We have people watching and listening on Facebook and YouTube as well as folks who pick podcasts up from Real Estate Investing Mastery website and various podcast providers. Glad to have you with us.
This is the 9th year of the podcast, and I’m proud of that. I enjoy doing it and am happy to see it expanding. Today’s guest is Ross Hamilton of Connected Investors, and who better to talk with about technology?
Ross is from North Carolina and used to be a semi-professional BMX rider. When he was about 18, he experienced an injury that required a year-and-a-half recovery.
He realized he no longer had the drive for the BMX circuit, so he needed a job. He read a few books about business and chose real estate. During the great recession, he moved to Jacksonville, NC.
Jacksonville had a major military installation. Other bases in NC had closed and moved their people to Jacksonville. He was able to take advantage of a housing shortage there.
Ross developed raw land, did fix & flips, anything and everything. Any home would sell in Jacksonville because the need was so great and the GIs could generally get financing.
While Ross was in Jacksonville, Facebook and MySpace came out. Ross thought they were cool and online connections did help make deals. But there was no dedicated selling platform on these networks.
Ross began thinking about creating a social network for investors, hired some smart tech developers and Connected Investors was launched. It helped him connect and make deals with other investors.
The deals he made allowed him to put more money into Connected Investors (CI). CI has a marketplace that allows buying and selling of properties. When he added financing, CI really took off.
The financing came about after Ross met the founder of Lending Tree who became an advisor to Connected Investor. CI uses the very same business model Lending Tree uses.
Lenders pay to have access to CI’s base so they tend to be responsive. Some are institutional lenders. Some are individuals. All have been vetted.
Connected Investors has added a resource for finding deals; CRM for tracking marketing efforts is being added in the fall. The company now has 21 employees and approximately 20 contractors.
Ross says it’s an awkward size for a company. The management team of 4 is Ross as CEO and visionary, a CFO, a CTO and someone to work with lenders. The lender side has to be big on details.
Listen and Learn:
- Ross is way smart… made money during the recession; then developed an online marketplace for investors.
- Connected Investors has added Pre-MLS, a resource for finding deals with the owner profile attached.
- Connected Investors makes it possible to invest in real estate in your spare time.
- Download the Connected Investors app to your Google Play or iTunes.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Joe’s podcasts on iTunes: RealEstateInvestingMasteryPodcast
- Ross’s podcast: Exactly How podcast
- Company website: ConnectedInvestors.com
- Reach private investors: CIX.com
- Book recommendation: What Got You There Won’t Get You Here
- Go to iTunes or wherever you access the podcast and leave a review
Download episode transcript in PDF format here…
Joe: Welcome. This is the Real Estate Investing Mastery podcast.
Joe: Welcome, welcome everybody. This is Joe McCall’s Real Estate Investing Mastery podcast. Glad you’re here. I want to say hello to everybody who is listening to this from Real Estate Investing Mastery—our podcast in iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, wherever you’re listening to these podcasts—I just wanted to say hello to you guys and remind you to leave a review. If you like this podcast, leave a review on iTunes. I really appreciate it. We just passed over 500 reviews, which was so awesome. I’ve been doing this podcast a long time, coming on nine years now. Love it, so I’m glad you’re here and
Joe: I’ve got a special guest here today. His name is Ross Hamilton and I’m sure a lot of you guys have heard of him. He’s from Connected Investors and on this podcast we’re going to talk a little bit about where technology and real estate meet because, of all the guys in the industry that really do a lot of cool things with technology, it’s Ross Hamilton. Ross, tell us a little bit about your background, your story. Where are you from? How’d you get involved in real estate?
Ross: Yes. So, I’m in Wilmington, North Carolina, and if you guys have ever been there let us know in the comments. Awesome little town. And I started investing in real estate at about 18, 19 years old. Now prior to that, I was a semi-professional BMX freestyle rider. So, I was one of those guys you would see hit, hit jumps and do flips and all sorts of crazy stuff. Actually, Dave Mirra, who was the Michael Jordan of real estate, lived in my town and I got to ride with him every day. I learned at a very young age that if you want to get good at something, surround yourself with really, really good people. Um, so had an awesome life going. I was sponsored, I was driving all around the country, flying around the world, doing these BMX shows. And then guess what happened, Joe?
Joe: You got injured?
Ross: I got injured.
Joe: No. So, uh, how old were you when you got injured?
Joe: I was, uh, about to turn 18, 17-18 years old, which is pretty prime time for uh, for extreme sports. And yeah, it was a pretty bad injury to my leg. Uh, I was in a cast for over a year, just in the cast. So, the total recovery time was year and a half and it was a, I kind of lost my mojo, uh, after that. It was just hard to kind of get back in the rhythm after being out for that long. So, I had to find something to do and I took the first job I could find. And Joe, uh, my job title has got to be the worst job title of any job title. I was literally a dumpster diver, so, I would drive around in a box truck and I would go to, um, dumpsters behind carpet stores and I would pick out scrap head. For any of you who’ve ever done a rehab before, the scrap pad is what holds all of the nasty, everything.
Ross: Anything that soaks through the carpet, uh, stays in the scrap head. I went from a rising BMX, started with dumpster diver and that just wasn’t going to cut it for me. So, I went to this place called Barnes and Noble, I don’t know if that exists anymore. A little bit before the internet, right? Um, not before the internet, but before I use the internet like I do today and we, uh, I found a book on investing in real estate and I read one stat, Joe, it said that 80% of millionaires made their fortune through real estate. So, I’m like, you know what, I’m not the smartest guy, but I’ll play the odds. And I just decided to jump right into real estate just like I was jumping around in BMX and I found the best person I can possibly shadow and work with in my town. And I started working with this individual and, uh, we did a hundred plus deals together and then I just started doing deals on my own and uh, made a lot of money in a very short period of time.
Joe: What kind of deals were you doing when you get started?
Ross: Yeah, great question. So, I was doing a lot of subject to’s.
Joe: No kidding, really?
Joe: Yeah, a lot of subjects to’s investing…
Joe: Who did you learn that from? This, who were some of the gurus you learned at that?
Ross: I uh, the gentleman I worked for, yeah, he was a, uh, education junkie. So, he had every single course, uh, that you could, that you can imagine. And I would just go into the office after hours and I remembered seeing how expensive these courses were, you know, $2,000, $3,000, $4,000 back then prior to the Internet. Like, someone had the secret information, you know, in a, in a binder you needed that because you couldn’t half-ass it on YouTube. Right? No, it was great. So, I would just stay there all night at his office just reading all of these courses. And what drew me to subject to’s is it was the, I didn’t have any money at the time, so it was like creative deal making, seller financing. It didn’t take much money to really control the property because I wanted money now, like to wholesale and to flip. But I also want a long-term wealth. I wanted to build up a rental portfolio. So, that’s where, that’s where subject to’s kind of played a perfect role for me.
Joe: And what year was that?
Ross: That was 2007. 2006-2007.
Joe: That’s when I was getting started and I did about 16-20 of them. And um, I got burnt on them pretty bad. I’m not, I’m not going to bash subject to’s cause it’s a great strategy for some deals, but I was buying them… Um, I was ignoring the fundamentals, right? I was buying them, um, regardless of how much equity they had, cause properties always go up… they never come down. I was okay with just a $100, $200 a month in net cash flow. But yeah, I can name some gurus that um, aren’t around anymore that were teaching a lot of subject to’s and it’s kind of sad because they were good guys. But um, one guy in particular went to jail a couple of years ago and another guy completely lost everything, lost his family, went homeless somewhere…
Ross: Someone went to jail… maybe elaborate on that a little bit because I don’t want people thinking that I was doing something.
Joe: Oh yeah, he went to jail… That’s a good point. I’m glad you… He went to jail for securities fraud and he’s from Colorado and um, had nothing to do with subject to and that strategy. And the other guy lost everything because he was an ethically immoral guy. Got into a lot of troubles. But anyway, yeah, maybe when we’re offline, we’ll talk names. Yeah.
Ross: So, yeah, I started, started doing a lot of subject to’s and uh, it did, it did really well for me and, don’t get me wrong, when the market turned some of the subject tos I had, it was a, it really helped me out because I was able just to give those properties back and walk away from the deals that were a little slim. And what I did is, any money I had invested in the property, I put it on the property as a mortgage at very reasonable interest rates. So, I was able to, uh, you know, just kind of move on and say, all right, you know, that money’s coming later on. But it was a great strategy for me at the time because when the market crashed, uh, it didn’t affect me at all. Not my credit, anyway.
Joe: That’s good. It didn’t, yeah. Memories. What happened when the market crashed? What did you do then?
Ross: I went to Jacksonville, North Carolina, because there is a, uh, amazing, uh, military town there and in the military town, they all had funding and they just closed two other bases down in North Carolina and were pushing everyone to Jacksonville. So, when everyone else was complaining, I was making money hand over fist. They had a supply and demand issue, So, they had way too many people wanting to buy properties and not enough properties available. So, any property that you were able to pick up, you’re able to sell very quickly. So, I started developing land out in Jacksonville, fixing and flipping in Jacksonville…
Joe: During the recession?
Joe: Isn’t that awesome, guys? Everybody thinks, not everybody, but a lot of people think, oh, the recession… that’s not where you make money. That’s when everybody getting slaughtered and you need to run to the hills. No, the smart investors make money when everybody’s running away.
Ross: Yeah. I can’t wait for the next recession. I mean, never mind, but it’s just a huge opportunity. The second that, uh, that there’s a little bit of turmoil, you know, just keep your eyes open and invest. And that’s really what helps the market recover is people, they see opportunity in those, uh, in those tough times.
Joe: Good. Okay. So, then, and then what, how long did you stay there and doing, doing that gig?
Ross: Man, I just, uh, I just kept pushing this as hard as I can. I have a hard time with timelines and years in my head, but, you know, there was a, there was a certain point to where, um, Facebook just came out and I’m like, this is, this is kind of cool. And I realized the more people I was connected with, the more deals I was able to do, but I wasn’t able to really do deals on Facebook and My Space was what I was playing with. So, I’m like, it’d be great if there was a social network just for real estate investors. And I started taking some of my money from my flips and putting them into seeding the technology company, Connected Investors. And I started to kind of really build that out locally and then it just kind of caught on. And it was a really fun, new, exciting challenge for me. And I’ve been pretty much all in on Connected Investors, uh, ever since.
Joe: Now when, about what year was that when you started it?
Ross: I would say the doors, or people started coming in 2009, 2010.
Joe: And what was your idea for Connected Investors? Why did you start it at the beginning?
Ross: Yeah, like I said, I just, I wanted to personally connect with more people. Right? And, uh, the way I was funding it is I would use Connected Investors to flip a deal and then I would take the money I made and I’d throw it back into the technology, build some more stuff for it. And it became a little bit of an addiction for a while because I was making, uh, you know, really, really good money. But then I was just so passionate about building, building tech and it’s expensive.
Joe: So, did you have a background in technology
Joe: Zero background, like no degree in computer science or engineering?
Ross: No. I just, I just made good hires early on.
Joe: You’re hiring people. Okay. Got it. And um, so you, you’ve been at it now for…
Ross: A decade. Yeah.
Joe: 10 years.
Ross: Yeah. At least.
Joe: 10 years in the tech industry. So, talk about what, don’t talk about what it is now yet. I don’t want to talk about what Connected Investors is now, but talk about your journey. You know, your first couple, three years. What were you doing with Connected Investors? Was that like, did it quickly become your full-time focus?
Ross: Um, it definitely became, it was a passion project at first because you know, I started my active real estate investing business up. I was developing land, but then any extra time I had I was just, you know, trying to figure out how to, how to grow this thing because social media was brand new back then. And I’m like, this could be something huge. Don’t get me wrong. I mean we made a, I made so many mistakes and in building it and structuring it and kind of understanding all these different moving pieces. But again, like you said, I didn’t have a background in any of this stuff. I just knew that there was a need, real estate investors, uh, needed to connect to get deals done. So, we just kept on pushing forward with that being the main mission. Having an online connection sparks something to happen in the real world, right?
Ross: Cause there’s so many bs connections you might have on Facebook or LinkedIn or periscope, wherever you guys are. But you know, to get business done, something real has to, has to happen. So, we’re constantly pushing the envelope on that. And whenever the, um, market kind of tanked, we tied a marketplace into Connected Investors where people can sell their properties. Cause we had all these properties. So, first we had a network of all these real estate investors. Then we brought on a network of, I excuse me, a marketplace of investment properties so people can quickly sell to each other. Uh and that was solving the problem. And just to kind of move along with the story, I was actually training for an Iron Man triathlon during the, uh, during this time. And I met the CEO and founder of a little company called Lending Tree. Ever heard of it?
Joe: Sure have.
Ross: They used to have the green puppet that would dance around. And uh, me and him were, we were training and he was telling me a little bit about how he got started and he’s like, wow, the real estate investing industry sounds a lot like the home loan industry back in 96 when I started Lending Tree. So, he came on board as an investor and advisor and we, um, we created a private funding, a marketplace where people can have a non-bank lender compete for their business. And that was really a, once we introduced that solution at a time when money was really tough to come to get, um, the business just kind of skyrocketed. I mean, people want to connect, right? People need to find deals, but everyone needs money. So, it was a very simple hotels.com priceline.com like type solution to an industry that had been very fragmented riddled with fraud and kind of a dangerous place to navigate.
Ross: You kind of had to be in the club or know someone who knew someone to find those lenders. And we just kind of, you know, disrupted that, that whole side of the industry. So, that’s been a huge catalyst for a lot of our growth.
Joe: So, how do you monetize that? Like you, you got this platform, how do you, um, if you’re bringing lenders and people who want to borrow the money together? How does that, how do you, how do you make money from that?
Ross: And that’s always a great question because its kind of cuts through all the clutter on, you know, where, where’s this guy’s motivations lie? So, we basically imitated Lending Tree’s model exactly. You can go to Lending Tree and you can get a home loan, you don’t pay anything. And so many people were teaching courses on, they were selling it for thousands of dollars, how to find private lenders, lists of private lenders.
Ross: So, we just completely flipped the script. And the lenders pay for access to you. So, when you, as you, as you tap like the 10 or 15 buttons at cix.com or you can go to privatelenders.com, same thing. Every, every question you’re answering is a filter and we’re filtering down all of these lenders just to find the best ones that can provide you the best rate and the best term. And then you get to choose the non-bank lender that you want. But all these lenders are verified, they’re all paying for access to you, which means you are very, uh, which means they’re very responsive, you know, so we’re not brokers, So, we don’t raise the funding at all. And we’re, we’re not the lender either. We are just the, we’re just connecting investors.
Joe: That’s very cool. And then, um, so these can be mom and pop lenders. These could be institutional investors as well, these can be just anybody that’s got money to borrow, right?
Ross: Yeah. Crowd funding. Um, a lot of crowdfunding portals use us to find people to lend to, a lot of just your single private lender looking to deploy more capital. Everyone wants their money in real estate right now. So, the demand is really… The biggest roadblock right now is deal flow. So, as real estate investors, if you’re out there, you know how hard it is to find deals. If you’re not using some interesting tactics, you can’t just do what you’ve always been doing. So, the lenders on the other side are like, no, we have all this money. I need to give it to people. Um, so they, they come to us to get introduced to individuals who, uh, who take the time to learn from people like Joe and listen to these podcasts and these YouTube shows and are doing the things that other people aren’t doing. Uh, the money’s no longer, money is no longer an issue.
Joe: Yeah. That’s cool. All right, so you’ve created this social network platform where people can connect with other investors. You’ve also given a place where they can sell their deals, on Connected Investors, and they can also find the money now. You’ve recently launched a new version of your software or a new element of your software that helps people find leads to do marketing to, is that right? Can you talk about that?
Ross: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a, we call the Pre-MLS. So, essentially for us to continue to grow our model, we need to help real estate investors find deals. We have all the money lined up, all the money and the buyers are not a problem right now. It’s, it’s the deals. So, and just watching what’s happening with the market, what’s happening with our own business, we needed to find access to the deals, but not just this, not just the deal. People always focused on finding the deal, but it’s really being able to connect with the seller, right. In a modern way. Again, so our platform that we refer to as, as the Pre-MLS has access to essentially every lead source that you would want. We’re talking about all the vacant houses, all the pre-foreclosures, shadow inventory, zombie properties, probates, for sale by owner, Craigslist, wholesale deals…I lose track now, there’s just so many of them, you know, out of town owners, people… whatever.
Ross: And then we give you all of the ability to filter. So, you can say, I’m looking for vacant pre-foreclosures with an out of town owner and the house doesn’t need much repair. Show me those deals. So, you can basically just narrow in on, okay great, here are the, you know, 20 deals I need to work on. And uh, not only that, we also, actually, Joe, I don’t, I haven’t told you this yet, but we bought contact data, a phone number and email address for every person in the United States. There was a huge expense and it’s kind of creepy that you can actually do that, but it was really important for us to be able to have an owner profile attached to all of the properties because just to point to the property is useless. I mean, you can go knock on the door and you should, I used to do that.
Ross: I’ve also seen stories about the good, the bad of knocking on doors. You can send them direct mail, which you should. That’s how I made my first million. Um, it’s expensive. It takes time to get there, but you also need to be calling them, texting them, just kind of doing everything you can to get in touch with this person because there’s potentially a $60,000 payday on the other side of that. It’s just one spot where you can see all the deals, you can see the contact data and you can kind of, uh, you know, you have a funnel to where you can work those, uh, work those deals through. And people have just been tripping over them over themselves to get access to it because they know, uh, number one, you don’t want to be competing with someone in your town that has this because you’re s-o-l. Because the data is updated every single day, so they’re going to beat you to the deals.
Ross: And then all the automation that’s tied into it makes it really the, uh, you know, the hub. So, again, we are just connecting investors with the data for the motivated sellers, the lenders and the other end, the buyers and the other real estate investors. So, we are just essential kind of connection points of all of those friction points. We’ve just kind of been smoothing out, uh, over the last decade.
Joe: Do you have any other tools that you can use to send out the marketing, maybe manage the leads, like a CRM or anything like that?
Ross: Yeah. So, in, um, in October, our new, uh, the new version goes live. We have a basic CRM in there right now to where you can see the status of where all your leads are sitting and you can basically take notes and stuff. But the next version is just, I’m so excited about because it allows for more team collaboration.
Ross: It allows for, um, data to get pushed in and pulled out in all sorts of different ways. So, if you use any ringless voicemail systems, any text messaging, any, uh, you know, email systems, you can set up integrations to where the data flies in and flies out however you want it. A lot of the stuff that we use, Joe in our, you know, our own marketing, you tie that all into this type of new CRM. So, if you have websites, you’re using that you like or you want to have data infused in them, it’s just, you can kind of plug right into that data. And its a, it was really the missing piece of everything that we’ve, uh, we’ve been working on for awhile. So, we’re excited to get that live this October.
Joe: That’s crazy man. Like somebody from no tech background who just rode dirt bikes…
Ross: BMX bikes.
Joe: Yeah, BMX bikes… builds this huge technology company. How big is your company now, Ross? What kind of business…?
Ross: I mean, we have, uh, you know, in this office right here, we have about 20, 21 people, hiring people every day. And we have about 20 contractors. So, we’re, you know, we’re about doubling year over year in, uh, you know, in growth and it’s just because the timing right now, like technology and real estate, two of like the biggest juggernaut industries have finally kind of come together in a really exciting way. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about today wasn’t possible even a year ago, just because technology wasn’t there. Real estate data has been so fragmented that it’s a really exciting time to be a real estate investor, to start investing in real estate. Because prior to this, Joe, I mean, you know, you were talking about doing subject to’s, I was talking about knocking on doors. To figure out who to talk to, you had to like get in your car and drive down to the courthouse and pull files.
Ross: And it was a full-time job, so you couldn’t really do real estate part time, right? If you had another job, if you, if you were bound to your house for some reason, if you had kids, you couldn’t get out there. But now you can just log on to, uh, you know, a software, see all the deals, start calling people and you know, really do this in your spare time. So, it is a very exciting time to be in, um, in real estate and so much easier than it’s ever been before. You don’t have to get chased off people’s front door because you were so hungry to make it you were out there knocking on doors. I mean that’s a, the cloth that I was cut from, so I’ve seen…
Ross: I’m at this weird age, last thing I’ll say here, to where in one article I’m a millennial, but in another, I’m a gen x, so I’m in this like… I’ve been on both sides of it. I’ve been the door knocker and I’ve also been like the tech person. So, I know I don’t have a tech background, but I think I’m a… Generationally it makes sense for me to be bringing this stuff to you guys.
Joe: What kind of management team, Ross, do you have in place to help you manage a company that big? It’s not that big of a company. It’s still a small company, right? But for most real estate investors, you’ve got a big company.
Ross: It’s an awkward size company because 20 people is not enough for a lot of infrastructure, but it’s, there’s still a lot of communication that has to happen. And, uh, you know, the, the management team we have, it’s myself and three other individuals that are the executives at the company and managed different, uh, different departments. Um, you know, I’m the, uh, you know, the visionary, the CEO, the one who’s out there talking about it, who’s, uh, who’s using it in my business, who’s thinking about what’s next, who gets really excited about new technology and, and all that stuff.
Ross: Then I have a, an amazing, uh, CFO, which is really important, who is just as excited as I am about the numbers, you know, spreadsheets all day, looking at our performer, looking at our marketing metrics, uh, making sure we’re not spending ourselves into a, into a hole, which is so easy to do when you’re working with someone like me who just doesn’t care. Like the money is great, I need it to do what I want to do, but if I’m doing well, I’m like, let’s go all in on this. Let’s buy this data, this crazy data, and see if… let’s buy everyone’s contact data in the United States. That was a, that was hard for me to push through. You know, my, a very, uh, you know, conservative CFO that says, all right, how is this going to make us more money?
Joe: But that’s good that you have somebody like that on your team, man. So, important.
Ross: Especially once you start buying a lot in a, in, in traffic. I mean, we spend, you know, Ferrari a month or more in, you know, in traffic, way more than a good, a high-end Lamborghini a month. So, you can spend yourself into a bankruptcy pretty quick. Outside of that, we have a great CTO. So, I’m not a technical guy, but we have, you know, a technical architect that helps this stuff.
Ross: Let me tell you… data? I’m like, yeah, we’re going to get all this data together, let’s do it! But then to actually do it. It’s a hundred and sixty something records with an excel sheet that goes from like A to ZZA and being able to pull that into, you know, an app because we have an awesome app and be able to make it fast and easy for you, it’s…
Joe: And every county you get the data from is going to have it in different format, right?
Ross: Just matching up streets, St. with s t r e e t could cause a complete nightmare. One has a period on the end, one doesn’t. Anyway, I don’t want to get too deep into that because who the heck cares? But a, anyway, it’s been having, having a CTO has been, has been really helpful.
Ross: And then when we brought, when we started doing the private, the private lending matching, bringing on an individual to work with all the lenders because we have, that’s like a B to B side. We have, you know, contracts and good long-lasting relationships with hundreds and hundreds of, of lenders. So, to kind of manage all that.
Joe: Um, our organization is kind of like a starfish, right? We have really great people that are very well incentivized and really care and we all, you know, guard kind of the common, the common mission.
Joe: Yeah, that’s good. Um, I wanted to ask you really quick the metrics that you track. Um, because there can be a big deal. I just hung out with Billy Jean for a day in San Diego a couple of weeks ago and he gave me a book or recommended a book and I bought it called Disciplines? Habits or Successful Disciplines? Have you heard of this book? I’m reading it right now. One of the things that Billy was so big on was metrics, metrics, metrics. He puts it on the board, on flat screen monitors. What are some of the most important metric where you’re tracking every day in your business? Or maybe should be.
Ross: Yeah, no, it’s a… The marketing metrics are really, really important for us because if, uh, like I said, if, if they slip, it costs a lot, a lot of money. So, we’re constantly watching our revenue per lead, our RPL, which is how much do we make every time someone goes to privatelenders.com and fills out a form because that in turn tells us exactly how much we can then go reinvest in more and more advertising. Um, so that, and that drives everything. Getting people to that page, getting people to kind of spill out that form brings them into our world. And it is a, a, it’s the lifeblood of the, uh, of the company.
Ross: Like for instance, just, uh, two or three days ago… When you’re going through the form, you have to do texts verification because lenders don’t want to talk with them. They want to make sure that they’re talking with a real person. So, people, you know, it takes a split second. Well, there are some changes that happened to that industry on text verification and all of a sudden no one was getting text verification. They couldn’t, they couldn’t complete the form. Big problem. You know, you’re talking a six-figure problem a day. So, watching form metrics are always really important, are always really important for us…
Joe: It changes so quickly and rapidly too, doesn’t it?
Joe: Yeah. So, people are always talking about cracking the code. But it doesn’t matter what business you’re in. If you’re doing lead gen for a real estate investor or as, um, someone who offers fantastic services to real estate investors, cracking the code is really being obsessed with it every day. There’s no such thing as set it and forget it. It’s set it, get it going, watch it, be obsessed with it, watch it every day and, or have someone watching it every day. Yeah. You know, that’s the, that, that, that’s really the important thing. But you know, as, as a, as a solo entrepreneur, um, when your business isn’t as complex, it’s, uh, you know, it’s, it’s manageable because I have been a step by step by step person, you know, just keep reinvesting, reinvesting, reinvesting. Um, and it’s, it’s totally doable.
Joe: Yeah. Excellent. Okay, one more question. Who are some books or podcasts that you’re listening to and reading right now?
Ross: So, I’m in this weird, ah, oh man, that’s kind of a loaded question here. Um, the podcast that I listen to are all real estate investing podcasts. Yeah. I mean, I love your show. We have our podcast that we’re in the process of launching. Is it okay if I mention the name of it?
Joe: Oh, please. Yeah, come on.
Ross: Yeah. It’s called “Exactly How.”
Joe: “Exactly How?”
Ross: Yeah. We basically just break down exactly how to do things and its a, it’s launching August 1st. So, definitely take a look at it, but I’m going to answer, uh, yeah. There you go. Thank you. Right now, uh, the book that I’m most obsessed with is What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. One little takeaway I had from that book is, a lot of times, you know, successful people, they believe they’re successful because of their bad habits, right?
Ross: And they’re not a good listener, or if they’re kind of rude, uh, in these, in these ways, but you’re not successful because of your bad habits. You’re successful in spite of your bad habits. And to get to the next level, it’s about figuring out what to do less of, cause you already doing a lot. “What do I need to do? What do I need to do?” So, once you hit a certain level, it’s “What do I need to stop doing. What do I need to stop doing? What do I need to stop doing?” And then that’s how you kind of clear your plate off a little bit for growth.
Joe: Reminds me of that book Ready, Fire, Aim… Masterson? And he talks a lot about that. When you go through different stages in your growth, you know you’re going to need to focus on these few things. But as soon as you cross that, what is it, that $10 million barrier? You have a whole nother thing you gotta, you gotta go after and fight and then once you get to the $100 million like it’s, it’s insane. One of the things that’s fascinating too, I’ve been listening to Russell Brunson and I’m in his mastermind and he’s been talking about how it is easier to run, well, he hasn’t been complaining, but he’s been saying like how hard it is to run a $100 million a year business. Like you, the bigger your business, the bigger the problems get. Yeah, it’s pretty insane.
Ross: Even if you’re, you know, working, you know, for someone else, like your pay is always a direct reflection of the conflict that you can absorb and solve. You go from a, you know, a waitress to a manager to here… You’re just taking on more conflict. Uh, so having a good approach to conflict, looking at it as, you know, being curious and uh, you know, having fun with it is definitely important. We were just sitting in the office the other day reminiscing about the old days of, you know, when we were a 10th the size and there were four of us, you know.
Joe: I was talking to Than Merrill, I interviewed him on my podcast probably three years ago and I was in Venice, Italy. I was taking my family, our four kids, a wife and four kids. And he’s got a huge business, right? I mean, and, and they’re still doing a lot of real estate too. And, uh, I said, hey, you know, I remember watching your shows way, way back in the day, right? Do you miss those days? Just like you, a couple of three guys and a couple of assistants, you know, and all the fun that you had? And he said, yeah, you know what, I think about that a lot. I do miss it a lot. I said, would you trade it everything you’ve got now to go back to that, you know, if money wasn’t an issue. And he said, maybe, but I sure enjoy what I’m doing now too. Right?
So, it’s like we all go through those phases, but I think the important thing is networking with people that are smarter than you to help you navigate through those things, right? Like, if you’re at $100,000 a year business right now and you want to get to a million, would you say maybe it’s a good idea to hang out with people that are already making $1 million a year and see what they’re doing the next step, the million dollars a month. So…
Ross: Well, or maybe you don’t want to get there after you listen to what they’re doing.
Joe: It’s okay to not want to be that big.
Ross: I’m gonna lifestyle this thing out and just, uh, you know, kick back, kick back and relax.
Joe: Keep it small. Keep it all. Yeah. Okay. So, your podcast is called Exactly How podcast, August 1st comes out. I think you invited me to be on your show.
Ross: Of course, man. I mean, you were early to podcast game. Congratulations on seeing that trend.
Joe: Thanks man. In fact, at the time I remember thinking I missed it because, you know the Real Estate Guys Radio, they were doing podcasts and Real Estate Guys Radio or whatever they’re called, Real Estate Guys Radio, they were, um, early two thousands, like right when they first came out. Um, but anyway, Ross, yeah, connectinginvestors.com is your site, right?
Ross: That’s the portal. And you know, guys, if you’re listening to on your phone, download the app. The Connecting Investor app is just awesome.
Joe: Yeah. So, just search for it. Connected Investors. Cix.com, is that your private lenders?
Ross: That’s where all funding is.
Joe: Good. Any other websites you want to give to us?
Joe: Yeah man, I appreciate you sharing this with all your, uh, with all your members. This is great.
Joe: Well, I’m glad to have you here, Ross. I have a few questions I want to ask you after we get offline here.
Joe: I appreciate you being on the podcast. Guys, Ross is the real deal. He’s been in the business a long time. He cares deeply and passionately about this industry, making sure that you’re set up to succeed and win. There’s a lot of bad characters out there that, um, you know, you just gotta be careful of. And Ross is one of the good guys. He’s got a big business, but he’s got a great platform. I want to encourage you to go check it out. Go check out Connected Investors.com. Get the app for the smart phone. Check that out. Um, cool. I appreciate you guys.
Joe: Hey, one more thing real quick here. Um, if you liked this show, go to RealEstateInvestingMastery.com or go to REIMpodcast.com. You can get the show notes, the transcriptions of all of these podcasts. Like, we gave you a bunch of links here. If you want to, go get those links. If you’re driving and you can’t write them down, go to the podcast website, RealEstateInvestingMastery.com or REIMpodcast.com and get the show notes and the links and all of that there, as well as leave a review. If you like the show, go to iTunes, go do, I don’t think you can leave reviews in Google Play, but Stitcher, I know you can go leave a review if you like the show, let us know what you think about it. And I’d really appreciate it. Subscribe, and that’s it.
Joe: Hey, thanks Ross. We’ll see you soon. Bye. You guys.
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