The wholesaling journey of today’s inspirational guest started just like many others. He once worked for corporate America and decided he wanted something else, and so he decided to take a leap of faith. Steve Richard’s journey has been nothing short of inspirational. While his journey started just this August, he has already accomplished a lot.
In this episode, Steve shared what prompted him to take a leap of faith and how he was able to generate amazing results in just a short amount of time. If you would like to know how Steve made it all happen, this is one episode you should not miss!
How To Stop Doing Things You Hate And Get Massive Results In Your Business With Steve Richard
I’ve got an interesting guest and here’s exactly what you’re going to get. If you’re new to the business, you might be thinking, “Do I want to do outbound or inbound when it comes to my marketing?” Maybe you’re dialing for dollars, text blasting, or wrestling a little bit with trying to juggle all of that while doing everything else that you have in your life. A big question that a lot of people are asking is, “What percentage of my business should be outbound, things like cold calling, text blasting, RVM-ing? What things should create inbound like direct mail, radio, television or things like that?”
I’ve got an interesting guest with us. Wait until you learn about his story on what he’s accomplished so far. First of all, you’re going to be inspired by that, which I was. I told him, “You took off out the gate,” which I love. On top of that, he’s in it. He’s in the trenches. How this whole thing started is super interesting. He reached out and he’s like, “Chris, can I get a one-on-one with you? I am going through this mental wrestle of what I want to accomplish. Would you soundboard for me?” I’m like, “I will.”
I want you to read what has come out of the soundboard, and a little bit about why he’s wrestling us. Here’s my point. A lot of people reading this have the same conversation that’s going on in their heads.
That’s what you’re going to get by the end of this episode. Of course, you’re going to learn about his success with radio. Wait until you hear these numbers already. Steve Richard, what’s up? Welcome to the show. I’m glad to have you.
It’s great to be on. I’m excited to be here. I’m excited to talk to everybody in the tribe.
Let’s add some value here. For those that don’t know, tell us a little bit about your background, catch us up, and even tell us what type of real estate you’re focused on.
For those of you that don’t know me, I’ve been in Corporate America for over 28 years. At that time, I’m in the startup space and that tech space. I’ve done four startups, a couple of Silicon Valley companies, and all of that has been either sales or sales leadership. I’ve always wanted to get into real estate. I did a little bit many years ago when the kids were smaller. 2021 is my year. My youngest graduated high school. The economics were a little bit different, meaning a little older, a little wiser. I had a little bit of financial backing, unlike those early days. I said, “This is the year. I’m going to break into it and I’m going to give it all I got.”
What was the thing that pushed you to make that transition? Was it anything to do with COVID? Was it like, “I’m tired of the corporate world? I’ve been there, done that.” What was the thing that pushed you over and got you to do it full-time?
The story is going to be funny. Some may not find it funny but I find it very ironic. I started putting the wheels in motion. I picked up a couple of BiggerPockets books. I started reading. I set up the LLC, looking for my first house which I found on my own, all while selling. I sell million-dollar-plus software to big Fortune 1000 companies in the Boston market. What I found was more and more of my heart and mind were going toward this real estate direction.
Find what works for you, what makes you happy and productive, something that doesn’t weigh you down but invigorates you.
My wife and I sat down and said, “We’re going to make this plan. We’re going to go full-time come summer of 2021.” That was the plan that we’ve agreed upon. We had it all mapped out. It’s the first time ever. I’m totally in sync with the wife on this. We come to the end of the fiscal year for my job and I’m doing the minimum at this point. I’m keeping the plates spinning while I’m trying to get this real estate thing up.
You’re one foot in and one foot out.
My heart and mind are moving more and more to where I’m going full-time. We had to make a decision. We’re doing this thing. Funny story, I’ve won all kinds of awards in sales. I’m not patting myself on the back at all but I’ve been successful in sales. They came to me and they said, “Steve, we’re going to have to let you go if you don’t improve things.” You’re talking to a guy that ended the year at 102% of his number. They wanted me to sell $2.4 million and I sold $2.5 million. They’re like, “If you don’t improve, we’re going to let you go.” I’m like, “What?”
I’m used to being 150%, 250%. That’s where my career has been. That’s what they were expecting. I don’t know. It still doesn’t make sense. You don’t fire people over 100%. In any event, that happened. I’m being transparent with everybody here. Life isn’t always perfect, nice and clean. You’ve got to make decisions. We come to this point where I had already bought your program. I had already started.
We’re at this decision point or a fork in the road of, “What are we going to do?” I could easily go get another Corporate America job, go work for another startup company, and go do it for a year. Of course, the first six months are grueling, or we can go all-in with real estate. After a couple of days of processing this, my wife and I said, “That’s it. We’re going all in.” As they say in the book, The Art of War, “Once the troops cross over the bridge, you burn the bridge.”
My wife and I decided we’re going all in. We’re burning the bridge. I don’t know if it was a good move or a stupid move or whatever you want to say. We went full-time. They gave me a month to get my ducks in a row. We’re still in the beginning phases, but it was a lot of faith, “Chris Arnold is telling me this is going to work.” I got a kid in college. I got another one who would like to go to college. I’d like to keep my house. These are all good things. We said, “We’re doing it. We’re going to follow this program to a tee.” The train is moving now. If we had had this show a month ago, you might have got a different story out of me.
The train is moving now. We’re going to talk about it.
The train is moving and we’re going in a good direction.
Here’s that conversation we had and this is what I was talking about at the front of this episode. You start with direct mail. You’ve made a decision to say, “My first channel is going to be direct mail.” Talk a little bit about that, what you liked, maybe some of the challenges. This leads up to the conversation that you and I had.
Avoid Things You Hate: Take a step back and look at the things that are weighing on you. Then, evaluate and put the things that you hate doing in the backseat.
You’ve got to find your niche. You’ve got to find what works for you. I started with direct mail. It’s what I was led into. It works fantastic for many people. As I was doing it and at the same time, I started my first radio ad. I was doing both. Everyone says, “Start with one channel and then add one later.” I was the dummy that said, “I’m going to do both.”
You can go two. I’m not going to challenge that. Starting with two is not too crazy.
Starting with two and being brand new to the business was drinking from a fire hose, to be honest. We got through it and I didn’t die. That was good. My wife didn’t leave me. That was good. I got a taste of both. What I’ve found after two months was I had this massive exhaustion from doing all of the direct mail. In my market, I can’t go to counties. I had to go to individual towns and cities. I created this massive spreadsheet and pulled these lists from all over. I’m doing every aspect of the business like everyone that’s brand new in it. After doing it for a couple of months, it was weighing on me heavily. At that point, I had 5 or 6 weeks of radio and I had already closed two houses from radio.
You have this dilemma a little bit. Direct mail is what we started with even before radio because it’s such a traditional foundational piece to start. All of a sudden, you got two lanes of marketing going. You got this direct mail lane and this radio lane. All of a sudden, it causes you to step back and go, “Wait a second.” What was the thought that hit you that made you go, “I’m going to pick up the phone and call Chris to let him soundboard this for me?” What was that thought? A lot of people have it.
One of the benefits that I bring from an experience perspective is I’ve done four startups. It’s no different here. In the startup world, you’re bringing new technology that people don’t understand from a company that they don’t know anything about. Over the years, I developed through trial and error, and skin in my knee, and everything else to periodically pop my head up, reassess what’s going on, and make intelligent decisions going forward.
That was well said by the way. Periodically stop, pick my head up from the day-to-day of the running, and step back and go, “What’s going on here?” I love that you said that because a lot of people get blowing and going, and they never step back and re–evaluate. Keep going. I love that you said that.
Honestly, I didn’t have the time to read Tim Ferriss’ book, 4-Hour Workweek. I watched the twenty-minute YouTube video and it kicked me in the butt. I couldn’t sleep one night and I was processing what he was saying. One of the things that smacked me across the face was, “If you’re busy all the time, then you’re a lazy thinker.” It smacked me across the face and I went, “Oh my God.” I took a step back and I was like, “What are the things that are weighing on me? What are the things that I hate doing? What are the things that are effective? What’s the 20% that’s driving 80% of productivity? That’s radio for me.”
Radio is driving deals and revenue much easier than full-blown direct mail is, and that was crushing me. I pulled this all-nighter working through 4-Hour Workweek and evaluating my business after being in it a couple of months. I had reached out to you the next day saying, “I got to talk to Chris because I need to rethink this whole thing.” After our conversation, those are some of the things that we did.
To be honest, in our conversation, I could tell it quickly. I was like, “Steve, you have the answer. You’re calling me to reaffirm.” You were thinking through this, reading through it, processing it, laying at night, and counting the ceiling tiles, “What should I do?” What was the answer that you landed on that you were calling me to get confirmation on? What did you already conclude?
Life isn’t always perfect and clean. You have to make those tough decisions.
You’re right because by the time we got together, I had already made the decision and the decision was twofold. One, I was going to double and triple down on radio. I was going to pause and re-evaluate direct mail. I’m not going to totally stop it but I needed to re-evaluate it because it was crushing me in my time.
For someone that’s even newer that’s not doing direct mail and they’re going, “What’s crushing Steve?” What was crushing you about that process?
It was pulling all the lists together. It was scraping and all the work that goes with that. For my market, it was worse because, for a lot of the markets, you can go to the county to get these various lists. In my market, for most of it, I’ve got to go to the individual towns and cities for the tax collector, code evictions, and these various lists. I had this massive master spreadsheet of fifteen towns and cities trying to pull all this together, pull the lists, convert it from PDF into an Excel spreadsheet. All the massaging before I could even import it was weighing on me.
That’s the front side. That’s not even the backside of managing. I’ve been there. We were doing 100,000 pieces of direct mail at one point per month. It was insane.
When you told me that, I was blown away. I was like, “How many thousands of people told you, ‘I hate you. Take me off your list?’”
I had staff in tears. It wasn’t the one call. It was the three back-to-back where they got yelled at. It was the profanities that my COO would have to step in and have a counseling call with that salesperson, “Don’t take it personally.” Here’s the deal, when I was producing, I could put up with it. Even then, my team was like, “As soon as we can get rid of this, let’s continue to expand on the radio side and do other stuff, particularly when it’s not producing at what I would call the highest level.” For us, in Dallas, it was a $4 return. That meant we were quadrupling our investment there. Anything below that wasn’t worth the beatdown we were facing.
If you’re reading, we’re not saying that direct mail doesn’t work. I know people all around the country do it. I know people that have set up efficient systems around it. Regardless, it is a bit of a behemoth to wrestle down and get both the front side and backside of that system working well. You go, “I’m going to triple down on my radio. On top of that, is it okay for me to maybe pause direct mail and come back to that?” Why was that decision not made like that? Why did you feel like it needed to be confirmed? I think here’s the psychology that people are bumping into.
It’s because I recognized I’m a newbie and you’re the seasoned pro. We all need mentors in life and coaches that have been there. For me, I needed some affirmation that as I took a turn in my journey, it was okay to slow down a little bit while I reassessed and made the necessary adjustments. That takes a little bit of time before I can push the gas again and speed things up a little bit. As we talked, that’s fundamentally what I decided to do and you affirmed it.
I’m not going to stop direct mail, but I’m going to take much more of a sniper approach to direct mail. Instead of it being 100% of my marketing, it might be 20% of my marketing. Coincidentally, I picked up a house that I got from direct mail from a particular list. It’s two houses from one radio station and I haven’t run the numbers on it, but I spent way more on direct mail. I did get a house and it’s going to be profitable. I spent much less on radio and I got double the performance, but they both have their place.
Avoid Things You Hate: What works for somebody else in another market isn’t always going to be a perfect fit for you. Follow the program but adjust it so that it fits you.
You and I were talking about this. As we say this, this is not saying that this is true for everyone. What I’ve found with Steve, and we fundamentally agreed on this, and that is that the majority of our dollars will go to marketing to generate that inbound lead. That’s easier to convert the high-quality lead. We’ll take a smaller percentage and always stay on the outbound game.
The reason is when you have something like COVID that comes along that is out of your control, that might affect your marketing dollars and there’s nothing you can do about it, the thing you can always do is outbound. You can always dial more. You can always send more RVMs, text blasting or whatever your deal is. We’ve taken the approach of majority marketing and the minority part of our budget to go into prospecting. Let’s talk a little bit about your side because that’s a good balance for my business but it doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone, but you agree with it. Why?
It fits me. As I was talking to my wife about this, real estate is this big umbrella and I’ve got to find my niche. You can be successful in many aspects of real estate. From a marketing perspective, there are many forms of marketing, but you’ve got to find what works for you. What makes you happy? What’s productive? What weighs you down versus invigorates you?
You are speaking my language. The marketing channel, you should be excited to do. You shouldn’t feel sleazy about what you’re doing. You shouldn’t have to drag yourself in to do whatever marketing channel that you’re going to do. We got one life. We got our business. Let’s wake up and do things that excite us. You said invigorate, right? I wouldn’t teach on it if I wasn’t excited, but there are other marketing channels. You’ll never catch me teaching because I am not catching it. I agree with you.
I’ve said this before and you guys continue to hear me say, “You chose to understand the way that you’re wired and your core values. You brought in all of your past experiences, things that you like and dislike.” I like to call it what drains you versus brings energy gain, so drain versus gain. You said, “I’m going to match and align myself with marketing channels that fit that.” In my opinion, the success that you’re going to have on marketing channels is going to go way up if you have that type of alignment with that particular marketing channel. Do you agree with that?
One hundred percent. Rule number one is to know thyself. Know how you’re wired and know what works for you. The reality is you need some time. Your car is going to run for a little while so that you can see what is working and not working for you. For me, that was a couple of months and then I said, “I don’t like that and I like this. The results for this are much better.” We shifted gears. I’m excited about the next few months of our business.
I am for you too. Let’s transition and talk about what you’ve accomplished on radio so far. Wrapping up, before this transition to this next piece, find marketing channels that you love. Here’s the thing. Just because you’re not grinding it out and just because you might find something that someone over here loves doing or not doing, it doesn’t make you less of an entrepreneur. That’s a big thing. “If I’m not smiling down and sending out 10,000 text blasts, I’m not Gary Vee hustling it.” That’s not the way that it works. I’m giving you permission like what Steve was asking. Stop it. Don’t do it. You have our permission to drop what you hate doing in marketing and go find something that you can get behind that you love. That’s the moral of Steve Richard’s story.
I’ll add one more thing for the readers. I follow instructions well. When I bought these courses, I did a lot of research in advance of buying the courses that I did. Yours was the very first one and I bought one other. I follow instructions to a tee. I learned this from doing the startup thing. There comes a time where you’ve got to pause, re-assess, and apply decision-making based on you. What works for somebody else in another market doesn’t necessarily going to be a perfect fit for you. Does the suit fit you exactly? For me, what you’re saying is giving people permission to follow the program but yet you’ve got the ability to adjust the suit jacket a little bit to fit you exactly.
We do that all the time. It comes down to this principle. You have to know the difference between when to persevere and when to pivot. Sometimes you need to persevere when you want to pivot. The real hard one is when you pivot and you feel like you need to keep persevering. Sometimes the best thing is the art of quitting things. Quitting is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it is the smartest thing that you can do so you can pivot to something else.
If you’re busy all the time, you’re a lazy thinker.
Let’s break down your radio. People are like, “This guy has been in the game.” Let’s put this into perspective. You started in August of 2020 as a new real estate investor. You’ve been up on radio live for several weeks. That is one radio station. What’s your budget? Everybody wants to know, how expensive is radio? What are you paying to advertise 100 times per month on the station you’re on? What’s your monthly budget on the one you got?
It’s $1,200 a month.
Everyone asks me, “How much does it start to get on radio?” I say, “You should have a budget between $1,000 to $2,000.” In that time, you’ve already picked up a couple of deals. That’s fast launching a campaign if you’re seasoned. You launched this and were new at the same time. That’s a massive learning curve. I don’t care what we step into. If we don’t know anything about it, there’s going to be a learning curve. It doesn’t matter what type of experience we have. You’ve got a fix and flip property that you’ve locked up. You and I were doing some numbers. You felt like that was going to be a conservative return on that flip. What type of profit is on that particular deal?
Conservatively, we’ll net $40,000 on that. If we’re a little lucky, it’ll be a little more.
You got a wholesale deal. I always remind people, it doesn’t matter what you do with motivated seller leads. You can do owner financing, buy and hold, fix and flip. It’s all the same. You got a wholesale deal and that one is locked up and about to close. What’s the profit margin on that one?
That’ll be $15,000.
That’s conservative on that one.
That’s the number. It’s already locked up. We’ll net a little over $15,000.
In seven weeks, $55,000 in the pipeline, ready to close. It would mean you’ve advertised for two months. That’s $1,200 times two. That’s $2,400 you’ve spent to have $55,000 in your pipeline so far as a new guy. How do you feel about that?
Avoid Things You Hate: On radio, people that are calling actually want to talk to you. Most of them have a problem that they’re trying to solve. They genuinely want your help.
That sounds crazy when you do the math like that. I’m like, “I know where he’s going. I haven’t even done this math.” The return is insane when you put it that way.
Now that you’re on the radio track, what are a couple of qualities about radio as a marketing channel where you’re like, “These are a couple of my favorite attributes about this marketing channel?”
What I love about it is people who are calling want to talk to you.
I love how you said it because it was super funny. There are people that want to talk to you when they call.
It sounds funny but it’s the whole psychology. The person that’s calling, most of them have a problem they’re trying to solve. They took the time to write down your number, memorize your number, and call you. Many of them are high-quality motivated sellers that have a problem they’re trying to solve for themselves. I’m not getting any of those other calls. It’s once in a blue moon. I had one that was a prank. Some kid called the number. Other than that, they have all been people that genuinely want to talk. Some of them are a great fit and some of them aren’t. They all have problems and they all want to sell.
That’s efficient. Here’s the thing. If you don’t have to spend half the calls talking to people that don’t want to talk to you, the majority of the calls they do, that’s a much more efficient system than burning your wheels on people that are frustrated because you’re a spam artist and spam them. I agree. It’s much more efficient as well. You love that aspect of it. It’s a high-quality lead. Give me one more. What’s another thing you’ve observed so far that you’re like, “This is a good fit for me.”
Time efficiency. It’s me and I started with a virtual assistant helping me out with some administrative tasks. It’s my time efficiency. I’m not taking as many calls but the calls that I take are much more quality, and so that’s much less draining on my time. I have more time to think about the business as a whole of what other areas I need to focus on. When the phone rings, it’s a high-quality lead. It doesn’t ring as often but it’s a high-quality person on the other line.
I like the efficiency aspect. I’m a guy that wants a lifestyle business. That’s why I live down in Tulum, Mexico. Any time you can help me eliminate something, automate something, delegate something, you have my attention. I don’t want to build a business as big as possible. I want to build a business that bothers me as little as possible. That’s my definition of a successful entrepreneur. That’s what I want to do.
If you’re reading, as always, it’s important to come and join us on YouTube. You can subscribe to the channel. We drop additional content over there. Everyone is always like, “Where can I get some more interesting stuff that’s happening?” Go over to YouTube and subscribe. Wrapping this up, you and I were talking about, “This is working so well.” I was always liked, “Put your money where your mouth is,” and you are because you went and bought two more stations. When is your ad spend about to go up? When did these two new stations start? You’re like, “I’m all in. I’m doubling and tripling down.” Technically, you would be tripling down because you’re going from 1 to 3.
Rule number 1 is to know thyself. Know how you are wired.
I’ve got a Finance degree so technically, I think you’re right. We added two more stations. I did a radio ad. We started with Country, we’re adding Classic Rock, and then ‘80’s and ‘90’s. Our budget will be $4,200 a month.
As I always remind everyone and myself, 2021 had been an election year and a COVID year. What will your radio campaigns look like in 2022, barring everything, just continue to move forward and open up. It’s going to be a great year. I’m super excited for you. If you’re reading, we want to bring on students to learn their stories. Our job is simple as coaches at Wholesaling Inc. It’s to add value and bring you things that you can execute into your business that are going to make a big difference.
When I had originally talked with Tom, I said, “I’ve got the thing in my back pocket that’s going to shake the entire country up.” That was radio and it has. We’ve sold over 55% of the markets. Radio was never talked about and now it’s something that’s been valuable and we’ve done a great job preserving it by limiting people per market. As always, if you’re interested, it starts with asking questions and doing due diligence.
I love this whole episode about finding the right marketing channel for you. Radio could be that. You won’t know unless you dig in and take a look at what you want to do. To start that process, go to WholesalingInc.com/reiradio and book a call. Wrapping up, Steve, if someone is out there going, “Should I or should I not take a look at this radio thing?” What would you tell them? We all get skeptical. We’re on the analysis paralysis. I get it. What would you tell them?
This is probably the easiest marketing channel to break into real estate from a time perspective. Go ahead and do it. Get on a station. Let it run for 3 or 4 months. What’s the worst-case scenario, you drop $5,000? You can lose $5,000 in a week down in Vegas. It’s not that I did, just for the record. What do you have to lose? Get on the station and let it run for a couple of months. Your risk to exposure is $5,000. You get one deal out of it. All of a sudden, you’re in the game. I would go for it. Of all things, if you’re going to start, I would start radio.
It’s interesting that you said that because many of us thought initially coming in that radio is going to be for the more advanced person. What we’ve found out, which I didn’t understand because I had to put myself back at the beginning, radio is one of the best fits for someone new to the game. I didn’t understand that coming in and that’s why we have many students like yourself that are on the front side that’s doing well with it. To everyone, thanks so much. Steve, I’m super proud of you. You’ve done a great job. I want to give you some public recognition for coming in and inspiring us. You came running out the gate. To the rest of you, we will catch you next time until we add more value. Talk to you soon.
About Chris Arnold
Chris Arnold is a 15 year Real Estate veteran who has closed over 2500 single family real estate transactions in the DFW metroplex. Chris is the founder of multiple companies that are managed by a US virtual team, which allows Chris to run his organizations while living in Tulum, Mexico full time. His passion for leaders has led to the creation of Multipliers brotherhood which serves the top 5% of real estate entrepreneurs out of the US. Most recently Chris has launched his REI Radio coaching program. This program is designed to teach real estate investors the marketing stream that everyone knows about but NO ONE is doing!