We usually get to hear from our amazing guest speakers, but as the year comes to an end, it’s time to hear directly from our dynamic show hosts. Besides hosting rookie podcasts, Tony and Ashley are living proof of how lucrative real estate can be when done right. In this end of the year special we explore Tony and Ashley’s business goals, challenges, and motivations.
While it might be hard to imagine, Tony and Ashley started exactly where everyone else did, at the beginning. Before they each had their own successful businesses, they had to develop a plan , make connections, build a strong reputation, and find the confidence and motivation to keep going even through failure. In fact, despite their current success they still have to do all these things and more. Real estate investing isn’t stagnant and in order to get to or stay on top you have to be willing to evolve, change and take risks.
Tony and Ashley break today’s episode into three categories: business development, partnerships and motivation/ inspiration . In each category they talk about their current and past business ventures and their big takeaways. We usually get to hear small snippets about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, but today it’s just them and it’s something you don’t want to miss!
Ashley Kehr: This is Real Estate Rookie, episode 141.
Tony Robinson: What’s more important is that I just pick something and I start working towards it, and if I pivot down the road, I pivot down the road, but just getting it down on paper, having that goal in place was a huge kind of eye-opening moment for me.
Ashley Kehr: My name is Ashley Kehr, and I’m here with my co-host, Tony Robinson.
Tony Robinson: And welcome to the Real Estate Rookie where we motivate and inspire new real estate investors by making this a safe place where there’s no question that’s too small, too dumb, too silly to be answered or to be asked. We take care of all of that so you can get started in your real estate investing journey.
Ashley Kehr: Tony, today we have a different type of show for everyone today. We do not have a guest with us. It is going to be an Ashley and Tony takeover of the Real Estate Rookie podcast.
Tony Robinson: Yeah, and I’m super excited. We did this the end of last year where we did I think like the top 10 most asked questions from real estate investors, but that episode did tremendously well with listeners. We got a lot of positive feedback from that episode so we figured as we get to the end of the year this time, let’s maybe do something similar and see if we can get some value again to the listeners in that way. So, no guests. Just Ashley and Tony for an whole episode.
Ashley Kehr: Yeah. So, since we started doing the Rookie Reply episodes on Saturdays now, we answer a lot of your guys’s questions there. We didn’t want to do a repeat of those. So, we sat down and we took a look at how we have changed, we have pivoted, what lessons we have learned over the past year, and we’re going to break them down, and hopefully, you guys will either find them relatable, or you will be able to look at your own business and your own real estate investing and maybe see some changes that you need to make or look at the lessons we have learned and not make those same mistakes yourself.
Tony Robinson: Yeah. I mean, and just take our advice with the grain of salt, right? Ash and I, we’re regular people still trying to figure it out, but these are some of the lessons that we’ve learned in this last year that we hope you as the listeners can get some value from as well. S, yeah, hopefully, you guys can enjoy it. But I guess before we dive in, Ash, let’s give a quick life update. What’s new in the world of Ashley Kehr?
Ashley Kehr: Do you really want me to start crying now on the podcast?
Tony Robinson: We got to share the good and the bad.
Ashley Kehr: So, I found this campground and it had been foreclosure property. The bank had foreclosed on it, been vacant for a year and a half. You guys probably have heard me talk about it on the podcast before. I’ve been working on this for about six weeks now. Put in my offer, and it was best and final offer called about 10 days ago, and it was me and an out-of-state investor group that was left. We were the last two, and they said they would let us know, and I just found out yesterday that they accepted the other offer, and it’s really disappointing. This was a $3 million offer that I put in, and this is by far the largest offer I have ever put in on a property, and I was so excited, and I was so nervous, but I was really motivated to make this deal work and to get this campground up and running again. But that’s not going to happen unless their deal falls through. But instead of sulking and whining, my business partner said, “Well, let’s look at this other property we’ve been kind of eyeing and let’s keep moving forward.” And so, he keeps me motivated and keeps me on track, and now, in a couple days, we’re going to take a side by side towards this other property. So, moving forward.
Tony Robinson: So, you shared a low and then you shared a high, right? Obviously, you were sad about missing out on that first property, but there’s so many other opportunities out there so kudos to you for bouncing back.
Ashley Kehr: Yeah. And you know what really stinks is that my partner, he listens to the podcast, and he’ll constantly use my own advice against me, and it’s getting really annoying, but he’s just like, “There’s always a better deal. There’s a better deal out there. This one just wasn’t meant to be,” which is true.
Tony Robinson: See, that’s the benefit of having your voice eternalized in a podcast or maybe it’s the downside, I don’t know, but it’s like when you give really good advice, it doesn’t just disappear. It’s memorialized forever on the podcast.
Ashley Kehr: And that’s the thing is sometimes even I need a reality check as to, yeah, there’s going to be another deal out there. It’s not the end of the world. Yeah, you worked on this for six weeks. You really wanted it, but going to work out. Move on. Keep going.
Tony Robinson: Yeah. Well, onto the next one.
Ashley Kehr: Yeah. And what about you, Tony?
Tony Robinson: Yeah, so I guess I’ll start with a low for me. We spent about five months rehabbing a property out here in Joshua Tree. It was a difficult rehab. If you want the whole backstory, I put out a YouTube video about it. Check out the Real Estate Robinsons. We kind of talked about the behind the scenes experience there, but anyway. The rehab finished, and the end result was really good, a beautiful property, a three bedroom out in Joshua Tree, but we decided to walk away from that deal all together. We had some partners on that deal. They were great people, great partners, love them to death, but the structure itself just wasn’t… We realized as we went through the process, the way that we structured that partnership didn’t align with our long-term goals for our business. So, we managed a rehab, we got the property ready for those partners, then we were able to kind of pass it off to them to run with it and get it running as an Airbnb. So, sucks that we lost a few months of our lives on this project, but I think the value from that lesson was probably more important for us. So, there’s some long-term value for us there.
Ashley Kehr: Well, always a learning experience and a lesson learned for sure in some of these things. Even with money lost or money spent, it can be considered an opportunity cost instead of just a wasted money or a loss too. But let’s get into the show, and let’s talk more about things that we have learned this year and lessons that we have painfully made and how we’re actually, what we’re going to do moving forward. So, Tony, you want to talk a little bit about, first, how we’ve laid this out as to the three different kind of categories and then a brief breakdown of what we’re going to go over?
Tony Robinson: Yeah, absolutely, read my mind. So, we broke it down as to three main categories. The first category we called business development which kind of has to do with your team, your systems, your processes, your vision, things like that. Then the second category, it’s just all about partnerships. Ash and I both leverage partnerships pretty heavily in our businesses so we figured we share some lessons on there. And then the last one is a little bit more intangible, but it’s about the motivation and the inspiration that comes along with and is required to become a successful real estate investor. So, some of these stories, maybe you guys have heard as you listen to other episodes or maybe you guys follow us on Instagram, and if you’re not following us on Instagram, make sure you do. I’m @tonyjrobinson, she’s @wealthfromrentals. So, if you guys follow us there, maybe some of these stories sound familiar, but we really want to try and break down not just the stories, but the lessons and things that we’ve learned as we’ve gone through these categories. So, again, let’s take it back to category one which is business development. So, let’s start first maybe about niching down and how that can have an impact on your business. What does that look like for you this year?
Ashley Kehr: So, I felt lost for a while as to what I wanted to do. So, my main business has always been basically BRRRRs, buy, rehab, rent, refinance, repeat, and finding undervalued properties, doing either cosmetic updates or full-gut rehabs, and then renting them out. And honestly, I’ve gotten bored with it which is not a good excuse to not do it anymore. But I felt like I became experienced in doing BRRRRs and rentals in my market, in my area, and I live for a challenge and I like learning new things. So, I learned over the past year that my current business can still keep going, and I can focus because I’ve gotten it to the point where it’s pretty automatic. It runs very smooth. I know what I’m doing, but I didn’t know what I wanted to focus on. So, I looked at self-storage. I looked at campgrounds. I looked at mobile home parks. I looked at commercial property. I looked at apartment complexes, and I felt like I was so all over the place. And then I had this moment just talking to someone, having a conversation, and they said, “That’s it.” And I was like, “What do you mean?” And I had been talking about a campground I wanted to buy, and they’re like, “The passion is radiating out of you for this. You’re just spewing off all these random facts about it.” And so, at that moment, I knew that I wanted to go after campgrounds, that I was actually excited about it, and it wasn’t because another investor was doing it. It wasn’t because it made the most sense. It wasn’t because it was the easiest to get into or the most opportunity, but it was because there was all of those things, plus I was passionate about it. So, I’ve decided to niche down on campgrounds and continue doing BRRRR investing in my area.
Tony Robinson: Yeah. Well, I guess I’ll share my kind of experience because it parallels yours, but then I want to ask you a question about the value of niching down. Kind of similar situation, right? I feel like you and I have shared this a lot with each other that we both felt kind of lost in terms of what the future of our businesses should look like, and we’ll get into the goal setting and the vision planning here in a bit. But when I started investing in real estate back in 2019, I knew that I wanted to scale to a big portfolio. I never wanted to be the guy that just had five or six or 10 rentals, right? I want a large, huge, massive portfolio. That’s my goal. So, I kind of had that big picture in the back of my mind. And then last summer, the middle of 2020 is when we decided to focus on short-term rentals, and before we bought that first property, that first short-term rental, I asked myself, I said, “Can I commit to focusing on short-term rentals and becoming world class at this for at least the next five years? Can I just put pretty much all of my energy into this one asset class for the next five years?” And I told myself, “Yes.” And I could honestly say that, yes, I enjoy the thought of doing this enough to dedicate the next five years of my life to this one asset class. So, I had that level of clarity last year when we first got into it. So, I knew that I was going to niche down into that asset class. I think the kind of struggle that I had this year was okay, now I’m in this asset class, but there’s so many different ways and strategies and techniques that you can use to build a portfolio within the world of short-term rentals and vacation rentals. So, I think now we’ve gained some clarity on what that path looks like for us. So, we’re going to continue to buy, operate, renovate short term rentals in the single-family space, but we also want to graduate into the commercial world the short-term rentals where we’re buying kind of boutique motels and hotels that we can operate as short-term rentals as well, and we’ve got a goal of getting to a thousand units by the end of 2023. And we’re at, I don’t know if you count the stuff we have under contract, like 18 or something like that so we got a long way to go, but I think it was helpful for us just to kind of have that clear path of where we wanted to go. So, let me ask you, Ashley, because I know that there are a lot of benefits that I see with niching down, but I feel that as a new investor, for a lot of the rookies that are listening, they might be afraid of getting really narrow with their focus in the world of real estate investing, right? Campgrounds is very narrow market. Short-term rental is a very specific market. What do you feel is the benefit of going niche and going deep into one kind of focus as opposed to saying,” I’m the guy, the girl that does a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a little bit of everything”?
Ashley Kehr: I think the real benefit is that you stay focused, and you’re going to see more opportunity because you’re not wasting time chasing after so many things. You can only analyze so many deals or have so many deals brought into you, and if you’re getting self-storage deals, mobile home park deals, you’re getting campground deals, and you’re having to analyze all of these, it is going to be very overwhelming. I mean, even if you’re hiring people, you’re wasting resources having them chase all these different things. Then, okay, say you get a self-storage under deal, you get a mobile home park under deal, you get a campground deal under contract. Okay, that’s three different businesses that you’re building, and yes, you can try and incorporate them, but they’re three different animals. They’re managed differently, each of those three asset classes. So, I think that’s a huge part of it too is if you really want to be the best at something, niche down and focus on that. So, this was actually a conversation I had with Brandon Turner at AJ Osborne Self Storage Conference. He kind of put me into the hot seat and said, “Look at our friends. Look at them, and you tell me what they each do. So, Brandon Turner, you know him for mobile home parks. AJ Osborne, you know him for self-storage. And the list goes on. James Danner, you know him for house flipping.” And he said, “Each one of them have niched down. Now tell me a successful investor that is doing 50 different things at once.” And he said, “The key is you do what you know, and you figure that out, and then you get it set. Then you can pivot just like Brandon is pivoting now and going towards apartment complexes now that he has his mobile home park portfolio built up. He’s experienced in that, then he can pivot. Don’t try and build all of these different things at once. Focus on one and really niche down.” So, that was my first aha moment of this two-week world tour I did, and then the couple days later is when I had the conversation about the campgrounds and realizing that I really had to niche down on that too.
Tony Robinson: Ashley, what a phenomenal breakdown of the power of niching down. You start with this narrow focus. You get really good at that, and then your sphere of influence starts to gradually increase from there. But if you go the other way, it gets a little bit harder to have that same impact. I guess along the same lines of niching down, let’s talk a little bit about the goal setting and vision-planning lessons that we’ve learned this year. So, I can kind of share my experience and then I’ll turn it over to you, but there’s a lot of power in having a crystal-clear vision for yourself. Brandon recommends the Vivid Vision. I’ve read that book. I’ve done my vivid vision, and it was such an eye-opening experience for me to just kind of sit down and try and really visualize what the future of my company and my life looks like three, four years down the road, and having that clarity gave me so much peace of mind. So, here’s, I guess, where the challenge was for me and where the Vivid Vision kind of helped me clarify that. I was a little uncertain of which way to take my business and what that vision should look like, and the realization that I had was that it doesn’t really matter what direction we go in as long as I choose a direction that I’m happy about, right? I was waiting for someone to give me the perfect answer of what my future business should look like. I was talking to so many different people, “What do you think I should do? What do you think I should do? What do you think I should do?” And there was this moment of clarity that happened for me where it was like it honestly doesn’t matter. The actual goal that I set in itself doesn’t matter as long as it’s something that I’m excited about. What’s more important is that I just pick something and I start working towards it, and if I pivot down the road, I pivot down the road, but just getting it down on paper, having that goal in place was a huge kind of eye-opening moment for me. So, what does that experience look like for you this year, Ash?
Ashley Kehr: I’m the worst at goal setting. I’m awful at it, and I really have to sit down or be forced to sit down and do it. And I think for you, when you did the vivid vision, it was at the Maui Masterclass.
Tony Robinson: Right, yeah.
Ashley Kehr: Right? Yes.
Tony Robinson: On the flight back home, yeah.
Ashley Kehr: Yeah. So, that’s the first time I had done a vivid vision when I went to Maui too, and I think that just being forced to actually look and sit down. Well, what I did worked better for me was instead of writing out paragraphs of your vivid vision of how I see myself in the future, how I see my business, I did bullet points, and that worked a lot better for me. So, I sat down and did the bullet points, and then from there I drew off of, okay, how am I going to get to these things, what are the next immediate goals I need to do. And so, the first is really acquire a campground. But yeah, I think with goal setting and you keep focusing on that and you have to set it as a reminder. So, the first campground, well, this would be the second one that I’ve offered on, the one that I just lost out on yesterday, it’s actually been the screen saver on my phone to keep me motivated for going after. So, if anyone’s watching this on YouTube, I think I’ve showed it before maybe actually, but to keep me motivated. So, now I got to switch that to the next property now that I’m looking at. Yeah, goal setting for me has always been hard, especially in the super-far distance because money doesn’t motivate me. It’s more of what my life is like, and the word that I use to motivate myself is I want to have a spontaneous life. I want to be able to say to my kids, “Okay, guess what? We’re just going to go to Disney today. So, let’s go. Let’s get on a plane.” Or not even that, just be able to wake up and do whatever I want with my day and have it flexible. I do like to have a schedule. I like to know what’s ahead, but I like to have that flexibility where I can change my schedule if possible. So, I really like to relate my goals to that being able to set my life that way.
Tony Robinson: Ashley, that’s another really important point, and I want to make sure that we kind of really make that clear for the listeners, but when you think about goal setting for your real estate business, when you think about planning the future of your real estate business, you should be planning that around the kind of life that you want to live, right? I’ve got a goal of getting to a thousand units in the short-term rental space, but I also have a goal of my time involvement being less than what it is today where I’m at 10 active listings or whatever we’re at right now. So, it’s like I know that I need to kind of structure that business in a way, put the right people in place so that it’s really a hands-off business for me, but it still provides me with the financial resources and windfall that I’m looking for. So, don’t just think about the end result in terms of the numbers, but also think about what your life looks like and how those two things kind of work together.
Ashley Kehr: Yeah, because you can make a lot of money working 80 hours a week.
Tony Robinson: Right. Right.
Ashley Kehr: I think the key is finding ways to make money where you don’t have to work 80 hours a week, and you can if you want to, but you don’t have to, and at least that’s what’s important to me. I think a lot of people go into real estate investing because they want something similar like that too, and definitely there’s a big grind and you do have to hustle and you do have to work hard, but that doesn’t mean you have to do that forever, and there’s certainly a lot of ways to outsource and build a team, everything like that. And I think that kind of takes us into our next little topic under business development.
Tony Robinson: Yeah, read my mind, right, because I’m sure people are thinking, “Tony, how do you want a 100-extra portfolio size or Ashley, how do you want to buy all these big campgrounds and not let it consume your life?” And the answer to that is you build the right team. You put the right people in place. So, I guess let’s kind of clarify this before we get into it, right, because there are two types of teams. There are your external team members which are your contractor, right? People typically don’t have a contractor on staff, right? That’s someone that they hire out. Your accountants, your attorney, your bookkeeper, your realtor-
Ashley Kehr: Your real estate agent.
Tony Robinson: Right. These are all people that are part of your team, but technically they’re their own entrepreneurs. They’re their own people. They’re running their own businesses. What Ashley and I are talking about on this kind of side of the conversation is your internal team. So, if you have Ricky Investor LLC, what does that actual LLC look like are the people that have either an equity stake or salaried positions or even independent contractor positions within that LLC that you, as the entrepreneur, have ownership and control over. So, Ashley, I guess kind of talks to what that realization has looked for you this year.
Ashley Kehr: Yeah. So, I have an assistant now. Can you believe that? So, I didn’t know that would actually be my first real hire, but yeah, I have an assistant now. My first step was there’s so many little things I don’t want to do anymore. And so, she comes over to my house every Saturday for a couple hours, and I’ve been training her to do different things, and she just keeps adding them onto her weekly task list, and eventually, she’ll probably work remotely or I’m trying to build out an office in this property I have under contract. She’ll work from there maybe. But really, the biggest thing has been taking on somebody to help me with acquisitions, and I know, Tony, you were kind of doing the same so maybe we can kind of talk about this together, and the very different ways that we have found the person we’re going to put into this role. So, acquisitions is where somebody is going to go and source deals for you, analyze the deal, and help you acquire the property. So, that is a huge part of your business, finding somebody who can do that. Tony, do you want to go ahead and talk about first as to your process to find that person?
Tony Robinson: Yeah, and I guess I’ll take one step back before I get into that specific part. The place that I started was creating an org chart for my business, and the org chart was broken out into three kind of main categories. There was the operation side, there was the finance side, and then there was the marketing side. So, I had these three different kind of pillars in my business, and I said, “In order to run an effective business, what are all of the positions that I need to have to make this thing run?” And I started creating, okay, I need this position, right? I need someone to do the bookkeeping. I need someone to set up all of our new short-term rentals. I need someone to manage those short-term rentals on a daily basis. I need someone to manage the finance side of things, right, like getting our lending set up and making sure that we’re paying all the bills on time. And I just started putting all these different positions into place on this org chart. Now, you might be thinking, “Tony, I don’t have a team of people to plug into all these seats.” And that is totally fine because that’s the same position I was in as well. Our team of running our short-term rentals is three people. It’s me, my wife, Sara, and her cousin, right? Three of us run the entire short-term rental business. So, when we made that org chart, I made all of the positions that I felt that we needed, and then guess whose names went into all of those seats? Mine, Sara’s, and then our partner. So, each of us are holding three or four different positions within the business right now, but as we start to scale, our plan is to start passing off some of those lower level responsibilities to other people. But I think for us having that org chart in place and trying to clearly define even amongst ourselves what roles each of us needs to play, it helped, A, reduce a lot of friction because there wasn’t as much confusion around who was responsible for what, and then, B, it gave us I think the confidence of knowing that as we start to scale, we already know where we’re going to start plugging people in.
Ashley Kehr: Tony, I just want to highlight one thing you said is that even though you are a husband and wife team and then Sara’s cousin too, but you still treat it as a business, and I think that’s so important because you’re just sitting at home, you’re talking about, “Oh, well, you do this, I’ll do this,” whoever’s convenient and stuff, but putting the actual roles in place is so important especially in the future when you do want to hire for roles and even just keeping track of defining who is doing what is setting that org chart, for sure. What would be some advice that you would give anyone who is working on a husband and wife team and kind of divvying up those roles? Did you guys look at what your strengths and weaknesses are or just what each person wanted to do? How did you decide who’s going to be doing each role until you start to fill them?
Tony Robinson: Yeah, it was kind of a natural thing for us. As we started the business, I think our eyes just all kind of went to different certain parts of the business. Like, I don’t want to set up insurance. I don’t want to set up utilities. I don’t want to pay people. I’m just not good at those kind of little detailed-oriented tasks, but my wife and her cousin, they’re better at those things, but they’re not tech savvy. So, they’re not the ones that are going to be able to set up all of our software that we need to run our business, but me, I love getting in and setting all those things up. So, I think part of it was just natural, us kind of gravitating towards where our strengths were. But as we kind of progressed, we realized that there were certain things where we were stepping on each other’s toes, like reordering the same supplies or I was doing this thing on the property and someone else. So, I think when we started to see the overlap, that’s when we have the discussion around, okay, where does this role better fit with which person, and then we would just kind of have a discussion, around okay, I think it makes more sense for me to do this, or I think it makes more sense for you to do that. So, I think naturally just by running the business together, you’re going to find some natural kind of tasks and duties that you each gravitate towards, and then where there’s some discussion or some gray area, I think that’s when you guys have the conversation around, okay, who makes more sense to kind of sit in this seat or take on that responsibility.
Ashley Kehr: And then how did you decide that the acquisitions position would be the first role that you would fill? But you do have VAs too so your bookkeeper and other roles like that, but your first in-house internal hire, how did you decide that?
Tony Robinson: Yeah. So, we landed on the acquisitions person as our first kind of person to bring on because that’s kind of where the entire process starts, right? You can’t raise money for a deal if you don’t have a deal. You can’t operate a property if you never found the property. So, for us, if we look at just the timeline of events that need to happen for us to successfully own and operate a property, the acquisitions is probably the first part. So, ours is a little different because it is commercial real estate. So, it’s not like someone’s just underwriting a regular single-family house. Where we’re looking for a acquisitions person to step in is on underwriting larger commercial property. It is a slightly different skill set, but yeah, that’s why we chose the acquisitions as the first person.
Ashley Kehr: And then, well, I guess I’ll answer that real quick as to my part, and then we’ll go into how you found that person and how you were searching for her. So, for me, actually, this person kind of just fell into my lap, and I decided that this would be the best position suited for them. Whenever somebody says they hate their job, it always like little light bulb goes off as to how can I help you, and it just worked out. So, this person works a construction job during the summer and then is laid off in the winter. And so, we start talking for a while of about real estate investing and just his different strong suits, and at this time, there was no real conversation of him even coming to work with me. It was just me trying to get him interested in real estate investing and him just wanting to leave his job so much. But as we got to know each other, we realized we got along really well and that we actually would really enjoy working together, and then I started to notice a lot of his strong suits were my weaknesses. He was in the military and he did quality control over mechanics, and that is something I want nothing to do with and find no joy in is quality control. And also now he’s a foreman, so he has a lot of experience managing, and those are great qualities. And so, he’s been working with me for a couple weeks now when he’s not at his other job, and it’s been growing really great. He’s learning so much and just picking things up, and it feels really great to take some of that pressure off my plate and just a sense of relief. But also, I think that I’ve grown as a person that I’m willing to give up control of things and I’m willing to listen to his ideas how he’s doing things better. So, we went and walked a couple apartments the other day that we’re going to be doing turnovers, and he’s looking at the scope of work, ripped it apart, built me a new one, and was like, “This is how this process is going to go from now on.” And now he’s doing the asset management pretty much for all of my rental properties, and I’m so happy. He saw an opportunity, I saw an opportunity, and then we kind of pieced it together in putting it into a position that suits both of us. So, it benefits both of us, and I know that you’re doing the hiring of the person a little bit differently. So, with him, we have a dollar amount that he wants to make for the year. So, my goal is to make sure in the spring that he doesn’t have to go back to his job. And so, I’m hoarding money so that just in case whatever we’re buying or whatever can’t support it, that I’m going to pay him out so that he can keep working with me, and so it’s going to be an equity piece too. So, he’ll get equity in anything that we purchase, and so he’ll be building wealth that way too.
Tony Robinson: Yeah. You made a couple of really good points there, Ashley. I think the first part is about relinquishing control because a lot of people have never done that before, and it’s a very foreign thing for a lot of people, but I think if you really want to scale your real estate business, there are certain tasks that, at some point, you’re going to have to give up to somebody else.
Ashley Kehr: Yeah, and one thing for me too is giving up equity. One thing that I’ve really noticed is that someone is a lot more motivated, does a better job if they have ownership in that thing and if they’re a part of it, and if he’s going to be one of the first people that I bring on to my internal team and already has shown his worth with… I mean, I haven’t even paid to him a dollar or provided an email to him at all, and he’s been spending every Friday and almost every Saturday working with me, just learning as much as he can, and I think that I want to give a piece of what I’m building to somebody who’s helping me from the ground up, especially campgrounds. This is all new to me. This will be a new business, and if he’s willing to take the time now to take on this adventure with me, I think it’s super beneficial for people to look into giving equity away too, instead of just hiring that person and paying them a salary.
Tony Robinson: So, that equity piece, I think it kind of takes it to our next point which is category two which is partnerships. So, let’s talk a little bit it about some of the pros and cons, Ashley, of leveraging partnerships, and we can get into kind of how to structure them at a later point. But I guess just from the jump, some things that jump out to me in terms of pros and cons around partnerships, there’s a few categories that I look at when I say, “Do I need to partner?” And I guess this kind of also extends to hiring people and bring them onto your team, right? But the reasons that I look for a partner center around the financial ability, the time ability, the ability ability, and then the desire, right? So, finances, time, ability, and desire. If I’m lacking in one of those areas, then there’s a good chance that I need to partner with someone or hire someone onto my team, right? Like, let’s say that I don’t have the money to buy my first real estate deal, but I have the time, I have the ability, I have the desire. I can find a money partner to kind of fill that gap for me. Let’s say on the flip side, I have the money, I have the ability, I have maybe the time, but I don’t have the desire, then I need to find someone that can go and do those jobs that I don’t want to do. You’re going to be able to mix and match across those four different categories to kind of find someone that can compliment you because even if you have all four, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be providing all four, right? There might be a partner that can kind of mix and match with you. So, when we talk about pros and cons of partnerships, I think I look at it from that angle first to say, “Do I need to partner or where does it make sense for me to partner?” And then from there, I think the benefits and the downsides are kind of more clear to the person.
Ashley Kehr: That was a really great breakdown of partnerships and what to look for, and if you even need a partner and then giving up… Basically, you were saying even though you could do all four things, you’re giving up control of one of those things to bring somebody, and that’s the whole idea of not having to work forever is because you can leverage other people to buy back some more time for yourself. Yeah, with my partnerships, my first partner was just a money partner and that’s it, and he still is. If there’s a deal I need money for, I go to him. My second partner was money and time and experience, and he’s kind of shifted away now where he doesn’t have the time and he’s not as experience as he used to be because he doesn’t really do much real estate investing anymore the last couple years. And so, then with my new partner, he is learning. So, hopefully have some experience, and then also he has a lot of time. So, huge benefits. I keep teasing him because he is a veteran that he gets a VA loan. I’m like, “What are we going to buy with your VA loan?”
Tony Robinson: There you go. He’s solving one of those categories for you, right? He’s bringing some value.
Ashley Kehr: Yeah, I’m sure there’s military discounts on materials too. [crosstalk 00:34:10] loans.
Tony Robinson: There you go. That’s the real reason why you brought him in, right? You just want the discount.
Ashley Kehr: Yeah.
Tony Robinson: Yeah. Well, let me ask you this, Ashley, because this is a question that I know I get asked all the time, and it’s the question of what does the right partnership structure look like, and I guess before we kind of get into that, let me ask you this question. Do you feel that every partnership should be 50/50? Is that always the right structure for people?
Ashley Kehr: So, this question makes me cringe because there’s no right answer because there’s no right partnership structure. As long as it’s legal, you can structure is however you want. There’s no correct way to do it. I started off 50/50. My second partner, he and I did 50/50. And then we bought another property where I was putting in the money, I had acquired the deal, and I was going to be helping him with his part of the deal as to doing the rehab. So, we decided I should have 60% and he should have 40% because I was putting more into the property than he was, and that worked out fine. So, I think be flexible that knowing that it really, the partnership structure can go deal by deal or it can change over time. But no, I don’t think it has to be 50/50 at all. What about you, Tony? What are your thoughts on that?
Tony Robinson: Yeah, I mean, I echo your same thoughts that I think it’s impossible for you and I to tell someone else what the ideal way is to structure a partnership because we don’t know the unique circumstances of their situation, but I think when you’re evaluating a partnership, there are a few different ways that people can… Levers that you can pull, right? There’s the capital needs to be brought. There’s the mortgage that needs to be carried. There’s the ongoing property management or project management if it’s a flip. Maybe there’s the, if it’s a long-term tenant, talking with the tenants and dealing with all those things. So, there’s different jobs that needs to be played within any real estate deal that you get into, and what you and your partner need to do is kind of go through all of those different jobs and identify what value you assign to each of those, and if you’re doing four of the valuable jobs and your partner’s only doing one, then maybe it doesn’t make sense to go 50/50, right? Maybe it’s 75/25, right? But maybe if that partner’s only job is bringing the capital and carrying the mortgage, maybe that is worth 50% of the deal. But that’s a discussion that you and your partner have to come to an agreement on. Like Ashley said, you can structure it in any way that you want to. There’s no right or wrong way to structure a partnership. It’s whatever makes you happy and your partner happy, makes you both feel like it’s a win-win situation. I think that was one of the biggest revelations I had this year. There’s no cookie-cutter way to make it happen. Now, I will give one word of caution when it comes to partnerships, and this is something that we’ve recently started doing with some of our partnerships is that if it’s someone that you don’t know all that well, right, maybe you recently met this person and you don’t have a really deep understanding of who they are, it might be beneficial to have a predetermined end date for that relationship. So, say for example that you guys buy a property today, maybe in your agreement, you say the default option is that we sell this property after three years or five years or whatever time periods you want, and that the only way that you continue that partnership is if both of you agree to continue that partnership. That way if for whatever reason, maybe it’s not a terrible partnership, but maybe it’s just not something you want to work with long-term, you don’t have this obligation to stay with them forever. So, just a little tidbit, something we picked up this year that might be helpful for some of you that are listening.
Ashley Kehr: Yeah, that’s such a great point, Tony, and choosing a partner is like getting into a marriage.
Tony Robinson: Totally.
Ashley Kehr: And I feel like with some of my partners, it’d be harder to divorce them than my husband.
Tony Robinson: Seriously.
Ashley Kehr: The thing is people change and your goals change and their goals may change, and that’s why having alignment meetings to seeing if you’re on the same page or not. And one thing that I have struggled with is so now I’m onto my third partner, me getting around, that I look back and I feel bad. My first partner, he got me started, and now I don’t do a ton of deals with him at all, and it took me a long time to realize that’s okay. You don’t have to say, “I’m growing, I’m scaling.” I spend every day focused on real estate investing, learning about it. That doesn’t mean that I have to carry somebody else with me or drag them with me. That’s okay. If they do want to invest with me, sure. They can be a private money lender for me or something like that. So, that was one of my realizations this year too is that it’s okay to move on to another partner and to do different deals and do different things with other people. I felt obligated because these two partners helped me in the beginning, but I had to realize that I’ve helped them more in the long run. So, that was a big realization of mine.
Tony Robinson: I’m so glad you shared that, Ashley, because I know a lot of people can feel that sense of accountability towards that first partner. But like you said, at the end of the day, this is a business that we’re running, and you have to make decisions that are in alignment with the long-term health of your business, of your personal goals. Obviously, we’re not telling you to backstab people and not follow through your commitments, but if you guys have done a deal, the deal was successful, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your next deal has to be with that same person as well, so I’m super happy you clarified that point. So, we only got a few minutes left here, Ash. We probably got about five minutes left. So, maybe let’s jump onto that last category of motivation and inspiration, and kind of break down how that’s played a role for us this past year. Now, I feel like you, Ashley, have blossomed in the last 12 months with your social network. You’re out on all these different places, doing all these different things, going to different events, meeting different people.
Ashley Kehr: Actually, it wasn’t the last 12 months. It was like two weeks. We had to go like four places.
Tony Robinson: That’s true. But why was that important to you? Because I think a lot of the listeners, they hear us speak every week, every Wednesday and Saturday on the podcast, and a lot of times, they think that we’ve got it all figured out and we know what we’re doing, but that’s not the case, right, and a lot of times we still need that kind of push. So, anyway, why was it important for you to kind of really get out in person, talk to a lot of people, get connected with other investors? What impact did that have for you?
Ashley Kehr: Motivation and inspiration. When I am at one of these events, I want to go back to my room at night or at some part of the day, and I just want to dive into work and get things done, like, “Oh, this is what I learned from somebody. This is what somebody told me.” And then especially when I get home, I feel like I’m on some kind of high or something, just the adrenaline is still pumping through me, and I definitely, I love living off of adrenaline. I like being a risk taker. I like the challenge of things, and going to these different events, they keep me motivated. I mean, I live on a farm in the middle of nowhere. There’s not very many real estate investors near me. I had this one farmer call me the other day and he’s like, “So remember that property I took you to a year ago? I’m about to close on it. Let’s do new development on it.” And I’m like, “Yes, let’s do it,” and I’m like already brainstorming all these things. He’s like, “Well, it’s probably going to be a couple years. I just wanted to put a little bug in your ear so I don’t call you in two years and you’re already doing it with somebody else.” I’m like, “Oh, okay. Talk to you in two years,” where I was already gung-ho, like, “Yes, let’s call the engineer tomorrow.” So, I think getting out and not working out with other investors and especially the in-person experience and building friendships on top of that work relationship or just the real estate talk really helps too. I’m definitely not that person that likes to go to play dates and school events and talk about your kids. Those kind of events, I’m very introverted. But if you get me at a real estate conference, I will be on the stage hula hooping.
Tony Robinson: Some of you who are in New Orleans where there’s no issues referencing right now. But, Ashley, so many good points, right? I think there is a huge emotional impact that comes along with getting in the same space as 100, 500 1,000 other real estate investors, and it’s something that can’t be replicated I think on Zoom or in a Facebook group. The in-person connection is just a totally different power than the digital and the online.
Ashley Kehr: The energy that you draw from everybody there.
Tony Robinson: Absolutely.
Ashley Kehr: Yeah.
Tony Robinson: I’ll wrap it up by saying this that I think there’s a large-scale connection that happens at things like a BPCON, right, where you’ve got 1,500 people all kind of sharing the same space. But what you and I have done recently as well is that we started a small mastermind group with me, you, and three other investors, and I think there’s a certain… Well, you get really motivated and hyped up and jazzed up at the bigger scale events, right? But I think in the smaller group settings, that’s when you can get a little bit more tactical and talk about real problems in your business and work through some of those things and get solutions from people whose opinions you value. So, there’s a good balance thing with the big and the small one.
Ashley Kehr: Yeah. So, our advice to everybody here would be find your group of people. Yes, it’s so great to meet tons of other investors out there, but with our small little mastermind that we created, we just messaged these people on Instagram. We said, “What do we want to get out of this?” And then we looked for people that were kind of doing the same thing at the same level of us and might have the same goals, and all three of them said yes. So, we set a six-month deadline as to we’re going to meet every single week for these six months, and then we’ll evaluate is this actually beneficial to us after the six months and see how it goes. But I think becoming friends and developing a relationship is really important instead of constantly meeting new people too. It’s great to meet new people, but find those core people that are going to be there for you to pick you up, hold you accountable, and you get to know them too. So, I think that’s really important is to not just use people for networking, but also build those friendships and those relationships long-term.
Tony Robinson: Wonderful advice, Ashley, and I’m grateful, right? 2021 was a fantastic year in a lot of different ways for both of our businesses, and honestly, I’m just really excited to see what 2022 has in store for us. And maybe as we go through this next year, you and I can kind of share some more about the goals we have on our business and how we’re making progress or maybe not making progress towards making those goals a reality.
Ashley Kehr: And we just want to give a big thank you to all of our listeners. Our year wouldn’t of been as great without you guys and all of the guests that we’ve had onto the show. There is nobody more inspirational or motivational than a rookie investor, and we are so thankful to have you guys and be in this position. So, thank you guys so much for continuing to listen and also to share your advice with us on the rookie Facebook group, on the YouTube channel, in our DMs, and across Instagram, and helping others learn to be real estate investors. I’m Ashley, @wealthfromrentals, and he’s Tony, @tonyjrobinson on Instagram. We’ll see you guys next time.