Episode 22: [Foundation] How to figure out what you’re good and bad at w/Nathan Brooks

Danny Johnson / 2 comments

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Show Notes

Nathan Brooks is a dad, husband, worship leader, and real estate investor in Kansas City. He’s also a foodie, coffee addict and Crossfit junkie. He’s a real deal real estate investor that did about 60 deals last year and plans to do even more this year.

On today’s episode we talk about how to quickly realize what you’re good at and should focus on, and what you’re not so good at and shouldn’t be doing.
Nathan mentions that if there is a pile of papers on your desk, that’s a pretty good way to figure out what you don’t like doing…

A great piece of advice for hiring people to do tasks for you that won’t require a full-time position is to hire friends, family, neighbors, etc to work with you part-time. It’s a great way to spend time with people that you don’t get to see too often and get things off your plate.

We also talk about how being able to explain the exact processes you use in your work to other people helps you to clarify exactly what you exactly do, and improves the processes because you realize things that you wouldn’t if you just continued to mindlessly do the tasks.

An unexpected turn for the podcast was also a powerful realization. Forgiveness is a big deal in the health of organizations. As you start to work with more and more people, it’s very important to be open to forgiveness so that you can work through issues and improve the processes along the way.

Recommended Books

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

Unbeatable Mind: Forge Resiliency and Mental Toughness to Succeed at an Elite Level (Third Edition)

Links

The Tim Ferriss Show

RadioLab

Bridgequity.com

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Episode Transcription

Danny Johnson: This is Flipping Junkie Podcast Episode 22. [music] Welcome to the Flipping Junkie podcast. My name is Danny Johnson; former software developer turned house flipper, flipping hundreds of houses. Each week, we bring you interviews, strategies, stories, and motivation to help you get started flipping houses and on your way to becoming your own boss and achieving financial freedom. Thanks for spending time with me today. Now, let’s get to it.
All right. Welcome back to the Flipping Junkie podcast. We’re doing a series on foundational stuff, getting your mindset right, motivation, and all that kind of good stuff to get a good start and the right start to get your real estate investing business going and growing.
And today, I’ve got Nathan Brooks on the show. He’s a dad, husband, worship leader, and real estate investor in Kansas City market. He’s a foodie, coffee addict and a Crossfit junkie. And Nathan is doing very well in Kansas City. He did about 60 deals last year. And today, we’re going to have a great show talking with him about how to figure out what you’re good at and how to figure out what you’re bad at. So we’ll talk about with him why that’s so important. I think it’s a really interesting topic and one that needs to be discussed when you’re getting started in this business or growing your business so that you can always sort of have that in your mind to focus on what you should be doing and what you should not be doing and having other people do. Because as most investors probably would attest to, I know I certainly did for a long time; for many years, I was doing things that really I didn’t enjoy, maybe I wasn’t good at, and I just felt like I needed to just because I didn’t feel that I wanted to take the time or I wanted to get into the complexity of hiring or having other people do work for me, and it was a big mistake. It stunted our growth quite a bit, and I don’t want that to happen to you. So we’re going to discuss that today on the show. It’s going to be an awesome show. I’m looking forward to it with Nathan Brooks.
Be sure to subscribe on iTunes. We’re doing the series where we’re starting with foundation, then we’re going to move into every other aspect in sequential order, sort of like a real estate investing course but through podcasts each week. And so each week, we’re doing… Monday, we’re releasing each new episode. So if you subscribe on iTunes, you’ll get that automatically. If not, go to flippingjunkie.com and subscribe there by email and we’ll notify you of each new episode, plus everything else like the blog post that we do, sharing information about our business, what we’re doing and informational things like that.
And you can also check out the Facebook group, facebook.com/flippingjunkie, and all of that. And be sure to also check out the other things that we provide. We provide real estate investor websites at leadpropeller.com. You can check those out. All of my years’ experience of getting thousands of leads through my own website. I used to develop these websites for other real estate investors to use so that they don’t have to come up with all this and learn all those things that took me years to learn. So very cool.
And check out reimobile.com as well. That’s our CRM system for keeping track of leads, and most successful investors know that. A lot of the deals are in the follow-up. And that’s a system to help you keep track your leads and do follow-up because most of the time you’re not going to buy the deal when you first go and meet a seller. It’s going to be in the follow-up. So check that out, reimobile.com.
And thanks again for listening to the show. I know there’s a lot of other options and choices out there for real estate investing podcast, and I really appreciate you listening to this one, Flipping Junkie Podcast. Thanks a lot.
All right. So Nathan, are you there?

Nathan Brooks: Yes, sir. Hey, Danny. How are you?

Danny Johnson: Good. How are you doing?

Nathan Brooks: I am well. Awesome day here in KC.

Danny Johnson: Great. Yeah. I really appreciate you being on the show taking the time to share with all the Flipping Junkie listeners what you’ve got to share.

Nathan Brooks: I appreciate that. I really enjoy it and enjoyed our conversation as well.

Danny Johnson: All right. Great. Well, let’s find out a little bit more about you because we did talk a little bit before we started recording here and I was itching to ask you about how you got your start and all that kind of stuff, but I didn’t want you to have to repeat all that. So now we’re recording, I can finally find out about all of that because you’re doing some big things now. And I just want to find out: How did you get started? What got you interested in real estate investing? And how did you end up doing as well as you’re doing? Well, it needs to start with the beginning part because we could—

Nathan Brooks: Yeah. Absolutely. And thank you for that, and thank you for having me on your show. And I also really enjoyed our conversation at the beginning here, too.
So, as far as the inception story, really, I loved kind of swinging the hammer as a boy, doing stuff around the house with my dad. I’d go and pull stuff off of construction sites around where our house was. And I build a little shed in the backyard. So I did a number of like habitat kind of houses and that sort of stuff as well growing up through high school. So I’ve always really enjoyed seeing a project come together or understand how the renovation or rehab or whatever kind of thing works and whether that was swinging a hammer or putting paint on the wall or whatever.
So from there, I kind of had the itch looking at people flipping houses or people owning rental houses or whatever. So I actually overheard a conversation of a guy in a restaurant. A few things later, a few phone calls later, whatever, I supposedly had my first business relationship. I guess I did. It wasn’t very good. It wasn’t a couple of very good deals and a lot of things that really ended up kind of feeding in the school of hard knocks lesson book, if you will, but out of that came a real drive, desire, and passion to not do it incorrectly and to get back after doing real estate stuff in a good way. So we kind of followed the crash and really suffered some casualties and heartache through that process, but out of it came a lot of clarity and desire to do it again and do it right.

Danny Johnson: Yeah. And that’s big. It seems like over and over the people that actually are making it really well and doing a lot of great things with real estate investing and changing their lives and improving their situation, everything kind of went through those negative times. And instead of letting that sort of force them out back into some other job or situation, they looked at it as a pot, like found the benefit out of the adversity. So you realize that it was like where you learned all those things and decided that you couldn’t do it that way, you needed to figure out a better way. You wouldn’t be here had you maybe not had those difficult times.

Nathan Brooks: You’re absolutely right. That’s exactly right. It’s one of those deals where… And even now, I’m sure in anybody’s business… Every deal, there’s something to learn whether it’s a little nugget on the title side in the searching or on the ownership side or how to structure a lease option deal. We just took down our first small multi in a lease option kind of credit financing way. There’s just so many ways you can structure things. And so if you’re open to learning and you’re open to understanding what makes deals tick, there’s just so much more opportunity. And then when you have the opportunity… Let’s say that same multi-deal appeared five years ago. I might not have really understood how to structure it. But because we’ve done this deal and that deal and this deal and had this conversation with guys like yourself, we really could understand how to attack it and take down the proverbial elephant.

Danny Johnson: Yeah, that’s great. So what we wanted to talk about today was figuring out what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at. And to start that, what I wanted to do is kind of ask what you feel is so important about knowing what you’re good and bad at when it comes to all the different things that you find yourself doing when you get started in this business or as you go from doing a deal here and there to growing the business. So it doesn’t necessarily pertain to just people that are getting started but also people that are maybe just doing this as a side business or slowly growing it.

Nathan Brooks: So I think that is the question to ask, and I think there’s a couple of things to look at that question. So first of all, when you’re starting… And so like for me for instance, I was always really able to find deals and put together deals. So I was definitely good at that idea, that avenue. And in our business now, I’m really the person that is cultivating those relationships, cultivating deals. We work with clients all over the country on turnkey properties and wholesale deals, etc. So that’s really a strength for me.
And in 2015, a partner and I came together and really were able to discover that very quickly, we’re able to run much faster together. And his strengths came in a fashion of really from an organizational standpoint, from a digging deeper into numbers, digging more into a system’s side. And those are definitely not my strengths.
And so, it’s not to say… So if you’re the person sitting out there saying, “I’m looking at my first deal or two or three or whatever it is.” And we’ve all sat there, believe me. So to say that I have to be good at all of these things, you certainly don’t. And there’s no way for you to learn them without either having a mentor or coach or whatever there with you doing them exactly that same time or you’re just jumping in like myself where I just kind of jumped into deals and learned on the flaw, and that’s fine too. And I think when you look those things that you’re good at and bad at and if you’re able to say, “I’m really good at this thing, but I have to be aware of this thing over here that I’m not as good at,” you’re at least aware and honest with yourself about it
So if it’s bookkeeping, maybe you go ahead and reach out to a virtual assistant or your accountant who already deals with the other stuff. It might cost you a few bucks, but you have it already built in. If it’s understanding how to comp out a house, then you call up the person who’s doing exactly what you want to do or more and find that person or an appraiser that’ll do desktop appraisals or things like that where you can really actively put those pieces into play even if you’re paying per deal. It costs you a couple of hundred bucks, but you know that the comps are exactly where you expected.
I actually had the same exact conversation yesterday with a client in Texas. He was looking at deals and trying to make sure he had all of those pieces of the puzzle. So you don’t have to pretend that you can do all those things. You just have to make sure you’re aware of all those things and you put people in place to do them.

Danny Johnson: Right. I think something that I know I fell into and a lot of other investors fall into is thinking that, “Well, I learned how to do it because I had to out of necessity. I have my process in place, and I think I want to do it better than anybody else that I can train and do it because they’re not going to care as much as me.” But the problem is you’re not going to do it as well as somebody that’s focused on just doing that. You know what I mean? Because you’re trying to do 10 different things at once, and something’s going to get dropped. You’re not going to juggle all of those things all the time without dropping.

Nathan Brooks: That’s 100% right. And it’s a really different question when you’re saying, “Okay. Well, I’m going to do one deal. I’m going to buy it whether I’m the realtor, the agent or the buy-off market, whatever. And then, I’m going to go and rehab it myself. And then, I’m going to lease it myself.” So if you’re doing one task at a time yourself and that’s your style and model, great. And I know a number of guys who are really successful who do that.
But I know, for instance in my business, we might have five or ten rehabs going at the same time. And so, clearly to handle all the balls in the air and all the different little fires and big fires and leasing and maintenance and rehab crews and books and all that stuff, and not to mention, just getting them to close and getting them to marketing or photographs or whatever, all of a sudden you got to say, “Holy cow! There’s all this stuff that I have to do and I cannot do them all. I’m going to drop the ball on something if I don’t start handing off work for other people.”

Danny Johnson: Yeah. And everything falls apart and then you’re going, “Man, what happened?” So do you have a system how to find out what your strengths are and maybe what you like doing or what you should be doing versus what you shouldn’t be? Is there some sort of process or something that you think is good for people to try to go through?

Nathan Brooks: Well, I think the #1 thing when you sit down at your desk and you look at the pile of stuff if there is one on your desk, there’s a pretty clear indicator of what you’re not interested or good at doing.

Danny Johnson: That’s a good point.

Nathan Brooks: So if there’s a pile of papers in your whatever… Like me, I hate putting away all the stuff as far as scanning documents and putting in whatever. So I have people who help me do that. I love looking at deals. And I have great systems in place of tracking them and looking at them. So at one point, we found ourselves where we had more deals to write and more offers and properties to look at than what I could actually physically get to. So I’m like, “Go look at 10 houses.” But then I didn’t have the energy, time, and stamina, whatever to go write them. And so, we had to have people who could do that.
So for me, you have to say, “Well, what do I really love to do? So if I could do one or two or three things today, what do I love doing?” And for me, I love looking at houses, I love finding houses, and I love buying and selling houses. So if I’m in the right spot doing the right thing and this is totally a Jim Collins’ Good to Great, the book. This is kind of a chapter right out of that which is everybody on the bus going the same direction, doing the same thing. So I think if you can look at yourself honestly and ask those questions, you’ll be much further ahead than somebody who has not been honest with themselves.

Danny Johnson: Right. So it would just be kind of like looking at everything that you’re doing and saying, “Should I be doing this? Or should I not?” Some people use the whole formula for determining sort of how much you feel your time is worth and then thinking in terms of: Could I get somebody to do it for less? Would it cost me less to have somebody else do this? How do you feel about that using the formula?

Nathan Brooks: I absolutely use that in my own life and business. And I absolutely squarely believe that that’s a great way to look at it. I think sometimes it takes a little time to get there, so that might not be the first thing you ask or it might be. If you’re somebody who is trying to… You want to make a hundred bucks an hour and your time is worth a hundred bucks an hour, and if you execute X number of deals in this amount of time and you’re hundred bucks an hour, so that’s it. If you ballpark the 40-hour week kind of person, you’re working 40 hours a week, that’s $200,000 a year. That’s pretty darn good living. So obviously scanning in documents, I hate doing it in my office here. I’m sure I can find somebody for less than a hundred bucks an hour to scan documents.

Danny Johnson: Right. And so, some people still hesitate to do it because of different things like thinking, “Well, I’d have to train them and I have to bring them all and then figure out how to compensate them when this isn’t something that I could really have somebody doing full time.” To that, what do you say to something like that if you know, you realize that you shouldn’t be doing some of these things? But then, you also don’t have enough to give people to keep them busy. Is there something where it may be a good way to hire somebody part time?

Nathan Brooks: Absolutely. I think part-time virtual assistant, friend, neighbor, brother. Like my brother. We come and hang out about once a week, and he helps me do a lot of the scanning stuff and shredding stuff and whatever. So it’s like fun hanging out time with my brother, but it’s also get stuff knocked out from me. It makes a few bucks for him. Everybody is happy. So I love that. We have people who work for us now that are full-time. And we have people who work for us that are part-time. And I think honestly the biggest barrier is your own mind and your own ego kind of in the way. If the end result that you want is you want to do everything, then obviously that’s what you’re going to do and then you’ll have the consequences of having all the responsibility.
So you don’t have to have a system in place. You don’t have to have an organized process. You could do it whatever way you want because it’s only you, you have to look at. But I think and what I personally found to be true is it’s pretty painful at the beginning when you bring somebody on because you’re paying for them to be there and they’re blankly looking at you, and you have to figure out how to explain what’s in your mind and what you’ve done probably subconsciously at this point without… And perhaps like in my case, trying to understand how do I get from the place that’s in my brain and something that I need and is a pain point to cover to a system in a task list in an order of things or whatever to this person.
And that’s where my business partner has been really useful, too. He’s helped really through that process of saying, “Here’s all the things.” And I’ve gotten better and better about being able to be on the front end of that and say, “All right. Well, here’s these 20 things I’m looking for you to do. Let’s create a task sheet. Let’s create an order of operation and then let’s talk through it.” And there is a heavy amount of time that’s involved with that kind of process on the front end, but you could either continue doing that same operation over and over and over again yourself or you could do the operation, slow it down a little bit, refine it a little bit. This also makes you better at that because now you understand it. Because if you can teach it to somebody, obviously then you have more clarity for yourself.
And then the second caveat to that of course is having somebody who is also willing, able, and good at doing what you want them to do. So if you hired the wrong person who wants to create graphic design all day long and post on Facebook and you’ve tasked them be your office manager, organizer, that type of person, you probably have hired the wrong person for the job.

Danny Johnson: Yeah. You made two very big points I think that need reiteration. So the first one was… In the process of explaining what to do and how to do it, you become much more clear on the process whereas you might think you have a good idea of how things are done. But as you explain to somebody else, you realize that you even have gaps in how best to do something or maybe you weren’t doing something so efficiently and you realize that when you have to explain it to somebody else. And you see it sort of from an elevated standpoint, and that’s super incredible. And so even if you weren’t hiring other people, maybe you should be writing down processes and act as though you are explaining it to somebody else for everything that you’re doing so that you can have the benefit of that.

Nathan Brooks: Yes. And I tell you what. I had a really wonderful conference call with a gentleman named Mark out of Chicago who’s a property manager/investor. I wish I could claim the idea, but he had the idea. With his staff and himself, they started doing all these…They call them one pagers, and we actually them exactly that in our business as well. For instance, let’s say I sent an email to my transaction coordinator that says, “These are the 10 steps we do on MLS transactions, and these are the 10 steps we do on a turnkey non-MLS transaction.” Well, guess what? I just created a one pager via email, and if I just remember to copy and paste that email doc…” I’m an Evernote junkie, so we have a systems notebook in Evernote and guess what? Copy and paste. Here’s now the process for the sell site of the turnkey property. Bam! Put it into one pager. And now, anytime I would need to share that information, refine that information, find that information, it’s searchable. It’s affordable. It’s shareable. And most of all, it’s written down as a process.

Danny Johnson: Yeah. Absolutely. And that’s a good point. Sometimes people don’t realize that maybe they’re creating those documents in an email or something and don’t think in terms of saving that as the process and just forgetting about it. And I’m sure I have tons of notes on old computers and stuff like that that I’ve written down and just kind of forgotten about. I should go back and look at a lot of those because maybe some of the things I thought through at the time or learned that I had forgotten as time went on.
So the other point that I felt like should be reiterated about what you talked about was having the right people to do the jobs that you want them to do. And you talked about the person that maybe is more interested in being online doing graphic design stuff or something when you have them doing something else. And some people might let that sort of slip past them and not pick up on how important that is because their ability to take what you tell them to do and improve on it or get excited about it all has to do with what interests them to begin with. And so, it’s not just getting anybody who’s willing to do work for you at a certain price because it’s more about having the right person there doing the thing so that you don’t get frustrated and don’t have the work done correctly where they make mistakes because they’re just not interested. Then, you get rid of them and end up doing everything yourself and not want to hire somebody else because you had that bad experience and feel like it’s always going to be that way.

Nathan Brooks: That’s exactly right. And most of the time, if you did that and you had that experience, it was more likely to do that it was to your fault. I own that for myself that that’s absolutely… You have to own that and say, “Okay. Well, how did I do that? How did I miss? And then, how do I make sure that this next time that we really think about this process?” I wish I could remember… I’m sure in the show notes, we can go back and look later, but there is a great Timothy Ferriss podcast within the last few… I want to say it’s a month or so. And he interviewed a tech guy where they talked about how they do their interviews and the process, and it really got me thinking because they have these pretty intensive multiple phone calls for just prescreening and then they have days and days and days of actual kind of boots on the ground interviews and solving problems and working with their team members. And so, you get to really get a sense and feel for the person. And it really got me thinking whether it’s a maintenance guy or it’s an office person or if it’s a salesperson or whatever.
In my business, I am fully confident that in the future we’re not just going to hire somebody. Whether it’s late afternoon, evenings, or weekends or whatever, they will be doing stuff with us – me, office person, property manager or whoever – before they are fully hired just so that we know that… They might be just the most wonderful person, but they’re still not a great fit with your team and that’s okay. And so rather than making a hire and then having to fire which is super costly, frustrating, painful, and awful, do it slowly enough that you know that you’re really getting the right person for that. And so, I love that podcast and it really, really hit home for me.

Danny Johnson: Yeah. I have to figure out which one that was so we can put it in the show notes.

Nathan Brooks: Yeah.

Danny Johnson: Yeah, because it’s super important. And to learn that from the get-go before you make those mistakes that we all make could save you so much time and energy and look at that in a different way from the people that… Because so many of us do that where we have that bad experience and then you never give it a shot again. We’ve been talking a lot in our businesses to grow our companies about core values and things like that. And we talked to a business owner here in San Antonio that does a completely different industry, but one of theirs was forgiveness. And when I saw it, I said, “Forgiveness? I wonder why that’s one of the core values.” And on the face of it, you think, “Well, you just forgive people.” But whenever I talk to him about it, the reasoning and what they talk to each other about and share regarding that core value is that: If somebody on the team makes a mistake and other people aren’t willing to forgive that person, they might just go around them and complain, “Oh, they screwed that up.” And then start going around them and just kind of avoiding them from then o. It’s very unhealthy because then you have all the politics and all this other stuff and people talking about other people and just not working together. Whereas if you have forgiveness as a core value, then everybody is willing to forgive and work on and help that person improve, to help everybody improve. And so it’s huge.

Nathan Brooks: That’s really interesting. What business were they in if you don’t mind?

Danny Johnson: Well, it’s protective coatings. It’s just a manufacturing sort of thing.

Nathan Brooks: That’s incredible. I love that so much, and I love it so much because it’s such an important reminder because there’s always things that aren’t quite right whether it’s just missing a phone call or an email or whatever into obviously much bigger things if people really screwed up something. I think if you’re honest with yourself, there’s always things that you can do better or that you screw up or that you wish you have done differently. And so, not only are you probably forgiving yourself in some cases but you’re also willing to forgive other people and instilling that willingness, necessity to forgive which also then says, “We have an open dialogue about what happened,” which also says, “We will figure out how to not do that again,” to tie that back in. So in process 123, we miss this one thing. And now, you go into your one pager you—

Danny Johnson: Right. Yeah. Like you said, you open the dialogue and you guys can improve the process instead of you just got frustrated and said, “They’re messing everything up,” and you don’t talk about that. Maybe they’re not following it, and you don’t get to the root of the problem. We can go all the way down this rabbit hole with all kinds of talk and discussion because it is pretty important, and it reminds me of… I forgot his name, but the guy that started Zappos and their whole customer service orientation like how it’s so big to them, like the customer experience.

Nathan Brooks: Yes. Exactly.

Danny Johnson: And in their book though, he was talking about how they have it set up where somebody comes to them or somebody has a problem and they come to a higher up and they say, “Hey, we have this problem.” And the question to be asked is: Why? Why did that problem happen? And so, an example I think was somebody dropped the ball. Well, why did they drop the ball? Because the training is not set up to keep them from dropping the ball. And you keep asking why, and I think you go like five or six deep and you find the real cause because a lot of times people just ask the first “Why?” and then jump to a conclusion that that’s the problem and try to correct it when it’s actually more layers deep.

Nathan Brooks: Yup. Exactly.

Danny Johnson: But anyway, yeah. That’s something important because I’m learning so much right now in dealing with people and working with people to help all get aligned and have clarity in what we’re trying to accomplish. How many people—if you don’t mind me asking—you guys have working together in your real estate investing business?

Nathan Brooks: I would say we have a core group of… Let me think. Probably, a core group of five, six, seven people. And then on the next circle would be the subcontract/contractors that we work with on a regular basis, would probably be another 10 to 15. That would include from appraisers to inspectors to the number of contractors, professional photographers, and transaction coordinator. So we’ve had a discussion internally where we would rather have a really awesome business with people who are really happy doing a fun job that’s interesting and doing cool stuff. So flipping houses and making great houses for tenants and making great values and investments for clients of ours, turnkey or whatever, selling wholesale deals to local guys here. All that stuff is fun. It’s awesome. And then, how can we take that process and all of that stuff that we need to do and divvy it up so everybody has understanding of what their responsibilities are.
So like for instance right now, our property manager is a rock star. She’s amazing, but she’s getting killed with the amount of workload. And so, we’re like, “You know what? We’re going to find her an assistant.” So even though it costs some money to do that, we know that we can free up and re-leverage her time to the things that are… Again, what is her dollar value worth or whatever? What is her time best/most well spent?

Danny Johnson: Right. Yeah. That’s powerful because you’re thinking in terms of, well, you brought somebody to help you with those things for your business and they’re working on that. But sometimes, the people that you bring on end up needing help and you’ve got to really be open to seeing that and being aware of that, that would help them. And maybe one person is not enough for certain things inside of your business as you grow it. How long did you spend doing most everything yourself before you started growing and bringing people in to help you out?

Nathan Brooks: Quite a few years. I had done it for quite a few years by myself in varying degrees of… The circle of people whether that would be still the appraisers and contractors and stuff, but I was hiring it all out, I was running it myself. I was doing all that stuff myself. And so, at some point when you kind of want to have a breakthrough, you want to kind of have a growth, edge, opportunity or whatever, you have to have those pieces in place. Otherwise, (A) you’re going to lose your mind because you just can’t do it all, (B) you’re going to get burned out and hate it then you’re going to drop the ball and you’re going to screw something up or miss something. Right now, yeah, I’m focused. I don’t want to miss an opportunity. So if I’m dealing with writing contracts which I don’t particularly like doing that I can hand off to somebody who’s amazing on it and then I spent that hour, I could probably go find another deal which then puts in the system which gives all our people another awesome property to flip, rent, lease, or whatever.
So by making the conscious choice of saying no to something and handing it off, I’m actually enabling myself to do something that I like doing better or frees me up for an hour to do something else or leverage my time in a way that I can really benefit my company to what I’m best at.

Danny Johnson: Yeah. And that’s huge because really maybe too many times a lot of us are looking to the future. “I’m going to put all this hard work now so that I can have the freedom and enjoy everything in the future.” And sometimes if you’re not thinking in terms of how do you do what you just suggested or live and focus on working towards what you just suggested, that future date keeps getting pushed back further and further even though you’re making progress, you’re growing things. It’s almost like realizing that you could really have that right now or a lot sooner than you think as long as you plan to sort of set it up that way.

Nathan Brooks: Wait. That, you just hit the nail on the head. And this is definitely a struggle I think for anybody who has that self-drive, motivation to do something. There are some people that love working for a company and for an individual or whatever. There are some people who… I always said I was not a very good employee. I like being able to call the shots and figure it out and be dynamic in a lot of times in a situation where I see something wrong within the company or whatever and I don’t have the power to make that change. I know my business partner and I on many occasions are like, “No, we’re not doing that again.” And then problem solved because we can make that decision right then and there.
The other thing with that too is saying, “All right. Well, finding the balance of somebody like you or me.” There are so many guys out there who are going after whatever their dream is. And you’re willing to put in the hours in whatever, but finding a balance between saying, “Okay. I’m not going to work 100 hours a week at the sacrifice of my fun or my playing with my children or my date nights with my wife.” And believe me, I’m preaching to the choir right now because it’s definitely something that I struggle with, too.

Danny Johnson: Yeah, we all do. And it’s just one of those things that you don’t work out once and get fit and you never have to work out again. It’s something everybody is constantly working at, and you sort of build that into like the way you are through work and making it a habit. And that’s how you achieve that, but it’s always something that you’re going to be working on.

Nathan Brooks: Yup. Absolutely.

Danny Johnson: So this has been great. I think we’ve had a great discussion about things to be aware of and ideas for how to look at growing real estate investing business to where it’s not building yourself into a job. And most of us spend a lot of time getting into the business, doing everything ourselves and that’s necessary to a point to where you sort of need to figure out how everything should run before you can have somebody else do things for you. But I think the goal should be to quickly move past that, and it’s something I wish I would’ve done more and faster as I got into the business.

Nathan Brooks: Yeah. Absolutely. And I think that the more self-realization and the more self-introspection, being willing to look back at yourself, the more able you are to be able to recognize those things and name those things and the comfort to be able to say, “It’s okay if I need to change this.” And some people deal really well with change and some people don’t. And I think it’s always good to have people who surround you who are also able to share with you that, “Man, this is awesome,” or “Man, this is really stupid. We should figure out what’s not working here and fix it.”

Danny Johnson: Yeah. And that’s powerful. And so, I like to ask a guest on the show because I know a lot of us are overachievers and typically reading more than one or two books at a time. Are there several books or any books or podcasts or anything that you’re reading right now, listening to, and really enjoying that you like you to share with everybody?

Nathan Brooks: Yeah. Absolutely. I am actually waiting to dig into a book called Extreme Ownership by Jocko… Gosh. Jocko Willink I believe is his name. I heard him through a Tim Ferriss podcast. Again, I’m a pretty big Tim Ferriss junkie, so I pretty much don’t miss an episode of his podcast. They have just really interesting guys on there and super, super smart people. So this guys was a Navy SEAL and got out of the SEALs and really started some business, enterprises. And actually, the other book that I am also in the midst of reading is called Team of Teams by Stanley McChrystal who also is a military guy. I’m into that kind of stuff, but it just happens that both of those were ones that really caught my attention.
But I also just ran across a new podcast called Radiolab, and I really enjoyed how they do their media and tell stories and stuff. Anything I’m usually reading, it’s either history. It’s some sort of Navy SEAL or special operations related or it’s something to do with real estate. I’m kind of boring I guess and that—

Danny Johnson: So does your wife ask you why you don’t ever read fiction books? I used to read fiction books, I think, before I got into the business, into real estate investing. And then since then, I don’t know that I’ve read too many, if any at all.

Nathan Brooks: Of course, my wife is an avid reader as well but not so much into necessarily the same ones I am. Even like my folks and family, most of them love sci-fi and that kind of stuff. Growing up and professionally, I’ve also been a professional musician for a long time. And so, I don’t know. From a creative standpoint, if that kind of was able to give that creative energy or if I enjoyed putting deals together and that fed the creative side, I’m not sure but I have a lot more fun. Even like TV shows. I’m not really into sitcoms or anything like that. I like watching some history show on how they built a bridge or something that I get to see what they did and not just something that was made up.

Danny Johnson: Yeah. I’m the same way. It’s like learning something out of it that you can… Yeah, it’s just fascinating. Since you are interested in a lot of these guys that wrote these books that were Navy SEALs and stuff, have you heard of Mark Divine’s Unbeatable Mind?

Nathan Brooks: No, I have not. I will look forward into adding that to my list though.

Danny Johnson: Yeah. It’s an awesome book. And he’s the founder of SEALFIT. It’s just a great book. It’s a good read, so check that one out too. And I’ll put everything that you mentioned—Tim Ferris podcast, Radiolab podcast, Extreme Ownership, and Team of Teams—in the show notes page which is going to be at flippingjunkie.come/22. So flippingjunkie.com/22 is where you can get some show notes from this episode and then the links to the podcasts and the books that were just mentioned.
And then, Nathan, is there a place where people can reach you, that they can find you?

Nathan Brooks: Yeah. Absolutely. They can go to bridge, B-R-I-D-G-E-Q-U-I-T-Y dot com. So that’s Bridgequity—just one E—dot com. Our tagline now is: There’s only one E in Bridgequity.

Danny Johnson: It’s a good thing you said that because I might have put the wrong one in the notes page.

Nathan Brooks: So yeah. You can connect for both the property management and turnkey kind of stuff there as well as email and contact for info there. So that’d be great.

Danny Johnson: All right. Fantastic. Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to be on the show with me, and I’m glad to get to know you better. And I’m sure we’ll keep in touch.

Nathan Brooks: Likewise, Danny. I really enjoyed it as well. Thank you again for the opportunity to be on with you.

Danny Johnson: Yeah. Great. Thank you. Well, have a good day.

Nathan Brooks: You, too.

Danny Johnson: All right.
[music] All right. Fantastic show today. Nathan shared a lot of great information and I hope that you got some great tips out of that and some things to keep in mind as you get started in the real estate investing and growing your business and all of those things. So a lot of stuff that I wish I had learned and focused on back in the early days, but it’s never too late. It’s good that we’re looking at what we’re doing and what we’ve done and always trying to improve. That’s the key, always trying to improve.
So there’s one of Jim Rohn’s books he talks about, a guy that’s talking about how much he should be being paid because of his experience saying, “I’ve got 10 years’ experience.” And Jim Rohn says, “Well, what the guy really had was one year of experience repeated 10 times.” So you sort of learned and gained the experience over that one year. But for the next nine years which is like staying the same, not really learning anymore, just kind of going through the motions. So it’s not really 10 years’ experience. It’s more of one year experience repeated over and over. And I hope that you take that to heart and always keep educating yourself. And you’re already doing that by listening to the podcast, so I applaud you for that.
Be sure to subscribe on iTunes and check out the coming episodes. I think it’s two episodes from now that have Hal Elrod, author of Miracle Morning. It’s an awesome book and great episode with him, interview with him. Really looking forward to having that released. So be sure to subscribe on iTunes and check out the podcast each week. See you next week.

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2 awesome responses to “Episode 22: [Foundation] How to figure out what you’re good and bad at w/Nathan Brooks”

  1. Mikle S on

    I always struggle with Stitcher.

    HOw do I actually download the podcast instead of stream it several times over?

    I hover then left click on the download bar where the download icon is….i get nothing to download.

    I right click on the download icon…nothing either.

    Please help.