03 May Brant Phillips Show 16: Brant Interviews Stephen and Shelley – 1st Year Success Story
Brant: Welcome everybody to the Brant Phillips Show. I’m Brant Phillips. This is a show dedicated to just one thing, results. Just helping you guys create results in your life and in your business. Today, I’m super excited because I’ve got a couple of friends and students on. Bottom line is that they’re action takers and they’re creating results in their life and their business. I’d like to introduce you to Stephen and Shelley Latham. How are you guys doing?
Stephen: I’m doing great Brant.
Shelley: I’m doing good, thank you.
Brant: Guys, thank you for coming on. Thank you for coming on and sharing your story and what you guys have done in the real estate world over the last, gosh, it’s less than a year but it’s coming almost a year, right? About 10 months or so?
Stephen: Yeah. I guess when we first contacted you to get started with the training was June/July, something like that. Yes, it’s been real close.
Brant: Yeah. I think we did our kickoff meeting I want to say in July so we’re coming up on a year, July of last year. It’s May at the time of this recording. Why don’t you guys just share a little bit about yourselves and give everyone kind of the thumbnail version of what brought you to reaching out to me but more importantly about making the decision to step into the world of becoming a real estate investor.
Stephen: Sure. I guess that we have to go back just a little bit. I’ve been working in oil field. I’ve been in it for about the last 12 years or so. In doing that, we’ve been married 13 years. We’ve bought several houses. Actually what we did, we’d buy a house, move into it, fix things up, sell it a couple of years’ later, move again. In doing so, we enjoyed doing it. It’s almost like when we get one big we’d sell it just because we needed a new challenge, needed something else to be able to work on. We had been discussing the possibility of developing and building a business where we can do this more of a full-time kind of thing and of course I was like that. I was working in the oil field, Shelley was working at a dentist office. We talked about it. We’ve started reading some books and doing some research and trying to figure out, “If we do this, how do we afford it? What are the ins and outs?”
We’ve seen a lot of people do it but they’re getting, at the same time the people we knew that had done it, it was very small. They just had their own money invested it. It took a long time to flip it. They did the work themselves, kind of like what we had done. We really didn’t know the ropes on how to do this.
We read a couple of books. Finally, we saw your book and read your book. Reading through that, gleaning from that what your outlook was and the fact that it’s not just about making money but it’s also your whole life outlook, the 4Fs, I believe it was faith, family, fitness and finances that they were coming to … We met. We liked your outlook and then so we decided, “Hey look, let’s reach out to Brant. Let’s get a feel for what he does and see if we can hire him as a coach.” Of course we made the call and got talking to you. Then from there it fell into God’s hands because literally on Monday of the week that, I guess of the week after we called you, my prayer was that God would allow us to get this business up and running to the point that I could actually quit my job by Christmas time. That would be the late June, early July.
Wednesday of that week, our company did a corporate restructure and they let 36 of us go. They let me go. I was one of the ones who got let go. They gave us a severance that would carry me through Christmas. It was God saying, “Okay, do you want bet it? I’m going to go ahead and get you out of this job so you can focus full-time on what you’re doing. Here’s the money to get you through the end of the year.” That’s how we got started into the flipping business. With a real estate investment, we’re not solely doing flip. That’s how we got our jumpstart in it. It’s been a war/win getting going but it’s been fun. We’re definitely very pleased with where we are.
Brant: Yeah. The F4, faith, family, fitness and finances is extremely important to me because the fact of the matter is that we, so many of us, so many people in the society, entrepreneurs and what not, just people in the workforce, most people spend a majority of their time working. They spend a majority of their time in the financial quadrant. Making money to support their families, their lifestyle whatever it may be. Spend just an overwhelming a lot of times majority of time in there. As people get older, older in life and things like that, that’s the least important thing. When people are reflecting and they’re retired on their death bed, they’re not like, “Man, I wish I would have made more money. Man, I wish my network was higher.” They don’t care. People draw closer to God. People draw closer to their family. Now they’re like, “Crap, I wish I would have taken better care of my health and fitness.”
That is really important to me because I’m fortunate to have seen some mistakes that I was making when I began. As an entrepreneur getting into real estate, I was really focused just on this financial thing. This is the conversation that I share a lot with people about be, do, have. People think that, “Man, in order to have all these things, I got to do all this stuff so then I can become that person.” The fact of the matter is you need to be that person that you dream of being and that you desire to be. You need to be that person now. In order to be that person that has a well-rounded, well-balanced life that has daily time to focus on your faith and your family and your fitness, and at the same time your finances, you need to do those things, not 10 years, 20 years, 30 years from now. You need to do those things right now. You need to invest in your faith. You need to invest in your family and your loved ones and you need to spend some time on your health and your fitness. At the same time making money.
Once you begin doing those things, being that person and doing those things, you can have aspects of living the, I call it the have it all lifestyle which is you’re spiritually connected, you’ve gotten connected in your love, relationships with your spouse or your loved ones or whatever it may be, girlfriends, boyfriends, your children, family members. You’re taking care of your health and your fitness, whatever is important to you.
What people don’t understand is all of those things affect your bottom line, because I’m a business coach and some people are like, “Why are you talking about faith, family or fitness?” One, it’s because it’s important to me. It’s who I am but it affects the bottom line. That’s what people don’t understand. Since I’ve began putting it all together and applying some of these things that I do, it’s impacting my bottom line.
Sometimes it’s not immediate, it’s not right away. Whenever you think about, “Okay. If I’m going to make a decision,” like for people listening to this right now and say like, “I’m going to make a decision today.” Like right here and now that I’m going to, I don’t care, just invest some time, make some effort. Whether it be like reading whatever scripture of the day and to invest something in your faith. That you’re going to send your significant other or your children like a text or a little voice message or a little sticky note every day and let them know how much you love them or just do something for them. Exercise, like five-10 minutes, just go get a sweat and then just start there.
If you make little investments now, those rewards come later. That’s some of the results that people don’t understand is that when you’re starting a business, you guys have just started a business in the last year. I know you guys have been working your butts off. That’s kind of part of the buy-in of being a new entrepreneur. You want to build it where it’s sustainable and it lasts. Also, when you get to the end of the day that it’s like, “Man, I’m really proud of what I’ve created but I can also enjoy it because I’ve built this life around it.” I appreciate you bringing that up. I’m getting a little long-winded here. I’m sorry but that’s what I’m most passionate about is what you just brought up.
Tell me some of the fears that you guys had, and maybe even you didn’t have as many fears as some people but just what was the outlook when you were starting? What were the big unknowns that you had and emotionally how were you going into the onset of I guess when we first met to doing your first deal? What was some of the psychology surrounding where you guys were at going into this thing?
Stephen: I guess for me the biggest fear which is very important, what led us to reading the books and doing more research was the financial side. We definitely wanted our own business. We wanted to be able to work for ourselves. The big thing was, “We don’t have the money to go buy houses to flip.” That was a big concern. Of course as we would research and read. It’s like, “Well, you need private money or hard money loans or the different avenues.” It was the lack of education. We just didn’t know that much about it and didn’t know where to find it. Didn’t even know where to look yet. Again, that’s why we reached out to get training because we didn’t know. I guess for me that’s the biggest fear of it, is the uncertainty of how to do it. I don’t know. What about you honey? Did you have anything else?
Shelley: I think that was definitely the biggest fear for me as well was just lack of education of knowing where the funds were going to come from. There was a sense of not really, once the idea of you’re not having this house made. We got to open that door but still having to learn how to go about getting the finances was the biggest thing, because naturally when you start your own business, you have this fear of just out [inaudible 00:12:00]. You have no income coming in and you think, “Okay, we’re going to jump in this with both feet. Are we going to be able to make it?” That we’re getting with Brant and his team, it eased that. Sometimes it was getting us what our fear was which was the knowledge and the journey of just how to go about it.
Brant: Yeah. Fast forward to today. Looking back on your fears from then to now, what’s changed your thoughts around money and the unknowns, kind of where you’re at today and just your overall mindset as an entrepreneur?
Shelley: I think for me, it’s a business. The whole thing is a business. Having a structured plan of action as far as with each individual property, having that exit strategy. You just have to look at it like, “Okay, we’re going to buy this property. This is the profits that we’re going to go through with this property. Here’s what’s going to happen if it sells. Here’s what’s going to happen if it doesn’t sell. This is what we’re going to do with it.” It’s just a systematic path that we’ve created for our business of just knowing that we’re going to make it work. There’s always going to be something that we’re going to do with each individual situation to make it work. You know?
Brant: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Shelley: That it’s not an option for it not to work. It’s just not an option. We’re going to have a strategy so we can make it happen.
Brant: Yeah. Go ahead Steve.
Stephen: No, go ahead. I was just going to say in addition to that, yeah I see again the initial fear of just the unknown, because we went into training, we understand where the money comes from. If we’re applying for private money, we understand how to find and where to find the hard money loans. We know what to look for. There’s structure to it now. It’s a matter of, we only have to get out there and put in the time and effort, it’s there and it’s doable. It’s the fear only when there’s so much unknown.
Brant: Yeah. The mindset portion of this thing, the whatever your driving why is, whatever you are sourcing your determination from. Shelley you mentioned something about like, “We’re going to figure it out. It doesn’t matter. We’re going to figure this thing out.” Just that commitment and that mindset is probably about 80% of the factor, of the ratio of creating success. The 20% is like the how but the 80% is just the mindset. The determination like, “I’m going to either find a way or create a way to make this happen.” That’s why my book about How to Flip a House: the Seven Fundamentals, it starts with mindset. That is the most critical thing because quite frankly, the strategies, the Xs and Os of business and the real estate, some things are going to stay the same but a lot of those things will change and they’ll shift.
Before we started this, I was telling you guys about some new strategies that we’re exploring, we’re exploring in other markets. What drives me more than anything though is it stems from our mindset. It stems from my why, what’s driving me and what it is I want to create. Making money is fun.
Sometimes I got to clarify that with people. It’s like, “I know.” I’m like, “I love making money but I love enjoying things that I enjoy doing. I enjoy building a life and a business that are intertwined where I can make money. At the same time control my time, do things that I enjoy, work with others that I enjoy working with and serving others and giving back and all that kind of stuff.” If you can build this thing and I’m talking to people listening, if you can build, begin with the end in mind and build your business that supports the life you dream of, that is the road less traveled. That is the road less traveled. I’ve seen a lot of people who have made a lot of money and quite frankly, they’re just not happy. It’s not worth it to me.
All right. Let’s dive into, just share. Let’s share, what are just a couple of, I’ll tell you what, let’s close this out on your guys just sharing a couple of the biggest challenges that you would warn people about like, “Hey, this was really, really hard for us or this was difficult for us.” Biggest challenges and your victories. Then we’ll end on a high note with just sharing with some people like what you guys have done and like your big success story.
Shelley: I think for me the biggest challenge is real estate, there’s only so much you can control. You control the houses you purchase and the properties you purchase and what you do to the property. Then the waiting period out here, what happens once you put them on the market? That becomes out of your control. That’s where it falls back into getting it into a structure of, “Hi, after these many months, this is what we’re going to do to this property.” I think this kind of waiting game for me has been the biggest challenge with tons of property. That would be it for me I guess.
Stephen: I guess for me the biggest challenge is make sure you do your homework. That covers multiple areas. Make sure that you have good market analysis. Make sure you know what that house is going to be worth when you’re done. Then make sure you understand what you’re looking for when you go and do a rehab estimation. When we walk through a house because we don’t send a home inspector, we are the home inspectors. We come out and look at and determine, “Okay, we’re doing half the stakes, we’re doing mean the stakes. What are my actual costs going to be here because if you don’t do the homework. If you don’t call out [inaudible] and get over and open their biker box and look at it, if you don’t do those kind of things, then it could sneak up on you and bite you.
Again, we can see. It’s so funny as we look at properties if we’re looking for properties, a lot of times stuff that will come through and we’ll look at it and we can almost immediately tell, “Okay, that house has been rehabbed. Somebody has flipped this one and they didn’t know what they’re doing,” because they’re going to be coming back and they’ll be asking way too much money for the area …
Shelley: Because they didn’t do their homework.
Stephen: Because they didn’t do their homework they spent way too much money to do it. Everybody is a little prided by doing great rehab but because they didn’t do their homework, they’re going to lose money. That is really the challenge is you just have to do your homework.
Brant: Yeah. You got to do your homework. You guys already mentioned it. You got to run a business. Businesses are, we have to have numbers. We have to have data. We got to have metrics. You have to rely on your formula. You guys had my formula but you were in a different market. The formula is very, very formula but it’s a little bit different. Right?
Shelley: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Brant: You guys know what a deal is to you in your market and you just have to hold to that. You have to be patient. Another thing I say is that especially in the beginning, you have to be aggressively patient or patiently aggressive. Meaning that you need to be aggressive every day in taking action, performing the habits, doing the work that’s going to help create results. You need to be aggressive like every day making those phone calls, doing your marketing, looking at deals, building your team of contractors, raising money etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Be very, very aggressive with those things.
When it comes to buying the right deal or making a big decision, whatever it’s like you need to be patient with that. You need to make sure that it really fits your model for what you’re trying to create. Being patiently aggressive I think is uber critical to creating success. Speaking of success, let’s go out on a high note and share with everyone listening, some people may be experienced, some people may just be getting started in the business or thinking about getting started. Share your big success story.
Stephen: For me, as far as a big success story, we purchased or signed contract to purchase our first property in September of last year. Right now we have purchased and rehabbed five houses. We’ve got two of them sold, another one under contract. We’ve got house number six that we’re about halfway through rehabbing, property number seven we purchase tomorrow. Then property number eight, we should purchase by the end of the month. It’s just rocking and rolling. That to me is the success story. We’re not even in the middle of the year and that’s going to make eight properties that we will have purchased by the end of May.
Brant: Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s awesome.
Stephen: It’s really important. Again, it’s a testament to if we put up with the training, we put in the effort, the results will be there. It’s [inaudible].
Shelley: I think for me too, not only to the extent that Stephen just said, we’re actually working our own business. We’re not punching a clock. We’re not [inaudible 00:22:48] anybody else’s firm. We’re doing things the way we want to do them. We’re able to live life and have time now for each other, it’s something we enjoy together. We’ve jokingly but seriously said, it’s like we’re doing a hobby that we love and it happens to be our income. That is success for me to be able to spend more time with my family and be available to [inaudible 00:23:15] and children and all those sorts of things that really you hear lots about and not just punching a clock and working a 40 hour to 50 hour week. That’s the success for me.
Brant: Yeah. Time is certainly not equal. When you’re working a job, Good Lord. I remember when I was working a job, 40 hours is not the same doing something that you despise or don’t enjoy or in an environment that you don’t enjoy is not the same as 40 hours of working in your own business, 40 hours if you’re on vacation, spending time with your loved ones, just relaxed. Time is not equal, right?
Shelley: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Brant: If you can do what you guys are doing and what you’ve done is create a business that you love and that you enjoy, you will never work a day in your life, right? It’s not work.
Shelley: Right, absolutely.
Brant: Guys, I thank you so much for coming on. It means a ton to me not only to come on the show but just all that you guys have done. You’ve played all in and you’re doing the work. I’m really proud of you guys. I thank you for sharing with everyone listening today.
Stephen: Brant, we appreciate the opportunity to be able to come on here with you. We appreciate all that you have done and are doing to help us to happen. We’re honored to be here.
Shelley: Yes, thank you.
Brant: Thank you. Thank you for everyone listening. That’s all that I have for you today my friends. I just want to encourage you guys listening to, if you’re at a place where you’re wishing and wondering and hoping and just thinking, just taking action. Start taking action in your life, in your business. Begin to build your plan to go out and create results in your life and in your business. With that, we are signing off but thank you for listening. We’ll talk to you soon.