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BiggerPockets Podcast 540: Cop Salary to $300 Million in Real Estate with Whitney Sewell

BiggerPockets Podcast 540: Cop Salary to $300 Million in Real Estate with Whitney Sewell

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How do you build massive wealth while keeping your passions, family, faith, and bank account intact? Successful real estate investors will tell you the same thing: you need to automate and systematize to make time for it all, and they aren’t kidding. Whitney Sewell was working as a cop when he got his start in real estate. Looking at his $35,000 salary, he realized that the long hours and tiresome, but enjoyable work, wouldn’t allow him financial freedom.

Whitney wanted more time with his kids, his wife, and his beloved horses. So, he started attending every real estate conference he could go to, networking with anyone who owned any amount of real estate. He hired a performance coach, built a successful podcast, and flipped his limiting beliefs on their head, so he could tackle big deals.

In only three years, Whitney built a real estate empire with over $300M assets under management. Part of his personal profits are donated to help adopted children and those who need adoptive parents. Whitney talks about how his faith and social goals have played a huge part in his real estate and how doing good must be the driving force behind wealth accumulation.

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Read the Transcript Here

Brandon:
This is the Bigger Pockets Podcast show 540, where we sit down with Whitney Sewell, a good buddy of mine, partner of mine on a couple deals, and we go through a ton of really good stuff about the mindset needed to go from cop salary to owning $300 million of real estate. That, and more coming up.

Whitney:
I came from no network. None of my family can invest in real estate, no wealth whatsoever, no wealthy friends. And so when I started doing this and started trying to raise money, I raised $250,000 on our first project. And that was all from traveling to conferences and meeting with investors as hard as I could go. By the next deal, I more than doubled that, and by the next deal, I almost tripled that. And then by the next deal, we were at five to 7 million. And by the deal after that, I mean, now we’re having soft commits of 10 to 12 million in just a few hours.

Brandon:
What’s going on everyone, it’s Brandon Turner, host of the Bigger Pockets Podcast here with my cohost Mr. David not the only cop in the room Green. What’s up, man?

David:
Not bad.

Brandon:
And no, I’m not referring to myself. I’m not a cop.

David:
Definitely not a cop. Right?

Brandon:
Definitely not a cop. I was just watching a movie with The Rock and Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Reynolds is being his typical self. And he and The Rock are in prison together, and he stands up and tells everybody, “This guy is definitely not a cop. Don’t worry. He’s not a cop. Don’t worry everybody.” And I thought that was very funny that you just mentioned that.

Brandon:
Anyway, the reason I say this is because our guest today, Whitney Sewell, was a former police officer. He was military, police officer, federal agent, and now has like $300 million in real estate assets under management, which is huge. And he did majority of that in the past two and a half, three years, which is crazy. He has scaled up tremendously fast. And so what we go through today is not so much how do you find that property, and how do you do this? We want to dig mindset of a guy that can go from zero to 300 million. It ended up being a phenomenal conversation. Really, really good stuff.

David:
I don’t know, outside of maybe the tech space where someone IPOs, and just kind of gets lucky and hits the jackpot that I’ve ever heard of somebody who went in under three years to over 300 million in assets under management successfully. And I’m only mentioning that because we don’t talk the entire podcast just about Whitney’s real state. We kind of get into real estate mindset, values, how he manages the weight of the success that’s come his way. So I want to make sure I highlight, this is why this person was brought onto our show. because this is a phenomenal story.

Brandon:
Yeah. Really good stuff. We kind about things like giving money and how generosity and even spirituality plays into wealth and how they interact. We talk about the most dangerous book to read at the beach, I thought that was funny. Looking for problems, waking up early, we have a conversation about what it takes to wake up early, how to do it, do you need to do it? David says no. And Whitney’s extensive hiring process. So if you need to hire eight players, he’s going to tell you exactly how to do it.

Brandon:
All that and more coming up. But first let’s get to today’s quick tip.

David:
Quick tip.

Brandon:
Today’s quick tip’s more of a quick announcement. I mentioned this last week, but for those who have not heard, I’m going to be actually stepping away from the Bigger Pockets Podcast here at the end of the year. So this is one of our last, I mean, we’ve got what, seven more episodes? Something like that left in the month in the month of December. But coming up soon, I’m going to go take the year of 2022 mostly off and really focus on family, maybe a little jujitsu, surfing, and open door capital. So anyway, just quick tip announcement. David’s going to run-

David:
Well don’t do too much jujitsu.

Brandon:
Not too much.

David:
Because I don’t want you getting that much better than me.

Brandon:
I went last night to the, the academy and man, I rolled with my buddy who I’ve been doing training a little bit longer than him, and I did pretty good. And then I go up to another guy, and he’s like, “How long you been in it?” And I’m like, “A little over a year now.” And he goes, “Okay.” And he goes down, and within the first eight seconds he had me in a foot lock. And I’m like, “How long you been doing this?” 13. I’m like, “Oh man.” I felt really good for a second, and then I just felt like a complete idiot for the rest of the time.

Brandon:
The reason I bring this up real quick is because I want to ask the question to you, David, and to everyone listening, is where right now in your life are you putting yourself to be the idiot? To be the dumbest guy in the room? Where are you deliberately choosing to be the dumbest guy in the room right now? Because chances are, a lot of people aren’t. They like being the smart one. They like being the best. But where are you putting yourself to be the dumb one? Because that is where growth happens. What were you going to say?

David:
Definitely in jujitsu. What I was going to say is there’s this bipolar ride that you take, where you’ll go, “I’ll do way better than I thought I was going to do against someone.” And I’m just like, “Yo, I love this. I’m a natural.” And then the next day I’ll get thrashed by somebody who I would’ve thought I would’ve been able to handle. And I’m like, “Why am I doing this at all? This is so dumb.” And your feelings will just switch from one day to the next, and that’s why you can’t trust them. What you got to do is look at, “Well, am I better than I was the last time that I went to class?” And that’s the only barometer that matters in life, at anything you’re trying to do.

David:
You’re always going to have fights with your spouse. I mean, I’m not married, but I’m sure Brandon, that’s a thing that you can’t avoid. And so if you focus on how you feel in the moment, you’re going to have times where you’re like, “I hate being married. This was stupid.” And then at other times, “This is the best decision I’ve made.” But if you’re always like, “Is my marriage better than what it was the year before?” You’re going to stay married, and it’s going to get better.

David:
So I would just say, Whitney’s story is incredible. He started off in Iraq in 2001, which is a very difficult time to be in the Middle East. And he came back and he was a police officer in Kentucky, I believe, which was a very poor salary. Then he became a federal officer where they just work you to the bone and you don’t really make more money. And so he grinded and grinded and grinded. It would’ve been so easy to quit. Then he gets out and finds his niche, and boom, makes this podcast that also was a grind, and then just took off. And he raised all this money, and now he’s buying really good real estate. And it’s that overnight success in 15 short years type of a deal, so. That’s really what we’re getting at here.

Brandon:
That’s what we’re getting at here. So when David and I talk jujitsu, I saw comment at Facebook the other day like, “I don’t like all the sports analogies.” And I’m like … just be like, okay, one yes, we’re into sport … the sport, anyway, of jujitsu. But remember we’re not talking about jujitsu. Replace that with life, or with real estate or whatever. These are all lessons that we’re talking about. So hopefully we don’t offend too many of you with our jujitsu analogies. There’s just so many of them.

Brandon:
All right. Time to get into this thing. I mentioned earlier, the idea of where you put yourself to be the not smartest guy in the room. Definitely today, me and David put ourselves in that spot by sitting there talking with Whitney. You’re going to hear just how wildly intelligent and ambitious this guy is. He’s something. I think he’s somebody I definitely look up to and I think you will as well. So with that said, let’s jump in the interview with Whitney Sewell.

Brandon:
Mr. Whitney Sewell, welcome to the Bigger Pockets Podcast, man, honored to have you here today.

Whitney:
I am honored to be here, Brandon.

Brandon:
Well, this should be fun. You and I know each other a little bit. We hung out there in the Colorado mountains for a few days back last, was it springtime? And we got to know each other a little bit, but I never got to hear your origin story. Where did the famed Whitney Sewell come from? So why do we get into that? How’d you get into real estate, and what were you doing beforehand, and what sparked your interest in real estate investing?

Whitney:
I’m going to go way back Brandon, because I feel like it’s very valuable to your listeners. And I go back in March of 2001, and in March is when I decided to join the military. And if you can remember in 2001, what happened six months later, at that time I just knew it was the right thing to do, but of course I had no idea that in just a few months that our country would be at war and I’d be spending a year of my life in Iraq toting around a machine gun, obviously praying every day that I’d get to go home. Unfortunately not everyone in my squad made it home. Thankfully, the Lord protected me and allowed me to make it home.

Whitney:
But one thing the military taught me Brandon, and I feel like as an entrepreneur you almost just have to have this one way or another, is to have never give up mentality. It’s just not an option to give up when you’re in combat, right? I mean, other people are depending on you to perform. It doesn’t matter if you stubbed your toe, or you hurt your arm. It just doesn’t matter. Right? You get knocked down, you have to get back up and more than your own life is online there.

Brandon:
Yeah. I also wonder if they should just put all kids, they just put all kids in bootcamp and like just put them the military for a little while. Maybe not the dangerous part, but make them go through that. Because I feel like those lessons I’m sure almost every military or former military now real estate investor I know, just has this character that’s just so much stronger than most everyone else.

Whitney:
It would change our country.

Brandon:
It would change our country.

Whitney:
In a massive way, that’s for sure. Yeah.

Whitney:
But when I came home, I had some limiting beliefs thinking that I was not able to get a job. What am I going to do as a career? I felt like I had to have college to make that happen, and so I felt limited. However, I thought, “Okay, I’ve always thought about being a police officer.” So I applied to be a police officer with Kentucky State Police. There were 1200 applicants. I was blessed to have one of five positions. And also, that never give up mentality still became something that was so important, and it had to show from the way I wore my uniform to the way I responded to every dispatch.

Whitney:
However, I quickly realized that I had an income problem. And I would’ve worked the first two years for free. I mean I loved working the road, I loved the service, the discipline, the uniform. However, got married shortly after, and my wife and I, Chelsea, we just passed each other in the hallway the first full year of marriage. And I noticed guys were retiring 25 to 30 years on, making 30 to $40,000 a year. And I was like, “Okay, this is obviously not what is best for our family long term.” And so again, I didn’t know anything else that I was qualified to do. I started searching for some way to supplement income, and this is 2009. And I was making such little money the collapse at that time did not affect me. I didn’t even know anything like that even happened.

Whitney:
But, I learned that not only had one or two people built wealth in real estate, but millions of people had built wealth in real estate. And so I thought, “Okay, if that many people can do it, I can do something, right? I can do something to build some supplemental income for my family and I.” So we bought two triplexes, and I just made tons of mistakes, honestly. Learned a lot the hard way. Mismanaged, trusted the seller, the realtor way too much. But we learned a lot, and we gained a ton of knowledge, and thank the Lord we did not quit there.

Whitney:
Soon after, still looking for better income, I became a federal agent and that moved us to Virginia where we live now. It’s not easy to go into military, or law enforcement, or federal agent, but the Lord blessed me with many transitions there to move up. And that federal agent position was a dream J-O-B for most people, especially in law enforcement. However, I still quickly reached the top, reached the ceiling, and kept looking for more.

Whitney:
And there’s a whole twist at this point in the story though, that I feel like it’s important, and I started training horses professionally. And while that seems way out in left field, this was a passion of mine since I was a little boy. And I’d always dreamed of training and riding, and a few years ago, my wife and I had the farm also that we had always dreamed of. But my schedule, again, became so busy. I was a federal agent during the day, I was training horses actually now at this point. I owned a 15 unit with a partner. I was still trying to dabble in real estate, but this passion of mine was actually going places now. I was making more money training and selling horses than I ever imagined.

Whitney:
And however, I was missing all that time with my wife, Chelsea and our boys, Samuel and Elijah. And so at that time, my wife and I, we were at the beach one fall, and we were walking and what I call now thinking time, and we’ll probably get into that a little bit in a minute. But we were just thinking, and praying, and walking, and thinking, “Okay, is what we’re doing now going to work long term? Three years from now, five years from now, is this going to get us where we want to go?” And it was so obvious to us at that point. And actually at that point I was reading while I was walking on the beach … funny, Brandon and David, we were just talking about this book The Four Hour Work Week. I was reading that during that week at the beach as well.

Brandon:
The danger of the book.

Whitney:
Yeah. It’s a dangerous book.

David:
Especially at the beach. Yeah.

Whitney:
So we got thinking about that and thought it’s obvious it’s not going to get us there. And I was missing too much with our family. We had to make some big changes, and this was September. And by the next 60 days, we had listed our farm for sale. And so by Christmas, we had sold our farm and everything related to that horse training business.

David:
Wow.

Whitney:
And that was, again, that was a passion of mine since I was a little boy. So I’m hoping many people can relate to that. Because you may have something that’s a passion, but hey, if you just put that on hold for a bit, it may help you to go places. It may not be the best use of your time at the moment, and that wasn’t mine.

Whitney:
And so we sold the farm. And I’ll never forget my wife and I pulling out of the driveway and just crying. Right? Just bawling our eyes out because it was so hard for us. But we knew that for us to go places, for us to have passive income, for us to build wealth for our family, that it was something we had to do.

Brandon:
I love that you brought that up, that there are activities in your life that are amazing, and that you love to do them, but they don’t necessarily work right now. That’s stuff I’ve been thinking about lately, about there are things that can work at any time in your life. For example, training horses could work when you’re 40, or when you’re 50, or when you’re 60. You can come back to that. But building wealth, if you built that now, then you can have more time for that fun activity later.

Brandon:
But there are other things that you don’t get back later, like little kids. You don’t get that time back later, so you have to do that now, right? So when you’re thinking … I mean even doing jujitsu. One of the reasons I’m doing that now is because I can’t really do that when I’m 50 and 60. There’s very few that do it well at that age. I could surf though when I’m 60. So I’ve actually been surfing less and I’ve been doing more jujitsu because one of those I can do now, one of them I can’t do very well later. So it’s just an interesting way of looking at life, and you have to sacrifice some things once in awhile. But think through, what can I do again in 10 years, or in 20 years from now and I can get my kick then?

Brandon:
That make sense?

Whitney:
A lot of sense. And that’s definitely what we had to do. And I had to be okay with giving that up for a time period. And I’ll come back to that in a minute, and just the way things have worked out. But about a month later, I hired a mentor and there’s a long story behind that, but one way that I even narrowed that process down was on Bigger Pockets at that time, and finding people who were being mentored by lots of other people to figure out hey, what’s the best avenue here?

Whitney:
But I also started traveling to conferences as much as I could possibly go. I mean, two to three weekends a month I was flying somewhere, meeting and networking as many people as I could. But what that did also, Brandon, I still had that limiting belief. I had bought that 15 unit, and even that was so much bigger than I’d ever imagined buying. But now, going to these conferences I started meeting people who were buying 100, 200 unit complexes and had only been in the business a year or two years. And so I was given that belief again, okay, wait a minute. If all these people can do it, I can do it too.

Whitney:
And so I mean, we just hit it as hard as we possibly could. And so soon I started a daily podcast. I’ve been called crazy more times than once for that. But started a daily podcast and over the last three years now we’ve interviewed over 1,200 people who are just experts in the business. But this rapidly gave me credibility, right? Exposure, results. My network of investors and industry leaders exploded.

Whitney:
But this was also my own university, right? Just like you all, I mean you get to ask all the questions you want to ask of all the experts and that’s what it did for me. And I’ll point out something else here: I started the Real Estate Syndication Show before I’d ever done a syndication. Okay?

Brandon:
Really?

Whitney:
So people called me crazy, right, back then. But it’s been so worth it. And so not only did my network of investors grow, but my network of mentors as well, and all of these people that I’ve built relationships that normally I would not have gotten to talk to. Right?

Whitney:
But also what I call over-committing. I over-committed in a massive way, but in a good way, because I know that if I had done a weekly show, I would’ve tried to have done the audio editing, the video editing, the show notes, all those things myself. I probably would’ve gotten behind and halfway done them, but it pushed me to build teams, pushed me to hire people, pushed me to scale and brand in ways that I never imagined.

Brandon:
Which is interesting. That’s the same logic that goes into why you and I like multifamily. If I go buy duplex, I’m going to do the work myself. I just know I’m naturally going to because it’s just right there. I would take care … I was at my condo yesterday I’m remodeling. I didn’t necessarily do the work, but I’m really involved. But I’m not involved in a 200 unit property, I just can’t be. It’s impossible. So you’re forced to level up your, to higher dollar per hour skillset by having the bigger deal. Same with a daily podcast. I love that you said that.

Whitney:
So at this time while we’re excited about massive growth, obviously in our business and our team right now, I want to share something that’s behind that growth. Because during that time when we sold our farm, my wife and I moved into a small house in town. We bought a small house, and I built an office in the basement in the corner. And that’s practically where I lived for about two and a half years. And unfortunately, I mean, days that … doing a daily podcast, I was off every other Monday for my federal agent position. And those Mondays we called my marathon days, and I would record 12 to 15 interviews back to back to back to back nonstop.

Brandon:
Oh, man.

Whitney:
And so my wife would literally pack me lunch to go to the basement for the day. So, but it was just, it was quiet madness, honestly. I was still traveling, doing deals, and still working full time and it was a very stressful time for the family. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend a daily podcast for most people, but the Lord sustained us.

Whitney:
However, so something that helps sustain us though is having something that’s bigger than us driving us. And so a lot of that … I’ll share, when we moved to Roanoke, Virginia, we were listening to a pastor talk about how they had adopted and just 150 million orphans in the world. We had never been exposed to adoption before or just that need either. And so we had only been married a couple years at this time, but on our way home from that event, we immediately asked ourselves, “Why would we not adopt?” And it seems so simple, right? And I’m so thankful now for our ignorance really, just in the process of adoption, because it’s not easy. However, it seems so simple, and within a week we turned in our application to adopt from Ethiopia.

Brandon:
Oh wow.

Whitney:
But two years later … yeah, it was two years later our first Samuel came home from Ethiopia. A year later, our second son Elijah came home through adoption, and now we have a daughter as well, Eden Joy, who came to our family through adoption. So it sent my wife and I on a mission now to help as many families through the process of adoption as we can. That became our why behind Life Bridge Capital. And so now we’ve committed half of our personal profits to this foundation that we’ve created that’s now helping families with the financial burden of adoption. And so that why changed everything for us. And now it’s just amazing to see how it’s changing everything for so many other people now as well.

Whitney:
But, and I share … I mean, it’s obviously such a big part of who we are in our business, but during that time, my wife couldn’t care less about real estate. Right? And I feel like there’s probably a lot of listeners who can relate to that. But however, she is extremely passionate about our mission, extremely passionate about our why. And so when I’m up late, just weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks in a row and traveling, recording all these shows, that she knows we’re working for a larger vision, and that helped us all just being united in a bigger way.

David:
That’s cool, man.

Brandon:
There’s a lot we can unpack there, but I love, and I remember talking to you over lunch when we were in Colorado, talking about just the heart you have toward adoption. That’s how my wife and I feel very strongly as well, that we plan to adopt. It’s always been in our plans. It’s in our five year goal, it’s in all of our stuff. And in my entire life, I’ve always kind of known that that’s what I will do someday. And so it was cool to meet you. I looked at that very much as a sign, like, “Okay, yeah, this is somebody who can help make this thing a reality.” Because it is a complicated, confusing process that is in some ways heartbreaking at times because you think you’re getting it, and then it’s not. And I’ve heard a million stories.

Brandon:
So anyway, super cool, man. I love hearing that. Where does the name Life Bridge come from? I know Life Bridge Capital. What’s Life Bridge?

Whitney:
That was really the mission behind the name before we ever even started Life Bridge Capital. Right? And connecting a way for these families really to bring their forever children into their home. That’s where that name came from.

Brandon:
All right, very cool. So why don’t we jump to where you’re at right now in your business and then we’ll go back and fill in the gaps and how you got there. So what’s your business look like right now? Assets under management, or money raise, or whatever you want to go with that, what’s it look like?

Whitney:
So we have about 300 million in assets under management right now.

Brandon:
Whew.

Whitney:
And so we’ve grown very fast, but that’s been by building a great team. And I’ll elaborate there, we have about 10 to 12 full-time people in the Philippines, we have five full-time people in the States and hiring two to three more people as we speak. And so yeah, we’ve grown very fast.

Brandon:
What do they do in the Philippines for you? What’s that look like?

Whitney:
They are all podcast production. We’re producing other people’s podcasts as well now, but mostly all of our marketing team.

Brandon:
Okay. And so the podcast, it really has helped drive I’m guessing a lot … I mean, you kind of said it earlier, it helps drive a lot of the relationships, but also are you raising money from it? And what does the podcast I guess do for you? And a second part of that question is, for those who listen to this show that maybe are thinking, “Well, maybe I want to start a podcast.” Do you advise that? What’s your suggestions there?

Whitney:
I say what are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? And you have to get past the limiting belief, because everybody thinks, “Well, there’s so many podcasts out there, how am I going to be different?” And all those things, and you got to get past that, because you’re going to build your own following. And it doesn’t take too large of a following to be able to raise a lot of money. Right? But ultimately you’re building credibility for yourself.

Whitney:
So to give you an example of what that podcast has done for me, I think our first project I started traveling and again, I came from no network. None of my family can invest in real estate. No wealth whatsoever, no wealthy friends. And so when I started doing this and started trying to raise money, I raised $250,000 on our first project. And that was all from traveling to conferences and meeting with investors as hard as I could go. By the next deal, I more than doubled that. And by the next deal, almost tripled that. And then by the next deal, we were at like five to 7 million. And by the deal after that, I mean, now we’re having soft commits of 10 to 12 million in just a few hours.

Brandon:
Wow.

Whitney:
And that’s in a, what I consider a pretty short period of time. But the podcast plays such a large role in that. Our investors may not all listen to the show, however, I get on the phone with them and they say, “Whitney, I feel like I already know you.” Right? And you can’t put a value on that. There’s so much value, but most of that is from the podcast.

Brandon:
Yeah. And, and one thing I like about what you did too is you mentioned earlier, you started the show before you even did a syndication. And it reminds me of something that Jordan Harbinger, who was a guest on our podcast back a year ago or so. He said, “Dig your well before you’re thirsty.” You knew you were going there at some point. So you started digging that well even though you didn’t need it quite then. So then when you did need it, you had it. And I just think that’s just something to be I guess pointed out to our audiences. Where are you headed five years from now? How can you start developing that now? So that way it’s not a shock, or not a surprise, or you’re not running late later on.

Whitney:
No doubt about it. I mean, a big part of that also, Brandon is that mission component. And I’ll ask people, “Do you know your mission? Do you know what that is?” And even by expressing that on the podcast and it stands out in a big way, right? And even networking at events, people may come to the podcast by hearing me speak at an event, but we connect on a much deeper level by the mission component.

Brandon:
Yeah. That’s very cool. The whole [inaudible 00:17:20] start with why. People buy, they don’t just buy what you sell. They buy why you sell it and I think that applies very much to real estate. It also plays into the how you do anything is how you do everything kind of component, where people see that you have a heart towards helping they’re naturally … I mean, for good or for bad, I don’t know whether or not it’s accurate or not, but people who are deep in charity are less likely, I think, to go and take your money and run. Right? So there’s just this feeling we get. I’m like, “I can trust you Whitney, because you obviously have strong character.” And that’s what people are really investing in.

Whitney:
I believe you have to exist for more than just money. Right? And really I believe your investors also want more than just a return whether they like it or not, or know it or not. I mean, they really want more than just a return when they can be a part of something that’s bigger than just a financial return. It sets you apart. Right? And we all know about this. Know, like, and trust, we all talk about, right? Everybody talks about this triangle of know, like, and trust. But I say that there’s something missing, and instead of a triangle should be a square, and I say it’s loyalty. And you have to build loyalty. And when you can build loyalty, you can quickly rise the top. You can quickly raise more money if that’s your industry, if that’s what you’re doing.

Whitney:
But an example of that I like to share is Harley Davidson, right? You think of Harley Davidson, I mean, people are tattooing Harley Davidson on their arm or on their back. I mean, that is loyalty, right? I don’t expect too many investors have Life Bridge Capital on their arm, but however, that would be extreme loyalty. That person’s probably going to own a Harley the rest of their life. Or Apple, people sit out in front of the Apple Store through the cold all night to get to be the first one. I mean, that is loyalty. When you have a mission I feel like that’s bigger than just a monetary goal, you’re going to gain much more loyalty, and your investors see those things and just like you were just talking about.

Brandon:
Yeah. That’s very cool, man. Well I mean, one of the reasons I was excited to partner with you on the Colorado deals that we bought is, I don’t think I’d even been on your show before we partnered together. But everybody in my circle, everybody, I know and trust were all like, “Yeah, Whitney’s a real, he’s the real deal. He’s a great guy. You got to get to know him, he’s awesome.” So when the opportunity came for us to [inaudible 00:18:55] on a deal together, it was like, oh yeah, of course, everyone knows that you’re legit. So again, it goes back to the podcast thing, but it also just goes back to networking in general. And people talk, this is not a big industry. I mean, comparatively so, and so when your name just gets mentioned all the time from various people, I’m like, “Okay, well, there’s something to look into here.” And anyway, you’ve done a good job on that.

Brandon:
I got a question for you. This is something I get asked all the time. And in fact, so much that I’m working on a book about it at some point. And I’m curious, David, I’m going to ask you the question too. From a wealth monetary standpoint as a, from a spiritual background. Now, obviously not all the people listen to the show are spiritual, but most people subscribe to some religion or another. Right? And I think all three of us do. We’re all Christians. And so how do you view money, your role in wealth creation? How does that combine with your faith, and how do you view, I guess, money? What would you say to that? I’ll go to you first Whitney, and then I’m curious with you, David.

Whitney:
It’s a great question. Great question. I believe it, none of it belongs to me. Ultimately, I believe it all belongs to the Lord. I believe we are stewards. He allows us to be stewards of that. And I do believe that we’re given much and we’re expected much. Right? And that’s why I don’t feel like it’s just all for me to hoard or for me to keep. But I do believe the Lord provides those things for a reason. And that’s why … I can’t use it all, right? We can’t take it with us. And so I do believe that we’re given that and we’re expected much.

Brandon:
David, what do you think?

David:
I think we could do a whole podcast on this topic.

Whitney:
For sure. No doubt about it.

David:
The first thing I would say is I think that money gets isolated from all the other things that we could easily include in wealth way too easily and way too often. So, having a lot of money in my head is not different than being really fit, having a great personality, having a ton of friends, having a good disposition or mood. It’s one way that you are empowered in life and can open doors for you. But those things I just mentioned all do the exact same thing. Wealth comes in more ways than just money. I think money gets isolated, frankly, because it is the only of those qualities I mentioned that can be taken from one person and given to another, so we tend to just separate it from everything else in life that really matters, because it’s so easy to get it to pass hands, but it really shouldn’t be. It’s classified in my mind, just like those things.

David:
And the way that I look at it is in the same way that you would want to use your good personality or your good sense of humor to make other people happier in a hard world, or if you have a constitution that’s very stout and you can stand firm and others would quit, you want to use that to encourage other people when they feel like quitting, or stand with them when they can’t stand. Money works in the exact same way. And so the answer of how do I look at my spiritual life along with money is I don’t look at money like it’s any different than anything else. Who I am inside will be reflected by how I spend my money, where I invest that money, just like my time, my energy, my emotions, the gifts that I have. All of those things are, in my mind, looked at the same way.

David:
So I think where people get in trouble with money is, like I said, they isolate it away from everything else. And they’re like, “Well, that’s my money. You can’t touch that.” But this other stuff, maybe I’m going to be measured by how I use it, but I don’t think that’s fair. I think that money can be used to help other people, or it can be to help yourself. It can be used as sort of your sense of comfort. If I have enough money in the bank, it can protect me from any bad thing. But I think people make those same mistakes with their personalities. I think certain people close themselves off emotionally to the world because they don’t want to be hurt, and they think that’s keeping themselves safe, just like the person that dies with $100 million in the bank, but no friends. So I don’t know if that answered your question, but that’s how I see it.

Brandon:
That does. Yeah-

Whitney:
How you spend your money, it speaks, right? And how do you spend your time? It speaks.

Brandon:
I just finished a book … well, I shouldn’t say I finished. I’m almost finished with it. It’s a short book, it’s called The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn. It’s a Christian book about being generous with your money, but he makes this fascinating point in there. I thought was so good. He said, if you were to go buy, let’s say you had $100,000 net worth right now. You got about $100,000 net worth, and you were going to drop 90% of that on Dell stock, in Dell computers. Right? Guess what you’re going to be focused on? Every newspaper article. Oh, Dell. Okay, I got to read that one. He said, “Your giving doesn’t follow your interests, your interests follow your giving.” So do you put money into is what your mind’s going to focus on, which is one of the reasons we all think about real estate a lot, because a lot of our money goes into our real estate deals. So we see real estate in the newspaper we’re going to perk up.

Brandon:
So he’s like, look, if you’re like, “Ah, I wish I was better at education, helping kids with education,” put a bunch of your money with kids in education and you will naturally be more interested in that thing. I just thought that was such a great point that yeah, that our interests will follow where we spend our money. And show me your bank account and I’ll show you your heart, I think they’ve said.

David:
Yeah, it’s where your treasure is, your heart will follow. And I think that’s great about what Whitney’s doing, is by adopting children from a place where they likely wouldn’t have had as good of a life as he’s going to be able to give them here, it tears your heart away from the intoxicating elements of what wealth can do, and it keeps it grounded in something else. And Brandon, that’s something I’ve seen you make very intentional, is investing your time not just into business, but making sure that you’re putting it into your family, and into the people you influence. And that’s how you sort of avoid some of the worst things that can come from having money.

David:
So, this doesn’t get talked about a lot, because people come to this podcast to learn how can I get more wealth? Which is great. But it is worth mentioning that once you get it, it comes with a whole new set of problems. And what we’re talking about now is how you can kind of prepare for that. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to dig that well.

Brandon:
Yeah, ooh. Way to bring that back, David.

Whitney:
That’s awesome.

Brandon:
Yeah. Cool, yeah. My last thought on that and then I’ll move on, is I [inaudible 00:23:13] alcohol … sorry. Alcohol is similar to money in that in itself, drinking a beer I’m sure isn’t bad for most people out there. But if you consume a whole lot of it and don’t have the right standards or the right friends to help you out, it’s very easy to get down a wrong path. And so I look at the two in very similar lights. I’m okay drinking a little alcohol, but I’m not okay if I was just spending all my time in my room, just downing beers and not going out because I’m getting to be an alcoholic.

Brandon:
I think the same thing with money. If I’m just hoarding my money and I’m living unproductively, and I don’t have friends that could pull me out of a problem if it became a problem, yeah. I think that’s an interesting … the other question I have sometimes is as people who want to give back again, this isn’t just specific to Christianity, but if you just want to give back in your life, is it better to give back now knowing that we are really good at multiplying money, or to just save it all up and just keep compounding it and then give way more later? Right? I don’t know if there’s a good answer to that question though. Do I just keep multiplying-

Whitney:
I think the good is going to compound also, right?

Brandon:
Yeah.

Whitney:
These children that are being adopted, I mean, how can we even measure the effect on their lives and the people they’re going to affect as well?

Brandon:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s such a good point.

Whitney:
And that wouldn’t happen if I waited until the end of my life.

Brandon:
Dude, that’s such a good point. I’ve never heard that answer before, but I really like that. Because yeah, I could save $1 million and do a $20 million 30 years from now, but what could that million dollars today do to a life, and what could that multiply to? So good stuff, man.

Brandon:
All right. Let’s shift back to real estate a little bit. What are you looking for when you buy, what are you buying these days? Obviously multi-family to get 300 million. So what kind of stuff you buy?

Whitney:
We are buying all multifamily at the moment. We have one class eight project, three developments happening, but the majority of our focus has been on all value add type projects, right? Preferably 100 plus units at a time, preferably 150 or more at a time, but there’s some problem right, that we can fix. There’s a problem, whether sometimes it’s easy as just management, but typically that means renovations as well, market’s under rent, the ways that we can raise rent. But there’s some kind of issue that we can fix to increase the value of these apartment communities, and just increase the benefit to the tenants as well at these communities.

David:
That’s very cool.

Brandon:
Yeah, you’re looking for a problem. If we only took one thing for real estate specific that we isolated from this, that’s what it is, is the best investors are not running away and trying to find the perfect deal with some computer algorithm that can scratch the entire internet and find the best deal out there and avoid the problems. They’re running into where the problem is, because that’s where the opportunity lies.

David:
Yeah. That’s so true.

Brandon:
Whitney, can you give us some examples of maybe some of the best problems that you’ve found that maybe other investors missed? Because you saw the problem they just saw, “Oh, the NOI’s not good enough,” but you could see a little past that.

Whitney:
I think of one project that we’re about to exit, because it’s an amazing story. Just this entire deal. However, we first came to the project, it was sent to us and we made an offer and the broker said, “Oh, that’s not enough.” Long story short. “That’s not enough. That’s not going to get it.” And we said, “Okay, thank you. Farewell.” That’s enough in that project, onto the next one.

Whitney:
However, it went under contract with another group, okay, and then the project was under contract for a couple months, falls out of contract. Guess what? The broker comes back. “Would you all like to make another offer?” We made our same offer, and the broker eventually comes back, we were eventually awarded the deal. But I’ll tell you what that did. It allowed us to see the financials at two very different parts of the year, even, for that project numerous months apart.

Whitney:
And so by the time we got the second amount of financials, we could see there was a problem. It was getting worse, and so we knew they were even more motivated at this point. But we made the same offer, and we got the project. Right? But even that deal, we went and secret shopped this property. So one of our employees, somebody went up to it, and knocked on the door, and the sign said opens at 10. They opened the door, they were five minutes before 10, the person opens the door and says, “We open in five minutes,” and closed the door in their face. It’s just simple things like that, inadequately staffed and all kinds of things that were easy fixes. Right? And putting people in place that care, right, amongst many renovations and a million pounds of gravel and landscaping, but lots of things happen. But like I said, a few things early on, just one, not giving up, but also sticking to what we knew was going to work for that project as well. Sticking to our numbers.

Brandon:
You mentioned earlier, you said something about the phrase thinking time, and you said, “Yeah, maybe we’ll come back to that later.” I want to come back to that. What does that mean for you, thinking time and how does that play into your success?

Whitney:
So I know you’re going to ask me later about a book, but I’m going to go ahead and mention it by Keith Cunningham. Right? I’ve got it right here, because I knew you’re going to ask, called Road Less Stupid right? And-

Brandon:
Oh yeah, I have a book.

Whitney:
… I highly recommend that book and I’ve learned a lot from Keith Cunningham. But one thing that stands out, and he does this in every chapter of his book, and he encourages you to have thinking time and ultimately have a space in your day, right, even a space in your office, or your home, or somewhere where hey, it’s just you, a pad of paper, a pencil, and go ahead and put some dots on that paper. Your mind already knows it has to come up with something to put down there. Right?

Brandon:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), I love it.

Whitney:
But even that thinking time, like when my wife and I were on the beach, that was crucially important, and that changed the entire trajectory of our entire family, I mean our entire future in drastic ways. But it’s by separating from the daily, just mundane things that just keep coming, right? Every day, all these things that come at us and we’re just playing defense constantly. Right? And so having that thinking time helps us separate from the phone, separate from the computer and really just ponder. Right? And think about the things that are most important to you as well.

Whitney:
But also, what are you going to accomplish that day? What are your goals that you’re hitting right now? What are you not hitting? Maybe think through some of those things, but that thinking time has been crucial for us. And it is for me every day now as well. So I mean obviously, it changed my entire morning routine from there and forward.

Brandon:
What does your morning routine look like?

Whitney:
So morning routine’s going to look at like getting up about 5:00 AM, sometimes 10 ’til, and I also have a light that comes on on a timer, it helps me to wake up and I have the phone with alarms set across the room, I have to get out of bed. Right? Make myself get up. But then it’s about 30 minutes of exercise, and at that point too, my wife and I are fixing a Bulletproof coffee. You’ve probably heard of that.

Brandon:
I love it.

Whitney:
You blend it, but we do put lots of Kerrygold butter in there, and whole milk. And so, but that time also that time with my bride in the morning has been just phenomenal for us, right? Time for us to pray together and just think, and talk about the kids. Even through that two and a half year period where I still working full time doing real estate, all that madness, if it wasn’t for that morning time, I don’t know that we would’ve made it, right? I mean, it was just a time for us to reconnect and think about the day, and discuss the day. But that thinking time was crucial.

Whitney:
So after that, it’s going to be spending time in the word. It’s going to be spending time in prayer and usually spending time reading some kind of book. Typically now it’s real estate or business, some type of business book, but that constant education has paid off for me in such a big way. It motivates me, learning from other people that are way ahead of me. And it just gives me a push for my morning.

Brandon:
I love it. I just finished reading a book called The 5:00 AM Club by Robin Sharma. Have you read that one?

Whitney:
I’ve not read it. I’ve heard of it.

Brandon:
Yeah. I feel like it was a phenomenal book in terms of the information giving. It was obnoxious to read, because it’s a fable, so it’s like a storyline. And I kept saying every page, I was like, “Nobody talks that way. Nobody would ever have that conversation.” It was almost too cheesy for me, but I love the book in terms of all of the information it gave. It was one of the best I’ve read in that regard. But it’s basically about having a morning routine, very similar to Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning, or exactly what you’re saying right now. Start with some exercise, get up at five, start with some exercise, get the blood flowing, get some reading in, get some meditation in, or prayer, and it’s re-reminding me of that.

Brandon:
So I’ve been doing that every morning. I’ve been waking up, I have one of those VR Oculus things, the Oculus Quest or whatever it’s called. I play this game called Supernatural, and you can go anywhere from like five minutes to like a, you know, half hour if you wanted. But I’ll do a 10 minute, maybe, quick get the heart running, get a little bit of sweat going. And all of a sudden, that just transformed my morning in such a big way. I used to wake up early sometimes and just lay the couch and like scroll Instagram for a while, and then slowly get my coffee in me. But now, that first 10 minute thing, it sucks for the first minute, and then I’m in it, and then I’m awake for the rest of the day in a much more powerful way. So I’m just reaffirming what you say there. It’s a great way to start your day, that morning.

Brandon:
David, do you have a morning routine? I don’t think we’ve ever talked about that. You’re not even a morning guy at all.

David:
No, and that’s why we’ve never talked about it. I’ve never been a morning guy. I actually want to ask you Whitney, so here’s the age old debate, right? Are some people morning people and that’s why they love this stuff in the morning? You want to start your day off and you get to a good rhythm. Jaco’s one of those people. And some people are night people or is that just something we tell ourselves in our heads and you could be either one depending on the habits that you develop?

Whitney:
I believe most people could be morning people. I don’t believe that I was always a morning person, and I even still struggle with getting out of bed. That’s why I make steps, and make myself get out of the bed and get started because I do value that time in the morning so much. And I would say this, too, I’ve experienced it firsthand. My wife was never a morning person, but once I started doing this, hey, she started doing it as well. And all of a sudden we love that morning time, and it’s our favorite time of the day. I do think it’s a mindset shift. I mean, I’ve interviewed almost 1,200 people myself and more times than not, more successful entrepreneurs and more … not all. I’ll give that to those who say, “I’m just not a morning person.” Yes, it’s not 100%, of course, but more times than not, they do have a morning routine where they’re up early and making things happen quickly, more times than not. And I do not believe that all of them just have this natural tendency to be up early. Right? I think it’s a choice.

David:
Okay.

Whitney:
It is something the majority of them have decided.

David:
So let’s say that I agree, and I say, “Yes, I think you’re right. It is a choice,” and I could become more of a morning person if I developed those habits, right? What I see on the end side of this is that other people get tired and have to go to bed and I can keep going. I can work out at night with a lot of energy where in the morning, it’s not as easy. As weird as this may sound, when I first wake up the several first three, maybe four hours of the day, my mind is very foggy. It is hard for me to hold a thought. I don’t think-

Brandon:
It’s because you don’t drink coffee.

Whitney:
I was going to say, do you drink coffee? And do you drink Bulletproof coffee? And do you drink Bulletproof coffee?

David:
I drink caffeine, I don’t drink coffee. But at nighttime-

Brandon:
Downing energy drinks.

David:
… I can be up at night with my mind, just firing off with so much clarity, here’s everything I have to do, and that’s what causes the hesitation because it’s been this way my whole life. I do think I messed myself up working in law enforcement and making myself stay awake to work 20 hour shifts and sleeping on a couple hours. So, there’s probably some brain chemistry that was redeveloped that I taught myself for the marathon, right? Don’t go to sleep when you’re tired, and then when I can sleep, I hibernate like a bear just, okay, now I got to sleep for 14 hours because I’ve been awake for so long.

David:
But I will admit, I would much prefer to sort of just phone it in for the first couple hours of the day, get all my routine, easy stuff done, and then later at night is when I have better conversations, more clear thoughts, and strategize. But I see how that works against me, because what you’re doing, Whitney, is kind of jump starting the competition. You’re getting ahead of everyone else. And so I think that I’m not the only one who wonders this, and I just want to get your guys’ feedback on, for the people like me that are like, “Yeah, you may wake up earlier, but you also go to bed at 8:00 at night and I have another like three or four hours of productive time.” What do you say to that?

Whitney:
I don’t think it’s a must. I think there are plenty of productive people that are just as productive as early risers that have the opposite schedule. However, I do say majority of people that I’ve interviewed have the opposite story where, hey, they’re up early making stuff happen.

David:
Brandon?

Brandon:
I would say because it’s, I feel like there’s going to be a really good analogy for this, but I just can’t think of it. But if you have that time in the morning, the time in the morning is not about being productive. I think that’s where there’s a misconception. I’m not working during my first hour, really. I might be reading a book, but it’s about having margin to clarify your day and your thoughts and your interests and your goals. Right? It’s getting yourself aligned in spiritually, not in like the religious sense, but just philosophically aligned for the day. So if you do that at the end of your day, that’s fine, but you’re not carrying that into the day. Right?

David:
That’s a good point.

Brandon:
You’re getting it at the end of the day. So productivity wise, yes. Now there’s a really good book out there called When, W-H-E-N, by Daniel Pink that goes into the scientific, it was the scientific secrets of perfect timing. And there’s a whole chapter on this topic of like morning people versus night people, and I don’t remember exactly the data, but it’s basically he says 80% of people are better in the morning at certain tasks, but 20% of the population is just reverse. So David, you might be naturally inclined to be an evening person. Now you can force yourself either way, but it might be a little harder.

Brandon:
But, now I’m the same way as waiting. I don’t like getting up early. I have to have an alarm. In fact, there’s a great app out there called Alarmy. You guys ever used Alarmy?

Whitney:
I’ve not.

Brandon:
It’s an app, it’s so good. David, you should try this just for the fun of it. You can program it to … the alarm will not turn off unless you do certain tasks. One of those is, the one I do is math problems. So I have to answer three math problems before the alarm will shut off because in reality, the problem with waking up early is that … the good thing about waking up early is it’s only early for the first two minutes. Then it’s just your day. Right? Kind of like a salary. A raise is only a raise for the first month, then it’s salary. If you can power through first two or three minutes and get your brain working by doing little math problems, like what’s 12×4+8, I’m trying to figure out, and the alarm’s going to come back on 10 seconds if I don’t answer the question in 10 seconds. That will wake me up. Or you make it you have to go to your fridge and take a picture of the UPC code or whatever, on the milk jug. And there’s different things you can make it do.

Brandon:
So anyway, and then I brush my teeth, drink a glass of water. And by that time, I learned all this from Hal Elrod, but by doing those tasks, then I’m awake, and then the coffee obviously helps as well. But anyway, I don’t think it’s … I’m like Whitney. I don’t think it’s vital, but I think it’s helpful, so.

Whitney:
Especially if you have kids, as well.

Brandon:
And especially if you have kids, yeah.

Whitney:
It’s helpful to have the time.

Brandon:
Yeah, because what I hate is running … it’s like, okay, I got to do a podcast at 8:00 AM. All right? That means I got to have breakfast by 7:30 on the table. I got to wake up. Then I got to make breakfast, it’ll take 25 minutes, so I can set my alarm for 7:05, boom. That’s how I operated my entire life up until I read The Miracle Morning, was work backwards from the last possible second I can wake up and make that the time. I don’t want to live my life that way, always hurried and miserable. So anyway, we could do a whole show on this as well, but-

David:
All right. So let me ask this question. It’s not sleep related, but it is task related. There are certain tasks in business that I think I, and other people in the world probably feel the same as me, enjoy doing. And then there are other tasks that you just have to do, and part of business is learning how to leverage off the stuff that you don’t enjoy doing, but we don’t always get to do that and sometimes you got to earn the right. You got to train people in the Philippines to do those things so that you don’t have to do it. What’s your thoughts, Whitney, oh the things that you enjoy doing?

David:
Let’s say that you really like plugging numbers in a spreadsheet, but what you don’t like having to do is hassle somebody to get the T-12 that you’re going to use to put in there. You don’t like talking to people, but once you have the information, you’re very good at processing it. Do you do the things you like first? Do you try to do the stuff you don’t like first and save the rest? Or do you just take whatever comes at you and you just roll with it?

Whitney:
I think I’m going to knock out most tasks that I can do very quickly first. Right? Get those things done and get some momentum at the same time. Right? And although I know there’s bigger tasks waiting for me, I’m going to be thinking about those, but I want small accomplishments first. That’s why they tell you to make your bed in the morning. Right? That’s why tell you to make your bed in the military as well. You have a small accomplishment, and even if you had a horrible day, guess what? You get to get back in a made bed. Right? And so I’m going to knock out those tasks, but I’m also going to remember those tasks that I just hate doing, because I’m going to find somebody else to do those ultimately. Maybe I have to do them for a period, right? Or build that process or that system, but I’m going to build the team, ultimately, to do those things that I just hate doing.

Whitney:
Starting the podcast is a good example. I’ve never edited the first piece of audio or video. Right? I’ve had to build that team from the very beginning to do those tasks. They were so much better at each of those things than I ever would have been as well. And that’s the same thing in our commercial real estate business, I think that’s how we’ve grown so fast as well. I decided to focus on one part of the business and get really good at that thing. Right? And then build the team of experts around that.

Whitney:
I met my business partner at a conference, Sam Rust, amazing guy. We knew right away that, hey, this is going to be a great partnership as well. But guess what? We had complimentary skillsets. He had something that I did not have, and I had something that he did not have, and it allowed us to move very fast. Our first project together was $30 million, which is not common. And so that speaks to that. Hey, find people that are really good at the things that you’re maybe not as good at, or maybe you just don’t like doing and plugging numbers in a spreadsheet is not something I typically love doing, or turning them out like he does.

Brandon:
Yeah, [inaudible 00:35:52].

David:
So would you find yourself avoiding putting them in the spreadsheet until you did the things you liked to get momentum going? Because that is-

Whitney:
That’s a possibility. I think that’s a good point. If you hate doing it, you’re probably going to postpone it or procrastinate. Right? But by finding somebody that loves doing it, hey. I mean, I think he just dreams about numbers at night. Right? And I do not. Can I do it? Yes, but it would take me so much longer than him and wouldn’t get it done near as well. And so I think it’s a, document those things. You may have to do them for a period, but plan on a way that you can hand things off. And it doesn’t even have to be something as complicated as underwriting, but even systems behind your emails. Right? And emails take over so much of our lives. Build a system around that, where you can have an assistant help you. That’s what I did, so you can consolidate those tasks of what you do best.

David:
Brandon, what about you? How do you solve that problem? Because you do so many different things for so many different companies right now.

Brandon:
Yeah. So what do I do first? You mean? How do I focus?

David:
Yeah. Do you line up, hey, these are the things I like, so I’m going to save those for the end of the day? I’m going to eat my vegetables first and have dessert to look forward to, or maybe get some of the things done that you like early and then that way, if you run out time, it’s magically for the stuff that you didn’t want to have to do anyways. Or do you just take it as it comes?

Brandon:
Yeah, I have kind of a funny setup on this, in that I don’t really run my schedule or my tasks at all. I don’t have any say in what gets done. I have so many people that depend on me for little things, and so it just gets put on my calendar and then I do it in the order that they tell me to do it in. It’s kind of funny, I’m sure I could do stuff, but I just find … I am so bad at doing anything. I will lay in bed and watch TikTok if given the opportunity over anything else, no matter how important it is. I will just do nothing. And so I have to hack my life to be, and I know David, you and I are very similar in this, I have to hack my life so that, so that-

David:
So that your own weaknesses can’t defeat you.

Brandon:
Yes. That’s why Jerry shows up my house to teach jujitsu. That’s why Adriana shows up at my house to do my massage. Because I need that thinking time. I will not take that thinking time, unless somebody’s at my house going, “Well, I’m here.” And I love getting a massage every week, it’s the most profitable time I have, because it’s my thinking time. Plus the hour in the morning, you know, the Miracle Morning stuff helps, but I still say the massage helps. So anyway, I don’t choose what I do, I guess. I mean-

Whitney:
What about a few years back though, Brandon? Before you could hire those people-

Brandon:
Yeah, before I had that?

David:
Yeah, what about the question?

Brandon:
I think I may … I mean, I know that when I eat food, I’m always a … I eat the worst food to the best food in that order. Always. If there’s steak and there’s broccoli, I’ll eat the broccoli first, then move to the steak. Right? I think I did that in my young life, I think I did that as well. So I will always do the annoying work first, eat that frog, like the phrase goes … that’s a really good book, by the way, everyone listening. Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy, it’s a productivity book. Anyway. So yeah, so I will do that first. But, yeah. That’s a good question.

David:
Well here’s why I ask, because Whitney’s at a point in his career where … let me backtrack a second. The pattern of how business works once you get to be pretty successful is that as tasks come in, they get bifurcated into a decision has to be made, and work research logistics have to be done. Usually it’s sort of like the work research logistics is lining up the bowling pins, and then somebody has to come in and roll the ball. And the skills that we teach on this podcast are mostly decision-making skills; analyzing a property, how to raise the money, how to get the money coming in, which property are we going to buy, what ways are we going to add value? That’s really, what Brandon you call the cut that Dr. Oz would make. That’s what a good investor is really focusing on. But then 80 to 90% of the work still, someone’s got to line these bowling pins up. And when we have to line up our own bowling pins, I don’t want to get out of bed to do that. And so my brain starts working against me, versus if I’m walking into the decision that has to be made, I can be really energized.

David:
So what I wanted to ask you, Whitney is what steps did you take to get a team of people that you now have, that I’m assuming are lining up these bowling pins so that you just show up and bowl every day, which is fun, and energetic, and exciting, and you’re learning new things. And now you’re teaching other people how to bowl, and you’re not having to deal with spraying your shoes with the little nasty shoe spray that they do, and making sure that the lanes are oiled and all of that?

Whitney:
Early on, it was over-committing like we talked about. It pushed me to hire people, and that was all virtual at first. And so that was by having four virtual assistants from all over the world, thinking about what tasks do I need completed? And that was for the podcast at first, but that helped even me learning. It helped me to learn ways to hire people, right, and hire the right people early on. Obviously that changed over time. Different people, different virtual systems from all over the place. And that team has now grown in a big way, but even in house now, one method that we use is called top grading, by Bradford Smart. And I don’t know if you all have heard of that, but you should look that book up Top Grading. And I would say I went through this book when hiring even my assistant that I have now, and we probably used a fifth of that book, but it helped me to build a process and narrow that down very fast.

Whitney:
And so I put a job offer out to my network and then I also put one out on Indeed, and I think I had about 700 applicants. Well, who has time to look at 700 applications, right? Or do that many interviews? Well, nobody. But in that process at the bottom, I asked them to send me four things. The first two were not optional, the second two were optional. Okay? The first one, though, was a 14 page questionnaire and it went into massive depth about all their job history. I mean, pros and cons about supervisors, different things. And I even told them, I let them know that, hey, you are going to have to set up a call with your previous employer for me to talk to them. Okay? And most people are going to write you off right then, right? Most people are not going to be willing to do that. But the few that are, hey, that’s going to help me narrow that down very fast. Right?

Whitney:
So I received probably about 30 of those forms completed. I mean, which is quite impressive, right? So I went through those narrowed that down to about 12. I called each 12 of those people out of the blue, no notice and said, “Hello, Whitney Sewell, Life Bridge Capital. You’ve been selected to move to the next round. Thank you for applying. Here’s four tasks. I need you to complete by tomorrow afternoon.” And so I gave them the tasks and said, “Thank you,” and seen what they sent me. Right? That helped me then narrow that down to four I mean, just top notch people. Right? I mean, I could see so many things.

Whitney:
I didn’t even care really if they, he did it all 100% correctly, right? But was it on time? How was it presented? How did they word things? How much time did they spend and on what, right, did they spend the time on? That helped me narrow that down to four people. And then my business partner, Sam and I, we did tandem interviews and those interviews take a minimum of three hours, going through asking lots of questions just to get to know them. Right? And again, more times than … I mean, almost every time now that I think about it, I care so much more about this person’s integrity. Right? I care so much more about who they are more than their ability. I can train them to do many things or get them training, even if I don’t know how to do it. I’m much more willing to do that, but I cannot train that person to be integrous. I can’t train them to work hard. And so once I can see that in them and hey, they have some ability, some skillsets, hey, that’s a person that I want as a part of our team.

Whitney:
And so my assistant, Alana, she’s been with us a year now, and she has done amazing. And so I’m just always impressed at her work ethic, and how she’s helping me in this assistance she’s helping me put in place. So like Brandon I’m almost told where to go to on a sometimes 15 minute basis, 15 to an hour basis. I know at that moment where I need to be or what I need to be prepared for.

Brandon:
That’s so good, man. That’s so good. Yeah. That Top Grading book, I just looked it up on Amazon. So Brad and Jeff Smart, right? So Brad, I think is Jeff Smart’s father, I think? Anyway, they have another book called Who on hiring that I did read, so I’m just going to order this one as well. Because yeah, finding top talent, that’s the game. That’s the game. And so good.

Brandon:
Let me go back to basic question about your real estate. When did you start buying? When set of scaling up to these big deals? When was that, that you bought your first large apartment building?

Whitney:
So I partnered on two projects with someone else and they were 398 units and 415 units. That was the end or the fall of 2018.

Brandon:
Okay. So 2018. So now here we are three years later, I think? Yeah, three years later you got $300 million in real estate. So how-

Whitney:
It was February ’19 when Sam and I met, and it was June when we closed our first 30 million project together.

Brandon:
Wow. All right. So how did you overcome the fear of scaling, and the fear of growth, and the fear of screwing something up? And maybe a piece of it is what you just mentioned, you partnered on the first couple deals. But anything else you can share? A lot of people struggle with this, like, “Well, I’ve been so comfortable in this like duple, triplex, lane. How do I scale my, business?”

Whitney:
That’s such a limiting belief. Right? And we’re all stuck there at some point. However, at this point where my wife and I were, even before I met Sam, it was the point where we were ready to sell the farm to make this happen. And I think that was just a crucial pivot for my wife and I and our family. It was like we were all in. I mean, we burned the bridge. I mean, we had to make it happen. We didn’t have any choice.

Whitney:
And even at this point too, when I started the podcast, and I’m sure you all know this, it’s very expensive to produce a podcast, especially daily. And so, there were many months where I would share with my wife in the morning, “I’m not sure if we can produce the podcast next month. I’m not sure if we can afford to make it happen.” And something would happen, and we’d make a little bit of money, and then it would happen again. I’m like, “I’m not sure if we can produce it again the next month.” And then something would happen, the Lord would provide again, and we kept it going obviously. And it was not easy, to say the least. However, we had no choice but to keep going. We had no choice, and it was our dream to get back out on a farm. Right? It was our dream to get back out there again, to have that farm again, and for our kids as well.

Whitney:
So for us, I think it’s a matter of being so committed that it’s just not an option to turn back. And so I wasn’t as intimidated by the size of deal once I decided that, hey, we’re only looking for 100 plus units. And then it’s irrelevant then, the size of the deal. We’re going to make it happen.

Brandon:
That’s cool, man. So to kind of pull back full circle, you sold the farm originally, had to get out of that, the horse thing. Have you got back into it yet?

Whitney:
We bought a farm and believe it or not, I actually bought one of my best horses back.

Brandon:
Oh, no way.

Whitney:
And so it’s pretty cool how that’s come back around. Yes.

Brandon:
That’s awesome, man. So how does your time split today between that as a hobby versus your real estate? What do you spend your days doing?

Whitney:
My days are mostly spent in real estate and obviously leading our team. And then afternoons, I’m spending time riding with my boys, or we’ve been hunting the last few days, but ultimately hiking or anything like that, outdoors mostly, with my family. But yes, the days are spent in real estate and working on our processes, our systems, our team, and providing support for all of them.

Brandon:
Any tips on leadership that you’ve learned as you grew this team, both a digital one, in the Philippines overseas, and then a local based team? Any tips on that?

Whitney:
I think it’s a matter of seasoning. As you become more seasoned, as you stay in business longer, especially I think military, law enforcement, federal agent, those things have a way of seasoning you to where things don’t bother you as much as maybe it does some people, right? And it helps you to lead in ways that maybe you wouldn’t have before. It helps you to be more patient. But one thing I think is so important in leadership is asking great questions. And obviously that’s something the podcast helped me a lot to do, but you need to be able to ask great questions of not only your team members, but even of your investors. And I love asking good questions to even my family, my wife, my kids, right? Ask them what do you love? What did you learn? Ask them questions about that, that stirs conversation for education.

Whitney:
And I’ll share, I created a document just recently that’s probably four or five pages of questions to do performance reviews with my employees and that, I gave it to them weeks ahead of time, because I wanted them to have that time to think about it. But even giving them the questions ahead of time, that provided so much valuable feedback. Providing that avenue, your team needs to know, hey, there’s a space for me to talk to the CEO or talk to the leader that’s not just about the normal day to day grind, right? The day to day tasks that they have. You need to provide an outlet for that.

Whitney:
And something else that came up was our team, they love the relationship component, right? We’re also virtual, and I bet many listeners are dealing with that as well, especially in real estate. We have so many virtual team members because that’s so available to us. But even my team in the Philippines, guess what? They love community even more, I think, than us as Americans do in a massive way. It’s so much more important to them, and it should be important to us as well. But one of them had the idea of having a virtual Christmas party and I’m like, “That’s great idea,” right? But I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t taken the time to ask all those questions.

Whitney:
It’s not just money, again. Remember, it’s so much deeper than just that monetary goal. I want them to be paid well, but even your employees want to know that they’re a part of a team. They want to know they’re a part of something bigger than just a paycheck, and our mission even comes into that and I’ve seen that happen so many times with our employees. But leading well in that, and always provide an avenue where I’m not above them. Right? I’m not way above them in a way that they can’t talk to me, and I want to express that as often as I possibly can to them.

Brandon:
What about, do you have any recommendations for people that you listen to or follow on YouTube, podcasts when it comes to the specific skills of leadership?

Whitney:
John Maxwell would be one I would highly recommend. Of course, most people have heard of The Five Levels of Leadership. He also wrote a book I’ve been reading recently called Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, and I would highly recommend that as well.

David:
Very cool, man.

Brandon:
Awesome. All right. Well, we are just about at time, we’re going to get you out of here, but question, where do you see yourself headed in the future? Where’s Life Bridge headed to?

Whitney:
I see us growing, obviously, our team in many regards. I see us growing in specialties, right? I see us bringing on people who are experts in different asset classes, and growing in different divisions and even in things outside of real estate as well, we want to be that opportunity for investors where they can invest in numerous different things depending on their needs and depending on what their portfolio is, or their risk tolerances, those things. So I see, by the end of next year, I think we’ll probably be close to a half a billion in assets under management, and we have almost that now either in development or under contract, and that was a big goal for us, and we didn’t expect hit it as fast as we did. And so I can see us surpassing that, but also growing, like I said, in many other avenues.

Whitney:
But I also want to continue to grow our team in a way that not only are we growing in income, and all those things that obviously are important, but I want to grow in my time with the family. I want to grow in that special time, that unique time with the family. So hey, the time when I am at work is high impact.

Brandon:
Yeah. Awesome. I love it, man. Well, with that said, we got to start wrapping up. So why don’t we head over to the last segment of the show? It’s time for our famous four.

David:
Famous four.

Brandon:
All right. The last section of the show is about the four questions we ask every guest every week, and we’ve been doing this now for years and years and years and years. But the first question here on a Sunday episode, which I believe this is coming out on a Sunday, we usually change the question a little bit. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to throw an audible here and we’re going to call this the famous five today, because I’m going to ask you actually, I’m going to ask you both the question we usually ask on Thursday for the first question, and the question we ask on usually on Sunday. So the question that I usually ask on Thursday is do you have a current or all time favorite real estate related book?

Whitney:
Well, there’s so many, but I think for our industry, one of the best ones is Joe Fairless’, my good friend Joe Fairless, Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book.

Brandon:
Yeah. Phenomenal book. Phenomenal. So then the second question that I usually ask then on the Sunday show is, is there a habit or trait you’re currently working on developing in your own life? Something you’re trying to improve?

Whitney:
More intentionality with my family, with the kids, and ultimately, habit is putting the phone down during that time. Not trying to work during that time. It seems so simple. Everybody talks about it, but it’s hard to do.

Brandon:
It is hard to do. Yeah, I’m seriously contemplating that in 2022, I’m going to turn my phone off. Well, I’m going to basically brick my phone into a camera and that’s it, for the whole year, and try to operate the whole year on my desktop computer, or on my laptop. Because you can Instagram, you can Facebook, all that on a laptop, but I don’t get sucked in on a laptop. So I’m thinking about that. So we’ll see if I do that, but-

Whitney:
That’s a great idea.

Brandon:
Anyway. Yeah. We’ll see, doing a whole year with it.

David:
Can a carrier your pigeon make it across the Pacific Ocean?

Brandon:
I don’t think it could.

David:
So we can’t Game of Thrones our way through this.

Brandon:
Nope.

David:
All right.

Brandon:
Nope. All right, David next question’s yours.

David:
Whitney, what is your favorite business book right now?

Whitney:
It’s The Road Less Stupid that I mentioned earlier, Keith Cunningham. Every chapter is its own business coaching segment with thinking time.

Brandon:
So I have that on my shelf to read, it’s one of my upcoming books to read. Did you send me that or did I buy that because you recommended it? I don’t know why I have that book, but-

Whitney:
I did not send it to you.

Brandon:
Okay. Well, somebody recommended it. It must have been you, I’m going to assume, but maybe it wasn’t. I don’t know, anyway, it’s on my shelf. I’m looking forward to getting to that one. So.

David:
All right.

Brandon:
All right.

David:
What about hobbies?

Whitney:
Riding horses, hunting, active in our church, but ultimately the horse riding is probably my top hobby.

Brandon:
Cool. All right. Last question.

Whitney:
I’ll tell people, if you go to straightpathhorses.com, you can see the things I used to do with horses, and I looked at a horse called Shamrock. He’s the one that I sold, he was my best horse ever, and the one that we bought back,

Brandon:
Straight Path Horses?

Whitney:
Straightpathhorses.com. If you sign up for our newsletter email, nobody’s going to respond. But that website is still alive.

Brandon:
All right. Well, last question for me. What do you believe separates successful real estate investors and entrepreneurs and business owners from all those who give up, fail, or just never get started?

Whitney:
It’s the mission. It’s the mission. Do you know your mission? Most people can’t articulate their mission, and can you articulate it? It’s something I had to learn very early on, and it changed every investor conversation. And so I say, “Do you know your mission? Does your spouse know your mission? Does your team know? Do your investors know your mission?” And make sure that, hey, if you only have five minutes with somebody that they even remember what your mission is.

Brandon:
That’s awesome, man. Yeah. And my BP con speech this year, my keynote that I did, I talked about alignment. I got to be aligned in five areas and it was vision, passion, action, emotion, and your mission. If you don’t know why you’re doing it, you’re out of alignment, so-

Whitney:
You’re going to quit.

Brandon:
… I’m right there with you. Yep. That’s it. All right, man. Well, all right. If people want to know more about the mysterious Whitney Sewell, where can they find out more about you?

Whitney:
Lifebridgecapital.com. You can email me, [email protected] You can call or text me (540)- 585-4338. If you email [email protected] we have a tip sheet about multifamily investing we’d love to get to you. Just mention Bigger Pockets.

Brandon:
Awesome, man. Well, thank you. Appreciate you, and appreciate you coming on the show. Keep doing your thing, keep doing your podcast. Yeah, you’re killing it, man. It’s awesome.

Whitney:
Thank you, Brandon. Thank you, David.

Brandon:
Thank you.

David:
Thank you very much. This is David Green for Brandon no phone in 2022 Turner signing off.

 

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Why it’s important to “overcommit” if you really want to succeed in real estate
  • The “most dangerous book to reach on a beach
  • Why your network is your net worth and pushing yourself to connect with other like-minded investors
  • Why wealth and faith don’t need to contradict each other
  • Giving yourself the “thinking time” to spawn new, ingenious ideas
  • Outsourcing and upgrading your business so you can make more while loving life
  • And So Much More!

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Books Mentioned in this Show:

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