Justin Bajema on How to Obtain More Freedom in Your Business
Justin started buying property during the housing crisis, but pretty quickly, discovered a lack of professional management options, which lead him to start his own shop.
And today, Access Property Management is managing over 400 units with a highly profitable model that provides a lot of freedom for Justin.
That’s what we’re going to be digging into in this episode.
- (01:08) – Background Leading up to Today
- (01:24) – PM Benchmarking Study.
- (02:04) – Justin shares what his role in Access Group looks like today.
- (03:04) – Achieving Freedom as a PM Entrepreneur
- (02:47) – How Justin manages the virtual nature of his company.
- (04:16) – The importance of the right team members.
- (04:34) – How Justin arrived to this point and whether or not it was the goal to be virtual from day one.
- (05:27) – Constantly creating systems and processes.
- (06:01) – How ego relates to letting go, delegating, and leveraging other people’s talents.
- (07:21) – Justin shares the mindset that led to his decision to step back from the day to day operations.
- (08:41) – Putting the business up for sale.
- (09:14) – Why he backed out.
- (10:00) – Transitioning out of an active role in daily operations.
- (10:34) – Restructuring the company to include profit sharing with employees.
- (11:21) – Advice for PM companies thinking about giving their team more autonomy.
- (08:41) – Putting the business up for sale.
- (02:47) – How Justin manages the virtual nature of his company.
- (12:17) – Financials
- (12:33) – Justin discusses Access Group’s impressive profit margin and how this was achieved with low revenue per unit.
- (13:47) – The role of staffing and physical office space.
- (14:28) – Justin shares how he went from ten to two employees.
- (15:01) – Technology.
- (15:29) – What roles were eliminated or replaced.
- (15:38) – Maintenance.
- (17:37) – Office reception.
- (14:28) – Justin shares how he went from ten to two employees.
- (18:43) – How Justin handles the leasing process.
- (19:52) – Using lockboxes to free up more revenue and time.
- (13:47) – The role of staffing and physical office space.
- (12:33) – Justin discusses Access Group’s impressive profit margin and how this was achieved with low revenue per unit.
- (22:07) – Management and Team Dynamics
- (23:29) – Jordan discusses the effect his reentering the business would have on his team and the success of the company.
- (25:04) – Discussing the profit sharing model at Access Group.
- (25:38) – Jordan shares his thoughts on how to find the right people for your team.
- (26:58) – Building an authentic culture.
- (29:24) – How critical profit sharing is for growing Access Group.
- (31:32) – Managing growth in a conscious fashion.
- (32:41) – Discussing the roles of Justin’s current employees.
- (33:56) – Practical measures at Access Group that allow for a high profit margin.
- (34:30) – Attitudes and culture.
- (34:45) – Automating tasks.
- (23:29) – Jordan discusses the effect his reentering the business would have on his team and the success of the company.
- (35:51) – Technology
- (36:18) – Discussing Access Group’s tech stack.
- (38:42) – Parting Advice for PMs
- (39:19) – Justin shares his experiences with employee theft and embezzlement.
- (41:42) – Advice on financial safeguards.
- (43:34) – How you can begin to think about creating the same kind of freedom that Justin enjoys in your own business.
- (46:12) – Are entrepreneurs born or bred?
- Access Property Management Group
- Property Management Benchmarking Study (01:20) – Industry study performed by LeadSimple.
- The E-Myth Revisited; Michael Gerber (03:21) – Influential book on Justin’s career.
- Rently (21:14) – Self showing technology used by Access Group.
- Propertyware (36:30) – Property management software used and recommended by Justin.
- Salesforce (36:41) – Property management software used and recommended by Justin.
- Planet Synergy (37:05) – Outsourcing technology used and recommended by Justin.
- Rich Dad Poor Dad; Robert Kiyosaki (46:29) – Influential book recommended by Justin.
Where to learn more:
To find out more about Access Group or get in touch with Justin, head on over to their flagship AccessGroupPM.com.
Jordan: 0:00:00.0 Welcome closers. Today we have another episode of The Profitable Property Management Podcast coming at you. This is Season Three on profit.
I’m your host Jordan Muela, and every week I interview world-class property management entrepreneurs and industry experts who share actionable insights to help you grow your property management empire.
Whether you manage 100 doors or 10,000, this broadcast is designed to help you see the big picture and to give you the tools and tactics that you need to get to the next level.
Today, I’m talking with Justin Bajema, the Founder and President of Access Property Management Group in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
0:00:34.7 Justin started buying property during the housing crisis, but pretty quickly, discovered a lack of professional management options, which lead him to start his own shop.
0:00:43.6 And today, Access Property Management is managing over 400 units with a highly profitable model that provides a lot of freedom for Justin.
That’s what we’re going to be digging into in this episode.
0:00:55.2 Welcome to the show Justin.
Justin: 0:00:57.8 Thanks for having me Jordan. 0:00:58.5 Hey quick, real quick there, just at 400, not quite there.
Jordan: Close enough man.
Jordan: Right, right, there you go. 0:01:07.7
0:01:08.2 So Justin, I believe we met at the initial inaugural PM Grow Summit. At least if my memory serves me correctly, that’s how we initially got to know each other.
0:01:20.6 And then our relationship kind of progresses when you were a part of the benchmarking study.
0:01:24.3 This was the financial benchmarking study where we took 50 companies, did a deep dive, and scrubbed, sanitized all their data, had my guys spend a couple hours with you to see what’s what in your books.
0:01:36.9 And what came out of that was a 90 minute call on the backside where we just kind of looked at some interesting phenomenon, let’s call it, within your business.
0:01:47.8 And I’m grateful for you coming on the show today to be able to discuss some of this.
But really, the thing I want to talk about is the freedom – the level of freedom that you have achieved in your business.
0:01:57.7 And before we talk about numbers, let’s just talk about actual experiential outcomes.
0:02:04.3 How do you spend your time? What does your day to day involvement look like in Access Group?
Justin: 0:02:11.3 Yeah, I got to be honest, we’ve got a great team. It’s not me. I mean, my involvement today is not what it was when I started the company.
So, I believe in giving people the tools. Let me call the people and then give them the tools that they need. 0:02:26.9 Giving them the knowledge and the information, and then getting out of their way. You know? And helping them out.
0:02:30.5 So, really my day to day responsibilities – I’m not inside of the business from an operational standpoint. 0:02:37.6 It’s strategic. And support of our team.
Jordan: 0:02:40.9 So time wise, what does that look like? When we first met, you were …
Justin: 0:02:45.6 [Inaudible – Sound glitch] Jordan.
Jordan: 0:02:47.4 Well, when we first met, you were not living in the same state as your business. Which is like – kind of refers to like, flag, of like, “Hey this is kind of different.” You know?
0:02:58.1 How does that work? How do you live in another state? You’re back now, but how do you go a year of not being in the same state as your business?
Justin: 0:03:04.2 Yeah, so that’s kind of a pressure cooker. So let me back up here a little bit. You know?
We started the business in 2008. We just hit ten years – anniversary. Super excited about that for a lot of different reasons. 0:03:14.5 I think it’s a pretty huge milestone that we’re really proud of.
But from day one, we knew – one of the books that was very impactful for me was, 0:03:21.0 E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. 0:03:24.4 And he has a very system’s based logic to business.
0:03:28.3 And for me, it’s not that I just love property management business and real estate, I love business. I love the systems. I love how it all works together.
0:03:34.5 For me, that gets me jazzed up. Yeah, I see myself as a kind of a tech geek/just a business lover, I guess.
0:03:45.4 I just love everything business. I love legal, accounting, finance. All of it. I love it, I enjoy it. 0:03:48.0 It’s something that I thrive on. I think it’s the chaos that keeps me going. 0:03:53.7 Kind of like the military.
0:03:55.8 But, you know, we built the business to be run from anywhere in the country. To be run from an airplane. You know, a seat to do that stuff.
0:04:05.5 And today, that’s even worked itself even further out where we’re basically at the point – the only reason we have an office is for SEO purposes.
Jordan: 0:04:16.5 Ok. So it’s a virtual operation. You must have some pretty competent team members then that you can really lean on to run this.
Justin: 0:04:25.1 For sure. And that’s the secret. I mean, it’s not about me. It’s not about how good I am. Because, truth of the matter is, you don’t want me managing your property. You know? That’s just not fair to all.
Jordan: 0:04:34.8 So was this the goal from day one? To not be involved in operations? Or did it just – did the opportunity arise and you took it? How did you get to that point?
Justin: 0:04:44.8 Yeah. I knew that I didn’t want to be a slave to the business. I didn’t want a job. I knew that I wanted to create something. And I wanted a lifestyle.
0:04:52.4 But I think, you know, too often – I think the biggest problem today is people don’t know what the hell they want. And I’m guilty of that too.
0:04:59.7 And so, we’re all running around being really, really busy, trying to grow our businesses, trying to get more doors, going to all the conferences. 0:05:04.0 You know, running for this office, running this organization.
Doing all the stuff that we think are the important things to do, but then you get there and you’re kind of like, “Ok. Am I happy doing this?”
0:05:14.0 And for me, just doing it day in and day out, it brings me down. It doesn’t give me energy, it doesn’t give me life. It’s a suck. You know?
0:05:25.1 For me, I’m not operating in my sweet spot where I can add the most value.
0:05:27.5 So, for me, it’s doing the one-off things. If I’m doing something more than three times repetitively, ever, I have to ask myself, “Why am I doing this? Can we create a system, a process? Somehow to automate that so I don’t have to do it.”
0:05:40.0 You know, and that’s something – I think that philosophy has held through the company over the last ten years to a point where we’ve automated and systematized as much of the low value items as we possibly can.
0:05:52.7 So that way, our highly skilled, trained, quality people can actually, like, be on the phone talking to a real human being versus just ch, ch, ch, ch.
Jordan: 0:06:01.4 So, I’ve got to ask, man. Like, what’s your take on the relationship to ego to achieving what you just said?
0:06:08.4 Because you can see how an entrepreneur can get to a place where nobody is ever good enough. Nobody can ever do it as good as I can, therefore, I have to stay in the business and keep bitching about it. Even though I say I want that time freedom.
Justin: 0:06:22.5 Yeah. Yeah. You know, I think that’s insanity. Right? I think it’s insane, for me at least it is, and that doesn’t bring me happiness.
0:06:30.4 If that brings you happiness, if your ego is number one, go ahead. You know, you can run for all that stuff and you can be on a stage talking. Personally, I don’t need that.
0:06:40.6 I’m very, I wouldn’t say comfortable, I don’t like being comfortable, I think that’s complacency, but I am in a spot where I like the way that I dress.
0:06:49.6 I like t-shirts and jeans and sneakers. You know? I don’t want to have to be dressed up in khakis and spit shined shoes. It’s just not me. It’s not who I am anymore.
0:06:57.6 I did do that. Absolutely. We did that to grow the business to get to where we needed to get to, to be respected in the marketplace.
0:07:04.1 But I think you can fuse your own personality into your business. And we’ve done that. 0:07:08.5 And we have fun. We have fun. You know, it’s – what are you trying to accomplish? And why? You know?
Jordan: 0:07:15.6 Yeah, certainly great questions to ask. I think a lot of folks resonate with the idea of having more freedom.
0:07:21.9 What I’m curious about is this chicken or the egg timing scenario.
Do you say, “I’m going to exit the business, work really hard to get there?” Or do you forcefully force yourself to take a leap? Where were you at? How far down down this path were you at when you decided to move away?
Justin: 0:07:40.9 So let me tell you. I was fried. I was just like anybody else that’s building a business. 0:07:45.1 [Inaudible] accounting.
Me and my wife, we built this thing. We’ve done everything ourselves. Leasing, property management, getting new owners, new tenants, evictions. Doing the bookkeeping, I mean everything.
0:07:53.5 Every component. Just like everybody else that starts these businesses does. I mean, we’ve done that.
0:07:57.9 And then we brought in people. And we’ve had ten employees at one point.
0:08:01.6 And I’ll tell you what, that turned into a full-time job of just managing people. 0:08:04.6 And I’ve got to be honest, I’d be lying to you if I told you that brought me enjoyment. Because it doesn’t.
0:08:08.5 You know, I came from a culture, the Marine Corps, where you just get done. You know? And they didn’t see it that way.
0:08:16.5 And at first, you know, I thought I had leadership coming out of the military, but it was very ironic that it was totally the wrong leadership. 0:08:23.1 You know?
And people will only follow you if they believe in you.
And I finally – I think I figured it out, went to a 0:08:27.7 [Inaudible] leadership conference that really changed my world, to be honest with you. 0:08:32.4 How to really lead and serve people.
But, it got to the point where I was so fried, that I was almost self-destructive in my own business.
0:08:41.8 And what I mean by that, I was kind of like, “Pfffffttttt”. You know? “I’m out!” You know? “I need a break, I need space.”
I got so sick of it where I actually put the company up for sale. 0:08:50.5 And I did it for the reason of I wanted that experience as an entrepreneur, having searched something, created something, matured something and then exited something. 0:08:57.1 So for me, it made logical sense.
Like, “Hey let’s just sell this. I’m ready to do something different. I want to move on. There’s more to life.”
0:09:04.5 That would have been my number one biggest financial mistake ever in my life. So, very glad that at the last minute – we were under contract and we backed out. We backed out of it last minute.
Jordan: 0:09:14.7 Why’d you back out?
Justin: 0:09:15.3 Well let me put it this way: The net we would have taken from that sale I made in one year now.
Jordan: 0:09:21.4 Beautiful.
Justin: 0:09:21.9 I mean, it’s just that simple. And I think – if anybody’s caught that, I think there’s a huge opportunity there. I think the valuation of a property management company’s not in sync with what it should be.
Jordan: 0:09:35.2 It’s low. I don’t know if you caught Tom Sedlack’s talk at the last Broker Owner, where he was emphasizing all of the seller perks and seller benefits that are never factored into a traditional acquisition model.
0:09:47.4 Particularly with bigger shops right now that are coming in saying, “This is our playbook, we’re going to run you into our playbook and only value based on the value you would create within our playbook.”
0:09:57.0 I agree that things are definitely out of whack there.
0:10:00.1 So, I love that you pulled out in the 11th hour there. You’re back into the business, how long after that before you physically move? And what was that transition like to not be there?
Justin: 0:10:14.1 Yeah so, actually something really funny happened. I still can’t believe it happened this way, but the president of the company that was buying us actually came to work with us.
And I didn’t poach him, didn’t steal him, it was a very good relationship between who was purchasing our company – we’re still friends today, but the president of her company was ready for a change.
0:10:34.1 And so, he came on board with us and he’s still been with us. It’s been over three years now and we restructured our arrangement as how we share profits.
0:10:43.2 So we’re doing profit sharing with him to give him some skin in the game.
0:10:48.1 And I think that arrangement, that reset has made all the difference for us and for our lifestyle.
0:10:53.5 So, I’d say that I’ve been out of the company probably for five years, but really it’s 0:10:58.5 [Inaudible] own in the last three years with our new team. The way it’s structured.
Jordan: 0:11:05.0 Got it. Ok. So, this time period where you’re away from the office, in many ways it’s just a forced constraint. Right?
Anybody that is running a property management company doesn’t want to move to a different state. Simply stop showing up to the office.
0:11:21.0 If you wanted to, you could stop showing up to the office and just see what happens. 0:11:25.8 Require your staff to be more autonomous, etc.
0:11:29.5 Most folks are not at that place, but as a constraint and a forcing function to give yourself more space. A lot of folks – probably be a good idea to do at least a couple days a week. Fair?
Justin: 0:11:40.4 Yeah. Hey, and we didn’t just go from me being there everyday to all of a sudden poof. You know, I’m completely gone and moving to Texas.
0:11:46.8 But for us, we knew in advance, we had enough time segue. Six months in advance we knew we were going to Texas, so that really forced us to – the last couple of things to make us run remotely, we had it figured out.
0:11:57.2 So the last thing for us, I think, was signing physical cheques. Which, very seldom do we every do a physical cheque anymore.
0:12:02.5 And so, we had to figure out, ok what’s a systematic approach that we can do this remotely and still having the checks and balances in place.
0:12:10.5 And with technology, I mean that stuff is an option today. That’s there. That’s very feasible. 0:12:14.5 All of it’s happening.
Jordan: 0:12:17.6 I want to go through the step by step parts of how you got out of the business. How somebody would actually execute on this game plan.
0:12:23.8 But before we do that, I want to give more financial context to describe the business model, or the playbook, that you are running.
0:12:33.0 The biggest thing that stuck out of the scorecard that we did during the benchmarking study was seeing that your revenue per unit is low.
0:12:40.2 Objectively, when I look across the country at the companies that we work with, it’s a number that I would say is low.
And it’s actually fairly north of the – south of the $150 bright line that we typically establish as being kind of a danger zone.
0:12:58.3 At the time that we performed this analysis, your revenue per unit was at $118 dollars.
0:13:07.5 But what’s fascinating is that your profit margins were well north of 30%. I won’t talk about the exact amount, I’m sure it’s different from where you’re at now.
0:13:18.7 But your revenue per unit, to frame this in a different way, was less than half of the top 25% that were averaging a profit margin of around 26%.
0:13:35.9 Revenue per unit is half of what most companies need revenue-wise to generate a profit margin of 26%. How is that possible? Explain this – what’s going on here.
Justin: 0:13:47.6 Two things jump out at me. One is staffing. Second is physical office space. I think those are two huge money sucks.
We had ten employees. I wasn’t making any money. That was the profit margin. Gone. 0:14:01.4 You know, it goes into your staff at that point.
0:14:04.2 And it’s really about finding the right people. You find a solid team – for me, the secret was finding two great guys that we clicked with, that we share the same values and have that similarity of focus of what we’re trying to accomplish, and we work together. Respect each other.
0:14:24.2 I don’t have a turnover. I haven’t had a staffing turnover, employee turnover in over three years.
Jordan: 0:14:28.4 How many full-time staff do you have right now?
Justin: 0:14:30.7 Two.
Jordan: 0:14:31.1 Two. You went from ten to two and actually, you went from probably more than ten, because you stepped out.
Justin: 0:14:39.9 Yep.
Jordan: 0:14:41.0 Ok. So, labor-wise, when we look at a regular property management company with an average operating margin of 6%, if we remove the owner’s salary, we’d initially gain some efficiency.
0:14:52.4 But that still seems like a – there’s still a gap there. How do you go from 10 to 2? And add doors and grow.
Justin: 0:15:01.4 Yeah. All I can say is: technology. We’ve really forced systems. I think one thing early on that was key to our success.
Back in 2008 we started. I have an actual love of technology and I think that’s very beneficial for us.
0:15:15.8 I think building a cob-based infrastructure from a very systems-based approach has been key to our success. Along with finding the great people to run those systems.
Jordan: 0:15:29.1 Alright. Let’s talk roles. I want to hear about specific roles that were eliminated in going from ten to two, and the systems that replaced that.
0:15:36.0 What did you start with? What was like the first big gain?
Justin: 0:15:38.3 Maintenance. Gone. Kill it. I mean, we lost – we started – we tried doing a maintenance company and the truth – what I found for me is that starting a maintenance division is starting a whole new company.
0:15:50.7 The difference between a property management personnel and a maintenance personnel? Two totally different wavelengths. Two totally different people. Two totally different goals, aspirations, career, desires.
0:16:01.7 I don’t relate to the maintenance side of things. I relate to the trades. I understand trades. I got out of the Marine Corps, started building homes back in 2005, 2006, before I started buying property. So I understand that very well.
0:16:13.5 What I don’t understand is someone that doesn’t have desires and goals for more in life.
0:16:17.3 So, for me, there’s a huge disconnect there. So, getting rid of that. We tried that, we lost $30,000 dollars in a couple months.
Realized that I didn’t want to be running two different companies. Just wasn’t what I wanted.
Jordan: 0:16:27.4 Now did you do that initially more out of wanting to control service quality? Or because you thought it was going to be a significant revenue opportunity?
Justin: 0:16:34.5 Both. I’ll tell you why. Part of it is because I was running around like everybody else at NARPM.
Looking at how everybody is doing it and trying to do what everybody else is doing. Right? NARPM is a great thing, but it’s a catch-22. You have to be careful.
0:16:46.4 There’s the good things that you can take from it, but you can also find yourself in a trap of just following what everybody else is doing.
0:16:53.3 And if you don’t ask yourself why you’re doing something, it doesn’t make sense. 0:16:55.3 Even though why you’re doing what you’re doing, you better hit the breaks.
Jordan: 0:17:01.5 Agreed. Also, if you don’t understand the financial outcomes that are really being generated by that best practice, right?
0:17:06.7 People aren’t walking into a NARPM meeting with their PNL wide open. 0:17:10.4 There’s a gap between concept and financial reality. You found that out with maintenance. So, that ten number, was that including the labor associated with you running …
Justin: 0:17:20.4 Yeah, I think we had three maintenance.
Jordan: Ok, got it.
Justin: 0:17:24.3 Between two and three. Right there.
Jordan: 0:17:26.2 So we’re down to seven.
Justin: 0:17:27.5 I mean, right there’s over – that’s six figures right there.
Jordan: 0:17:33.5 So we’re down to seven, what comes next? What was the next significant meaty process?
Justin: 0:17:37.5 Here’s my thing, it’s kind of a joke today, it’s an office receptionist. You know? Having someone in a physical office presence drives me nuts.
Like, what do we really need an office presence for today? I mean really? For walk ins? I mean, it just doesn’t happen.
0:17:53.5 If we need to meet someone, we can meet them at the property, we can meet them at Starbucks, or you know, a coffee place. Or a brewery for a beer.
I mean, wherever we need to meet somebody, we can meet them there. 0:18:02.4 We have everything that we need today with a phone, a computer and a laptop. You can have a hotspot anywhere.
Jordan: 0:18:08.1 So you have a physical office but you’re just saying you make it a policy to not have people not coming into the office.
Justin: 0:18:14.0 We do have a physical office. It’s inside of an apartment complex that we own and manage. So, that’s just a convenience factor for us.
0:18:22.2 But we’re pushing ourselves out. So, we’re open two days a week right now, currently. 0:18:27.1 And we’re in the process of completely cutting that out.
Jordan: 0:18:29.9 Got it. Ok, so secretary admin position – thinking about the things that person is doing.
They’re dealing with the in person tenant or owner coming in the office. You’re saying you just transition away from that.
0:18:43.5 If you need to actually meet, do it offsite, do it somewhere else. 0:18:46.9 What about leasing? The whole leasing process? Walk me through how you changed to handle that.
Justin: 0:18:53.1 Yeah sure. So, that’s kind of changing again as well, but we outsourced it. So, we had a full-time leasing agent.
Which 0:18:59.2 [Inaudible] killed me. I bought two company vehicles, two brand new cars. I had an employee driving around.
0:19:07.6 The thing that’s hard about leasing for us, is in the summer they’re getting slammed. You’re burning them out. They’re getting crushed.
0:19:13.2 I mean, thousands of phone calls, emails. I mean, it’s intense. Right?
0:19:17.7 Fall time, it starts to slow down for us. In our area. So fall and winter’s a very slow period of time where now they’re twiddling their thumbs. Now I have to find something for them to do. Like, oh my god, you know?
This is 0:19:26.9 [Inaudible] management issue of managing people. Instead of leading them, it’s managing them. I’d rather lead than manage. 0:19:34.9 That was a tough spot to be in. You know?
0:19:37.5 And just because they’re out of the office, you know, they’re out of site, out of mind, but how do you know what’s getting done’s getting done.
0:19:42.2 So, for us, we found a way to model on a per unit that’s leased and we outsource that to another professional real estate licensee who’s doing our showings for us.
0:19:52.0 Now we’ve gone a step further and we’re using lockboxes. And that’s something that’s really intriguing to me. 0:20:00.5 I think it’s absolutely the future. If you’ve ever done a BRBO, vacation rental…
Jordan: 0:20:03.4 Yeah. Totally.
Justin: 0:20:04.5 You don’t want to meet someone at the property. You know? I want everything done.
I want to see the property when I want to see it. 0:20:10.1 [Inaudible] five o’clock. When most people that are working, they’re going to be your tenants, they’re working at five o’clock.
0:20:16.8 So what’s convenient for them and what’s convenient for you are two totally different things.
Jordan: 0:20:21.0 Yeah totally. When I think about the difference between AirBnb versus, say, a more traditional setup, my expectation with AirBnb is that it’s all seamless. I can do it all myself.
If I’m having 0:20:35.0 [Inaudible – cross talk]. Exactly. If I’m having to interface with the human, that feels like the more traditional thing and that wasn’t what I signed up for.
0:20:42.2 Now, what about the one-off scenarios? How far down this path are you? Have you, like, fully rolled that out?
Justin: 0:20:51.3 The outsourced leasing’s been years. That’s been several years. And it’s worked well, it has.
The problem I’m seeing again though, is my concern is once, you know, email, a lead, leaves our system, it’s harder to control.
0:21:04.9 So, it does come back to control. Quality control, for me. So I want to bring that back in. And so, the lock boxes, we have much more control over that process.
Jordan: 0:21:12.0 And what vendor solution are you using for that?
Justin: 0:21:14.7 Rently 0:21:15.7
Jordan: 0:21:17.3 And Rently has a couple of different tiers, are you like full blown like Rently Blue? Or are you just using the …
Justin: 0:21:25.1 I couldn’t tell you that Jordan.
Jordan: 0:21:26.5 Not in the weeds on that one. Fair enough. Yeah.
Justin: 0:21:29.4 Well, you know, it comes back to, Jordan, it comes back to – I come in, you know, I try to come in at least once a month.
And I love our guys, I do, so I want to come and support them. I see these phone calls coming in and they’re in the middle of doing something, they’re thinking, but that phone rings, every disturbance, that’s 15 minutes of them trying to get back on track.
0:21:43.9 I don’t know about you, but when I’m in the flow, I don’t want anything interrupting me. 0:21:49.2 When I’m getting quality work done.
0:21:50.6 So, it pains me to see – sorry, but you see these stupid questions coming on the phones – that it’s already on the website, it’s already there.
0:21:57.8 It’s like, “Ok we’ve got to find a way to take this out of your hands.” Not because you don’t do it well, it’s because you shouldn’t be doing it.
Jordan: 0:22:07.2 Ok. So, let’s talk about the whole concept of the contribution that management can make.
The business owner, when they get to the point that they can replace themselves, and now they have a little more freedom.
They’ve made some hires under them, they’re supposed to be working ‘on’ the business, rather than ‘in’ the business.
0:22:27.3 That transition doesn’t come with a guide, or a manual for how to hold yourself accountable, and how to earn your pay cheque as a manager. Right?
0:22:36.7 So, by default, maybe you’re thinking about systems, or processes, but if we really distill down the financial contribution and impact that the owner should be having in order to justify their existence, as opposed to firing themselves – we don’t think of it that way, but that is an option. Right?
0:22:54.2 You could go work on something else, or work somewhere else.
When I think about what that contribution looks like from the manager, it falls into a couple of buckets. You could either be driving growth, right? 0:23:05.0 Having a significant impact on the net number of doors managed.
You could be increasing the unit economics. Specifically the revenue per unit. 0:23:14.6 If you can find new ways to fee max, that’s going to have a significant impact.
You could be lowering costs, or you could be improving service quality such that it meaningfully impacts your churn rate.
0:23:25.4 Those are concrete, tangible things.
0:23:29.4 My question to you is: What is the gap between you being present and not being present?
If you were to go back full-time and just wrap your arms around this business, do you think that you could justify the salary that you would be drawing?
Or do you feel like that things are running well enough that there’s – it wouldn’t justify you jumping back in?
Justin: 0:23:56.4 Let me put it this way, a different way: I think if I came back full in, I think I’d probably push my guys out.
I don’t know that they want me here. I mean, the joke is, they want me in the office once a month. That’s probably about it.
0:24:07.6 And we have a great relationship, don’t get me wrong. But they don’t want me around here.
0:24:12.3 And I don’t want to be around here. They’re better without me being in their hair daily. And we still communicate with emails on a consistent basis, for sure. 0:24:20.1 It’s not that I’m out of the loop. I’m not a, you know …
Justin: 0:24:25.0 Yeah, I’m not an absentee owner for sure. For sure. You know.
But I’m looking at things that are important to me and important to the growth of the business.
So I see it is my responsibility to make sure that this is viable and healthy financially, so that way they can have income. They have security. Their family has housing and meals and shelter. All those things that they need that they’re taking care of.
0:24:43.4 And I’ve got to tell you, we’re making decent money and it’s not because I’m not paying our guys very well.
I think that they’re making very decent money today that I’m proud of paying them the numbers that we’re paying them. 0:24:55.9 And they fully deserve it. They’ve earned it.
0:24:56.8 I mean, we structured this in a way that they’re paid a base salary, and everything else is profit sharing.
Jordan: 0:25:04.5 So of their take home, what percentage would you ball park guess comes from base versus profit share?
Justin: 0:25:11.0 So, we pay a base salary and then I share 9% per person. So we share 18% of our profits.
Jordan: 0:25:16.9 Got it. Ok. But what would you guess of, you know – let’s say the person is taking home 100K, whatever the number is, what percentage do you think comes from the base versus from that profit share? Do you have a gut feel on that?
Justin: 0:25:30.3 I’d say right now it’s 60/40.
Jordan: 0:25:32.3 In favor of the base?
Justin: 0:25:33.9 Salary. Salary is 60 and it’s very quickly coming to 50/50.
Jordan: 0:25:38.0 Got it. Ok. So, let’s talk about the ‘who’ question. We can get into the weeds on the ‘what’ and the ‘how’, but the ‘who’ is what matters.
How do you find a competent baller that is so good that they can run it without you and they may be a little annoyed if you come back and try and dabble in what they have working well?
Justin: 0:26:00.0 Well, first off, I’ve been mislead by “ballers”. The guys that are very overly confident that come in to your business that feel like they’re the hot stuff and they’re going to get it done.
0:26:09.7 And I’ve had them embezzle from me. True story.
0:26:14.2 You know, so I’m always very cautious of the person that comes in and starts running their mouth right away.
0:26:19.9 Because, for me, I need to come in and absorb. I need to be a sponge. I need to see how things are done before I can start making my own impact in the business.
0:26:28.1 So I’m always very high 0:26:30.8 [Inaudible] right fit for me, if that’s the person that they’re coming with that attitude.
0:26:33.0 But when they come in humbly, they start to understand and learn and speak up and ask questions and be inquisitive, totally different page. Totally different story. Totally different person.
You know, you have to be teachable, you have to be hungry. 0:26:45.5 If you’re not growth minded, if you don’t have personal development, personal growth as part of your core philosophy of who you are, you will not work with me.
0:26:52.7 It just won’t work. We will be incompatible. 0:26:55.7 You know?
26:58 So for me, it’s I don’t want to come here and just have a daily grind. That’s not it. We’ve got one life to live, and whatever your beliefs are, we’re here right now, what do you want? How do you want to live your life?
0:27:05.4 And that’s the question that’s really important to me.
0:27:06.6 So I am who I am. And I think by being who you are, being true to that, you’re going to attract other people that embrace the same values that you have.
0:27:16.1 And it’s ok to be different. They don’t have to have all the same beliefs, all the same, you know, core values that I have, but we have to have enough.
0:27:24.9 My last business partnership is a totally different business. Our values weren’t aligned. And it wasn’t a good – it was not a good relationship.
0:27:34.3 Our values weren’t aligned and I wasn’t willing to jeopardize who I am. 0:27:38.3 Honestly, it came down to I wasn’t willing to jeopardize who I am for money.
0:27:41.1 And so, for me, that’s not worth it.
0:27:43.9 And so, when you have those values aligned, you have the right people, it’s fun. I mean, we go out for drinks together. 0:27:49.3 We have quarterly meetings together.
We enjoy being around each other. You know? We’re celebrating our wins. We’re having fun. We’re talking about, “Ok what are we going to do when we hit our 500 units? Are we going skydiving? Are we going to go rent some race cars?”
We don’t know what we’re going to do, but we’re going to do something really cool. You know?
0:28:00.7 That’s the kind of culture that I want.
0:28:04.2 And maybe I’m wrong, or not. You know? Like, the language I use is a little bit different than some people. Like, if you’re offended by my language, you know, you’re not a good fit for us.
0:28:11.0 So, it’s a relation thing. Right? 0:28:14.4 The biggest problems in life come with hair on top. Or not. But you know what I mean? You know?
Jordan: 0:28:20.1 Yeah man. I’m picking up what you’re laying down. So, for those of you listening at home, I’m thinking about it this way: Justin has a distinct personality bias, former military guy, etc.
And what I hear him saying is not that it’s my way or the highway. “I do it the right way and you’re going to conform.”
0:28:40.6 What I hear him saying is, “I am who I am, and the best thing that I can do is be honest about that and get in alignment with it and make sure that what I am asking of my team is actually going to be viable. By making sure that there is mutual alignment.”
0:28:56.4 And so, for somebody else, that looks completely different.
0:28:59.8 If you’re doing an hour long yoga flow session in the middle of the day with your staff, that whole thing is going to look differently.
0:29:06.5 But whatever it may be, being honest about where you’re at, and not taking on somebody else’s guilt trip about how your business should be run is absolutely critical.
0:29:17.0 Whether that be a different financial model, or a different leadership model, be true to yourself.
0:29:24.0 Let’s talk about from the opposite perspective what that right ‘who’ hires and where the profit share fits in.
0:29:32.1 Could you do this without a profit share? Like, how critical is that as a motivating component?
Justin: 0:29:38.0 Well, it’s critical to me, and I’ll tell you why, Jordan.
0:29:42.2 2008-2009 I had a very successful, wealthy individual take a chance on me. And invested two million dollars with us.
We did an apartment complex, still own it today. It’s been a great deal. 0:29:55.0 But he always shared a percentage of the profits.
And I was like, “Huh, interesting.” 0:30:00.5 Right?
I mean, it’s equity. 0:30:01.7 I guess the whole thing we’re really talking about is equity. Having an equitable interest.
0:30:05.5 And to me, like, I don’t work for money. I work for equity. Right?
0:30:11.0 And so, I wanted that same mindset to be with them. So that way when they’re managing my apartments, I want them – they’re going to be paid on how that property performs financially.
0:30:18.0 Because that’s how the investors are paid. That’s how their investment’s calculated. Off of, you know, the profits.
0:30:24.3 So it’s all about profit. If we’re not making a profit, we’re not in business guys. It’s that simple. 0:30:29.4 If the property’s not making a profit, you’re going to lose the property.
Jordan: 0:30:33.7 Oh yeah, ownership is a mindset. You want them to have, yeah …
Justin: 0:30:37.2 Totally. Who wants to feel like just an employee? That logic just doesn’t make sense to me.
0:30:44.4 And so, I’m not looking for those people. You know, I’m not looking for just an employee. I’m not looking for someone just looking for a pay cheque.
0:30:48.2 If you’re looking for just a pay cheque, you’re not the right fit for me. Because I want long-term people. 0:30:52.8 I want people that can grow.
0:30:53.4 I hope that these guys are guys I spend the rest of my life working and building something really cool with. I do. 0:30:59.4 Those are the type of people that I want. 0:31:01.5 I’m a long-term guy, not a short term.
Jordan: 0:31:04.0 Yeah, so I’m certainly with you on the same page on that one.
As I’m hearing what you’re saying, I’m thinking about the ownership coming up in a couple of different ways.
0:31:11.6 With your playbook, it makes sense to me why the financial ownership would be critical and make sense.
0:31:21.4 In a different model, I can also see how ownership could come from being fully bought into the mission and the organization of the company. 0:31:28.9 And maybe it has a much smaller financial component to it.
0:31:32.3 In your situation, where it’s a small, highly-efficient model, kind of like the Special Forces, if you will, of property management, where you’re asking these guys to carry a lot of water and grow the business, by the way. 0:31:46.1 How many units have you added within the last year? Ballpark?
Justin: 0:31:50.3 We’re just shy of 100.
Jordan: 0:31:51.4 So if the company is still growing, these guys are saddling …
Justin: 0:31:54.8 But here’s the thing though: It is growing at a very, very – I’m very particular about I don’t want to drown them with a work load.
0:32:02.5 And I knew that if we’re going to grow, I need to be very conscious of the work load that’s on their shoulders. 0:32:07.0 So as we attain more units, we’ve automated even more things. So their time’s the same.
Justin: 0:32:13.0 They’re not getting drowned more down. Because I knew that would be counter-intuitive to growth.
If they were worried that the more we took on, that the more suckiness they’d have to deal with, you know? The more grind, the more hours, that’s a hard thing to sell to them.
0:32:27.7 But if I can sell to them that we can take on and grow and do it effectively, without drowning you guys in labor, hours of work that has to be done – yes there is time onboarding, things might take a little bit more time initially. 0:32:37.3 But this business, once it’s set up and running, runs really well.
Jordan: 0:32:41.0 What are the actual titles of these two individuals?
Justin: 0:32:44.4 They’re both Directors of Property Management.
Jordan: 0:32:47.3 Got it. Ok. And in terms of making the transition with these guys, did they – did you hire them under the auspices of what they are doing now? Or did they transition as the company transitioned?
Justin: 0:32:59.8 Great question. So, one of them’s been with us since pretty much the beginning.
And I think over the years we might have butted heads a couple of times and realized we both needed a break for short periods of time, but we ultimately came back together and we worked through.
0:33:11.4 We worked through realizing I was being a jerk in certain areas, and maybe he was too. Whatever. We matured past that stuff. Right?
0:33:17.3 And so, one of them’s been with us for a very long time, and then the other one’s been with us for, I think three years now.
0:33:22.0 And so, the first one, that position just morphed. I think he’s done everything too. 0:33:26.4 And you know, everything from leasing to property manager to maintenance, business development. I mean all of it.
0:33:33.7 Except for accounting. I don’t want him doing accounting.
0:33:35.2 And then, the other guy is very strong on the numbers side. So we’ve got one that’s very strong on the people side, management side, and on the rules.
How to manage a property really, really well. He’s been doing it for a really long time.
0:33:46.1 The other one still knows how to manage it really, really well, but he’s also got the financial background. He brings a different skill set into the company for sure.
Jordan: 0:33:56.3 Got it. Ok. I mean, I’m still trying to wrap my head around how you’re having two people manage close to 400 units. Like, give me more of the secret sauce here.
What are other people doing that – to generate a 6% operating margin that you’re not that allows you to generate a much higher operating margin?
Justin: 0:34:15.1 I don’t know, come have a beer with us, we’ll tell you everything you want. But I’m serious.
0:34:20.4 Think about this a second: Think about the productivity of someone who’s very disgruntled. If you have someone – if you have one bad fruit in your company, they can take the whole thing down.
Jordan: No doubt. Sure.
Justin: 0:34:30.7 The attitudes, the financial productivity, it’s a bad place to be. Right? It’s a very bad place to be.
0:34:38.4 But when things click, when things are running – if it’s a repetitive task, procedure, we look for a way to automate it. I don’t know what else to say.
0:34:45.2 Like, we try to find systems and processes to automate it so that they don’t have to do every single thing themselves.
0:34:53.1 Everything has a quality control, I guess, component to it where it’s measurable.
0:34:57.6 Everything is measurable, everything is there. We can see it all, but we don’t have to do it all. If that makes sense.
0:35:03.5 We can see it being done as that workflow happens, but what they’re doing, they’re directing, they’re guiding.
0:35:12.1 And then – the biggest thing that they’re doing, the most valuable thing they’re doing is on the phone to actual owners, tenants, that kind of stuff.
0:35:17.9 Because that’s what matters today. I was just going to say – everything’s online right? And that’s great.
0:35:24.1 I mean, you have to have the reputation and look reputable before people will trust you, but once you do that, like, connecting with someone, actually having a human relationship with them – I think that’s something that we’ve been missing the mark on. 0:35:34.5 I mean, the human element – at the end of the day it’s about relationships.
Justin: 0:35:40.2 I mean, if I didn’t like you I wouldn’t be here. Right? And if you didn’t like me I wouldn’t be here either. Right? Same way.
0:35:45.3 But it comes down to people. Comes down to people. So tech is awesome, but you also have to add that element of a human inside of it.
Jordan: 0:35:51.7 Got it. So this is a great segue. The whole conversation of how – what is the point of deploying tech.
Some people, I get the vibe or the impression that when they talk about tech, it’s almost like – it’s a way to make the job go away, just to do everything.
0:36:04.5 Some people are trying to use it to specifically reduce certain forms of labor.
0:36:09.2 But you can’t, and you don’t want to automate a way, a brand, a customer experience, a client journey.
Justin: 0:36:17.0 [Inaudible]. Right?
Jordan: 0:36:18.6 Should be. Yeah. That is at the core of it. Specifically, what does your tech stack look like with communication? What off the shelf PM software are you using? What tools are you using for workflow, etc.?
Justin: 0:36:30.1 Yeah yeah. We’re using Propertyware. We have been for almost ten years. I think we used Yardy for like the first six months and then switched to Propertyware. So, long-term Propertyware customer.
0:36:41.4 We’re using Salesforce. I’d love to talk with other people that are using Salesforce. It’s a really heavy application. Again, I kind of geek out.
0:36:48.5 You have to be careful with tech that you don’t – it can be the biggest time suck in the world. 0:36:52.4 You know, you can go down a slippery slope where you’re trying to create this new system and I’ll be honest, I’m guilty of it.
0:36:58.2 I’ve been playing with that system for probably eight years trying to make it, you know, what it is today. So, that’s a component of it.
0:37:05.1 You know, we use – since we’re throwing vendor’s names out there, whatever, I don’t mind giving them a plug because they’ve done a great job for us, Planet Synergy.
We’ve been using Planet Synergy for eight years maybe? Six, seven years? 0:37:14.9 And that’s worked really well for us.
You know, Google Drive, we use Google Apps, so we use Google Drive. 0:37:22.6 Gmail. I mean, that’s kind of our tech stack right there.
Jordan: 0:37:25.4 Got it. I want to hear more about the remote labor. Do you use any other remote labor other than Planet Synergy?
Justin: 0:37:30.9 We do. We do. We’re using 0:37:32.1 [Inaudible].
Jordan: 0:37:33.6 Got it. Ok. And no full-time remote VA’s though?
Justin: 0:37:39.3 No. No. We’ve looked at it. Even just recently. We’ve looked at – we’re looking at outsourcing one other thing.
And, you know, for me, and maybe this is the wrong decision, it – to me it felt like they wanted a 40 hour contract commitment. 0:37:55.3 It felt like managing a person again. And I didn’t want that.
0:37:58.0 The thing that I love about Planet Synergy, is if they have employee turnover? That’s a 0:38:01.8 [Inaudible] problem, it’s not my problem.
0:38:04.9 And so, we give them the process, we give them the workflow and they execute.
0:38:10.4 And then we come into the office in the morning or, you know, log into our computers in the morning and its done.
0:38:13.7 So that’s ultimately what I care about. 0:38:15.6 I’m not trying to remove the human side of what she’s doing, but that’s her business. That’s not my business.
0:38:21.3 So, we focus on our business, which is the outward facing Yelp dialogue between owners and tenants.
Jordan: 0:38:28.0 So what are some of the use cases that you’re getting a lot of leverage with Planet Synergy? For example.
Justin: 0:38:32.7 Data entry. Invoices. Bills.
Jordan: 0:38:37.1 All the in between messy stuff.
Justin: 0:38:39.3 There’s all kinds of stuff right?
Jordan: 0:38:42.7 Got it. You mentioned the ‘E’ word earlier: Embezzlement. This is something that doesn’t get a lot of air time. Is not unpleasant – is not pleasant to talk about. And for fairly obvious reasons.
0:38:55.9 Internally, with your staff, if you’re talking about the fact that, “Oops there’s a hundred thousand dollars missing.” “Wow, are we going to go out of business?”
0:39:04.6 With your clients. “You must be incompetent.”
0:39:08.7 With your peers, same thing. Would you be willing to share? What was that experience – look like for you and how did you get passed it given that you stepped even further out of the business since then?
Justin: 0:39:19.8 Yeah. So, it happened pretty early on. I think it was year two or three. I hired that hotshot, you know?
0:39:25.6 The one that I thought he came from the multi-family world. I thought he was going to come in and run the company, because I was already looking for a way, kind of to remove myself from daily operations.
0:39:34.7 And it wasn’t huge. I mean, it was five, six hundred dollars, but it was cash.
It was the, “Oh oops, I forgot to…” You know, “I took a deposit, I took this.”
I can’t remember exactly what it was. A branch. But somehow he took cash in his pocket. Like literally had to go back out to his car to get the money that he collected the week before. 0:39:51.3 It was very obvious there.
0:39:53.2 And it’s like, ok the light bulb went on, “We’re cashless. We’re doing away with cash.”
And it’s still a threat. Right? I mean, it’s still a threat.
0:39:57.5 I had another individual, another employee who I kind of mentored and nurtured. He reminded me of me. He was hungry, he wanted to grow a business.
You know, I saw all the same passions and it had me excited to share the things that I’ve learned over the years. All the conferences I’ve gone to.
0:40:12.8 And then he stole from us. He stole all of our IP. He stole all of our lease agreements, our management contracts, every form, every email template, HTML template. He took our process for step by step how to run a company.
0:40:25.1 And that hurt way helluva lot more than someone taking five, six hundred dollars from me.
Jordan: 0:40:29.3 He started a competing shop.
Justin: 0:40:30.3 He tried to. Well, he did. He did. At first I was so angry. Went to our attorneys, because obviously he committed a crime. He’s a thief.
Jordan: 0:40:41.7 You did not have a non-compete in place at that time?
Justin: 0:40:43.0 We did.
Jordan: You did. Ah.
Justin: 0:40:45.3 We did. We did. And hey, I’m not looking to ruin someone, but here’s the thing: I’m hungry. I wanted to grow a company. I wanted freedom. I wanted financial freedom, I wanted personal freedom, I wanted the freedom to travel, to live how I wanted.
0:40:57.9 I wanted the freedom to be able to raise my kids right now. 0:40:58.8 So, a lot of the time I have my two-year old on my lap. You know, that’s what I’m doing with a lot of my time.
Justin: 0:41:04.4 Some people want money so bad they’re willing to throw anybody under the bus at all costs. And to me, that is so against what I believe.
My heart’s racing just thinking about it right now, because he’s still in this area. 0:41:15.5 But once you’ve sold your soul for that? Man, what’s left?
Even 0:41:20.0 [Inaudible] that’s just the scum of the earth. So, shame on him. You know, everybody around my area knows who it is, that individual. 0:41:27.3 That’s just the ultimate sin to me.
Jordan: 0:41:31.8 Alright, well I certainly feel the energy. I think anybody that’s been wronged in some way from somebody that you’ve mentored feels the same.
Justin: 0:41:40.4 That was the part, you know, that hurts. When it’s malicious.
Jordan: 0:41:42.9 Yeah, yeah for sure. Particularly when it’s theft of IP. Your baby. Any other advice on financial safeguards though? To make sure? 0:41:51.7 I mean, there – it feels like …
Justin: 0:41:52.8 Know your numbers. Know your numbers. And it can still happen to me. I mean, know your numbers. And we look through our numbers a lot. I mean, at least monthly.
We’re looking at stats, we’re looking at financials, you know, cash flow, PNO, balance statements, all of those things. 0:42:06.6 You need to know accounting. The numbers tell a story.
Jordan: 0:42:10.3 Do you handle all of your accounting in house? Do you have an outside CPA? CFO?
Justin: 0:42:15.3 We do have a CPA, but that’s for tax planning and strategy and tax filing purposes mostly.
Jordan: 0:42:21.1 Got it. So you’re the one. It still comes down to then manning the ship in terms of financial scrutiny.
Justin: 0:42:25.6 Well yeah, but think about it this way: If you’re taking online rent payments that’s integrated right into your system? Your accounting’s being done for you.
0:42:32.7 Well here’s the other person. We used to have a full time accountant making $45,000 dollars a year. You don’t need one today. 0:42:37.4 There’s no reason to have an accountant.
So now when people pay us with cheques, it’s a burden to us to have a physical cheque. 0:42:43.8 I want you to pay online because the ledgers are automatically updated. You know? Through technology.
0:42:48.9 But if there’s a paper cheque, somebody can take it, it could be lost. 0:42:50.7 [Inaudible] money order, you have the potential of theft and da da da da da.
0:42:54.1 So we want everything being paid online.
Jordan: 0:43:01.4 So you err on the side of just being – just going all in on a policy change like that. You’re not accommodating the …
Justin: 0:43:07.3 We charge $5 dollars per cheque that we have to manually input today. We gave everybody a heads up, we gave them a warning, we gave them plenty of time.
0:43:14.5 There’s so many other ways that they can pay and it’s very easy to do today.
Jordan: 0:43:20.8 Just put a little tax on the things you don’t want to be happening.
Justin: 0:43:22.5 Well, you incentive people to act the way that you want them to act.
Jordan: 0:43:25.6 Always. Yeah. Absolutely. Love it.
Justin: 0:43:29.9 Most people follow, they just need to be led. Most people just need to be led what to do instead of figuring it out for themselves.
Jordan: 0:43:34.6 So let’s close with this, Justin: What is your advice for somebody that hears this interview and thinks, “Man. Good for that guy, but I’m just in it. I’m so busy. I’m stuck. You know, if you only knew what I’m dealing with day to day. I’d love to have that kind of freedom, but I just don’t know how it’s possible.”
How does somebody start this process and get out of quicksand?
Justin: 0:44:03.3 Yeah. Well, the first thing is you’ve got to pull your head out of the sand. And so, that’s really an excuse.
It’s really a cop out saying I’m so busy I don’t have time to do this. I can’t do this. It’s really BS. It’s really that person giving you an excuse.
0:44:13.5 So truth is, going back to what I said earlier, like, I’m guilty of it too. 0:44:17.6 Most of us just don’t really know what we want.
0:44:21.1 So take a day off, go out in the woods, go for a hike, go do whatever you want to do and just think about, “What do I really want?” And not just some other business, talking about ‘what’. Because they’re both the same thing.
0:44:30.9 And so once you know what you want, things happen. When you’re clear, when you’re crystal clear on what you want, which is the hardest – I think that’s the hardest work that we can do as business owners and people – just in life in general.
Jordan: 0:44:39.3 Which is why we avoid it.
Justin: 0:44:41.2 Right! That’s we numb ourselves out. I mean, I go to the gym, I’m working out, I see this woman walking on the track on Facebook, scrolling the whole time. Never put your head up. And it drives me nuts. 0:44:50.0 Just totally sucked into that world of like – drives me nuts.
0:44:53.5 Figure out what you want. Just think about it. Like, and it doesn’t have to be like the grand plan.
Like, what I want today. 0:44:57.3 If it’s getting out of the business, ok. “How can I do that?” Was – work backwards. 0:45:01.1 What are the steps that need to happen.
Go find that person that’s doing that thing that you want to do, buy them a beer, coffee, lunch, whatever, start picking their brain.
0:45:08.4 There’s nothing wrong with that. People that have succeeded, that are – people that are wealthy, successful, I’ve found that they’re very generous. That they’re – they don’t have a scarcity mindset. And if they do, just move on to the next one.
Jordan: 0:45:21.2 Yeah, no doubt. You know, when we talk about knowing what you want, what comes up for me is realizing that for some folks, having a well paid job is what they want. And that’s ok. There’s nothing wrong with that.
0:45:34.0 Yeah. And it’s great if, it’s great if, you’re being compensated well. It’s not great if you have no profit and a low income in a stressful job. That’s not great on any playbook, more or less.
0:45:49.6 So, if you don’t ever want to manage people, and if you don’t want to do the task of operationalizing sales and marketing – and running 100 well-run, high quality doors in a high authority, high autonomy situation, is the best possible outcome for you? Then accept that and optimize accordingly.
0:46:12.0 I loved the overall theme of getting in alignment. We’re going to close with the same question I ask every single guest, and that is this: Justin, in your opinion, are entrepreneurs born or bred?
Justin: 0:46:25.2 It’s both. You know, I think it has to be both.
Jordan: 0:46:27.7 Another both!
Justin: 0:46:29.7 There’s got to be a hunger inside of you. Here’s the thing, like I never knew that this was even a viable option until I read one book.
And I read this book coming back on a Navy ship, coming back from Iraq in 2003. And it was Rich Dad Poor Dad.
Like, oh my god, that book like changed what was possible for me. 0:46:44.3 It opened my eyes. I never knew that was possible.
0:46:47.5 So I believe I had a hunger inside of me for more, but I had to keep learning and growing.
0:46:50.7 And for me, it’s just been conferences, education, reading all the books. I didn’t read my first book until I was 21 years old. It’s embarrassing. Right?
0:46:57.8 But I read that book Rich Dad Poor Dad, and it created this hunger. And I’ve read hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of business books since then. You know?
Because I devoured them, I was hungry. 0:47:03.3 I was hungry for that. For more. So, I think it’s both.
Jordan: 0:47:07.6 Alright. We’re going to have to keep exploring this topic. Are we going to see you in Austin at PM Grow?
Justin: 0:47:12.9 Absolutely. This will be the third year and looking forward to it, man.
Jordan: 0:47:17.0 Alright my man. Hey, if anybody wants to find out more about Access, what’s the best place for them to go?
Jordan: 0:47:21.4 Yeah, just Google Access Property Management Group. Grand Rapids. It’ll come up. And we have live chat, contact forms. Get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help. Maybe help you guys out, answer some questions.
Jordan: Beautiful. Alright hey, thanks for coming on the show, see you in Austin.
Justin: See you in Austin.