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.

4 Investing Growth Strategies from a Real Estate Marketing Expert

4 Investing Growth Strategies from a Real Estate Marketing Expert

The familiar saying, “knowledge is power” is absolutely true when it comes to real estate marketing and investing. Lael Sturm gives us a perfect example.

Lael owes much of his professional success to his wealth of knowledge: how he gathers it and how he uses it.

Based in San Francisco, Lael is a real estate marketing professional as well as an investor. Over the past 25 years, he’s worked with companies of all sizes, including Microsoft, MTV, and Nokia.

LPSS Digital Marketing, the company Lael founded, helps real estate investors and other professionals grow their businesses.

Here are a few key lessons that Lael’s fascinating career can teach us all.

 

1. Learn Something New Every Day

In his work, Lael has always had to learn new things. During the mid-1990s, as an MBA student at Columbia, he began teaching himself all about a new technological and cultural phenomenon: the internet.

Soon, other Columbia students came to Lael for digital investing advice. Thus, he decided to become an online strategy consultant. Today, he helps businesses maximize their social media strategies, internet advertising, and digital content.

Given the rapid pace of technological change, Lael has had to constantly master new tools and methods. To that end, he’s developed a learning philosophy to stay ahead of the competitive curve. That is, Lael keeps two facts in mind: There’s always more to learn, and he doesn’t know everything. Consequently, he soaks up lessons from everyone he encounters: coworkers, bloggers, authors, podcasters, and so on.

If you keep seeking out new knowledge, it’s astounding how much you can learn. And some of that information should lead to business growth.

 

2. Learn from Customers

It’s worth noting one special group of people here: customers. So many businesspeople fail to obtain new knowledge from their clients. But customers are often founts of useful information.

Many entrepreneurs believe it’s their job to provide clients with all the answers. And to them, it’s a one-way street. They may also think it looks bad to ask customers business questions. They never want to appear ill-informed.

In truth, it’s healthy to ask customers questions to see how they view different issues. Many clients will then provide valuable ideas and pointers.

Similarly, it’s more than acceptable to tell clients you don’t know the answer to one of their questions. Just let them know that you will find out the answer. In such a case, a customer would probably trust you more. After all, no one knows all the answers, and honest people admit when they’re stumped.

By researching customers’ questions — and by discussing various business topics with them — you won’t just increase your general knowledge. You’ll increase your knowledge of specific topics that are important to investors and clients. As a result, your business will be better prepared to meet its needs going forward.

 

3. Thought Leadership Matters

Here’s another reason why knowledge is important: You’ll probably want to establish yourself as a thought leader.

A thought leader is someone who continually shares useful information and strategies. If you’re one of these influential people, it’s easier to attract investors.

To become a thought leader, you could routinely make high-quality content for an online channel. For instance, you could create podcasts, YouTube videos, or Medium blogs. Indeed, many leading internet platforms let you post content for free. If you keep showing your depth of knowledge, providing value to your followers, and finding creative ways to speak in your own voice, you could gain a loyal audience.

Providing value, by the way, doesn’t mean repeating platitudes or common industry knowledge. Instead, offer unique insights, actionable tips, personal stories, and precise business growth ideas. On top of that, never advertise your business within your thought leadership content. People will trust your messages less if they seem like commercials.

In all of this, pay particular attention to Instagram. Some businesspeople might see Instagram as unserious. In truth, it’s an outstanding platform for engagement, and its algorithm is sophisticated and powerful. You may have great success using this network to promote your thought leadership.

However, maybe you’d find it hard to keep producing beautiful Instagram images. Perhaps you’d feel more comfortable posting text. In that case, LinkedIn is probably the right network to focus on. It’s ideal for the written word, and LinkedIn also makes it easy to connect with the right people.

On the other hand, you don’t have to worry much about a website. These days, pouring time, effort, and money into a full website is unnecessary, maybe even wasteful. You may just need a landing page. And you might not need a business site at all, just your social media accounts.

 

4. Buy and Hold

In addition to his sharp advice about thought leadership and knowledge growth, Lael Sturm has many valuable business tips to share.

One helpful suggestion involves buying and holding real estate. Lael uses his San Francisco home as a case in point. After investing in it, he turned down many offers to sell it at a high price. As a result, this property has appreciated considerably.

With appreciation, you can build up equity. Thus, although it’s often tempting to sell residential and commercial real estate, try to hang onto your properties for as long as you can.

Lael’s buy-and-hold strategy is a terrific example of turning acquired knowledge into profitable action. It confirms the principle that’s guided his entire real estate marketing career: The more he knows, the better he can serve his clients.

 

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The First Timer’s Guide to the Best Ever Conference

The First Timer’s Guide to the Best Ever Conference

With a name like “Best Ever,” it’s easy to get excited, and maybe even a little intimidated, about attending your first Best Ever Conference. You might be wondering what makes it the best ever, and how you can get the most out of this conference. And we want to help!

That’s why we’ve developed our First Timer’s Guide for your first Best Ever Conference to ease your mind and help you get the most value out of your time.

 

How the Best Ever Conference Is Designed

The Best Ever Conference, known throughout the commercial real estate industry as the BEC2022, is designed specifically for commercial real estate professionals to focus on relationships and education that will directly impact growth for both you and your portfolio.

 

Our Speakers

Our speaker selection process isn’t about who we know, it’s about what YOU want to know!

Our team listens to and actively engages with commercial real estate investors like you all year round to ensure we stay at the forefront of the commercial real estate investing industry, choosing speakers with expertise and topics that you want to learn about most.

Past speakers have included industry giants such as:

And more importantly, past topics have included:

  • How to Scale Your Syndication Business
  • Lessons in Becoming a Better Leader
  • How to Build a Powerhouse Investing Team, and
  • Multiplying Your Real Estate Portfolio

 

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your time at the BEC2022:

 

Before the Conference

In the weeks leading up to the conference, take some time to create a game plan for your experience. Consider who you want to meet, which services and vendors you might be interested in learning more about, and what topics and insight will be most valuable to you and your goals.

 

Set Your Speaker Session Lineup

First, we encourage you to check out the BEC2022 speaker lineup on our website at besteverconference.com. We will update the conference website regularly as new speakers are confirmed.

Research each of the BEC2022 speakers before the conference. Get to know who they are, what they bring to your table, and the type of information that will be presented. Consider how this information can help you grow your business and portfolio.

It is also a good idea to make note of any questions that come up during your research that you would like to ask the presenters.

Now, break the different speaker sessions into three categories to set your custom speaker session schedule:

  • Must attend
  • Would like to attend
  • Don’t need to attend

 

Shortlist Your Exhibitor Interests

Another good way to make the most of your time at your first Best Ever Conference is to take a look at the exhibitors that will be present. Which exhibitors do you want to learn more about?

Next, go ahead and make a shortlist of the exhibitors you’re most interested in and keep this in your back pocket to make the most of your downtime between sessions at the conference.

 

At the Conference

Balance Your Time

As with most conferences, the top three things you’ll do at the BEC are learn from speakers, network with speakers and other attendees, and browse the exhibitor booths. To get the most out of the Best Ever Conference, you’ll want to strike a balance for the way you spend your time.

Set your speaker schedule into your calendar with locations and reminders so you’re never late to your “must attend” speaker sessions.

During your “don’t need to attend” sessions, try to make your rounds to the exhibitors based on your preparations. Spread these visits out to allow for plenty of time to take care of your basic needs and stay comfortable, fresh, and energized throughout the conference.

And last but certainly not least, plan to spend the rest of your time networking with speakers and other conference attendees.

Most likely, you’ll have questions for the “must attend” speakers — either prepared questions from your pre-conference recon or questions that came up during the presentation. Here is an insider tip: Don’t try to talk to the speaker immediately after their presentation. That’s when everyone is going to want to talk to them and you’ll spend a lot of time waiting in line or look like a weirdo running up to them to get to the front of the line. Instead, talk to them between sessions, at private events, and in the additional group events and parties that will take place at night.

All Work and No Play — Not Us!

Lastly, we’re excited to announce that the BEC2022 will be held at the Gaylord Rockies Resort in Denver, Colorado.

Many BEC attendees use the conference as an opportunity to vacation in Colorado either before or after the conference — skiing and snowboarding are the most popular activities. If this is the case for you, don’t forget to pack your snowboard, skiing, or sledding gear!

 

After the Conference

The value from the BEC doesn’t stop at the end of the conference, it only continues. The relationships you will develop and the knowledge that you take away can be implemented immediately and last a lifetime.

If you haven’t already, check out www.besteverconference.com to learn more about the Best Ever Conference and reserve your ticket today. Check back often for updates, and we’ll see you at the Best Ever Conference in February 2022!

 

 

 

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Big Goals in the Big Apple With Melissa Jameson

Big Goals in the Big Apple With Melissa Jameson

With big goals for her professional development and real estate portfolio, Melissa Jameson shares how nurturing the growth in others has helped her thrive in both.

 

On the Move

After growing up in Connecticut, Melissa Jameson decided it was time for a total change of scenery. She moved to California to earn an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of San Diego before crossing the continent again to land in Washington, D.C., where she would work on Capitol Hill while also obtaining her master’s degree from George Washington University.

While in Washington, D.C., Melissa earned a job as an advisor to the Department of Justice, where she worked closely with the FBI and DEA on money laundering investigations. She continued to excel in a constantly evolving field, providing investigative support and specialized knowledge to support active federal criminal cases and help the government “follow the money.” That is, until 2014 when an opportunity presented itself to join PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Financial Crimes practice in New York City— somewhere she had always dreamed of living.

 

Becoming a Real Estate Investor

With her new job away from Washington, D.C., she could now focus on other opportunities. A family property was Melissa’s first entry into real estate and where she started developing a genuine interest in the potential of real estate investments for wealth generation.

“I had always been interested in real estate and then ended up with this family property that I decided to renovate and rent out. And as I started to do that, I realized there’s definitely more money to be made in real estate, and I got my feet wet,” Melissa said. “I realized lots of people were making a lot of money in real estate. I can be doing something here, too, even though I’m obviously working a full-time job. I started getting an interest in buying other properties to rent out, so I started actively investing in Atlanta. I also started passively investing, partnering with operators investing in high-growth areas in the U.S.”

 

Keys to Success

As Melissa has continued to grow her real estate portfolio, she realized that many skills fluidly transfer between the corporate world and the world of a real estate investor.

“Having good mentors is really important, and personally, I’m still trying to develop those mentoring relationships in the real estate industry. I have those mentors more on the corporate side, just because I’ve been in the industry for so long,” Melissa shared. “The network and mentors, in particular, can be so helpful because you can bounce ideas off of them and potentially avoid making the same mistakes.”

Learning from the past is another foundational element that drives Melissa’s investment strategy. In her formative years, she didn’t have financial role models in her life. Healthy money management wasn’t practiced or discussed.

Taking the Lead

Today, she is looking ahead and lives her life in a way that positions herself for a secure financial future, focusing on building a portfolio of diverse financial investments, and taking calculated risks.

“If other people can do this, other people are making money off of it; I had that confidence in myself that I can, too,” Melissa said. “I’m not perfect. I’m still learning and making some mistakes along the way, but it’s just that I have that confidence in myself that I can really learn, that I can make the connection and that I can be successful in this industry.”

With confidence comes support, and whether it is in the professional realm or with a team of fellow real estate investors, giving support is a fundamental element of every successful team. For Melissa, it’s essential to how she’s grown and managed her own team to ensure their continuous success.

“I love leading people. I’m really passionate about it because I like to see people grow and develop, and I love mentoring, building relationships, and building that trust,” Melissa reflected. “At the end of the day, we all want to succeed and we all have the same objective, so I want to make my team feel like I really support them and that I’ll do whatever I can to really help them in whatever ways they need.”

 

 

About the Author:

Leslie Chunta is a marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in creating dynamic marketing programs and building brands for startups to enterprise organizations. She has worked agency- and client-side with high-growth companies that include Silicon Valley Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SailPoint, EMC, Spanning Cloud Apps, Ashcroft Capital, Netspend, and Universal Studios. www.thelabcollective.com 

 

 

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Real Estate Lessons From the Ralph Lauren Story

Real Estate Lessons From the Ralph Lauren Story

I have a unique topic to share with you. You might be wondering from the title, what does Ralph Lauren have to do with real estate? Is he a real estate investor? Did he write a real estate book? Not exactly.

I’ve been reading a lot of biographies lately. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey, Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins, and most recently the story of Ralph Lauren: Genuine, Authentic by Michael Gross. The reason I wrote this blog is to highlight a few parallels between Ralph Lauren’s story (the story of building his fashion brand) and investing in real estate. My hope is that you find these lessons impactful and inspirational.

Before we begin, let me ask you a question: When you think about long-term investing, what comes to mind? For me, I think of building something generational. Some people use the term generational wealth.

Said another way, what does money mean to you? If you had a billion dollars in your bank account tomorrow, what does it mean? What would you convert the money into? Would you travel more? Spend more time with family? Be more charitable? Buy exotic cars and houses? Everybody is different — but what would you do?

These are big questions, so we will come back to them at the end of the blog. For now, let’s explore some of the takeaways from Ralph Lauren’s story and relate them to real estate.

 

Leverage Other People’s Expertise to Build a Team

Ralph Lauren is a master at building teams. Did you know Ralph Lauren never went to design school? He didn’t go to college to be a fabric or clothing designer. He doesn’t even do his own sketches for design concepts. What’s the lesson?

Ralph leverages a team of experts who work at their own highest and best capacity to run his company and create designs. Ralph has a gift for finding inspiration and he’s a visionary; in other words, he has the “eye” for design. I’m not underplaying his talent; I am highlighting that he’s built a team and he focuses on his own highest and best potential. He outsources the majority of the other tasks to free up his time.

You and I can do the same in real estate. Take investing in apartment syndication for example. If you are not the expert in all areas of real estate or do not wish to do all the work, you can simply partner with teams who are experts in underwriting, finding off-market deals, property management, construction, and technical analysis. You might consider this investment model so you can focus on your highest and best potential. That’s the lesson; real estate and business are team sports. What role do you want to play in the team? You have a choice.

 

Think Alternatively

Ralph Lauren went against the grain in terms of the fashion industry. In the 1960s, he took a look at what everyone else was doing and he chose to go in a different direction. This same concept can be applied to investing. Most people are investing based on their parents’ advice, mainstream marketing, billboards, and TV advertisements. These outlets mostly suggest that you follow the herd and turn your money over to Wall Street. In other words, put your money in a 401(k) or IRA, and buy annuities, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these investments. As many of you know, I used to work for a very large, well-known brokerage firm to learn this type of investing and stack it up against real estate. You may find, as I did, that there are sometimes superior investment vehicles in the alternative sector.

To think “alternatively” in terms of investing is to think private real estate, private businesses, precious metals, oil and gas master limited partnerships, and so on — typically, investments that are not publicly traded. There are thousands of investment options outside the world of Wall Street.

Ralph Lauren never set out to be a “grand designer.” He didn’t say to himself at an early age, “I’m going to launch a mega clothing line one day.” In fact, he refers to himself and his company as “anti-fashion.” Going against the grain, thinking alternatively, and finding your own way can often be the best approach. As poet Robert Frost might add, “I took the [road] less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

 

Start Simple, Then Build From Your Foundation — the Key Is to Start

Ralph Lauren started with a simple idea. He was observing men’s fashion in the 1960s. At the time (generally speaking), everybody was conforming to a standard gray or black suit and black or neutral colored tie. Most everyone shopped at the big box retailers, and there wasn’t much of a “designer’s touch” in men’s fashion.

Ralph started his business by creating a men’s necktie. In the 1960s, men’s ties were typically two-and-a-half inches wide. Skinny ties — think about the TV show Mad Men. Ralph decided to mix things up and he created a four-inch-wide necktie, nearly twice as wide as the industry standard. He also added vibrant colors, patterns, and designs to top it off. Bloomingdale’s (a major NYC retailer) took a gamble and partnered with Ralph Lauren and, lo and behold, the neckties sold. Then customers started realizing, “If I have this necktie that’s vibrant and colorful, I need a new dress shirt that goes with it.” So, Ralph started making men’s dress shirts. Then his customers had a new shirt and new tie — why, they needed a new suit to go with them, right? He expanded into the suit business. And so it began.

As we know, Ralph Lauren today has expanded into women’s clothing, home décor, perfumes and colognes, activewear, watches, and the list goes on. It has become a mega-company, but it has taken decades to get there. The lesson is to take action; start with a single step forward.

How does one begin investing in real estate? Some prefer to start with buying shares of a publicly traded REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) for as little as $10 per share. I use that number for example purposes, of course — each REIT will be priced differently. Some may be $10 a share, $20 per share, $100 per share; it depends on the company. The point is, it doesn’t take millions of dollars to get started. In fact, this is what my nephews are doing to start their passive income journey, and they’re starting in their teenage years, which is incredible… if they keep it going.

You could invest in single-family homes. This might require $25,000 to $50,000 in the form of a down payment. You could house hack (rent spare bedrooms), flip it, turn it into a vacation rental, or purchase a buy-and-hold rental. You could also invest in real estate syndications as I do. You may have to come up with $50,000 to $100,000 to invest in a private placement offering; however, the passive benefits may be worth it. The bottom line is that everybody is different. Everybody has a different risk tolerance. Do what makes sense to you, start with what you’re comfortable with, evaluate your risk tolerance, and leverage licensed advisors if you need help making a decision or strategizing.

The takeaway is that building a business or investing in real estate is not an overnight success. It can take decades to get where you want to be. The key is to start your foundation, then build from your foundation.

 

Setbacks Are Part of Life — Be a Realist

This next lesson is not as pleasant, but it is necessary to discuss. Setbacks are part of life. There was a point in the 1970s when Ralph Lauren almost lost the business and nearly went bankrupt. It came at a point of rapid expansion. You would think from the outside looking in, that the company was doing great, but the inventory, overhead, and payroll began to exceed the cash flow of the business.

Hopefully, if you and I are investing in cash-flowing real estate, we’re not taking on such risk. At least not that of a venture capitalist running a startup company. There will always be hurdles and setbacks with investing, in business, and in life. There’s always a recession around the corner and not every deal you invest in is going to be a home run. In fact, you might lose money in some deals. That is why diversification is so important. Just be a realist. In other words, you and I can’t bank on consistent 10–15 percent returns for the next 50 years; it doesn’t work that way. Since we know there will be setbacks, let’s plan for them. As Warren Buffett’s business partner Charlie Munger says, “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.” He refers to himself as a “cheerful pessimist.” Excellent billionaire advice.

 

Design Your Own Path and Live It

The final lesson that I want to share with you is to design your own path and live it. This is one of the most inspirational takeaways from Ralph Lauren’s story. What did he actually do? Ralph Lauren created a lifestyle image for his brand, similar to that of a Hollywood film. He designed an imaginary lifestyle of romance, freedom, abundance, optimism, and a vision of the American Dream, and he sold that vision to his customers. The most inspiring part came after decades of creating this fantasy lifestyle. Ralph began living that lifestyle in real life.

If you have ever seen Ralph Lauren, he wears his own brand, he lives in the houses you see in the photoshoots, and he drives the collector cars you see in the ads. Genuine and authentic. That is the beauty of it all, and also why I’m so passionate about teaching you and others about the benefits of investing for passive income. The purpose is not about money, it is about designing the life that you want to live.

At the beginning of this blog, we explored what money means to you. What would you do if you had time freedom? In other words, if you freed up your time by generating more passive income each month compared to your monthly expenses. I encourage you to get started on your passive income journey if you haven’t already. Get started with designing your life. A life on your terms.

Thank you for tuning in and reading this blog. I don’t blog much anymore, but when I do, it comes from inspiration, passion, and the desire to help you achieve your goals. I hope you found these takeaways and lessons inspirational, impactful and valuable. Until next time…

 

 

To Your Success,

Travis Watts

 

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Boost Your Investment Growth in 2022 With the Best Ever Conference

Boost Your Investment Growth in 2022 With the Best Ever Conference

It’s official — the Best Ever Conference is going to be back in person and better than ever in 2022 in Denver, Colorado.

Attendees will have the opportunity to take full advantage of engaging keynotes, workshops, and networking with top real estate investors and innovators, all while forming long-lasting relationships with other high-quality attendees.

Investors eager to boost their growth in 2022 will want to mark their calendars for this game-changing event.

We asked Hunter Thompson, Managing Principal of Asym Capital, to share his thoughts on the Best Ever Conference. “There’s a part of me that wants to try to say, ‘It isn’t REALLY the best ever!’ but, you know what — it actually is,” he said. “When it comes to the caliber of the speakers, the networking opportunities, and the overall energy of the event, it just might be the ‘Best Ever!’”

Hunter added, “If I’m going to take the time out of my schedule to travel to a conference, it needs to be a five-star experience. Best Ever never fails to deliver on that requirement, which is why I attend every year.”

Purchasing a ticket today will allow attendees access to monthly virtual group discussions known as Mini Masterminds, which have already started. These Mini Masterminds provide the opportunity to immediately begin connecting with other attendees and continuously build relationships prior to meeting in person at the conference.

The BEC three-day agenda is going to be packed with next-level value and opportunities for growth. Not one day will be the same.

Want to elevate the experience? There is a limited amount of VIP tickets available. These tickets include everything in General Admission, plus additional exclusive opportunities to meet conference speakers, attend private social events, and more.

To purchase your ticket today, visit besteverconference.com.

 

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a podcasting microphone set up in front of an open notebook and pen

How to Grow Your Podcast and Master Negotiations

Travis Chappell’s career path has definitely included some surprise twists. As a teenager, he thought he’d become a youth pastor. In college, a friend introduced him to direct sales, which he found intriguing. He then worked in sales for several years.

Eventually, Travis discovered the personal development field, which helps people achieve their goals. He took to this industry immediately, devouring as many podcasts about it as he could.

In time, Travis established “Build Your Network,” his own podcast. It’s become a major thought leadership platform, and it’s now one of the top 25 business podcasts in existence. Additionally, Travis is a real estate investor, direct sales consultant, and professional connector. He’s based in Las Vegas.

How did Travis become so successful? In part, it’s because he mastered two skills that have proven instrumental to his career: negotiating and growing his podcast. Together, those talents have helped make Travis an unstoppable force.

 

Becoming a Better Negotiator

Travis believes that you should work in direct sales for a year if you want to become an effective negotiator. That’s because the job teaches so many valuable lessons in emotional intelligence.

For one thing, this position requires you to talk to 20 to 50 people per day. Soon enough, you’ll learn to read crucial nonverbal cues like body language and tonality. You’ll come to understand that when people say something, they’re often concealing their true feelings. For instance, customers might withhold their real opinions because they’re trying to be nice.

Eventually, you’ll be able to recognize the exact moment when you’ve lost someone’s interest or you’re about to be rejected. Thus, you can immediately go off-script and adjust your sales pitch, regaining that person’s attention. You’ll also get accustomed to different personality types. As Travis puts it, there’s no substitute for talking to people.

Today, whenever Travis is working on a real estate deal, he feels completely comfortable hashing out the details with other stakeholders. He points out that many real estate professionals never feel comfortable in such situations, especially when it comes to discussing pricing.

Because Travis is always at ease sticking to his terms, he has a real advantage at the negotiating table. And he attributes that comfort to his days in sales. After all, reading books about negotiations can be a great help, but books can only tell you so much.

For that reason, Travis compares conversing with customers to doing exercise repetitions at a gym. Reading about sales and reading about fitness could give you a solid foundation of knowledge. But books won’t give you real-world business experience just as books in themselves won’t build your muscles.

 

Starting and Building Your Podcast

Travis believes that creating media content is the best way for real estate pros to distinguish themselves from their many competitors.

However, although this industry is intensely competitive, few real estate agents have any desire to start a podcast or YouTube channel. Travis feels that’s a huge oversight.

He frames the issue this way: Real estate depends on trust — the trust of buyers and sellers. Trust comes from relationships. Relationships require spending time together. And producing your own content lets you spend time with people on a large scale.

Even a smaller podcast might attract 1,000 listeners, many of whom will find the podcaster engaging and informative. Ultimately, some of them will feel comfortable enough to do business with that content creator.

Many real estate professionals say that a thought leadership platform won’t help their business much. But, according to Travis, that’s because they’re afraid of failure. They secretly wonder: Who am I to pose as a podcaster? This inhibition is called imposter syndrome.

On top of that, many real estate pros realize that thriving podcasts and YouTube channels require a great deal of work. They must be built from scratch. And many successful people want to avoid the feeling of being a beginner again.

Travis would advise you to ignore such concerns, choose a content outlet, and get going with it. Also, understand that it’ll probably take five to 10 years to cultivate an audience and make real money from that channel.

Moreover, keep in mind that people want to connect with podcasters. When they’re listening to a podcast, they’re usually not thinking about the host’s resume. They just want information and entertainment.

If you’re not confident in your hosting skills at first, your initial podcasts could all be interviews. Contact experts and ask them if they’ll share some of their secrets on your show. This format takes the pressure off the host.

Furthermore, interviews give you a great way to learn about industry topics you’re less familiar with. Indeed, you could approach each episode like an investigative reporter. For example, if you’re involved in commercial real estate, you could invite an accomplished commercial real estate investor. It’s amazing how much you could learn about commercial real estate investing in just an hour or so.

When he started podcasting, Travis didn’t know as much about networking as he would’ve liked. But having networking authorities on his show helped him fill in those knowledge gaps.

As an interviewer, every time you host a well-respected guest, your reputation will get a boost. More outstanding guests will want to come on, and each one will further improve your credibility. In fact, when Travis began his podcast, it was exclusively an interview show. But, over time, his listeners told him they wanted to hear more from him personally. As a result, he now does one show a week by himself.

 

No Time Like Right Now

Travis Chappell’s most important advice is to just get started.

If you want to be a great negotiator, get a job that forces you to talk to customers constantly.

If you want to be a content creator, ignore your insecurities, find interview subjects, and record episodes.

If you want to be a commercial real estate investor, find partners, scrape some money together, and make your first commercial real estate investing deal.

It’s true that experience is the best teacher. And, if you can learn its lessons, success will soon be headed your way.

 

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Top 10 Tips to Grow Your Social Media Following

In a previous blog post, I outlined a six-step process that enabled real estate investor David Toupin to attract over 121,000 Instagram followers. In summary:

  1. Create lots of content one or two times per month
  2. Hire an editor to create a content database
  3. Hire a content manager to create a social media schedule
  4. Approve the content manager’s posts
  5. Have the content manager schedule the posts and
  6. Rinse and repeat.

In this blog post, we will dive deeper into David’s social media strategy by outlining his top 10 tips for growing a social media following.

1. Consistency

According to David, the number one secret to success on social media (and really anything in life) is consistency. A good rule of thumb is not to expect to see the results you want on social media for six months. Sure, it is possible that you gain a massive following in a shorter timeframe. The point is that building a large social media following is a long-term strategy. Therefore, once you’ve set a process for how often you will post (like the process summarized at the beginning of this blog post), consistently adhere to that schedule for at least six months before you even consider giving up or slowing down.

2. Focus on Your niche

The second secret to success on social media is to focus on your niche, according to David. In other words, avoid shiny object syndrome. Don’t change your focus because of a short-term trend. If your goal is to attract passive investors to invest in your multifamily deals, only focus on content relevant to that audience. Strive to be the best social media person for your specific niche rather than an okay social media person for general investing or commercial real estate advice.

Here is a blog post where I go into more detail on the concept of hyper-focusing on your niche.

3. Be yourself

Social media has the tendency of morphing you into acting like someone you are not. Most likely, you pretend to be the person you think your audience wants to see. This may sound like a good idea, and it may even work for certain people, but David believes acting like someone you aren’t is a big mistake. Eventually, your following will recognize that you aren’t being real with them.

Think of it this way: let’s say you follow a commercial real estate investor on Facebook. You read his blogs and watch his videos. Eventually, you decide you want to passively invest in one of their opportunities. You hop on a phone call to discuss a deal and you are met with a completely different person you’ve gotten to know over the years through their content. Are you more likely or less likely to invest? Probably less. If they have misrepresented themselves to you and their following for years, what else are they misrepresenting?

The solution: Be yourself. Act naturally. Don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t.

4. Don’t worry about what people might think about you

“But, what if I am ‘weird’ or ‘quirky?’ If I act naturally and try to be myself people won’t like me.” David’s reply to this question would be something along the lines of, “Yes, some people won’t like you. But that is okay.”

If you be yourself, certain people won’t like you. If you act like someone you aren’t, certain people won’t like you. Overall, no matter what you do, certain people won’t like you.

Keep in mind that the purpose of striving for a large social media following is to attract people who can help your commercial real estate investing business – to get more investors, more deals, build more relationships, etc. Doing business with someone requires trust. To build trust, you need to be honest.

5. Interact with your audience

Whenever someone comments on a post or sends you a DM, make sure you reply in a timely fashion. Interacting with your audience is a great way to create a loyal following who will keep coming back and will share your content with others.

In addition to replying to comments and DMs, brainstorm other ways to interact with your audience. For example, Travis and I created a “60-second segment” on the Best Ever YouTube channel where we answer a listener’s question in 60-seconds or less (here is an example).

6. Tell your story

David has found success in creating social media posts that tell his story.

You want to create content that focuses on educating your following. But if you take a look at David’s Instagram, he also scatters in some personal posts as well. For example, a vacation he has recently gone on, the story of his first huge deal, an airplane he wants to buy, a current deal he is working on, etc.

Ultimately, people will invest with you, partner with you, and work with you because they know, like, and trust you. One way to accomplish this is to provide valuable content for free. Another way is to tell your story so that people know who you are and what you are all about.

7. Build your audience organically

When you are authentic, don’t worry about what people think, and tell your story, David says you will automatically attract people who like the same things that you like. That’s how the algorithm works.

Keep this in mind when you are making your social media posts. On Instagram, for example, utilize hashtags to attract people who are searching/viewing similar content. Here is a blog post we wrote with more detail on leveraging hashtags on Instagram.

8. Don’t get fancy equipment

When you browse the BiggerPockets forum and come across posts from brand new investors, a lot of the questions surround, “Should I go out and get an LLC?”. They haven’t done a deal yet but they want to spend hundreds of dollars (or even thousands if they use an attorney) to create an entity. The social media equivalent of this is, “Should I buy the Blue Yeti microphone and the thousand-dollar Sony camera before I start generating content?”.

David says this is unnecessary. Any modern iPhone or Android phone is sufficient for video, audio, and picture content. If you want to be between these two extremes, I recommend the ATR2100 microphone and the Logitech HD pro camera.

9. The account you use doesn’t matter

Should you create a brand-new social media account or should you use your personal account? David says to not worry about it. You will create your desired audience over time regardless, as long as you follow the other tips in this blog post. If you are comfortable using your current personal account, great. If not, creating a new account works, too.

10. Comment on posts of other big influencers

David’s last social media tip is to comment on the posts of other big influencers. Avoid the “great advice” or thumbs up emoji comments. Ask questions or provide advice, with the purpose of getting the influencer to reply to your comment or getting their followers to check out your account.

10 ways to grow your social media following

David Toupin has over 120,000 follows on Instagram. His top tips for those who want to replicate his success are to consistently post content every day, remain hyper-focused on your specific niche, be yourself by not worrying about what other people think about you, reply to all comments and DMs from your followers, tell your personal story in addition to providing valuable content, use keywords to target people with similar interests, use your current smartphone as your only equipment (at least at the start), use your personal account or create a new account (whichever you are most comfortable with), and tap into the audiences of other big influencers by replying to their posts.

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How to Build a Commercial Real Estate Social Media Content Engine

The power of a thought leadership platform is something anyone who frequents this blog is familiar with. As a refresher, 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.

Many big named commercial real estate operators attribute their success, in varying degrees, to their thought leadership platforms. Thought leadership platforms allow you to build new friendships and business relationships while maintaining existing ones and to stay top-of-mind of real estate entrepreneurs. Essentially, it is a tool that allows you to network on a global scale 24 hours, 7 days a week.

However, the only way to benefit from a thought leadership platform is to build a large following, which is why you need to create a social media engine. Sure, it is possible to build a large audience organically. But that takes time. Understanding how to utilize social media to grow your thought leadership platform can expedite this process, garnering more attention to your thought leadership platform. More attention leads to more influence. More influence leads to more income. Therefore, understanding how to utilize social media to grow your thought leadership platform allows you to generate more income for your commercial real estate business.

An example of someone who has achieved a high level of success due to social media is David Toupin of Obsidian Capital, who was a featured speaker at this year’s Best Ever Conference. He has over 121,000 followers on Instagram. In his presentation, he outlined his process for building a social media content engine. Here’s what he had to say.

How to start your social media content engine

The three questions you need to answer before starting your social media content engine are (1) what platform should I use, (2) when will I create content, and (3) when will I post content?

What platform should I use? David recommends focusing on a maximum of three platforms at first. The top three platforms are YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Create a new Facebook page, Instagram account, and/or YouTube channel for your business to get started. Here is a Best Ever blog post about how to pick the right platform for you.

When will I create content? A common content mistake is spending a small amount of time each day creating content. David recommends spending one full day a week creating content (recording videos, writing blogs, etc.). Then, use this stockpile of content for social media posts throughout the week.

When will I post content? David recommends blocking out two hours at the same time every day to post content. However, posting content is only one aspect of building a social media content engine. The other aspect is interacting with the audience. After posting your content, spend the remainder of the two hours replying to comments and direct messages.

How to create a social media content engine

The above process is for beginners because when you are starting out, you will most likely be creating and posting the content yourself. However, like scaling anything to a massive level, you need to create an automated process to build a social media engine. Here is the process that David uses when generating content for his tens of thousands of followers:

Create lots of content one or two times per month: Eventually, you will transition from creating basic content by yourself once a week to creating content with a professional once or twice a month. David works with a professional videographer. He schedules one or two sessions per month to record content with the videographer. Once the session is completed, the videographer uploads the content to a shared Dropbox folder.

Hire an editor to create a content database: David has also hired a video editor who will use the video content from the videographer session to create a month’s worth of content. This includes longer videos, shorter videos, and captioned images. The goal is to create at least 10 social media posts for every one hour of video content.

Hire a content manager: David’s third team member is a content manager. Once the video editor has created a month’s worth of content, the content editor is responsible for using the database to create one month’s worth of social media posts.

Approve the posts: Once the content manager has created the social media posts, David reviews and approves the posts. When reviewing, David asks himself, “Will this post help me achieve my end goal?” The post is only approved if the answer is yes. This means you must have a defined outcome for your thought leadership platform – who are you targeting and why?

Schedule the posts: After David has reviewed and approved the posts, the content manager creates a schedule for the next 30 days and posts the content to social media.

Rinse and repeat: David will follow the same process each month: record content with videographer, video editor creates a month’s worth of content, a content manager creates a month’s worth of social media posts, David approves the social media posts, and the content manager schedules and posts to social media.

The social media engine process

The process outlined in this blog post allowed David to amass over 121,000 followers on social media.

To begin, pick one to three platforms; spend one day per week creating a week’s worth of content; spend two hours each day posting content and interacting with your audience.

To scale, schedule one or two sessions with a professional videographer each month; send the content to an editor who will make a month’s worth of content; send the edited content to a content manager who will make a month’s worth of social media posts; approve the social media posts; the content manager will schedule and post the approved posts; rinse and repeat.

To learn more about how to improve your thought leadership platform, click here.

 

 

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Six Characteristics of a Great Leader

Six Characteristics of a Great Leader

When you see the word “leader” what pops into your mind? The President? The CEO of a billion-dollar company? The head coach of a championship sports team? A military general?

Most people have a similar concept of what and who a leader is. Determining the similar characteristics between this archetype can help us as commercial real estate investors build wealth, build a legacy, and do more good in the world.

Brandon Turner of BiggerPockets was one of the featured speakers at BEC2021. In his presentation, he provided the top six characteristics of a great leader, as well as how to become a better leader in your commercial real estate investing business.

 

A Great Leader is a Quitter.

“Find a way to quit your job as soon as possible by paying an expert to do it.”

There is a reason that all successful companies have countless Executives, Presidents, VPs, Directors, Associates, Analysts, etc. under the leadership of one CEO. It’s because great leaders work on their business, not in the business. And running a commercial real estate company is no different.

Sure, when you are first starting out, it might be just you and a business partner performing all the job functions. But a great leader hires expert team members to focus on the day-to-day tasks while they focus on the overall direction of the company. Or in the words of Brandon, “Your job is to be a general”. As a general, you lead the expert soldiers under your command into battle.

A Great Leader is a Cutter.

“Only focus on the one or two things you need to be doing.”

Any job function in a commercial real estate business can be broken down into a “dollar-per-hour” task. Every hour of work on said task results in X amount of dollars of revenue for the business.  Once you have hired expert team members to perform the lower dollar-per-hour activities, it frees up your time to focus on the higher dollar-per-hour activities. In fact, a great leader will focus on one or two activities with the highest dollar-per-hour output.

For example, a great leader will focus on creating multi-year goals for how to scale their commercial real estate company. Then, they may formulate an overall strategic plan for accomplishing these goals. But rather than acting on the strategic plan themselves, they assign the implementation of the strategic plan to an expert team member.

A Great Leader is a Caster.

“Write down the vision for where you want your company to go.”

One of the things Spartan Investment Group attributed to their ability to be named one of the nation’s fastest-growing companies by Inc. Magazine was their culture. A commercial real estate company’s vision is the cornerstone of its culture.

A vision is an image of where the company wants to see itself in the future. It will involve what success looks like to you, your team members, and your customers, as well as the behaviors you will need in your company to realize your definition of success. As a leader, you are responsible for casting a vision that is inspiring to your team members and customers, and you must ensure that you and your team members are living out the vision each day.

A Great Leader is a Coach.

“Ask the right questions to improve the performance of your team.”

In sports, when a team performs badly, the head coach is usually the first person to get fired and replaced. On the other hand, the greatest coaches win games and championships year-after-year, decade-after-decade, even though the team consistently changes. College sports is the perfect example with complete turnover every four years. That is because the coach is one of the keys to success. One aspect of great coaching (and great leadership) is the ability to get the most out of a team.

As a commercial real estate investor, a great way to maximize the performance of your team is to conduct frequent performance reviews – ideally once a quarter. A best practice is to ask each team member to analyze their own performance – what they did well, what projects they are proud of, and what they can improve upon. You should provide them with similar feedback – here’s what you did well and here’s what you can improve on. Then, come up with goals or tasks for how to improve their performance over the next quarter based on the combination of your and their feedback.

A Great Leader is a Scout.

“Find and attract top talent.”

Continuing with the sports analogy: Did you know that the University of Alabama’s football team spent 12.3%, or $2.6 million, of their budget on recruiting in 2019? Strong leadership is just one ingredient to success. The other is the ability to find and attract top talent.

Attracting and finding top talent presumes you know what “top talent” is. According to Real Estate InvestHER founder Liz Faircloth, the two biggest mistakes commercial real estate investors make when building a team are a lack of alignment and a lack of diversity. Top talent must align with your culture (mission, vision, and values) because when they don’t, they tend to get fired or quit, which wastes your company’s time and resources. Top talent also has diverse personalities and skillsets. Another important aspect of top talent is their character. Most skills and competencies can be taught, but character cannot. They are either a good person or they are not. Also, top talent has been successful because of skill, not luck, and a deep dive into their track record is required to determine which is the case.

The most important thing to know about attracting top talent is to make sure you are living out your culture. Don’t say one thing and do another, because top talent who were attracted to your company will quickly quit when they realize you say one thing but do another.

A Great Leader is a Student.

“Recognize you don’t know what you are doing and that you need to continually grow.”

Some interesting statistics: Tony Robbins read 700 books in seven years. Warren Buffet spends five to six hours reading daily. Bill Gates reads 50 books a year. Mark Cuban reads for three hours daily. Why are the world’s richest people reading so much? Because great leaders are continually growing.

Another great way to grow as a commercial real estate investor, in addition to reading, is to ask for feedback. However, due to the “success paradox,” the more success you achieve, the less feedback you will receive from others, which may stunt your growth. Therefore, a tactic to overcome this success paradox is to ask for anonymous feedback from your team using a Google Form. Also, find a few people in your circle of influence (the best would be a spouse or significant other) and ask for candid feedback.

What Makes a Great Leader?

A great leader focuses on the most important tasks and outsources the rest to expert team members.

A great leader casts an inspiring vision for themselves, their team, and their customers.

A great leader helps their team constantly improve and attracts the best of the best.

A great leader is also constantly improving themselves by being a student of their industry and of life.

 

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Sacrificing Short-Term Satisfaction for Long-Term Happiness

If you are into investing and want to make the most from your effort, you must balance short-term satisfaction and long-term reward. Otherwise, you get stuck in a downward spiral from which escape seems impossible. The good news is that you can overcome that problem. Learning the difference and why you should keep an eye on the long-term is vital.

You achieve much more and gain true fulfillment, and you will know you did the right thing. You must explore both sides and gain a true understanding of how these concepts work. Even if you don’t get the outcome you want right away, learning about short- and long-term satisfaction goes a long way toward your goals. The key is to understand how your brain works and to craft a solid plan. With those things in mind, you should have no trouble moving forward.

Active Investor: Learn How Your Brain Works

Learn how your brain works for the best results. When it comes to short- and long-term satisfaction, you deal with the emotional and logical side of your brain. Your emotional side wants a reward right away. In investing, this happens when you want a path that leads to a faster payout. The logical side of your brain, on the other hand, wants you to wait longer for the larger payout. Also, most people look only at their short-term goals by default. You must train your mind to look at the benefits of overlooking short-term gratification in favor of long-term reward.

Make a Plan

Having a plan is vital. Many people go through life without a solid sense of direction. If you don’t have a plan, you have no way of knowing if you are moving in the right direction. You have no way of tracking your progress or knowing where you are. On the other hand, a solid plan keeps you on track and lets you monitor your progress. Every active investor needs a plan, and creating one is a powerful step in the right direction.

Think about what you would like to achieve over the coming months and years, and you won’t have trouble reaching your desired outcome. How much profit would you like to earn over the next five years? What steps should you take to get there? Make an outline of your plan for the best possible results, and you won’t have to worry about too many unneeded complications.

Don’t overthink your plan at the start. You can always change it as you move forward, and most people do. Review your plan all the time to make sure you are on track to reach your goals. This helps you maintain your motivation and ensures you don’t forget anything along the way.

Write Down Your Goals

Writing your goals down is another vital part of the process. Consider all the things you would like to achieve over the coming days, weeks, months and years, and you will have no problem staying on track. Create two lists if you would like to get the most from your effort. The first list should contain all the goals you would like to achieve within the next few weeks or months, and the second list contains your goals for the coming years and decades.

Your goals don’t have to stay the same for decades. If you learn new information or face unexpected issues, your long-term goals can change. Also, you could experience something that changes your mind about what you would like to achieve over the long run. The important part is having a solid starting point so that you know where to go and whether you are getting there.

Do your best to relate your short- and long-term goals. For example, if you would like to make a large purchase over the next several years, putting enough money to the side each month is a great short-term goal. Reaching your short-term goals gives you enough motivation to keep pushing yourself forward, and you won’t have trouble getting the outcome for which you have been hoping.

Consider Both Sides

If you want to achieve the most from your effort, look at both sides of the situation. Short-term satisfaction might be tempting, but it’s not as good as what you could achieve over the long run. Consider that many people get into active investing to make fast money, so they turn to short-term investments. Depending on where you are and what you would like to achieve, this might not be a bad choice.

But you should always take an objective look at both sides. Consider what you could gain by opting for long-term satisfaction instead of short-term gain, and you will be glad you did. Waiting for the long-term reward is not always easy. But you get a much greater benefit if you do it.

The path you take depends on your resources and why you got into investing in the first place. In some cases, you can take and enjoy both paths. Make several investments that pay off quickly, but you can also make at least one long-term investment that grows over the years.

Start Small if You Must

If you are just now learning about these concepts, setting long-term goals is not going to be easy. The way you act and behave conditions your brain. Consider someone who gets up every morning at 5:00 a.m. If that person gets a new job and no longer must get up that early, they still wake up at 5:00 a.m. even without an alarm.

If you spend a long time focused on short-term gratification, you must train your brain to look at the long term. Begin by slowly transitioning your mindset toward the long run, and you will get there without too many problems.

Look Toward the Future

Looking toward the future is critical if you would like to achieve the outcome for which you have been looking. Imagine you are several years in the future. How will that future look if you don’t work toward your long-term goals, and how will it look if you do work toward them?

Looking at the future this way is a powerful step in the right direction. Many people view the future as so far away that they don’t believe it’s important. But your stance changes if you vividly imagine your future. You know you will get there one day, and you get the required motivation to make it happen.

Reward Yourself

Working all the time and never taking time off causes you to burn out. Many investors with an eye for the future dedicate too much time and attention to working all the time. This path might look appealing at first glance, but you can lose your motivation faster than you expect. Avoid that setback by rewarding yourself as often as you can. Your rewards don’t have to be big. Try doing one thing you enjoy each day, and you keep stress under control and maintain your motivation to keep moving forward.

Review Your Progress

If you are serious about sticking to your plan, don’t forget to track your progress. Depending on the size of your company, review your progress at least four times each year. Look at your plan to see if you are on track for reaching your short- and long-term goals. If you are not, see what you can do to catch up so that you don’t stay behind.

Checking your progress from time to time is a powerful way to ensure you don’t go too far off the path you selected. Noticing that you are not on track is not always enough to reach the outcome you want and deserve. If you would like to avoid similar problems in the future, ask yourself why you are not on track and what you can do about it. You can then make the required changes to prevent additional problems from taking place.

Active Investing: Congratulate Yourself

Each time you complete a difficult goal, remember to congratulate yourself on doing the job right. Take some time to appreciate the effort you put into your goals, and you will feel much better about your journey. Depending on what you have achieved, reward yourself with a nice dinner or a vacation.

If you closed a major deal, buy yourself a new vehicle or home. Congratulating yourself is the smart way to maintain your motivation and remember how much progress you have been making. No matter what you would like to achieve, you take your results to a new level before you know it. The right approach gives you a great combination of short-term reward and long-term satisfaction.

Tracking your results ensures you are on track and that you don’t fall behind, giving you peace of mind. Review your progress so that you don’t make too many mistakes along the way, and you will be glad you did. Making the transition in your mind might not be easy when you begin.

Although you might have trouble getting started, things get easier when you gain traction. You will make your life much better and take your profit to where you have always wanted it.

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Top Takeaways From Every BEC2021 Day 2 Speaker

The Top 10 Things to Ask Before Investing

Ryan Gibson, Spartan Investment Group

How to find great operators

  • Online:(506 investor group, forms D)
  • Networking
  • Funds: fund of funds
  • Syndication groups: meetups groups
  • Projects: something you see in your area because most are syndicated
  • Referrals: from other operators

Your interview with the operator

  • Ask open ended questions: When interviewing operators, see if they are interested in what you have to say
  • Write down notes
  • Keep a log of operator Q&A
  • Portfolio projects
  • Referrals
  • Property location

Are they an operator or syndicator? Determine what role the company plays. How are they compensated, how are they aligned with you? Are they aligned with the success of the project?

Tell me about a deal gone bad? This is Ryan’s favorite question. Having no deals that have gone bad indicates low experience or a lie while having deals that have gone bad helps you judge the grit of the syndicator. 

What is their mission, vision, and values? Does their mission, vision, values, align with yours? Ask them to give an example of how they’ve used their values recently.

Who is on the team? Are they a one-man band or do they have a deep bench? Are they vertically integrated? Are they using the fees they charge to hire a great team or to pay themselves?

What is their core business model? Selling education? Working elsewhere? Focused on deals? Gurus?

What is your investor communication plan? Ask for last three communications to get a better understanding of their communication style. Is the plan in writing? Can you verify property performance against projections?

What is the performance of their portfolio?

  • Historical performance (proforma vs actual): comparison is more important than absolute return since it gives you the right context
  • Was it project level IRR or investor IRR: total project may look better than investor level
  • Consistent metrics: Ryan likes to use equity multiple and how long it took gives true time tested return, IRR might be misleading or not the best metric

Obtain reference and conduct a background check

  • Don’t ask for a reference, find your own, because no one gives bad references
  • Find others that have invested in the company
  • BBB, Google reviews, 506 Group, etc. – search for the company name and name of the principles

Insurance

  • Does SEC attorney provide E&O insurance to cover for lawsuits
  • What exclusions are included on their title insurance?
  • Is there property insurance at least from an A rated Carrier?

Decision to exit

  • What would make an operator exit early? What is their justification for selling?
  • Have they sold early in the past? How many time and, how did the actual returns compare to projections?
  • How do they brief investors?

Market-Driven Strategies for Investment and Operations

Greg Willett, Real Page Inc.

Where we are at right now

  • We suffered sizable job losses which have impacted real estate market. However, occupancy rates are at healthy level and we’ve experienced rent growth in some places. Overall, there is huge variability in results in one part of the country and product niche to another – the highest I have ever seen.
  • Best rent growth is about 8% – Inland Empire, Sacramento, Virginia Beach, Memphis, Midwest
  • Gateway metros are really struggling – Bay area and metro New York: rents cut 15% to 20%

Three Investing Strategies

  1. Throttle up your Sun Belt assets. Simply getting in front of renter demand can help fuel performance successReally solid demand results across state of Texas, Carolinas, Tennessee, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Denver. Be careful in Florida markets, because there are a lot of tourism centers. Places like Tampa, Jacksonville are doing well. Don’t rule out the Midwest. Demand is not as strong as it is in the Sunbelt but low supply will drive demand.
  2. Don’t bank on a flight-to-quality. Rent discounts at top-tier product are not delivering move-up renters to the extent experienced during previous economic stumbles: Renters have had the tendency to move down and downgrade to class B and C to save money.
  3. Explore a low capital value add strategy. Lower price points are boosting occupancy and supporting resident retention at lease expiration: Focus on maintenance issues and appearance but hold off on bells and whistles to keep property more affordable for bigger group of renters. Turn around on a vacant unit is faster for lower quality upgrade and leaves money on table for a future buyer.

Three Operational Strategies

  1. It’s the right time to adjust the recipe for your operational “secret sauce.” Measure what’s working now: You don’t want to be doing what worked well in the past, you want to be doing what works well now. Pay attention to what young adults are doing and how it impacts the types of units that are in demand. Then determine how this impacts your marketing needs, because certain strategies are better and worse. The bottom line is to measure everything to see what is different now compared to two years ago
  2. Focus on renewals. Resident retention at initial lease expiration has gotten harder to achieve in some locations and product segments, so make it a priority to hang onto today’s best residents: There is large variability in renewal rates across the country. But the goal is to hang on to the good residents who are making payments. Taking a hit on rents on a renewal lease might be a good thing. Pay attention to the type of units with lower and higher renewal rates and ask yourself, why aren’t they renewing? Pay attention to the non-pricing factors, like maintenance and customer service.
  3. Take back control of your brand. Know what you are selling and who the target for your product and message is in this marketplace: The overall message should focus on service, appearance, ease of living a the property, the location – don’t focus on price.

The Devastating Impact of Climate Change on Your Real Estate Investments in the Next 10 Years

Neal Bawa, Grocapitus

Impact of climate change in 2020 and questions to think about

  • 2020 had $95B in damage from climate disasters
  • What will happen to your investments when taxes increase to pay for massive sea walls?
  • Where will the money come from to fix Texas’s power grid?
  • In California, the six greatest wildfires happened in 2020, and will double in five years. How will this impact California cap rates?
  • Cities with sea level rise exposure are already priced at a 7% discount

Many climate risks may become uninsurable: Insurance companies are starting to buy climate data from Moody’s and creating city-by-city insurance plans.

Climate data is being used to downgrade entire cities: When a city is downgraded, their ability to borrow goes down, making it harder to fund re-construction projects. As a result, people move out, and it continues to spiral.

The end of the 30-year mortgage: Full cities may change to 20 year or 15 year mortgages options

The cities with no climate risk will be the next gold rush.

Overall, the people who set ratings, cap rates, insurance rates, mortgage terms, as well as cities are taking climate risk into account, and so should you.

The State of Fundraising in 2021: Key Risk Areas for Capital Raisers in Today’s Regulatory Environment

H. Gregory Baker, Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Capital raising regulations have been relaxed over the past presidential administrations, but that is changing.

Section 5 of Securities Act: One of the most important rules in the federals securities laws. In 2020, 1/3rd of all SEC enforcement cases concerned offering of securities. The SEC does not need to prove that you intended to violate the rule: they just need to show that you violated the rule,

A security must be registered or have an exemption. The common exemptions are:

  • section 4(a)(2) of securities act, private placement exemption
  • Rule 506(b) of Reg D, private placement safe harbor
  • Rule 506(c) of Reg D, general solicitation
  • Reg. Crowdfunding, 
  • Intrastate offerings

The consequences for violating Section 5 can be severe. The investors can get their money back from you. The SEC can fine you. And your reputation will be harmed.

How people or companies get tripped up on Section 5

  • Relying on 506(c) but failing to ensure that your investors are accredited
  • Relying on 506(b) but you advertise
  • Relying on intrastate exemption but selling to investors in multiple states

Expect to see more of these cases under new leadership. Gregory’s advice is to work with your attorney to ensure you follow rules, and document how you followed rules.

How to Scale Your Syndication Business

Michael Blank, Nighthawk Equity

Who should consider building a thought leadership platform? Anyone raising money for real estate. Anyone who has already raised some money 1 to 1. Anyone who is ready to scale capital raising ability. Anyone who wants to raise millions of dollars in a few days.

What will a thought leadership platform achieve? Automatically attracts the right investor, raise more money so you can do bigger deals, create more revenue, invest revenue back into market to do more deals, effortlessly scale and serve your investors

Three pillars of a thought leadership platform

Attract:

Identify your ideal avatar: in order to attract the “right” audience who is interested in what you have to offer, you have to identify your ideal potential investor

Capture leads: when you attract the attention of your ideal avatar you need to know who they are. The best way to do that is to offer them a “Lead Magnet” in return for their email addresses

Develop:

Serve and lead: Serve your audience and earn their trust with valuable free content that educates them about investing in syndications. Serving = content = trust

Lead them on their investing journey with continuous content

Scale: Make a compelling offer that generates revenue and reinvest a portion of your revenue to attract more leads

How to automatically attract more passive investors

Create a lead magnet: When someone downloads a lead magnet, they get tagged in system as “downloaded”, and put on email list to receive educational emails

Join the club: After downloading the lead magnet, they are invited to fill out a detailed questionnaire, and get tagged as “joined”.

Schedule a call: Included is the option to schedule a call after filling out the questionnaire. After the call, they get tagged as “deal ready” and are now prepared to receive upcoming opportunities

Follow up automation: Automatically send follow-up emails to people tagged with “downloaded” and “joined” until they move forward in the process and set up a phone call or unsubscribe.

Multiplying Your Real Estate Portfolio

Deborah Razo, Women’s Real Estate Network

The secret success system blueprint: find success habits, cultivate habits through repetition, achieve mastery. This is a system that deals with growing systems and expanding your mindset.

The success cycle: potential, action, results, belief. The more we believe in our potential, the more action we will take and the more results we will achieve. The more results we achieve, the more we believe in our potential.

How to cultivate resourcefulness: Write down a problem and come up with three effective, intelligent, and viable solutions. Because one choice is no choice. Two choices is a dilemma. But three options and you are in the space of choices

Accelerate Your Returns Through Construction Management

Ashley Wilson, Bar Down Investments

A team member with construction knowledge is critical to maximizing the investment’s returns

Get creative: There is more than one way to solve a problem, so your focus and end goal should drive your solutions

Balance between evaluation & equity: Your focus should be on increasing equity, not the evaluation.

Time is money: Figuring out ways to decrease the time construction takes will maximize your return on investment

Building a Social Media Content Engine

David Toupin, Obsidian Capital & Real Estate Lab

Social media = attention = influence = income

Where to start

  • Focus on 1-3 platforms at first to get traction
  • Create Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube account to start, or pick one or two that you like and want to go with
  • Block out one day every week to record a few hours of content to stock pile content and post throughout the week
  • Block out 2 hours every day to post and interact with followers: respond to every comment and direct message 

How to create a social media content engine

Create lots of content one or two times per month: Either by yourself of hire a videographer for one or two sessions each month, and upload all the content to a DropBox folder

Hire an editor to create a content database: Use month’s worth of content to create longer videos, shorter videos, and pictures with caption. The goal is to create at least 10 social media posts per one hour of video content

Hire a content manager: The content manager will use the content database to compile one month’s worth of social media posts.

Determine what the focus of your content is going to be: All posts should be directed towards achieving your end goal

You approve the posts: Once the content manager has compiled a month’s worth of posts, you review and approve

Schedule the posts: After you’ve approved the posts, the content manger schedules them throughout the next month.

Rinse and repeat

Top social media tips

  • The number one secret to social media is consistency
  • The number two secret is focusing your niche
  • Be yourself, people will recognize if you’re not being real
  • Interact with your audience
  • Tell your story
  • You will automatically attract people that like the same things you like. That’s how the algorithm works
  • You do not need a fancy camera or equipment. Any modern cell phone is sufficient
  • Don’t worry about your current audience. Create your desired audience over time – either create a new account or start on your personal account
  • Don’t worry about what people might think about you. Have fund with it and be yourself
  • Comment on posts of other big influencers

UTH Workforce Housing: Pairing Private Capital with New Construction Workforce Housing

Scott Choppin, Urban Pacific group of Companies

What is workforce housing?

  • Built-to-rent, non-standard MF in historical terms – SF and attached townhome rental product
  • Below market rate rents
  • Housing for working families at 80% to 120% of median income: service sector/blue collar, large multigenerational family groups with 4-7 people
  • Housing for professional “location agnostic” roommate groups working remotely: location agnostic and use extra bedroom for remote work
  • Locations: urbanized suburbs of most major cities, close to amenities but not central business district

Why chose workforce housing as an investment?

Recession resilient

  • Deeply undersupplied
  • Multi-earner households (families or roommates), 
  • Multi-generational households (reduces poverty rates)
  • Work-from-home is accelerating absorption and rental rates

Sticky, long-term tenant base

  • Strong social networks: kids in school, family nearby
  • Economic sharing lifestyle: share income and expenses across the group
  • Naturally affordable rents without government subsidies

What is urban townhouse (UBH)? Designed and built-to-rent but lives like a house

  • Five bed/four bath, 1750 sqft.
  • Three-story townhouse
  • Two-car direct access private garage
  • Multigenerational and WFH space ground floor bedroom/bath
  • Located in existing urbanized suburban neighborhoods where families and work from home roommates want to live
  • Rent on average $3500 to $4000 per month
    • Value ratio $2 to $2.28 psf. (average 50% below market)
    • Per bedroom rent $700 per (40% to 50% below market)

Extended Stay Model – A Hidden Secret in the Hospitality Industry

Jennifer Maldonado, The Art of Raising Capital Program

Profitability and resiliency are the foundations to long-term profits.

During the pandemic, the extended stay hotel model worked well for first responders and essential workers.

Economy Extend Stay Hotels performed the best during the pandemic.

  • Top tier: occupancy is down 29.7% and average daily rates (ADR) are down 17%
  • Middle tier: occupancy is down 14.8% and ADR is down 13%
  • Economy tier: occupancy is down 3.1% and ADR is down 3.1%

Don’t chase the herd! Chase the returns!

Ash Patel, Rivershore Capital

By searching the MLS five times every day, Ash was able to know about properties before anyone else, even the brokers.

Don’t make excuses when things get hard.

As a commercial real estate landlord, your only job is to make sure that you tenant is successful: treat your tenant like a partner and they will take better care of your property

Success follows selfless acts for others.

Look for unconventional ways to by real estate.

Bringing Property Management In-House: Why, When, and How

Frank Roessler, Ashcroft Capital

Why bring property management in-house

To improve performance: The only real reason you to it. If you can’t do it better, don’t do it at all

Alignment of incentives: Move away from issues of fee-based management. No other clients of higher priority.

Improve communication: Faster awareness of property vitals. More involvement in property operations.

When to bring property management in-house

Pros and cons of bringing property management in-house day 1

  • Pros: 
    • zero disruption
    • small overhead: won’t have to build out an entire organization, which is expensive and time consuming 
    • reduced upfront costs: offices and employee benefits
  • Cons: 
    • no best practices: you will be learning on the job at the detriment of the first few properties
    • starting at a loss: one property will not cover cost of managing the property, won’t breakeven until you have a couple thousand units 
    • no industry top talent: don’t have a track record to attract best of the best

Pros and cons of bringing property management in-house when you have scale

  • Pros
    • Ability to attract top talent: people were eager to jump ship and provide a business plan
    • Starting with a profit margin: breakeven or make a little bit of money
    • Best practices: because you have the top talent
  • Cons
    • Major disruption: terminating contracts, providing notice, transition process, a million moving parts
    • Significant startup costs: hiring a full team before you even have revenue
    • Relationships can be hurt

How to bring property management in-house

  • Create a policies and procedures manual: a how-to guide for every single department and staff member in your portfolio
  • Hire a president to run the company: don’t reinvent the wheel, leverage that person’s knowledge, experience, leadership, and contacts.
  • Build out each department slowly and carefully before you take everything over: learning and development director, digital marketing director, revenue management, CFO, IT, HR, regional and area manager, regional maintenance director
  • Culture matters
  • Provide sufficient notice

Six Lessons in Becoming a Better Leader

Brandon Turner, BiggerPockets

The Four “Therefores”: Happiness and fulfillment is found through growth and achievement therefore, in order to grow, I need to focus on my superpower and less on other tasks therefore I need to hire a partner or outsource my non-superpower tasks, therefore I need to lead those people to where I desire therefore leadership is not an option for an incredible life

How to change your identity: mindset -> actions -> identity -> confidence -> actions …

You can be anything you want to be if you change your identity through your mindset actions and confidence

Brandon’s new mindset about leadership

  • My job is to be a general
  • Management is not leadership and leadership is not management
  • When you work with people you love and care for, it’s not work, it’s a beautiful life, a symbiotic relationship of mutual growth and respect
  • Leadership is the most manly of skills
  • Freedom is found through great leadership
  • Leadership is a skill

6 characteristics of a great leader

  • Quitter: find a way to quit your job as soon as possible by paying an expert to do it
  • Cutter: the one or two things you need to be doing
  • Caster: write down the vision for where you want your company to go
  • Coach: ask the right questions to improve performance of team
  • Scout: find and attract talent
  • Student: recognize you don’t know what you are doing and that you need to continually grow
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Top Takeaways From Every BEC2021 Day 1 Speaker

Four Steps to Build a Team That Lasts

Liz Faircloth, The Real Estate InvestHER

Step 1: Map out where you want to go: Determine your short-term (1 year) and long-term (3 and 5 year) goals. Define an overall vision.

Step 2: Take a personal inventory: Spend half a day figuring out everything you bring to the table from a credit (asset and liabilities), time, experience, skills, personality, and leadership perspective.

Step 3. Determine WHO you need to meet your goals and vision: Based on your business model, figure out the major roles you need to fill. Based on what you bring to the table, determine which roles you will fill and which roles you need a team member to fill

Step 4. Find people to gain alignment and diversity: The biggest mistake when building a team is lack of alignment (values, goals, expectations, entrepreneurial spirit) and lack of diversity (personality, risk, tolerance, skill set, experience). Leverage personality assessments to identify hires who complement your skills and gaps, and who are in complete alignment with your value.

Beyond the Pandemic: Adapting Investment Strategies to the New Normal

John Change, Marcus and Millichap

Vaccines are the key to the economic recovery: The amount of money in money market mutual funds and saving deposits are very high. There is the potential for $4.5 trillion to enter the economy once things are “back to normal” after the roll-out of the COVID vaccine.

Job growth and COVID: A record number of jobs were lost as 10 years worth of job growth were wiped out – 22M jobs. About half those jobs have come back. Hotels and restaurants were hit the worst and have yet to recover.

Retail and COVID: Retail was a mixed bag. It took a hit at the onset of the pandemic, hit a high after economic stimulus and has started dropping again. Restaurants, bars, electronic, and apparel sales were hit the hardest while home repairs and internet sales are at an all-time high.

Huge GDP growth forecasts: GDP is forecasted to grow between 5% and as high as 7.5% in 2021, which would be a 30+ year high.

Top myths of the pandemic

  • Huge wave of evictions are coming: rent collections are down YoY but are much better than expected due to economic stimulus
  • Widespread distress will spark significant discounting: distressed sales are 1% of total transactions, and delinquencies are well below distressed market levels
  • The retail apocalypses: rent collections on retail have surpassed expectations and are being dragged down by entertainment, restaurants, and health centers

2021 Trends

  • Class B and C multifamily: due to record levels of construction, Class A vacancy is increasing while Class B and C vacancy is at record lows
  • Self-storage: occupancy hit all time high Q3 of 2020

 

Seven Lessons Learned With $2.8 Billion of Real Estate During COVID

Jillian Helman, RealtyMogul

Lesson #1. Play defense before an economic crisis, not during a crisis: Three things to do during economic expansion to prepare for economic recessions: underwrite well and don’t do deals that don’t met your underwriting criteria; have a strong property management team in place; have open conversations with your lenders to ensure they will pick up your call during a recession.

Lesson #2. The proforma is always wrong: When creating your proforma for a new opportunity, have a minimum contingency budget of at least 10%, scale back the number of units you expect to renovate and lease, assume an exit cap rate that is 1% greater than cap rate at purchase, and increase vacancy and bad debt to stress test.

Lesson #3. Take a breath and be deliberate: Jillian’s top priorities are the health and safety of residents and team, keeping occupancy up, and shoring up cash reserves. This involved taking a deep breathe and deliberating to determine how to best focus on these priorities. She decided to halt renovations, rent increases, and all nonessential repairs.

Lesson #4. Don’t be afraid to innovate: For example, Jillian began using virtual, self-guided tours.

Lesson #5. Do experiments and test the market: In the example above where Jillian experimented with virtual tours, the conversion rate was higher than in-person tours with a leasing agent. Since the experiment works, she doubled down.

Lesson #6. Be a stellar communicator: Provide detailed monthly updates to investors, communicate what you are proactively doing, and be available and receptive to investors.

Lesson #7. Take a position: During COVID, this started by overcoming fear. Then, Jillian took an offensive position, assumed the world wasn’t ending, that the world would recover, and that data supported that investing still made sense.

What makes her afraid?

  • Silicon valley tenants/master leases with no credit quality a la We Work
  • Office with significant roll over (exception if the cash flow is strong enough to return full principal prior to roll over)
  • Retail unless it is main-and-main
  • Hospitality in all markets
  • Impact of insurance costs rising in markets like Florida and Texas
  • Modeling a refinance with Fannie Freddie debt less than a 4.5% to 5% all-in rate
  • Sitting in cash when inflation starts to rise

Where does she see opportunity?

  • Well-occupied apartments with reasonable bad debt financed with long-term fixed rate debt
  • New construction in growth markets with a late 2022/2033+ delivery
  • Growth markets – Austin, Dallas, Denver, Raleigh, Charlotte, Columbus, Phoenix, Jacksonville, Salt Lake City, Nashville
  • Office with long term credit tenants and a functional need to be in an office
  • NNN with great tenants
  • Retail at main-and-main trading at a discount
  • Not yet, but NYC, LA, Miami in 2022/2033

 

How to Bulletproof Your Mind for Extraordinary Real Estate Success in 2021

Trevor McGregor, Trevor McGregor International

Your mind is like a fertile garden. Whatever you plant, the soil will return, and your thoughts are the seeds. Plant positive powerful thoughts. To avoid too many weeks growing, you must stand guard at the door of your mind.

The two things that happen during the prime years of your life: The prime years of your life are between 25 to 65 years old. This is when you have the most opportunity as well as when the most regrets are formed.

TFEMAR: a thought turns into a feeling; feeling into an emotion; emotion into motivation; motivation to take an action; the action has a result. Therefore, your thoughts equals your results.

The 4S Success Formula: To be successful, you need to be in the right state, have the right story, the right strategy, and the right stands. Your state is your physiology, focus, and language. Your story is your identity – you are either a victim or a victor. Your strategy should be based on a character trait integration – what would so-and-so successful person do?

2021 Forecast for Apartment Investing

Brad Sumrok, Apartment Investor Mastery

2020 performance highlights

  • 2020 ended up a pretty darn good year for apartments
  • Lost 22M jobs and now down 10M – correlated with apartments
  • Occupancy dropped 60bps
  • Rents went down only 1%
  • Price per door went up and cap rates went down, so investors ‘net worth went up by owning deals

Jobs and population growth are the top two economic factors that make multifamily tick: Migration growth is important but the market must also be landlord and business friendly

Sumrok process for double digit returns

  • 1st investment is specialized education
  • Define why, SMART goals, investment criteria
  • Stabilized and value-add
  • Select the right market
  • Leverage OPE, OPT, OPM (including syndication)
  • >60 units for economic of scale
  • C and B class
  • Be dynamic (i.e., now A Class in recessed markets)
  • Exponential and expansive mindset

How to select the right target market

  • Landlord and business friendly
  • Above average cap rates
  • Above average job growth
  • Above average pop growth
  • Above average affordability gap: rent of median apartment unit < PITI of median SFR
  • Understanding local “markets” and cycles: boots on the ground
  • =highest returns and lower risk

2021 Forecast

  • 3,695,100 new jobs up 2.6% and 2.9% in 2022
  • Job growth strongest in white collar (Class A)
  • Occupancy down 40bps due to new supply
  • Rents up 1% in 2021 and 4.1% in 2022
  • Construction up 14.5%
  • Top 2021 markets: Atlanta, DFW, Austin, Houston, Tampa, Jacksonville, Phoenix, Columbus, Denver, CO Springs, NC, Nashville, Knoxville, Indianapolis

In one year from now, if you waited, you will regret it.

How to Write Off Almost Anything

Karlton Dennis, Karla Dennis and Associates

The two kinds of tax payers you don’t want to be

  • Ultra-aggressive: don’t know how to leverage tax codes but goal is pay least amount of taxes as possible
  • Ultra conservative: don’t want to take any of the deductions they qualify for and are afraid to reduce taxes because they’ve been living in fear (listening to info online, news, past CPAs, etc.)

Four simple steps to following the tax code

  • You must have a business: run your business like a business, have a time investment in a business, have a mentor or coach, have a business and strategy
  • Your business expenses must have a business purpose: there is not a list in IRS handbook that says what you can and cannot write off. If it is ordinary, necessary, reasonable in pursuit of income, it can be deducted
  • Proof of payments: keeping copy of receipts is important because it is documentation of exactly what you spend your money on – what is business and what is not business. Take pictures of your receipts
  • Expenses properly reported: If you are trying to do tax planning on your own, you will fail.

Most common tax nuances

  • Not keeping property receipts
  • Recording keeping is muddled
  • Miscategorized expenses
  • Late on bookkeeping

How the wealthy stay in the 0% to 15% tax bracket: organization and a strategic tax plan.

Passive Investor Tips for Investing in Multifamily Syndications

Travis Watts, Ashcroft Capital

What is financial freedom? When your passive income exceeds your lifestyle expenses.

What is the right investment criteria? There is no right or wrong investment criteria. What matters are your goals and your risk tolerance.

Difference between passive and active investing

  • Passive: Lacks time, enjoys reading financial news, likes to own a little bit of a lot, seeks to match not beat the stock market
  • Active: Enjoys the business of real estate, may not value diversification as top priority, seeks to control investments, has an advantage of competition, seeks to beat the market
  • Active is hands on, passive is hands off

2021’s Place in the Housing Cycle

John Burns, Burns Real Estate Consulting

High demand: 

  • Consumers made $1.03T more than usual last year due to government stimulus 
  • Consumers spend $535B less than usually last year, despite spending more on goods
  • Consumers saved an additional $1.6T in 2020 compared to 2020
  • Most homeowners and potential new home buyers are far better off financially today than a year ago
  • Google search has risen 56% for new homes, 9% for new homes
  • Millions of workers no longer need to commute

Low supply: 

  • Home listings are down over 40% YoY
  • New supply has fallen – 10% fewer communities to sell from YoY
  • Unsold new homes dropped 69% YoY

High demand + low supply = 2021 housing boom: John says we are clearly in an upcycle.

Unlocking the Fund of Funds Model

Hunter Thompson, Asym Capital

Traditional real estate partnership: Capital partner and operating partner form management LLC that purchases real estate

Co-GP model: multiple capital partners and operating partner form management LLC that purchases RE – SEC doesn’t like, especially with increasing number of capital partners

SPV/Fund of Funds:

  • SPV: special purpose vehicle
  • Considered a pass through entity
  • Doesn’t mean there are multiple assets
  • A bunch of investors invest in a SPV, there is a manager of the SPV (placement agent) who invests with another operator

Why would anyone invest through an SPV instead of investing directly with an operator?

  • Your clients desire your expertise
  • Gives them access to otherwise unavailable operators: high minimum investment
  • The dream clients you have attracted have picked you to rely on
  • Provides investors an opportunity to defer to your due diligence
  • Most investors are not like you 
  • The economies of scale are not necessarily less favorable

Preferential treatment of SPVs

  • Operators prefer to focus on implementing the business plan not investor relations/fund administration
  • You can leverage what you are bring to the table as a negotiation tool to receive preferential economic treatment
  • Many operators are willing to forego some of the economies in order to receive larger checks

Three Things it Takes to Make the Inc 5000

Defining your culture: Start with your why. why do you do what you do? Why do you go to work in the morning? Then, transcribe your why into a one or two sentence mission statement to inspire you and your team to show up.

Next is to know where you are going and what the end state looks like. This is your vision – what does success look like to you.

Third is to define your values. These are the behaviors you want to see in your organization.

Last is to avoid the say-do gap. Be care that you don’t say one thing and do another, because then your culture isn’t believable.

Developing your plan: Understand what you are going before you do it, but set a time limit. A good rule of thumb is to understand and education yourself for 90 days, develop a plan for 90 days, then go out and take action.

A good strategic plan includes three goals, three to five objectives, and multiple key results over a three year period.

Assemble your team: First, understand your strengths and weaknesses. This is best accomplished by asking your friends, and especially your spouse. Then, find people who fulfill your weaknesses.

When hiring people, focus on their character more than their competencies. You can teach competencies but you cannot teach character. Then, focus on experience but understand their track record to ensure they were successful because of skill and not luck.

Why Consider Industrial: The Case for Industrial Syndications

Monick Halm, Real Estate Investor Goddess

What is industrial real estate: all land and buildings which accommodate industrial activities

Why consider industrial real estate

    • Escape the feeding frenzy that exists in other asset classes
    • Diversify your portfolio
    • Long-term NNN leases with excellent tenants
    • Increasing demand by companies (especially e-commerce)
    • Strongest performing asset class throughout the pandemic

What is the current state of the market for industrial real estate:

  • Industrial spaces are being used by essential businesses –
  • Industrial has been the strong asset class during the COVID pandemic
  • Rents are going up and occupancy is going up

Institutional Capital Demystified

Lance Pederson, Verivest

Having a fund is a more efficient way to capitalize.

Being an operator is like owning a trucking company and having to own a refinery create your own fuel. 

Institutional capital is the equivalent of owning a job

There’s a reason why you’re seeing sponsors with 30+ year track records raising capital on crowdfunding websites because the cost of capital is much cheaper

Create Class A and Class B shares to attract HNWI, SPVs, institutional investors, etc.

Institutional readiness checklist

    • Conviction/differentiated strategy
    • Polished online presence
    • Pitch deck/executive summary
    • Due diligence questionnaire
    • Verified track record
    • Investor references
    • Secure data room
    • Quarterly reporting

If you focus on building your HNWI base, the rest well come.

Five Evolutionary Ideas for Your Business

Joe Fairless, Ashcroft Capital

Protect against biggest liability you’re currently not paying enough attention to: For 99% of syndicators, compliance. Most securities attorneys are really good at answering the questions you ask, but your are still at risk when you aren’t asking the right questions. The solution is to hire a an in-house compliance team member and acquire the proper insurance.

Bring the best out of your team: create a single KPI for each team member or a one sentence description of what their roles is so they know exactly what is expected of them and to motivate them to exceed their KPI for a bonus.

Enjoy better deal flow, deliver better returns, and create more sanity: create a fund instead of single asset purchases. It increases deal flow because you can be more flexible with the types of assets you target. It generates better returns because you can commingle capital within a fund, so there is less ideal capital.

Get better results on your thought leadership platform and in your commercial real estate business: Once your thought leadership platform matures, transition it to other people. They can focus on growing the brand and you can focus on growing the investing business.

The success paradox: The more successful you become in business, the less likely you will receive constructive criticism from your team members. The solution is to find three people in your circle who will provide you with honest feedback. Also, identify an event that didn’t go according to plan and think about how you were responsible for it taking place.

Intellectual Debate: Interest Rates Will Be Higher in 24 Months

Hunter Thompson, Asym Capital; Neal Bawa, Grocapitus Investments; John Chang, Marcus and Millichap; Ryan Smith, Elevation Capital Group

Winner – Interest rates will not be higher in 24 months

  • The question shouldn’t be, “will interest rates be higher,” the question is “how low will interest rates go and when will they go negative?” Hunter says many industrials countries already have zero and negative interest rates.
  • Japan is the new mode: in response to an 80% drop in their stock and real estate markets, they decided to print money to halt unemployment. This money printing will not end in the foreseeable future, and is being mimicked by other industrialized countries. Therefore, rising interest rates would blog up the global economy
  • The trend is your friend and don’t fight the Fed. The trend has been down and to the right for more than 40 years. Fed said they will keep the funds rate at 0% through 2024

Losers – Interest rates will be higher in 24 months

  • There isn’t evidence that the Fed will continue lowering interest rates. The prediction is based on the desire of real estate investors to see lower interest rates
  • Fed will rise interest rates to control inflation: $5 trillion in stimulus money was injected into the economy, increasing the money supply to an all-time high. GDP is forecasted to grow between 5% and 7%, which means inflation.
  • Fed always rises interest rates after recessions
  • Fed sees pandemic as a short-term risk, which means the Fed has changed its position

State of Multifamily Market: Apartments in the Age of COVID

Robert Calhoun, CoStar

The spring leasing season wasn’t lost: It was just pushed back later into the year. We lost 61k units in demand between March and June 2020 and gained 69k units in demand between July to November.

Demand in the suburbs are strong while multifamily continues to underperform in downtown areas

  • One bed rent: drop overall at onset but suburban bounced back while downtown dropped significantly 
  • NYC rents by commute time: 12% increase in rents in areas with 51 to 60 minute commute times, 9% reduction in rents for areas with commute times less than 10 minute
  • Densely populated metro areas had really bad net absorption
  • Change in asking rent from March to Dec: Downtown markets top list of markets with greatest decrease and suburban markets top list of markets with greatest decreases
  • 2021 YTD rent change: mix of downtown and suburban areas with increases in rents
  • Concessions: nearly triple for downtown and only slightly higher for the suburbs
  • Availability rate: spiked nationally, getting better which was driven by suburbs. Rates were massively elevated in downtown areas but improved quickly
  • Rent trends by unit type: two-bed are in more demand than one-bed, underperformance of studios
  • Starts and under construction: massive supply wave over last five years but constructions have rolled over in 2020 especially starts
  • Under construction by star rating: vast majority are high end expensive properties largely in downtown areas, lack of supply of affordable housing
  • Rents by star rating: 3 star rents returns to normal seasonal patterns while 4 and 5 star has underperformed
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My 5 Takeaways from BEC2021 Day 2

The Top 10 Things to Ask Before Investing

Ryan Gibson, Spartan Investment Group

Your interview with the operator

  • Ask open ended questions: When interviewing operators, see if they are interested in what you have to say
  • Write down notes
  • Keep a log of operator Q&A
  • Portfolio projects
  • Referrals
  • Property location

Are they an operator or syndicator? Determine what role the company plays. How are they compensated, how are they aligned with you? Are they aligned with the success of the project?

Tell me about a deal gone bad? This is Ryan’s favorite question. Having no deals that have gone bad indicates low experience or a lie while having deals that have gone bad helps you judge the grit of the syndicator. 

What is their mission, vision, and values? Does their mission, vision, values, align with yours? Ask them to give an example of how they’ve used their values recently.

Who is on the team? Are they a one-man band or do they have a deep bench? Are they vertically integrated? Are they using the fees they charge to hire a great team or to pay themselves?

What is their core business model? Selling education? Working elsewhere? Focused on deals? Gurus?

What is your investor communication plan? Ask for last three communications to get a better understanding of their communication style. Is the plan in writing? Can you verify property performance against projections?

What is the performance of their portfolio?

  • Historical performance (proforma vs actual): comparison is more important than absolute return since it gives you the right context
  • Was it project level IRR or investor IRR: total project may look better than investor level
  • Consistent metrics: Ryan likes to use equity multiple and how long it took gives true time tested return, IRR might be misleading or not the best metric

Obtain reference and conduct a background check

  • Don’t ask for a reference, find your own, because no one gives bad references
  • Find others that have invested in the company
  • BBB, Google reviews, 506 Group, etc. – search for the company name and name of the principles

Insurance

  • Does SEC attorney provide E&O insurance to cover for lawsuits
  • What exclusions are included on their title insurance?
  • Is there property insurance at least from an A rated Carrier?

Decision to exit

  • What would make an operator exit early? What is their justification for selling?
  • Have they sold early in the past? How many time and, how did the actual returns compare to projections?
  • How do they brief investors?

 

The Devastating Impact of Climate Change on Your Real Estate Investments in the Next 10 Years

Neal Bawa, Grocapitus

Impact of climate change in 2020 and questions to think about

  • 2020 had $95B in damage from climate disasters
  • What will happen to your investments when taxes increase to pay for massive sea walls?
  • Where will the money come from to fix Texas’s power grid?
  • In California, the six greatest wildfires happened in 2020, and will double in five years. How will this impact California cap rates?
  • Cities with sea level rise exposure are already priced at a 7% discount

Many climate risks may become uninsurable: Insurance companies are starting to buy climate data from Moody’s and creating city-by-city insurance plans.

Climate data is being used to downgrade entire cities: When a city is downgraded, their ability to borrow goes down, making it harder to fund re-construction projects. As a result, people move out, and it continues to spiral.

The end of the 30-year mortgage: Full cities may change to 20 year or 15 year mortgages options

The cities with no climate risk will be the next gold rush.

Overall, the people who set ratings, cap rates, insurance rates, mortgage terms, as well as cities are taking climate risk into account, and so should you.

How to Automatically Get More Passive Investors

Michael Blank, Nighthawk Equity

Create a lead magnet: When someone downloads a lead magnet, they get tagged in system as “downloaded”, and put on email list to receive educational emails

Join the club: After downloading the lead magnet, they are invited to fill out a detailed questionnaire, and get tagged as “joined”.

Schedule a call: Included is the option to schedule a call after filling out the questionnaire. After the call, they get tagged as “deal ready” and are now prepared to receive upcoming opportunities

Follow up automation: Automatically send follow-up emails to people tagged with “downloaded” and “joined” until they move forward in the process and set up a phone call or unsubscribe.

How to Create a Social Media Content Engine

David Toupin, Obsidian Capital & Real Estate Lab

Create lots of content one or two times per month: Either by yourself of hire a videographer for one or two sessions each month, and upload all the content to a DropBox folder

Hire an editor to create a content database: use month’s worth of content to create longer videos, shorter videos, and pictures with caption. The goal is to create at least 10 social media posts per one hour of video content

Hire a content manager: the content manager will use the content database to compile one month’s worth of social media posts.

Determine what the focus of your content is going to be: All posts should be directed towards achieving your end goal

You will approve the posts: Once the content manager has compiled a month’s worth of posts, you review and approve

Schedule the posts: After you’ve approved the posts, the content manger schedules them throughout the next month.

Rinse and repeat

When to Bring Property Management In-House

Frank Roessler, Ashcroft Capital

Day 1: Pros and cons

Pros: 

  • zero disruption
  • small overhead: won’t have to build out an entire organization, which is expensive and time consuming 
  • reduced upfront costs: offices and employee benefits

Cons: 

  • no best practices: you will be learning on the job at the detriment of the first few properties
  • starting at a loss: one property will not cover cost of managing the property, won’t breakeven until you have a couple thousand units 
  • no industry top talent: don’t have a track record to attract best of the best

When you have scale: Pros and cons

Pros

  • Ability to attract top talent: people were eager to jump ship and provide a business plan
  • Starting with a profit margin: breakeven or make a little bit of money
  • Best practices: because you have the top talent

Cons

  • Major disruption: terminating contracts, providing notice, transition process, a million moving parts
  • Significant startup costs: hiring a full team before you even have revenue
  • Relationships can be hurt
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Beyond the Comfort Zone

Stephane Rochet shares how making a plan for success also means creating a plan to push your own boundaries

In the early 2000s, Stephane Rochet worked as a police officer in his community. During his shifts and interactions with his fellow officers, he noticed many of them were often discussing their real estate investments and what was happening in the world of “alternate investments.” After leaving the police force in 2007, he still recalls that environment as the place where he first learned about the potential of real estate investing.

“It was just a realization that the traditional stocks, bonds, put money into your 401(k) and hope for the best, wasn’t working for me,” remembers Stephane. “So, I started to look for other alternatives, and that’s where it started me [into real estate investing], and then the journey continues.”

Stephane moved with his wife and two children to San Diego, California, to pursue a career in the field of athletic performance, specifically around the strength and conditioning of athletes. He also started investing in single-family houses, kickstarting what would become a very active interest in multifamily syndication and the alternate investments he used to hear so much about.

To grow, Stephane began to seek networking opportunities to build relationships and connections with like-minded investors. After several lackluster experiences with local meetups, Stephane realized that the Best Ever Conference presented serious options for personal growth and learning opportunities.

“I made three simple goals. I’m a little bit of an introvert, so going to this, I said, ‘Hey, look, you have to get out of your comfort zone and meet people.’ There were a few people that I had met with or talk to, or emailed or Facebooked before going, and I said, “Well when I’m there, I’m going to actually meet them in person and talk to them.” remembers Stephane. “I had a list of about four names of people who I had contacted previously, had been in touch with, and I sought them out, met them, we had discussions, and they introduced me to other people.”

Meeting people beyond Stephane’s known network was the ultimate goal. He found it easy to achieve, given the conference’s tools, to connect with attendees and plan your experience before arriving on-site.

“I was just determined to meet five new people every day, and that was easy because you had presenters. You’d go sit in a room with presenters, and you just talked to the people beside you while you’re waiting,” said Stephane. “Because I’m new and learning, I wanted to make sure to take advantage of the presenters that were there, so I looked at the schedule beforehand and set out my schedule and made sure I got to see all the presenters that I was interested in.”

As with most conferences, the real test is what you’re able to do with the knowledge you gained once you arrived home. For Stephane, it was not only useful but remained to be empowering on his real estate journey.

“I don’t know if I really realized it until I was on the flight home, but I just felt really excited and a lot more confidence that A, we could do this thing, B, we were on the right track, and C, you didn’t need to be, especially gifted,” said Stephane. “I mean, obviously, you have to get the knowledge, and you have to have some skills, but there were so many regular people just like me out there that were plugging away and doing the same thing.”

In the landscape of COVID-19, Stephane believes that the environment of meaningful relationships and networking comes slightly more complicated. However, not all things have to get harder. In fact, it’s Stephane’s philosophy on real estate investing as a whole that truly relies on keeping things simple.

“It’s so easy to get into the weeds, but an investor doesn’t really care about that, especially on the first call or anything,” said Stephane. “Just remember to keep it a simple, broad picture, and explain things in a way that people can just grasp it and understand why it’s a good investment or why it’s a good path to follow.”

This year at the Best Ever Conference, taking place February 18-20th, there is a full day dedicated to networking. Start networking now and use code WINNERS30 for 30% off your ticket! Register here.

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Networking in 2021

As any real estate investing pro can attest, networking is an irreplaceable factor in the success of active and passive investors. In a world catapulted into the virtual space during 2020, many investors have struggled to find how to network impactfully.

With meet-up groups delayed and in-person meetings on hold, the virtual space is now the only space to network. While many are postponing conferences, some are taking advantage of the opportunity to join in on virtual networking from right where they are.

A previous conference attendee said, “This is the lowest barrier to entry because you don’t have to leave your living room. You don’t have to buy a plane ticket. So if you’re thinking about going, you really don’t have an excuse.”

The goal of our virtual Best Ever Conference is to provide maximum value to each attendee in both insights and networking opportunities. The conference is filled with speakers and content focused on our audience’s curated needs and interests. We have a whole day set aside for networking and we strongly encourage you to take advantage of our exceptional platform that makes virtual networking easy. Some of the ways you can connect:

• Set 1-on-1 Meetings with Other Attendees
• Join Q&A Rooms for the Latest Topics
• Enter the Networking Lounge with Custom Table Topics
• Speed Networking to Make as Many Connections as Possible
• Playback Any Keynote Speaker on Demand

Our platform is open to attendees NOW. Start your networking. Use code WINNERS30 for 30% off your ticket! Register here.

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To Create Something Meaningful

How artist-at-heart Marc Cortez evolved his technology and media business success into a passive investment career

Creativity and connection fueled the early stages of Marc Cortez’s career. He thrived in competitive, start-up environments where the stakes were high, but the growth opportunities were endless. After building thriving social presences for some of the world’s biggest brands, Marc evolved his business savvy into advising budding entrepreneurs to raise capital and develop their business plans. It didn’t take Marc long to start formulating business plans of his very own.

Almost ten years and several successful ventures later, Marc finds himself exclusively in the investor seat at his firm Cortez Holdings Group. The creation of this investment group was made possible by the successes achieved in his earlier career.

“I’m an artist at heart, but my passion for real estate was inspired by the freedom I can create in my life,” said Marc. “Professionally, I spent the last ten years in tech and media turning big wins into passive investments by way of syndications. I’m consistently pursuing ways to grow my portfolio and increase my cash flow.”

Growing his portfolio and increasing cash flow has been significantly impacted through attending conferences like the Best Ever Conference. A long-time attendee, Marc began attending as a volunteer to help a friend. What started as a simple act of friendship turned into a consistent presence each year, where Marc now ushers VIP guests throughout the event.

Beyond simply attending the event, Marc’s most memorable takeaway is essential for investors of all skill levels to keep in mind.

“Make one really good friend. It’s easy to run around dropping ‘cards’ off and playing the quantity over quality game. But one incredible connection can open up an entire world,” said Marc. “I’ve seen deals and business partnerships sprout and excel from these relationships. So build a healthy connection with at least one person and be amazed at the future potential.”

Personal connections have changed the way that Marc views his personal investments, finding that the personal element often helps propel deals far faster than they would otherwise go.

“Discussing a potential sponsor with people in the same sphere or community also helps with diligence. It’s easier to get a recommendation or review,” shared Marc.

Understanding another key component of relationships is critical in bringing value to investments: how people handle adversity.

“I have a longstanding relationship with the partners [at an investment group], and I trust that my best interest as an investor is a priority, but even more so that a great relationship is a priority,” said Marc. “I can recall countless examples of how they’ve supported me inside the investment and out.”

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Living Life Fully

Dave Allred discusses what it looks like to define a path for success while making the most of each moment along the way

Discussing finances was something that wasn’t done in Dave Allred’s family growing up. Having never had those critical conversations around money or money management, Dave realized in his early adult life that he wanted more for himself around financial understanding and financial freedom.

At age 21, he committed to becoming a lifelong student of finances and investing. While he actively continues pursuing knowledge and personal development today, he credits much of his success, both personally and professionally, to that commitment very early in his life.

“I think it’s really important in our personal development is that we’re always teachable and coachable,” shared Dave. “That’s just been a guiding principle of mine is to always be a lifelong student. Not only in finances but also in real estate, personal development with my own family.”

While networking may be a topic that can make some uncomfortable, Dave rethinks networking as truly prioritizing relationships. It’s authenticity and relevancy that distinguishes the development of relationships from mere networking, which Dave believes can often come across as “gimmicky” or forced in certain situations.

“I feel like relationships are the new currency in business. My best deals, the business that I’m most proud of, has actually been with my friends, with my network,” shared Dave. “They’re people that I trust and that we have similar interests; we’re on the same mission in life.”

Relationship building has never been more critical than in our current environment, where how those relationships are built has had to be rethought due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While conferences like Best Ever Conference are transitioning to a virtual platform to foster a sense of community and connection, Dave believes that meaningful relationships can continue to form beyond these virtual events.

“The power of social media and staying connected through Facebook groups, my Instagram page allows me to put a lot of content out there just to keep adding value for others. I follow on Instagram a lot of the people that I really respect,” said Dave. “While that’s not as personal as meeting in-person or on a call, I feel like we can still stay very connected, know what we’re working on, what we’re up to. I’m inspired by a lot of others in the space through social media. It’s a very powerful tool to be able to still communicate, add value for each other, and really collaborate.

Beyond a continuous drive to learn also lives a desire to document and measure success. Dave spent a significant amount of time creating his “lifestyle design”, or what he calls a blueprint for his own life. By documenting his core values, mission statement, non-negotiables, and more, he could use those as a foundation to build financial success on top.

“People overestimate what they can accomplish in one year, but they underestimate what they can accomplish in three to five years. I found that to be true over and over,” said Dave. “If we can get clear on what we really want in the long-term and have the right habits and behavior then we can actually accomplish amazing, significant things, but it takes time.”

Start your networking today at the Best Ever Conference, taking place February 18-20th. Use code WINNERS30 for 30% off your ticket! Register here.

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The Art of Doing

Rob Withers explains how the world around him inspires his philosophy behind real estate

Born and raised in Arizona, Rob Withers moved to Colorado for college and found his home. He spent a large bulk of his life fully engrossed in all the outdoor activities that Colorado has to offer. From mountain biking to hiking to skiing, Rob took advantage of being outdoors whenever he could. The only time that seemed not to be possible was when he worked as a technology consultant for more than 25 years but discovered real estate investing on the side.

Only a few years out of college in the 1990s, Rob invested in several single-family rental homes in Arizona and Colorado. The time commitment of his family and a full-time job at a multinational consulting firm kept him from fully investing his time to learn what was necessary to attain true success and the desired returns on his investments. Leaving the investing world feeling discouraged, another opportunity presented itself that changed how Rob invested both then and for his foreseeable future.

“Around 2010, a good friend of mine who was a realtor said to me, “Lakewood Housing Authority is selling off all this inventory, duplexes, single-family homes. The income’s great. You should really look at this. I know you dabbled in real estate a while ago.” And he had the contract to sell off 40 or 50 doors,” remembered Rob. “And so at the time I bought three duplexes, and the math was totally different than it was in the ’90s. Since then, I expanded buying more rentals and developed a partnership with a builder to build single-family homes and duplexes in Denver.”

The transition from single-family properties to duplexes opened Rob’s eyes to the multifamily syndication model. Rob bought and sold a 64 unit multi-family property in 2019. Over the last few years, he’s been transitioning more of his time, energy, and financial resources to diversify his investment portfolio and develop relationships in the real estate investing community.

Attending conferences like the Best Ever Conference in 2019 was an easy decision for Rob to make, given his close geographical proximity to Keystone. He was also inspired to lean into his desire to learn and do more within real estate.

“I was impressed with the quality of the people at the conference. Many have had successful careers and are learning the business” said Rob. “But then there are others that are a little bit more mature and have been around the block a bit longer but are still very approachable and still willing to discuss deals. I feel like I learned a lot and met great people.”

When thinking about the impact of what COVID-19 has on the reality of networking in 2021, Rob believes there are definite impacts for new relationship building, especially if real estate investing is not your primary occupation.

“For me personally, I still feel like there’s so much more I could do on the real estate side, simply around networking if I didn’t have the challenge of 40 to 50 hour a week job. So that does impact me,” reflects Rob. “But there are certainly tools that can help; I think a key for a conference where there’s a larger group setting is to create a form of engagement where there can be joint participation.”

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Eyes on the Skies

Lifelong pilot Tait Duryea shares how his passion for real estate soared after the Best Ever Conference experience.

An active lifestyle was always in the cards for Tait Duryea. Alongside his avid love of flying, Tait had always been intrigued by real estate investing. Not long after he started his career as a pilot, he purchased his first rental property in Las Vegas, Nevada at the age of 24.

“It was just a single-family house in Las Vegas. I put a property manager between me and the tenants, so they wouldn’t know how young I was,” remembered Tait. From that single-family home onward, he fell in and out of real estate investments without a particular strategy. Being newer to real estate, he discovered the Best Ever Conference taking place in Denver in 2019 and decided to take part.

“The catalyst for getting me more active with [real estate] was Best Ever Conference. It was the first conference that I had ever attended and it just catapulted my career from being someone who was new to the ropes from reading books and listening to podcasts, to being someone who did real estate and had a real estate network, because it’s all about relationships,” said Tait. “It launched my true real estate investing career, got me out of single-family [investments] and into commercial and syndication.”

Passive investments, like multi-family syndication, weren’t something that Tait was even aware existed prior to the Best Ever Conference. During the event in 2019, a mock debate whether active or passive investing was better took place, prompting some new thinking.

To many, the concept of networking can seem artificial, forced, or even trite. However, relationship building proved to be an essential element that Tait took from the Best Ever Conference, retaining relationships forged over that weekend into his real estate transactions today. The absolute, exponential power of relationships in the real estate investing business is something that Tait believes is worth experiencing and contributing to.

“Just having a network of like-minded real estate investors who you know personally and that your friends with is rocket fuel,” said Tait. “And unless you’ve been to a conference and you start talking with other people who are doing things like you are and have ideas and contacts and people that can help in what you’re trying to do, it’ll change your investing career.”

Attending the Best Ever Conference ultimately changed how Tait invested, shifting 50% of his investment portfolio into finding, vetting, and investing in limited partnership syndication deals instead of all active investments in single and multi-family homes.

Tait believes there’s never been a better year to try it out.

“This is the lowest barrier to entry because you don’t have to leave your living room,” said Tait. “You don’t have to buy a plane ticket. So if you’re thinking about going, you really don’t have an excuse.”

Start your networking today at the Best Ever Conference, taking place February 18-20th. Use code WINNERS30 for 30% off your ticket! Register here.

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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…

MINI VACATIONS & LOCAL TRIPS (SOCIAL DISTANCE APPROVED)
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

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

MEMBERSHIPS & TICKETS
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

FOOD EXCURSIONS
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.

7. SHUT UP!

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 www.Upwork.com. 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 www.UpWork.com  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 https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/bookshelf. 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 www.myidentifiers.com  
  • 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 Amazon.com. 

 

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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