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Creating Business with Other People’s Money with Don Costa

SHOW SUMMARY:

In today's show, Larry talked with Don Costa who is a mover and a shaker out in California. He has done hundreds of fix and flips and has been investing since 2003. Learn about fix and flips and get more information on how to create business using other people's money in this episode.

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:

  • How Don got started in real estate
  • Starting over in 2012
  • Severe impact in the market
  • Why Don picked fix and flips
  • Using private money
  • Kind of terms Don usually gets from private money lenders
  • Creating a business using other people's money
  • Finding private money lenders
  • What he did before he got into real estate
  • Allowing himself to make mistakes and learning from them
  • The number of people on his team
  • His thoughts on having a license as a real estate investor
  • How Don runs his business
  • Their company's system
  • Where most of their deals come from
  • The biggest challenge he encountered when he was starting out
  • His favorite books
  • Don's words of wisdom

Quotes:

  • “I want to make every decision I make from the position of power and not position of fear or weakness.”
  • “Real estate is not predictable.”
  • “I want to make every decision from the best place possible, and that's not desperation.”
  • “Always run your mouth.”
  • “If you are willing to do the work, you can accomplish anything you want.”

RESOURCES AND LINKS FROM THIS SHOW:

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Larry: Welcome to the Brain-Pick-A-Pro Show live from Lake Wylie South Carolina and all the way from Fresno California, Don Costa what’s up buddy, how are you?

Don: I’m fantastic man I’m excited to be here.

Larry: Awesome. Now guys I wanted to have Donald because this guy is a mover and shaker out in California. He is doing 100+ fix and flips now you all know I hate fix and flips okay. Everybody knows I’m sorry Don.

Don: It’s alright.

Larry: But the reason I wanted to have him on is because I want to learn. I want to see if can turn me around and make me want to do fix and flips because this guy he’s been investing since I believe 2003, right Don?

Don: 2003.

Larry: Awesome and he’s got a fix and flip business doing huge deals. Think about it, he’s in California where the prices look like phone numbers okay, foreign phone numbers alright. So he’s doing fix and flips and he’s doing 100+ of them a year. So Don, welcome to the show. How have you been?

Don: I’ve been fantastic man, I just appreciate being here, thank you for having me on.

Larry: Awesome, thanks so much for being on I really appreciate it. Now I got a question for you, tell our listeners a little bit about how you got started in real estate.

Don: Yeah it’s a great question. I have two lives in this business I actually started twice. So the first time I got started like anybody else I wanted to be an entrepreneur and I was looking for a way to go. I was watching infomercials with Carleton Sheets and Don Lapre and all the guys out there. 

Larry: Yeah.

Don: And real estate just seemed to really kind of catch my eye so I got started working with somebody who was willing to put the money up and went out knocking on doors doing pre-foreclosure work, just, “Knock, knock, knock will you sell me your house?”

Larry: Man, that’s tough.

Don: Yeah. But I found success, I was good at it. I was good interacting with people out the door. And I built a nice business, made a lot of money. I wasn’t prepared for the market to turn because I was arrogant and young and thought everything I touched turned to gold. And proceeded to get annihilated for a few years. And started over again in 2012.
And at that point I built the business like a business and I’ve been doing it since.

Larry: That’s good man. You know what, it seems like and I think we all go through that. I’ve been through it myself. We all go through the time where we’re like we’re invincible. We’re doing a ton of deals, we’re making a ton of money, you can’t touch me.

Don: Right.

Larry: And then all of a sudden guess what, the bottom falls out of the market right?

Don: Right exactly.

Larry: And you got hit a lot worse than a lot of other parts of the country right?

Don: We do yeah. We can feel a pretty severe impact. I know like Texas and a lot of states didn’t even feel like a hiccup and we got annihilated. So yeah it’s definitely an interesting market to be in.

Larry: It’s tough, it could be tough. Now what made you pick fix and flips?

Don: Well when I started back in 2003 I’m trying to think if I every even heard of wholesaling at that point. There wasn’t a podcast, YouTube was just barely being developed. I don’t think that really kind of came out till around 2005/7.

Larry: Right.

Don: There wasn’t- yeah it was Carleton Sheet and the No Money Down System and that kind of stuff you heard about. So I don’t think even think I thought wholesale, right. Just rehabbing was the way to go and so that’s where I got started, it’s where I got comfortable and this is the realm I kind of stayed in.

Larry: I got to show you something. I’m in my office, check this out, you mentioned Carleton Sheets a couple times. This is how long I’ve been doing this, look VHS, Carleton Sheets, No Money Down, No Down payment those are VHS, and two or four.

Don: Yeah I have those as well.
Larry: See them right there.

Don: Yeah.
Larry: Is that crazy or what? 

Don: It is and I have those.

Larry: I keep them around just to remind myself how long I’ve been doing this.

Don: I was cleaning out my garage a few weeks back and I came across the box of Carleton Sheets stuff so yeah. 

Larry: Now was it cassettes or CDs?

Don: It was the VHS stuff yeah.

Larry: I hear you. That’s great. Now you being in a really expensive market like that. I’m sure you’re probably using private money right?

Don: I use private money for everything I do yeah. 
Larry: Really?

Don: I don’t use banks and I don’t use hard money. I use private money for everything I do. And I don’t use my own money either, I absolutely refuse to use my own money because I feel that it’s kind of a long winded explanation if you want to go into it. But I just feel it’s bad business to use your own money. I believe in having reserves.
The first time around I was over leveraged I was using my own money, I had my own money, other projects outside of real estate. And the market turned I had no money in the bank to do anything about it. 

Larry: Right.

Don: A lot of us as investors we do what I call balling broke right. You’re cool, you’re rich you’re making all this money but you have no money in the bank because it’s all in projects it’s caught somewhere else.

Larry: Right.

Don: Yeah.

Larry: You’re real estate poor right?

Don: You’re real estate poor. So this time around I was just bound determined not to use my own money. I want to make every decision I make from a position of power. I want to make it from a position of power and not a position of fear or weakness.

Larry: That’s great.

Don: So yeah. So every investor we work with does 100% financing on our deals which they borrow money in the bank and we make all the best decisions we can because we’re coming from a position of power.

Larry: So what kind of terms are you able to get your private money lender to offer you?

Don: So I mean we pay anyway from six to 10% depending on the lender and depending on the situation. The easier you are to work with we’ll pay a little more. And I don’t mind paying the interest for the money when it’s easy. So we do deed of trust only. I don’t do any none secured money.

Larry: Good.

Don: I’m just not comfortable with that. Basically they lend on a project, we give them a deed of trust, the money goes into Escrow. And then when we sell they get their cheque from Escrow and we get to release and a deed of trust. They do 100% of the purchase, 100% of the rehab, 100% of the holding cost. Some investors we defer the interest till we sell the project and some investors we make a monthly interest payment. But other than that it’s just clean transaction.

Larry: So some of them you’re making a monthly interest only payment.

Don: Right.

Larry: And then some of them it’s interest only no payment and you pay them off at the end.

Don: Pay them off at the end.

Larry: That’s good. Now I know a lot of people listening to podcasts and learning and getting educated, they need money to start out right?

Don: Right.

Larry: Now I know you at this point you don’t necessarily need the money. But like you said you believe in creating a business where you’re using other people’s money. Tell us a little bit about that.

Don: Well in business if you understand business, you can be profitable if you don’t have cash flow, you’re out of business. And you could be losing money every month, if you have great cash flow you can stay in business for years. I had a cellphone store years ago where we basically got all of our phones on consignment.

We sold them all out the first month so our consignment was maxed and we weren’t going to get our commissions for 45 days. So even though we were profitable and successful we were effectively out of money and out of business. So I use that scenario in this business because a lot of us like say, 

“Okay I have 150 grand in the bank.”

“And this property is all in $145,000 so why not just use my own money?” Well real estate as you know being in this for a while Larry, it’s not predictable. You go over budget, you open up a wall and find something, you go over budget, it doesn’t sell within 30 days like you think it’s going to. There’s a lot of things that will happen and pretty soon now you’re over budget five grand.

So you’re five grand or 10 grand, so you’re five grand in the hole and you’re 30 days past where you thought you’d be, and now you’re worried about whether or not you’re going to pay your rent. So I don’t want to be in that position, I don’t want to be in that position as business person. So that’s the reason why we really refrain from using our own money.
And structuring things the way we do, and when we enter these relationships with lenders we explain that to them.

Larry: Right.

Don: The health of our company and the fact that we keep reserves is our skin in the game. It’s our ability to operate because I’m the horse you’re going to bet on. If you’re lending to me you’re betting on me and my ability to get things to the finish line. And I want to structure my business so that I can best perform for you. I want to make every decision from the best place possible and that’s not desperation.

Larry: From a position of strength.

Don: From a position of strength and that’s how I frame it. So for somebody new, you don’t have my track record it’s probably a little hard to frame it that way. I would say still like when I started out, I started out with JV money. I said, “You go put up the money 100% or whatever it takes, I’ll do all the work and we’ll do a profit split.” And we did 50/50 splits and that’s the way I got started.

Larry: How long did that last?

Don: Well I did for a good year. I mean I was comfortable doing that for a good year and then once I felt I- 

Larry: After a year you wanted to get rid of that didn’t you?

Don: I wanted to get rid of that yeah I did. But it got me started like I didn’t have a hard money loan where I had to put 20% down. I had to try to make that payment every month and hope I came in on budget and hope I sold on time. 
I was 100% covered on the money and I was able to sleep at night. And I was able to make every decision in the project from what was the most profitable thing to do on that project. And that’s where I want to be, it’s mindset for me Larry more than is profitability sometimes.

Larry: That’s good. And quite frankly as a private money lender, if I were private money lender I would want to see you have some cash in the bank right?

Don: Right.

Larry: So if the deal goes south you’ve got some reserves to help. Or if you have a down month, or whatever you’ve got some reserves to help you right.

Don: I can may payroll, I can still do my marketing. If a deal doesn’t go the way it’s supposed to I can write you a cheque and pay you off and make you whole and still be okay and not have to worry about whether or not I’m going to eat.

Larry: Right.

Don: Yeah I’m in a good position and my lenders understand that they respect that. And we’re very successful because of it.

Larry: That’s great. So how do you find your private money lenders? I mean you saying you’re paying I think six to eight to 10% return. And I know there’s a lot of people out there that have money sitting in the bank earning 1% or less. But how do you find your private money lenders?

Don: So my advice to just about anybody is to always run your mouth. I’m always asking title officers we’re working with on a regular basis, “Do you know anybody out there who’s lending and is not happy with who they’re lending to? Or do you know anybody who has extra money they want to lend?” 

Real estate agents we buy from on a regular basis same thing, “Do you know anybody who just sold a large property and has money they need to do something with, or they’re not happy with whom they’re lending to?” I have just so many ways. I posted on Craigslist and I don’t mean posted looking for somebody in African whose uncle is a king or something that [Inaudible] [10:39] in gold.

Larry: Right or Nigeria.

Don: Yeah I posted: Experienced real estate flipper looking for a partner. If you’re close enough to have a cup coffee contact me. And I’ve got lender that way. You got to be careful there’s SCC things and some of that.

Larry: Sure.

Don: So you don’t want to ask for the money in the post, you want to create a relationship before you ask for the money all that kind of stuff like that. But I just create opportunities for conversation. And then if our goals are aligned then down the road we’ll talk about doing business together. I always look for money even when I don’t need it, ahead of time because again you don’t want to ask for money when you’re desperate because that does not go well in any meeting whatsoever.

Larry: Right, it comes through.

Don: So I tell a story about just the randoms right about running your mouth. I was taking my son from a playdate one time and they were doing some remodeling their house. And I was talking to the mom and I handed her my card and said, “I flip houses if you need any help with contractors let me know.”

About two months later her brother calls me and says, “We just bought four houses from this agent, we were supposed to flip them he was supposed to help he went MIA we don’t know what we’re doing. And my sister says you flip houses can you come and take a look at these houses?” and I met the guy at one of the properties. 

And I looked at it and said, “You know what this will take us about 25 grand to rehab I’ll manage the rehab for you, you don’t have to pay me anything.” I said, “But once I get you out of these properties I need a private money lender. I want you to lend to me. That’s my condition.” And he said, “Okay well let’s go look at the other three.” So the second I agreed to do it for 25% of the profit and the third and fourth I agreed to do each of them for 50% of the profit. 

And I did it, I followed through with what I was going to do. And to think I offered to work for free on the first one, guys think about that. I offered to work for free and to prove my capability. And they became great private money lenders I worked with for a long time. So opportunities are there you just don’t know where they’re going to pop up. So shake every bush and run your mouth.

Larry: That’s awesome I love it. I heard somebody say one time, make two phone calls a day for private money.

Don: Right.

Larry: You don’t even have to ask for it, you just say, “Who do you know would have an interest in making some money on real estate possibly?”
Don: Absolutely.

Larry: Yeah. 

Don: So I agree 100%.

Larry: That is good. I got to ask you what did you do before real estate because in the conversations we’ve had offline and online here, you’re a closer man I can tell you. You are a closer, you’re a sales guy. What did you do before real estate?
Don: It’s funny my job experience before real estate was working in nightclubs as a bouncer bartender.

Larry: Really?

Don: Yeah.

Larry: Wow that’s awesome.
Don: Yeah I was a restaurant general manager yeah. And I worked in a fishing plant in Alaska for a while. So nothing really closer related.

Larry: Really?

Don: Really.

Larry: I’m sure you’ve studied some sales techniques though haven’t you?

Don: I have. I’m huge on education, I’m huge on working with coaches and learning and being part of Mastermind groups. I think they they’re a very important part of my success. I’m always looking for opportunities to learn and grow. And the other thing I do I think that has made me successful is I Monday morning quarterback myself.

I give myself permission to fail, make mistakes but I make sure I learn from them. And I think a lot of people in this business are scared to go in and talk to a seller and ask for the property or ask for the close because they think they’re going to screw it up so they just don’t do it.

Larry: Right.

Don: I’ll go in there and screw it up and then on the way back home driving the car I’ll be like, “Okay if I’d said this different, if I’d asked this different,” and I just kind of learned through the years. I ran an operation here we have a couple lead managers answering calls, a couple of acquisitions people going out on appointments. 
We have project managers I have a fairly decent size operation and every once in a while I’ll get into one of the roles again just to see if there is anything I need to fix in my business. So I answered calls a few months back and I went on I answered five calls, well four of those turned into appointments and three of those I got under contract.

Larry: Wow.

Don: And I would have got number four. And the reason I didn’t get number four and this is what’s key is I can tell you why. I was talking to the guy and our number was 120 and when I asked him what he wanted for the property he said 130. And right out the cuff I said, “Oh great we’re not that far apart.” And he goes, “Oh well I figured you’d offer like 70.”
And his whole buyer language changed, his whole demeanor changed and I realized in that moment that I should have played it a lot slower a lot more coy.

Larry: Right.

Don: And not just like, “Oh we’re not that far apart.” It’s like I was too fast, I was too easy and I know that I lost him. I saw his body language change and I knew I lost him in that instant. And I know that because I condition myself to see those this and learn from those things. And I walked out of there going, “ Man, if I’d just played that close to my hip and just kind of went well I don’t know, I probably would have ended up with that property.”

Larry: Made him fight for it.

Don: Made him fight for it.

Larry: Yeah.

Don: So and it’s that recognizing those things, those mistakes and learning from them and figuring out where you can do better. That’s the stuff I’ve done to myself over the years. I’m my hardest critic right. It’s allowed me to kind of develop into where I need to be.

Larry: Wow. So you got a pretty good size operation there. How many people do you have in your office?

Don: So we’re a decent size but we’re still small, we have two project managers. I have two acquisitions reps I’m actually looking for two more. So if anybody out there wants to work for us, and they’re in California. We have two lead managers that answer the phones for direct mail and marketing that we’re doing. We have a third one starting on Monday.
I have an assistant that’s like my bookie or transaction coordinator assistant that’s like the reason why I can even breathe in this business. And then we have a sister real estate company with seven agents and a broker.

Larry: Wow. So you’re also a realty company.

Don: We have real estate. Now I’m not licensed, I have a corporation that has a broker and he manages it.

Larry: A broker in charge and all that.

Don: Yeah.

Larry: Yeah okay that makes sense. So you’re like a one stop shop. If you can’t buy the house for a loan you can list it for real.

Don: Yeah we try to train our acquisitions team avoid that because we don’t want them to take the easy way out, or we can refer you to an agent to list it. But we can and we do absolutely.

Larry: That’s good. I’ve had a lot of people ask me over the years, “Should I get licensed?” can you give us a little bit of feedback on if you would recommend somebody else getting licensed versus not being licensed as a real estate investor?

Don: I mean I’ve always heard that there’s some liability in being licensed and being an investor. At the end of the day I think if you’d over disclosed you’re probably fine.

Larry: Right.

Don: I’m an advocate of over disclosing. It you’re going to lose a deal because you’re telling them the truth then that wasn’t a deal to do in the first place.

Larry: That’s a good point.

Don: Yeah.

Larry: People like it when you’re brutally honest.

Don: Yeah they do. But for me it’s never affected me not to be licensed I’ve always been able to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish in this business. The laws in California are such that I was able to set a corporation up, and have somebody be the broker of record and have them manage it. 

And I still have some controls over that business so within reason obviously. Yeah I think it’s a personal choice as to I wouldn’t put the time and energy into it unless it’s going to increase your profit margin increase you income stream. So yeah I don’t know it’s a personal choice there, I can’t really yeah.

Larry: So obviously it’s another profit center for you.

Don: If it’s going to be a profit center for you as an individual go ahead and do it. For us it is as a business but still I didn’t have to be licensed and I didn’t have to go through the hoops and everything else to be licensed and yeah so I just prefer it the way I do.

Larry: Yeah by hiring someone else to be the broker of record or BIC as we call it Broker In Charge that releases you of the liability because it’s on them. They’re the ones that are responsible to make sure you do all the disclosures and everything that you’re supposed to do, which is good. In my opinion, if somebody is going to have an investment company and a realty company that’s the way to do it. Own the business but hire a broker in charge, right?

Don: Exactly, absolutely I agree.

Larry: That’s good, I love it. Okay so next question I want to ask you is you were really big on systems and processes and procedures. I know we’ve talked a little bit about how you run your business or systematize your business.

Don: Okay. So systems is something that’s been talked about a lot in the real estate business industry the last handful years. But yeah I think a lot of people think okay well a system is something that somebody is just going to drive up to my house and kind of dump it in my front yard and that’s going to be a system I can use.

And they don’t really explain what systems are right, so to me a system is boundary. It’s a box within that that person or that group is going to function within. And everybody’s business is going to be set up a little differently. We have systems in our business for everything. We have controls for everything in our business. 

So to me a system for instance that we use in our business is how we require our contractors to invoice us. Our contractors have to invoice us by Friday, every week by Friday if they want to be paid by the following Friday. If you invoice me on Tuesday the next week you’re not getting your cheque on Friday. That’s technically a system it’s a rule it’s an accountability it’s a boundary.

So all the invoices come in by Friday Kas cuts cheques on Monday, we submit the reports to the lenders, the investors on Tuesdays and if they’ve given us the money upfront for the rehab then they just have then to report for their records. If they’re giving us draws each week then they know how much to give us that week.

The money comes into our office on Thursday, and we hand the cheque out on Friday. So that one system on how we run that requires it’s a boundary for the contractor, it puts us in charge of our books, so on Monday I know where my business stands as far as the business goes book wise. 

I know what my capital obligations are for the week, my lenders have transparency in what my operation is doing which they’re very happy with. The ones who are doing the draws have the money in my account by Thursday so that manages cash flow. So now I have the money in before the money goes out so I have no cash flow issue there.

The other thing we do is we got the contractors’ invoices on Friday for what they’re going to finish the following Friday. They pre-invoice us and that makes them set a goal and if they don’t accomplish that goal they don’t get their cheque. So that one little-

Larry: Wow that’s great, I love that.

Don: So that’s a system. And so it’s a boundary, it’s an accountability measure for all kinds of things in my business. It manages cash flow, it manages contractors, it manages transparency. And our entire operation is set up that way from the way we lease. We have standard [Inaudible] [020:56] that goes in every listing whether we’re in-house listing it ort we’re listing it with an outside agent.

We control the pictures, we control the photographer. We have our photographer take professional pictures of every single property so they all look the same. So that’s a system. Yeah we have a standard counter that goes out on every single offer that comes in. then one of the requirements in the counter is that every single person who offers in our properties has to be pre-qualified through our preferred lender. 

They don’t have to use them but they have to prequalify so that we know whether or not that’s a solid borrower. There’s no we’re in the dark and we don’t A&J gave them the pre-qual letter or not and they’re trying to fix their credit on the fly.

Larry: Sure.

Don: We know they’re a solid borrower that’s a system. And we do the same thing every single time, we’ve seen the same counter out. And I’ll tell you every time we deviate from one of our systems we pay for it. and it’s really that’s all they are is in your business however your business is structured is setting a playbook and making sure everybody plays within those boundaries,

Larry: I like it. What you’re basically calling a system a lot of people might say it’s an SOP or Operations Manual or something like that.

Don: And that’s really what they are.

Larry: Yeah.

Don: That’s really what they are, standard practices and operating procedures.

Larry: Right, that is good. Now are there any types of automation systems or CRMs or anything that you use, you like and use in your business?

Don: Yeah I mean we use podio and I think a lot of people in this business use as a CRM. We’ve been heavy investor fuse as an overlay to podio for a lot of years and Corel. We’re in the process of exploring some other options right now but yeah we’re very big on that kind of stuff. And then accounting side of course with QuickBooks like anybody else. But yeah podio has been huge for us.

Larry: That is awesome. So you have a couple acquisition people, you got some lead managers, you got some project managers as well. Where do most of your deals come from? 

Don: So for a lot of years and I’m still huge on it, a lot of years most of our deals 50% or better came from networking and I’m huge on networking. I started broke and OPM right Other People’s Marketing.

Larry: There you go.

Don: And not [Inaudible] [23:06] actually go there with it right. But other people’s marketing. If I saw a Bandit sign I was calling it, if there was a Craigslist post I was calling it. If somebody sent me a letter on one of my properties I was calling them and introducing myself. And I created a lot of relationships with wholesalers in my market, other investors in my market they were sending me properties on a regular basis.

Any time I have an opportunity to let an agent know what I’m doing I try to 
create a friendship with that agent so they can get pocket listings. Pocket listings are stuff that hasn’t hit the MLS yet for whatever reason maybe the home owner doesn’t want people coming through the house because it’s a hoarder house or something to that effect. 

You might that phone call saying, “Hey we got this property they don’t really want to put it on MLS, you want to come see it and make an offer.” I’ve had them bring me properties that were listed we had a property we bought it was listed for $180,000. The home owner didn’t want to sign on it they wouldn’t let anybody into the property without the listing agent present.

And we ended up buying the house for 90 grand because nobody was going to buy it. We put 30 into it and turned around and listed it for the 180 she had it listed for and ended up selling it for that and made great money. And that was because I knew an agent that knew the listing agent and called me and said, “Okay she’s ready to dump this thing make an offer because it’s not moving.”

Larry: Right.

Don: So I’m huge on relationships and that’s where a lot of our businesses come from. Now that I pulled myself more out of my operation, it’s a little harder to give my network to my acquisitions team. So we’ve done a lot, we have very heavy direct mail and internet presence and stuff like that. So the rest of our leads come from outbound marketing, direct mail, internet and different things like that.

Larry: That’s good. I loved what you said about any time you saw a craigslist ad or a bandit sign you would call them because see most wholesaler who’re out there, they’re trying to build their buyer’s list. You’re a buyer trying to get on a wholesaler’s list.

Don: Absolutely yeah.

Larry: I love it that is awesome. So what would you say was probably your single biggest challenge when you got started?

Don: Myself. 

Larry: Yourself? You were the bottleneck huh?

Don: I was my biggest obstacle when I got started. My fears my insecurities, the fact that I didn’t believe it was possible. Who believes you can make 40 grand for signing a contract or 40 grand because you rehabbed a property and sold it? I mean at the time I think the highest paid job I had before that was $47,000 a year. I mean how dare I think that I can make that on one deal? Is that even possible? Is it believable?

Larry: Right.

Don: So I think that was probably my biggest obstacle was just getting out of my own way at the end of the day.

Larry: That’s awesome, that’s really good advice because people who are making 40 or $50,000 a year, they can’t understand that if they do one deal a month even if it’s wholesaling, they could triple what they’re making now right?

Don: Right.

Larry: Just one deal a month. So what is your favorite book?

Don: I get asked that a lot and I always mention Rich Dad Poor Dad, Traction and there’s a lot of great books out there right now Rocket Fuel is a great one. They’re great books for developing your business. But there’s this one book, I was a rough round the edges kind of young kid, got into fights a lot when I was younger, had a chip on my shoulder.

And I had a principal sit me down and hand me How to Win Friends and Influence People. And I read that book and that’s what put me on the entrepreneur track. And then I read Thinking You’re Rich and then I really started thinking about I want to be an entrepreneur I want to build something. So How To Win Friends and Influence People has a special place in my heart.

And honestly I think for those of you wholesalers and stuff that are scared to talk to sellers, I think it’s a great resource to read that book because it kind of tells you how to work with people and talk to people and build rapport and that kind of thing.

 I think it’s an underutilized resource that’s been out there for a lot of years and a great tool for people. And there’s a few people out there that need it too. There’s a few people out there that definitely need it just because they’re not the nicest people in the world. But I think it’s a great book. 
Larry: There’s no question about that, there’s no question about that at all. In fact I love that book and you know now it’s available on audible.

Don: Yes it is. 

Larry: In fact I got it I was trying to pull it up here as we were talking to see if I could find it. Oh yeah How to Win Friends and Influence People. Yeah there it, it’s coming up now. But yeah it’s a great book there’s many different books out there. And I got to ask you this question. You said that that principal sat you down and gave you that book.

Don: Yes.

Larry: Have you looked him up and thank him for that?

Don: It was a woman actually and no I haven’t. I probably should look her up and thank her for that one.

Larry: Say, “Look at me now and it was all because of you.”

Don: Yeah you handed me that book. So I’m going to have to look her up yeah definitely.

Larry: Good I want to challenge you to do that.

Don: Okay, hold me to that.

Larry: That’s awesome. So you mentioned Traction and Rocket Fuel. I’m assuming you run your business based on EOS.

Don: I don’t. My business was set up before I actually read the books to a large degree. But most of my functions and operations are a lot like the EOS kind of platform. So I don’t want to say I have applied out in this type but we’re definitely working towards that. But they’re great resources for operating and putting people on the right seat and all that kind of stuff how you look at your team and build your team. And they’re definitely great resources for that.

Larry: That is so true I mean there are several books out there that are similar like Rockefeller Habits Good To Great, Right People Right Seats and all that good stuff. So we do run our business based off of EOS and Monday is meeting day all day long Monday we have nothing but meetings with marketing, with sales with operation with accounting.
And we go over all of our real estate deals for the week so that’s our meeting day is Monday. But I do like EOS but sometimes I found everybody talks about I’m too busy working in my business to work on my business. Sometimes I find we’re too business working on our business and working in the business suffers.

So that’s something for people to keep in mind as well. Don I want to ask you this question, what kind of words of wisdom would you give to somebody just starting out in the business?

Don: I would tell them that if you’re willing to do the work right #DoTheWork you can accomplish anything you want. If you’re willing to go out there and do the work and get the education, find a mentor get the education go out there and take action. You can accomplish whatever you want. Get out of your own way. Take imperfect action.

Start motion, motion creates motion and just get out there and make it happen. Whether it’s in real estate or anything else you want to accomplish in life, you can accomplish anything you dream anything you set your kind to if you want to get out of your own way and just do it.
Larry: That is awesome, that’s really good. So before we go, what do you need what are you looking for? What can our listeners help you with so you can give them your contact information and they can reach out to you?

Don: Well like I mentioned in the episode if there’s anybody near one of the markets I’m in I’m always looking for great people to join our team. Acquisitions is something I’m trying to fill another place in right now. I’m always looking for wholesalers to bring us properties and projects we are serious real buyers we’re active buyers.

And yeah I mean if you feel like you got something you can contribute to our operation or you want to reach out and just say hello you can reach me a don@fliptalk.com I do respond to my own emails sometimes not as fast as I want but I do respond. And I’m always looking to create new relationships for new business opportunities.

Larry: That’s don@fliptalk.com right?

Don: Absolutely.

Larry: That is good. Now when you’re hiring acquisition managers do you look for somebody with experience or do you like to hire green people so you can train them?

Don: To be honest I like to hire the person first in my entire operation. My project manager was not a construction guy, Kas wasn’t what she is now. We found good people who’re hardworking and loyal had great heads on their shoulders and we developed them into who we need them to be. And those are our best employees. Every time I’ve tried to fill a role with somebody who was a superstar somewhere else it’s always turned out badly.

Larry: Yeah I totally agree with that, I really do.

Don: Yeah. 

Larry: Man I really appreciate you being on today and taking the time to spend with us and share with our listeners. I know it’s been a great wealth of information, thank you so much for sharing and being who you are. And I really do appreciate it and guys listen if you’re in-now you’re in the Fresno market right?

Don: We are in Fresno but we operate from Modesto down to Tillary California and we’re getting ready to branch out into a couple markets up in Oregon. So yeah I mean who knows where we’re going to go in 2018 look at a couple more markets as well so.

Larry: That’s good guys so if you’re in that market reach out to Don you might be joining his team right?

Don: Absolutely.

Larry: There you go. Buddy I really appreciate you being on thank you so much I appreciate it.

Don: Alright man thank you for having me.

Larry: Thanks a lot everybody see you next episode.