at least 1 week before your publish date. If you want to order a proof of the book prior to it going live, you will need to start the process at least 2 weeks prior to the publish date.  

To start the process, go to Once there, if you are creating an eBook and a Paperback, click “+Paperback”. If you are just creating an eBook, click “+Kindle eBook”. 

From here, the process is very straight forward. But here a few things to consider: 

  • Description: Make sure you have a description of the book written prior to beginning the publishing process. This is the description that potential buyers will read when viewing the book on Amazon 
  • Keywords: Amazon allows you to select up to 7 keywords 
  • Categories: Amazon allows you to select up to 2 categories 
  • ISBN: Amazon will provide you with a free ISBN. But if you use their ISBN, you can only distribute the book on Amazon. If you want to distribute the book through other channels, you will need to buy an ISBN from  
  • Book Preview: once you’ve uploaded the manuscript and book cover, you can use Amazon’s Book Preview software to check your book for formatting and print quality issues. I highly recommend checking each page in your book for issues that Amazon’s review team may have missed 
  • Pricing: here is the information on royalties for the paperback and eBook. 

 You will also want to create an Author Central account. This is where you create your author page, which will be included on your book page once it is live on Amazon.  

Once you’ve completed the steps on KDP bookshelf, click publish and your book will be available to purchase on 


Promoting Your Book 

Promotions for your new book should start well before the book actually goes live on Amazon. 

Here is what we did to promote our best-selling apartment syndication book: 

  • Giveaways: We offered free giveaways to people who pre-ordered our book 
  • Newsletter copy: We included copy in our newsletter once the book was available for pre-order and again once it was officially live 
  • Podcast interviews: I was interviewed on other popular real estate podcasts, which aired the week the book was published 
  • Reviews: We sent the manuscript to 50 people so that we would have 50 reviews the first day the book was live 
  • Paid advertising: We paid for advertising through Amazon for select relevant keywords 
  • Book page: We created a landing page to pre-order and buy the book on our website 

Overall, the logistics for self-publishing a book on Amazon is straight forward. Amazon has a lot of videos, help topics, and downloaded how-to guides to guide you through the process.


Are you an accredited investor who is interested in learning more about passively investing in apartment communities? Click here for the only comprehensive resource for passive apartment investors.

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What Does it Really Mean to Have an Entrepreneurial Mindset?

You may think you have an entrepreneurial mindset simply because you’ve fallen in love with the perks that entrepreneurship brings, such as financial independence and, possibly, more free time. In reality, though, being your own boss can bring with it certain challenges you might not have thought of before.

Your stereotypical entrepreneur has several core qualities that simply cannot be denied. If you possess these qualities, then you might possess the spirit of an entrepreneur. And, in this case, pursuing a career as a real estate investor may be the smartest career choice you’ll ever make.

If you’re asking yourself “What does it mean to be an entrepreneur,” here’s a rundown on the key features that make an entrepreneur.

Having an Entrepreneurial Mindset Means Being Scared

If you’re looking at a prospective real estate investment or business partner, it’s good to be the type of person who is scared to make the wrong choice. Why? Because you’ll be hyperfocused and take whatever steps are necessary to make the right decision. In other words, vigilance can become the secret weapon you wield to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Be willing to complete careful and regular market research to find the best deals possible.

Having an Entrepreneurial Mindset Means Being Fearless

If you’re asking “What does it mean to be an entrepreneur,” you may, understandably, think that being fearless and being scared is a contradiction. The reality is that these two emotions can go hand in hand. After all, even though you may not feel 100% confident about a particular real estate deal, for example, you could still see its huge potential and, thus, be willing to pursue it with your resources of money and time.

So, if you’re the type of person who is carefully optimistic, then a career as an entrepreneur may be the perfect fit for you.

Having an Entrepreneurial Mindset Means Liking Challenges

When employees face problems, they often try to get out of these problematic situations as quickly as possible. However, entrepreneurs take on a different approach: They are driven to work harder when they face adversity. That’s because they inherently don’t see things as insurmountable; instead, they see the process of creating and growing a business as a challenge to successfully overcome.

Having an Entrepreneurial Mindset Means Being Flexible

If you’re the type of person who is quick to take action and make a necessary change, then you may find entrepreneurship to be an excellent fit for you.
As an entrepreneur, you should spend some time writing down your business plan on paper. In fact, setting clear goals this way can also be highly beneficial. However, there might be moments in which you’ll simply have to improvise as you embark on your business plan. Being inventive in this way is an excellent skill that will keep you moving forward rather than becoming stuck due to analysis paralysis.

Having an Entrepreneurial Mindset Means Liking Change

If you are averse to change, then a career in entrepreneurship—and especially in real estate investing—is not for you. That’s because fearing change is essentially self-sabotaging behavior.
The truth is, markets are constantly changing, and demand and supply in real estate can especially alter from one season to the next. To excel as an entrepreneur, you must embrace change and be willing to use it to your advantage.

Having an Entrepreneurial Mindset Means Being Resourceful

Being resourceful in real estate investing means knowing how to find out information that you desperately need before jumping on a deal.

For instance, you can join local real estate networking groups or attend real estate conferences to develop an understanding of sales. You could also gain information to help you to decide whether to target commercial real estate or residential real estate starting out. Or, you can talk to real estate brokers in your area to find out which houses for sale might be the smartest investments for you. No matter what it takes, you’ll find the information you need to make your real estate dream work out.

Seize the Day

Now that you know the answer to the question “What does it mean to be an entrepreneur,” it’s time to take a good look at yourself and be honest. Do you have what it takes to succeed as a business starter and manager? In other words, do you have an entrepreneurial mindset?

If the answer is “yes,” then it’s time to get started with living out your purpose and tapping into the potential that has yet to be released like a stream. Fortunately, I can help you to capitalize on your entrepreneurial spirit to generate robust levels of revenue in the real estate industry.

Get in touch with me now to find out more about how you can use your business-oriented mind to thrive in the potentially lucrative real estate field.

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A Guide to Branding Real Estate Investment Companies

Your real estate business name may be your last name, followed by “LLC.” But there’s much more to defining your company than simply giving it a name. The question you should be asking yourself is, “What exactly does my real estate investment company stand for?” How can you really “sell your face off” as a real estate entrepreneur?

The truth is, if you haven’t branded yourself or your venture, you may already be behind the other real estate investment companies you’re competing with. That’s because your brand provides a powerful sense of what your company represents and establishes the tone for the way your deals operate.

Give your business the direction it needs to prevail long-term by using the following steps and putting a strong and recognizable brand in place.

Size Up Your Competition

As you aim to figure out how to build your business brand in the real estate industry, your first step should be to evaluate your competitors. This includes analyzing the local real estate market and seeing what other local players are doing. This can help you to find out which strategies seem to be working well for investors, as well as which strategies appear to be a bust. By sizing up your market, you may gain unique opportunities that you didn’t know existed.

Another reason to evaluate your competition is that you can ensure that your brand is exclusive. You don’t want your brand to mimic those of other real estate investment companies, which can cause confusion. This is essential for credibility and building authenticity because, if you copy another company, this may lead to negative recognition for you, even if you didn’t do it intentionally.

Define Your Company’s Brand

Why did you start your company? What are your business goals? The answer to these questions will help you to define your brand and identify what your venture stands for.

For starters, put together a mission statement, along with a list of core values and a vision statement. These three items are typically included in real estate investment companies’ business plans and will keep you focused on solid goals.

Mission Statement

You can create a mission statement by listing all of your aims and then narrowing them to the one that best matches what you feel your purpose is. Ideally, your mission statement should be no more than a sentence long, and it should be straightforward enough for all your passive investors to understand it. It should also be simple enough that you can easily retain it; in other words, you shouldn’t have to think about what your mission is—it should be second nature.

Values Statement

An important step in generating a values statement is jotting down everything that real estate investment companies like yours stand for. Your business’s values may include, for example, integrity. You need a values statement because, without one, you may be tempted to make compromises that could end up harming your reputation, your deals, or your business altogether. This document will also help you ensure your values are aligned with those of the passive investors you want to attract.

Vision Statement

It’s also a good idea to put together a vision statement for your real estate investment company. The most successful real estate investment companies have a good idea of where they see themselves in the future. Write down what you would like to do in the next five or 10 years, for instance, and be sure to write this statement in present-tense—as though it has already come to pass.

Without a vision, you may find it challenging to keep moving your real estate business forward in the toughest of times. You need something to strive for. That’s what a vision statement provides for you.

Other Considerations

As a real estate investor, you’ll also need to define who your company’s target audience is before you start promoting your business brand and delivering your message. Which demographic are you aiming to reach? Of course, understand that this can change depending on the different deals and strategies you decide to focus on.

Also, take a look at your business and figure out which advantages you possess over the competition. The thing you can provide that other real estate investment companies cannot is what you want to emphasize in your marketing.

Develop Your Brand

This is the next critical step if you’re trying to figure out how to build a business brand that will help you to compete effectively. This step involves creating a logo for your company, as well as a slogan. You’ll also want to develop a presence online by setting up your own website and social media profiles.

Another way to create your brand is to create a buyers list. This is essentially a database filled with sellers and buyers who might want to take advantage of what you have to offer, or they may know somebody who’d be interested in working with you. Continue to add to this list as your venture grows.

Deliver Your New Brand

If you have a strong platform and clear message, your next step as you explore how to build your business brand is to implement your newly created brand. This generally involves taking part in networking events as well as real estate meetups in your local area. However, it also involves expressing your new brand via your social media profile, your website, and even a podcast. You could also deliver the brand to possible customers using the direct-mail marketing approach.

Refine Your Brand

All successful real estate investment companies’ identities were not forged overnight. So, don’t expect yours to be perfected in a jiffy, either. Instead, be open to making continuous improvements. In fact, you might have to rebrand yourself in your future, depending on your circumstances. Just keep in mind that, even if your brand evolves over time, what your company stands for and your message should remain the same; you’ll simply need to adapt how you deliver this message.

Start Branding Your Real Estate Investment Company Today!

If you want to stay ahead of competing real estate investment companies, it’s critical that you brand yourself effectively. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure out how to build your business brand in the real estate industry all on your own.

Get in touch with me to learn more about branding your real estate business. With my help, you may be well on your way to developing a positive reputation for yourself and maximizing this to grow your bottom line in the months and years ahead.

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How To Get An MBA-Level Education For Free (Or Even While Getting Paid)

As detailed in a ThoughtCo article, the average tuition to obtain an MBA degree exceeds $60,000 and can be more than $100,000 for a top U.S. business school. Obtaining an MBA degree online can be cheaper, but expect to pay at least $7,000 to $120,000 or more on a top online program. Then add to that the costs of books, boarding and supplies.

Of course, you can obtain financial aid, but then you’ll have to pay back your initial loan balance with interest, leaving you in debt for years — maybe even decades.

But what if I told you there’s a way to obtain an MBA-level education for free or, even better, while making money? This can be accomplished by creating a thought leadership platform.

A thought leadership platform is an online networking tool where you produce valuable content about a specific business niche and share it with the world. Typically, an entrepreneur creates a thought leadership platform in order to build a reputable brand and/or promote their business. However, for the purposes of gaining an MBA-level education, the same thought leadership platform can be used to curate a customized educational program while also allowing you to network with business professionals who are currently working in the industry you want to enter. All of this can occur without having to go into debt — or even while collecting a paycheck.

Examples of thought leadership platforms include podcasts, YouTube channels and blogs. Regardless of which option you pursue, I would recommend having the platform be interview-based. That means you conduct interviews with business professionals who are currently working in your desired industry.


In my mind, this avenue offers four main advantages over an MBA degree:


1. You can build relationships with active professionals in the industry. For example, instead of going to business school for two years and sitting in a classroom, you could conduct one interview a week for two years with people who are active and already successful in the real world. That’s over 100 conversations or “lessons.” Or you can do what I do, which is to conduct daily interviews. That’s over 700 “lessons” in two years as well as over 700 networking opportunities to find a potential employer or business partner.

2. It can be significantly cheaper. Creating a thought leadership platform can be low-cost. If you decide to create a podcast, you only need a laptop and a microphone to get started — or for the most economical approach, all you need is a smartphone. Additionally, once you’ve built a large enough following, it provides you with the opportunity to make money through paid sponsorships.

3. You can add value to the interviewee. Since they work in or run a business, they’ll get free exposure. Also, you add value to the listeners because they’re getting the same real-world education from the people who are actually working in the industry.

4. You can position yourself as an expert in the industry. You can become known as the go-to resource for the best information and strategies for a specific industry. As your audience and reputation grow, you’ll attract better, more successful guests, which in turn can increase your audience, reputation and quality of business opportunities. Then, as an expert with a large following who is known to attract big-name guests, you can monetize your thought leadership platform by bringing on sponsors.


So, how do you get started on your MBA-level education?


1. Select a thought leadership platform. Choose a platform based on what you enjoy doing. For example, if you like speaking but are camera shy, create a podcast. Also, make sure you’re able to tap into a large built-in audience. Consider iTunes, YouTube or WordPress.

2. Set a consistent publishing frequency. Just like business school, you need to set a schedule. Weekly or daily is ideal.

3. Create a content calendar. This is like your business school syllabus that outlines a plan for the year. You should have your content planned at least a month in advance, which starts with scheduling interviews.

The type of person you’ll interview will depend on the specific industry you enter. The more specific you are, the better. For example, if you want to become an apartment syndicator (which is what I do), don’t just interview anyone who is involved in real estate. Instead, focus on the professionals who specialize in apartments, like other syndicators, commercial lenders and multifamily property managers and brokers.

Once you’ve specified an industry, find people in that industry to interview. Search for individuals or groups related to the industry on social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). Find other thought leaders in the industry on iTunes, YouTube, Google and industry-specific blogs and forums. Search Amazon for authors who write about the industry.

When you reach out, state that you’re interested in interviewing them on your platform. Tell them you created it to educate yourself on the industry, as well as to provide valuable content to others who may be interested in entering the industry.


I don’t have an MBA. But I’ve hosted a daily real estate investing podcast for nearly four years, which means I’ve had over 1,400 conversations with real estate professionals that have been listened to over 7 million times. As a direct result of the education I’ve received and relationships I’ve formed, I’ve gone from making $30,000 a year at a New York advertising company to controlling $400 million in apartment communities, as well as earning revenue from podcast sponsorships.

That’s the power of a thought leadership platform.


Want to learn how to build an apartment syndication empire? Purchase the world’s first and only comprehensive book on the exact step-by-step process for completing your first apartment syndication: Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book

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How to Create the Largest Real Estate Meetup in Your Market

In a previous blog post, which you can read here, I provided meetup three case studies that can be used as a guide, or replicated entirely, for creating your own meetup group in your market.


However, at the 2018 Best Ever Conference, I had an insightful conversation with Adam Adams, who created the largest meetup group in Denver. I walked away from that conversation with the four creative tactics he uses to quickly and continually grow his meetup group.


If you’ve already established a meetup group, no problem! Because these can be applied to both starting a meetup group from scratch or massively scaling an existing group.


1 – Host a Weekly Meetup


The first tip was to host a weekly meetup group, as opposed to monthly or bimonthly. The main assumption behind this tactic is that the more meetups you host, the faster it will grow. Therefore, by hosting weekly meetups, your group will grow 4 to 5 times faster!


This tactic is most effective when you are starting a meetup from scratch. The exception would be to ask the members of your existing meetup group for their thoughts on increasing the meeting frequency. Or, if you are in a larger market, you can continue hosting your monthly meetup group, but also start hosting three other meetup groups at different submarkets or neighborhoods across the city.


Also, this tactic is most effective when your meetup structure either involves inviting a speaker or is such that people have a reason to attend more often than once a month.


For example, one of the meetup case studies I outlined in a previous meetup blog post was on an investor who hosts his meetup more frequently than once a week (4 times a week). Even though most of the members only attend a few meetups per week, his success proves the weekly meetup concept.


On the other hand, each of Adam’s weekly meetups feature a guest presenter. Since you need to book a new speaker each a week, this structure requires a little more effort on your part. However, the reason why putting forth his extra effort is worth it ties into tactic number 2…


2 – Invite a Speaker


Inviting a guest speaker to present valuable information to the group is not only advantageous because it will naturally attract more people, but also because you can leverage the speaker to proactively attract even more attendees.


Out of all the tactics, this is Adam’s most creative. Let’s say you invite a multifamily investor to give a presentation on five ways to find off-market apartment deals. Once they’ve confirmed, go online, find local multifamily groups/networks and personally invite members of those groups/networks to that specific meetup.


On and Facebook, find the local multifamily group and message the most recent 30 to 50 members. On LinkedIn, either follow a similar approach or search for local individual professionals that are involved with multifamily and send them a message. On BiggerPockets, perform a search to find members who are local and involved with multifamily and invite them to your meetup.


Regardless of which approach you follow, you will send the same message. If you have a multifamily speaker, the message should say, “Hi. I host a real estate investing meetup group in (insert your city). At our next meeting, we have a multifamily investor that will be presenting on how to find off-market deals. I saw that you are involved in the multifamily niche and thought that you would find value in attending. Do you want me to send you a link so you can sign up for the meeting?”


Don’t just send them a link. Instead, ask them if they want you to send them the link. Adam has tried both strategies and found that messages where he asks to send the link have a higher response and conversion rate.


3 – Cap the Event Size


Another minor, yet extremely effective, strategy is to place a cap on the number of people who can attend the meetup. If you are posting your meetup on, you will have the option to limit the number of available spots.


The purpose of capping the event size is two-fold. One, it promotes scarcity. When someone visits the meetup page and sees that there are only a few spots remaining, they are more likely to sign up.


The other reason is to have a meetup that always reaches capacity. Now, you may be asking, “Well how do I determine the number of spots to offer in order to reach capacity?” Adam’s answer is that you don’t have to! Let’s say you are hosting your first meetup group. Once you create the invitation, set the number of available spots to 10. If the event sells out, you can manually move the people on the “waitlist” to the “attending list” or you can increase the number of spots. However, on the day of the meetup, before leaving your house, edit the number of available spots so that it equals the number of people attending. In doing so, you will technically always reach capacity.


The reason why you want to always reach capacity is so you can leverage that fact when inviting guest speakers. What invitation sounds more attractive, A or B?


  1. “Hi. I host a weekly meetup group. We currently average 10 members per meeting. Would you be interested in being our featured speaker next week?”
  2. “Hi. I host a weekly meetup group. Every meeting has completely sold out! Would you be interested in being our featured speaker next week?”


Positioning your meetup as always reaching capacity will increase its desirability in the eyes of potential speaker, which will also increase the chances of them accepting your invitation.


4 – What Happened and What Will Happen?


The last tactic is to continuously contact the members of your group. However, this doesn’t mean bombarding their inbox with useless emails. Only contact the members when you have a new piece of information to share. Adam broke down the times that it’s relevant to contact members of your meetup group into two categories: what has happened and what will happen.


For example, at each meetup group, take a lot of pictures. The next day, post those pictures to your social media page, tagging those in attendance and thanking them for coming. Or, if you had a presenter, write a quick blog post that recaps the top takeaways.


When you book at new speaker, send a message out to the meetup members, notifying them on who the presenter is and what they will be speaking on. Send a reminder a week and a day before an upcoming meetup. If you come across a piece of real estate content that will add value to your members businesses, send them a link.


The purpose of these messages is to create a sense of community. Because with a strong sense of community, members are more likely to continue coming back and are more likely to invite their friends or business colleagues.



Huge thanks to Adam Adams for providing these tips, and I am looking forward to hearing your success stories after you’ve applied these tactics to your meetup!


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How a $10 Million Agent Generates FREE Leads With Facebook

Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on online marketing is a great way to obtain quality real estate leads. However, some real estate professionals – and I would say especially those who are just starting out and are strapped for cash – implement creative strategies to reduce or even eliminate their marketing budget, either out of necessity or to just increase their overall bottom line. But regardless of your experience level or spending capabilities, all real estate professionals and investors should be actively searching for ways to decrease their cost per lead.


Trish Williams, an agent and broker out of Las Vegas, started her real estate career in 2014. She devised a FREE marketing tactic which accounts for 90% of her $10 million in real estate transactions. Trish’s primary source of new customers are through referrals from Facebook. Essentially, she offers intriguing content on her personal Facebook page on a consistent basis, building up her credibility, so that whenever someone is ready to buy or sell their home, or personally knows someone who is, she’s the first person they reach out to. In our recent conversation, she explained her process for obtaining referrals through her personal Facebook page. You can apply these techniques to your business, regardless of the real estate niche you pursue.


How to grow your Facebook friend’s list?


One of the main focuses of Trish’s referral process is to build and grow your personal Facebook friend’s list. The more friends you have, the more potential direct and indirect referrals you’ll receive (as long as you’re posting the right kind of content, which will be discussed in the next section).


Besides organic growth, she has two active methods for adding new friends. First is through networking…EVERYWHERE. She said, “Every time when I meet somebody, if I meet you at the grocery store [for example] and we have a conversation, I ask you your name and I’m going to add you as a friend to my Facebook.”


Two is through her business page. She said, “I haven’t really figured out how to convert those people or grab them, so I add them as friends. I just add them to my personal page, because I have such a better conversation rate of converting people through that.”


Both of these tactics can be applied to any real estate niche. When you’re out and about, talking to people with passion about your real estate business, ask them for their name and add them to your friend’s list. Also, you should already have a business page or group on Facebook, so every time you receive a new like or a new member joins your group, add them as a friend.


What should you post?


The key to Trish’s referral process is the type of content you post. Since the goal is to establish credibility and trust with your followers, she said, “I’m not marketing. I don’t ever want to sound like a commercial. I’m just talking about what I do.” So, your content should be natural, genuine, authentic and add value, as opposed to gimmicky marketing or obvious advertising.


The specific content you post will vary depending on your niche. Since Trish is a real estate agent, her posts simply show what she is doing on a day-to-day basis. One approach she uses is to post pictures. “If I have an experience, if I’m out at a house and it has an amazing kitchen, I’m going to post it. If I see something that has great investment potential, I’m going to post it,” she said. “If I get an award, I’m posting a picture of me with the award, or if something happens – every success I’m posting about.”


Another approach that has a great response rate are videos. Trish posts videos all the time. She said, “If I’ve been out door-knocking, I post a video. I show people the yard of the neighborhood or the view of the street. If I’m at a new construction home, grand opening for a model home, I post a video of it.”


The video approach is a great way to build relationships without actually having to meet people in person. “People get used to seeing me,” Trish said. “They know me because I’m always posting videos, and they’re not professional videos. Sometimes my hair is crazy or whatever, but I’m still a person and people really like that.”


Since it is her personal Facebook page, not everything she posts is business related. She will post things about her personal life too. However, she did recommend that you avoid posting about divisive topics. She said, “I stay out of politics. I stay out of any kind of things that are controversial. I never ever post about anything that has to do with those. I don’t want to alienate people whatsoever, so I always keep a neutral stance, stay positive, and try to be that person that people really want to work with.”


When should you post?


Trish posts the type of content outline about at least every other day.


On top of that, she is on Facebook every day, commenting and liking other people’s content. However, that doesn’t mean she’s mindlessly scrolling through her news feed, liking and commenting on every single post. Remember, the goal is authenticity and genuineness. If you like every post, eventually people are going to catch on to what you are doing. Instead, Trish said, “I take interest in what other people are doing. I see what’s going on in their life and that helps me too to know who may need assistance. I do just make it a habit every day to scroll through, take a few minutes, see what people are doing. Whatever is at the top of my newsfeed.”

Finally, she always reaches out on birthdays. “Just Happy Birthday! If there’s something I know special about them, or what’s going on in their world, I mention it.”




Trish attracts the majority of her real estate business through Facebook referrals. She accomplishes this by networking to build her friend’s list, then posts genuine, natural content at least every other day, as well as likes and comments on other people’s posts and wishing people happy birthday.


Besides being simple and low cost, an advantage of this approach, as Trish mentioned, is that you’re establishing rapport with people before meeting them in person. It’s a completely different conversation when someone already knows you prior to sitting down or jumping on a call with them, compared to being complete strangers and then have to build up from nothing.


What FREE marketing tactic have you used with success in your real estate business?


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A Digital Nomad’s Scientific Approach to Promoting Your Personal Brand

In a well-known study conducted by Psychologist Dr. Albert Mehrabian, our ability to communicate effectively can be broken into three categories: spoken words, voice and tone, and body language. According to the study, when attempting to convey a message, only 7% of your success is based on the actual spoken words, while the remaining 93% is based on our tone and body language.


Amber Renae, a civil engineer turned branding expert, applies the conclusions of Dr. Mehrabian’s study to brand building. In our recent conversation, she outlined her three-pronged approach to effectively and efficiently promoting your personal brand to grow your real estate investing business.


Why Build a Brand?


Ultimately, the idea behind building a powerful brand is that it will allow your ideal customer to find you. How they’ll find you will vary, but generally, it’ll be through your website or social media platform. Once they do, Amber says, “they’ll immediately click over to the other one to see if there’s consistency. If they find that your social channels look like your website, then they start to see consistency. Then, they look for evidence of you showing up in person or in real life – on things like videos, live events, podcasts, speaking engagements, things like that. If all three of those are cohesive and consistent, then they start to depend on you, and once your audience depends on your, they have confidence in you. Once they have confidence, then they start to trust you, and you know what comes after trust…sales.”


Therefore, the key to increasing your bottom line is to create a cohesive and consistent online and offline person brand.


In order to tip that first domino in the buying funnel (i.e. attracting your ideal customer), Amber teaches a three-pronged approach that focuses on the communication factors that impact 93% of a messages or brands success, which she’s broken down into presentation, performance and publicity.


1 – Presentation


The first factor of a powerful brand is your presentation. More specifically, it is about forming a unique signature style.


Amber said, “some inspired actions that you can start taking today is to just start thinking of yourself through the lens of a personal brand – what makes you unique? What makes you stand out from the competition? What are you doing differently from the rest of the marketplace?”


Ask yourself these questions, write out the answers and use them to develop your brand objectives. Then, based on your personal brand objectives, start to think about how you can incorporate them into a signature style that is unique to you.


Amber says to take your signature style and apply it “across your body language, your vocal performance, how you engage in conversations and how you treat other people.” You want to be that person who has great body language and who holds themselves with really high confidence and self-esteem, which is accomplished when you have defined a signature style and apply it to your online and offline presentation.


2 – Performance


The next factor is your performance. A performance is anything you are actually presenting to your ideal audience – podcasting, videos, public speaking, Facebook live, Periscopes, etc.


Amber said, “No longer can you just write a blog post or do a social media share and expect that your ideal client is going to find you and connect with you. As a society, we crave connection, and it’s our responsibility as entrepreneurs to create a brand that connects half-way with people. The way that you do that is by creating things like a podcast, videos, doing live streams, etc. Anything that builds authority and thought leadership, because this is the way that you ignite a movement. This is the way that you get trust with your audience.”


When “performing,” this doesn’t mean you’re being fake or unauthentic. But since the goal of our brand is to ultimately build trust and gain confidence from our audience, this cannot be accomplished without an online and offline presence. We must use our signature style to get our faces in front of our customers.


3 – Publicity


Finally, once we’ve identified our unique style and our presentation approach, the last step is to publicize our brand. Building your own platform will be time-consuming, expensive and laborious. But a good short-cut is to leverage other people’s audience, which will get your message spread a lot faster and to a much wider audience.


“It’s really just a matter of finding people that are creating great content and reaching out to them and going, ‘Hey, I’m going something interesting. Do you want to connect?’,” Amber said. For an exact process for how to get on other people’s podcasts, for example, read this blog post – The Ultimate Guide to Getting Booked as a Guest on ANY Podcast – which is based on an interview I had with Jessica Rhodes, the founder of a premier guest booking agency.


Now that you know the three main factors to focus on, it’s time to build out your thought leadership platform. Here is a link to the “Branding and Thought Leadership” section, which includes multiple posts on creating and growing a thought leadership platform.


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8 Ways to Promote and Grow Your Thought Leadership Platform

After you’ve created your thought leadership platform (read here to learn how), one of the next steps is attract your target demographic. Through over a thousand of conversations with business and real estate thought leaders, as well as from building a large following of my own, I’ve discovered the most effective ways to attract people to a thought leadership platform.


Here are the top 8 ways to promote your thought leadership platform and grow your audience.


1. Build an opt-in page


First, build an opt-in page or button for your website. The main purpose of an opt-in is to capture email addresses and build an email list.


The key to a powerful opt-in page is the offering. You need to give people a reason to provide you with their email address. A poor opt-in page, for example, would read “Please enter your email address to be sent an update when new content is posted.” Instead, you want to create a piece of valuable content and exchange that for their contact information. For example, on the main page of my website, I have an opt-in banner presented front and center that reads “Free Download of 24 Proven Ways to Get Off-Market Deals” and a button that reads “Get Access!” I’ve also place the banner at the top of certain pages on my website, like the podcast and blog page. Once someone enters their email address, they are automatically sent a document with 24 ways to find off-market deals.


Additionally, I’ve created a pop-up opt-in that appears a few seconds after a visitor views a page other than my main page. Currently, the opt-in reads “How do I break into the multifamily syndication business? is the most common question I receive. These 6 amazing powerful ways are proven to get your foot in the door! Are you ready? Don’t miss this!” Again, once someone enters their email address, they are automatically sent a document with 6 ways to break into the syndication industry.


As you can see, both of my offerings are related to apartment syndication. That’s because my secondary target audience are individuals interested in becoming apartment syndicators. Therefore, you should create an offering that is specific to your target audience, rather than something general to real estate investing. That way, you’ll know that every email address captured is a qualified lead.


If you are an apartment syndicator, your primary target audience are accredited investors. So, you also want to create a lead capture page where accredited investors interested in passively investing in your deals have a way to provide you with their information. For an example, here is the opt-in page I have for my website: It can be accessed either on my main page or by Googling Invest With Joe. Considering purchasing a domain name like www.investwith(your name).com. If you aren’t an apartment syndicator, create a separate lead capture form based on your target customer or primary outcome (e.g. a form for home owners who are interested in selling their primary residence).


2. Create a BiggerPockets Pro Account


A BiggerPockets Pro account is another great tool for promoting your thought leadership platform.


First, create a forum signature, which allows you to input your contact information, company name, logo and website/thought leadership platform link. Then, set up forum keyword alerts so that you will be notified whenever someone submits a post that is related to your niche. As an apartment syndicator, the important keywords I have are “market name,” apartment,” “multifamily,” “syndication,” and “accredited.”


Whenever you are notified of a new post that contains your keyword, you can submit a reply and anyone who reads that thread will see your response, as well as the link to your website or thought leadership platform. Also, you can start a forum thread of your own, making sure you include the relevant keywords so other apartment investors or syndicators who have keyword alerts setup will be notified and will read your post. Both of these strategies will drive traffic to your website or thought leadership platform.


Additionally, you can use the BiggerPockets member blog function to publish or republish your thought leadership content. You can even include crosslinks back to content on your website, but I recommend reading the rules of the blog before doing so.


3. Send out a newsletter


Generate and send out a newsletter to the email list you’re building from your opt-in forms. Since you are already creating valuable content on a consistent basis, the newsletter is an opportunity to repurpose that content. Depending on how much content you’re creating, you can start with a monthly newsletter, but the goal is to eventually work towards sending out a weekly newsletter.


A great tip for increasing the amount of content you create is repurposing previous published content. For example, if your thought leadership platform is a podcast, write a blog post that summarizes the main takeaways from the interview and include both the podcast and the blog post in your newsletter.


The service I use to create my newsletters is MailChimp. Click here for an example of my weekly newsletter, where I include all of the new content I created the previous week.


4. Promote content through others people’s platforms


If are doing an interview-based thought leadership platform, which I strongly recommend, ask your guests to promote your content on their website, social media and newsletter. Just be sure to include links back to your website or an opt-in button to capture email addresses.


I’ve found that having your content featured in other people’s newsletters is the best approach. So, when you are reaching out to individuals to be a guest on your thought leadership platform, ask them to commit to publishing the content in their next newsletter or simply sending the link to their email list after the interview has gone live.


5. Become a guest on other people’s platforms


In addition to having other people promote your content in their newsletter, you can also reach out to other thought leaders and become a guest on their platform – whether it is being interviewed on their podcast or writing a guest post for their blog.


I interviewed Jessica Rhodes, the founder of a premier guest booking agency for podcasters, on my episode 1013 of my podcast (click here for the full interview). From this interview, I created a blog post entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Getting Booked as a Guest on ANY Podcast” (click here to read the post) where I outline – as the title implies – how to approach getting on other podcasts.


6. Leverage social media


The simplest way to promote your thought leadership platform is to publish new content on social media. At first, you can manually publish content across multiple social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Or, if your thought leadership platform is a podcast, the hosting site you use should have a function that will automatically submit a post to the different social media sites each time you post a new episode. And you can do the same on YouTube.


As you build up a library of content, you can begin to republish old content. There are many online services that will allow you to create a schedule to automatically post old content at a specified time. Two providers that I’ve had success with are MeetEdgar and SmarterQueue. Currently, I have two older pieces of content scheduled to be posted on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn each day, on top of posting a new blog post and podcast.


7. Build a Facebook community


A great way to not only attract new listeners or viewers, but to also create loyalty with your current followers is to build a Facebook community. For example, I created a Facebook community called “Best Ever Show Community.” It is a place where the Best Ever listeners can interact with me, each other, and my guests.


My goal for the group is to create a community where everyone is helping each other reach the next level in their business and lives. Along with that, it is a place where I encourage everyone to ask and answer questions, add likeminded individuals, post any asks or needs they have, share insightful articles, books, videos, podcast, etc., tell us about themselves and their focus and post success stories. Additionally, a few times a week, I will create posts with the purpose of creating conversations within the group. For example, I will ask a question, like “where do most of your deals come from?”, and members of the group will provide their answers. The more interactions and conversations you have, the more valuable the community and the larger it will grow.


8. End with a call-to-action


Finally, for any content you create, end with a call to action. You should tell everyone listening to your podcast, watching your YouTube video or reading your blog post to perform a specific task.


Examples of call-to-actions are:


  1. A strong question to promote a conversation in the comment section
  2. A link to a related piece of content
  3. Send them to your website page
  4. Subscribe and leave a review
  5. Opt-in page that offers a valuable piece of content in exchange for their email address


For more information on how to increase traffic to your website and customer conversion, read this Q&A with Online Marketing Expert Neil Patel: 6 Ways to Increase Your Website Traffic


What have you found to be the best way to promote content?


Also, subscribe to my weekly newsletter for even more Best Ever advice:


If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment below.



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The Guide to Creating a Real Estate Thought Leadership Platform

Any long-time listener of my real estate podcast knows that my guests and I constantly stress the importance and strength of creating a thought leadership platform. In fact, I believe that, if you want to achieve massive levels of success as an apartment syndicator (or really any entrepreneurial endeavor in general), having an online presence as a thought leader is a MUST. Therefore, I wanted to create a post that outlines why you should create a business thought leadership platform and how to actually do so.

What Is a Thought Leadership Platform?

Essentially, a thought leadership platform offers unique information, insights, and ideas that will position the owner of the platform as a credible and recognized expert in a specific business niche.


Personally, I have and continue to greatly benefit from creating such a platform. It allows me to build new friendships and business relationships and maintain existing ones. It allows me to stay top-of-mind of real estate entrepreneurs because I am constantly providing valuable, free information. And it essentially has allowed me to continuously network with people on a global level – even while I am asleep.


  • An investment thought leadership platform may take many different forms. Examples that other investors and I have found successful are:
  • A YouTube channel – interviewing real estate investors and entrepreneurs and/or providing daily/weekly/monthly insights
  • Write a book and self-publish in the Amazon store
  • Create an interview-based podcast and post to iTunes, Soundcloud and other popular podcast business thought leadership platforms
  • Create a blog, posting to your own personal site and leveraging existing platforms like social media sites, LinkedIn, BiggerPockets, etc.
  • Starting an in-person meetup group in your local market
  • Hosting an annual real estate conference
  • Weekly or monthly newsletter

What Should My Thought Leadership Platform Be?

I actually do all seven. However, I didn’t wake up one morning and say to myself, “I am going to start a YouTube channel, podcast, newsletter, blog, meetup group and write a book today.” I took it one step at a time, starting with a podcast and pursuing additional business thought leadership platforms once the previous ones were already established. Therefore, I recommend selecting one and using that as your launching point.


The key to determining which investment thought leadership option to initially pursue is simple: ask yourself, “What would I enjoy doing?”


For example, if you enjoy writing, start a blog. If you enjoy speaking but are camera shy, start a podcast. If you enjoy speaking and are good on camera, start a YouTube channel.

How to Structure Your Platform

Once you’ve selected a business thought leadership platform, the next step is to build out its structure, which I’ve distilled into a simple six-step process:


Step 1 – What Is the Goal?

Obviously, one of the goals will be to create a thought leadership platform. But what is the larger, overarching goal? How does this goal extend outside of simply adding value to your own business?


Before doing anything else, brainstorm and create a list of goals. Then, condense that down into a paragraph or two that clearly communicates the intentions of the business thought leadership platform.


Step 2 – What Is the Name?

Once you’ve defined a goal, the next step is to generate a name. The ideal name will quickly communicate the goal to your followers.


Pick three to five potential names and then ask for feedback from friends and colleagues to find the most popular, attractive name.


Step 3 – Who Is the Target Audience?

Also based on the goal, determine the target audience of your investment thought leadership platform. Be specific here. Who will benefit most from the information, insights, and ideas you will offer? What will be the demographic? What are their interests? Etc.


Step 4 – Why Will They Come?

This step is key. Why will anyone follow your thought leadership platform? If you cannot provide an answer to this question, your followers – or lack thereof – won’t be able to either.


This question ties into your goal also. Why does your target audience NEED the information you will be offering? What is in it for them? How will they benefit? Why should they consume your content and not the thousands of others in the marketplace?


Step 5 – How Will It Flow?

What will be the structure of your business thought leadership platform? Will it be interview-based? If so, how will the conversation start? How will it end? How long will it be? Will you have a list of questions you will ask every guest? How often will you produce content?


These are the types of questions you should be asking to ensure a successful thought leadership platform.


Step 6 – How Will It Be Unique?

Last and certainly not least, how will it be unique? For example, naming a podcast “Millionaire Mindset” and interviewing millionaire investors – in my opinion – is too generic. When creating an investment thought leadership platform, make it unique to your area of expertise. For example, if you have a construction background, interview landlords that are hands-on and ask for tips on how to increase revenue by being an active investor. Or if you’re in sales, provide tips on applying sales techniques to real estate investing. Or if you are a marketing executive, make a marketing real estate show on how to find more deals.


The goal is to be specific and unique. Based on your area of expertise (or interests or passions), see if there is a narrow idea on the types of people you can interview and the types of topics you can discuss.

The Three Keys to Long-Term Success

After you’ve selected and structured your business thought leadership platform, your work has just begun. Now it’s time to actually start producing content. As you do, there are three important things to keep in mind to ensure long-term success and effectively build a large following.


First is consistency. Once you’ve established a posting frequency, whether it’s daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc., make a conscious commitment to stick to it. This will be difficult at first because the only people who will follow your investment thought leadership platform are your family and friends – and maybe your dog. Don’t expect to see a massive uptick in followers for at least six months, and likely even longer.


Next, to increase your chances of reaching your target audience, tap into a large, built-in audience. For example, if you start a podcast, make sure you’re posting to iTunes, Libsyn, SoundCloud, etc. to leverage their existing listenership. Or if you create a real estate blog, post to social media and BiggerPockets.


Finally, Tony Robbins says, “Success leaves clues.” Someone out there has already accomplished what you are also trying to do. So, go out, find established thought leaders, extract out their best practices, and apply those to your thought leadership platform.

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The Ultimate Guide to Getting Booked as a Guest on ANY Podcast

We all know that real estate investing, and business in general, is a relationship game. However, it’s not only about who you know, but more importantly, who knows you. It’s about building relationships with people in the industry and getting your name out to as many potential customers and business partners as possible.


An effective method for getting your name in front of a large number of people is creating your own thought leadership platform, like starting your own podcast. But if that doesn’t align with your interest or busy schedule, another effective method is to be interviewed on other people’s podcasts. When you are a featured guest on a real estate investing podcast, those conversations can lead to new deals, to more people following you that wouldn’t know who you were otherwise, and to gaining more business.


About two years ago, for example, I was on Marco Santerelli’s podcast, Passive Real Estate Investing (click here to listen to my full interview). After the show, I received a message through the “Contact Us” page on my website from an investor who heard me on the podcast. After going back and forth, this individual eventually invested in one of my deals. Fast-forward to today and he has invested nearly $18 million in my deals!


Jessica Rhodes, who is the founder of a premier guest booking agency for podcasters, is an expert on how to get invited to be interviewed on other people’s podcasts. In our recent conversation, she outlined exactly how to go from a nobody to being interviewed on multiple popular real estate investing podcasts.

What to do Before Being Interviewed on Other Podcasts

Before even thinking about reaching out to podcasters, Jessica says there are three things you must do first.


First, you must position yourself as an expert in your industry. “If you’re a real estate investor and you want to be going on real estate podcasts to talk about your expertise and eventually attract investors to deals,” Jessica said, “you’ve got to position yourself as somebody who is successful and has a track record of success and is experienced.”


If you want to be perceived as an expert in your field, it starts with your online presence. Jessica said, “You should definitely have a decent website and an online presence that shows that you are somebody that’s actually in the business. Nowadays, if you don’t have a website, it’s like ‘What are you, dead?’ Everyone has a website if they’re in the business. So looking at your online presence, looking at your social media presence so people can actually connect with you.” People want to interview people with a story, not only people with a business or expertise, so make sure your online presence reflects this.

Related: 6-Steps to Attract Tens of Thousands of Instagram Followers

Once you’ve created your website and/or social media pages, the next step is to create a one-sheet bio. “A one-sheet is a branded PDF document that has your name and has your bio, and which is something short that a host could read at the beginning of a show to introduce you,” Jessica said. “Your bio might have something like how much money you’ve invested in real estate, what kind of rental real estate income you have every year… Maybe how many properties or how many states you invest in – have some of those facts right in your intro and right in your bio on your one-sheet, so it captures the host’s attention.”


In addition to your one-sheet bio page, you want to create another one-sheet with some interview topics or questions. Jessica said, “When you’re pitching yourself or you have an agent that’s pitching you to hosts, you don’t want to make them do all the work. You want to say, “Hey here’s what we’re going to talk about?”’ You want to make it as easy as possible for the interviewer who’s hosting you. Also, you want to show the host why your experience is going to be valuable to their audience. You accomplish both by preparing and sending this second one-sheeter to the host, or at least having it handy prior to or during the interview.

How to Find Podcasts

Now that you are prepared by framing yourself as an expert with your online presence, creating a one-sheet bio, and preparing a one-sheeter with interview topics and questions, you are ready to start reaching out to a host of a business, motivational, or real estate investing podcast. So how do you find podcasts?


First, Jessica said, “To find podcasts that are a good fit for you, the questions that you have to answer are: who is your target audience? What kinds of people are going to be the most valuable listeners for your business? What is your biggest pain points?” How you answer these questions will determine the type of podcast you will add the most value to.


If you are a real estate investor who’s had a lot of success, for example, and you want to start teaching other people how to do the same, you will add the most value to investors who are just starting out. If that is the case, find those real estate investing podcast whose listenership are beginners. If you are looking for more deals or more private money investors, look for shows that are more established, that are talking to people who have a lot of experience, or that are talking about higher-level real estate topics.


Jessica said, “Figure out what your goal is with the podcast interviews, what you want to get out of them, and then find shows that are a good fit.”


Related: 5 Tips to Achieving Internal Success While Pursuing External Goals

Once you’ve established your goals and what podcasts to pursue, Jessica said, “You just go to iTunes and search ‘real estate’ – in fact, you can actually go to iTunes and go through the different categories of podcasts. There’s business, then there’s investing, and there are subcategories, and I believe real estate investing or real estate is one of those subcategories.”


If you search “real estate” on iTunes, you will find a list of real estate investing podcasts. Besides finding podcasts that align with your goals, you want to also make sure that 1) they are currently publishing episodes (there is a huge iTunes graveyard full of inactive podcasts) and 2) that they interview people on each episode.

How to Reach Out to Podcast Hosts

Once you have a list of podcasts that align with your goals, are actively publishing, and have guests, you want to submit an interview request. For the majority of podcasts, this will be as simple as clicking on the link to their website, which should be provided on their iTunes page and going to the “Contact Us” page. If there isn’t a link or the link is dead, Google the podcast name to find a website. If there isn’t a “Contact Us” function on the website, try to find an email address on the website. If the website doesn’t have a “Contact Us” function or an email address listed, you can try to find them on Twitter or another social media platform.


Once you find out how to contact them, you will send them your pitch. Jessica said, “the pitch has got to be personalized, and it has to clearly communicate to them how your topic, how your content, your story is going to bring value to their listeners. You have to paint that picture for them because that’s a podcaster’s number one goal. They only want to bring on guests on their show if they believe that content is going to be valuable to their listeners. Because if it’s not, listeners are not going to come back for the next episode. That’s the one question you have to answer. Don’t worry in your pitch [about] listing out all your accomplishments and how great you are. Tell them how you find their show, why you want to be a guest, why your content would be valuable, and then attach that one-sheet to your email and hyperlink your name or your business name to your website.”

Follow up and Be Persistent

This is important to keep in mind when sending out pitches: follow up is KEY! Most people will not respond the first time. “If you pitch a podcaster and they don’t reply to you within a day, don’t give up,” Jessica said. “We follow up every two business days, and then it’s good to make the follow up personal and maybe include some additional different information. Follow up via social media because maybe they just weren’t getting your email.”


Finally, Jessica said, “I just think the biggest thing is being persistent and not giving up, and knowing that it’s a long-term strategy. So don’t just send a couple pitches to a couple shows and think ‘Okay, let’s just see what happens.’ If you want to get on four shows a month, you should probably be pitching 8 to 10 shows to actually make the goal of four shows a month happen.”


While creating your own thought leadership platform, like a real estate investing podcast, is a great way to scale your business, it’s even more effective to be interviewed on other people’s podcasts.


Prior to reaching out to podcasters, position yourself as an expert in your field, create a one-sheet bio, and prepare a one-sheeter with interview topics and questions that reflect your expertise.


Next, understand what type of podcasts are the best fit for you based on your goals. Then search the iTunes store to make a list of podcasts, making sure they align with your goals, they are active, and they interview guests on each episode.


Finally, reach out to the podcast host and send them a pitch. Follow up and persistence is key. If they don’t respond right away, continue following up. Also, send out 2 to 3 times more pitches than the number of podcasts you want to be interviewed on. If you want to be on 4 podcasts per month, for example, send out 8 to 12 pitches per month.


If you’re an entrepreneur, investor, syndicator, or other successful professional with a deep insight into business and real estate, I have a daily real estate investing podcast and it’s possible my listeners would love to hear your story. Check it out and see if you think it’d be a good fit!

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The Real Estate Ladder of Success: How I Created the World’s Longest Daily Real Estate Podcast

In late 2016, I wrote a blog post entitled “5 Reasons You Are Not Scaling Your Business & 5 Keys to Push to the Next Level,” which was based on an interview I conducted with my business coach Trevor McGregor. Trevor has over 10,000 hours of business coaching under his belt. One of the five commonalities he found between entrepreneurs that don’t scale their businesses is a lack of consistent and persistent action. They take action for maybe a year, but are disappointed in the results, or lack thereof, and give up or just coast on by.


One of my favorite quotes from Tony Robbins that addresses this concept is “we overestimate what we can do in a year, but we underestimate what we can do in two, three, five, or ten years.” Since we are living in an instant gratification world, we expect to receive instant fruits from our labor. However, if we aren’t thinking in terms of multiple years or decades, we will continue to be disappointed with our results.


My personal journey is evidence that supports this concept. I recently released my 1000th podcast episode. If I expected instant results, I would have given up podcasting after a few episodes since my audience was only comprised of my parents, a few friends, and my dog. However, after consistently putting out podcasts for 1000 days in a row, I was able to create the world’s longest running daily podcast, and as a result, my company has achieved a portfolio of over $130 million in real estate in under 24 months.


Using this idea of consistent and persistent action, in combination with other Tony Robbins’ success principles, Trevor McGregor created the concept he calls The Real Estate Investor Ladder of Success. In our recent conversation, he outlined this ladder and explained how it can be used to gauge where you are showing up in your business and determine if you are putting forth the persistent and consistent action required to scale your business.


The Real Estate Investor Ladder of Success


Either draw out or visualize in your mind a vertical ladder with six rungs. Each rung on the ladder represents how you are showing up in different aspects of your business, or life in general. The higher up the ladder the ladder you are, the better you are showing up.


Rung #1 – Showing up POOR


The very first run of the ladder is what Trevor calls showing up POOR. He said, “We often say in real estate that if you show up poorly in something – let’s say it’s property management – what kind of results do you think that you get?” If you think the answers is poor, you are mistaken. The answer isn’t no results either. Trevor said, “Poor equals pain! You know that as a property manager if your property management isn’t good, poor doesn’t equal poor. It actually hurts. It’s like a kick in the teeth. It gives you pain.”


Poor = Pain


Hopefully, if you are a best ever reader or listener, you aren’t showing up POOR in any aspect of your business, so let’s move to the next rung of the ladder.


Rung #2 – Showing up GOOD


If you are on the second rung of the ladder, you are giving a little more effort and are showing up as GOOD. What kind of results do you think you’ll see when you show up GOOD?




Trevor said, “GOOD isn’t enough anymore. There’s too many people out there looking for deals, vying for investors, so we often say that good these days equals poor results.”


If you’re just good at communicating with contractors, for example, yet you see poor results, that’s because you’re showing up on the second rung of the ladder of success. If you want better results, you need to climb to the next rung of the ladder.


Rung #3 – Showing up GREAT


The next rung up, number three, is showing up GREAT. “Imagine yourself if you’re a real estate investor that has efforts that are great, in today’s world, again, great isn’t great enough, because we say that GREAT equals [GOOD],” Trevor said. “If you’re just great at finding deals today, when there’s literally tons of other investors out there doing the same thing, being great at finding deals will give you good results.”




Three rungs up and you should start to see a pattern. Poor = pain, good = poor, and great = good. You must show up at a higher rung than the results you want to achieve.


Before moving to the next rung, draw – on paper or in your mind – a horizontal line between rung three and four. Because when you’re showing up at rung four or above, you start playing the game of real estate at what Trevor calls “above the line.” At the very least, you want to be showing up above the line.


Rung #4 – Showing up EXCELLENT


When you’ve reached rung number four, you are showing up as EXCELLENT. Based on the pattern thus far, what do you think your results will be when you are EXCELLENT?… GREAT.


“If you’re excellent at negotiating deals or negotiating terms, or finding anything like that in your toolkit, you’re going to get great results,” Trevor said.




Rung #5 – Showing up OUTSTANDING


When you are one rung away from the top, you are showing up as outstanding, meaning you will see excellent results. Trevor said, “As an outstanding investor, if you’re outstanding at raising capital, you’re going to have excellent results and be able to rinse, then repeat it and do more deals.”




Rung #6 – Showing up EXTRAORDINARY


If you are at the top of The Real Estate Ladder of Success, you are showing up extraordinary. At this level, you apply yourself and you wake up every day and show up extraordinary in everything you do. As an outcome, you will produce excellent results.


People who show up extraordinary have a unique selling proposition and are able to market who they are and what they do with an extraordinary elevator pitch. If you adopted this extraordinary mindset, do you think you’d attract more people to your real estate outcomes?… You bet!





Trevor asked, “Where are you showing up today? Are you poor? Are you good? Are you great? Or are you playing above the line and you’re excellent, outstanding or extraordinary?”


It’s a conscious choice.


A philosophy that I got from Tony Robbins is that there is no failure, there’s only feedback. Maybe you’re playing at level three right now and you want to go to level four; or maybe you’re playing at level four and you want to go to level five. You have to align your state, your story and your strategy each and every day, to be able to show up and do it at that level.


Something else interesting about the success ladder, Trevor said, is “it takes a massive jump to go from poor up to good. It’s massive. But to go from good to great is literally about one yard, or one meter. To go from good to excellent is about one foot; that means you’ve got to do things just a little bit better. To go from excellent to outstanding is almost six inches, and then, just like an Olympic athlete, to go from outstanding to extraordinary or extra-ordinary is what we call a two-millimeter shift. It’s the small things, it’s the subtle differences in how you show up and how you play full out] that are really going allow you to live at the highest level.”


How to Objectively Determine Where You’re Showing Up?


How can we have an objective evaluation of where we are at on the success ladder? Trevor said, “it’s really situation-specific. We’ve all got things that we’re really good at and that we love to do and we kind of default to that, and we know that there’s other areas in real estate that we need to seek outer advice. I think the categories that you would break down into is ‘Who are you? What is your X factor or your unique selling proposition? What is your platform? What are you really good at? Is it finding deals? Is it working with contractors? Is it raising capital? Is it property management?’ and literally go through each of those categories and give yourself a score. When you give yourself a score, you’re literally saying ‘Where am I showing up on the six levels? Am I good? Am I great? And if so, what would I have to do differently to go to excellent?’ … It’s not about having necessarily a quantum leap and going from good up to extraordinary; it’s starting to understand that it’s the little things that add up to the big things. Going to some networking events, putting in more offers, driving more neighborhoods, getting really good at asking investors for capital. And again, we always want to shine our shield and sharpen our sword so to speak, so that we know we’re getting better.”


The outcome of this exercise is to raise your standards. It’s changing yourself from saying “I should” to “I must.” When you make that shift, like I did a few short years ago, and you resolve to get better one small step at a time, that is how you exceed your expectations for how much you can achieve over the span of year/decades.




The Real Estate Ladder of Success has six stages. At each stage, you put forth a specific effort and receive a specific outcome:


  • Rung #1 – Showing up poor equals painful results
  • Rung #2 – Showing up good equals poor results
  • Rung #3 – Showing up great equals good results
  • Rung #4 – Showing up excellent equals great results
  • Rung #5 – Showing up outstanding equals excellent results
  • Rung #6 – Showing up extraordinary equals outstanding results


Your overall goal should be to wake up every day and show up extraordinary. However, your first goal, if you’re showing up poor, good, or great, should be to show up above the line, meaning reaching rung #4 at the very least.


Determine where you are currently showing up on the ladder of success and brainstorm ways to climb to the next rung. Once at the next rung, repeat the exercise until you are consistently showing up extraordinary, and as a result, you will see the outstanding results you’re striving for.


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Guide to Becoming a Real Estate Guru


For many investors in the real estate industry, the word “Guru” has a negative connotation. Their philosophy is to go out into the market, take action, learn from own mistakes, and that iteration is key to long-term success. The idea of paying someone thousands of dollars for trainings seems useless and maybe even detrimental.


Then for others, they attribute their success, at least partially, to a Guru course, seminar, or speech.


Who is right and who is wrong? Well, the reality isn’t black and white.


Heather Havenwood, who was named Top 50 Must Follow Women Entrepreneurs for 2017 by Huffington Post, has seen both the positive and negative side of “guruism.” “[The guru industry] is like politics. There’s the good part of politics and there’s the dirty side of politics,” she said. “There’s a lot of good that happens, and there’s the dirty side, and I’ve seen both, and I’ve been around both.”


Since Heather has a rare perspective on the guru industry, in our recent conversation, she explained how you can become a good guru, and how you can leverage your guru status to scale your real estate business.


Who Can Become a Guru?


You may be wondering “Joe, I’ve only done a few deals! Who the hell am I to become a guru?” Fair point. However, according to Heather, “anybody who’s done … something in real estate, whatever that is, I think that they should teach what they have learned through their mistakes.”


If you have been active in the real estate market, whether you’ve completed 1 transaction or 100, and you have failures under your belt, then you have the qualification to provide some sort of educational service.


Educating others on your failures is the key distinction between the good guru and the bad guru. “The challenge with what I call the real estate gurus out there is they show success after success after success after success,” Heather said. “The real ones are failure-failure-success-failure-failure-failure-success-success-failure.” This is the main reason why “guruism” has a negative connotation in real estate. A guru will make real estate seem easy, straightforward, and risk-free, which isn’t the case at all. Therefore, Heather said, “That’s why I think [investors] should be out their teaching themselves, so they know what it’s like to share their failures, share their successes with people. It makes a difference.”


Who would have known that you could monetize your failures!


Why You Should Become a Guru?


There are three main reasons to become a guru: 1) get more business, 2) get more cash flow, and most importantly, 3) help other investors.


These three reasons are “why a lot of the real estate investors get into the education conversation, because they want to buy more property and it’s a great cash maker to create cash to buy more property,” Heather said. “Think about it – I’m doing real estate, I want to buy more real estate, I educate people about what I’m doing, I make money from that and I buy more real estate. I don’t think that’s awkward. I think that’s actually very smart in a capitalist world.”


Heather continued, “If you look at it that way, then you can see how there’s a logic to that. What happens when I go to REIA meetings or I meet what I call ‘old-school’ real estate investors – they have this kind of arrogance about ‘Well, I just sit in the background and no one knows who I am. I just do my thing.’ I’m like, ‘I can see that, I guess that’s respectable, but why wouldn’t you help other people? Why would you not do a small workshop locally, or why don’t you get on a podcast and share your story about how you got started and all the mistakes that you made? Why not help other people through that process?’ Because I feel like real estate investing specifically – not realtor – is kind of the secret little society sometimes; even though people are out there constantly teaching it, it’s still this secret little society that people think is hard to get into, or they don’t know how, or it’s confusing. It’s not something you get taught in the university.”


Grant Cardone’s philosophy of success is your responsibility, duty, and obligation comes into play here as well. You don’t need to hide your successes and failures from others, because if everyone had that old school mentality, you likely wouldn’t have gotten the information and motivation you need to get started. Pay it forward and make some money at the same time.


How to Become a Guru?


To become a guru, you need a platform. Heather’s go to platform is podcasting. However, she didn’t start by launching her own podcast. Instead, after getting some experience in real estate, and having a few failures under your belt, the first step towards becoming a guru is learning how to tell your story. “People don’t want to hear your resume, they want to hear your story. It’s very different,” Heather said.  She accomplished this by going on as many real estate podcasts as possible.


“I think even if you’ve only had 10 houses or 2 houses or one apartment building, whatever it is, being out there on podcasts – because it’s a “free medium” at this moment – being out there and sharing your story helps other people,” Heather said. “People don’t want to hear your ‘When I was ten I did this, and when I was 20 I did that…’ No one cares. They want to know how you got to where you are today and where is the success story, and where is the failure? So I talk about my book Sexy Boss because that book is about my biggest failures in life.”


Heather focused on mastering the art of telling her story on other investor’s podcasts for one and a half years before launching her own. In total, she’s had 210 interviews.


Another advantage of being a guest on 210 different shows is you learn how to create a successful podcast. Heather learned how to add value, which is a must if you’re going to be a guru and host your own show. Additionally, Heather said she learned “what it takes to be a really great host. I also learned how to really launch a really great podcast. Back in June [of 2016], I launched my first show and it’s exploded. I’m now on three networks, and it’s been amazing, in less than a six-month timeframe, because I learned how to give value, and then I went and launched it.”


Related: How to Raise $5M in ONE WEEK Through a Powerful Thought Leadership Platform




An investor who has any level of real estate experience can start the process of becoming a guru. The key is having successes AND failures to leverage to teach others what you learned from your mistakes and how they can avoid making the same ones themselves.


The three advantages of becoming a guru and providing educational services to other investors are getting more business, getting more cash flow, and paying it forward by educating others who are just starting out or have an experience level below or comparable to yours.


To start the process of becoming a guru, start to learn how to tell your story and add value to others. A great way to do so is to get interviewed on other investor’s podcasts. Then, leverage that experience to launch your own podcast.


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5-Steps to Build a Million Dollar Consulting Program From Scratch

One of the most common questions newbie real estate investors ask is “How can I invest in real estate if I have no money?” Standard responses are, “Well, you have a few options. You can become a wholesaler. You can pursue zero money down creative strategies. Or you can raise money from private investors and become a syndicator.”


However, there is another option to building a war chest of cash to invest in real estate that many newer investors overlook. They can start a consulting program.


That’s right! And in my recent conversation with Sam Ovens, who has created 9 millionaires and 136 six-figure consultants from his trainings, he provided a step-by-step guide to create a consulting program from scratch.


Sam said, “When you’ve got not money, cash flow is the most important thing in the world because you have to keep yourself alive and you have to stay in the game.” But most importantly, he found that “you have to have confidence. If you don’t have a certain amount of cash in the bank, you start making lousy decisions, and you’re desperate. You’ll want to jump at a deal which you usually wouldn’t jump at if you have enough cash to float you through the year.”


If you want to start a consulting program, you don’t need a lump of cash upfront. Rather than selling a product, you are selling a service. You are selling advice.


So how do you launch a successful consulting program? Well, the following is Sam’s five-step process.

Step #1 – Pick Your Niche

The first step towards creating a consulting program is selecting a specific niche. The keyword here is specific.


“The man who chases two rabbits catches none,” Sam said. “A lot of entrepreneurs are too afraid to narrow their reach because of what they might miss out on, but they don’t understand without narrowing their niche, they don’t get anything.” You can always widen your focus later, but it is mandatory to select a narrow niche upfront.


How do you determine which niche to pursue? Sam says, “It honestly doesn’t matter. You can’t pick the perfect niche. There’s no way to do that. This isn’t a science or at least a science that exists at the present moment in time.”


Instead of wasting time trying to find the perfect niche, Sam recommends performing a thought experiment: Imagine someone has a gun to your head. They’re going to blow your brains out in ten seconds. What niche are you going to pick? Whatever comes to mind is a good place to start.


“Your mind is like an algorithm,” Sam said. “It optimizes. If something doesn’t work. It’s like ‘Okay, we don’t do that again.’ If something does work, it’s like ‘Maybe we’ll do more of this.’ So it doesn’t matter what you start with, it’s just that you need to start.”


So gun to your head right now, what niche do you pick?

Step #2 – Know Your Audience. Know What You’re Selling.

“People feel like they have to go out and just learn a whole bunch of skills and acquire a whole bunch of knowledge, and it’s the wrong way to go about it,” Sam said. “If you just go out and you start learning – learning what? What are you optimizing for? … Whenever you’re going to learn or whenever you’re going to acquire information and knowledge, you need to have a reason why. You need to have some sort of intent. Then once you have that intent, it’s very easy to acquire the knowledge.”


If you don’t know what your end customer wants, then how do you know what skills and knowledge you need to acquire? You don’t, which is why the next step is to go out into the market and find real problems that need solving.


Sam explains it to his clients this way: “Imagine that there’s a girl called Suzie and she’s sitting on a park bench. You’re siting on a park bench opposite her and you’ve got to guess what Suzie wants for lunch. You have no idea what Suzie wants for lunch. You could sit there and think about it all day. You could read every book there is. You could listen to every podcast. You could read every blog … and you still wouldn’t really know what Suzie wants for lunch… Very simply, Suzie is the market You need to go out to your market.”


If your market is real estate investors, for example, you need to reach out to them and ask them the following question: “What are the most painful problems you face on a day-to-day basis as a real estate investor?” And you don’t stop with asking one investor. Sam said, “One person can be wrong. One person can be an outlier. You need to listen to enough of them. I would say a sample size of about 20 or more. After you’ve talked to 20 people in one specific niche, you’ll start to recognize a pattern and you’ll start to recognize recurring themes between these conversations.”


When have these conversations and are attempting to uncover pain points, it’s important to remain as objective and unbiased as possible. Don’t fall into the confirmation bias trap. “A lot of people, they already know what they want to sell to the market,” Sam said, “so they go there and they’re asking questions to position it just so that they can sell their thing.” You need to remove all of our biases. You cannot have an agenda because you either won’t find a pain point, or you won’t find the biggest pain point.

Step #3 – Structuring the Offer

Now that we know what the market needs, we can structure an offer to fulfill that need. When structuring an offer, Sam uses what he calls a minimum viable offer, which is based on the concept Minimum Viable Product from Eric Ries (The Lean Startup). “[Eric] found in the sales world that people were building these big bloated products that had like a thousand features and they were like rocket ships, and people were sick and tired of all of this crap; they just wanted something lean, and just something that was simple and could do the job. So these new protagonists emerged in the market who were people who focused solely on minimum viable products and made them dead simple, and they were actually able to beat the fancy, complex products. It was a case where simple beats complex. In the consulting world right now it’s gotten complex, so it’s a ripe time to come in with that same strategy.”


Minimum viable offer is the same as minimum viable product, except selling services instead of products. Sam said, “We look at the customer’s problem and we ask the question to ourselves ‘What is the least amount of work I can do to get that person what they want?’ … I’m just trying to offer the least possible because that means it’s easier for me to deliver. It mean’s it’s simpler for the client. It’s more simple to communicate and it’s a lot easier to do.”


Your answer to that question is your starting point. Then, you go out to the market, sign up customers, and begin working with them, at which point they will either get the result they want or they won’t. Then, you go back to your original answer and determine what you can improve, where you went wrong, what you should do more of, and what you should do less of. Now you have a new starting point, so you go back to the market and start the process over again. Sam said, “It’s just an iterative process, each time coming closer and closer to the perfect offer.”

Step #4 – Pricing the Offer

When determining how much to charge for your offer, Sam recommends pricing it at around 10% of the value. “These days, it’s all about value,” he said. “You really have to determine what is it worth for this person to have their problem fixed.”


Here is an example Sam provided for how to price an offering:


“Let’s say we’re in real estate investing and this guy has a bad deal; it’s bleeding him out like $2000 per month. If he doesn’t fix that, it’s going to cost him $2000 per month for some horizon of months. You could assume maybe six months – it would cost him $12,000. Then if we would have priced our offer, if we thought we could save him from that deal, we could say ‘Okay, the value would be $12,000 for him,’ and to make it a blockbuster deal, we want to price on 10% of value. If he’s going to save $12,000 if we charged him $1,200 for that, then it’s a no-brainer, right? That way you’re going have an awesome offer.”


In this example, we could technically charge $10,000 or more, but by offering your services at 10%, Sam said, “You don’t even need to market. You don’t need webinars. You don’t need all this crazy copywriting, which all these copywriters do and put highlighter and countdown timers everywhere. It’s just a bloody good offer and people talk about it.”

Step #5 – Learn the Skills and Knowledge

Once you know what the market needs, you now know what skills and knowledge to acquire.


Sam said, “Learning things is very easy. Knowing what things to learn is the hard part. That’s how we figure out what to learn. We optimize off the market. We go speak to the market, find out what Suzie wants for lunch, figure out a solution to give Suzie what she wants, and then acquire all the knowledge and information necessary in order to fulfill Suzie’s want.”


A great way to build up a nest egg to use for real estate investing is to start a consulting program. Building a consulting program is a five-step process:


  • Select a specific, narrow niche
  • Know your audience to know what to offer
  • Structure your offer using the minimum viable offer concept
  • Price your offer at 10% of value
  • Obtain the skills and knowledge needed


Did you like this blog post? If so, please feel free to share it using the social media buttons on this page.

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How to Become Famous: General Fame vs. Selective Fame

I am blessed (and sometimes cursed) to have a personality where if I learn something new or have an exciting idea, I instantly take action on it.


A recent (and successful) example use of this personality trait is when I was reading “Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferriss. In the chapter dedicated to Mathematician and Economist Eric Weinstein, I was introduced to the concept of being selectively famous vs. being generally famous.


What’s the main difference between the two?


An example of someone being generally famous would be a movie star or a sports star. This is someone who cannot pump gas, chow down on a Chipotle burrito, or go to the grocery store with out being recognized or harassed by paparazzi or overly enthusiastic fans. While the prospect of the flashing lights and smiling fans may seem attractive when you don’t have it, Eric Weinstein said that this type of “general fame is overrated.”


Instead, if you are aiming for fame, you should set your sights on selective fame. “You want to be famous to 2,000 to 3,000 people you handpick,” Eric said.


General, mainstream fame is overrated because it brings more liabilities than benefits. However, Tim said, “If you’re known and respected by 2-3K high-caliber people (e.g., the live TED audience), you can do anything and everything you want in life. It provided maximal upside and minimal downside.”


I loved this concept and it immediately clicked for me. I brainstormed who exactly I wanted my 2,000 people to be, and since I raise money for multifamily syndications, I took a look at the characteristics of my current investors. Based on that analysis, my new target/primary audience, which are the 2,000 people that will help my business grow the most and where I want to focus my efforts, are 35-64 year old males who live in or are very close to a large city, are business owners, C-Suite executive, doctors, or passive real estate investors, and are accredited.


Question: Who are your 2,000 to 3,000 handpicked individuals?


Another outcome from learning about the “selectively famous” concept was creating a new landing page on my website – – because I realized I had nothing on my website that said, “Hey, person who is perfect to partner with us, here’s the page just for you.”


It’s actually refreshing, because now I’m not focused on seeing how many video views I have on YouTube or how many e-mails I’ve gathered or how many downloads I get on the podcast. Instead, I’m laser focused on “who am I attracting,” because it’s better to be selectively famous within 2-3k than to be generally famous with everyone, have our show on a billboard somewhere and waste money and get leads that aren’t qualified.


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Thought Leadership

How to Raise $5M in ONE WEEK Through a Powerful Thought Leadership Platform

Kathy Fettke, who is the co-CEO of an investment club with over 24,000 members that helps people become “job-optional” through cash flowing real estate, is one of many speakers who will be presenting at the 1st annual Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Conference in Denver, CO February 24th to 25th.

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In a conversation with Kathy all the way back in early 2015, she provided her Best Ever advice, which is a sneak preview of the information she will be presenting at the Best Ever Conference.

What was Kathy’s advice? She outlines all the advantages of creating a powerful thought leadership platform, including how she was able to raise $5 million in ONE WEEK!

Kathy’s Real Estate Background


According to Kathy, until about 10 years ago, she was a happy housewife. She used to be in the broadcasting industry, working in a newsroom for years. After marrying and having a child, chasing fires in the newsroom was no longer an alluring concept, she reports. Kathy made a choice to be a stay-at-home mom and life was great. But that all changed when her husband came home from work and said that the doctor told him that he had six months to live. The news shocked the couple and pushed them to make a few decisions about their life together. In the end, it was discovered that Kathy’s husband had been misdiagnosed.

Kathy faced a situation that is most people’s worst nightmare: how would she live without her husband? Since she no longer had a career, she also had to figure out how she would cover the bills and feed her family on her own.

At this point, all Kathy had was her podcast, “The Real Wealth Show.” Using this platform, she interviewed as many wealthy people possible. The goal was to see how they created their wealth because she needed to replicate that success. However, the podcast wasn’t making any money, and Kathy needed to monetize it immediately. To solve that problem, she started bringing on sponsors, most of whom were previous guests. It was around this time that Kathy found out that her husband had been misdiagnosed. That was excellent news, but that’s not the only good news. By then, Kathy’s podcast was gaining momentum, so she stuck to it!

“The Real Wealth Show” is a weekly podcast on all the different ways you can make money as a real estate investor. Each week, a different investor is featured as Kathy asks great questions on how they built their wealth. Every episode covers a different topic such as leverage, tax benefits, asset protection, inflation, how to buy right, triple net leases, credit repair, and more.

Over time, the podcast grew to the point that Kathy was able to turn it into her business, Real Wealth Network, which mimics the information found in her podcast. It offers information to help their members succeed by providing free content, including weekly blogs, newsletters, and webinars.


Best Ever Advice: Success Leaves Clues


Kathy’s Best Ever Advice is to “make sure that you have someone helping you that has done what you want to do. To many people take advice from people that just want to make commission or they have never done it before.” She continued by saying, “that was the problem in 2006 when so many people jumped into real estate without any experience or knowledge. They were getting advice from real estate agents, [who] are in it for the commission and most aren’t investors, or getting advice from neighbors, and it doesn’t work that way.” Many people who took this path ended up failing. Kathy believes this resulted in investors getting a bad name and being blamed for bringing down the housing market.

Advice in Action #1 – You don’t have to fall into these same traps. If you are going to buy an investment property, make sure you are getting advice from someone who is not going to make money off of you or, if they are, that there is an alignment of interest in the deal. Instead, work with someone who has successfully invested more than once; someone who can actually help you and look out for your best interests.

Kathy says this is the main reason she created her Real Wealth Network. She was desperate for financial information because she didn’t know how she was going to pay a $4,000 mortgage and take care of the kids if her husband were to die. Getting a job was out of the question because she didn’t want to be away from her children. Kathy wanted to understand how to invest properly, but couldn’t find anyone that had her best interest at heart. Therefore, instead of simply settling for bad advice, Real Wealth Network was born.


Putting Advice into Action


After Kathy’s show increased in popularity, and after she had spoken to countless self-made millionaires, it was time for her to get out there and take action herself. During a time where her local market – California – was overheated, Kathy and her husband refinanced their home and took the cash out to purchase five investment properties in Texas. Part of what Kathy had learned from interviewing millionaires is the importance of market timing. California was in a bubble while Texas was undervalued. Based on that information, Kathy decided that Texas was the better market in which to invest. Buy low and sell high is the name of the game. However, it wasn’t easy when it came to investing in an out-of-state market.

When they first went to Texas to meet with real estate agents, Kathy and her husband realized that they were being perceived as “California money.” Kathy said, “[the agents] were like sharks and were trying to sell us $400,000 to $500,000 properties in Texas. Terrible investments!” But Kathy continued by saying, “over time, we found the right people. The people who understood and owned 40, 50, 60 investment properties in the area [and] property managers who knew where the rental demand was.”

After successfully investing in Texas, Kathy set out to replicate her success in other markets. She and her husband went out to different emerging markets where they knew there was job and population growth. Then, they focused on building a team in each of those markets. Kathy and her husband met with more and more success.

As Kathy’s investment career was taking off, her listeners became interested in learning more about how she was able to purchase investment properties all across the nation. As a result, the Real Wealth Network, which recently eclipsed over 24,000 members, emerged.

The Real Wealth Network enabled Kathy to help educate even more investors on how to be successful and is a great network for referrals. It is such a good referral network that Kathy was able to leverage it to raise $5,000,000 for a deal in one week. The combination of her podcast, her business, and the network she created made people flock to her for advice and guidance. Kathy proved herself a trustworthy go-to person in the industry, which made people comfortable and trusting enough to send her a $100,000 check without even thinking twice!

Advice in Action #2 – Think having a platform like the Real Wealth Network would benefit your business? Yep, thought so. Start small by interviewing people for a blog, podcast or YouTube channel then grow from there over time. I’ve seen first-hand how having a platform can grow business exponentially. You’ll learn from people you interview and you’ll get additional opportunities through the network you’re spearheading.



Want to learn more about real estate thought leadership, as well as information on a wide range of other real estate niches? Attend the 1st Annual Best Ever Conference February 24-25 in Denver, CO. It’s the only real estate investing conference whose content and speakers are curated based on the expressed needs of the audience. Visit to learn more!


Related: Best Ever Speak Brie Schmidt Sneak Peek How to Avoid the Shiny Object Syndrome in Real Estate Investor

Related: Best Ever Speaker Kevin Bupp Sneak Peek Lessons Learned From Losing Everything During the Financial Crash

Related: Best Ever Speaker Theresa Bradley-Banta Sneak Peek Don’t Invest in Real Estate on Unfounded Optimism and Emotions

Related: Best Ever Speaker Linda Libertore Best Ever Success Habit of the Nation’s #1 Landlord Aid

Related: Best Ever Speaker Kevin Amolsch Why Moving at a STEADY Pace is the Secret to Real Estate Success

Related: Best Ever Speaker Bob Scott and Jimmy Vreeland How to Acquire over 100 Properties in 24 Months Utilizing the Lease-Option Strategy

Related: Best Ever Speaker Jeremy Roll 3 Essential Factors of Diversification in Passive Real Estate Investing

Related: Best Ever Speaker David Thompson 3 Ways to Raise Over $1M for Your 1st Real Estate Syndication Deal

Related: Best Ever Speaker Al Williamson 4 Ways Showing Leadership Increases Your Property’s Value and Rents

Related: Best Ever Speaker Mark Ferguson The Most Commonly Overlooked Expenses in Real Estate Investing

Related: Best Ever Speaker Marco Santeralli 10 Rules of Successful Real Estate Investing

Related: Best Ever Speaker Steve Bighaus What’s the Cheapest Loan Program in America

Related: Best Ever Speaker Mark Mascia How a Billion Dollar Real Estate Developer Qualifies a Deal

Related: Best Ever Speaker Reed Gooseens Guide to Systematizing Your Real Estate Education



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4 Ways Showing Leadership Increases Your Property’s Value and Rents

Buy real estate in an improving area and manage it well and watch your property value and/or rents increase. Seems obvious right? But Al Williamson, who has been a landlord since 1996 and focuses on corporate housing and short-term rentals in revitalization areas, discover a method that helped increase his property values and rent even more … and faster.

Al is also one of many speakers who will be presenting at the 1st annual Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Conference in Denver, CO February 24th to 25th.

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In a conversation with Al all the way back in 2014, he provide his Best Ever advice, which is a sneak preview of the information he will be presenting at the Best Ever conference.

What’s Al’s Best Ever advice? He explained how he was able to achieve massive financial gains by investing in revitalization areas and showing leadership.

When Al analyzes properties, the first qualifier he looks for is $100 per month per unit in net income. But, to build on top of that, he looks for properties in revitalization areas because he’s discovered that he can not only cash in on the natural appreciation, but also affect the speed of equity growth through his leadership. “Taking some easy steps,” Al said, “I can improve the neighborhood and capture the equity just based on showing some leadership.”

How Does Leadership Improve a Neighborhood?

Al explained that the action he takes to improve a neighborhood is painfully obvious. He says, “I always suggest that you’re the biggest landlord in the area that you are in. You go into it just buying up something big or enough properties so that you can have some influence … Then, start insisting on some things to make the neighborhood better.”

Here are four specific examples of leadership Al has taken:

1. Trash-Free Zone

“First, you’ve got to make sure the neighborhood looks just like the Hilton: no trash on the ground, ever.”

2. Landscaping

“Get together and get a landscaper to mow the lawns. Basically like an association.” In this comment, Al is referring to common areas, and not people’s personal lawns.


3. Trash pick-up day

“One thing that is super effective is ordering a dumpster … I order a large 40-yard dumpster, have it placed in front of my apartment building and put a sign on it telling people to throw their junk in it. Everyone has junk in their house they want to get rid of. Something big that they want to get rid of that needs to go to the dump … [This] gives them a legitimate way of meeting their needs and it costs nothing. The city provides it for free.”

This is the leadership tactic that Al recommends everyone start out with. “If I was starting in a new neighborhood, I would start off ordering a large dumpster and putting it there and putting a sign there … I’m encouraging people to participate and they will because there’s a pent up need that they have.”

Al continues by saying, “They’re actually following an instruction that I’ve given them to meet their need and they are grateful for it. It is a great way to build a relationship with neighbors that you may be meeting for the first-time.”

4. Donating to local revitalization groups


“You can speed up what’s going on [by] adding to the fly wheel by participating by sending money to the neighborhood groups who are giving you traction and helping you raise your rents. Just small donations help them every month.”

What are the Benefits of Leadership?

The two occasions Al executed this strategy, he was met with huge financial rewards. “I’ve gone through two revitalizations,” Al explained. “The first one is a three unit building … I started off with $144,000 [and it] went to $625,000 because of revitalization. The next one was my apartment building. It’s an 8-unit building [that] rents started off at $375 … but now that it’s improved to where it is, the $375 rent, which was cash flowing [when I purchase the property], is now $900 per unit.”

Obviously, 100% of the equity and rent increases are not attributed to Al’s leadership skills. However, Al says the main point of showing leadership is because “you want to be the epicenter of the good things happening. You don’t want to be on the cusp of that. If the people around you are doing nothing, it is very easy to outshine them. It’s just financially rewarding to do that, especially if things are improving anyway. You want to be on the leading edge of that financially so you can be in a position to sell into strength … When people realize the neighborhood has changed and is better and the pendulum starts over-swinging, that’s the time you want to be pointed out as the example of what’s good about the neighborhood and cashing in on that.”


Al’s investment strategy is to buy properties in revitalization areas. On top of the rent increases that come naturally as the neighborhood develops, he also works towards improving the neighborhoods and capturing equity by showing some leadership.

A few examples of leadership Al has shown are:

  • Encouraging the neighbors to maintain a trash free zone
  • Ordering a large dumpster for other homeowners and tenants to throw trash into
  • Getting the homeowners and tenants to chip in for landscaping common areas
  • Donating to the neighborhoods local revitalization groups

By showing leadership in a revitalization area, you’ll be perceived as the epicenter of growth, which is rewarding not only from a financial perspective, but from a relationships and reputational perspective as well.

Want to learn more about raising property values and rents, as well as a wide range of other real estate niches? Attend the 1st Annual Best Ever Conference February 24-25 in Denver, CO. It’s the only real estate investing conference whose content and speakers are curated based on the expressed needs of the audience. Visit to learn more!


Related: Best Ever Speak Brie Schmidt Sneak Peek How to Avoid the Shiny Object Syndrome in Real Estate Investor

Related: Best Ever Speaker Kevin Bupp Sneak Peek Lessons Learned From Losing Everything During the Financial Crash

Related: Best Ever Speaker Theresa Bradley-Banta Sneak Peek Don’t Invest in Real Estate on Unfounded Optimism and Emotions

Related: Best Ever Speaker Linda Libertore Best Ever Success Habit of the Nation’s #1 Landlord Aid

Related: Best Ever Speaker Kevin Amolsch Why Moving at a STEADY Pace is the Secret to Real Estate Success

Related: Best Ever Speaker Bob Scott and Jimmy Vreeland How to Acquire over 100 Properties in 24 Months Utilizing the Lease-Option Strategy

Related: Best Ever Speaker Jeremy Roll 3 Essential Factors of Diversification in Passive Real Estate Investing

Related: Best Ever Speaker David Thompson 3 Ways to Raise Over $1M for Your 1st Real Estate Syndication Deal

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How to “Sell Your Face Off” as a Real Estate Entrepreneur

As real estate investors, we are entrepreneurs – we are creating the same thing that the typical entrepreneur create, which are businesses; therefore we are entrepreneurs. Kolby Kay, who has built, sold, and advised over 20 startups that have generated over 50 million dollars in revenue, has a lot of successful entrepreneurial experience in many different industries. In our recent conversation, he provided insider insights on how to successfully target, identify, and understand your audience.


How to Approach Uncovering and Fulfilling a Need


Kolby finds that there are two main aspects to approaching customers. First, you need to put yourself in their shoes. After you’ve done that, you need to understand what their pain point is.


Kolby says, “you need to be putting yourself in the shoes of somebody who is your customer and understand what it is their pain points are and not selling by features, because that is what sales people do. They try to talk about ‘look at my widget. Look at how great my stuff is.’ But people don’t care.”


What do they care about? The are about “what problem are you solving for me today and then do you have social validation that you’ve done it with somebody who looks and acts and feels like me? In other words, it’s all based on a need and somebody fulfilling that need.


Kolby breaks it down further into a four distinct pillars that he follows for all of his business deals:


  • “The first is identifying a group of people with a problem or a need”
  • “Second piece is coming up with creative way to solve that problem, whether that’s a product or service”
  • “The third piece is validation
  • “The last pillar is what I call ‘sell your face off.’


Kolby finds that a lot of people skip pillar three: validation. “This is the piece that many young entrepreneurs or even seasoned entrepreneurs will forget. Just because you found somebody that will buy something and you think you’ve found a problem, have you done due diligence on validation? Meaning, you’ve gone back to that group of people that you’ve identified that have a problem that you can supposedly solve and ask them: [does this] specific widget or software or service solve your specific problem AND are you willing to actually pay for this specific solution? That last piece of ‘is it something you’ll pay for?’ is very very important.”


How to Sell Your Face Off


When Kolby “sells his face off,” this is when he puts himself in the shoes of the person he’s trying to sell to and attempts to uncover what’s most important to them. This means asking questions instead of talking about what it is he does. The most important question that Kolby asks is, “What are the problems you are facing?” After leading with that question, examples of other questions would be:


  • What’s keeping you up at night?
  • What are you doing today?
  • Why are you doing it the way you are doing it today?
  • What would you change?
  • What would you keep?”


By asking about their problems and needs, it will allow you to gather enough information and get a feeling of what’s important to them so that you can turn it around and position/sell yourself.


When positioning yourself, Kolby recommends that you “touch on the points that they said were important to them vs. telling people how great [you are at approaching the] problem that you’re trying to solve. Taking a look from the side of the customer and positioning the problems your solving in their vernacular is key.” In other words, Kolby likes to follow the Art of Selling, which is “listen, ask questions, and then…regurgitate what the client is telling you vs. telling them how great you think you are.”


Kolby provided an example dialogue that a real estate investor or agent would have with a customer after identifying their needs: “What you told me was important was having a property that was in an up-and-coming development, that had not just amenities, but there was other developments that were happening. [Well, in this area,] you have a mini-mall happening. You have a school that’s happening. You [also] told me that schools were important based on the investment property you’re coming into. Let’s talk about that. How many kids do you have? What types of schools do they go to? Why is that important?”


As you can see from Kolby’s reply, he responded directly to what the customer stated as important, rather than babbling on about himself or things the customer wasn’t interested in.




When we are thinking about how to approach our audience or client audience, we need to put ourselves in their shoes and understand what their pain points are, rather than selling them a feature. People don’t care about features. They care about what problem you are solving for them today, as well as what social validation you’ve gotten from other clients that look, act, and feel like them. It is all needs based.


More specifically, Kolby has a 4-step approach to uncovering and fulfilling client’s needs:

  1. Identifying a group of people with a problem or need
  2. Coming up with a creative solution to solve that problem or need
  3. Providing validation
  4. Selling Your Face Off


When you are “selling your face off,” you must put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask a ton of questions. In doing so, you will gather enough information to uncover what’s truly important to them so that you can turn it around and position (or sell) yourself using their language. In other words, you are following the art of selling, which is listening, asking questions, and regurgitating what the client is selling you.



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Four-Step Formula To Cultivate a Leadership Mentality


“An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep.” – African Proverb


How do you become an outstanding leader, transforming from a gentle sheep into a ferocious lion? Best ever guest Ryan Michler has create a blog and a podcast that is dedicated to uncovering the principles that lead to this transformation.


Ryan believes the core tenant for being a successful man (or woman) is leading. In out recent conversation, he explained the ins-and-outs of being a leader, and what you can practically do in order to cultivate the leader mentality.

The Foundational Quality of a Leader


Ryan believes that the most important approach and foundation of leadership is full-ownership. This means full ownership of everything in life. Not just the things we are in direct control of, but literally everything – every outcome, every thought, every idea, every choice, and every experience. When defined this way, we quickly realize how difficult and rare this mentality is.


Ryan says, “what’s really fascinating to me and almost sad and disturbing is we are so quick as a society to pass the buck. ‘It’s somebody else’s fault’ or ‘the economy went bad’ or ‘I don’t have the right employees’ or ‘this contractor that I’m working with didn’t necessarily get the job done on schedule.’ We pass all this responsibility. What’s sad is when we do this, what we end up doing is we give away any of our power that we actually had to do anything about it.”


By not taking responsibility for everything, by default, we lose the power to do anything about it, which puts us in a position of weakness, as opposed to a position of strength. It is a very difficult, and even painful concept to accept, especially in real estate investing. There are so many people involved in the process, from real estate agents, to investors, to banks, to contractors, to sub-contractors and more, that it is extremely easy to rationalize the blaming of others. But according to Ryan, “the more you can take responsibilities for your choices, the better off you’re going to be.”


The Paradox of Responsibility


The outcome of taking or not taking responsibility is extremely counterintuitive. It is hard to see how blaming others, especially when we feel it is obviously someone else’s fault, and passing the buck puts us in a position of weakness. However, Ryan states, “I think the reason we don’t think of it that way is because the reason we are afraid of taking responsibility in the first place is coming form a position of pride. It’s arrogance. It’s ego. If I did it wrong, that [means] less of me as a human being. It’s less of me as an investor…We try to defend and protect our pride and our ego when in all reality, it’s doing more harm than it is good when you are saying, ‘oh, it is that guys fault,’ instead of saying ‘this was my fault.’”


Essentially, we fear taking full-ownership because we perceive it will put us in a position of weakness; yet not taking full-ownership is definitely putting us in a position of weakness. It seems like a lose-lose, but Ryan says, “what’s fascinating to me is when you go to work on yourself – you take full responsibility, you take charge of your health, your wealth, all the relationships you have, what you do to uplift your soul and your spirituality – that’s when people start responding. But they do it on their own, not because you’re manipulating or coercing them to do something.”


Taking Full Ownership in Practice


First, it is important to realize that reading a blog post about taking full ownership isn’t going to transform you into the Lebron James of leadership. It takes lots and lots of practice! Fortunately for us, Ryan provided a simple formula that can be used on a daily basis, or applied to any project, process, conversation, etc., that helps you cultivate the full-ownership mindset.


Step 1: Examine


“You need to look at your day or look at this project you are about to tackle and you need to figure out “what is it I am trying to accomplish? What do I want to get done? What is the end result? What is the goal here? So many people don’t even think about that.”


“We’re thinking about that now because we are in the beginning of the year, so it’s on everybody’s mind, but we lose that within 30-days of the year and the remaining 11 months, we go at it haphazardly and hope everything works out. This first step is to really examine what you actually want out of the deal, or out of your day, or out of your project, whatever it is you may be working on.”


Step 2: Estimate


“This is where you look at what you have. This is when you look at your assets, your liabilities, what you bring to the table, your strengths, your weaknesses, and you start formulating a plan of action. This is strategy – what am I going to do? Here’s what I want, now how am I actually going to make this work? How am I going to make this a reality? Who are the other people – the players – that I need to bring into this deal so that I can make this profitable for every single person involved.”


Step 3: Execution


“At some point, we have to move into this third step, which is the execution phase, where we just have to do it. We have to act. Even though we might not have everything completely figured out, we drive forward. We do it. We execute to the best of our ability.”


Step 4: Evaluate


This is the most important step…this fourth step is to evaluate what just happened. You examine, you estimate, you execute, and now you’re coming back to evaluate what went on. You’re going to ask yourself five simple questions that are going to help you be more mindful.”


The questions are:


  • What did I get done? (What did I accomplish?)
  • What didn’t I get done? (I set out to do something but did I miss the mark?)
  • What did I do well?
  • What did I not do so well? (What can I improve?)
  • What am I going to do better moving forward?


Answering these questions, whether it’s at the end of the day, the end of a month, at the end of a deal, or whenever it happens to be, is going to help you put the responsibility on your shoulders, which is where it belongs and is the most powerful position.




The foundational quality of a leader is full ownership, as opposed to blaming others or “passing the buck,” which puts us in a position of weakness. That means focusing more on improving ourselves and taking charge of all aspects of our lives.


When it comes to real estate investing, we need to consistently practice focusing on what we can do better, rather than being complacent, repeating the same mistakes, or blaming others (the agent, the broker, the contractor, the economy, etc.). For cultivating full ownership, Ryan provided a simple formula to apply to any project, real estate related or in general:


  1. Examine – figure out what you are trying to accomplish
  2. Estimate – formulate a plan of action
  3. Execution – take action on your plan to the best of your ability
  4. Evaluate – conduct a post-mortem


During the evaluate phase, which I plan on applying to all my deals moving forward, brainstorm answers to the following questions:


  • What did I get done?
  • What didn’t I get done?
  • What did I do well?
  • What did I not do so well?
  • What am I going to do better moving forward?


Question: What will you apply the 4 step formula to in the upcoming year?



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antique book

Self-Publishing Your Way to Thought Leadership, Leads, Money, and Much More


Have you ever had the idea or urge to write a book? And if so, why haven’t you? There is an infinite amount of excuses and as an author, I have fallen prey to a few myself. However, writing a book can be quite beneficial towards your real estate success and is your ticket towards becoming a thought leader.


In a recent conversation with bestselling author Mike Fishbein, who has written 12 books, he provided a detailed guide on how to self-publish a book on Amazon and the successes that comes as a result.


What is the goal of self-publishing a book?



The first part of self-publishing a book is to identify your goal. What outcomes do you want to achieve with the book?


  • Is it a branding tool that will help you build client or partner relationships?
  • Will it be an acquisition channel that will attract customers or partners?
  • Is it an asset that will generate income, similar to real estate investment?


Having a well-defined goal is important when self-publishing a book because it is what will shape the strategy you will follow to ensure that it is a successful endeavor and not a flop.


For Mike, he has been able to achieve several goals with his books. First and foremost, self-publishing books has enabled him to make money. People are constantly finding his books on Amazon, through his blog, and through his content marketing.


It has also helped Mike build his brand. By putting out a piece of content, it establishes him as an expert on a given topic. As a result, when he is meeting with partners and customers, when they see his books, it increases his credibility and his image.


Finally, it has been a way for Mike to generate leads and build a large audience. Amazon has a much large audience than he does, so by being on Amazon, he is able to attract people that wouldn’t have otherwise found him.



First Factor to Self-Publish Successfully – Traffic


Once have your goal (or goals) in mind, the success of your self-published book comes down to two major factors. First is traffic. You must be able to get visitors to see your book on the Amazon marketplace and on your book page.


When you self-publish a book on Amazon, you are tapping into the world’s largest bookstore – you are literally placing your book on the digital shelves of the largest bookstore the world has ever had. For many authors, and especially for those just starting out that don’t have a huge platform of their own, Amazon is going to be one of the most effective sources of traffic. That being said, it is extremely important that you understand the Amazon algorithm and how they decide what books to promote on their platform.


Amazon makes their money on book sale commissions. Therefore, they want to promote the best possible books that readers are actually going to by. They don’t have a team of individuals manually scouring the online marketplace to find the best books. Instead, they use an algorithm that scans all of the books and determines which ones they should be displaying. The algorithm looks for two main indicators to determine whether or not a book is high quality:


  1. Number of downloads
  2. Number of reviews


If Amazon sees that your book as a high number of downloads, especially in a short period of time, then they will promote it. Also, your book will be promoted if it has a higher volume of good reviews.



At this point, you may be saying, “but Joe, how the heck do I get downloads and reviews if this is my first book?” Prior to Amazon’s algorithm taking over, you must first bring readers and reviewers to the table. Luckily, Mike provided a list of tactics to increase your downloads and number of authentic reviews:


  • Write a great book – This is absolutely essential, and hopefully, rather obvious. You aren’t going to get sustainable downloads and positive reviews without doing so. It is number one on your list!
  • Build a blog audience and email list – Use content marketing to create a blog audience and to build an email list so that you have an engaged audience of people to promote your book to.
  • Leverage self-publishing promotional sites – ex. buckbooks, bookbub
  • Offer a free bonus – Within his books, Mike offers a free upgrade or bonus that will send people from the book to a landing page where they can opt-in for more content (bonus ebook, free checklist, etc.) After opting-in, they receive an automated email that will ask them to review the book.
  • Friends and family – Ask friends and family to read the book and leave an honest review as well.



Second Factor to Self-Publish Successfully – Conversion



Aside from traffic, the second main factor for a successful self-published book is conversion. If you are working with a publisher, they produce most of the book for you (design, book description, title, etc.). However, when you are self-publishing, it all falls on you. It is more work, but you get a much higher percentage of the royalties.


If you look at an Amazon book page, there are a few key elements that a potential reader has to look at in order to determine if they will get value from the book:


  • Title – they will see the title before they land on your book page. It both peaks their interest and inspires them to click or they will pass.
  • Cover design – it is really critical to get a strong cover design. Find a great designer who can create a distinct design that stands out, engages the reader, and inspires them to buy. Mike found his designer through a friend, so your best bet is asking someone you know for a recommendation. If that fails, check out Once you’ve found a designer, check their portfolio and start working on a small project from there.
  • Description – the Amazon description is where most authors make mistakes. It is critical that the book description encourages the reader to buy and take action. Definitely include what the book is about, but Mike also likes to clearly highlight how the reader is going to benefit from reading this book – using bullet points – and doing it in a way that is really relatable for the target reader of the book.
  • Reviews – having a high amount of positive, authentic reviews will increase the chances of a reader not only finding the book (traffic) but purchasing as well



For additional questions on what else is involved in self-publishing book, please comment below!



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sell yourself

Four Tips to Successfully Sell Yourself in Real Estate Investing


As real estate entrepreneurs, and in life in general, we are constantly selling ourselves. Whether it be to sellers, partners, lenders, or even our significant others, it is important to develop the talent of marketing ourselves as successful, reliable, persistence, valuable, etc. individuals. One such individual who has mastered this skill set is Gino Barbaro.


Gino has 15 years of real estate experience. During his career, he has discovered multiple strategies and adopted a mindset that has allowed him to successfully sell himself to everyone he works with. As a result, Gino was able to grow his multifamily portfolio to 674 units in 3 years! In our recent conversation, he explain his secret – always do what you say and say what you do, put others first, build a credibility book, and ultimately differentiate yourself from the competition.



Tip #1 – Do what you say and say what you do


In order to successfully sell yourself to others, the first thing you have to realize is that if you say that you are going to do something, you have to do it. While this may seem like obvious and straightforward advice, it is actually the opposite. In a society that promotes instant gratification, self-serving and the need for results “now,” talking the talk but not walking the walk is the majority’s default setting. Therefore, doing what you say and saying what you do is the most important mindset to adopt if you want to standout from the competition.


Always be mindful of others time and their worth over your own, which transitions to Gino’s next piece of advice…



Tip #2 – Always put others first


Gino believes that we are all here to be in service of others. This piece of advice echoes one of my favorite Zig Ziglar quotes– “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” As long as you are in the real estate business, always be in the service of others. When you are taking action, always think of others. An example that Gino provides is that if you are in the arena of raising private money, don’t go to your investors only when you need something or when you have good news. Go to them when you have bad news. Also, go to them when you have no news at all. The same logic can be applied to all aspects of real estate – real estate agents and their clients, property managers and their landlords, etc.


Constantly think of ways to keep your clients, customers, investors, etc. in the loop. This will show that you genuinely value them and that they are always top of mind.



Tip #3 – Create a Credibility Book


Gino’s best ever advice is to create a credibility book. A credibility book is essentially a binder that outlines your business plan. It is great for anyone and for any real estate endeavor. The credibility book answers, in detail, the following three questions:


  • What do you do as an investor? (i.e. your specific real estate niche)
  • How do you do it? (i.e. your strategy)
  • What are examples of successful deals you’ve completed in the past? (i.e. case studies)


For example, Gino’s credibility book is a 15-page document that is entitled “Investing in Mom and Pops:”


  • What do you do as an investor? – “We invest in distressed, C-class properties that have motivated sellers, are between a 7 and 8 percent cap rate, and have at least a 10% cash on cash return.”
  • How do you do it? – “We buy the properties, force up the net operating income, refinance to pull out cash, and then repeat.”
  • What are examples of successful deals you’ve completed in the past? – They outline 3 case studies to prove their credibility. Each case study is unique and they explain how they added value for every property.


Gino finds that not many people have a book like this. However, when you are going to a bank and looking for a loan, if you throw a 15-page credibility book on the table, you instantly stand out. It is visual, in your face, and most importantly, it is written. Gino says that when you have something written down, it is much more credible than the spoken word. By coming in with a written plan, it shows that you are already prepared to take action!


Tip #4 – Differentiate Yourself


Gino’s first three pieces of advice – do what you say, always put others first, and create a credibility book – are both examples of ways you can differentiate yourself from the competition. You always need to be on the lookout for ways that you can differentiate yourself. A great question to consistently ask yourself is, why am I more valuable than the next person? That is, why would someone work with you rather than working with the next guy? Focus on providing as much value as possible.



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6-Steps to Attract 100,000 New Social Media Followers

How impactful would an extra 100,000 social media followers have on your real estate business? That’s 100,000 more potential customers, clients, investors, and leads! Take the increase in referrals into account and you’ve expanded your network even more.


So how do you increase your social media presence?


In my