[0:00:14.0] MF: Welcome to the InvestFourMore Real Estate Podcast. My name is Mark Ferguson and I am your host. I am a house flipper, I flip 10 to 15 houses a year, I own 13 rental properties with a goal to buy 100 by 2023. I’m also a real estate agent. I’ve been licensed since ’01, I run a team of nine and we sell close to 200 houses a year.
So on this show, we’d like to interview house flippers, landlords and the best real estate agents in the business. So stay tuned for some great shows, if you want more information on my rentals, on the numbers, on how I buy properties, check out InvestFourMore.com.
[0:00:59.2] MF: Hey everyone, it’s Mark Ferguson with InvestFourMore. Welcome to another episode of the invest four more real estate podcast. Today I have a really cool guest on, Justin Gesso who is my team manager, a real estate agent, helps manage my properties, went from the corporate world to being an entrepreneur and working on his own. We are actually college roommates.
Justin is a really cool guy, has helped me out tremendously, I could not be where I am without him.Today we’re going to hear his story, some of the things he works on now, and how he keeps me from imploding my business. So Justin, thank you for being on the show, how are you?
[0:01:34.9] JG: Sure, good, thanks for having me. Yeah, we definitely have a good long history together.
[0:01:39.5] MF: Yeah. I’m sure I did some things that bug you but you managed to stick around. What I’d love to start with is we met in college and I started out in engineering then went to business school. You had kind of a different route, what were you studying in college and what were your plans for a career and what you wanted to do out of school?
[0:02:00.5] JG: I mean, what I was studying, it totally didn’t matter but I just had this, I think what a lot of us have grown up where just kind of go to school, keep going to school, go get a job, work really hard, work your way up and everything will be okay. That’s kind of what the previous generation was really big on and so you grow up in a totally different environment where your dad was an agent, he was doing flips, he’s doing a lot of this stuff that’s going on here and making money a lot of different ways and really variable ways.
Where I think it was always pushed to me, you want a good steady job, you got to go after the benefits, all that sort of stuff and when I went to school, I mean my major was international affairs, it didn’t really matter. I later went on to get my MBA, but I just followed that path without really thinking about it and I honestly I kind of looked down on real estate agents at the time and I think you were thinking about being a CPA or something like that, I was like, “God, that just seems like a weird job, I didn’t really understand that you were going that route.”
So I kept on my path and in fact I thought I was doing really well, I started getting, you know, I got like an entry level job at a call center and then kept working my way up and working my way up and pretty soon I was managing global teams and doing great and I kind of like got there, I felt like I was doing really well, I felt like I was making good salary and then I kind of started like, it’s right when you get there, you start to kind of question, “Wait, is this really what I want to be doing with my life?”
I think that happens to a lot of people whether it’s in their 30’s or whatever it is. That’s when you and I came back together and really started talking and because you’d kind of been in an inflection point in your life too with your dad quitting and some other things going on. So we got together and started talking about what we were doing. I thought I was doing well and then I heard how much you were making and that was like totally eye opening for me. I was just like, “Holy crap.”
I thought I was doing well, and then found out you were doing extremely well and I didn’t know if you knew you were doing that well or not. You got on like, we were having weekly calls, we just decided, you and I both at the same time thought, “We need to be doing some stuff to improve our life and we were both starting to get into some success books, stuff like that.
And we were like, “Why don’t we just meet up weekly like a mastermind group?” And we got hooked up with another guy I knew and both he and I were relatively young in our company, we were pretty high up, we were doing well, we thought we were making good money and then we came in and started talking to you and you were like making multiples more than us. I don’t even know, did you ever know you’re making that much money relative to what other people made?
[0:04:41.6] MF: I knew I was making good money but it’s kind of like, when I was younger, $100,000 seemed like such a huge number. If I make $100,000 I’m set for life, I never have to worry about money again. Then you get to $100,000 and you’re like, “This is not very much money,” especially if you have a family and bills and a house and it’s like, “Oh man.” It’s kind of like, if you’re not really careful with how you spend money and what you do, you can keep increasing the amount you make but it’s really easy to keep spending just as much as you make.
So I knew I was making more than most people and doing really well but I also had a lot of expenses with the business and rental properties were expensive. So it didn’t feel like I was at multiples over other people even though I was until I really kind of started investing that money better and doing more with that. Yeah, it’s all relative and I want to clear up a few things, I never want to be a CPA, just so you know that. Accounting is not my thing. I wanted to work at a bank, I thought I would make lots of money working in a bank but I realized that’s not really the case when you first start out at a bank. I never wanted to be a real estate agent either working with my dad.
[0:05:50.3] JG: Yeah, not a CPA, what was I — financial planner or something.
[0:05:53.5] MF: Yeah. Being in real estate, I just never want to do that because I think most kids who are surrounded by that want to do something else but when I got to college, my classes, my professors drilled the same thing into my head, “Get a steady job, go work for a corporation, if you work 80 hours a week maybe you’ll get high enough to make good money and then you can work 100 hours a week after that, to those high levels.” I’m sitting there in class like, “This is stupid, I don’t want to work that much for the rest of my life.”
Yeah, we started talking about all kinds of different things in the calls we did, in your career and at one point, I was in the process of really thinking about taking over my dad’s business of buying him out. I’m like, “How in the world could I ever do that on my own? There’s so much going on.” And out of the blue I’m just like, “Hey, you want to come work with me?” I thought there’s no way you’d ever say yes and you said yes, and I’m like, “Oh.” Or you said you’d think about it. “Okay, well that gives me a lot more than I thought.
But one thing I want to ask you too is, going from the corporate world where you have benefits, you have insurance, you have a 401(k) to working on your own where you don’t have any of that. What was the scariest part of going, leaving a corporate job to — you’re working sort of with me but you’re still a contractor, you have no benefits, no security, what was the scariest thing about that?
[0:07:16.0] JG: I mean the whole thing’s scary. I’ve talked to a lot of people about that particular journey or a lot of people want to do it. So I asked what’s holding them back and stuff like that, I had this conversation a million times and what I can say is we just kind of whipped ourselves into such a frenzy, we’re doing a lot of people who see some of the mindset stuff on Mark’s site is books that he has, we’re doing so much of that stuff. I think I just like really kind of whipped myself into a frenzy where we’re just going to do and do this and not only that, I could see what Mark was doing, I talked to some other people and saw what they were doing. I just realized, I was on the wrong path.
I’m someone who has enough drive to get stuff done and it actually started feeling more risky to be at the corporate job, like if I stayed there, I was kind of just on this level set path and I was going to be working there for freaking ever and we have this idea of retiring at 65 but the standard retirement plan, the way the stock market’s going your inflation plus, I try to eat healthy and work out and all that good stuff, I’m going to live a long time. Where people used to be able to retire at 65 and have their money carry them all the way through retirement, I don’t’ think that stuff flies anymore.
So I started getting to the point where I felt like it’s really risky staying the corporate world more so than leaving, and so by the fact that you and I had been talking, we’re doing some plenty of planning. I talked to a lot of other people and then we had this situation where I could come up and start making money working for you with you, that was huge and we just kind of started out with one model but then ultimately switched it to another model where I would make a percentage of the commission from the team and stuff like that. So it was really more directly related to my performance and how well the team grew and stuff like that, that was really in line with the ideas I had.
Same goes for the property management what I was initially started doing there and that turned into a thing where your properties grew, I would grow with it. It was a nice setup and the number one thing I will say is, it wasn’t just about coming in and getting some of that work for you. It was more about, I always tell people I just wanted to come up and get that opportunity sent next to you, see what your day to day way, see how you’re doing all this stuff and I felt like that was enough to reduce my risk.
I had this little base from working with you plus sitting next to you or someone who is doing well. I just felt like that kind of brought my risk down enough that I can quit the job and leave and come do this and still remember that time. I don’t know how my wife said yes because basically that meant like moving from our town about an hour and a half away, away from all of our friends and family, quitting my steady job, dropping our benefits, all that stuff, moving into a more expensive house, that was for one stipulation is, “Look, if we’re moving up there, let’s at least have a nice place to live.”
Because I don’t know if people on the call know. When you think of Colorado, we’re in a pretty desirable spot before. I used to live in the Denver metro area and people kind of think of Greeley up here as the armpit of Colorado. I used to think of that too, it’s totally undeserving in my book. But still, that was our perspective on the time so she said, “At least we should live in a nice house.” Basically I quit my job, dropped all the steady stuff, we came into a higher mortgage, more expenses, to me that was just like fire to just make it work. It’s got to work.
The other thing I’ll say is I did not burn any bridges at my job either. I left on very good terms, I think they would welcome me back at any time and in fact, shortly after I left, I got a call from a couple of bosses up to a very high person and he called me while I was driving around and said, “Look, we’re really struggling in a few areas, can we pay you for some consulting hours every week and we’ll just pay you base retainer fee. So if we use it that’s great, if we don’t, you’ll just get that money.”
So it’s great how that stuff works out. I just suddenly, from my old employer, started getting paid a very high hourly rate to be available if they answer a few questions and someday rarely used and what didn’t end up being a big deal at all. So a few things like that popped up and gosh, I mean it just snowballs. You know how that is Mark. Started meeting people through Mark, a lot of people probably listening in on this or people I’ve talked to through InvestFourMore and those spawned off into various business relationships and things like that.
So it’s been good, I would not trade it for the world, I’m very happy I did this, I think my corporate experience helped and we can probably talk about that in a little bit here but yeah, we’ll never go back. I’m going to do whatever it takes to not go back. Part of the reason I say that is when you’re, I think Mark you might have been going there but you didn’t say it earlier, when you’re working at a corporate job, you basically, you’re working for someone else’s legacy. You’re building there, you’re building something for them, you’re working for someone else’s goals and you write this a lot on your blog.
When you can separate from that, of course you’re still going to have customers and people you deal with. Probably more bosses technically but at the end of the day, you can construct things in a way where you’re working toward building your legacy, working toward your goals and that’s huge. You get to achieve what you want, whether it’s making a lot of money, having more time for your family, you kind of get to craft your life instead of being a cog in the bigger scheme of making someone else’s life worth the way they want. That’s what you have if you're at a regular job.
[0:12:45.4] MF: Right, and then, one thing too, when you quit, didn’t they offer you a huge pay raise to stick around?
[0:12:52.4] JG: They did, in fact I wanted to — it sucked because they were laying people off pretty heavily and they were paying people packages to go and I wanted to be one of those people so I raised my hand, can you pay me to go, that would be pretty nice but I was like in a higher performing category and they said, “No, we want to keep you around and we’ll pay you a bonus, we’ll do some other things but we don’t want to pay you to leave.” So they paid someone else to leave, then I left and then my department got in real trouble. So it was just total example of some fat bureaucracy in play but yeah.
[0:13:28.7] MF: I love how you talk about how so many people think it’s risky to leave the corporate world and leave the benefits and leave what seems like a safety net but at the same time, you have not control over your job, just like you said, people are getting laid off left and right and you don’t know, maybe you think things are going great and you think you’re in a good position.
But if the company takes a massive hit or get spot out, you might lose your job in two weeks, where’s your safety net? Where is your, you know, how secure is that? Whereas when you go off on your own, coming to work with me obviously something could have happened, it might not have worked well. But at the same time, you’re getting your real estate license, you’re learning how to do things on your own, not work for a boss or a company who has your whole life in its hands basically.
[0:14:14.3] JG: Right, exactly. That was a big thing. I had no idea how long I’d stick around. Initially I kind of had it in mind that I’d be here for about a year, help you out, help you transition from taking the business over form your dad and then building out the way you wanted and then I would kind of go off and do my own thing based on what I learned.
But after that year, that went so fast and be honest, I’m still learning every day and I think it’s just better for both of us, still beneficial to be working together. I’m happy with the team, I’m not interested in doing something else. This has really allowed me to work on and do this sort of things I want to do. So I think it’s been a pretty good fit.
[0:14:51.2] MF: Yeah, I would agreed. There’s so much stuff in the business. I know people are scared to start their own business and go off on their own and they see me doing all this things and become like superman but at the same time I couldn't do like one of these things if I didn’t have a team behind me helping me. If I try to do all this on my own, I would fall on my face, it would not be good.
Because there’s just things I’m not good at, I’m not good at the details, I’m not good at accounting, I’m not good keeping track the little stuff where other people I hire can help me off that. I can delegate task that I hate doing and drive me crazy to other people so that I say fresh and happy and I think so many people get in business and they try and do it all themselves and they hit a wall. They burn out because we’re trying to do it all themselves and it just does not work.
[0:15:36.6] JG: Right, I agree. so I will say that I think a lot of people listening in just because we’ve kind of talked to so many people, they’re probably like super inspired by what you’ve done, just kind of the same way. Honestly kind of list those one of main mentors or whatever you want to call it where it’s not what you’re doing it, inspired me enough to quit my job so that’s a pretty big deal.
But I think you got a lot of people listening in who are in the same boat. right? They would love to be investing in property, maybe they have a really good job, they’ve been at it for a while, they’re making money, they’re tired of pouring it into 401(k) and stuff like that and they want to take that money and buy investment properties, start building some more passive income and doing some of this but they probably just don’t have the frigging time to do it.
For me, they’re probably going to their job, they have family, they need to spend time with and just burn out and they don’t have time to go find rental properties, learn about it, do all the stuff. So they’re listening into this, they read books and doing everything to prep but pulling the triggers so hard. So I think you got a lot of people, my guess, who would love to do something better but they just kind of feel stuck.
They feel like it’s too hard to pull the trigger with their current job, and that’s a tough spot to be in. instead of quitting your job, that’s challenging too, I mean I hear people say they’re afraid they’re not going to make any money, they’re afraid they’re going to lose all their money, they’ve still got their wife, their house, their mortgage, car payment and all that sort of stuff. They just don’t want to lose that security but they’ve got this stuff they want to do. It’s a weird place to be stuck in.
Absolutely, it’s a tough thing to do and I guess my biggest point, my biggest thought there, point of advice would be to try to find someone in your network who can act as a mentor and kind of help you into that and just like you said, don’t try to do it on your own, you’ve got to kind of level jump off of someone because one of the things I saw is when I first started looking at this, I think the salary for real estate agent was like $20,000 bucks a year.
[0:17:33.1] MF: Well depends for the average agent it’s like $32 but that includes part time agents, you take out part time agents it’s like $40, you go to realtors who actually work 40 hours a week and it jumps up to like $50 but it’s still yeah, people look at the average numbers it’s like, “Oh, I would never do that.”
[0:17:51.4] JG: That’s money before you pay for all your advertising, your health insurance all that stuff. So I mean it’s not — that’s nothing, that’s like jack for money. So I was like, “Wow, that’s terrible.” But on the other hand then I talked to Mark, I saw some other people, I knew there’s other people in this office who do very well. I mean they make huge amount of money.
So that’s kind of what attracted me to it is you can make I think what you put in to it is if you’re working smart and you put in the right type of effort, you could do very well, I’m not a shmuck, I think I can go do it, plus if getting mentored and learning from Mark instead of starting on my own and trying this advertising technique, that one and doing all these other things trying and doing all these other things, try to build my business slowly. I’m just going to burn money and waste time.
So I was able to, this is getting back to my point about finding someone who is successful in it already and going and latching onto them however you can whether you find some work you can do for them, you sit next to him, whatever it might be. Being with Mark, completely level jumped my results on a lot of areas. I just felt like I didn’t have that long ramp up time where you hear like most businesses aren’t, they don’t make money for a couple of years. It’s because you’re trying to build from scratch.
So if you can just hop on a moving train, that’s the number one piece of advice I could give people I think and Mark, it was beneficial for you. I think it was super beneficial for me and that’s how you can avoid some of that big risk at the start.
[0:19:17.9] MF: Yeah, that’s awesome advice and it’s tough for people to see that. If you open up your mind, you look for opportunities, there’s people in everybody’s life who could help them out and some sort of mentor if they just are willing to talk to them, take them to lunch, just pick their brain and people like it when other people are interested in them.
It’s not like they’re going to push them away and say, “No, I don’t want to talk to you about how successful I am.” So yeah, that’s great advice. And one question I have for you too, kind of changing subjects a little bit, is you help manage the agents on our team, you’re an agent yourself, you sell houses too and you manage most my rental properties, we have another agent who is managing a couple now and then you do various tasks on invest four more and that side. What is your favorite and least favorite part of all that right now?
[0:20:06.9] JG: Well hang on, let me hop back, I’ve got a good story for you and then I’ll come back to that question. When it comes to asking people for advice and mentorships, so there’s another agent in this office who does extremely well, he’s kind of — on the retail side of things, he’s probably the number one guy and he’s been in the business for a while. So when I got here, I wanted to ask, kind of see what his way of doing business was so like I said, “Hey, can I take you to lunch and pick your brain a little bit?”
Of course he was like immediately flattered, so he doesn’t feel like I’m going to steal his secrets or anything like that, but he was the opposite, “Of course.” He took me in his nice car, he’s got an awesome car. He’s got an awesome car too, he took me to lunch and we went to this Chinese place and he told me basically his whole system over the year and how he built up his business and then at the end of course I offered to pay, I felt like, “Wow, you just dumped like all this years, it’s just amazing sitting down with you about it, it validates a lot of direction I’ve been going and what I wanted to do,” and so I felt really good about that.
So I offered to pay for lunch and instead he whips out his wallet and says, “No, no, you’re just starting out, let me pay for lunch.” So at was nice and then the next day we had our office meetings, this is where everybody in our real estate office and at the end of the meeting, he kind of raised his hand and goes, “Hey everybody, watch out for Justin Gesso, I just gave him all my secrets.” So he was trying to say he gave me and imparted all of his knowledge so I’m going to be the realtor to watch and then he also said that he paid for lunch and so immediately one of the other agents raised their hand and said, “Wow, you just gave him all your secrets and he had you pay for lunch? That’s right, I’m going to watch out for Justin Gesso.”
So it’s funny how that works but people love to mentor, they love to give out that knowledge, I think that’s something you got to strive to get, absolutely.
[0:21:54.9] MF: You know what’s funny? I doubt if anybody else in that office meeting took him to lunch or offered to get any of those ideas either they probably didn’t take any action or do anything and then just the people who go after it and take initiative are the ones who are going to be successful, it’s not just going to happen on your own, it’s not going to come to you.
All right now, going back to the other question. Working with agents, working with property management, doing the investment, what’s your favorite part of your job right now?
[0:22:25.1] JG: Sure. So I do a few things for Mark and the property management is a big up and down one for me. So you’ve probably got a lot of people on here who are thinking about getting investment properties and trying to decide if they should manage it themselves or not. That’s a scalability factor, especially for you. You’ve got a lot of properties and you want to do other things you don’t want to deal with it and the other part about that is, you need systems, you need to be strict, you need to be really organized to be a property manager and that’s not your strength. That’s fine, I’m totally fine but it’s good you recognize that.
You’ve just got to be super organized with that stuff. It’s not my best thing but I can definitely do it. So I would say I like property management okay, I like going out when someone is right for the place, finding them, they’re good, they’re paying, everything’s happy but man, there are some real losers out there. I don’t know if that’s the right word for it but there are some people I don’t like dealing with and if the property is rough and it’s attracting the wrong crowd, it just doesn’t feel like my scene. I don’t like managing those properties as much. If you’re asking my least favorite thing, I don’t’ know what you would you call those class…
[0:23:38.8] MF: C class, lower properties.
[0:23:41.5] JG: Yeah, C class rentals, I don’t like managing those things.
[0:23:45.3] MF: Well we’ve talked about before, possibly opening up a property management company and what if we managed properties for other people, we’ve had — I’ve had people ask me a number of times, “Hey, do you manage properties for other people?” And after we looked at the numbers and the hassle and the work, it’s like, it’s not worth it.
[0:24:02.6] JG: It’s real tough.
[0:24:04.0] MF: I think it would drive us crazy and you’d have to have so many properties to make it worthwhile that I don’t think it’s worth it unless your main goal is just to have a thousand units you manage.
[0:24:12.3] JG: So that was an initial thought, when I came in, maybe that’s something that it can grow and it start with yours but expand that and build a business around it. But I mean you’ve got to have hundreds and hundreds of doors under management and it’s the margins aren’t that great, it’s the effort and some of the stuff you got to deal with, I just don’t like it. That’s my least favorite.
My favorite, I love working with the team in your site and let me clarify that a little bit. So I can even take a step back because when mark and I first started talking together, this goes back before I joined the team and stuff and we first started realizing how much money he was making, that he was doing some pretty exciting things, that’s when we had the discussion, “Man, people are going to love this, they will eat it up, you should start just writing some of these ideas down,” and you took off on that, I couldn’t believe. That’s where InvestFourMore came from is who knew you’d be a writer, I had no idea. That’s not what I thought.
[0:25:10.9] MF: I wasn’t really a writer.
[0:25:13.0] JG: Well you’ve turned into a good one, you’ve got an awesome audience, a lot of people listen to you and stuff. You started writing about what you’re doing and sure enough, man, people just latched onto that. You just had a good writing style, very transparent, every informative and personal, that’s just one of those things you get by. So we talked a little bit about mentors and other big key here is getting with that mastermind group, getting with some people who are all like focused on each other’s success, meet once a week and just start talking and bouncing around ideas because none of this stuff would happen had we not started doing that, I guarantee it, I’d still be — who knows what I’d be doing? But I won’t be doing this.
Maybe you would have gone down this path but this is just one of those weird off shoots where you started doing it, you did really well with and it just caught on and took off, now InvestFourMore is a huge deal for you and your readers and everything. I love that. I love the scalability of it, I like working on it, I like seeing people respond where this has gone. I’m still shocked by what invest four more has become.
I also really like working with the team. So another aspect I do, this goes for anyone who is a real estate agent, considering being a real estate agent or maybe you’re looking to grow it but at the time I came in, foreclosures were a big part of your business Mark, selling foreclosures and those really dropped off and have been dropping off because prices were going up. You needed to augment or replace that and you do that with traditional consumer sales, like working with buyers and sellers. The problem is, do you like working with buyers and sellers?
[0:26:46.6] MF: No, I do not.
[0:26:49.6] JG: That wasn’t really — it’s not like Mark wanted to go out and start chasing down buyer leads and stuff like that. So the alternative was getting the team to perform and start filling in that sales gaps. That’s part of what I took on too is figuring out the systems and advertising and hiring and getting the right people on the team and all that sort of stuff. So I really like that aspect of it.
What I can tell people, if you’re coming from a corporate job, just the fact that you’ve been around some pretty strict systems and quality and you can approach a job in a systematic manner, you’re going to be like head and shoulders above most real estate agents and what were we talking about? Average real estate agent seller, I forgot where we’re going? But I was kind of saying, your competition’s not that tough, you got a lot of people who are real estate agents and they do okay, maybe not great but you can come in and you’re going to be like better than 90% of them just because you have some of that corporate pedigree and you know you’re going to come in, you’re going to be tracking your leads, you’re going to be doing a lot of the basics that you just need to do.
So a big part of working with the team is just getting those systems in place and when we started, I was just on the hunt for what’s a successful real estate system? I didn’t want to come up with it on my own but we found one, got it implemented, just in terms of how we get leads, how we nurture them, how we follow up, what we do every month, happy hours, all that sort of stuff and we just kind of put it in place and executed on it. I like that stuff, that’s a lot of fun.
What I like seeing is our real estate agent start to be successful super quick. We’ve mentioned if before but one of our agents, he was working at Keller Williams, he started there and he did nothing for sales, literally nothing, got real frustrated. So he came and viewed with us and immediately, started doing well within his first year, he was the number one buyer’s agent in the whole office which is like how many people?
[0:28:40.5] MF: 50 agents now but at that time probably 40.
[0:28:43.6] JG: That’s awesome, I mean, that’s a testament of A the system but B the right person in there just executing and hustling on it. He just did such an awesome job. That’s like super satisfying to me. Almost to a degree, there’s a lot of leads coming in and I kind of stepped back and I want the team to feel like they’re up and running and happy on their feet before I take some of those.
So I spend a lot of, when I first started taking leads and selling houses and stuff, I kind of stepped back to make sure the team is feeling like they have more than they can handle, they’re doing well. We just had another agent, brand new join the team and he’s already on his way to performing very well.
[0:29:21.8] MF: Two under contract or three? Two?
[0:29:24.8] JG: Two, about to get his third. In like a month, so that’s pretty bad ass there too.
[0:29:31.2] MF: That’s great. Yeah, just talking about the corporate world from the entrepreneurial world, Justin has a book coming out we’re going to talk about too here soon. As you can tell, he knows quite a bit about the transformation but piggy backing on the whole agent thing. I get so many questions, so many people saying, “Oh there’s too many agents, there’s too much competition, that can’t be successful.” That is like the furthest thing from the truth.
Most of the agents you see are in the business because they don’t want to work a full schedule, they don’t want to have any bosses, anyone controlling their life, they just want to do their own thing and they don’t have the discipline to work in another environment, so they become an agent. Because of that, they don’t have any discipline to make themselves work as an agent so they barely work, they usually work from home, they don’t call people, they don’t return calls and I would say it’s the 80/20 or maybe it’s even higher than that where 20% of the gents make 80% of the money. It’s probably closer to 90/10 where 10% of the agents make 90% of the money.
Those are the agents working who have systems in place, and if you’re coming from the corporate world, another job where you’re used to working, you’re used to systems and you can implement that into your own business, you’re going to be successful. We’ve seen that with other agents where they haven’t come from the environment and they get scattered all over, they don’t know, they aren’t successful because they don’t follow systems, they don’t do what we tell them to do and it’s not a difficult thing to do to be successful. That’s my main point.
[0:31:00.4] JG: Right, it takes some discipline. By the way, I think I heard it when you were saying entrepreneurial. I read it somewhere I was looking up, what do you supposed to do to prepare for a podcast, what’s the best way to go with a podcast? And said one of the key things in there, you should do your podcast with — you should have a shot of espresso and a beer.
So to this podcast, I’m sitting here with Mark, I brought a beer for each of us and a shot of espresso. I’d love to hear from you guys in the comments if that’s the right recipe for this or Mark or in general? If this is like better than the average podcast, let us know and maybe this is a recipe. Mark should take the every podcast so you guys have to let us know.
[0:31:39.7] MF: I’m not sure if Justin’s supposed to say that or not?. It’s hard to say though too, because we both get along really well and have a good relationship, we’re sitting in the same room where most of the time I do my podcast. I’m staring at my computer screen at someone a thousand miles away. So that helps as well. Very cool.
[0:31:58.9] JG: What’s your question?
[0:31:59.8] MF: I’m not sure. We talked about the property management, real estate team, being an agent, the site, what are some of your goals for the next year or two as far as the business and where you want to be?
[0:32:13.1] JG: Yeah, so great question. You mentioned the book and it’s been on my bucket list forever, I wanted to write a book for a very long time and you’re an accomplished author at this point, which is amazing. You’ve got like number of books, bestselling books, that’s so awesome. Going through some of what you’re doing has helped me kick in to gear. Plus now I have some of the time and mind share freedom to get that done, which I haven’t had before.
So a lot of this stuff I wrote for this book which is called Leave the Grind Behind, which is exactly what we’re talking about, leaving that corporate world to go do something better with your life. A lot of this I was writing back when we were first going through a lot of things, been able to validate it now over the last few years plus I’ve got the results to back it up. I’ve gone through several iterations of different businesses and ideas and concepts that I wanted to do that have taken off and done well and built some additional streams for me.
Leave the Grind Behind Leave the Grind Behind by Justin Gesso
So I felt like it was the right time to revisit that material, put it together and release it as a book and so we’ll put a link out there for people and we’re recording this podcast now, it’s kind of funny timing. The book’s actually going to come out next week but that will be, this podcast will be released after the book’s out and I’m putting all the effort and everything I can, knowledge, marketing power into it to make sure it’s a number one international bestseller.
That’s my hope by the time you guys listen to this podcast, you’ll be able to go look at it and it’s going to be number one international bestseller. So you ask about goals, that was a goal of mine. Publishing a book has been a goal for a long time. A bucket list thing but I wanted to ramp it up, it’s just kind of like I want to get a book out there was my initial goal and now I’ve ramped it up, I wanted to be a bestseller, I want to have that behind me, I want to make sure it’s the quality book that people like, they’re sharing it, it’s selling well, all that sort of stuff. Something that can help open doors, who knows where that goes, that’s what’s so crazy about all this stuff, like InvestFourMore, you started writing and it’s just like taking you down all this different paths, introduce you to so many different people and so many opportunities. Things you would have never done if you hadn’t had that. I kind of see this as one of those items. That’s one. Hopefully by the time this is published, that would be like something I can check off.
We’ll put this at the end but by the way, do have a website, I’ll mention it once now and at the end. So again, the book’s Leave the Grind Behind but the website’s justingesso.com and if you go to justingesso.com/mark, there will be a form there and if you guys sign up, I’m going to pick five people each month until I pull it down but it’s going to be for a while, I want this to gain some traction.
So I’ll pick five people each month and I’ll send you out a signed copy of the book and I’ll also give you the option we could sit down for like a 30 minute chat and go over your goals, your road blocks. Some of the principles in the book and I don’t sell coaching or there will be no up sale or anything like that. Just genuine chance to kind of sit down and hear what your situation is and see if there’s any ideas we can bounce around together. Hopefully people see it as a benefit, you can go check that out.
All right, so that’s one. Another goal is — since I left, I was worried about not having enough money, I was kind of hoarding money and doing all that sort of stuff, I’m over that fear, I was over it right away. I want to have more of it deployed, I’ve got one A class rental right now, I wanted to have three by now but the prices have shot up, it’s been a little difficult of an environment. I don’t really know, I had for this year to have two more rentals but I don’t really know if that’s the right choice or not.
So it’s possible, winter that things will slow down a little and maybe some opportunities will come up. Having additional rentals, it would be a big deal and I want to have, I love it, the tenants was so great, it’s an awesome house, it’s appreciated well, making good cash flow on it and I attribute that to Mark. I’ve learned how to go hunting for rentals through Mark, I don’t know if you would have bought that one but I liked it and it worked well for me.
[0:36:15.4] MF: It’s in too good a shape for me.
[0:36:20.4] JG: It was a good house from the start. So that’s something. If it’s not those two rentals, I need to figure out something else because I want to get some investments and going, so I’m just sitting on the money now and that’s almost worse. But I‘m not quite sure what to do with it. I have an income goal which is pretty high. I kind of have three top goals and that’s what I talked about the book, you picked three goals like kind of banner goals for the year and that’s what you’re focused on.
So far, one of them has been the book which is going to be out, another one, income, I need to get my butt in gear a little more for that one but it’s still achievable. The other one is a rental. I’ve got to figure out something there. I don’t’ know Mark, you see the home prices going up, Colorado is sky rocketing relative to the nation but I don’t know what you see, I know you’ve been looking forward and stuff like that, what’s your input there?
[0:37:12.7] MF: Yeah, one thing you talk about as goals and it’s really important because I hear this a lot where people talk about goals and how to achieve them, some people are worried if they don’t achieve them they’re going to feel bad about themselves but goals are just tools to get you further than where you would be without goals. So it’s not like I have a goal to buy three rentals and if I don’t buy them, I fail.
You don’t want to buy three crappy rentals that lose money, that’s worse than saving cash and not doing anything. I have a goal to buy a hundred properties and I’m way behind that goal. My plan at the start of 2016 was to buy like 10 properties this years and I bought none and it’s just because you have to adjust and change based on circumstances you can’t control.
I’m not going to keep buying rental properties in a market where I can’t cash flow, where it’s using up all my money and there’s not that big of an upside, it just doesn’t make sense. So I have to adapt, change, rework my goals and I’m still keeping that goal, I think I can still reach it but yes, I’m looking at Florida, I’m looking at different markets because in Colorado, it’s just so expensive, it’s really hard to make money.
So yeah, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be sitting on a pile of cash. That is not a bad position to be in. It gives you flexibility, you got time to think about things, I think it’s much worse to rush and do something or force yourself to do something when it doesn’t feel right or you know the numbers aren’t working. That’s kind of what position I’m in too and you never know, maybe you wait around for six months and then all of a sudden the market changes, like, “Oh, I’m so glad I have all this cash right now, I didn’t buy three properties when the market was higher.”
So yeah, the goals can be tricky depending on your mindset and how you look at them. You should look at them as a tool, like you said, your income goal. I don’t think I’ve hit my income goal for the last four years, I make them so high and it’s like well, I’m still a lot higher than I would be if I had no goal at all. It still challenges me and makes me work harder and makes me think of new ideas and different ways to do things. So yes, goals are awesome but they’re not the end all of everything.
[0:39:07.4] JG: That’s exactly it, the goal should be big enough to put you out of your — you got to do something to push yourself out of your comfort zone and maybe don’t achieve that goal, which is totally fine. Maybe it takes you on a different path where you choose something totally different. By saving up and really setting this goal on getting a couple of rentals, maybe that’s going to open me up to do something different that I wouldn’t have found but I’m going to press on it every single day. That’s something you can do even if you have your corporate job now.
Maybe your goal is to quit your job, maybe it’s to get some rentals, maybe it’s to become a real fast agent, it’s so simple people over complicate it. You got to have those goals and then all you got to do is you got to carve out some time every freaking day, take 15 minutes in the morning, wake up 15 minutes earlier, start there and start doing stuff whether it’s just reading about things but then eventually you’re going to have enough knowledge and people can get stuck in that knowledge circle where they just keep reading and watching videos and stuff like that, you got to start taking some action.
The point being, if you carve out 15 minutes a day, pretty soon let that go to 30 minutes. For me when I was doing all this, it started becoming an obsession, so I was waking up a little earlier, I was staying up a little later but it got to the point where I was having fun doing it. I was like, “This is great, I can really start to see some things coming together, I’m getting super excited.” Maybe I didn’t watch that TV show I was watching every night. You can just carve out some crap and waste from your life and you spend it on doing working toward your goals and soon enough, you’ll make significant progress but you just got to take those steps every single day.
Just carve out some minutes. I write it down, every day I write down what my top three goals are and I make sure the activities I have in that day, I’m spending at least some time on each of those three goals to work toward them. The more excited you get about them, the more time you find and you carve out of your life to be able to do that. And I should say, in doing this — so I quit my job, making more money, happier, my blood pressure, my health is better. I always thought I was relatively healthy. I eat pretty healthy, I worked out but I had high blood pressure when I was working at my corporate job, no matter what I did, it was high and I quit.
Literally was like next week or two, I think I told you, I went and my blood pressure was down and I measured every once in a while, it’s been down ever since, it went form like borderline to green. It was amazing. It was such a good health indicator. I’m healthier, I’m spending more time with my family, everything is trending right and that’s like a result of setting those goals and working on a little bit every day until I can actually start to see the results and by the time it was time to quit my job and do something big and move up here. It just felt easy, it wasn’t a big deal, I had already put in that effort into it. Sorry, maybe another tangent. Did I answer your question?
[0:42:01.2] MF: Yes, I think so, I don’t remember what the question was, but I think you answered it thought. What you said though reminded me of my whole thing on mindset and attitude and that whole changed my life, actually started with Kevin Trudeau who if anybody knows who that is, he’s in jail right now for fraud and infomercials, he’s a crazy guy but he put out the CD series, I happened to hear advertise on the radio and I bought it for some reason, about making money. It had to really — a really lot of good ideas and Kevin Trudeau is a big scam artist himself but he had a lot of good ideas in it and one of the things he says on there when you’re talking about not watching shows, spending more time with…
You’re not going to be successful unless you’re willing to give up things you really like to do in your life to give yourself more time. If you love to play golf every week, are you willing to stop playing golf for a month to work on yourself and work on your business? If you really like watching the Bachelor or a show like that, are you willing to stoop watching that show for two months to just work on yourself. Work on your business because if you’re not willing to sacrifice those small minor things, then you’re not going to get far in life and you’re stuck in the same place. People think they have no time but if you write out a schedule for where you to spend your time, you will find places where you can find time almost every day.
[0:43:15.2] JG: That’s a great point. I remember what kind of the question was now. Part of where I was going is you can cut things like that out to do something big but you don’t have to sacrifice your values. You asked about my goals, another component of that is values. With all this, I wanted to make sure I was spending time with my family, in fact, more time than I was when I was at my corporate job.
So it’s not like, in order to do this, I did not cut into the time with my family, I cut into time that was crap. I negotiated, I was going to work from home and cut out like the drive time every day. I stopped doing a variety of activities, super intense about working on only what delivered results for my job, that cleared up a whole bunch of clutter time, you don’t even realized all the crap and none value you had stuff you do day in and day out.
So that was a goal for it to watch. Figure out what’s the none value ad stuff I can do, is there time I’m wasting maybe watching some TV show, is that really going to matter? At the end of my life, am I going to look back and say, I was glad I watched that episode of top gear or am I going to look back and say man, I’m glad I did everything that let up to this, you look at the whole life picture.
So I started cutting out some of those, making those decisions but I didn’t sacrifice the values, I kept that front and center and I still, I’m sure I could be making much more money if I spent less time at home, lets time with my family. I could be doing, showings with buyers all night every night and all weekend but I don’t do that.
That’s kind of been a principle from when I started. I’ve actually been able to spend more time now because I’ve kind of set that as a baseline. My job before when I was in the corporate environment, I could have made more money and worked up in that company there but Is aw the path and you basically, you’re like married to the company, you’re traveling, that’s what your life is, if I would have gone a notch higher, I would have been married to the company, you’re travelling, that didn’t jive, that’s not what I wanted and I wouldn’t have had an open ended salary even at that point, I would have making more but not like something that would be possible or having left. So you kind of evaluate all those factors, see what’s important to you, maybe family’s important to you, maybe travel, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter, maybe you just want to make money with nothing else that concern, that doesn’t matter, that’s all personal stuff, you can do whatever you want to do, the point is, you got to kind of go through those exercises, figure it out and then you just carve out that time and you start working on it. You got to start talking to people too. We’ve been talking about meeting whether it’s weekly with other people who have the similar sort of mindset where they want to get this things done or you setup a mentor, whatever it might be, just kind of have the stuff comes together.
[0:45:57.0] MF: That’s awesome, I totally agree with all that and I know you got your book coming out. What exactly are you writing about, talking about in your book, obviously it’s about leaving the corporate world. I assume you talk about all this and experience and how others can obviously make the jump as well.
[0:46:15.0] JG: Yup, so that’s it and it’s a lot about what we’ve been talking about already. I think we’ve gone through this enough and I’ve talked to another, enough other people that there’s a pretty good way to kind of take this path and do something big whether it’s quit your job or you just want to start making money on the side, doing things that are a little more in tune with what’s important to you.
You’re building your own legacy, maybe you make money consulting, freelancing, you’re like a true entrepreneur that deliver something like brand new that nobody’s ever seen before. That’s the sort of stuff that’s exciting and you can get up out of bed every morning, you’re excited to do it, you can make more money, carve out your own schedule, do whatever you want, that’s kind of like a dream, I think a lot of people have but they don’t really know the path to it takes. The book is about what I’ve seen and used for myself and seen others do very successfully and this is something I’ve kind of repeated myself numerous times.
It’s broken down into three sections, first it’s like mindset which is those daily habits you need to take, that laser focus on what you want from life and you’re big on that too, the daily habits, things like that. Goals and really realigning your life around, you got to start with that foundation. If you don ‘t have the right mindset to do this, you’re never really going to do it, it’s going to be something far off, it’s about attitude goals, figuring out sort of what you feel your purpose is, all that sort of stuff. So that’s section one, and that’s a big part of the book.
Section two is about the people aspect about this because you got to have like we’re talking about your group, your mastermind group, whatever you want to call it, when you’re meeting weekly and the mentors are so important. The first mentor I had was back at my corporate job and he just kind of like — he was a couple of bosses up and I think he saw a little bit of potential and he kind of, he asked if I wanted to be mentored, I was like, “What does that mean?”
Kind of odd my boss’s boss asking for this but he kind of just showed me that maybe don’t just take this linear path up the corporate world, maybe there’s some other stuff to start looking at it and he was young, you’d done every well, he’s a couple of levels above me even though I thought I was doing well.
I listened and boy I was glad I was. I had a few other mentors along the way and I would definitely put Mark in that category, especially as I moved up here. So finding mentors and knowing what to give them, knowing how to get something out of that relationship, making sure they feel good about it is huge. Last thing is taking action like we were talking about is how do you actually start putting all this stuff — if you’re doing the mindset stuff right, you should be excited, you should be getting up excited, you should feel like there’s nothing else you want to do, you want to get this done, you want to work toward your goals and like how you take that energy and actually apply it on a day to day basis.
What are some of the best ways you can start that transition because for a lot of people, I just can’t stand up and quit my job and then fall on their face. How do you smartly make that transition from the corporate world to doing something a little bigger and building your legacies? That section’s huge. I’ve got like so much practical and tactical information that people can just take and start applying and the whole book is like, it’s got like very work book oriented flavor to it, you’re working through stuff as you’re going.
[0:49:34.2] MF: Cool, I was going to say too, you remind me of something, I know your book’s going to be — not ready yet, it’s not out but I’m excited to read it myself. Something else I was thinking about just now, talking about family, friends, when we are in college, even the first 10 years of our careers or whatever it was, we never talked about money or careers or jobs that’s all with each other.
We still kept in touch, we saw each other, even though we’re living an hour away, we still visit each other’s houses all the time. We never talked about money or careers but once we did, it was kind of like we both started taking off and realizing how much potential there was and how we could help each other out.
I think most people are like that, they don’t talk about money with their friends, they don’t talk about careers with their — even their family they don’t talk about that stuff. If you would talk about that stuff with your friends or family, you could help each other out tremendously instead of just trying to do everything yourself. That’s something that so many people is kind of closed off and refuse to talk about it against society’s norms. Your personal finances.
[0:50:41.6] JG: I hadn’t even thought about it, like the way you were talking about it, when you started talking about money I’m like, “God, he’s like smart about it.” I just assumed because everybody told me my whole life, my teachers, my parents, maybe not my parent, not my dad as much but basically I grew up, everybody just said the way to make money is go get a job and work hard. But then I start talking to you and you were like so much smarter about it, that’s not necessarily the way.
You got to think about money, write it out, think about the different ways to build money and just had such a different perspective on things and how to actually I felt like you were — I hadn’t even thought about it that way, I didn’t even — I had so much conditioning growing up that it was just like, work hard and had a job and you’ll make money. Critically thought about it, that’s embracing to say. It’s probably 30 something but I don’t know if I like sat down and critically thought about how to make money.
All the schooling and everything you do, there’s a very simple way to do it when you go get a job then someone comes and gives you presentation about how you got to stock away as much of your money or stack away as much of your money in the stock market and get the employer match and do all this stuff.
I didn’t even have — I felt like there’s so much in bound about the way to make money that I just kind of went along on the track and here you come thinking much more critically about it than I ever did and so it was super eye opening and like exactly like you said, have we start having those conversations, nothing ever would have materialized out of it. I think it’s certainly help both of us in very different ways.
[0:52:12.6] MF: Yes, I agree. The first five years, in my career when I was an agent, I didn’t think about money that way either. It’s just kind of like okay, the more I work and the harder I work, probably the more money I’m going to make then after a while I realized I’m just not getting ahead, I’m not making much money, what’s going on and I accidentally set some goals, I wasn’t meaning to but I was mad because my dad’s assistant was making more money than I was and I thought I was a harder worker and smarter, I wrote down this big plan about why I should be making more money than I was and he wasn’t very impressed with it. All of a sudden I’m like, wait a second, if I did this things, maybe I would need more.
I just got it in my head and you start and like maybe I could take control of my own actions and do things differently instead of relying on other people to make things better. It was kind of an accident how it happened but yeah, that kind of snowballed and then like I said, mentors and different people just realized how much control you have over your own life and money but they don’t teach that stuff in school, they don’t teach it in college, you have to learn it yourself or find people who will help you learn it that’s for sure.
[0:53:13.9] JG: Exactly. I think maybe we’re getting — I don’t know if we’re close to wrapping up or whatever, but that’s another thing I’m going to say is we’ve been talking a lot about standard education. I felt like once we’ve started reading these success books, a lot of the stuff you’re writing about now, I feel like there’s this whole other layer of education that I totally missed out on.
Had I read some of those books, done some of those things, who knows what my life would have been like and maybe I just wasn’t in a position where I was hoping to reading and whatever it was. Standard education, even getting my MBA. I had my first job, they were willing to pay for business classes, so I said, “Why not just go get my MBA at night while I’m there, I’m not getting a whole lot else from this job.”
I got my MBA and still, they didn’t really talk about money in the sense of how to make it. It was all very much that same method. So I felt like there is this whole education out there that just stumbled upon, both of us kind of a similar time and we started reading on it. It’s just totally eye opening and that was far more impactful than a lot of the stuff I’ve learned in college. Not to say college was a waste of time or anything but it’s just so huge.
I hope this book that I’m putting out. I think it’s high quality, I think it’s very good and hopefully it falls into that category, it’s one of those things like, “Man I wish I would have read this as I was entering the workforce. I’m glad I’m reading it now because this is going to really change my perspective and give me some real actionable things I can start doing and applying to my life right now that will help me live more on what I want and not like working towards someone else’s goals.
I think we’ll put it on your website but again for those people who were interested in it, want to check it out, go out to justingesso.com. So the book is Leave the Grind Behind, got to justingesso.com/mark. I think that’s easy. You know what I’ll do, for the next few months and I’ll put a notice when this is over, when I can’t take it anymore. This will be exciting. It’s going to be good to talk to people and I think it’s something where people maybe can help spread the word but like I said, I’ll give out five signed books every month. I’ll pick some people if you want to have a 30 minute call with me apart from getting the book in the mail.
That will be great, we’ll talk about your goals, kind of what’s in your way, what you’re scared of, what you could be doing different, we’ll just talk through it and I think that would be great, bounce some ideas off each other and hopefully I can learn as much from you guys as you can from me.
[0:55:45.6] MF: Awesome. Is that the best way of people want to get a hold of you, that website?
[0:55:49.8] JG: Yeah, go to JustinGesso.com for sure.
[0:55:51.7] MF: Cool, of course order the book as well. Awesome. I assume we could probably do another podcast here and talk about much more things but lots of great information, talking about obviously leaving the corporate world, real estate agent, the team, property management, not our favorite thing in the world but necessary and of course your book, and then how you found success, how mentors have helped you, awesome stuff. Any parting words? Anything else you want to say before we head out of here?
[0:56:23.9] JG: Yeah, one more thing. I said it earlier but I want to make sure we get it in the comments of, I want to know the part of this podcast, especially from mark’s perspective CFD, espresso in the one beer is the way to go or not. Let us know.
[0:56:37.5] MF: All right, we’ll see how that works out. All right, Justin, thank you so much for being on the show, appreciate it and yeah, I’ll see you in five minutes after we’re done because we’re right here, sounds good.
[0:56:47.7] JG: Thanks everyone, thanks Mark.
[0:56:49.2] MF: Take care.