The Truth About Being Your Own Boss (CFFL 509)
Jack Butala: Jack Butala with Jill DeWit.
Jill DeWit: Hey there.
Jack Butala: Welcome to our show today. In this episode, Jill and I talk about the truth about being your own boss. It’s all peaches and cream.
Jill DeWit: It’s easy.
Jack Butala: This is going to be the shortest show ever. Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the LandInvestors.com online community. It’s free.
Jill DeWit: This is more of a share that I had to put in here. Trevor shares a little update. “We are going to be looking at a 900-acre property that has been for sale for two years. This is in a county north of where I am mailing, but it came from a phone call from a pretty desperate broker. Here’s a lesson also. He didn’t even have pictures or video of a million-dollar listing.”
Jack Butala: Oh my gosh.
Jill DeWit: Trevor, this is all … I’m verbatim here. I freaking love it. “Anyway, they are asking $1,200 per acre, but we will offer $1,000 an acre. It has full county road frontage with both power and co-op water access with unlimited taps allowed along the road. Sold comps at $300 an acre or less is nearly $2,300 an acre.” That’s fantastic. “It is a great rectangular shape that will split up nicely.”
Jack Butala: Nice.
Jill DeWit: “We may have to build some fences, but everything else is great.”
Jack Butala: Cheap.
Jill DeWit: I know.
Jack Butala: Fences are cheap.
Jill DeWit: “It is a very basic mesquite flat county …”
Jack Butala: Country.
Jill DeWit: “… Country, so we will have to offer it for less per acre. Either way, it may be a good way to make nearly a million dollars in a couple years with a capital outlay of less than $250,000. If they take our offer, I will send pictures of maps of it.”
Jack Butala: Outstanding.
Jill DeWit: I haven’t seen … There wasn’t a follow-up yet, but I was just like, A, wow. B, thank you so much for sharing those details. C, it really does happen.
Jack Butala: Oh, yeah. In less than a year, probably, because if I know Trevor … Trevor comes from a long line of people who have been doing this for generations.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: If you get the green light on all that from all the people you know, it’s money in the bank. I love square properties with road access and all the utilities. Jeez.
Jill DeWit: I know.
Jack Butala: You can’t ask for anything else.
Jill DeWit: It’s just amazing. What a deal.
Jack Butala: Congratulations.
Jill DeWit: I think it’s … Isn’t that funny? We’re talking about real estate agents and brokers. Dude, this broker didn’t even … I feel bad for the person who owns the property. They had this broker working on it and he’s not even taking … There’s no pictures and nothing. I mean, talk about his heart wasn’t in it.
Jack Butala: How can that be?
Jill DeWit: I don’t know. Why would you not follow up? If it were my property, I’d be saying, “Excuse me, Mr. Broker, do you expect to sell this this way, with nothing?”
Jack Butala: I would actually just provide the … Yeah, you’re right. I’d let the broker go the first week.
Jill DeWit: Bingo.
Jack Butala: Second of all …
Jill DeWit: Two years.
Jack Butala: Most of the MLSes that I’ve been involved in are experienced. They don’t … They shut it off after seven days without a picture.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Jack Butala: Maybe there’s a picture of himself.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, maybe.
Jack Butala: Why do brokers and agents have pictures of themselves everywhere?
Jill DeWit: They’re good pictures.
Jack Butala: What other profession besides being a movie star would you need to have a picture of yourself?
Jill DeWit: The head shot. “Hi, I’m a realtor. I need a head shot.”
Jack Butala: “I love myself. I’m so in love with myself today.”
Jill DeWit: A boudoir shot.
Jack Butala: “God, I look so good today. I’m a real estate agent.”
Jill DeWit: You know what’s really nice? At least they don’t have to wear the gold blazers and those things anymore. Remember that period?
Jack Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: My mom was a real estate agent back in that period.
Jack Butala: Century 21.
Jill DeWit: She was first team in Orange County. That’s funny.
Jack Butala: Wow.
Jill DeWit: Yep.
Jack Butala: If you have a question or you want to be on the show, or you want to complain about real estate agents like us, reach out to either one of us on LandInvestors.com. Today’s topic? The truth about being your own boss. This is the meat of the show. It’s so easy. You should do it. In fact, everyone should.
Jill DeWit: Oh, yeah. Everyone should.
Jack Butala: QuitYourJobToday.com.
Jill DeWit: No obstacles. Nothing whatsoever. Just open it. Get a shop, put the open sign in the window, and go for it.
Jack Butala: Okay, Jill. Pros and cons. Pros of being your own boss. One pro and one con, like that.
Jill DeWit: Pro: You are responsible for all the finances. Con: You are responsible for all the finances. You like that?
Jack Butala: I do. I like it.
Jill DeWit: Pro: You get to hire and fire your employees. Con: You have to hire and fire your employees. I could keep going.
Jack Butala: I’m the kind of person … We will keep going. The reality is if you love to be in control of your destiny and you love prospering or failing on your own time, this is for you.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Jack Butala: If you are the kind of person who just loves to get a paycheck and everybody else does all the stuff and you just show up and do your little thing with horse blinders on, then it’s not for you.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: There’s only one way to find out. I’ll tell you how I would never want to be my own boss. I would never want to show up to a brick-and-mortar operation, let’s say a retail place. I don’t know, let’s say a hair salon. I’m just throwing it out. And rely on people walking in my door that day. Hair salon’s a bad example. A hardware store, because hair salons actually have clientele and you can build a clientele and they come back every month. That’s actually not a bad business model.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: If you just have a True Value franchise hardware store and you don’t know what your revenue’s going to be that day and you got to show up, someone’s got to open the door, and no matter what, you have a fixed expense amount that day. Electricity, payroll.
Jill DeWit: Right, you don’t know if they’re going to come in and buy nuts and bolts or they’re going to buy a generator.
Jack Butala: That’s right.
Jill DeWit: You pray they’re going to buy a generator, but …
Jack Butala: That’s the kind of boss I never want to be. My own boss. That’s the kind of … I would actually work for somebody else over that. It’s too unpredictable. What we do for a living, when you buy a piece of real estate and you know how much you’re going to sell it for, there’s no mystery in it. Unless the world ends tomorrow, you’re going to double your money on a piece of property. That’s not a bad way to go.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: I’ll tell you what sucks about it is employees and …
Jill DeWit: Overhead.
Jack Butala: Just all the …
Jill DeWit: Tax decisions, payroll.
Jack Butala: Which, by the way, Jill and I are lucky enough to … We’re big enough now to outsource most of that, although you never outsource all of it, I’m here to tell you. That was one of the things I always thought was possible. You just don’t … You can’t. Jill and I are also lucky enough where I handle some stuff and she handles some stuff and they happen to be the stuff that we both like.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: Jill talks on the phone to people and I can’t stand it.
Jill DeWit: That’s true. I do that part.
Jack Butala: I love the acquisition, she loves sales. It works out pretty good.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. Give us some more. Give me a pro and con like I did.
Jack Butala: Okay. You can take a 360-day vacation if you want.
Jill DeWit: Is that a pro or …
Jack Butala: That’s a pro.
Jill DeWit: What’s the con?
Jack Butala: Somebody … You have to have the right people watching the operation if you’re going to do that, and it’s expensive.
Jill DeWit: Very true.
Jack Butala: People always are expensive. They’re getting cheaper. What? What does he mean by that, “they’re getting cheaper”? I thought everything was getting more expensive. We have overseas people do certain menial tasks at an incredible, incredibly low hourly rate. I feel guilty about it hourly rate. I literally ask these people to increase their rate and they did.
Once you get the right people that are working with you that are below you to orchestrate and conduct whatever you need to get done with the overseas people, it’s extremely efficient and predictable. The outcomes are predictable, and it’s interchangeable. Not the people immediately below you, but the virtual assistants all over the world are interchangeable. They line up. You can line them up to your advantage.
Please don’t send me an email about “Made in the USA.” If we were manufacturing car parts, I will tell you right now, Jill and I are vigilant about this. It’s made in the USA, but if you can get a $5 an hour person to develop portions of a web site versus a $75 an hour person and the outcome is exactly the same, you tell me.
Jill DeWit: You know what? I don’t know how we got off on this topic, but in that situation, I do feel like it’s a good thing too because what we’re paying them, in their currency, in their country, is good pay.
Jack Butala: Yeah, they’re making hoards of money.
Jill DeWit: It’s not like it’s crazy. We’re not … It’s not like a sweatshop with children kind of thing.
Jack Butala: Yes.
Jill DeWit: It’s not like that. It’s grownups with an education. This is just what it happens to cost in that country. That’s not crazy.
Jack Butala: The reason I bring it up is because as your own boss, you have to make these decisions. There’s ethical portions, parts of the decision, financial parts, time constraint parts, all of it.
Jill DeWit: You know, this is … We were talking to some … I’m glad. This is a good, timely topic, Jack. Thank you. We were out the other night talking to these young entrepreneurs in our city who are starting up a company and it’s renting a beach version golf cart. I had just had a meeting.
We just had a meeting with some other people that are starting up their own business related to our business, obviously, but their energy is different, if you will. I looked at these guys and I said, “You know what? Every time I see these two … Two guys. This is their business. They are giving it their all every single day. They show up.
Every time I run into them, they always have their logo on their shirts, a hat, something. They’re promoting their business. They are proud of it. They have a smile on their faces and they’re excited to share this and it’s just running a cart and they’re thinking outside the box too about other things. “We could do this. We could do that. Market this way. Market that way.” I’m like, “You know what, guys?” I told them. I said, “You know, you keep this attitude up, you will not fail.”
Jack Butala: That’s right. I heard you say that.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, I did. They’re like, “Really?” They’re looking at me, looking at us, with our experience and where we come from. I’m like, “Yeah.” I’m like, “You guys … I know right now, if for some reason, who knows, maybe insurance laws change and you can’t rent like you thought you could, whatever it is, you guys will have a workaround. You guys have the energy and the drive and the ambition, and that’s what I think a lot of being your own boss is. You have to go at this 120% and be persistent and not stop until you get there.
Jack Butala: That’s right. What you think is happening, what you are trying to develop as from a business standpoint, at the end it might be completely different than what you started.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: That’s the result of just changing, constantly tacking, like in sailing. Just tack left and right.
Jill DeWit: Yep. We talked about that too, I think, a couple shows ago, about when you’re starting out to be your own boss, you have to be open to change, because if you don’t, if you open your hardware store and you’re always selling the same thing and you expect … But the times are changing and now people want power tools and now they want this kind of part, I don’t … Dream it up. If you don’t adapt with the changes and roll with it, you won’t survive.
Jack Butala: You have to be at the top of Google if you have any type of non-niche operation.
Jill DeWit: That’s true.
Jack Butala: Like a surfboard rental operation. If you, in our area …
Jill DeWit: Yelp, Google, all that stuff.
Jack Butala: There’s about 500 surfboard operations and three of them are on Google. Guess which ones work?
Jill DeWit: Exactly. The ones we can find.
Jack Butala: We deliberately, for land investors in Land Academy, do not spend a tremendous amount of money on advertising. In fact, we don’t spend any. That’s the truth, because it’s so nichey and people find us anyway. We spend a little bit on Facebook once in a while. Very little, like $30.
Jill DeWit: Right, but it’s all been organic and it’s working out perfect.
Jack Butala: The people that are supposed to be in our group, they are. They are in our group.
Jill DeWit: You know, you’re right. The right people … You’re right. The reason I think we’re so successful and our members are so successful, the right people are finding us because they’re searching for us. They’re going out there looking for it. We’re not saying, “Hey …”
Jack Butala: We’re not on a billboard.
Jill DeWit: We’re not saying, “Hey, I know you’re looking for some way to make some money. Instead of selling whatever door to door … I’m trying to think … Maybe you should consider doing land.” No, we’re not just going out there. We’re not going out pushing our idea on people and telling them this is a good thing. They’re coming and finding us, saying, “Hey, I’ve been researching you guys for a year.” Which is the right way, by the way.
Jack Butala: Yeah, exactly, Jill.
Jill DeWit: “I’ve been following you guys for a long time. I’ve done everything and I’ve tested a few things. Now I want to talk to you guys.” That’s the right way.
Jack Butala: To wrap this up, the truth about being your own boss really comes down to this, I think. It’s a personality situation. I still get up in the morning and do the exact same thing in the morning that I did when I was in accounting. I just go to an office that I happen to own. Jill’s a lot different. Jill does different stuff every single day, and it works for her. It’s a personality situation. Money motivates me. A high bank balance motivates me.
Jill DeWit: That’s funny.
Jack Butala: What doesn’t motivate me is just taking somebody’s crap from above you, just for … I don’t know. I’ve never been a good employee.
Jill DeWit: You know what’s funny? The reason I’m my own boss, not because I had any bad experiences, but because I wanted to do it my way and I want … I knew I had it in me and I knew I could do more and be bigger, more successful, with you, obviously. It hurts sometimes. We’ve all been there, a lot of us have. When you sit there going, “I’m making a lot of money for this guy,” or “I make a lot of money for this corporation.” Kind of hurts a little bit.
Jack Butala: Sure.
Jill DeWit: I’ve been there.
Jack Butala: You know, the way commercial real estate works is you make a … It’s not like residential. I don’t know if it’s like this anymore but when I was in it a lot of years ago, you close the deal for 100 grand, $100,000 fee, and you split it 50-50. That’s hard to swallow, especially if you do four or five of those a year or whatever …
Jill DeWit: For the security of a base salary, is that why?
Jack Butala: There’s no base salary.
Jill DeWit: Why are you not doing it for yourself? What’s the difference?
Jack Butala: Because you’re in an office and you have the name and stuff. In the end, I said, “This is ridiculous,” and I cut a deal with a company that I eventually took public with a massive base salary and a bunch of stock options. I did the exact same thing that I did at a commercial real estate.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Jack Butala: We were buying and selling long-term care facilities. I just happened to do it for my company, and I got with a group of guys who knew about taking companies public, and so there. What’s the con to that? We were responsible for everything, and it was hard to make payroll sometimes. We were borrowing money against receivables and stuff. That stresses people out, and frankly, it stresses me out. I wouldn’t do that now, but back then I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t have anything to lose,” and I didn’t.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Jack Butala: That’s the truth about being your own boss. It’s risky, but the rewards are bigger.
Jill DeWit: I agree. I love it.
Jack Butala: Join us in another episode where Jack and Jill discuss how to use information, that’s me …
Jill DeWit: And inspiration, that’s me.
Jack Butala: … To do just about anything you want.
Jill DeWit: We use it every day to buy property for half of what it’s worth and sell it immediately.
Jack Butala: You are not alone in your real estate ambition. Yeah, man. This is a good topic. I can’t even imagine any other way now. Here’s my real advice. If you have a job and it sucks, start something on the side. Doesn’t even have to be related to the industry that you’re in at all. Get something going. Get a few deals going. See if you like it.
Jill DeWit: What I’ve found too, whatever you are passionate about, you will get excited about and it will be fine. It doesn’t even … It could be jewelry.
Jack Butala: Fly fishing.
Jill DeWit: It could be anything.
Jack Butala: We live in the greatest time in the history of man. It has never been cheaper and easier to start a business out of your bedroom.
Jill DeWit: You do all of your stuff online and for a lot of people they just stay online. Keep it that way.
Jack Butala: I left my job when I had half a million dollars in my checking account. It was way too late. After two years of wondering if this is really going to work, I finally said, “This is going to work.”
Jill DeWit: Exactly. I love that.
Jack Butala: “I’m losing money because I go to this stupid job.”
Jill DeWit: Exactly. You want to hear the thing that I didn’t share yesterday? I was going to share.
Jack Butala: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Jill DeWit: The last little bit that Dan said which was really, really nice is he was sharing with me just his personal viewpoints, basically, and just said, “Talk about giving back.” He’s like, “You know, my wife and I have talked about you guys, and it was really nice that you guys don’t need to do this and here you are and what we give …” I really appreciated that. That was really, really nice.
Jack Butala: That’s a huge compliment.
Jill DeWit: I love it. My whole thing about it, I tell you, is I’m putting together this book right now, and one of my chapters is about this. The last chapter. Not the last chapter. There’s two parts of it. Anyway …
Jack Butala: Plug the book, Jill. What’s the name of the book?
Jill DeWit: “How to Have It All By 50.”
Jack Butala: Yeah. I want to read it.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. That’s the book I’m working on right now.
Jack Butala: I want to know how to do that.
Jill DeWit: One of the things I found is, as crazy as it sounds, the more you give … It’s really, really true. The more you give the more you do get back. It sounds crazy. Even though you give more than you think you have, do it. Do it. Someone’s going to help you. The more you help people, it’s true, the more they do help you. Other people help you. The more you do … We talked about it the other night with some guys at dinner, picking out good people from bad people. There’s some people out there that just are not good people, let’s be honest.
Jack Butala: Do the right thing.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Jack Butala: That was the topic.
Jill DeWit: Right, but if you stay the course and always do the right thing even if it hurts … We joke about that too sometimes. Even if it costs money sometimes, do the right thing. It is the right … It’s the best and you will be rewarded.
Jack Butala: Can I ask you some questions about your book really fast?
Jill DeWit: Sure.
Jack Butala: Do you have the chapter? How do you write a book? How do you write? What’s your writing … Do you do the outline first or do you just sit down and write? Do you have an outline?
Jill DeWit: I wrote a first … A basically synopsis of what the book was about and why I was writing the book, kind of a foreword. A kind of sort of foreword. Why I’m here, why I’m writing this book, what the whole thing’s about. Then I sit down and I draw a circle in the middle, which is the book, the … What’s that? Is that the nebulus in the middle? I don’t know what that’s called, but anyway.
Jack Butala: Nucleus.
Jill DeWit: Nucleus. Nebulus. Thank you.
Jack Butala: A hub and spoke is what I think you’re getting at, is a hub and spoke.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, and so then I draw, exactly, spokes out there. I think I had 10 or 11. I started to write. Here’s my book in the middle, and I write, “What are the pieces of my book and the main things, the points I want to touch on about them?” I realized, “You know what? Those are now becoming chapters.” They all go into how to have it all by 50. What are the important things? What do you have to do?
Jack Butala: What are the chapters? Can you tell us?
Jill DeWit: I’m not going to tell you right now. I’ll save them, but I will. I will share those at some point.
Jack Butala: Can I ask you questions as you’re writing it on the show?
Jill DeWit: Yeah, sure.
Jack Butala: Okay, great. What chapter are you writing right now? The first one?
Jill DeWit: Yeah, the first one. I’m still working on the outline and all that, and I need to … I’ll share with everybody. I need to get my web site where I want to be, because I want to … On my web site, I want to document and share stuff too, as I’m writing the book, because I think that’d be fun.
Jack Butala: What is it, JillDeWit.com?
Jill DeWit: Yes, it is. Thank you.
Jack Butala: I can’t wait to read your book. I’m going to try to have it all by 50.
Jill DeWit: Thank you.
Jack Butala: Time’s running out. Oh, wait. It’s ran out.
Jill DeWit: Last time I checked I think you did. I think you are also a shining example of this.
Jack Butala: Listeners, it’s too late for me, but you should take a look. Give it a shot.
Jill DeWit: Silly.
Jack Butala: Information and inspiration to buy undervalued property.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at jack@LandAcademy.com.
I would like to think it’s entertaining and informative and in the end profitable.
And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes.