If you feel like you’re being called to run a mission-driven business, then this podcast is the right fit for you!
The key is getting to know what you truly value and using it as a lens for your future decisions.
Of course, integrity is a part of it too. In today’s podcast, we are joined with business magnate Josh Howard, as he gives us an in-depth explanation of how one can pay it forward and create systems that could fortify your wholesaling ventures. He then shared how he has garnered a $500,000 profit in his first year!
Purpose Over Profit – Meet The Wholesaler Who Made Over $500k In His First Year Of Business
What’s up, Rhinos? I’ve got Josh Howard in the house. He is actually not in the house. He’s not even in the country. I should probably say that. Josh is, believe it or not, from India. He is in India right now. He is by far my furthest tribe member. Josh, welcome to the show. Thank you for coming on.
Thank you, Lauren. It’s an honor to be here.
It’s an honor to have you, especially because we’re in a completely different time zone. What is the time right now in India?
It is 11:36 PM.
I’m keeping you up at night. Sorry about that.
I’m up at night working usually anyway with real estate stuff, so we’re good.
We need to talk about that. Josh has had a big year. We are in December 2021 and this is your first full year of being an active wholesaler. I met Josh in 2020. He joined my coaching program, the Virtual Investing Mastery. Tell me where you were in 2020.
A little bit of background, I’ve been living in India for over thirteen years now. My family and I lead a nonprofit organization. We’ve been doing that for many years. We probably met because I took your course at the beginning of August 2020. We were dreaming about the potential of what it might look like to start a side business that could help completely replace my wife and I’s income in the nonprofit world. That is so we wouldn’t need to continue to take a salary from the nonprofit world. This could take care of our family and our kids’ future.
Me and my brother-in-law, Greg, began to dream and pray about, “What can we do that could help us become financially independent and get income for our families?” That’s when I stumbled across to you, guys. That was recommended by a good friend of mine in Texas. That’s where we picked up together at that point.
Tell us more about this nonprofit you’re involved in.
In wholesaling, your investor is not your first customer; it’s the seller.
It’s called Central India Christian Mission. My in-laws started it many years ago. I could take the whole episode to talk about it, but I won’t. There are a ton of arms and legs. My wife leads a children’s home here in India. We have over 150 kids that are a part of that orphanage. She started it when she was twenty. She’s an amazing Indian woman. I married way up, Lauren. She’s incredibly beautiful inside and out.
We have five other children’s homes in different parts of India. In total, there are over 1,000 kids that are in those homes, which is incredible. They come from difficult backgrounds. I work a lot with churches and leaders, training leaders in the churches, and things like that. We also have a hospital, nursing college, and all sorts of things as well. That’s the bread and butter of what we do.
Your wife’s parents started that entire organization how many years ago?
Almost 40 years now. I’m the only white guy with the organization in India. It’s all Indian-led.
Your wife primarily watches over the children’s home. How do kids end up in the children’s homes?
They have a lot of different backgrounds, but many of them are from a few different ways, generally speaking. One way is teenage unwed pregnancy is a big issue in India and it’s a massively shameful thing. Sometimes, there’s a shame attached to it in the United States but multiply that by 1,000. That’s what young girls in India are feeling. Many times, they could even be kicked out of their families and villages.
Arranged marriages are still a big deal in India. They’ll never have their marriage arranged if they’ve been pregnant out of wedlock. It’s a bad deal. Some of the kids come from that type of situation where a young girl would have a child, but to try to hide it from her family, she would give it up for adoption or give it up to a children’s home.
Lauren, I know this is tough to talk about, but our team has found kids laying on train tracks that were left to die. They’re waiting for the train to come and hit them. Things we couldn’t even fathom or imagine that have been done to children and they’ve come out of those situations. A couple of years ago, we had our first high school graduation. We’ve got kids in college now that have grown up in the home. It’s unbelievable. It’s incredible.
They grow up in this home that your wife is managing, for lack of a better word, and you guys are able to put them through college?
Yeah. Lauren, you’ve been one of them. Ever since our last podcast, you’ve given proceeds to the organization as well, so thank you much for that. We have generous donors that have given money to set aside for these kids’ colleges. Because of faithful and generous people, our organization has been able to put these kids in college. We have a couple that is getting into med school and becoming doctors. We have several that are becoming nurses. It’s amazing. Some of them have gone to Bible college to go into ministry. It’s a cool thing.
You wanted to stop taking a salary from the nonprofit, which you have to work and make money somehow. It’s amazing that you’re thinking, “How can I give more?” You’re willing to work on this side of your existing work, so you don’t have to get paid there.
The goal is not to step out of the nonprofit. The goal is to continue to pour in but to do it as a volunteer for free rather than for a paid salary, and then what money was coming to us can go back into the work.
That’s definitely a profit meets purpose mission, so that’s incredible. It has been an honor for me to be a part of it and a part of your success. Your success is tremendous. It’s been amazing to get these updates from you. Let’s talk about your results. How have you done in wholesaling over this 2021 period?
I’m laughing more because I never imagined what would happen. I definitely feel like our why is pushing a lot of this. I feel God’s favor on it. I feel like there are a lot of special things happening because of the why behind our business and the way that we treat our sellers and our buyers with integrity and honesty.
In 2021, we were going to be finishing up our first full year of business at right about $500,000 of gross revenue as a company. Our goal was $150,000 this year or something like that, which would have been still amazing. That would have been incredible. It’s been crazy. We’ve closed on over 40 deals by the end of September 2021 or something like that. It’s been mind-blowing for real.
Your results are incredible. You’re right. The why that you have behind you is so powerful. Tell me more about your integrity and how you treat sellers. How does that integrity that you have flow through you into your business? Can you give people some tips? If anybody’s reading this, they need to think, “I need to do that, too.”
For example, when we stepped into the Indianapolis market, a few good wholesaling companies use great integrity, but there are also tons of others that don’t. They lie, misrepresent themselves, and say things that they’re not. They don’t treat the sellers nicely. They almost treat them like they’re lower than them and they try to raise themselves higher.
My brother-in-law, Greg, and I have tried to tell our team, “Our investor is not our first customer. It’s not the person we’re serving the most. It’s the seller. Many of the sellers are in difficult circumstances. They’re in distressed circumstances. Many of them are going through difficult times in their lives. We need to love them, care for them, do whatever we can for them, and show them that we care about them more than we care about the profit and the money on the other side. We need to be upfront with them, open with them, and meet them where they are. At the end of the day, their needs and how we can serve them should be above whatever profit we’re making with any of our investors.”
On the investor side, we try to have that same type of attitude. We love those guys and gals. We want to treat them well. We want to treat them with respect. We want to be open and honest with them about situations. Some wholesalers hide issues and properties. They’ll find an issue and keep it from their buyers. We’re wide open about it. If something has a foundation issue, we don’t like, “Let’s pray and hope they don’t see it.” It’s nothing like that. We’ll be open about all the conditions of the property that we know personally.
There are times we miss stuff, too and the investors find it. We try to be upfront and honest with them about anything we know. Wholesalers have a bad name sometimes because of the lack of integrity and character and how they treat people. I’ve had one seller and it was one of our first deals that we had a year or so ago. He owns twenty properties and he’s come back to us five different times over 2020 to sell more of his properties because he loved working with us so much. It’s because of the respect, friendship, and love that he felt from us in those situations. The big piece of it is honesty and integrity.
You can’t out-give God, but if you try to live like that, people will notice and want to do more business with you.
We’ve done a couple of deals where we’ve lost money because the seller was in such a tough spot and we wanted to help them. We said, “If we’re out a few bucks, we want to help this person.” There have been times we’ve done a flat, no-fee deal to help a seller out where nobody offered more than what we offered for the property. We wanted to help the seller, so we went ahead and sold it with no fee at all and just gave it away to the investor. You can’t outgive God. You can’t be more gracious or loving than He is. When you live like that, people notice that and they want to do more business with you.
I definitely believe in karma and pay it forward. If you live your life being dishonest, it’s going to come back to you. I love your words, love, honesty, and respect. I wrote that down. That’s something I’m definitely going to take home and see if even my team is doing as good of a job because sometimes you need a reminder. How has your perspective changed from being just you trying to wholesale doing a deal there to now you have a team? What challenges have you gone through from going to one to a team?
From the beginning, it was my brother-in-law and me. We were doing it together. I was doing all the acquisitions and he was doing the dispositions. In our team, we had one guy who stepped away for personal reasons, but we had three acquisitions managers working for us. All three of them were pastors, which was awesome because we got to help them do a similar thing to what we were doing. We have two still with us that are both pastors that are doing an incredible job killing it. We have two full-time VAs that are in the Philippines. We have an entire team of marketers that are doing marketing for us. There are four of them that are on our team that is doing marketing. Plus, a couple of property routers in Indianapolis to go take photos and stuff for us.
In the beginning, Greg and I are saying, “What’s best for us? How can we do this? What needs to happen?” “What’s best for our company? What’s best for our team? How can we build a better atmosphere for our team? How can we serve them better?” I’ve gone from being the salesman, “Go get them. Let’s go talk to sellers,” all the time guy to now being more about, “How can I empower my team? How can I serve my team more?”
Greg and I had a meeting with one of our acquisitions managers and the whole meeting was like, “Next year, 2022, what’s your financial goal with our company?” It’s because he’s commission-only. “What do you need from us to be successful? How can we help you hit those goals? What does it look like in your life right now? How many hours do you have to spend each week? How much time can you spend on this business? What’s your goal? How can we help you get there?”
That’s a whole different mindset. Going after sellers and trying to get deals, now I’m saying, “How can I empower my team to get those deals? How do we create systems and structure around them that empower them, help them, and that they don’t have a ton of hoops to jump through? How do we help them be successful?”
In one year, you went from doing this yourself to now hiring people, having a full tea, being a true entrepreneur. You’re not working in the business anymore. Now you’re working on your business. How did you know you were ready to start hiring your 1st or 5th employee?
In the beginning, Greg and I decided, “This is not taking the place of our nonprofit work. We’re still doing that and this.” For the first several months, I was working a couple of hours every night, sending texts, doing this. We were getting deals, and then we said, “We need to start scaling and ramping up.” I went from a couple of hours to 3 or 4 hours a night, and then I was doing it from 8:00 PM to 3:00 AM. I go into bed, get up, and do nonprofit stuff the next day. When I started getting so overwhelmed, stuff was falling through the cracks. I couldn’t keep up with everything. I was like, “We’ve got to get a team around us if we’re going to get to the next level of this business.”
For us, I feel like it was when we realized that we were the bottleneck. If you’re the bottleneck in your own company, it’s time to hire people and get it out there. If you can do it fine and there are plenty of deals coming through and you’re not overwhelmed, you’re able to follow up with every lead you have, it’s probably not time to hire anybody yet. If you notice that you yourself are the bottleneck, then that’s the time you need to go ahead and delegate and hire some stuff out.
Is there a certain amount of money you want saved up before you hire someone? Maybe 3 or 6 months of their salary? Do you have a rule?
I wish we did, Lauren. Honestly, we don’t. Our first hire was an acquisitions manager commission-only, so we didn’t need salary saved up. He was getting paid on the deals that he did. We then hired a part-time texter to take some of the texting off of my plate. You do want to study deal flow coming in before you hire somebody. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need months and months of salary in place because this was a 1099 contracted employee, ten hours a week. It wasn’t a full-time salaried position.
Due to that, we felt like, “As long as we have steady deal flow coming in, we can bring a texter on knowing that the deal flow that we have coming is going to be enough to take care of her and we won’t need to let her go after a couple of weeks or a few months.” You definitely want to make sure you have consistent deal flow in it. If you’re going to hire someone with a full-time salary and they are 40 hours a week full-time person, I would recommend having a couple of months of salary saved. That would be wise so that you don’t have to let people go all the time. That would be good.
What about experience level? How many deals did you do before you started hiring someone?
Our acquisitions manager came on fairly early. We had done $30,000 or $40,000 worth of deals before we had brought an acquisitions manager on, so that was probably somewhere between 5 and 10 deals we’ve done, but we had several under contract as well. That was only the acquisitions manager, though. If we weren’t working virtually overseas, we probably would have waited longer for that.
We were overseas and didn’t want to work full-time on this business, so we probably brought people in earlier than some people would need to. If it’s your goal to step out of your full-time job and do real estate full-time, then you probably don’t need to bring people on as soon as we did. Our goal was different in order to work. Honestly, I want to work as few hours as I can every week and still create a business that’s sustaining our income as a family. That’s a little bit different.
I was the same way. I wanted to be with my kids. I got into this business to quit my full-time job so I could be home with my kids. I had a similar goal. I definitely didn’t hire my first employee quite as quickly as you. I was a little bit more cautious about it, but I still think it’s amazing what you’ve done. Let’s talk about how you do this from India on a high level because I’m sure a lot of people reading this are like, “What? How do you put a house under contract and haven’t seen it and live in India? How is that possible?” Let’s walk through the process. It sounds like you’re using text message blasting to get leads. Who calls the lead?
Now, we have two acquisitions managers and one lead manager. Our lead manager is a full-time VA. Every time a lead comes into our CRM, it’s first assigned to her. She takes a look at it and sees the temperature of that lead. Is that a hot lead? Do we need more information? Was the texter able to get enough information out of that lead that they could give it straight to the acquisitions manager and have them call it right away? Does that lead manager need to call them on the phone, get more details, and qualify it a little more?
Some people are more talkative over text than others. Sometimes somebody may say, “Give me an offer,” and that’s it. It’s like, “Can we ask more questions?” They’re like, “Call me and I’ll answer questions.” That person, we’re not passing on directly to our acquisitions. Our lead manager is calling that person, qualifying the lead, and making sure it’s even a lead at all, then if it is, they pass it on to the acquisitions manager and he calls that person again. He tries to go ahead and negotiate, build rapport, and things like that.
You’re doing similar things that I do. Does your lead manager schedule an appointment on the phone? A phone appointment like, “He’s going to call you at 4:00,” or is it like, “He’s going to call you within 24 hours.”
We have tried doing phone appointments and no one keeps them in our market. We tried it and they’ll be like, “He’s going to call you tomorrow at 3:00.” 3:00 comes around and nobody answers the phone, and it’s like, “That was a waste.” We do have one in-market acquisitions manager and sometimes she does in-person appointments, and they usually do keep those. That’s a little bit better. Phone appointments have worked horribly for us so we said, “He’ll call you sometime either today or tomorrow and get in touch with you.” A lot of times, we may send a text beforehand, “This is Jason. Can I reach out and give you a call right now?” Once they respond, he’ll call him right away.
If you’re the bottleneck in your own company, it’s time to hire people.
Good to know because we were thinking of doing a Calendly link and going, “You can schedule the appointment yourself or she’ll call you within 24 hours.” It sounds like if it’s not worth it, they don’t honor it.
In our market, if they did a Calendly link themselves and stuff like that, it may potentially work and it probably depends on the market. There are people that I’ve spoken with that have decent success with phone appointments. For whatever reason, in Indianapolis, they don’t keep them or they forget about them. We’ll remind them, but they still don’t pick up the phone. We try to get them whenever we can.
An acquisitions manager talks to the seller and builds some rapport on the phone. Do they go to the house first or do they talk on the phone first?
We’ve been virtual, so we have not visited the home first and then got it under contracts. We get another contract and then send the photographer to the house to get photos and video. We will run numbers based upon Zillow and PropStream. Sometimes we’ll use a couple of other sites or what have you. We’ll use numbers based on that, then run our numbers based on what we see there, and then give them an offer. If they accept, then we’ll go ahead and put it under contracts.
There’s been a few times that we’ve had to renegotiate. Most of the time, the seller is open about the condition of their home. For example, one person was like, “My home’s great. I just have this little hole in the ceiling. That’s it.” We’re like, “We can fix that.” We go there and there are dog kennels in the house. It’s a mess everywhere. We’re like, “We gave you a price based upon this. We’re going to need to come down.” She came down a lot, but it was mostly open people, and we usually don’t need to renegotiate after visiting.
Do you put the house under contract over the phone or do you visit first and then bring a contract?
It’s over the phone through DocuSign. We’ll do it on DocuSign right then and there as best we can. We do have an issue sometimes and we’re trying to get better at this. We’ll get off the phone, send the DocuSign, and say, “Take a look at it,” then we have to follow up twenty times to make sure that they signed the contract. We’re trying to get better at getting them the link and being on the phone with them when they sign. That helps them sign a little bit faster. This whole 2021, after we negotiate and agree on a price, we get off the phone, send the DocuSign, and they usually sign within 24 hours or so. Every now and then, it’s two weeks later. It takes longer. That’s the process. After it’s under contract, we will go see the property.
Let’s say you show your buyers list these photos and this property. Who walks the buyers through?
We’ve had a couple of different options. One, if our acquisitions manager in Indy is available, he’ll go and walk them through. Two, there’s been times our photographer goes and be with them, who’s a stand-up, great guy. I have a couple of real estate agent friends who will do a flat fee to do an open house for our investors. We’ll give them whatever they’ve agreed to. We’ll give them some money to go and be there for the open house, which they love because they’re building relationships with investors who may want to sell the home later through a real estate agent. The agents love that. We have two good friends in Indy who are real estate agents who sometimes host the investor walkthrough for us. It depends on the situation. Most of the time, though, it’s our acquisitions manager in the city.
It feels similar to my blueprint.
You would think I took your course, Lauren. Maybe that was it.
All of this sounds familiar. You must have seen my operations manual. I love it, though. It is exactly how we do it. We’ve sliced and diced this process in different ways. We try things. The calendar invite thing, we thought, “Let’s try that and see how it works.” We haven’t executed it yet, but we want to try it. You try different things and see if it’s more efficient. Sometimes it’s not and you ditch it. I’m glad that you are doing what I’m doing and it even sounds like I’m still on the right track. I was curious that maybe I could be doing better or more efficiently. What’s next for you?
We’re in a full-scale mode, Lauren. We’ve joined this real estate mastermind group that has been helping us scale massively and been doing an incredible job helping us get to that next level by learning from other people that are at similar stages. We’re looking at tripling our business in 2022. It’s the goal. We don’t have any full-time acquisitions managers yet, so we’re looking to hire our first full-time acquisitions guy or gal in Indianapolis.
We’re getting into radio in quarter one because it’s killing it in the Midwest. We’re looking to try to start doing some inbound leads. We’re going to be diversifying marketing and trying to scale the business well in 2022. Greg and I want to start moving more into the owner box, if you’ve read the book Traction, which has some people that are helping manage the company, manage the staff, and things like that.
Our goal is to get all income fully replaced with our family, get our kids college taken care of, and be able to give back as much as we can. We want to continue scaling the company and getting it to the right spot. One exciting thing that I forgot to mention, Lauren, is we’re starting another business in 2022 called Nomad Wholesaling, in which we want to come alongside other people in similar situations to us that are in potentially international places or doing missions work or being a pastor or whatever. Helping them get started in this business. That’s exciting. We’ve got our first client. We just signed up, so we’re excited about that as well.
You guys are doing so much good work. I am proud of you. Josh, thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s been amazing to be a contributing part to your success, Josh. If anybody wants to get ahold of you, are you on Instagram or Facebook?
I’m not on any social media, but they can email me at Josh@IgniteInvestmentGroup.com. Honestly, we would not be where we are today without your help and coaching. Thank you so much for pouring into us and helping us get off the ground. We were super grateful.
The pleasure has been all mine. Thank you so much for trusting me in this process for you. If anyone reading this is interested in going virtual and having a similar story as Josh, I would love to help you in your virtual journey. Check out www.VirtuaInvestingMastery.com. Josh, thank you so much for coming. Guys, thank you so much for reading. I will see you guys next time.
- Josh Howard
- Virtual Investing Mastery
- Central India Christian Mission
- Podcast – Episode 544: $21k in 6 Weeks of Wholesaling from India with Josh Howard
- Be sure to join the Wholesaling Inc Facebook group
About Lauren Hardy
Lauren Hardy is a Virtual Investing expert and Real Estate influencer who owns multiple companies in the real estate industry including real estate investment, coaching, and software companies. She is also a Wholesaling Inc coach and co-host of the Wholesaling Inc Podcast.
Her experience in the last decade has been focused on real estate investing and creating products and services to serve the real estate investing community. If you are interested in investing in real estate virtually, house flipping, or virtual landlording, Lauren’s your girl.