Are you doing enough to achieve your goals? It always comes down to your mindset. Join Dan Zitofsky from Passive Wealth Academy and Jennifer Steward from Phone Pheonix Agency and Powerful Property Solutions in one of today’s most powerful podcasts. Jennifer Steward is an off-market estate acquisitions and disposition specialist who has helped over a dozen real estate investors build successful companies through virtual processes. Learn how to get your mindset, vision, and business skills on point to overcome almost any obstacle in life and business. Do you want to be free and happy while earning an income? You have to believe that you can succeed too. It is in your power, and you are in control.
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Get Your Mindset, Vision and Business Skills On Point With Jen Steward and Dan Zitofsky
Breakthrough With Your Vision And Mindset To Overcome Most Any Obstacle In Life And Business
I have a special guest on the show. Let me tell you a bit about her. Jennifer Steward is the owner of two amazing companies. I’ve watched her grow through this industry to become a rock star and now there’s a waiting list to get on with her to do any business. She owns Phone Phoenix Agency. She runs an amazing inside sales call agency setting up sales calls for over 100 employees that she works with, trains, sets up to work for some high-level companies doing amazing lead gen, sales calls and all those things.
She also started Powerful Property Solutions. She’s an amazing wholesaler. She has dispositions and acquisitions in place. She put her systems in place. We’ll talk a bit about that. She’s done that and she’s going to be taking this nationwide soon. We’re going to see her balloon nationwide. I’ve had Jen on my mastermind group. When somebody comes to my mastermind group, I see a lot of hype and interest in the first couple of days. I got two messages where people are like, “How can I work with Jen? This is amazing. I’ve watched the training four times,” which is unreal that they’ve watched that four times since that.
I knew I wanted to get Jen on the show. I knew we had to do this. We’re both busy. Jen is heading out to an event to meet with some high-level people at NoteExpo, somebody I love like Eddie Speed. Jeff Watson will be there. We’re in the same network. When you’re on the same network, it’s pretty cool to see somebody come through the ranks and move up. I wish I were there to see her in person as well.
Once again, if you like what we’re doing, give us a five-star. Share this with a friend and somebody you think can help. We’re not in this business to make money on the show. We don’t have any advertisers. I can’t say I won’t do that in the future, but my plan is never to do advertising on the show. It should just be pure content to bring out what I do in my business and more importantly, this is more about mindset, not how to do the business. We got on a call, we’re 40 minutes into it and all of us can’t shut up about mindset. We love it. Thanks so much for being on, Jen. I appreciate it. It’s an honor to have you and it’s a blessing.
Dan, thank you. It’s an honor to be here. I did very much enjoy that conversation about mindset because it’s what changes your whole life, what you feel like you’re capable of and your why. Why do you get out of bed and how do you implement things in your day? It all comes down to your mindset.
I’m going to ask you a lot of questions because you’ve taken what I think I’ve taken over the years maybe at a slow pace. You’ve been on a VIP fast lane. When I first started watching you on social media, it might’ve been maybe in 2020. I saw you and you were this great employee personality, working hard tirelessly. I even tried to hire you one time. You’re like, “I’m so busy working for all the people. I can’t do it.” You were so ethical and moral. You wouldn’t take on other people. You were like, “I work for this person and that’s it.”
You didn’t just open a business. You’ve projected this business to where most people would dream to have a business and you’re even going further. What made you go from that employee mindset and having this amazing vision? I call it visionary. You could open a business because I think you’re a visionary. If people aren’t following you, they’re crazy not to. They’ll eventually want to work with you, but they should at least follow you because you’re as real as they come. How’d you go from that point A to point Z?
I find it very gracious that you said I was on a fast VIP track because when I was fifteen years old, which was years ago, I read this little book called Rich Dad Poor Dad. I know everyone reading this knows what that is. That was the year 2000. I was reading that and I knew that the way the world had been set up was not for someone like me because I value my freedom. I took a long time to get where I was wanting to get to by building out my knowledge base. Whenever I had a friend ask me years ago, I had graduated college. It took me a while to graduate because I was working part-time.
I had my son and then decided I needed to change my life. I finished college at age 30. I get out and I have my second son. I graduated Summa Cum Laude, seven months pregnant with my second son with a Science degree in Psychology. I’m walking across the stage with this big belly, all these medals and all that but I have to get out and get a job. I know I want to do what Robert Kiyosaki says, but you have to start with a good skillset and/or capital. I had neither. I had a degree, but I didn’t have a valuable skillset that I knew of.
I had a friend. She said, “I’m working for this real estate investor. I want you to come. I know you’re extremely good at being able to determine people’s motivations.” She had known me since I was quite young. We’re the same age. She said, “I need someone who can get on the phone with these people and determine whether or not they want to sell their property.” She wanted to pay me for that job. It was $5 an hour because that’s what they were paying their VAs overseas. This is crazy but I took the job because I saw the potential in learning what she was saying that I would be good at.
I thought, “If I get good at this for $5 an hour, then I can eventually become the investor. If I can figure out if people want to sell and convince them to sell their property to me at a discount, that’s the hard part.” Everything else is easy after that. I became that employee as a necessity to learn the skill that I needed to learn to become as free as I’ve tried to be since I first read that book in the year 2000. What Robert Kiyosaki doesn’t tell you is you probably will have to get a job first, unless you are a trust fund kid or something like that. That’s what my dad told me when I first read the book.
What it takes is some serious planning to transition from being an employee to being a true business owner. We’ve all seen the cashflow quadrant and everything like that. I’m not in the I space yet. I’m not going to pretend I’m in the I space. We talked about ego. I’m not in the I space. I’m not lending my money out as a passive investor like some of the people investing in my company to do transactional lending, etc. Those people are in the I space. I look forward to being there in my golden years, but now, I have no shame in saying I’m in the hustle space.
I still have most of the pigment of my hair. Although a lot of it is now hair dye. When my hair is looking like yours, Dan, I’m ready to be in the I space lending out that passive money for nice returns to the people who I met and hopefully, that I can trust bringing those good deals. I’m the one bringing the good deals, Lord willing. That’s my job every day.If you don't have that inside track on which systems are working, you're going to get left behind. Click To Tweet
That’s how I transitioned. That’s a plan that I had had since I was fifteen years old. I knew that I needed the skillset to get the sales to get to a place where I could become a business owner. It was a long-term plan and I had to do my time in the employee space. That’s all there is to it. Have you ever seen the movie The Shawshank Redemption?
I love that movie.
Andy puts in his time. He bides his time. That was me. I felt like Andy in The Shawshank Redemption. I knew I was going to get out, but every day I was digging that tunnel a bit more. Staying up late, working those long hours that you noticed because I’m digging that tunnel to get out.
I don’t know if it’s put out because it’s every industry. “Get rich quick, lose all the weight.” Everybody wants the snap your fingers easy process. I feel like social media takes advantage of people. They tell you how easy it is. I always say I’m willing to do the work. All those I’m willing to do now to live a life others wished they could live later. What attracted you to me business-wise, is you saw the life I was living. I didn’t put out pictures of my cars and I have them. Sometimes we’re on the boat and you’ll see it.
I didn’t put up pictures of my watches. I wear it because I like it, but I put out pictures and I talked about this with my marketing team. They’re like, “You got to put some of that out there.” I’m like, “It’s not me.” What’s me and what I’ll brag on is the time I have, the experiences I have with my family and friends. My friends don’t care. They’re happy for me that I’ve driven a Lamborghini and Maserati. They’re happy with me. I had a Bentley. That’s not what they care about.
We went to an event and we got out of our car and we parked the car. We walk inside a restaurant. We get together for dinner. They’re not talking about the car. They’re talking about what’s going on in their lives. We’re at a deeper level. I believe that people aren’t willing to do what it takes to get that. They don’t see the grind and the hustle that we paid to get there over the years.
I’ve watched you do it. I’ve watched you grind. What’s the difference between where you were before and where you are? I said I saw a huge difference that you believed in yourself. You have a vision. You work with a lot of companies. I know why people aren’t successful in business or why they won’t take that step.
Why won’t they get a mentor? People that don’t get a mentor, I’ll say this and you can give me your feedback because you work with a lot of people. At first, I didn’t think that I had enough in me. Who am I to coach somebody? Who am I to be their mentor? I believe coach or mentor is two different things. Who am I to be either one of those? What do I have? It took me a little while to get my mindset right. I have a mentor and every mentor should have a mentor. You got to be constantly growing. Sometimes you have to change your mentor to get to that next level.
My mentor tells me, “You’re being selfish by not sharing what you know with somebody else.” You don’t have to share it for free, but how can I charge them for it? I didn’t value what I had. I wanted to give it away. The problem is I did in the beginning and it crushed me because everyone I gave it for free did nothing. I couldn’t remember one success story of anyone I’ve worked with. I’m talking about truly mentored, not answered questions.
Somebody that I truly mentored for free, I can’t remember it ever working. The minute we charged, I didn’t consider it a cost. If somebody says, “How much do you charge?” I don’t want to work with them because it’s not a cost. You’re investing in yourself. You’re investing in yourself to become a better version of yourself.
I’ll be paying for it the rest of my life, Dan.
It made you a better version of yourself. You have a degree in Psychology and it helps you understand people. You should invest in yourself, if you don’t value yourself enough, even in your health. I love coaching people and I’ve done a great job in health and I’m digging deep. It’s caught my interest because it’s not about weight. I want to be healthier for the long-term for me and my kids and grandkids. I want to coach people because as I help them in real estate investing, building wealth and their lifestyle, I can help them in health as well.
People who want to get healthy but they don’t want to invest in themselves time and some money. They’re not going to do it. It’s a shame because they don’t value it. I would say to somebody, “You’re going to value my information for free but if you invest in yourself, you don’t value it.” I’m very particular about who I work with as you are as well in business. You’re in the grind of working with different business owners. You see some that are probably successful and have great people that follow them. You probably see some that are terrible leaders and they triple their fee. What do you see is going on in the industry there?
I have a lot of insights on that because I have worked with so many different companies over the years. What I’ve seen that makes people more successful is a couple of things. Number one is you do need capital. There’s no way around that. You need to have the capital behind your marketing and you need to make sure good money goes behind good money. We don’t want to put good money behind bad money. We need to have capital and the right processes that work. You need to look at the people in your industry who are doing the things that are successful.
You need to emulate that and then improve on it. Having that inside track into what the successful people are doing is the value of mentorship and coaching masterminds, etc. If you don’t have that inside track on which systems are working, you’re going to get left behind. Even as long as I’ve been doing it, I’m always keeping my ear to the ground for new vendors and software because if every business person is getting a bit better every day and I’m not, then I’m going to be the blockbuster to Netflix. We have to stay humble enough to be ready to innovate, even though it’s uncomfortable.
It may hurt our ego. We may have to change all of our business processes and that is painful. There’s the inertia. We’ve worked so hard to build up the system that’s successful overall these years. God forbid, we have to change it because that’s too painful. What’s more painful is being left behind, technologically displaced. We’ve got to have capital. We have to stay on top of the processes technologically. Third, you and I were talking about this before. The big one that I noticed is people blame their people for lack of success. That is the biggest mistake I’ve seen.
If you’re blaming people in your industry or business for you not being successful, then those are the people that I can predict are going to fail. I’m not saying other people don’t have an effect on what we do, but it’s our job as leaders to either incentivize them properly or unfortunately, maybe find someone that we can incentivize. We were talking about the difference between an employee mindset and a leadership mindset. A leadership mindset is, “Is everyone around me taken care of?” If they’re taken care of, then I’m going to be taken care of.
People who are successful in business make sure that everyone who’s contributing is being rewarded monetarily in an equitable fashion. If you’ve got in our industry an acquisition manager who’s killing it and you’re not paying them on time. When things close, you’ll say, “I’ll catch you on the next closing.” You’ve got to make sure that you’re being competitive in your pay if you want people who are competitive in their output. People try to be cheap. They try to be cheap with their employees and that’s how you’re going to lose good people. That’s what I’ve seen, a lack of capital, processes and compensating talented people.
I call it kneeling your employees out. I had a conversation with somebody I was consulting with. Real estate investment companies bring me in to consult. I get a lot of dentists bring me in to consult their practice. I get insurance companies too. For whatever reason, I get those that come in and they say, “Come out and consult us for 2 to 3 days and help my business.” One is an accounting practice. I worked with them. They were doing a great job in their practice. They were doing well but the culture wasn’t a fit.
They were doing well with money but when I spoke to the employees, I could see that the culture wasn’t the greatest in that organization. I spoke to the owner of the practice and here’s the thing. You could be a great CPA, but you can be a terrible business owner. You can be the greatest dentist in the world, but it doesn’t make you a great business owner. It makes you great. Sometimes, if you find that you’re not a great business owner, hire a consultant. Bring them in and let them handle that CEO service. Just because your name is on the paper as the owner, it doesn’t mean you should be the CEO of your company.
That’s the hardest ego cut to a lot of people. I remember this one story. I worked with a CPA firm. They were doing great money-wise, but they were cranking away. They wanted to get to another level. I felt like the employees were grinding. They didn’t feel bought. They didn’t buy-in. They didn’t tell me this, but you could see. Every time I talked to them, there are things like, “I make good money. It’s pretty good here. I get to take off if I need to.” I spoke to the owner and he said, “We do quarterly meetings with our team. We get together with them and we talk about what’s going on.”
I said, “Why do you do those?” He says, “We meet with a certain amount of people every quarter in the conference room different times a day.” I said, “Did you ever think about taking your team away to a resort and doing a quarterly meeting there?” They gave me all the reasons why it wouldn’t work. When I’m done, I sit down with the owner and give him a list of all the things I recommend. They swore to me they would do this every quarter. They’re taking their team away. They went the first time to Clearwater. They rented a resort. They had 40 something people.
They said next time they’re bringing their significant others with them if they want to. They said they saw such a change in their office. The accountant could have said to himself, “This is not worth it. It’s too much money. I got to spend all this money.” First of all, it’s a tax write-off and they know better than that. Once again, is it a cost or is it an investment? I see everything as an investment.
We go out to dinner with my wife. It’s an investment. I spend $100. It’s an investment in our relationship and our lives. It’s an investment in her. I’m honoring her. I see things like that as an investment. The reason I changed my mindset a bit from buying all those expensive cars is because those cars to me are costs. It was an investment in my happiness but after 3 or 4 months, I lost the happiness. It was just a cost.
The payments are still there if you financed them.
Now, I’m working harder to keep up. What am I doing this for? It’s so I can live my vision. My vision is to do what I want when I want and with whom I want. I can’t do it if I’m working 100 hours a week to keep up to impress people. Anything that you probably see in these owners that are failing, they probably consider people like you as a cost. You should be an investment. Anyone that hires you, if I pay you $5,000, you should bring me at least $6,000.In business, you are going to take risks and you need to invest in yourself in a different way than you have ever done before. Click To Tweet
I have had people say, “I can’t afford you.” I said, “What you can’t afford are these people who are calling for $3.50 an hour. I’ve listened to those calls. You might as well set that money on fire because that’s not going to convert at all.” If I’m spending $3.50 an hour for a cold caller who is converting nothing or I can spend $10 an hour for someone who’s doing an awesome job and I’m getting one lead per hour, which one costs more? The $3.50 an hour caller who in an eight-hour shift got zero leads. This happened for a company I was consulting with.
The guy said, “Build me out the system.” I listened to this caller for $3.50 an hour. To his credit, it didn’t take much for me to convince him, “We need to shift gears to a better company, someone that I know and trust. I’m happy to plug Amber Calls With Love. I brought her into my agency because she’s so good.” I said, “She’s impressed me. Let’s go ahead and bring her team in.” I was all about sticking to as little as possible in this budget. We’re going to get this cold caller for $3.50 an hour. It all comes down to which one costs more? Spending that money or not spending that money.
Sometimes not spending that money costs a lot more. I understand the hang-up because how do we know that this is going to pay off and not going to be a hustle. That’s where I want to give people a bit of credit for being rational is how do we know that somebody is going to be good versus not? We have to build a network and branding. I had a guy who gave me his business credit card. As we talked about putting money in my account, why did he do that? It’s because he trusts me. Why does he trust me? Because he’s paid attention to me like you have. I’ve built a brand. I’ve networked and I spoke in front of an audience with him.
Because of that association, he trusts me, and he should, because I take my fiduciary responsibilities extremely seriously. That’s why it’s important that before I think we put ourselves out there, we are correspondingly building a brand as responsibly as possible. I think you do a great job of that, Dan. I feel like you build a great brand that is very service-oriented. You’re not like some guy who is flashing the cars and the watches and everything like that. We know you have nice things, but you make it about success as a community. That’s a great leadership quality.
Part of my process when I’ve mentored people is a breakdown and my mentor did this to me, “Who are you?” A lot of people don’t know who they are. Who are you as a person? Jen, what are you? It’s like, “I’m a mother.” That’s probably first. It might be, “I’m a God-fearing woman. I’m a mother.” It’s nothing in there. The first part of who you are doesn’t say, “I have a company. I’m a lead gen company.” Who am I? I love mentoring. I love helping people change their lives.
When someone tells me, “I want to help people.” I call BS on them all the time. I had a conversation with you about somebody I was talking with. He said, “I want to help people.” Why can’t you help them? You can go out and help anybody. There are homeless people. You can go out and help them. If you want to help, there are a lot of volunteer opportunities to go out and help people. Peel that onion back on who you are. Who are you as a person? What is your vision? What do you do personally? What do you do in your business vision? That’s what I learned through my mentor. It’s such a deeper level than most people.
They’re so superficial when you ask them. When I work with any business, I want to know who that person is, what their why and what their vision is. As I said, I watch them. I don’t want to jump in bed with somebody. On business, it’s so much of a deeper level. When you want someone to jump in bed with them, it’s not just the relationship. It’s like, “We want to work with each other day in and day out. We want to serve you and honor you as best we possibly could because, in return, it’ll serve us and honor us.” Nothing here in my vision said, “I want to be a millionaire.” It wasn’t part of my vision.
Who are you? You are a God-fearing person. You’re a Christian, father, grandfather, son, brother or uncle. I’ll go down the line and it’s like, I’m a coach. I coach football and businesses. I’m a visionary. I’m an entrepreneur. That’s who I am. I say this because I had a situation. You’ll appreciate this. Somebody came to me. It was probably about in 2020. They came with this great business plan and it was great, to start a roofing company. They started a roofing company and I was jumping on it. We were talking about over $1 million gross a year.
It’s good profits in that business, I hear.
I was jumping on it. I spoke to my mentor about it. He says, “Why would you do that?” I said, “It’s a great opportunity and a great partner.” He says, “What in your vision says that you want to be a roofer?” I said, “I don’t want to be a roofer, but I’m a real estate investor.” If we get up on the roof, if it’s fixable, we make money. If it’s not fixable, maybe that person wants to sell the property. We don’t even have to deal. We could refer it out to other roofing companies. His answer, “What in your vision says you want to be a roofer?” I finally got it. I understood afterwards.
I was chasing the money. It went back to the whole process of who are you? When you work with people and I see you’re pretty good at it. You’re better at most in cutting somebody off if they’re going to be a time vampire to you and they’re not serious or they don’t have these ethics and morals that you do. You’re not going to work with somebody who says, “I want you to hook me up with leads where I can rip people off.” Jen’s nice. She’s great. You would probably give some choice words that you don’t want even to put on here if they were like, “I’m going to rip somebody off,” because that’s not who you are.
It’s not a sustainable business model either. From a selfish perspective, it brings more regulation to all of us. There are certain exit strategies I don’t even discuss publicly because I don’t want to bring regulation onto them. A lot of people don’t know of certain types of exit strategies and I feel that if more people knew, then the wrong people are maybe going to get ahold of that information. If someone wants to have me as a coach, then I’m going to tell them those more creative exit strategies because at that point, I’ve got a feel for them and I can trust them.
Are they going to bring more government regulation on some of my favorite exit strategies? If they are, I don’t want to tell them because we’re all dealing with more government intervention. If you can find a space where you do not have to deal with all the rules, regulations and more paperwork, you can provide solutions to your property sellers.
It’s not even about me, it’s about, “Can I solve this person’s problem?” The more people who take advantage of those solutions by extorting people who are in a situation that truly where they need our help, they do a disservice to our entire industry. They make us all look bad. I don’t want to deal with people that make us all look bad.
We’re dealing with that now. I’ve been involved in this business for a long time. Thank God for people like Jeff Watson and John Hyer. These two, if you’re not following, you need to follow them. Not only is Jeff somebody I consider a friend, but he is also a trusted advisor to me and a visionary in the industry. John is somebody I follow and I love. I don’t know him personally. I feel like I do because there are certain people, no matter what they do, I’ll be all in with them. Jeff was part of the Seller Finance Coalition back when Dodd-Frank came out.
That hurt my business a lot back then. When the market got rocked in 2007, 2008 and 2009, I switched to seller financing to owners because banks weren’t giving loans to them. I was selling funds to properties with owner-occupants and I was doing a great job with it. I was doing it ethically and morally.
What happened is you have people come in. When it’s easy money, they come in and they start taking advantage. Big hedge funds were taking advantage of sellers. I specifically remember it happening out of Baltimore. If you heard of Dodd-Frank, that was started and that killed seller financing to owner-occupants.
You could still do it, but the regulations are so heavy that it made it not worth it because I was seller financing properties to people who didn’t have W-2s. They were contractors, realtors and landscapers. They couldn’t get mortgages. I was helping them. They made money. I never had to foreclose on any of them.
I’m grateful for that. That came in place. It hurt the good people, the people I was providing housing to. I then went to investors. I’m seeing it because wholesalers are taking tremendous advantage of sellers, almost criminally. They’re taking sellers’ homes, putting them under contract with no intention of ever being able to close.
I don’t use that word lightly. I truly hate whenever people don’t buy deep enough. If you can’t buy deep enough, refer it to a realtor. Do some seller financing. Get a hedge fund that’s going to pay $0.70 to $0.80 on the dollar. Don’t get it under contract for $0.70 to $0.80 on the dollar and then try to hound your buyer’s list. Nobody wants that. Not with the way costs and materials are. If you’re not buying between 50% and 60% ARV, don’t wholesale it because nobody wants it. They can’t afford the low margins for the costs of labor and materials.
Why do you think people are jumping on those deals and writing contracts over a price? What is your thought on it, especially now? We saw what happened to Zillow. They’re shutting down their online buying and laying off 25% of their workforce. It’s the telltale sign of things to come. Why do you think it’s happening? Why do you think people jump on deals and overpay for deals? What are your thoughts? I know I have mine. I want to hear yours real quick.
It’s because they don’t have the teaching that I did. If I hadn’t had the great mentors that I had, to your point, I would honestly be in the same boat as them. It’s a sexy industry and everyone loves real estate investing. That’s where Arnold Schwarzenegger became a millionaire. Even actors and actresses want to be good at real estate. Even in my kids’ shows, the people are like, “Now, I have this money. I need to invest it in real estate.” These are cartoons. This is a sexy and glamorized industry.
Why don’t we mentor them? I wouldn’t mind mentoring Rocky Balboa. He is one of my favorites, also, Chris Rock or Eddie Murphy.
Bring me Brad Pitt, please.
Let’s do it. What do we call that company? We got to do something.
We’re going to teach them all how to invest in off-market residential real estate. Commercial is very sexy too. They are starting to come back, which is good. There are a lot of opportunities there, even the retail space. It’s such a sexy industry for lack of a better word. Without proper mentorship, you’re going to end up in a bad way. I’m going to name-drop my best mentor in this industry. He does not bring attention to himself. His name is Joseph Terrio, out of New Hampshire. He taught me, he says, “Jen, you need to buy deep at 50% to 60% and here is why.” He has one of the best wholesaling and dispo sites in the country with a constant inventory. He does not bring any attention to himself.Leadership mindset is making sure everyone is taken care of. Click To Tweet
I don’t even know him. That’s crazy.
He’s not just good. He’s the best.
If you’re telling me he’s good, I trust you like there’s no tomorrow.
He put up with me when I was very ungroomed. I needed a lot of grooming. He did the hard work with me, mindset and training.
I know we’re going to keep going and I want to bring it back to something you said that my alarm went off. I want people to hear this. This might be the most important part of the show. When Jen said, “He put up with me with my grooming and all of that stuff.” I’m saying this because I cannot tell you. I had somebody give me a nasty message on Facebook Messenger. They came to me with questions. I answered their questions over and over. We got on the phone with them and answered them.
They never went to any of my trainings. They wanted to learn how to do hard money. I got on the phone with them. I looked at the dates. This was years ago. For three months back and forth, I got on two phone calls with them. I didn’t charge them anything for it. They didn’t take any action. They complained the whole time. “What could I do?” At this point, I was like, “It’s going to take a couple of months to teach you everything I do. I put it all online. I’ll give you a discount. Get it. You’re not even paying me. It’s going to my marketing team.”
I don’t even care about the money at this point. Go through and learn how to do it. I got a nasty message from them years later, “You kicked me when I was down. You didn’t help me. I had somebody else who was willing to help me for free and the deal got done. Sometimes you should help people when they’re down.” It was right after I spoke at the mastermind and then I read it and it was bothering me.
It was a gut punch to me. I talked a bit about I didn’t want to coach early because I felt like I couldn’t help people and everything I do is to help others. I did help her. I had to put the brakes on like the Flintstones. I had to say like, “I did help her. This is her garbage, not my garbage.” She’s projecting her negativity on me.
I’m willing to bet she’s still not successful.
The reason I want to stop you is because you’re like, “Joe worked with me and he talked to me and helped me.” Everybody’s green in this industry at one time. Don’t be scared to be green. Don’t be scared to ask questions. People like us love when you ask questions, but you bring value. We understand people are starting but it’s not, “What can you do for me?” It’s, “How can I help you help me?” You were a little different. It’s not that you were green and he helped you out. It’s because he saw your mindset. I don’t know how long before that you’ve been out there, but I’ve been watching you and I saw your mindset.
We talk about our circles are very tight and who we work with. It’s funny how you and I know a lot of the same people and we’ve never even been in person together at once. Hopefully, we get you to speak at our event. Hopefully, I’m at events with you when I speak. Hopefully, I will see you and I can build you up. I want to see you come through and you’re shining a light on so many people. That’s why he helped you. The reason I want to stop you is because I want people reading to understand that you have to have the mindset that Jennifer Steward has and people will be a magnet to you.
It’s all about the mindset. It’s all about your personality. It’s all about how you present yourself on social media. We talked about it. I’ve watched you for 6 to 9 months before I answered your message. I was like, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but I like seeing what you’re doing. I like your work ethic. Is there anything we could do together in my business?” Your ethics, you’re like, “I would love to, but I’m loyal to who I’m working with.” That got me. You don’t see that. You didn’t even come to me and say, “Pay me $10 an hour for my callers. Pay me $2,000 a deal.”
You didn’t say any of that. I know now what you made before, which was ridiculous. You were loyal to a fault to yourself. I don’t like to interrupt, but I want to stop you. This is not a show on how to do the business. We did that in my mastermind. If people are following you for a little bit, they’re going to understand that you’re the real deal. It’s about mindset.
There are, if not hundreds of thousands, millions of people in this industry who call themselves investors. There might be 200 or less that I think I would value in this business. That’s crazy that you’re in Texas and I’m out on the East Coast by Philadelphia and Delaware and a New Yorker. Texans and New Yorkers love each other. It’s a love-hate relationship except for the Cowboys and the Giants.
We love coming to those games. Those are my favorite games every season, for sure. I love when the New Yorkers come to Dallas and we like to go to New York.
I was there years ago at the Cowboys game. We lost, but I was there. One good friend of mine from California is a Cowboys fan. I want people to drive this home to understand that if you show your mindset, that you believe in yourself, you’re going to be great. You’re going to go from good to great. I asked you that question about why do you think they do deals? My answer to that is and it’s very similar to yours. Yours is a lot deeper than mine. They think that they’re successful if they do a deal.
They’re building their ego so much and I see it because I see some other people do. They think success is having a deal. They think putting it on social media, “I got a deal,” even when it’s not a deal makes other people say, “Good job.” You got to look at it. Are you setting yourself up for failure? Is it good? The best deals are the ones you don’t do because they can make you that much greater. Jen, the best clients are the ones you don’t take because it’s going to allow you to work with the ones you should work with. It’s okay to say no.
I have. The more experienced you get, the more you do.
I’ve learned that a long time ago. This one lady, it was three months and I finally had to say to her, “If I took all my time with you where it’s not going anywhere and you’re not helping yourself, I’m not to blame for you not helping yourself. I’m going to work with people who want to help themselves.” Once again, we talked about it. When people don’t pay, they don’t apply. I don’t believe that all the time, but it’s very hard to find somebody who values themselves enough to jump in. Let’s be honest, this business is not easy. Everyone out there puts that it’s easy.
There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of capital.
It doesn’t even have to be a lot of capital and I’ll say that because of this. Years ago, I funded a newer investor who I believe was the male version of you. He worked his butt off. I didn’t do it right away. I watched him. I watched him fall. He would go on his knocking on doors, finding the phones, calling himself and bringing me deals. He was wholesaling to me for at the time $3,000 to $5,000. That’s what the market was back then. They weren’t getting crazy wholesale fees back then. He wanted to know he could hold something, make a deal and get it to close.
It wasn’t even the marketing because he didn’t have the money. He’d get a bit of money, put it into marketing and then busts his butt. This was a good 6 months to 1 year that I watched him. I finally said, “Why don’t we do this? I’ll put up all the money for marketing. You do all the work. We’ll split the deals.” I get my money back from marketing. If I put $2,000 or $3,000 into marketing, that comes back first, and then we split the deals. I’ll always have the money to close the deals. You’ll never have to worry, and you can market. I watched how he worked. I watched the value he brought. Did he have any money? Absolutely not. He brought value.
If you bring value to somebody with money and you could probably do this across the United States, you don’t even need your money. You could probably bring this to people across the United States and do it. People will do that. If you say to somebody, “Give me money to market,” and you don’t bring any value to them, why would they work with you? You got to think if you want to wholesale or you want to get into business, you don’t even need money. Just bring value. That’s what you did to Joe. He saw you delivering value.
To dig a little deeper into that story and give him credit, he had hired me to run a cold calling team. That’s what I was doing and where other investors would tell me, you can’t do this or I’d get in trouble for trying to educate myself. “Why are you spending time learning this that has nothing to do with what you’re doing for me?” I would get in trouble. It reminded me of the chattel slavery in the United States history where slaves were getting in trouble for learning how to read and write. That’s how I felt. I got in trouble for going to do things like masterminds, etc.
I resented that. I did. I felt like Andy Dufresne in that movie where I’m trying to get out of prison. Joe was the one investor that I can remember. I’m not saying there weren’t others. He’s the only one that I can remember that I worked with and he said, “You can do this yourself. I don’t know how we’re going to help each other, Jen, but I’m going to teach you how to do this.” I said, “Joe, I need a little something to feed my family. Please give me a minimum wage and I’ll do anything that you ask. I will get up early.” I did. I go to 8:00 AM meetings and work until 11:00 PM to learn the business.
That’s what I did. There were times whenever I said, “Joe, I don’t like this business. I feel like we’re taking advantage of people.” I was messaging him crying at 3:00 in the morning. He’s dealing with his dog dying and I’m being a total pain in the rear end. This is what I mean about digging deep and caring about people. The next morning, he takes a meeting with me and he says, “Jennifer, we are not taking advantage of these people. These people can’t sell their house any other way, otherwise. Some of these people are crazy and can’t handle doing walk-throughs. These people don’t have money to fix up and sell their houses. You’ve got the wrong mindset. We’re giving people a fair price for what their house is worth.”People try to be cheap with their employees. And that's how you're going to lose good people. Click To Tweet
He went through all the budgets and showed me what it costs to fix up a house, what an investor that we sell our property to is going to need in order to make it worth their time. He made the business, mindset and numbers make sense. I didn’t believe in myself, Dan, because I’d been told by so many investors I’d worked for that I couldn’t close.
I couldn’t be a closer. I was just a cold caller. Joe said, “We’re going to get you closing virtually.” That’s where Jerry Green helped me. We’re talking about Jerry Green. I went to his Virtual Acquisitions Training and the little things that he’s put together over the years made me go from maybe closing one a week if I was lucky to, on average one every other day to every day, depending on the marketing budget. It’s little things like that. I was a pain in the rear end who didn’t believe in myself but I wanted to believe in myself. I wanted to get good at what I was doing.
I wanted to help people, but I also wanted to help my family. My degree is in Psychology but even if you’re a good therapist, you’re only going to be making $70,000 to $100,000 and that’s like at a tippy-top end. What can I do that still helps people, but I’m able to give my children the life they deserve? I decided that being in real estate investing and doing discount home buying because I’m still helping distressed people like I would as a therapist. I’m also helping my family by making sure that they’re getting the type of income they deserve to have the future they deserve.
Whenever I’m talking to home sellers, it is like what I learned in my degree in a therapy session. I’m having to be a great listener, an active listener and present solutions to problems. I make things easy for them in the selling process. I go way far above and beyond what other wholesalers would do. I was talking to a guy that owns a PPC lead company.
He said, “I’ve got all these leads in these areas I can’t close. How can you help me?” This may be in a tertiary or secondary market but before I even start acquiring, I make sure that I have developed good property management in that area. Do you know why? I’m sure you know why. Why do you think the first thing I do is develop a good property management team before I start acquiring in a virtual space?
I teach that in a group. They’re your eyes and ears. They are your project manager. They’re going to tell you exactly where you should buy and you shouldn’t buy. They’re going to know who the good contractors are. They’re going to tell you what the rents go for an area. They’re going to tell you everything you need to know because those are the properties they want to manage. I teach my students the same thing.
I said, “The first people you can meet with is the property manager. Forget the wholesalers, contractors and realtors. Call three property managers. Go to investor groups, find out who they are and meet with them. Drive down there and meet with them. In-person, talk to them. Take one out to breakfast, lunch and dinner if you could.”
They will give you your business model by that day. I’ve done that. I did a mentorship with two people. We took a road trip and I said, “Pick the market you want to be in.” They gave me two markets. We did it. We took them in three days through two markets. One of them bought nine properties in four months. You see them on social media. They’ve gone crazy. A good property manager is everything to you. That’s my reason. I know I get on a little tangent, but I love that you said that because I mentor on one of my trainings on How to Build A $10,000 Rental Portfolio in an Emerging Market. That’s what it’s called.
That’s exactly why it’s because that’s how I build my buyer’s list. Otherwise, pretty much we’re in a market that’s hard to get buyers list. If I can find the cash buyers on PropStream who’ve paid cash in that area but if I get them a property manager, then all of a sudden, they have the capacity to take on more properties. That’s what I was telling the guy who is on the PPC lead company is that if we can build out competent cash buyers who can handle the volume, then we’ve created our market. We’ve created our own demand. What you’re going to do is you find a broker and with every broker, there’s someone in that brokerage who knows a property management company.
You don’t just want people who are managing A-Class properties. That’s almost easy to find. You need to find a property manager that can handle your B and C Class properties because that’s where a lot of your secondary and tertiary market rentals are going to be. That’s how you create a market. What my point is, I try to go above and beyond what most wholesalers would do to make it easy for the sellers. In order to make it easy for the sellers, I’ve got to first make it easy for the cash buyers. Some people have opposite opinions on that, but in my opinion, I need to create a healthy cash buyer community because I know I’m going to get good deals or I’m not going to acquire. You get the deals first.
What you’re doing is you’re getting an open checkbook by doing that. It’s smart. You’re not working in reverse. You’re going out shopping for your buyers is exactly the way you should do it. Jen comes to me and she knows exactly what I want. She knows she can focus her time and that’s why we would be a perfect pair. I’m thinking out of range because I know what I want 100%.
I’m laser-focused. This is the type of deal I buy because they fit my portfolio and the investors that I seller finance to. I have a whole business model, different than most people, where we make some pretty serious returns on our money and that’s what’s created our passive to prosperous wealth. It’s not just rentals, seller financing to investors, holding the note and helping investors.
We help investors create wealth. If I tell Jen, “I’m looking for this.” She knows that she can go out and find this. She knows she doesn’t have to worry about getting paid. She doesn’t have to worry about somebody screwing her over and not paying her or somebody not closing. Jen gets me this and this market. That’s the business model you need to be with somebody. When I say getting in bed with somebody, that’s what I mean, getting in bed with somebody who aligns with you 100%. There are so many people who don’t do that. It’s the tail chasing the dog.
It’s like the shiny object syndrome, “I’m going to try this.” Do what Jen’s saying. She said it perfectly. She’s like, “Figure out exactly what your people need and go out and do it and go deep. Don’t go wide.” People are like, “What’s new? What are you doing now?” I’m like, “I’m pretty boring.” To be honest with you, I do the same thing over and over again because it works. The people like the Jerrys, Jeffs and probably Joe, they do what works. They don’t try, “We’re going to do multis this week.” I have a mobile home park. It came to me. I’m not out there. I’m not doing assisted-living facilities even though I know it’s a great business model.
I’m not doing rehab homes, which is my partner in North Carolina does them. It’s a great model, but it’s a business. I do a couple of Airbnbs. It’s a business and great money but I don’t talk about it all the time because I’m laser-focused on what I do. I create passive income being the bank. The way I do that is by taking properties and turning them into turnkey rentals in great emerging markets with great property managers. I help investors buy, not one, but multiples. That’s the business model. I know how laser-focused I am and there are all the people like Joe McCall. He’s laser-focused on wholesaling lease options and people are laser-focused on what they do. They do great.
We can’t do it all. It’s like the little Bruce Lee saying, “I’m more afraid of the guy who practiced one kick 10,000 times versus the guy who knows 10,000 kicks and only did it one time.” I paraphrased. I don’t think that’s exactly how he said it, but it’s true. I’m impressed with what everyone else is doing. “Jennifer, why don’t you have rentals with your knowledge? Why don’t you do this?” Eventually, I will, but only for the purposes of depreciating my active income for tax purposes.
We know what your genius zone is. It’s setting up people, processes and systems. That’s your genius zone. I can put you into the roofing company. I can say, “Jen, I need leads on my roofing company. I need virtual assistants to be calling these leads.” You could be like, “I got you, Dan.” It doesn’t matter what you’re selling or what you’re doing leads on. It’s people, processes and systems. You get those three, it can work in everything.
If I take you off at anything, “Jen, you’re good at this, but I don’t have the time. I want you to start handling the project managers, contractors, property managers and realtors.” I took you out of your genius zone and I’m muling you out. When you mule people out, that’s why I bring this up and have them do everything, they don’t do anything good. I would hate to see you jump around because it’s so easy to do it. You’re going to see other people doing well with flips and rentals.
I know that’s a whole separate business model. I don’t want to flip because it’s going to slow me down in my wholesale acquisitions. If I had a whole other branch of a company that maybe I put capital into and someone else ran it completely, that’s fine but I don’t want to flip because that’s slower than getting one acquisition across the nation per day. That’s what I want to focus on. I want investors who do flip to know that I’m always going to bring them a solid profitable deal. I want to be a trusted brand of discount home sources.
If you go to Joe’s website, that’s what he has. That is what I want to do as well because if you have a trusted brand of discount, everyone’s going to flock to you like, “You got a deal. Where are your deals?” It’s always going to be solid. That’s what I want to build a brand around, not as the great flipper and short-term rentals are awesome.
I love the high profitability with that but that’s not my specialty. Alisha Merriman is great at that. She came to me to get me to help her with her first wholesale deal. She is the queen and the guru at doing the short-term rentals. If I ever get one of those, I would come to her. All of these different things are their separate business.
They all stay laser-focused. Once again, you told me before, what attracted you to what I’m doing is you saw the videos of myself and my daughter.
I did want to bring that up. I will tell that story about you and your daughter at the beach. I’m lying there one morning. I’ve got to start work. Again, this situation that I told you about wasn’t the best in this particular employment situation. I wasn’t being treated with a lot of respect, but I was learning a lot. I was feeling like, “What am I doing with my life?” I was very unhappy, even though I was learning a lot because I didn’t have that self-belief and I didn’t have that freedom that I’ve been working towards. I get on my Facebook. I’m one of those moments where my head is under the covers, dark, but I’m scrolling and I’m not happy.
You popped up on my scrolling screen there and you’re sitting on the beach with your daughter at sunrise. You’re talking about mindset. You can build your life however you want and it’s up to you. The sun is rising and you can hear the waves and your daughter’s sitting there. I’m like, “Why am I not sitting on the beach next to Dan, with my son having a cup of coffee, talking about what’s going on in the market? Why am I limiting myself with my self-limiting beliefs?” It’s because it’s safe. The bills are barely paid and I don’t want to take risks but seeing you there I saw, “Jennifer, why aren’t you doing that?”If you're not happy unless you're free, then being a business owner is probably your only option. Click To Tweet
Seeing that was a big catalyst for me and taking that risk to do something better because I can always go back to work, God forbid, if I failed in starting my own business. I will say, thank God, I’ve been more successful than my wildest dreams but it took a couple of months not having any income. It took a couple of months of was I irresponsible or worse? Am I crazy for quitting my job as a mom providing for my family? Seeing your video helped me focus on a vision of freedom, it’s not being at the beach and looking cute in a bikini.
It’s that quality time with the people you love and the freedom to sit on the beach with them at sunrise. That freedom and seeing you do it appealed to me and made me feel like I would be doing a disservice to myself if I didn’t at least try to do what you were suggesting. That had a deep impact on me. After I watched your video, I took my head out of the covers and I said, “We’re going to take some risks and we’re going to invest in ourselves in a different way than we have been before.”
I hope that resonates. Those videos are a blessing. I do those and it’s going to change somebody. I know it. It’s going to get somebody out from under those covers and they’re going to believe in themselves. Sometimes they need that little bit to believe in themselves, for your kids and you to believe in yourself. I feel like I had a part in that. I got goosebumps. We’ve been there. I’ve been there too. It’s hard. It’s a dark place when you don’t believe in yourself and you got nobody there.
We’re in a world that’s a very tough world to be in because our sphere of influence, our network, our family and our friends that we grew up with don’t understand this. You’re the outcast. You go to these events and they look at you a little differently like, “He’s too good for us.” You drive these nice cars and you show up and you almost feel embarrassed because they look at you like, “You’re too good for us.” We don’t ever feel like that.
It’s their own beliefs about themselves that they try to mirror on to us. That’s why I say, you’re going to shed that skin of that network you have because they don’t get it. I say misery loves company. How many times do you hear people say, “It’s Sunday. I hate to go back. I can’t stay on Mondays.” or “Thank God it’s Friday.” To me, thank God it’s every day. The only thing I don’t like is when it’s miserable out. I love the warm weather. I love the sunshine. I believe in sundowners. I think I might have it. When it’s sunny, I’m a whole new person.
The only thing that stinks about the weekdays is my daughter’s in school. She’s not home. I don’t dread Mondays. I don’t love Fridays any different than Mondays. I love every day because every day is a new experience. If I don’t like it, I’ll change it. I have the ability to do that. Jen got her head from under the covers.
I was sad too. I don’t even know how to describe it. It wasn’t like dangerous sad. It was, “I can’t keep living like this.” I saw no way to change it. I didn’t know how to change it, but I knew I wanted to. I had hoped that I could. I didn’t know-how. I was like, “Let me start thinking of how I could and how I can do it. How do I start putting all these pieces together to be in business for myself?” It’s not like it’s easier. That’s one thing I want to distinguish. Being a business owner is not easier than being an employee, but it is more free.
If you have the type of personality like mine to where you’re not happy unless you’re free, being a business owner is probably your only option. I want to validate anyone who is reading and they’re wondering, “Should I be a business owner?” If you’re miserable without freedom like I am, then being a business owner may be your only choice. Even though I have a lot more responsibility and stress, I’m a lot happier because I know that number one, I’m making a lot more money. That helps. Number two, I have all the freedom in the world to say, “I’m not going to take clients this week.”
If someone’s already paid me, I’m going to do what I need to do but let’s say I want to go to Mexico with my family. All I have to do that week is not take a client or let my acquisitions guy take over on all the acquisitions. Let my dispo person handle all the deals that are going through. It’s not like the old days where you go on an international trip and you’ve got to check in with the one-way call from the phone in your room and hope to God it didn’t cost you $5 a minute. With WhatsApp, we can do business all over the world for free as long as you have internet access.
There’s no reason you can’t make a call or two and delegate. If you’ve got a job, taking a vacation, requires someone else’s permission. I don’t think humans are designed to live that way. I could be wrong. Maybe most people are happy like that, but I’m not. I think it’s why antidepressants are pervasive. This is coming from someone with a psychology degree. I know everyone has their own brain chemistry. If people felt free, there would be a lot less antidepressants. It’s like the 2nd or 3rd prescription in this country. Why is that? Because people don’t feel free. The cost of living is high and wages are low. How do we even that out? Those are big and tough questions.
On that note, before we wrap up, it’s so true. That’s why in Europe, they have their siestas. I was in Greece and it’s crazy in Greece. It’s a financial demise out there. People are getting crushed. I go to people’s houses. We went there with a businessperson. We went to his cousin’s house. They made dinner. It was great. You walk around and at 10:00 to 11:00 at night, little kids, one-year-olds are in the park on swings, getting pushed.
There are chain smokers out there. There is no cancer. There is no crime out there. It’s in financial distress. Where else in the world? People are happy. They live their life. Even the clubs shut down when the last person leaves. There is no timeline. Nobody’s telling you what to do. People don’t work to live. They live and they work. Here, people work to live. It’s like a grind.
To barely get by, even. Sixty percent of Americans couldn’t come up with $4,000 if their life depended on it. That’s so sad. That’s why they’re getting their insurance from their employers. They’re going there and getting antidepressants. It’s horrible.
I know you’re getting ready to leave for an event. I know this was longer than normal. We should have probably broken the show up over 2 or 3 episodes because you and I can go on for days with this stuff. Are there any parting words you have for anybody who is about to get started, needs to believe in themselves or is in the grind? What can you give somebody with some parting words and then we’ll wrap it up?
You have to figure out what it is that makes you believe in yourself. For me, that’s knowledge. If I take the time to invest in my knowledge base, I’m going to believe in myself. For someone else, it may be being with the right people, losing weight or whatever it is. You know for you, if that keeps you from believing in yourself, take time to invest in that and your life will be so much better. Stop watching TV. Whatever it is that you’re spending time doing that you don’t have to do, start putting that time and not to be crass but even your time in the bathroom or you’re in the shower.
Listen to something that’s going to get you where you need to be when you are driving. As one of my mentors, Connor Steinbrook says, instead of listening to rap music, techno music, country, whatever it is, put on a podcast two times and listen to it quickly. By doing those little things, your belief in yourself will start to increase enough to where one day you’re going to be able to take that massive action that changes your life.
Guys, write that down, put it on your mirror. Look at it. Once again, I’m going to have Jen back on the show. Once again, I’m going to ask you. If we come to the top of the list, we’ll be able to do a lot more of these. Share this out with at least five people that you know could help. If you believe it was a great show, give us that five-star review. If you don’t, give us a five-star review anyway. Jen, thank you so much for your time.
Thank you, Dan.
I honor it. I honor your time. It’s a blessing to have you on here and to call you a friend. Have a great time on your show. We’ll speak again soon. Take care. Bye-bye.
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About Jennifer Steward
Jennifer Steward is an off market, real estate acquisitions and disposition specialist who has helped over a dozen real estate investors build successful companies through virtual processes. She has been in sales for over 20 years, and is a mother of two. She graduated with a science degree in psychology, then started a successful business development company that helped companies in several industries build out a customer base before eventually finding a niche in off market real estate.
She currently has an agency of virtual business development specialists that cater to all industries, and continues to help investors build their acquisitions and dispositions departments.”