If you have been a real estate investor for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard of BiggerPockets.
BiggerPockets is a community of over 1,584,000 like-minded individuals, all with a passion for real estate investment. On their website, you can interact with other investors, ask questions in the public forums, and even advertise deals you are working on.
The site offers something for everyone. Whether you are thinking about making your first real estate investment or you have 30 years of experience under your belt, BiggerPockets has resources that will benefit you.
Back in May of 2019, I was honored to be the second guest on the BiggerPockets Business Podcast. For the first time, I was able to share my personal story in a whole new way. I sat down as a guest with J and Carol Scott to discuss how I got started, finding your unique abilities, building a strong brand, and how to master the content bullseye.
Listen in for an episode that’s a little different this week, and be sure to check out all of the cool things that BiggerPockets has to offer real estate investors.
Read the Full Show Notes Below…
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Your Business Shouldn’t Make You Miserable. How to Ensure It Doesn’t! – A BiggerPockets Podcast Swap!
I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. I never had the lemonade stand and I wasn’t out selling candy bars for school. I had no interest in any of that stuff. My mom and dad both had businesses of their own, but they were created out of necessity.
They were bound to their work and lacked the freedom and flexibility that most entrepreneurs are after. It wasn’t until after college that I really began thinking about going into business for myself.
When Things Changed
In high school, I wanted to be a doctor. It seemed like a stable and profitable profession. Something I could do that would not only pay the bills but would also allow me the freedom to take a break when I needed one. While I am glad I dabbled in a few things before becoming an entrepreneur, I knew I wasn’t going to be an orthopedic surgeon when I almost fainted in the emergency room watching a basic procedure in health occupations class.
Later, while going to school at the Oregon Institute of Technology, I had an amazing professor named Arie DeGroot. He is an attorney, real estate investor, and an incredible speaker. His energy was amazing and I knew that whatever he was doing, I wanted that too.
In 2004 I bought my first investment property. I was a junior in college with a 4-unit investment property in Klamath Falls, which I still own today. After buying the property I wondered what else I could do, and things began to take off from there.
I gave myself one year to either become successful at this whole real estate thing or I would go get a job. This is something I think is very important for young people just starting out, and that is to give yourself some time. Take some time to figure things out. Find out what you like, as well as what you are good at.
Growing up, my mom had a wedding planning business that she ran out of our basement. The whole family helped with the business, but in my case, it wasn’t the fun stuff. I wasn’t doing the marketing, I was doing the grunt work. I was held to a high standard. It wasn’t acceptable to set up late for a wedding or to have the client leave with doubts about the service.
It is because of this that I believe that Carrot is known for some of the best customer experiences, not just in this industry, but with any company that our customers work with.
Client satisfaction was ingrained in me early on, and I figured that you might as well be great at whatever you’re doing. When we started with Carrot we said, let’s not just do it well, let’s be the best in the world at it.
Creating a Team
After buying the 4-plex, I thought I wanted to be a real estate flipper. Everyone seemed to be doing it at the time and it seemed like a way to make great money and be my own boss. I learned all I could about it, and after a year or so of research, I had 4-5 clients.
My problem was that I disliked the maintenance side of things. It drained my energy and I knew that doing the actual building wasn’t what I wanted to do. I liked the design and the marketing side of things. I realized that in order to be successful, I was going to have to build a team or do something else.
After seeing my parents in business, I always believed that having employees was a huge pain in the butt. After starting Carrot, I was afraid to hire employees, I was afraid to grow the team past just six or seven people.
I found myself doing too much, spending too much time hustling and not enough time doing what I loved. It was only when I put everything I had into building the right team, that I was finally able to achieve the freedom I was after. I was finally able to create an impact.
Today, we have a team of about 30 people.
Your Superpower vs. What You’re Great At
Your superpower is what you are really, really good at. We all have something that we can do just a little bit better than everyone else. When you focus your business around that unique ability, that is when things will take off. It’s not just about doing what you love. If that were the case, I would be a professional baseball player.
Your business doesn’t have to be your passion. Your business should be able to fuel your passion.
For me, my superpower was marketing. I became pretty good at it, and by the time I was in my mid to late 20s, I was generating a nice 6-figure income from it. The problem was, it was making me miserable. I didn’t want to get up each morning and continue doing these same things each day.
In 2012, I learned more about chasing energy. I had it ingrained in me that it’s the things you’re great at what you get paid really well for. While I was great at creating products, I was completely drained.
I began a coaching program when I learned that my unique ability may not be what I was great at. My superpower may have been something completely different but I would never know because I was spending my time doing all of the things I was good at, like marketing and creating campaigns.
I knew I had to make the switch. I had to find a way to spend my time doing the things I loved within the business while paying others to do the things I didn’t like as much.
What gives me energy is, strategy, not the execution. Execution drags the energy out of me, making me feel drained when everything is said and done. What I love is to coach high-level entrepreneurs on my team.
Today, I chase things that give me more energy than when I started. I suggest writing down the things that give you more energy than when you started. If you also happen to be great at those things, you have the potential to be world-class.
The Energy Audit
Something we use internally here at Carrot I think can be beneficial to all of our listeners out there, and that is our Energy Audit. It’s simple.
Take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. As you go through your day, write down all of the things that give you energy on the left and the things that drain you on the right. Even if it is something that makes you a bunch of money, if it is draining to you, write it down.
Working out, doing podcasts, and filling up a whiteboard with strategy notes give me energy. But when we actually have to create the plan to get it done, that’s when I am out of there. That stuff goes on the right.
The only way to be able to change something is to measure it. We have a great template that will let you measure what you are doing. It will let you know what percentage of your time you are spending doing the things that drain you.
In 2010, 80% of the things I was doing were energy draining. No wonder I wasn’t able to really light my business up and scale it. No wonder I wasn’t really happy doing what I was doing. No wonder I didn’t feel purpose and passion in my work. I got paid well for it so society was saying keep doing that, do it more even.
However, I knew things had to change. One thing I was great at and that was great for my company was creating exceptional long-form content. Our content has helped Carrot become one of the fastest-growing companies in America. The problem was, I hated it. I knew that if I could get rid of that and add something that gave energy instead of draining it, I would become more productive in my business and happier overall.
First, I had to give myself permission – letting myself know that I wasn’t the only one out there who could create this high-quality content. I found an excellent writer and paid him a tremendous amount of money per article.
Then, I was able to take my time and dive into creating podcasts, something that really fueled my energy. I took a step back from the different businesses I was involved with, took some time to write out my guiding principles and nonnegotiables, if things weren’t lining up, I was going to shift my business or stop it. Some of the things I wrote down were:
- I needed to have more fun
- I wanted to build something that mattered. Something that would be an asset for my family.
- I needed predictable and recurring revenue
- I was going to go all-in on my unique abilities
- Find one singular focus and become really good at it
As Carrot grew, we were having fun and becoming some of the best in the world at what we were doing. Around year three, our goal became to bring humanity back into business.
For us, what we love the most was the interactions we were having with our customers. Automation is good for some things, as long as you are amplifying human touch somewhere else.
Content and Context
At Carrot, we focus on online lead generation content marketing and conversion rate optimization.
Two things really helped us to get where we are today:
A lot of people put out a lot of great content and gain a lot of attention. In order to back it up, you need the context saying that your product or solution really is the best.
Focus on actually delivering a better result, a better solution to their problem, and being able to answer any questions they have about your service.
The Content Bullseye
When creating content with a client, I like to use what I call the content bullseye. Picture a bullseye with three rungs to it. The center of the bullseye is the brand. The second rung is discovery. The third rung is evangelism.
After you have nailed your product and truly solve people’s problems better than anything else, you can go all-in on content for your brand. Take some time to Google your brand name and look for reviews. This is the conversation that your market is seeing when they are researching you.
Articles such as “How Do I generate Leads Online,” or How Do You Do Facebook Marketing For Real Estate Investors” is discovery content. People will learn from your article and say hey, this service is pretty interesting. When they begin researching you is when you want to be able to control the majority of the information out there about your brand.
Another step we took was to be as active as possible in public forums related to our business. We don’t own BiggerPockets, but it is the most amazing forum out there. By adding so much value to these forums, when people are researching us, it’s clear that we’re the best. So you start with your branding, work on your discovery content, and reach out using evangelism.
Leading the Leaders
As our company continues to grow, it’s important to have leaders within the team. I can no longer be lazy, I have to be an example to those on my team, so they, in turn, can lead teams of their own. I can’t wake up late or fail to be clear on my priorities.
This is what I am most pumped about going into the future.
I am being forced to work against some of the bad habits I have created over the years and finding that I am becoming a better person for it.