Posted on: October 28, 2019

In today’s show, we have a powerhouse couple who are no stranger to the podcast and they’ll candidly share where their wholesaling journey has taken them so far.

Josh and Marlena Dates are former public school teachers turned rockstar rhinos. They are also the owners of Agape Home Buyers, LLC, a real estate solutions company that purchases properties in New Smyrna Beach and Florida.

While they have undoubtedly made their mark in the wholesaling world, Josh and Marlena also encountered a few setbacks and challenges along the way.

In this episode, they not only shared how they resolved the fears, setbacks, and challenges they faced but also the insights and wisdom they have learned as they navigated the exciting and lucrative world of wholesaling.

If you can use a little inspiration, you can’t afford to miss this episode. In fact, this is one you’ll probably listen to over and over again!

Key Takeaways

  • The challenges and fears they faced before they finally committed to real estate
  • How they felt about leveraging debt
  • Struggles and trials they’ve encountered
  • How staying consistent has contributed to their wholesaling success
  • The importance of being intentional
  • Message they want to share to those wholesalers who are still starting out
  • Why it pays to bet on one’s self
  • What they’d do differently if they are to start all over again


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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Episode Transcription

Cody Hofhine: You’re listening to another episode here on Wholesaling Inc. Super excited. This is Cody Hofhine, and I’ll be hosting today’s podcast. So today I have on our podcast some of our absolute favorite tribe members that you guys have heard their voices before. Their story continues to inspire individuals. We continue to have questions all the time about this couple. They’re a powerhouse couple. Today we have Josh and Marlena Dates, and they’re from New Smyrna Beach, which is just south of Daytona beach. And we’re going to kind of break down and go back to the beginnings.
So instead of just talking about everything they’re doing today, it might lead into that, but we’re really going to break it down to the very, very beginning, because so many of us want to hear what it’s like to overcome some of the real fears and challenges and trials and hurdles that place themselves in front of us when we go through life in general. And should we get into wholesaling, and what should we do, and are we doing it correctly? And is wholesaling still good? So we’re going to really break it down right to the very beginning so that we can help as many individuals see what it is that they can do in their own personal lives to see if this really is something that would be a fit and how you can do it. So Josh and Marlena, how in the heck are you two doing?

Josh Dates: We’re doing awesome, Cody. And thanks for having us.

Marlena Dates: Yeah. Thank you so much for inviting us to do this. And hello everyone out there.

Cody Hofhine: Well, you guys are inspiring. I just got done watching you visit… I believe it was you said Athens, Greece, like Europe in general. You were there for quite some time. How in the heck was that trip? Cause it looked beautiful from all the pictures you posted.

Marlena Dates: Yeah that is a lifetime dream in the making. So we were very excited to go. It was like us finally getting to the point where we felt like we go and do that thing. So in some way we’ve met like a huge life goal and wholesaling has gotten us there. So, first of all that was really exciting to be able to do to begin with. But we went for 26 days all over Italy. We went to Santorini and outside of Athens, in Greece, and then also to Barcelona before we headed home. So it was just the most amazing thing that I think we’ve probably ever done.

Cody Hofhine: And that was the whole family, right guys? I mean that wasn’t just the two of you. That was with kids and everything.

Josh Dates: Yeah, that was with me and Marlena, our 18 year old daughter, which was amazing cause she could babysit if we needed to get out. But we have a two year old daughter, I mean a son, we have a two year old son and a six month old daughter. So, I mean it was an amazing experience for the whole family and getting to see new experiences, learning experiences and see different cultures and experience that was… It’s life changing.

Marlena Dates: Yeah, it was amazing.

Cody Hofhine: Here’s something impressive that I want to now… This will be like a perfect segue. You’ve done your first wholesale deal back in 2013 but really didn’t get going into it til like 2015. This just came to my mind just now. I’m hearing this story of you’re over in Europe for 26 days having an incredible experience, but it didn’t start this way, and you probably never saw how this was going to happen because not long ago, both of you were actually in the education space as teachers, teaching… Was it high school level? Was it elementary level? What was this to kind of give people a background of where you came from to where you are now?

Marlena Dates: Sure. Growing up I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, so when I got to college I was like, well, what would I like to teach and signed it up in anthropology, and that’s how I met Josh, 20 years ago now. And we ended up both thinking that we would teach, but it really, that’s not where our hearts really were. I think we got in anthropology, because we really wanted to travel and experience the world and be around all sorts of people and show our kids like a worldly education more so than just book education. And so we both taught for a number of years, Josh taught elementary school and fifth grade for what, 10 years? [crosstalk 00:05:07]Pretty much?

Josh Dates: Something like that.

Marlena Dates: I did six years teaching high school and you know, a little bit of college TA teaching and tutoring and that sort of thing. And really at the end of the day, it was never really going to get us ahead. I mean we saved hard, we lived frugally. Like we were definitely saving money and moving in the right direction. But as far as being able to have a nice travel fund to go and do what we’ve been dreaming of doing for so long, it was just never going to fit the bill. So we decided to look in other directions, and I jumped out to look into real estate investing, and we started that 2012, did a bunch of different types of transactions, but that wholesale one, that was awesome.

Cody Hofhine: So 2013, do a wholesale deal. But before we even get into real estate, cause I think so many times we do this, I had this thought like as an entrepreneur, I first and foremost started with insurance. And then when I started seeing all my individuals that I was insuring. I was insuring all the fix and flip investors, and so I started seeing this, and I’m like, man, I want to do this. I want to get into this. But there was some real fears.
So even though you really wanted to get into real estate and you started looking at it… Were there things you had to overcome? What were the things that you also had to face to be able to make that a reality of saying, “Hey, okay, not only do I want to get in real estate, but I actually just got in real estate. Like I committed to learn it, committed to do something that would help me get to my first deal.” Because I think there’s so many of us that we want to get into real estate, and there’s so many listeners right now that are thinking, “I want to get in real estate. I just don’t know what to do first.” What do you suggest? If you could go back, take yourself back to 2012… What were the real fears and trials and challenges you were facing before you actually made the commitment?

Marlena Dates: Well, I’ll go back even further than that. In 2001, when I was pregnant with our daughter, I read Rich Dad Poor Dad, and back then, I mean we were just starting out in life together and didn’t have any credit and didn’t have any money, and the book said you don’t need credit or money to be able to do real estate stuff. And I just, I don’t know why I didn’t believe it at the time, but I did not believe it. I was just like, “No, that’s impossible. That’s not me. That’s not going to work.” And so we ended up teaching for the next decade. Actually no, it’s been longer than that cause I reread it in 2011. It’s really what catapulted us in this direction. And I was trying to get out of teaching, because I knew I wanted to do something bigger and different, and so I read it with fresh eyes. And I believed, “Okay, if he says that it’s true, then I’m going to at least give it the opportunity to be true.”
And we started looking in that direction and thinking about it. And we actually joined the coaching program pretty quickly, because I decided I was going to commit to it and take it seriously. And we didn’t have a whole lot of money, but we leveraged a little bit of assets that we had to get into coaching. And for us it really was the catalyst, because I don’t know if I would have ever felt confident enough to take steps on my own without an experienced guide kind of telling me what to do. And when I did get scared, and we almost backed out a few of the deals, that are still on the table for us today and have infinite returns, which are amazing. At that time the coach was like, you know, you’re just scared. So I think fear is a big thing.
And I think between me and Josh, I’m the one that’s more interested in trying new things, and he’s more like, “Hey, if it works, just keep working it.” And so, like we would talk about things. And we would both have fears. And so, really for us, having a coach really made a huge difference. So I mean more so than just the education part of it and knowing what to do. Cause you can get that from books and online and wherever, if you’re interested. Having a coach really was the catalyst to push us forward and keep us going when we got afraid of things. And they’re real fears, I mean it can cost a lot of money. You can take risks, you can not know the law. There’s a lot of moving parts to it. So, having an experienced guide I think is a really important thing.

Cody Hofhine: So, Marlena, you’re the one that can say, “Hey, I see this, I think this is a route. Let’s jump on it.” Josh, help us now, cause I think there’s a couple personalities in most relationships, and in fact, that’s the way it is with even me and my wife. I see something and I’m like, “Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s roll.” And then kind of my wife will say, “Hey, let’s, let’s look at this for a second. Let’s really see what this is.”
Josh, Marlena shared a little bit about leveraging. Cause here’s one of things I think is very crucial. Sometimes we hear the term, “Oh you can get into real estate but it doesn’t take money.” Now, obviously there’s going to be a little bit of money involved. Maybe that’s through marketing. Maybe that is because you want to go into making sure you team yourself with the right mentor, whatever it may be. How did the two of you, and either one of you can really expand on this, but how did you feel comfortable leveraging debt on something that you just had a hope that it would work?

Josh Dates: Yeah, it’s funny, cause we do definitely have different perspectives getting into real estate. Marlene is the one, like she said. She’s the big visionary. She’s the one that’s going to go after it. I was the reluctant spouse in the situation. Where I needed to see the proof for it to be real for me. So even when we got a coach, I wouldn’t say I was necessarily a believer in real estate. I mean, I definitely like went through all the trainings and watched what was happening, but it was really just like, I’m very blessed and probably unworthy to be married to her because she is a butt kicker. And what I mean by that is that when she is determined to do something, she’s going to make it happen. And she’s done that through our business. So she’s made me a believer in her actions and what she’s committed to. [crosstalk 00:10:48]

Cody Hofhine: I love it. So you have enough faith, even though you hadn’t like, “Oh, I haven’t seen it yet. I haven’t seen this happen.” Still you got to give yourself credit is you still had belief in your other half and that was, she’s like so motivated that not only does she see it, she also is willing to take the actions to do it. Is that correct?

Josh Dates: That is definitely correct. It’s like my faith was in Marlena and also knowing like my tendencies to not be faithful or not towards like non-belief and knowing that I needed to probably stretch and believing or helping push Marlena forward in that direction. So, that’s kind of where we were at at the beginning of our real estate career.

Marlena Dates: Yeah. I’d say he’s always been a supportive, reluctant spouse, and so he would never tell me, “No, don’t do it.” But he was never really like believing, and it was always kind of like “I don’t know.” So it was great when we did start doing some deals. Especially that we did some deals with no money down and no interest and you know, we just basically built assets and cashflow out of basically nothing in the beginning, very little actually invested to get started. So things went well for us, and I think that built Josh’s faith in it quite a bit, so that when it was time to jump into “Let’s make a business out of this and really go all in”, he was much more on board and ready to do it.

Josh Dates: Yeah. Like, I think that’s the thing about real estate and like going into a new career like this. Is that you have to get uncomfortable and being in that uncomfortableness is where you’re going to start to grow.

Marlena Dates: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Cody Hofhine: Well, you guys share some incredible insight, and I’m sitting here looking at it, trying to relive and take it back to the beginning. 2000… I believe, 12 was when I started hearing about wholesaling for the first time, and I didn’t act until 2015. And even though I have that act, act, act. Like, “Oh, I got it. I’m going to do this. Let’s roll and let’s go.” There was three years, three years of kind of just looking at it, studying it, and there was almost this fear of like, will I be able to do it? Or is this going to happen for me? Or is this going to end up being a ton of debt? That I’m going to have to go back to my wife and say, “My goodness, I’m so sorry. Not only did I think I could do it, but now I didn’t do it.”
These were natural fears that I had until… It was 2015 when I came home, saw my wife crying. That’s when it like shook my world. Like Cody, like insurance isn’t even doing it. Like when are you going to go to the casino of life and bet on yourself, when are you going to go all in on Cody Hofhine and no longer on corporate America? Or security or safety or comfort? When are you going to bet on you? And when? Like when are you going to do this? And it was finally 2015 that I had that moment of, “I’m betting on Cody.” Like I’m done betting on school. I never graduated college, and I always bet on the wrong things. And for once, when 2015 came around and I saw that moment of my wife broken down, that’s when I went all in on Cody Hofhine. That’s when I bet on myself.
And that was the greatest investment actually still to this day that I ever made, because that day changed what happened over the last four or five years now. Do you guys share that same story of almost feeling like you need to bet on yourself like, “Oh, we’ve got to just gamble, like bet on ourselves cause we’re going to win on this.”

Marlena Dates: Well I’ll tell you it was about the same time that you went through that, too for us. But yeah, I mean I was doing side jobs, because I had left teaching to try and do something new and started moving toward real estate investing. But Josh was still teaching. So he was supporting when he could, but it was really up to me. And I was trying to bring money in as well, and I was shortchanging myself is really what I was doing. I was working for like nine and $14 an hour, at little side jobs. I worked at for some time at our church, in the children’s ministry, and I was paid staff. So I really enjoyed what I was doing, but it was also really distracting me from really trying to move forward with what we were doing in the business. So I had to make a decision and that time came when it was looking like we were going to go bankrupt.
Like we were running out of credit and didn’t have enough money to meet ends at the end of the month. And we were really struggling, and it was just getting worse and worse. Because even though we were being promoted on stage for doing really well with our real estate investment stuff, because we were doing deals, but we weren’t doing enough deals to pay the bills and keep us moving forward and actually build anything. It was just kind of sucking us dry, unfortunately, even though it was all a good positive thing. It was double-edged, because we weren’t doing enough. So I had to make a decision. Am I going to go back to a full time job and stop homeschooling? Which is what I really wanted to get out of the job for, that was my why. I wanted to homeschool.
And so real estate became the vehicle, as an opportunity to do more of that. And of course the traveling and stuff that we want to do. It wasn’t until, if we don’t do something drastically different today, then this is never going to get any better. And so we’ve talked about it and it was, “We have this much credit left. We can either try to go find a job and that’ll get us by until then, or we can invest this into doing something different with real estate and really go all in.” And that’s when we started looking for a wholesaling coach and decided to look for a wholesaling coach that could teach us how to build a business, not just how to do a strategy. But how to actually build something that would work for us over time, and we could have as our own real business instead of just the hobby that we were working in.
So it was a huge leap of faith. I mean it took a lot of prayer to make that decision because it really could have gone either way in our minds at that time. We didn’t have any proof that we were going to be able to do that, so we had to just really have faith and exercise that.

Josh Dates: Yeah, your story, it was giving me chills when you were telling that Cody, because I was reliving our story through you. The struggles and having to connect together to overcome some of these challenges. We’ve been in the same exact place. Like when Marlena said in 2012 we started real estate. We’d gotten into all these creative deals and it really has built our wealth, but it didn’t really build our income. That’s what we are drowning from is not building our income. That’s when we went into wholesaling. Found a great coach that could help us in that direction.

Cody Hofhine: So phenomenal. I’m so grateful that we broke down this story, because I just want everyone to hear that sometimes we see the outcome of Joshua and Marlena Dates and we think, “Oh, but I don’t know if I can do it. I’m not Josh and I’m not Marlena. I’m just not those guys. Like look at them, they’re doing X amount of deals a month and they got to go for 26 days over to Europe and have an incredible trip.”
But to break it down granular and realize there was a real struggle. There was a choice. There was a hard choice. There was back against the wall. There’s too much month at the end of the check, and it’s here in this story to realize, we all want the same thing. We all want more time with our family. We all want that financial freedom. We all want to maybe go on vacations, and there’s so many things that we can probably tie to three to five things that every one of us want the same thing. But… How uncomfortable that road is to get there? And it wasn’t an easy journey for you. I mean, help us understand even more so. Like before we get into like what’s happened since then, tell us some of the real struggles now that even though you’re in wholesaling… Like at the very beginning, maybe you did your first deal. Was there still struggles? Was there still challenges and trials? Or did it all just turn into like unicorns and rainbows from that moment?

Josh Dates: Do you want to start about the first deal?

Marlena Dates: Yeah, well it was unicorns and rainbows in the beginning. When I first started with the tribe, and again, Josh is still teaching, so it was mostly me going through stuff. And then, I’d fill him in what was going on. We’d make decisions and work together. But I sent 300 letters, which isn’t even what we do in this tribe really. But I sent 300 letters, and this lady called and wouldn’t stopped calling us. I was at a homeschool co-op saying that I was teaching at. And so when I finally got to be free, she’d called a number of times. So I knew there was motivation, but she was playing it all cool. She named her price at $25,000, and I called one agent that I found on Zillow that looked like he had sold a deal in the area recently, and he had a buyer for $35,000 from me within a couple of hours.
And so we closed a $10,000 deal within the first three weeks that I joined the tribe and send that first letter. So it was amazing. And so after that I was like, okay. So I’m sending the same like small stream of now postcards is what I started doing. And then I realized that I was going to need to send more if I wanted that to be consistent. I think we just got very lucky at that time. And of course there’s a lot more people out there doing it now, so we have to send even more now.
But it’s just that growing over time and realizing that, at any given time if something doesn’t seem to be working, we’ve got to figure out what it is that’s not working and go a little harder, go a little further, dig a little deeper, whatever it is, to keep moving in the direction of what our goal is. Because if we kind of get stopped by something, if there’s a hurdle, and we say, “Oh no, it’s not going to work. Oh see that’s like proof that it’s not working because you know, I’m doing what I was doing before and it’s not working. So let me just go back to a job.” Like we made that commitment and we’re never going back to a job. We’re unemployable now unless one day we are doing it more like charity work. Like we’re unemployable now. We’ve decided that for ourselves, we’re not [inaudible 00:20:25]

Cody Hofhine: Oh, that is so good. That’s so good. I think there’s one thing that I’ve always loved about the two of you, and that is just your consistent behavior, your consistent attitudes, your consistency. That word consistency… When I think of Josh and Marlena Dates, the first one that comes up, well besides just faith, go givers, like God serving individuals, I think of consistency. You’re willing to stay consistent, and it’s that consistent action that has always led to your consistent growth, your consistent happiness, your consistent joy, you’re consistent deals, you’re consistent wealth building. That consistent nature has always been part of you guys. It’s not like when things get… We all get shook and every now and again from just changes in the market or a mailing cycle didn’t work, but you just stay consistent. And that’s one thing I’ve admired from the two of you, just from the get go. Even when I first began in 2015 right along with you guys, it was watching consistent Josh and Marlena Dates just do their things consistently.

Marlena Dates: Well, I appreciate you saying that cause it doesn’t feel so consistent sometimes. Incidentally, leaning into our, our reason why we’re doing it, at the end of the day, like we could do a number of different things and have more consistency in our finances, maybe. We could have, what a lot of people claim to, is that consistency of the normalcy of everyday life, and they don’t want to get out of that comfort zone to do something that like if you at least drive at it consistently is going to net way better benefits. So I think that’s what we’ve learned. Like we both were raised in families and with the mentality that you get a good job, you stay at it for your entire life. Of course, that’s not an option for most people these days. Like it used to be. But just really stay consistent in your job for someone else and work really hard so that maybe you’ll get some accolades or promotion or something that you can rise up and do something bigger over time, make more money, whatever it might be.
But when you’re building your own thing, as long as you are consistent, the sky’s the limit. Which is the coolest thing that we learned once we really started just investing in ourselves and being consistent toward our goals and our vision. That’s when the real stuff in life started to happen for us. And it took like really breaking free from the idea that we could or would run back to a job at some point. Like we know it’s always an option, but it’s really not even an option to us cause why would we ever want to do that now? Now that we know what we know about ourselves, and our ability to make something in the world that can serve others and be a benefit to our family as well. It’s just, it’s been an amazing journey. I can tell you.

Josh Dates: When we talked about consistency, I would say it was consistency of like just constantly putting the next foot in front of each other. Because when, we first started we had to build a lot of like muscles and directions that we were uncomfortable with. Even when phone calls came in, to return those phone calls, like when we had to build this muscle of speaking with people when it was really uncomfortable and how to do that. And even spending lots of, especially for me, spending lots of money on marketing. That was a muscle of letting go that I needed to build. I mean our faith has grown tremendously in this business by getting out of our comfort zone.

Marlena Dates: Yeah. Somebody asked a question other day. What’s the most important thing to lead you in success? I think it was for a wholesaling group and I said, “I think faith is like the number one underlying thing for real success and longevity.” And you know, people can think what they want to think about that, but for me like my faith has grown so much because of what we do and just taking that next step, like Josh is saying, and building new muscles. And not knowing where we’re headed sometimes. Like really not knowing what’s ahead of you. That’s what faith is. Like you’re willing [crosstalk 00:24:12] anyways. That’s the real story of our success.

Cody Hofhine: So true. I think the power behind this is… I think life is much like when you’re driving a car at nighttime. I wish we could see the whole picture, like if our destinations 10 miles down the road. Unfortunately, in a car at nighttime, all you’re seeing as the next 300 feet in front of you. You don’t get to see much further than that until you get to that point. Then you see the next 300 feet, and I think life is so much the same. We can almost stay right true to that analogy in the sense of we’re not going to see the grand picture. There’s been multiple shifts that you’ve done and taken that you didn’t know you’re going to take until you got to that point, but what you did see was that 300 feet in front of you, this is what I have to do today. This is what I have to do this month, and then you may not know exactly what it’s going to look like six months down the road or a year down the road or two years.
And here now you’re on your fourth, fifth year of wholesaling. You probably are doing things that you could not see back in 2015 but you consistently took action on the 300 feet in front of you that you could see. And 300 feet at a time, you’ve gone year by year, leading to higher levels of success. And ultimately, yes, there’s maybe some shifts. Yes, there’s different approaches, but because we take life at 300 feet at a time, we just keep moving forward. We won’t see the whole picture. And so many times I think the naive Cody or the 2010 Cody through 2015, was the guy trying to build a perfect plan, trying to see the whole vision and try to see the whole picture and finally realizing, “Cody, it’s never going to happen. So if you don’t just take massive imperfect action and just work on the next 300 feet, you’re never going to get there. And this is only the first of many times you’re going to walk in on your wife crying if you don’t just get out there and take action.”

Josh Dates: Yeah, I mean I think this is taking that full circle to your story about getting into real estate, Cody. Like you’re gambling on yourself, and a lot of it is just are you worthy of this? You have to build that self worth and yourself. You’re going to have so many people around you that might say, you’re not worthy of this, or this is not going to happen, or this is too good to be true, and you have to decide, like, is this what I’m going to do? Am I worthy of doing this?

Marlena Dates: Yeah. And Josh used the word gamble, and I think for a lot of people, they’re not quite sure of themselves. So it is a gamble. But when you’re sure of yourself and you believe in yourself, it’s an investment.

Cody Hofhine: The house always wins, baby, when it gets to that point. Oh my goodness. So do you have to be cautious, like at the beginning stages? Let’s help maybe a couple more points here. At the beginning stages, did you have to be cautious who you shared your goals and dreams with knowing that even your people that were closest around you at the beginning might be the ones that actually stopped you or held you back from achieving those dreams and goals?

Marlena Dates: Yeah.

Cody Hofhine: You know what I mean? Does that make sense what I’m asking?

Josh Dates: Oh, yeah, definitely. We’re kind of like chuckling to each other.

Marlena Dates: Yeah. It’s, I mean, it’s everybody in our sphere. I mean, we’re in a church, small group, and they want to hold us up and they ask about our business because they’re our family in that regard. And we’re all working together to love on each other and know what’s going on in each other’s lives. So they’re amazing to support us with our business. But aside from that, like all our regular family and friends from history in our lives, I don’t know if they don’t get it. They think we’re crazy. Like, why would you do something like that? And so now, years later, Josh isn’t working a full time job anymore. We’re at home with our kids all the time. We’re going on these crazy trips all the time. They’re like, “Oh!”
They’re starting to believe now. But if we had let their opinions or some of concerns that they would express to us, if we had let that hold us back, we never would’ve come in the direction that we’ve come. Like we really had to be willing to just set off from those safe shores that we’ve known all our lives and just move into the unknown.

Josh Dates: Yeah, there was a lot of disbelief that we could do this or if it was even real. And even when we became successful and we proved the system, there are a lot of unbelief. And so a lot of those people, like you’re never going to change their minds. You’re just going to have to keep doing what you do. You know that you are successful in what you’re doing. And some of those people, you kind of have to leave them behind.

Cody Hofhine: So, so true. And sometimes it’s like, it’s okay, there’ll just be a different conversation. Maybe they’re good at working out in the gym and you call them and that’s your conversation is, “Hey, I’m going to the gym. What do you suggest I do?” And then all of a sudden you hang up after that because if you share anything about real estate, they might just be a party pooper and take you away from that dream.
So it’s knowing what conversations to have with people. And I think this is something crucial for anyone at any stage in life, is be careful who you share your dreams and goals with, because your own friends, your own family could be the very people that stop you from achieving those goals and dreams. Cause they might just put a party pooper, right? They might put a stop to that vision, to that dream, and then make you realize, “No man, that’s not how it’s done. I mean you guys have great jobs. You should be grateful Marlena and Josh. Like you’re great teachers. You’re doing great things, and you should just be grateful. Like this is what we do, this is how it works.”
And sometimes if you hear that too much, you start to go the opposite direction and start to think, “Well maybe it is true. Maybe I should just stay where I’m at. Maybe I should just be grateful with where I’m at.” It’s not to say that you’re not grateful cause you want to try new things, but our dreams and our goals can be accomplished. And they can be accomplished quicker, if we share them with the right people.

Marlena Dates: Absolutely. I think that’s been a real key for us over the years. I’ve always taken it very serious, and I’m a very introverted person. I mean I enjoy people, but I really enjoy to be by myself and like choose my social opportunities. I’m not like super like out there and social. And so I spend a lot of time selecting the influences that are going to be in my life. So I have a few really good key friends that speak into my life and I read a lot in the Bible and other types of books that are designed to help me with my thinking and my beliefs. And I go to church, and I spend time with my small group people, and Josh and I spend a lot of time talking about these things.
So we’re very selective on the influences that come into our lives. And we love on people and have all kinds of conversations with all kinds of people. But the core of what we are doing and running through our minds and our hearts on a daily basis is really intentional. And I think that that’s a real key for the success in any area of life.

Josh Dates: I was just thinking. That’s like a catalyst for being married, because it’s such a blessing to have someone that you can share your like huge dream with someone that’s right next to you. And if you were to tell that dream to anyone, your friends, your family, they’re going to think you’re crazy for how big a dream. It’s a beautiful thing to be in a marriage where you can share a crazy dream with your partner.

Cody Hofhine: So true.

Josh Dates: You can lift each other up and support each other. And when that becomes a reality, you can share with the rest of the world.

Marlena Dates: Yeah, you get to be on that wild ride together and experience it together and with your family. It’s an amazing thing.

Cody Hofhine: That is true. The greatest quote I’ve heard was the people that are crazy enough to think they can change the world are usually the people that do. And that’s something we got to keep with us. So to end this, we always end this the same way, this podcast. This has been an incredible, incredible interview and I think it breaks down to so many. I think there’s so many open eyes and open ears right now listening to this, because they might be at that beginning stage. And they might be feeling this same exact thing, and here we are on my side and the two of you on your side sharing much the same story on, “It’s not easy. It never was easy and don’t compare, maybe you’re beginning to Josh and Marlena’s middle or my middle, like just stay your course where you’re currently at.”
But to finish this, what would be your greatest message? What would you share with them at the beginning stages where people are at saying, “Hey, I want to do this. I just don’t know how.” What would be your greatest message you could share with them at this time.

Marlena Dates: Well, I’ll share a couple of books that I find very helpful that I keep going back to. One is been around for a long time, The Dip. And you guys always recommended it on here.

Cody Hofhine: Seth Godin.

Marlena Dates: Yeah, I think in terms of that a lot. So every time something comes up as a hurdle, I’m like, “Okay, we’re just in the dip. So what do we do now?” Like you keep moving forward. You can take the next step. You’re eventually going to get out the other side, and you’re going to be stronger for it, and you’re going to have a whole new experience once you get there. But what really stops people in life is they hit the hurdle, and they get scared, and they just want to go back to the comfort zone, to other side of the dip where all the stuff from the past is. And then they keep reinforcing that every time they do it. And it becomes a belief system that that’s as far as they can go, and they’ve got to run back to safer shores. So I think The Dip is a really good book for people to consider in just getting started or continuing to move forward, certainly to grow out the other side.
And then also one that Josh and I just read recently, Loveable. And that was, one that somebody at our church recommended. Just to think about how you think about yourself and your worth, and your value in the world, and what you’re capable of, and what you’re here to do in the world, I think is something that people should read. We listened to it on audible.

Cody Hofhine: Powerful.

Josh Dates: Yeah. I’m going to go actually back to your story, Cody, about betting on yourself. I think that’s what you need to do. Like you need to decide. Are you ready to bet on yourself? Are you ready to change your life? Betting on yourself doesn’t mean it’s going to work out, but you’re going to go through the process. You’re going to learn. If you have that bigger vision or goal of where your life, where you want it to be, you’re going to get there. But it starts with betting on yourself.

Cody Hofhine: So true. There’s no such thing as losing. You either win or you learn, and I think no matter what, yes, you’re going to make mistakes, but those are going to be some of your greatest teaching moments you’ll ever receive that no school or no book can teach you. You just got to go through it. And it’s making you a sharper individual and better for the next time you go at it. And no doesn’t mean no like forever. No, just means you’ve got to look at it in different approach. No, in fact I heard is like next opportunity, right? But the no, the mistake, should just let you know that you just need to approach it from a different angle. And I think that’s something that you learn through entrepreneurship in general, whether it’s wholesaling or whether it’s starting your own Amazon drop ship company. Whatever it may be, you’re going to make mistakes, but they’re going to teach you. What about hindsight? Starting from ground zero, you shared some incredible books, you shared the point of betting on yourself. If you started from ground zero again, what would you do differently?

Marlena Dates: I think we kind of it petered around like taking small actions here and then doing things like working on the website and the business cards and just trying to do 10 million things. And really you just need to get in front of people and talk to people. The more people you talk to, the more opportunities are in front of your face, and the more deals you’re going to do, naturally. You’re going to learn more by talking to people. You’re going to develop the skills that really get the deals done, and you’re going to learn and network over time in a way that building a business or a business card or a website is never going to get you there.

Cody Hofhine: Oh my goodness. I love this one. This is like one of my favorite answers I’ve heard in a long time, and it’s so true. It’s just concentrate on what creates deals. Concentrate on what gets you deals. And that is putting your face in front of more people. And so many times you get caught up in the, “Oh, should I wear a shirt that says this, and I’m going to go on there and start designing this cool shirt. And then I’m going to design a car wrap, and then I’m going to design a business card. And I’m going to do this. And all of a sudden my son’s going to put it all over the lawnmower. So when he will mows lawns, it’s going to do this.” And all of a sudden, we realize we’re not making any offers, we’re not getting in front of sellers, and we’re never going to get contracts. So killer, killer info. Josh, you want to add anything to that in closing?

Josh Dates: Oh yeah. Especially kind of where we’re at right now. I think that, for us, we need to learn the lessons of, when hiring and scaling up. We need to learn the lesson of hire quickly and fire quickly and to be able to put people in the right position and our business.

Marlena Dates: And we’ve been very lucky with all the people that we’ve worked with. And anytime it hasn’t worked out as kind of organically not worked out, so we haven’t had any problems per se, but every time we hire, we get hiccups there, too. And we tend to really want to pour into people, cause that’s just who we are. We want to love on them, encourage them. And sometimes we just need to have some tough conversations that maybe we put off too long, and we could have done better in that area.
So we tend to, every time we lose a person, we jump back into doing the work. And actually it’s funny because on our trip, that’s what happened. Our acquisitions person decided it wasn’t really for him, so he continued helping out while we were gone. So we basically took over the business again and closed multiple deals while we are in Italy and Barcelona.

Cody Hofhine: WoW! Wow!

Marlena Dates: That’s another neat thing about this business is even if you’ve got a team and something’s gone wrong, you can still jump in from wherever you’re at and still make the business work. So we really love what they do. But yeah, I think that’s been a big lesson for us, is as you grow in scale, expect there to be issues that are going to pop up and you’re going to have to learn. And you’ve got to work those muscles yourself and at the end of the day it’s your baby. You get to decide what it’s going to look like and who’s going to be there with you. And it’s a really fun thing for everybody involved.

Speaker 1: I love it. Josh, Marlena, thank you so much for being on this podcast. I know you’ve been on this maybe even a couple times now, and I will tell you every time I think I’m the one that gets the blessing of doing this. I did the last one too, and I love it cause we get to just reconnect and hear these stories. And today I heard things that actually you’ve never shared with me before. And so for that I am very appreciative that I got to be part of this. But so many people are listening to this, Josh and Marlena that are sitting there thinking, “Oh my goodness, that’s it. That’s what’s going to push me over. That’s what’s going to make me realize I’m in. Like, let’s do it. I want this for myself. I know I can do this, and it’s because of your incredible story.” So thank you so much for taking time to share it.

Marlena Dates: Well, thank you again for inviting us.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Thank you for having us, Cody.

Cody Hofhine: Such an awesome, awesome interview. This will be one that you are going to want to listen to many, many times. You’re going to realize that every one of us, we have to go through our own personal struggle, trial challenges, and we’re going to have our own story and our own message because of it. They have a powerful message, a powerful story because they went through it. They went through it all. They went through the tough moments, but they were so consistent that they saw the rainbow after the storm.
They’re able to taste what wholesaling has done for them, and it can happen for each one of you. If you’ll just simply listen to their message and get out there and take action. It could lead you to your first deal or your next deal. And if you want help building your wholesaling company, step-by-step, you could go over to, book a call with our team and begin a conversation to see if it’s a fit. And if so, we’d be honored to help you get up and running so you can live the life of your dreams. Take care guys, and we’ll see you on the next episode.

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