Ogre or Sympathetic Business Owner? (LA 894)

Ogre or Sympathetic Business Owner? (LA 894)


Steven Butala:                   Steve and Jill here.

Jill DeWit:                            Hello.

Steven Butala:                   Welcome to The Land Academy Show, entertaining land investment talk. I’m Steven Jack Butala.

Jill DeWit:                            And I’m Jill DeWit, broadcasting from sunny southern California.

Steven Butala:                   Today, Jill and I talk about [Ulga], our sympathetic business owner.

Jill DeWit:                            I have share, that was not the first version of this title that I came up with. They-

Steven Butala:                   There’s a lot of words you can describe what a business owner … a lot of adjectives. And [crosstalk]

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. That you feel like sometimes, and I know we’re gonna talk about it more, but actually it was very easy to make notes on this one.

Steven Butala:                   Hey, it’s really hard sometimes because you work with people all day long to be … You just run out of patience at same point and nobody wants that. We have all worked for people who have no patience and-

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   Who are owners. We’ve all worked for people who are just way too nice and nothing gets done. It’s way more difficult than it sounds to be that person in between, I think.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   Well talk about it.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Steven Butala:                   Maybe well vent about it too.

Jill DeWit:                            Maybe.

Steven Butala:                   In Jill’s case. 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:                            Travis asks, “Hello all. Is it possible having thought of this all the way through …” oh, excuse me. “It’s possible having thought of this all the way through, however, when comparing Redfin data from the Redfin center to data from realtor.com data center-”

Steven Butala:                   It’s a good question.

Jill DeWit:                            This is great. “Their spreadsheet showing data by zip, I get wildly different days on market for each market. Often, more than double for Realtor to Redfin. If Redfin and Realtor are both tied to the same MLS’s, then why would this data differ? Does anyone have further insight into how these sites compute their data? Anyone else have the same experience?”

Steven Butala:                   I have. Yes, I know the answer to this.

Jill DeWit:                            Great.

Steven Butala:                   I know the answer to this question.

Jill DeWit:                            Yay!

Steven Butala:                   Realtor.com is-

Jill DeWit:                            You usually do.

Steven Butala:                   Realtor.com is owned and operated by the National Association of Realtors. The whole country is made up of several hundred MLS’s. They’re all independently operated in separate little areas of the country. Some of them are super rural, some of them are really urban, like Los Angeles or Phoenix. Some really urban areas have two. It’s like sports franchises, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But realtor.com you have to be, if you’re a part of the MLS, or any MLS, you have to be, you pay dues to the big guys, the feds let’s say. All of the stuff rolls up to realtor.com period.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   Redfin is its own little independent company. I think they might be publicly traded or if they’re not, that’s probably part of their exit strategy.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   Certain MLS’s participate through Redfin and certain don’t. I don’t know what their coverage percentages are. What’s happening, more than likely Travis … Is it Travis?

Jill DeWit:                            Yes.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah, Travis. You’re looking in zip codes that aren’t collecting correct or complete, let’s say data from Redfin.

Jill DeWit:                            [crosstalk]

Steven Butala:                   It’s as simple as that.

Jill DeWit:                            Makes sense.

Steven Butala:                   I would heavily really on Realtor. That said, a county auditor may. You want to have checks and balances so-

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   I’ve cross checked it several times. Not really recently, and come out plus or minus 5%. My guess is that, because I know you’re from Texas, there’s probably some kind of split MLS zip code thing. I don’t know.

Jill DeWit:                            All right.

Steven Butala:                   I would check it just to be sure. I would check it in Oregon or something. Or check it in Los Angeles and see if the numbers come out. And maybe Dallas, I would think right in Dallas it would. We’ll see, I don’t know. It’s a good question. Today’s topic, Ulga, our sympathetic business owner. This is the meat of the show.

Jill DeWit:                            Sorry. This totally cracks me up because, this is not the title that I came up with first. Mine started with a B. Anyway, because I feel like that. I was having to.

Steven Butala:                   Synonymous with the female dog.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. Here’s-

Steven Butala:                   We have to keep our rated G rated rating on this podcast.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. Floor play, for those of you who remember a couple weeks or months ago, that came up. Was that on one of our member calls?

Steven Butala:                   Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jill DeWit:                            No, I think it was a show.

Steven Butala:                   No it was a show.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, it was a show, that’s right because-

Steven Butala:                   Jill stretches the limits.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you.

Steven Butala:                   I cross the limit on our weekly call. I grossly call [crosstalk]

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, yeah you do.

Steven Butala:                   Because we don’t need a G rating there.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s true, because it’s a closed environment. But, I was feeling this because one day when we sat down to, often you do the topics, but this day you said, “Hey, you want to help me real quick write the topics for these shows?” I was coming off of some meetings where I, “Man, I just had to be that person.” I had to take off my, hey let’s all have a good time and get our work done and win together hat, and I had to go, “This is not working for me and things are not getting done and now I’ve had it.” I felt like that B word. I sat down, I’m like, “God, this sucks.”

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            It sucks sometimes, I don’t want to be that person, but sometimes you have to be that person. It can be hard. What?

Steven Butala:                   Go ahead.

Jill DeWit:                            What, it’s easy for you?

Steven Butala:                   No, no, no. I have a lot to say about this.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Steven Butala:                   Go ahead. No, I want you to go ahead.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Steven Butala:                   Because this show was written about you.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you.

Steven Butala:                   Or, it’s about you, not me.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you. It can be hard. I personally, I don’t enjoy doing that. I know some people do, some people are like, “Oh, I love being the boss because I get to call the shots and I get to be whoever I want and nobody can say anything.” That’s not my nature, and I don’t like doing it, so when I have to do it, I’m uncomfortable, but unfortunate because I’m getting good at it. But, in the perfect world you only have to do that, it’s like when the kids are little, you only have to do it a couple times and then they get it-

Steven Butala:                   Yep.

Jill DeWit:                            And it stops. It takes time to develop these skills. That’s my last little … My last comment before you jump in is, yeah, it’s hard. You don’t want to do it sometimes, or maybe you do, for some people it’s hard to develop the skills and I think some people can never develop those skills.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Go ahead.

Steven Butala:                   We have a show coming up later in the week called, There’s no place for emotion in business. Getting angry at employees or sympathetic for that matter,-

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   Is showing emotion or having an emotion. I was telling our administrator recently, I had this conversation. I’ve worked in a small company since the late 90s where I’ve been at the top of the company. I’ve had, I don’t know, maybe 15 crews. The one we have, honestly, by far right now is the most productive and we have the most fun and it generates the most revenue on all accounts. In Land Academy and everything else. But there’s still stuff that goes on and I have to say, the less emotion that there is, the better. But there are certain people when you have six or seven people in a couple of offices, stuff goes on.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s true.

Steven Butala:                   Always, is the shining star. Then there’s the person that always straggling along. It’s very difficult to balance between, how many times do I have to ask this person to do X?

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   Before I become, in my case an ogre. Here’s what we have going for us, there’s two of us.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   Because you [crosstalk]

Jill DeWit:                            We can just-

Steven Butala:                   Jill will run out of patience. When we started Land Academy itself, before Land Academy it was just Jill and I and she had an assistant and I had an assistant. We were buying and selling land like nobody’s business.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   Thousands of properties a year. Then we started Land Academy. I don’t know why. We started Land Academy because-

Jill DeWit:                            I don’t know why. I love it.

Steven Butala:                   We started Land Academy to develop more buyers for the properties that we were constantly acquiring.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   What ended up happening is, after-

Jill DeWit:                            Grew into this whole big thing.

Steven Butala:                   24 months there, or so, yeah. It became this big thing.

Jill DeWit:                            Who knew?

Steven Butala:                   We chose to give it its own staff and a bunch of stuff, so it was a great decision. But, along the way Jill had a whole hippy approach to this in the beginning.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steven Butala:                   It’s just us in an office, so there’s nothing to manage.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steven Butala:                   Well, and I was the ogre. Now we’ve completely reversed roles. Jill’s on a path of three years of this.

Jill DeWit:                            It takes a very long time for me to run out of patience, but when I do.

Steven Butala:                   Single biggest thing that Jill and I talk about, where we sit down and say, it’s not revenue, it’s not marketing, it’s not, “Are we buying enough properties? Are we selling enough property? Why isn’t this property selling?” We never talk about that stuff, ever.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   We talk about, why can’t we get X to [crosstalk]

Jill DeWit:                            Understand.

Steven Butala:                   X employee to understand that this is the process here and that this is important, this is important, and this isn’t important.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   Not only X, one person, I mean, it’s just people. I’m not picking on anybody at all. Again, we have the greatest crew ever. It’s a huge, huge, way bigger struggle than anybody could possible understand.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   Every time I go into something new, I’m like, “Well, these three things are gonna go be a real challenge,” and not, “Well, we got all this other stuff licked.”

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   It’s always wrong.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steven Butala:                   Jill will blow her top sometimes and I gotta pull her out of the environment and flip it over, and vice versa.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh yeah.

Steven Butala:                   All this week it’s, Owning a Business week I think. Isn’t it?

Jill DeWit:                            Something like yeah, Business Owner Week.

Steven Butala:                   Business Owner Week.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah. This will be fun. A lot of this is because we’re bringing these up now because our members are becoming, they’re companies are growing, and they’re adding staff. They’re now faced with the things that we’re faced with. It’s important to talk about because the bottom line is, the bottom line.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s the whole point here.

Steven Butala:                   We’re all here for the money.

Jill DeWit:                            Right. As you grow your business, you’re doing it because you want to have a charity and take people off the streets that don’t have a job. Right?

Steven Butala:                   That would not work.

Jill DeWit:                            Could you imagine?

Steven Butala:                   No.

Jill DeWit:                            You need a job? I will make one for you. That’s usually not how it goes. It’s like, “I need to hire someone to do X because I want to grow my business and I need to find that person.” It’s hard. Even the hiring process is hard. The training is hard and now just running the operation. Right now today as we’re talking about the operation, things are gonna happen. You have to be ready for it. That’s the thing. Steven’s so good at, and he really means it when he says this, “You gotta care less.”

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true, which means, you can’t get too hung up if someone’s not doing it exactly the way you want to, but at least it’s getting done.

Steven Butala:                   You can’t get hung up at all.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   I think. This whole week we’ll talk about all about this, but the best people that I work with are people that know what’s expected of them and they go do it and I don’t know about it. It just gets done and it gets done on time, and it gets done reasonably well.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s right.

Steven Butala:                   That’s where business owners get really hung up because let’s face it, a business owner, you can’t grow if you’re gonna do everything.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   You can’t grow if you buy the staples for the stapler.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   But, whoever is buying the staples for the stapler, isn’t gonna do it as well as exactly how you want them to do it, so forget about the staples.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   Forget about all the transactions, that and everything in between. Forget about all the transactions that you’re buying and selling below $10,000. Other people can do that. You’ve given them all the tools that they need. You’ve given them all of the encouragement that they need. Theoretically, you got to kick them out of the nest, and let them go. It seems like it should logical and easy, but it’s just not. When there’s people involved, it’s not easy.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s hard.

Steven Butala:                   I will tell you this. When I started all this, there were no computers. There were no cellphones.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   Can you imagine trying to find a piece of property, a rural vacant piece of property looking at a [Plat] map.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. Then properly describe it.

Steven Butala:                   You know the maps, most of the listeners don’t know. You know those bad atlas’ that you have a-

Jill DeWit:                            Ours is a Thomas Guide.

Steven Butala:                   Like a road mack and that’s all the streets in the whole state. We had all 50 of the states for those.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   Somebody released, it was DeLorme, remember that? Remember that map company-

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Steven Butala:                   They released a DVD topographical thing where-

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   So we could find property that way, but it was just … Now there’s computers.

Jill DeWit:                            Is that amazing?

Steven Butala:                   Yeah, just amazing actually.

Jill DeWit:                            I do remember too, that when I started with you, I remember still giving driving directions, telling people where to turn to find a certain property.

Steven Butala:                   Yep. Now it’s just GPS coordinates.

Jill DeWit:                            Now it’s just like, “Here you go,” ping, and they can pop it in their phone.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s great.

Steven Butala:                   Then Google Earth came out and it just changed the world.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   It changed our world over night.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   From when I found out about it. I remember just a whole weekend obsessing on Google Earth like, “This is gonna change our lives.”

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   And it did.

Jill DeWit:                            It did. It’s wonderful.

Steven Butala:                   Anyway, I wish there was a silver bullet, or a magic button where you could say, “Yep, I’m not gonna be a D.I.C.X. at work.” There’s been several times where I’ve pulled Jill out of her office saying, “This has gotta stop.” These people are doing a good job, you’re going nuts.

Jill DeWit:                            Thanks. It sounds like you’re throwing me under the bus.

Steven Butala:                   No, no. Hey, as many times as I’ve done that, you’ve done that for me.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you.

Steven Butala:                   Everybody has their days.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   Anything else?

Jill DeWit:                            Nope. I think we’ve covered it well. My only last point is here, you’re not alone.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. Hey, give us a good story about a great boss that you’ve had a terrible one that you’ve had and why.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, all right. Well, you know what, a great boss that I had was one that, and I try to find like minded people, in our community with like minded people, I try to hire staff, at least the ones that report directly to me, I try to find like minded people. My favorite boss, her name was [Terry], we were so on the same page, she just let me run. I knew what my goals were, I knew what my numbers had to be, and I knew what my schedule was, and I never pushed it. I always went to her ahead of time, everything was within reason, and I always hit my numbers and-

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            She just let me run, it was great. She didn’t have to baby sit me and I didn’t need baby sitting. There’s a thing too. Some people need to be managed and some people don’t. I’m definitely one of those, please don’t micro-manage me. Know that, and I’ll kill it. If you don’t, I will kill it. That’s how we operate, so Terry was my favorite, favorite boss. Trying to think of my least favorite boss. I’ve developed great connections with seriously, everyone that I’ve worked for. There was one person I worked with though that had a horrible, horrible experience. She had a little more seniority than me. She was above me, so could call at few of the shots, but she wasn’t directly my boss, but, shucks, what was her name? It started with an … Oh, [Sherry]. Oh my gosh, I’ll never forget Sherry. She just didn’t like me for some reason. I don’t know why.

Steven Butala:                   She probably didn’t like anybody.

Jill DeWit:                            I think that’s true. She would take it upon … I would always get the worst schedule and the worst whatever and I remember trying. I would go to my boss and I would say, “I need help with Sherry.” She was like, “All right,” and she would try to help me. No matter what-

Steven Butala:                   You can’t stop that.

Jill DeWit:                            I would actually buy, I remember going out and buying books. I want and upped my Dale [Carnegie] listen of books. Seriously, not kidding.

Steven Butala:                   That’s the greatest thing about you Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            [inaudible]

Steven Butala:                   You take responsibility to try to fix it instead of blaming her.

Jill DeWit:                            I did. Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   I mean it. That’s a huge compliment.

Jill DeWit:                            I thought, I can’t change her, but I can change me.

Steven Butala:                   That’s the best attitude ever.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you.

Steven Butala:                   I mean it.

Jill DeWit:                            I went at it going, “What do I need to do about my attitude?” That’s exactly what it did, and it worked out fine. At the very bitter then, I at least developed more skills to go, “You know what, that’s just Sherry.” Honestly, that’s the way I am now too, you know that. Meaning when I’m driving around in the car and someone cuts me off, I don’t blame them. I just go, “You know what, it sucks to be them. I’m gonna be over here, I’m gonna let them have their way. Just get out of the way and do my thing.”

Steven Butala:                   Let’s face it, you’re listening to this show because you’ve either experienced all of this stuff times 80-

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   And you want to have your own real estate company and make a ton of money and not have to report to anyone, or you’ve already done it.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s true. Or you’re really, really bored. I was just kidding. I was waiting for that one.

Steven Butala:                   Well, you’ve did it again. You’ve spent another 15 minutes or so listening to the Land Academy show. Join us next time for the three business owner essentials. They’re not what you think.

Jill DeWit:                            And we answer your questions posted on our online community at landinvestors.com, it is free.

Steven Butala:                   You are not alone in your real estate ambition.

Jill DeWit:                            Now on the after show, can I please ask you about yours? Who was your favorite boss and worse boss?

Steven Butala:                   The best boss I had, favorite boss was the one when I was buying and selling nursing homes. As a Vice President for a publicly traded company in Arizona. I had really, three bosses. They were the owners of the company and we took the company public. I was young, really, really young, took me under their wing and really prepped me for what is it to own a company, what it is to get financed and just all the big basic mechanics, which all led to buying and selling land eventually. The worse boss I ever had was in commercial real estate in Detroit. This is right out of school, right out of college. He was this large, Irish, angry … I think a lot of it was a sign of the times. Guys are coming off the 60s and 70s and somebody probably did it to them when they were young, so-

Jill DeWit:                            That’s how you manage people?

Steven Butala:                   Well, they just thought … That’s a whole different culture back there. They just thought that punishment was the way people learned.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh.

Steven Butala:                   And being treated really poorly was, just like a fraternity mentality.

Jill DeWit:                            Like a hazing?

Steven Butala:                   Yeah and I knew it was all bad. I grew up with all that in that culture, and that’s why I left as soon as I could. Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            I’m sorry.

Steven Butala:                   No, no.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s safe.

Steven Butala:                   I’m fine.

Jill DeWit:                            You’re in a safe place now. I promise, no one’s gonna-

Steven Butala:                   I’m not scarred for life or anything like that.

Jill DeWit:                            That is-

Steven Butala:                   I knew what was happening.

Jill DeWit:                            Is that a cigarette burn on your hand?

Steven Butala:                   Actually, it would have been a cigar with it.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh god.

Steven Butala:                   I there was a time when we drink and smoked in our offices.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s awesome. That’s great.

Steven Butala:                   No, it sucked.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s okay.

Steven Butala:                   I knew while it was happening I’m like, “The first commission check, I’m out of here,” and that’s what happened.

Jill DeWit:                            I’m glad Steven. Well, you know what, admitting there’s a problem is the first step towards recovery. Just kidding.

Steven Butala:                   My god.

Jill DeWit:                            I don’t know. Anyway, just having fun. Hey, wherever you’re watching, or wherever you’re listening, please rate us there. We are Steve and Jill.

Steven Butala:                   We are Steve and Jill. Information-

Jill DeWit:                            And inspiration.

Steven Butala:                   To buy undervalued property.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please review it in iTunes . Reviews are incredibly important for rankings on iTunes. My staff and I read each and every one.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at steven@BuWit.com.

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