Posted on: January 28, 2019

If you’re a tribe member, it is highly likely that you’ve been getting consistent results in your wholesaling business. However, if you want to build a million dollar wholesaling business and enjoy true financial freedom, you need to take things to the next level. And that’s what our guests today are in the process of doing.

Josh and Marlena Dates are a husband and wife team of former public school teachers who are now running a successful wholesaling business from home. In 2018 alone, they were able to close a total of 39 deals and earned a whopping $655,000 in gross revenue! With Todd’s help, they’re now ready to take their business to the next level.

If you are like Josh and Marlena and would like to take your wholesaling business a step further, you can’t miss this episode! You’ll surely discover easy, practical, and actionable tips that can help you build that million dollar business you have always wanted!

Key Takeaways

  • How they got into real estate investing
  • What they’ve been doing business-wise the past year
  • What helped them stay consistent
  • How faith and prayer has helped them in their business
  • The biggest thing most people miss in terms of marketing
  • The importance of staying consistent and going bigger than you’re comfortable with
  • The reason they joined Next Level Wholesaling and their goals for 2019
  • One key Next Level Wholesaling tip they’d use this 2019
  • Book that has helped them stay focused on generating income every single day

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Episode Transcription

Todd Toback: This is Todd Toback, and welcome to this special edition of the next-level wholesale podcast. Today I’ve got a very, very, very… A couple of special guests. Number one, because it’s been awesome to see their growth from the beginning, from afar, and I’ve gotten to know them more through next-level wholesaling, but also because they’re homeschoolers, homeschool entrepreneurs, homeschool parents. That’s something that’s really, really close to my heart, running the business, and also running the business of the household and the kids. And so, I’m real excited for Josh and Marlina Dates to be on the podcast. Thank you so much, guys, for being here.

Marlina: Thank you for having us.

Josh: Yeah, thank you, Todd.

Todd Toback: So tell us a little bit about yourselves, how you got involved in real estate, and about your family, and what you’re up to.

Marlina: That sounds great. Well, Josh and I both were teachers prior. I taught high school and he taught elementary school, and I had done some college teaching and tutoring as well. We just… I mean, we were making ends meet and saving some money, but it didn’t look like something that we were going to be able to grow in over time, and really put more money away for our family, and was always going to be something that we were going to have to work full time.
I was working probably 70 hours a week a lot of the time, just trying to stay on top of everything and do well. It was what I was doing. I started reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” for a second time. Actually I read it when I was pregnant with our daughter who’s almost 18, way, way back, but I just didn’t see it fitting at the time.
We didn’t have careers, we were in [inaudible 00:02:18] college yet. We didn’t have any money or credit, and I just didn’t believe that it was really real at the time, so I just kind of, okay, that’s an interesting book. It doesn’t really apply. So many years later, we were looking for something that we could do that might give us an extra opportunity to grow into the future, and I read that book again, and I was so glad that I did, because it gave me a renewed passion for it.
I had stepped away from teaching to go ahead and start homeschooling at that time, and I had tried some MLM stuff, and I was doing yoga teaching and tutoring and all sorts of little things on the side, and I just decided that real estate investing really seemed like it was the direction that could give us that pathway to the future, already using some of the skills that I had, which were just working with people and caring about people.
So, we ended up getting a local coach and we did a lot of deals with that coach’s support, and did a really great job with it, and we’re on all the expert panels and everything, sharing our successes. Really at the end of the day, while we learned how to do a lot of creative transactions and even did a wholesale deal or two here and there over the years, we weren’t really getting consistent results.
We were definitely missing a piece, and that was, I think, the marketing piece and how to actually build it as a business, instead of just something that we were going to be the experts in. Not that I… I have an education background, so being an expert kind of comes naturally to me. I delve deeply into learning about things, and I love to share it with people.
But what I found is that, in being a part of the Wholesaling Inc. Tribe, just learning how to do the few basic things, be really consistent at them and just really go big with them, has been a secret to our success that we didn’t have before, even though we were experts in all these areas and done all these different types of deals.
So that’s what we’ve been building on over the past few years, which has been amazing for me, because I have a tendency to be a little bit perfectionistic. The coaching from Tom and you, as well, has really helped me to get over that. Josh is less so in that way, but it’s been really great for us, just to simplify everything that we’re doing and be able to get such amazing results from doing so. So that’s kind of a nutshell.

Todd Toback: So one of the things that actually threw me into wholesaling… It’s funny, I didn’t know this about you guys, was that I was doing all those kinds of creative transactions, right? I was doing the lease options and creative financing, and I was coaching those things, and I was doing short sales, and I was working so much, right, I couldn’t replicate myself.

Marlina: Um-hmm.

Todd Toback: And so when sometimes people tell, they talk about, oh, I’m going to have my acquisition managers do these three or four different strategies, I shake my head.

Marlina: Um-hmm.

Todd Toback: And I’m like, uh-uh, that is not happening. That is really, really cool to hear that from you guys.

Josh: Yeah, we definitely have learned that from you. We started with the acquisitions people, just making sure that they only were giving low cash offers, and that somehow if the deal didn’t work, or if it wasn’t making sense, then we would go back and renegotiate with maybe new terms and see if that would work. We definitely learned that from you.

Marlina: Um-hmm.

Todd Toback: Oh, that’s awesome.

Marlina: It’s also nice, it’s nice to be able to have that in our toolbox. Especially if things start to change in the market, we know that we can rely on a number of different strategies to keep our business going. It’s certainly… That’s not what got us to our success. It wasn’t being distracted by all the shiny object deals that we could be doing. It was really focusing on doing the wholesale deals that we’ve been doing, and trying to really build on our marketing, and build out our business with our teams.
So, that’s what we’ve been doing this past year, and we went from having results, where we were not doing well financially, unfortunately. We were always struggling, and we had to put everything that we had into trying to get our investment opportunities going to begin with. We went all in with it, which is good. I mean, that’s how you get to success. But at the end of the day, we didn’t really have a whole lot coming back out of it that was consistent, that was going to keep us going.
When we started doing the wholesaling, that’s when I really think that things to turn around, because we could do that more in volume. It’s really the volume at the end of the day that’s going to pay your bills, or not.

Todd Toback: So let’s talk about, you’ve got some consistency, you’re wholesaling. Let’s talk a little bit about those basics. Again, some people might be like, oh, I know the basics, right? Well, most people don’t know the basics, or they don’t know the key to doing the basics consistently.

Marlina: Um-hmm.

Josh: Um-hmm.

Todd Toback: Right? Let’s talk a little bit about what’s given you guys your consistency.

Marlina: Well, the first thing that I learned, and Josh actually continued teaching for quite some time while I was getting this going, so he would kind of help out on the side, but I was more the front line, doing all the work.
When I learned that I had to send marketing, it was more than a few hundred letters at a time, which is what I was doing to begin with. I would get a deal here and there, and I would feel really successful and they would give me just enough time in between deals that I could really figure out what I was doing with each new transaction, make sure I did it right, and talk to the right people.
But it took so long to do each deal, and our marketing would stop in the meantime. So, getting consistent with our marketing, and I really eventually learned to take it very seriously when Tom would say, “build bigger than you feel comfortable with”.
So that has really served us well. Like, instead of sending a few hundred pieces at a time, sending a few thousand pieces at a time. I think that has really been the key for us, because another thing, even though we had a few years of talking to sellers under our belts, we talked to so few sellers, in comparison over that time that it really… We never, I don’t think, developed the skill of really understanding motivation.
Like, we’d have the motivated sellers fall into our laps and that was always very clear what was happening. They’re very motivated. If they chase you down, they’re so motivated like that. But as far as converting, and doing some sort of a sales process with people, we just really had no background in that, coming from teaching.
I think the more people that we talked to faster, the better results we got, in learning how to distinguish between who really had an issue that we could help solve, and the people that really were just kicking tires and really were best served by being pointed in a different direction, maybe, if we weren’t going to be able to help them.

Todd Toback: Yep. Definitely.

Josh: It’s funny, because when we first got into this, people would kind of make fun of, like, we were doing postcards. The doers at the time were teaching, you do an envelope, and you hand-write it, and maybe spill a little coffee on a corner, and have a picture inside to get the best open rates. But, we definitely have learned that the more people that you can get in front of, the more chances you are going to have, to be able to get a deal.

Marlina: Um-hmm. Now we focus on volume of leads, versus just trying to do something consistently. We’re trying to really focus on consistent volume of what we’re doing.

Todd Toback: Well you know what? Something that you just said that I just love, was the way that you’re looking at it, where some people are like, hey, I’m going to do this little tweak, right, to increase the response on my mailing for this one piece of these 362 letters. They’re sitting there, and you’ll see them maybe make some, strategize, and the free Facebook groups.
And you know what’s going on in that person’s business, right? They’re struggling from deal to deal-

Marlina: Um-hmm.

Todd Toback: To deal, versus now, you guys are like, look. Hey, 200 leads are coming in per week or month or whatever that is, right? We’ve got 20 in front of us, we’ve got five possibles, two contracts, and one closing, right? I already hear that difference in you, the body language, the tone, the way that you’re speaking. I just… You see the difference between somebody who’s going from deal to deal, than from someone who’s growing a business. And that’s you guys.

Marlina: Yeah. It’s made such a difference for us. I mean, when I really… It took a huge leap of faith, and I’ll be honest, at the time when we first started doing it in volume, we had to use our credit cards to do it, because we didn’t have the cash to do it. We didn’t really have a lot of resources, so it was a scary thing. So, we really had to step out in faith and give it a lot of prayer before we decided to move in that direction.
But it really has made all the difference. I mean, we started closing consistent deals very quickly as soon as we did it, and we realized that every time we do it in sufficient numbers, we’re going to get a deal, no matter what. Then, we’re going to also have additional leads in our pipeline to followup with, and convert over time.
So, the biggest thing that I see from people, and I do have a lot of people reach out to me, either from the tribe or just have heard us on this podcast before, or in our local investors community. They come to me and I ask them, what are you doing for your marketing? And they’re telling me, well, I send out a few hundred, I’ve got to build up to it.
The first thing I tell people now is, it’s better to jump in and get those results fast, than to dip your toe in the water and feel like maybe it’s a little too cold to go any further for the time being-

Todd Toback: Right.

Marlina: Because you’ll never get the results if that’s what you do. Even if you’re spending money on it and doing it consistently, it may take you months and months to even get a good enough lead to get a deal done, if you’re not talking to enough people fast enough. Your numbers are right. I mean, we’ve been shooting this past year for 200 leads a month. We were converting three to four deals a month very easily from that. We have more that are starting to be motivated more today, that we’re following up with.
So I really think that that’s the biggest key that most people miss, especially when they’re getting started in this stuff.

Josh: Yeah, and I can feel their pain, like, Marlina told me that we were going to drop 15,000, 20,000 a month for marketing, and my heart sunk a little bit. But it is a numbers game, and off of that one mailing that we first went big, is we made over 100,000 in that month, the next month. So-

Marlina: Yeah, and that seeded us for the rest of the year. I think we put… It was 20,000 pieces in January of 2018 that I decided to send. I should back up real quickly. I had mentioned this at the recent Investors Summit, that we started out 2017 and had a goal of making $100,000 a year, because coming from being teachers and struggling in what we were doing already with the real estate investing, that was pretty cool.
Then when we were going into 2018, I had a year’s worth of really solid numbers from being more consistent, and I was able to see, it’s really just a numbers game and it’s making a decision to go bigger. So, we leveled up our goal to a million dollars for 2018. There’s some things that we can talk about, as to why we didn’t meet those goals, but we did actually close $655,000 in gross revenue in 39 deals in 2018.
I mean, I could not have imagined doing that prior. So it really is just getting consistent, going bigger than you feel comfortable with, and then scaling up from there once you have the numbers to back it up with.

Todd Toback: That is awesome. You know, one of the things that I’ve learned, right, is that a lot of times, if you’re shooting for 100,000, you’re going to hit that or get close. Now, you shot for a million, and you only made $680,000. I’m so sorry for you guys.

Marlina: I know, it’s just awful.

Todd Toback: So you fell 30% short of your goal, but what I love about that, is that when we set the standard, right, the… I mean, sometimes we can have this shrinking thinking, right? But, your brain is there, right? And you’re always heading for new targets, and so if you’re listening to this, there’s going to be sometimes fear for setting bigger targets, right?
But you’ll notice Josh and Marlina, they have fear, right? But you’re acting in spite of fear, and that’s the definition of courage. So, I’m real impressed, guys. Tell us a little bit about, you’ve got this volume. Tell us a little bit about people. I mean, you joined next-level wholesaling to kind of get the people’s issues under control, and to be around other people who are growing their businesses.

Marlina: Um-hmm.

Todd Toback: So tell us a little bit about why you joined next-level wholesaling, and a little bit about the path that you’re taking with your people for 2019.

Marlina: Okay. So again, when we started doing the wholesaling stuff specifically, and I really started trying to build this up, Josh was still teaching, and he was full time. Even when he came home from teaching, when I finally convinced him that we were making enough money, consistently enough, that we’d overshot what he was making for the year, so it would be better if we just did it together from home, which has been such a blessing. I’m really glad that we were able to move in that direction.
But right before that, I was pregnant and we were doing a rehab, which we don’t do rehabs anymore, because of that last one. There was so much going on, and Josh wasn’t home yet, and so I really wanted to work with somebody. I was a little reticent to hire an acquisitions person, just because I’d never hired anybody.
I like working with people, but I’m kind of a pushover in a lot of ways, and so I really had to learn to be more directive and stand my ground. I’m very friendly even doing that, but I’ve definitely had to learn how to stand up a little bit more for what my goals are. I make sure that the business’s needs are being met by people.
So we’ve been very lucky with the people that we’ve worked with, that everybody has just had the right heart and shared our core values, without us even knowing really to specifically look for that yet. We started out with a couple of people we had done coaching with prior, who had that expert-level experience in all those creative deals, and had to spend some time kind of retraining them into the new sort of mindset of what we were doing.
That worked out really well. We started closing really consistent deals. We had a couple of ladies that got brought on, that were doing some phone work for us. We’ve kind of restructured our business since then, and they started doing acquisitions. They did really well, and then we had a couple of people in different counties, like friends and family, that were interested in learning more about what we were doing, so we kind of brought them in, to kind of run their counties.
So we had a team of about seven people at one point last year. For various reasons, just trying to learn how to train and manage people, and not specifically hiring them right, to be on our team for the long term, and be directed by us, but more kind of, I would almost consider it like the little joint venture partnerships that we were doing with people that we cared about.
So, we all did a lot of really great business together, but at the end of the day, everybody had their own things going on, and they ended up trailing off for various purposes. I mean, we didn’t have any problems coming out of that, so we’ve been very lucky and blessed from what’s happened. And everybody else’s lives were blessed by it, and we helped a ton of sellers this year.
So, I mean, all in all, even though we didn’t hit our goals and we ended up with having to start over with our team for this year, it was such a great opportunity to learn from the experience, and also make some killer money off of that.
But for this year, we’re hiring a new team, and that’s why we’re in next-level. It actually all worked out in this last quarter. We’re having another baby now, so all the more intense time to get everything going and get everything working. We’ve got a few months left before the baby arrives.
So, our goal is to have the team fully functional. We’ve got two virtual assistants that split time for us, so we’ve always got our system, kind of have an eye on it, and people working for us. And then, we have two acquisitions people. Right now. Josh has one of them, actually. That’s something that he hasn’t done a lot of in the past, so he’s been really thriving and learning that, and doing it on the front lines instead of just in the back, kind of coaching it with me.
We’ll be hiring a couple of additional people to try and stay on top of all the markets that we’ve reached out to recently, that our people are not active there anymore… And they actually might still do some deals with us, those people that aren’t active with us anymore.
We’ve still got some great things on the table for this year, but we’re trying to be more specific in hiring the best people that we can for our team, with the hopes that these are going to be long term people in our business, versus just joint venture partners, or friends and family.
That’s a big goal for this year. Our deal volume and our gross revenue volume for the year, we’re going to shoot for 200 deals this year and $3 million in gross revenue, which is insane to me to even think about. But once we got on this trajectory, it’s just like, why not? I mean, it really becomes that question of, why are you setting your goals lower, if you can set them higher and you know what it takes to get there? So, that’s what we’re shooting for this year.

Todd Toback: Well, I love that. It’s one of the things that I think will cause, when you shoot your goals that big. And this is something that I’ve got from actually Craig Rochelle. He has a leadership podcast, and he talks about what does it take to go 10 X, right?

Marlina: Um-hmm.

Todd Toback: What does it take? So if you’re just trying to go 2 X, if you’re trying to go 600 to 1.2, you’re like, okay. Well, Josh can probably handle a little more acquisitions, a little bit marketing, work a little bit harder, right? And maybe we could hire this one other person. Right?
Well now you’re thinking 3 million, which is at least 5 X.

Marlina: Um-hmm.

Todd Toback: You have to totally think differently. You’re like, well, there’s no way we’re going to get to 3 million just working a little bit harder, right?

Marlina: Yes.

Todd Toback: Like, how do we work smarter? How do we hire the right people? How do we work less? And so I love your goal for 2019. That is so awesome.

Marlina: We’re very excited about it.

Josh: Yeah, definitely. It’s funny, actually having a business and seeing that a little bit automated and systematic, you realize sometimes that you kind of… Sometimes you have to break the system, and kind of restart and freshen up and get leadership with that. That’s kind of why we also started the next-level wholesale, so we can learn by you and have that guidance.

Marlina: Yeah, and really right before we started next-level, and we had talked about this with you before, we had a functional team and everything was good with them, but we started recognizing in some of the numbers, once we looked a little bit closer, that it wasn’t really happening the way that it should.
So, we tried to kind of dial in some of the training with that, but they had been with us for so long, and kind of doing things their own way, and that’s totally my fault for not being better at directing them the way that we needed them to go, or keeping a better eye on it over time. But, obviously they were getting results, so it was like, oh, why break something that’s not broken?
But when everybody for their own reasons decided that it wasn’t good timing to continue at the moment, it worked out just perfectly for us. I really feel like, we pray a lot in our business, and we’re really out to try and do the best that we can for other people, both on our team and on the community that we help. I think that’s really made a huge difference for us, because G-d has just brought everything together the way that it’s needed to happen over time, and that just keeps happening for us.
So, for those people out there who maybe haven’t looked at that side of their life or their business, we’ve found that to be a really, really important key point for us.

Todd Toback: So give us one tip for anyone who’s listening out there, for the one tip that you’re going to take from the way that you used to run your business, to the way that you’re going to run it in 2019. Give us the one tip from next-level wholesaling that you’re going to use to tweak, to get you on that trajectory. And you only have one.

Marlina: Okay. Well, I think it really comes down to leveling up and going deeper in everything that you do. And I think that applies across the board in life, but very, very directly in this type of a business.
So, whatever you’re doing, if you’re comfortable, then you’re probably not getting the results that you could be getting. And so, if you want to go to the next level in this business or in anything in life, you really have to be willing to dive deep, pay really close attention to what you’re doing with the people you are working with are doing, and really shoot for higher standards and going bigger together.
Because you can always shoot higher and end up with less, but if you shoot lower and end up with less, then that’s a completely different thing. So, if you’re really wanting to kill this business, then going big and really just going after it full force and not worrying about the mistakes you’ll make, because that’s where you learn. I think that’s really, that’s where our success has come from.

Todd Toback: I don’t think we could end this podcast any better, so I’m just going to leave that right there.

Marlina: I have a book to share. Do you want me to share the book?

Todd Toback: Please.

Marlina: Okay. I shared this at the Investor Summit, but “The 12 Week Year”, for a lot of people out there that have a hard time really structuring their time. There’s other books, like, getting things done and stuff, so there’s other ones out there. But I really like “The 12 Week Year” by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington, because it just helps me really think in, like, a quarterly mindset.
Like, each quarter is our year, and so it really helps me structure our monthly and our weekly and even daily goals and plans, to be able to move forward very efficiently. Something that we’ve found, is that a lot of our investor friends like to go out to all the REIA meetings, and like to go on all the trainings and educational opportunities.
That’s great, but you can waste so much time doing that, and never actually do anything revenue-generating and get to a deal. So that’s how the Care Plan has really helped me stay focused on generating revenue, every single day.

Todd Toback: I love it. I love it. Thank you so much, guys, for being on the podcast. And we’ll talk to you soon.

Josh: Thank you, Todd.

Marlina: Thanks, Todd.

Todd Toback: Bye.

Josh: Bye-bye.

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