Here’s a scenario many seasoned wholesalers are familiar with: after closing one deal after another, they find themselves driven to do more, maybe even working as much as 80 to 90 hours a week, doing everything on their own, even sacrificing time with family and friends.
Eventually, they find themselves burnt-out. And stuck.
Fortunately, it does not have to be that way. You don’t have to be slave to your wholesaling business. You don’t have to do everything on your own.
You’d be delighted to know there is a way you can take your business to the next level so you’ll have a thriving business going and live your best life. There is no sacrificing one for the other. You can have both.
In this episode, you’ll learn from someone who’s been able to do just that—Todd Toback. And he’ll be talking to Michael Mcleish, a recent enrolee in his Next Level Wholesaling Program. Listen in as he shares what it’s like to transition from employee in his own business to owner.
Have a pen and paper handy. You’ll have plenty of gold nuggets to take note of in this episode!
- Why too much hustle can hinder you from getting to the next level
- The importance of hiring the right people
- Why you need to define your company’s core values
- Why defining roles and giving deadlines are game changers
- What ATR is
- The importance of consistency and believing in yourself
If you are Ready to Explode Your Wholesaling Business, Click here to Book a Free Strategy Session with me right now!
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Todd Toback: Hi, this is Todd Toback and welcome to this special Next Level Wholesaling podcast episode. Today, I’ve got a special guest, Michael Mcleish from South Carolina, and I’m real excited because Michael is a recent enrollee in our pilot program of Next Level Wholesaling. And I’ll let him tell a little bit about his story, where he started out, little bit about his first deals and then his journey to breaking from employee in his own business, now migrating to a business owner, right? Where we all are striving to get to, to have money that is generated by amazing team members in our sleep. Michael, welcome to the podcast. How’s it going today?
Michael Mcleish: Yeah, great. Great. Thank you so much for having me on. It’s really an honor to speak with you live like this and share my story with you here and hopefully it’s a help to somebody out there that is going through the same journey.
Todd Toback: All right. Well Michael, tell us a little bit about how you get started in wholesaling a little bit about that first deal.
Michael Mcleish: Man that’s a long, that goes back probably 2013, 2014. I read Rich Dad Poor Dad and I didn’t really know exactly what I was getting pointed at, but I was searching for something. I did not want to stay in my then corporate career. I was a government engineer for several years and I just, I couldn’t see a path to being set free, it was the golden handcuffs though. It was a good job that was hard to let go.
So long story short, I found somebody locally that was teaching wholesaling. I learned the fundamentals and coincidentally moved and changed jobs, moved up to Denver, Colorado. To then it was mostly cold calling on ugly vacant properties, and a lot of hustle. It took me about a year to get my first deal. Just really, just sneaking in a few hours really was chaotic. I didn’t really have a consistent method or consistent approach. It was just, I remember to drive for dollars and then if I had some time, I’d make some phone calls after work and nonetheless, finally got my first deal and then another one followed that a few weeks later and proof of concept was now in hand.
Todd Toback: Nice.
Michael Mcleish: Yeah.
Todd Toback: I tell you what, there’s nothing like the first one.
Michael Mcleish: Yes.
Todd Toback: There’s nothing like the first one. It’s great to automate, and believe me, I love to empower others and that’s really exciting. But I think sometimes we forget to relish in the, in the small victories. A year, I mean that is a really, really long time. Most people, by long have paid the guru and quit and became one of the many stats to say that didn’t work for me, so congratulations.
Michael Mcleish: Yeah, thank you. That was, that seems like a lifetime ago at this point. But I was just thinking about that earlier this week about where it started like that.
Todd Toback: Okay, so take us a little bit from the journey from that first deal, right? Because you’ve got that one group of people who never do a deal, right? And then there’s a ton of people who actually do, do deals, right? Maybe you are one or two and they’re like, man, that was, that was hard. Right? And then you get a group of people who remain in this, zone of just hustle, right? Where they’re just hustling and hustling and they wind up making, I don’t know, anywhere between $50 and $150 maybe $200 000 a year, right? Just hustling and grinding, hustling and grinding, right? Tell us a little bit about your journey being that guy, or if I’m wrong, tell me you weren’t that guy.
Michael Mcleish: I was that guy for too long. It’s by God’s grace that I didn’t give up, several times. And I, I never thought I would give up. But there did come a point where my wife said, “look, you can’t do both, you can’t do this part-time job and do a onesy twosy deal here. And you’re always working and you’re never with the family”. I knew the proof of concept well enough. I’d done it a few times in Denver and finally I kind of, I don’t know if I would advise this to anybody, but we quit my job and moved across the country to start brand new in a brand new market and just say, “I know this works and there’s no excuses for me now, I don’t have a job pulling me back and saying that’s taking up my time”. But that said, I didn’t have to do that.
I didn’t get organized enough and serious enough about it. I always had one foot on one side saying, well this is cool. I made you know, $10 grand, I made $12 grand here, but I got the golden handcuffs of this job here, and I don’t know how to get on stuck from that. You really got to decide what you want to do and laser-focus down that path and believe in it and believe in yourself. And I think for a long time I didn’t completely believe in myself enough to make it happen until we finally, my wife helped me kind of get over that hump. Then when we started in Greenville in, let’s just call it January, 2017, that’s been the grind phase for the last year and a half. Finally got my first deal midyear last year. I was a slower starter just to get that first deal to stick and then made, I don’t know, 110 in assignments last year by the end of the year, the second half.
Finally got some momentum going by the third quarter. I’ve doubled that this year already through better process, more intentionality, cutting some fat and getting into things. But I’m still in that hustle, hustle phase that I think I was alluding to here before we started recording. But working with you, again, it’s like now I have reached the ceiling, this, I can’t really do much more myself and keep my family alive and marriage intact. I’ve got to start being present with my family and I want to continue to grow our business, make more money in the business and work less in it and have a life again, right? That was, once I heard about Next Level Wholesaling Program coming on board, I was like, that’s exactly what I’m looking for right here. I just want a little more structure on how to find that escape velocity, if you will, to get outside of the hustle orbit and out to something better.
Todd Toback: Right. I think there’s a big shift, Michael, in that at first, we’re different than everybody else, right? If you’ve actually done wholesale deals and you generated over six figures, you’re wired differently than 90% of the population, right? And so you can go out there and hustle and do deals and sign them up and sell them and run to the title company and create this urgency that’s like bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. Right? And the reason why we get results is because we hustle, right? We move and we move fast and we take action and we don’t take no for an answer. And it’s this, a talent, right? That helps us get there. But I think now that I’ve had some exposure to everyone for the six weeks and I’ve seen some shifts in some people, now taking that trajectory, I noticed that it’s almost a curse now to get to the next level.
That very, very talent that always has us going like go and go and drive, drive, like now, now, now. Nothing else matters for generating revenue this second, right? Actually holds us back. So if you can, tell us a little bit about some of the stuff that you feel like was holding you back from now, getting to that next level. Even some of the day to day activities or the way that you were acting or leading or hiring or any of those things. Tell us what you feel, some of the behaviors or at least mindsets.
Michael Mcleish: Yeah, I think it’s a mix of a lot of factors. You know, one, I could make the excuse, well, I just don’t have time, right? I’ve got, I’ve got to keep hustling. I’ve got to keep finding the next deal. I’ve got 45 followups today that I had, I didn’t do yesterday. And so there was one excuse just saying, I’m just too busy and I, the fear of, well, if I stop all this then all momentum is lost and I don’t do a deal for another six months and I go out of business, right? So part of it is fear, it’s a little bit, I think my own personality, the fear of the unknown. I’ve been trained as a leader, I did Air Force ROTC for four years back in college. I was steeped in a little bit of a leadership culture, but that said, my entire career for the Air Force and then subsequently in the government was project management.
And it wasn’t really so much a one-on-one leadership role I guess or, hiring and day to day performance type of leadership positions. Getting my head back into that game of, how do I become a leader? And how do I get people to believe in me when I scarcely believe that, that this is possible? That’s been a big journey for me in the last a year and a half. I think Tom will tell you my mindset has had to change drastically from the old me to where I am today. And I have a long ways to go.
Todd Toback: By the way, thank you for sharing that, by the way. I think with the world of podcast and Facebook and everything, there’s a lot of people who are full of it, right? And so to be real and raw, is for me, we’ve got a rule in Next Level Wholesaling, stop lying, right? Stop lying, tell the truth. Right? And then what we do, week one, is actually have you do your own self assessment of your business, right? And I guarantee you no one’s posting their self assessment the first day of Next Level Wholesaling on Facebook.
Michael Mcleish: Yeah, probably not.
Todd Toback: I haven’t had one do that, right? And that insecurity that you just spoke about and that mind shift like that’s awesome. That’s the first step of leadership, right? You’ve got to have a real self awareness. And so thank you for that. I mean that’s awesome. That’s a huge step right there.
Michael Mcleish: I appreciate that. It’s been an uncomfortable journey, but I mean there’s no sense in hiding it. It’s a part of who I am forever. And again, I know other people are probably out there struggling with it and don’t really even know how to define it yet. I think to your point, once you’re honest with yourself and can just be free to release that to the world, then you’ll be set free.
Todd Toback: Awesome. Tell me a little bit, it sounds like maybe one of your own issues has been your own self limiting belief, right? Now tell me now what shifted, right? Now we’re going to, let’s move on to the next phase and tell me one thing that you’ve changed in your business, right? That now I was taking you to that next level, one step closer now to removing yourself from the business or at least more of empowering others and so that you could buy some of your time back.
Michael Mcleish: Yeah, that’s a tough one to answer. I hope I don’t ramble off onto some tangent and not answer the question.
Todd Toback: You can only give me, you can only give me one. That’s why I’m not going to let you ramble.
Michael Mcleish: Yeah. So the short question is what’s the biggest mind shift change or what?
Todd Toback: Yeah, what’s the biggest mind shift change or behavior change you obviously invested in next level, wholesaling and yourself, right? So there must’ve been a mind shift change, right? But maybe it could be a mind shift change or maybe one actually change in your business that now, because of Next Level Wholesaling you’re seeing a radical difference.
Michael Mcleish: Right. I think it was just the making the decision and just saying, it’s, I think you’ve said it to me a hundred times, “what got you here won’t get you there”. And I had started to come to that realization, I was maxed out. I can’t escape this business without other people doing the A to Z that I’m doing every single day and maybe I’ll be a part of some of it. But there’s no reason for me to hang onto it because I know I can hire somebody who’s better at sales than me ’cause I’m a geeky engineer, I don’t know how to talk to people, right? In spite of myself, I’m doing business. If I hire the right person, how much better could this business be?
Todd Toback: Yes.
Michael Mcleish: Same with admin, I get geeked out about all kinds of stuff in there, as you well know too. But why not hire somebody who sees the big picture that can be focused on specific tasks so I don’t get lost in the weeds and we can keep the business on track there. It was coming to realize that there are people out there that are better at specific facets in this business that I don’t have to be a part of. And that’s where the freedom will be if I put them in the right place.
Todd Toback: So tell us a little bit about, you’ve made the decision, right? Let’s talk about a little bit about the changes, the actual physical changes in the business. Right? I don’t want to lead you here, but I’m aware of one change that you made, a decision that you made, you were kind of on the fence about and then if you could share that and then kind of where you’re at today with that.
Michael Mcleish: Right. I had, before I joined next level, I’ve had a bit of a journey hiring virtual assistants. I hired the first lady back in I think November of last year and she was okay, but then I found out she was moonlighting another job and basically, you know, she seemed distant during the day when we’re supposed to be there. And I found out she was moonlighting another job. That one didn’t work out. Next lady was pretty great and after 30 days she just ghosted me, she disappeared, that was kind of a big question mark. I do believe it’s my fault for both of those that they left the way they did. And I’ll tell you about the third lady before my final hire that we got to. Last lady, I thought she was much better, again, all, everybody I’ve hired so far as virtual assistants been in the Philippines through either Upwork or Onlinejobs.ph is how I’ve hired them.
The lady that I had working for me when I joined Next Level started off pretty good. And as we try to further define her role, because I had left it a little bit open-ended, is really when it started to fall apart. And gosh, I mean there’s so many facets to this also. When I joined Next Level and I said, “Todd, I do have a virtual assistant, but I’m really on the fence if she’s the right fit”. And as we talked about it, what we did, one of the first steps, not to surprise the content of next level, but we defined our core values, one of the first things we did in the course. And once I did that, looked at myself, looked at the company the way I want it to be and defined who we are.
I could see right there, there was two or three glaring, obvious conflicts with this person. The get it done attitude, that is one of our core values she was missing. It was, well I’ll kind of get to it when I get to it. It was the quality and excellence that wasn’t there. It was, I’ll throw something up, you know, just to get by. But when 5:30 rolls around, I’m going to call it a day and I’ll see it tomorrow. A lot of those behaviors that bothered me, I didn’t know why they bothered me until I finally wrote it down. I was like, “oh yeah, it’s obvious”. That was the biggest thing. We let her go and rather than hiring an acquisition manager, like I’d first wanted to, we wanted, I wanted to rehire the admin assistant role again.
Again, looking at the core values and defining before she’s hired, exactly what tasks she should be competent in and a deadline for that role, has been probably the biggest game changer in this new hire. The new lady that I have working for me now is working out amazing. She is a engineer also, she was a production engineer for Nestle in the Philippines. And so I knew she knew process, I knew she knew organization, I knew she knew, high intensity getting things done. And once I defined all the things she’s going to do and by when, and I gave that to her, we’re three weeks in as of Monday next week and she’s already almost to the 45 day expectations, just because they’re defined. And she’s kicking butt and she’s worried that she’s not doing enough. So very happy with that.
Todd Toback: That is awesome. Let me ask you, your old VA, what level were they performing on a scale of one to 10?
Michael Mcleish: Big picture, probably about a six.
Todd Toback: Okay.
Michael Mcleish: A declining six. I mean she was probably an eight at one point and it kept stepping down and the more I called her out, she actually collapsed under that pressure of improving, instead of improving.
Todd Toback: And then what about your current VA? What is she performing at?
Michael Mcleish: She is, I mean she doesn’t even know everything yet cause I haven’t given her all the training yet, being very meticulous in it, but for what I’ve asked her to do, I mean, she’s got to be an eight, nine. I mean, I don’t believe perfection is possible at this point. But, case in point yesterday, I’m hiring for an acquisition manager now, and I just made a comment, I said, “I’ve got to get this next batch of emails out to this list of candidates”. She says, “Hey, why don’t you give me the login for that email and I’ll just do that for you?” I mean, just out of the blue. And I’m like, yes! This is it.
Todd Toback: Okay. That is what happens when you have someone with your core values, right? That’s the get it done attitude. They understand, right? That it’s their job to make your life easier, right? And to focus on that and you want someone to take that. I mean, that was like kind of what I was looking for, right? Someone there, there’s accountability there and saying, Hey, we’re going to push the company forward, and if Michael is stuck in the weeds here, right, then that’s not going to happen. And now because of that, you’re going to, your mind’s going to be free and now you can now make this step for this next hire. Now, the great thing about this, which I love, is that I’ve seen a lot of people run out and try a hire an acquisition manager, and they’re there for a month and they lose that person, “Oh, that was so much work, I’m not doing that again”. Right?
Michael Mcleish: Yeah.
Todd Toback: Well, number one is that you’re going to have an easier time hiring somebody because you’ve delegated some of the low level tasks responding to that. But number two, you’re going to have a much better taste in your mouth if it doesn’t work out because it’s not going to be as much of a chore. And three, you’re actually going to be focused on interviewing the person instead of handling those lower level tasks. Right? Which is going to put you in the highest and best use. I mean, somebody that’s so, so, so exciting.
Michael Mcleish: Yeah, absolutely. It sucks that I’ve had to hire four people in the last a year. We’re almost at November again. But the last, I’ve learned so much, I mean I’ve tried and I failed, I’ve tried and I failed, but every time I’ve improved the hiring process and now, I mean, everything’s right there, it’s carbon copy, here’s the expectations, here’s the training. If, for whatever reason it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world anymore, like I felt, when it was number two or number three of having to start all over again. So same point, if the acquisition manager doesn’t work out, again, the underlying, the low level plates are still spinning.
Todd Toback: Awesome.
Michael Mcleish: Exactly.
Todd Toback: Tell me a little bit about what are you most looking forward to next? I mean, is it that acquisition manager hire. What’s the next step for you?
Michael Mcleish: Yeah. Right now it’s the follow up. I’m to the point where now I’m just going for low hanging fruit and even that, it’s got to be the easiest low-hanging fruit. Right?
Todd Toback: Oh, this is awesome. Hold on, hold on, hold on. This is going to be my favorite, right? Michael, do me a favor. This is where there’s like no lying on the podcast where you’re coming clean, but, but everybody else, right? Everybody else listening to this knows that if they don’t have an acquisition manager, they’re going through what you’re going through. So I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cut you off.
Michael Mcleish: No, that’s perfect. I use Podio and I’m looking at my overdue tasks and every day it’s just like 30, 40 follow up calls and oh man, I hate it, I just don’t like it. So I’m just like, okay, which ones say hot or warm? And I’m just going to do those. And a lot of the new ones that, that came into the system three, four days ago, I haven’t called yet. Just because, you know why, because, that’s what I’m looking forward to is just replacing that, getting somebody that, I mean I get when your workload is such, eventually you have a few overdue tasks and then you just move it to the next day and reprioritize as you need to. So having somebody, working for me that’s making those calls, I mean, I’ll just, just knowing somebody on the phone making these followup calls, I’m going to sleep so much better. Just having all that red waiting for me the next day is just, it’s just crushing… mentally.
Todd Toback: Well, I can tell you a little bit of a process and actually this documents inside Next Level Wholesaling, but we have a practice for all of our acquisition specialists called ATR, right? I don’t know if you saw that in there, but it’s called All Tasks Reprioritized. So at the end of every day, they’re supposed to either reschedule all their overdue tasks or eliminate them or do them, right? But that’s all they’re doing. Right? Which now just, I remember when I taught that to my team and actually put that in a process, we’ll taking it off me and give it to them was one thing. Right? But because I didn’t, I wasn’t training them properly, well then they were getting out of control on them. Right? And so I gave them that process to ATR at the end of the day, right, re-prioritize all their tasks. And then the final step was that once a week on our meetings, when we do our sales meetings, which is different from our Monday morning meeting, every once in a while we’ll have someone share their screen via GoTo webinar and spot check someone’s tasks on Podio.
It’s not like a coming down on you thing, right? It’s like, “Hey guys, we’re going to do some coaching. Let’s like take a look at someone’s tasks and we’re not here to judge, but we’re to see who’s doing some good things right that we can learn from and where could we get better”, right? And we’ll say, well take me through your day to day, what’s going first, what’s going second? And if someone’s got to go long thing overdue tasks that they say, we don’t even need to say anything. Right? Cause everyone knows, you know what I’m saying? And it’s not going to happen again. So man, my blood pressure went up when you just talked about all those overdue tasks. I can’t wait, can’t wait for you to see the fruits of this.
Michael Mcleish: Yeah, me too, that’ll be mean, number one, that’s going to take probably the biggest burden off of me right now. Just knowing that things are taken care of. And I mean it affects the bottom line too, because if you’re only going for the easy ones, you’re I’m tempted to not do my full disposition process. I’m going to go to like, “Hey, Hey, you know, Mr. Buyer, I’m in a big bind here, I got this deal. Do you want it or not at this price? It’s, you’re cutting out up to half your profit by doing that. I mean I’m trying not to do that actually have a deal with an inspection on Monday before the summit, so I’m still doing it on the good ones for sure. But at the same time, on half of them, how can I sell this thing fast without doing that disposition and I’ve got to get out of that mindset just for the sake of business and profit.
Todd Toback: Yeah. It’s funny sometimes one thing will affect you another, right? And we don’t want to hire someone because we’re going to save money. But then we realized that we just pissed away $8000 on three deals because we didn’t sell them properly because we were too rushed. $24 grand. We could have paid someone four, to actually do all of that work for us.
Michael Mcleish: Yeah. I mean I know anybody, again, being the nerdy engineer that I am, I mean if I can get decent at sales, somebody that has, that’s just born for sales, it’s going to be knocking, a deal a week, maybe six a month out easily with almost the volume of leads that we have right now, just ’cause I’m just, they’re just going.
Todd Toback: Awesome. So a little bit, let’s talk about marketing for a second right now. Now you, are you doing all cold calling? No direct mail or a little bit of both?
Michael Mcleish: Yeah, mostly cold calling. A little bit of both. Well, frankly, it’s nothing but cold calling since I hired my admin. I dropped everything else just because I can’t do it. We are dabbling with a little bit of direct mail, like on the driving for dollars or vacant list. Once we’ve called it and it’s dried up, we’ll send them a letter or a postcard quarterly. Nothing really too fancy, same with probate and a few other niche lists. But not big, I’m not doing any big like two, three, 4000 postcard campaigns weekly like I used to.
Todd Toback: Okay. And do you have a cold callers is working for you?
Michael Mcleish: Yeah, I have one lady, she’s in Costa Rica, I pay her $20 an hour and she is only making calls 20 hours a week, right now.
Todd Toback: Okay. And how was that and how is that working for you? I mean you’ve outsourced that portion. Tell us how that’s worked.
Michael Mcleish: That’s been a journey as well. It’s been hard to hire the right person, after I think four people we found her and she’s stuck pretty well. She’s gotten a lot better. And I have to give credit to Brent, there’s some advice that he gave me. I hired her in February. And-
Todd Toback: So this is before next level?
Michael Mcleish: … yes. Yep. Probably around June, May, June. I was just saying, “this lady, she’s just not getting it. What should I do? Should I hire somebody else?” And he was, when he called me, I said, “well, you got to be on the phone a little bit more and then you have to be over the shoulder with her a little bit more”. And at that point we figured out, why don’t we do three way calls on Skype? So we started implementing that where one day a week I would have one meeting just giving her feedback from audio. And another day of the week I would literally, we would piggyback calls.
So I’m watching her screen with Mojo Up and she would make a call, I’d give her feedback and then I would make a call and I would say, what did you think of that? And it was a little bit more fun, so she could see me doing what I’m asking her to do. And I was able, I give her probably, two thirds or more of the calls to get feedback on, but I’ll throw some into just to do myself. That was a game changer. That really accelerated her growth and capabilities throughout the summer to where, now I’m comfortable with her calling my best lists-
Todd Toback: Wow.
Michael Mcleish: … whereas before I was calling them.
Todd Toback: Okay. And so how many leads is she producing for you a week?
Michael Mcleish: Right now, she’s about, working on this, it’s something we’ve been having problems with. I’d like her to be about one, let’s say, three leads for four hours on the dialer is kind of the gold standard I’m trying to get back up to. She’s at about 0.56 I think as of last week, leads per hours. So one lead every two hours. So 10 hours a week or 10 leads a week. So it’s a little low. We’re shuffling our lists around a little bit more trying to get into some better ones. But 10 to 15 leads a week is pretty normal.
Todd Toback: Okay, that’s awesome. Do you plan on delegating that list management now to your new virtual assistant?
Michael Mcleish: Yes, it’s pretty much been done. We’re still working on some of the metrics that I, or goals that I want her to monitor but as far as building the list, skip tracing, getting them in the dialer, pulling them off the dialer, all that is now gone as of this week. Yeah.
Todd Toback: Thank God. All right, well Michael, thank you so much, man. This has been awesome. I’m sure, thank you for sharing your struggles and your successes. That’s what really leads to progress, right? Is really getting raw. Any last piece of advice for anybody listening?
Michael Mcleish: Man, there’s so much I could say, but again, I always say be consistent. Trust in yourself, trust in your coaches and your mentors. They know what they’re talking about. If you’re an analytical type like me, again, I think it’s just letting go of my misconceptions and preconceptions. Again, following that consistent path with the training that you’ve got and you can’t not have success if you do that.
Todd Toback: Awesome. Well, thank you, Michael. If you’re interested in learning more about Next Level of Wholesaling, go to wholesalinginc.com/nextlevel. Michael, it’s been a pleasure and I look forward to talking to you soon, my man.
Michael Mcleish: Okay. Thank you so much, Todd.
Todd Toback: Talk to you soon.
Michael Mcleish: All right.
Todd Toback: Bye.
Michael Mcleish: Bye, bye.