Branding Yourself as a Real Estate Investor (CFFL 574)
Jack Butala: Jack and Jill here.
Jill DeWit: Good day.
Jack Butala: Welcome to the show today. In this episode, Jill and I talk about branding yourself as a real estate investor. Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on our landinvestors.com online community, it’s free.
Jill DeWit: Okay, Merritt asks, “I know Stripe seems to be the default,” I’m gonna put in parentheses is a way of accepting credit card payments, that’s what Stripe is, “but how are others setting up their accounts when they specifically ask you what you’re selling and what kind of business you’re in. I was thinking that being totally straight up with them would flag you as the get go as real estate transactions are prohibited, right? Are you coming up with a gray zone description such as ‘tree and dirt collections in Northern Oregon’?”
This is hilarious. “Or wholesale dirt and soil futures?” This is good stuff, man. That’s another thing I want on my shirt. “I’ve seen so much conflicting information from investors, I want to come straight to the source.”
Seriously, “wholesale dirt and soil futures,” Merritt, I want a shirt. That’s awesome.
Jack Butala: Wholesale dirt.
Jill DeWit: “I buy and sell dirt and soil futures.”
Jack Butala: So, all kidding aside, we’re gonna be serious just for a couple minutes here. This has been a massive problem in this industry since the very beginning.
Jill DeWit: Of time.
Jack Butala: Since the beginning of purchasing and selling real estate. Credit card processors don’t like it, and we think we’ve found the answer. This is an incredibly timely question. So, we’ve negotiated a deal with Heartland Payment Systems, which is one of the largest credit card processors in the country. You probably don’t know they’re name because they’re the company behind companies like Blue Pay and Stripe and things like that. Stripe and Blue Pay are just payment gateways, but the processors, it’s all complicated and I don’t want to get into it now.
Jill DeWit: There’s only a handful and the government won’t let any more.
Jack Butala: Exactly. Insurance is behind it all, and they see a real estate acquisition as a little bit riskier than purchasing a stereo, for example, online. Or anything else that you would buy online that gets shipped to you. So, Heartland has seen their way through it after, I think Jill and I have been working on this for a year.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, at least.
Jack Butala: So, we’ve asked them to set up people on their end specifically to process our members’ requests without lying, without saying, “Yeah, we purchase and sell land and we process it online.” So, reach out to us and we will give you, there’s an actual, a procedure that you have to go through to apply, but the good news is that, you know, the procedure, they’re all set up and they’re ready to answer your questions and ready to deal with the whole thing.
Jill DeWit: It’s all property types, too, by the way. We’re working fast to solve this for everybody.
Jack Butala: It’s solved. I received an email yesterday. I didn’t tell you that.
Jill DeWit: No, you didn’t tell me that.
Jack Butala: We have a-
Jill DeWit: I just wrote myself a note, I’m like, “Is the deal ready? What can we do? All right.”
Jack Butala: There’s a number that, there’s like a serial number that you need, and you need to process it through one person to get it through the system. Again, we’ve done this, I’ve spent a year on this. So, no. You don’t want to lie, ever. That’s the bigger picture here. You don’t want to just say you’re “wholesale dirt and soil futures”. You just want to say, “Yeah, I purchase land, and then I mark it up and sell it for more as fast as possible.”
Jill DeWit: So funny. Exactly.
Jack Butala: “That’s why I’m here.” And if you don’t like any part of that, then call your real estate agent. They’ll help you. You talk a lot. You can overpay for a property and have a lot of conversations.
Jill DeWit: Totally. Fill out a lot of forms.
Jack Butala: If you have a question or you want to be on the show, reach out to either one of us on landinvestors.com. Today’s topic, branding yourself as a real estate investor. “What the hell is he talking about now?” This is the meat of the show.
Jill DeWit: What the hell are you talking about now? Just kidding. I know what it means to me. I’m curious to know what it means to you.
Jack Butala: Oh, good. Yes. Go ahead.
Jill DeWit: Well, okay. I’m gonna get philosophical here. Whenever you talk about branding yourself, that’s all touchy-feely, you know. It really is. And you can wake up one day and say, “I’m done. I’m over. I hate this job, I hate whatever. I’m gonna be a real estate investor.” This is actually not crazy. It’s not like you have to go get a degree. I talked to a guy the other day that has a masters in like real estate development or something. I’m not kidding.
Jack Butala: What? You can get a degree in that?
Jill DeWit: Yes. And I was even scratching my head going, “I didn’t know that was a thing”. And it was funny because he’s working in a boutique somewhere in New York. He called it a boutique real estate firm whatever, subdivider something. Anyway, and he’s like, “I just want to do my own thing already. I just graduated.”
Jack Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: So, what is it October? So, it’s been a couple months. He’s like, “Yeah, I’m out.” Or he sees, you know what he probably sees the money, which is in what they’re doing now, what he’s doing, you know what I mean? You want to be the investor. So, branding yourself as a real estate investor, you can wake up and say, “I’m going to be a real estate investor”. You can wake up and say, “I am a real estate investor”. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Jack Butala: I agree, Jill.
Jill DeWit: Thank you.
Jack Butala: In fact, I think everybody should.
Jill DeWit: You should. You should walk up-
Jack Butala: I think you should start having that mindset.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. You should-
Jack Butala: Maybe even be a little cocky about it.
Jill DeWit: Walk up at a party and just say, “I’m a real estate investor.”
Jack Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: “What do you have right now?” “I’m working on this, working on that, working on this, whatever.” You don’t have to have a-
Jack Butala: I could not, Jill that is the best advice I’ve heard on the show from you in a long time.
Jill DeWit: Thank you.
Jack Butala: Just put it in your head. A couple shows ago, we did, what was it called? Long term planning. Well, the first step to long term planning is believing.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Jack Butala: That’s fantastic advice.
Jill DeWit: I’m proud of you, thank you.
Jack Butala: I’m really serious.
Jill DeWit: That’s what was my point to, which is say it and believe it. And that’s it. Now. And my final point to this branding this is stay your course. Not the course, your course. Whatever kind of investor you want to be, say it, own it, believe it. “I am a commercial real estate investor,” that’s it. And don’t vary then. Everybody comes to you with six different property types. That’s not your deal. You want to be really good and you really want to get there faster and be the most experienced, efficient, profitable, pick your course, stay your course. Now, later on you want to veer off and do other things ’cause you got this one down, I’m all for it. But I say follow it all the way through.
Jack Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: That’s how you brand yourself.
Jack Butala: Let’s talk about branding because branding, like Coca-Cola’s a brand, right? That’s not a person.
Jill DeWit: And they say, you know what their campaign is? We all know, Coke and Pepsi walk out, like out of the gate, they’re like, “We’re the number one Coca-Cola product,” or “We’re the number one soda”. Whatever. I don’t even know what to classify them as. What do you …
Jack Butala: Soft drink company.
Jill DeWit: Soft drink. “We are the number one soft drink,” whatever. That’s their mindset. And that’s what we all need to do.
Jack Butala: Kim Kardashian is a brand.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Jack Butala: And whatever you think about that, believe me, I don’t have anything positive to say about that.
Jill DeWit: Yeah [crosstalk 00:07:37] about that.
Jack Butala: I don’t have any idea what that’s about, but she has success, my hat’s off to her. And everybody else that’s in involved. They have, for whatever reason, captured the attention of a whole generation of people and branded their actual name.
So, my point to the whole branding the show, or this topic was, all right. Great. So, we all know branding works, and it works like times 80. The whole point behind a brand is this: You take a regular soft drink that costs very, very little to manufacture, like Coca-Cola. And you can charge a lot more because for some reason, people believe that it’s better, or that it tastes better, or that it’s cooler, or there’s some status or something. That’s what a brand is.
So, Kim Kardashian, in that case, I don’t know. I think she’s got a clothes line now or some crazy thing. It doesn’t matter and I don’t really care whatever she’s selling. She’s probably getting more than she would if she didn’t have a brand associated. All right. So, let’s apply that to real estate. Who’s doing that in real estate? Who’s charging more ’cause their name’s on it?
Jill DeWit: Hmm. Could it be Trump?
Jack Butala: Exactly. And unfortunately, or fortunately, personally, I don’t care. The guy ran for president. But up until that point, there was just no disputing the fact that the brand, his … here’s the theory behind real estate brand. Occupancy and sales price are everything in real estate. We all want more occupancy and a higher sales price, and a lower acquisition price. So, if there’s four Class A residential buildings being built in a central business district anywhere, in Singapore, in Manhattan, anywhere. And one of them’s got the name Trump on it, like Trump Tower, it’s gonna lease up before it’s done, I’m telling you right now.
So, why the guy went and ran for president and wrecked his life, I’m not sure. And whether you like him or don’t like him, I personally have no preference and that’s not what this is about at all.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, I don’t want that job.
Jack Butala: It’s not about a Trump thing … either way, I don’t care. I’m just saying, he was a magician.
Jill DeWit: At branding himself.
Jack Butala: At branding himself. He did it right out of the box.
Another person who’s done this, let’s take the politics out of it, is Sam Zell, who is my personal, he’s one of my personal heroes, even way more than Donald Trump. Sam Zell is the Chicago version of Donald Trump, and if you look at a a lot of commercial buildings, you’ll see Zell on there. So, to a much lesser degree, he’s branded himself, but if you’re in real estate at all, if you’re a real estate professional at all, you know about Sam Zell and you don’t care about the New York version, Donald Trump.
Jill DeWit: Who else? Give me another person. I like this game. I’m just sitting here thinking about-
Jack Butala: That’s my point, because I don’t have another example.
Jill DeWit: Well, come on.
Jack Butala: In real estate.
Jill DeWit: Okay. I’m taking it outside of real estate.
Jack Butala: Hold on a second, let me finish this thought because-
Jill DeWit: Sorry.
Jack Butala: There’s a tremendous amount of, we have two good examples I just gave of real estate branding and then we have eons of examples of branding yourself in what you do. Like Jack and Jill is a brand.
Jill DeWit: I was gonna say that, too.
Jack Butala: I took that example, and that’s why I’m sharing it today because whoever you are, you can brand yourself as a kook of real estate, as a subdivider of Texas property, of the rural land, vacant land. Like Luke Smith has a brand already, I think. The guy in our group, he’s really successful. He could-
Jill DeWit: I do. Do you think … but it’s not his name. Do you think, let me ask you this. If he wasn’t walking around saying “Smith Properties”, do you think he’s missing out on that?
Jack Butala: No, I think that he should be, I think this day and age, people want to see somebody, they want to associate a person. Like, who’s the face of Coca-Cola? We don’t know.
Jill DeWit: Okay, well here’s a good one-
Jack Butala: Who’s the face-
Jill DeWit: I’m just looking it up to confirm I have it right. Let’s be honest. McDonald’s.
Jack Butala: Yeah. It’s Ronald McDonald.
Jill DeWit: That’s a name. Well, it’s the brothers McDonald’s.
Jack Butala: But no one knows that. No one cares. We only ever knew that because of the movie we went and saw like a year ago.
Jill DeWit: Or you look it up.
Jack Butala: If I think of McDonald’s, who’s the face of McDonald’s? It’s Ronald McDonald.
Jill DeWit: Right. He’s not even around anymore, really. Do they use him anymore for much?
Jack Butala: No, because the …
Jill DeWit: Got kind of, the whole clown thing?
Jack Butala: Yeah, the whole white ban Chester scenario played itself out.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. That’s too bad.
Jack Butala: Somebody wrecked it.
Jill DeWit: Somebody wrecked it. All right, so do you have more real estate investors that you want to-
Jack Butala: I wish I did.
Jill DeWit: Okay.
Jack Butala: There’s some people that-
Jill DeWit: I had some back in the day. We all know and there’s geographical ones, don’t you think?
Jack Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: That’s what I think. So, what were you gonna say? Back in the day?
Jack Butala: You said back in the day.
Jill DeWit: Oh, I said back in the day. Sorry. Well, I was thinking like Don Cole in Orange County. What was Detroit? Was there a Detroit real estate mogul?
Jack Butala: No.
Jill DeWit: Chicago?
Jack Butala: Sam Zell.
Jill DeWit: Oh. New York?
Jack Butala: Donald Trump.
Jill DeWit: This is a good game. Dallas?
Jack Butala: No, Jill. That’s what I’m saying. There’s a huge, massive wide open area for people to brand themselves in the real estate space.
Jill DeWit: ‘Cause there’s only a handful.
Jack Butala: For whatever reason, celebrities have been branding themselves since the beginning. Everybody in the Hollywood type of business is all about branding, and politicians brand themselves right from the beginning. But, and this is a real positive thing.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Jack Butala: If you find a niche, you can … not a lot of money with the way social media is, brand yourself with that specialization. Like when I use the Texas subdivision, wouldn’t you love to be known as the person who subdivides property in Texas and sells it real cheap?
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Jack Butala: And have a talk show about it?
Jill DeWit: Totally.
Jack Butala: Or have a, not even a talk show, but I don’t know. Like some kind of celebration about it. Something that’s not hokey and silly.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Jack Butala: And actually be known for something that you’re doing that’s good.
Jill DeWit: Yeah.
Jack Butala: And helpful. I mentioned the Kardashian example early on and I think, I don’t know what they do that’s good. I mean, I don’t know enough about it to honestly talk about it in an educated way, but it seems really silly.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, I still can’t wrap my head around that whole one. But I just figure I’m not their target audience for that.
Jack Butala: Yeah.
Jill DeWit: So, I’m okay with that. But there’s other people that I’m the target audience. I watch, well, I read all the investor and entrepreneur, I read those magazines. I really like them. Best Company, Wired, I read all that stuff. Those people I pay attention to.
Jack Butala: Which people?
Jill DeWit: Like the Zuckerberg and then Google gal.
Jack Butala: So, Facebook’s a perfect example, Jill. That’s perfect that you brought that up. So, Facebook is a company, but we all know who owns Facebook. Everybody knows, and the company’s only 13 or 14 years old. We all know who owns Microsoft and Apple, all of us. So, these newer companies, and when tech and the Internet kind of really caught on, it’s so easy to brand yourself. If you actually have something you need to say.
Jill DeWit: Yeah. Isn’t that interesting? The times have changed, like you just said. It used to be you hide behind your company. It used to be, say it was a big airline or something. You knew the airline, but you never knew who was behind it. But nowadays, we do know who’s behind it. Think of Space X, we all know who’s behind that. Tesla, you know, it’s the same guy. There’s all kinds of things that we know. We don’t know who’s behind Mercedes.
Jack Butala: Right. They’re all dead. Henry Ford’s a good example ’cause his names on every car. So, that’s not a bad idea, putting your name on the property that you sell, your actual name. Like, we went out and spent a small fortune on jackjill.com for a reason.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. And that’s what we’re gonna do. So, stay your course. Believe it. And wake up tomorrow and just, today. Make it today. If you really are, you’re here listening not because you’re bored and this is the only thing that’s left that you hadn’t listened to in your podcast list. I’m joking.
But you can brand yourself.
Jack Butala: Join us in the next episode where we discuss “Identify where you need help up front”.
Jill DeWit: And we answer Luke’s question about how and who to hire.
Jack Butala: You are not alone in your real estate ambition. Branding is such a, it’s so not associated with what we do, but I think it’s so important to brand stuff. Don’t you?
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, I think, ’cause it helps with the transparency. That’s one of the things that we’ve learned along the way is being transparent and who you are, like “Yeah, I’m an investor,” when I’m dealing with a seller or even a buyer. That really helps. So, if I’m branding myself, like … they see us. It almost, if you brand yourself and you get your name out there enough, there’s an immediate sense of credibility that just happens, ’cause someone has heard of you. They don’t even know why or how they heard of you.
Jack Butala: I agree, man.
Jill DeWit: And that really helps.
Jack Butala: And I would never have agreed to that before we started this whole Land Academy thing. Because it’s amazing that if you have some unique content and you actually know what you’re talking about, how positively people respond. You know, in the case of our, translate it to a real estate investor. If you have a couple of properties that are available that are truly a good deal, truly a good buy, a good acquisition, and you’re real straight about it and honest about it, that’s … you’re on your way to branding yourself.
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Love it. Like our show? Please subscribe and rate it on iTunes or wherever you’re listening.
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.
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