Working From Home on Your Land Business (LA 1609)

Working From Home on Your Land Business (LA 1609)

Transcript:

Steven Jack Butala:
Steve and Jill here.

Jill DeWit:
Hello.

Steven Jack 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 the valley of the sun.

Steven Jack Butala:
Today, Jill and I talk about working from home on your land business.

Jill DeWit:
Pretty hot topic.

Steven Jack Butala:
It is. I saw that actually, I saw it, it ranked high… It falls under something I thought we all would’ve known and how this works but I get it though.

Jill DeWit:
Do you know what’s so funny? It used to be, working from home on X, right? Meaning, you would have a second job, whatever gig, and now everybody’s working from home. So, it’s like, what do you happen to be working from home on? Does that make sense? Are you’re working from home? No kidding. Is it your day job? You know what I mean? I’m just curious, so is the planet.

Steven Jack Butala:
It wasn’t that long ago when someone said, she’s working from home today?

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Jack Butala:
And everybody would say, oh, she’s getting nothing done and took the day off.

Jill DeWit:
Totally.

Steven Jack Butala:
It’s just not the case at all- [crosstalk 00:00:59]

Jill DeWit:
She’s doing laundry and she’s watching movies- [crosstalk 00:01:01].

Steven Jack Butala:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jill DeWit:
And everything. Now, it has a whole new different meaning now, it’s true.

Steven Jack Butala:
Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the landinvestors.com, online community is free. And don’t forget to subscribe on the Land Academy YouTube channel and comment on the shows you like.

Jill DeWit:
I’ve got to add one little thing here too, by the way, home schooling has a whole new meaning now too.

Steven Jack Butala:
It’s going to be interesting how this episode goes.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah. I know.

Steven Jack Butala:
Two cynical people talk about working from home.

Jill DeWit:
I know. Okay. All right. Back to the topic. Jeff wrote, I’ve been an instructor since 2008.

Steven Jack Butala:
Flight instructor.

Jill DeWit:
Okay. I thought of making flying an expense and probably would have been viable in the years before drones existed. I think you could do as an expense but be very costly compared to the low cost of getting the same photos from a drone. If you could expense the travel but it would be more expensive than the airlines. I think you could expense the travel but it’d be more expensive than the airlines, got it. So, Kevin, our moderator wrote, you can make anything an expense.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yep.

Jill DeWit:
Get the right CPA. That’s true. When he interviewed my CPA he asked an important question, how far do you want me to push the tax laws? I tell him I’m going to push it right up to the limit of the law.

Steven Jack Butala:
Me too.

Jill DeWit:
I don’t care if I’m audited, as long as we document everything. He said, no problem, I know what to do. I think that flying over land that you have an interest in, you can define what an interest means, will be deductible. You will probably get audited but make sure it’s documented and handled correctly on the tax returns. I have done this with a trip in the car to another state, I drove by some parcels while I was the and noted the APNs. Totally, totally on the same page.

Steven Jack Butala:
So, I agree with just about everything that Kevin said but he left a couple of really important key phrases out. Is it ordinary and necessary for you to get your pilot license to fly over an airplane and get good footage? That depends on what type of business you have. If you are a pilot that specializes in land, in fact, we actually have a person in our group who buys vacant land in these airplane communities. Where you land on your own airstrip, taxi into the hangar that is attached to your house and you live there. So, if that becomes your specialization, yeah, you probably need some version of that. You might even have a little show about it, then you really need to be filming things inside of an airplane, not just with a drone, you’re really separating yourself from drone. So, now it becomes, for that type of business, a lot more necessary and ordinary for you to sell these properties, buy and sell properties like that. So, the whole test is ordinary and necessary.

Jill DeWit:
And that means not ordinary necessary on the planet but ordinary necessary to you and your business.

Steven Jack Butala:
And your specific business and more and more and more- [crosstalk 00:03:58]

Jill DeWit:
Correct.

Steven Jack Butala:
The definition of that’s getting wider and wider and wider. I just explained it, for us, I’m extremely confident. Jill’s a pilot, by the way, it’s not ordinary or necessary for us to buy a plane or rent a plane to go shoot video. But if we started down the path and we did the Jill DeWit pilot show and here’s why we’re specializing in land, then I think we could justify that expense.

Jill DeWit:
Right. I was thinking of this, an accountant doesn’t need to have all the latest and greatest games on the planet and all the, albeit, software and headphones and stuff for all his games/however, if his night job, right? Is he’s online gaming, maybe he puts it on YouTube and he has followers and he gets some revenue from that, he’s building up his own little gaming viewing community, then it’s… Don’t you agree?

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah. It was not so long ago along the lines of what Jill’s saying.

Jill DeWit:
Don’t know where I got that random thing of- [crosstalk 00:04:59]

Steven Jack Butala:
Everything. [crosstalk 00:04:59]

Jill DeWit:
Clearly not rehearsed. [crosstalk 00:05:01]

Steven Jack Butala:
Everything used to neatly fit into our boxes. So, Jill just described what an accountant could reasonably write-off, that’s ordinary and necessary. Do they need a desk? Yeah. Do they need a computer? Yeah. Probably, a new one every year. Do they need a telephone and ways to communicate with their clients? Do they file tax returns? Do they have employees? Do they have to have nice office space? Because that’s something where this person’s tax practice, they’re entertaining clients in the office.

Jill DeWit:
That’s true.

Steven Jack Butala:
Do I have a big staff? Can I take everybody to lunch every- [crosstalk 00:05:31].

Jill DeWit:
Friday.

Steven Jack Butala:
Every Friday. Even every day, if they’re always in the office, which is even becoming more strange in these COVID times. So, everything’s changing.

Jill DeWit:
Yep.

Steven Jack Butala:
And if you’re a professional snowboarder, there’s a lot of stuff you could probably write-off.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah. Oh my goodness, goggles, travel, all your equipment.

Steven Jack Butala:
Can Jill, I shouldn’t say write-off, can Jill expense lipstick? Sure. Not all of her lipstick but the lipsticks she wears on the show. Believe it or not, I didn’t know this until recently. It’s different, it’s different than what she wears in the real world.

Jill DeWit:
Not really.

Steven Jack Butala:
So, I’m trying to keep the IRS on her back.

Jill DeWit:
Oh, excuse me. It’s different. I have different wardrobes too.

Steven Jack Butala:
I think we’ve made our point here.

Jill DeWit:
Sorry.

Steven Jack Butala:
Expensing, business expense, you should use that right up… Kevin’s right about this. Right up to the limits of the law without dancing over that line.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Jack Butala:
Today’s topic, working home on your land business. This is the meat of the show. That was actually a good question for this topic.

Jill DeWit:
You know what’s funny? I was listening to a show one time, somebody else’s podcast, and they were bending the rules so far back, I can’t believe it. The way they intertwined every possible tax write-off and opening different types of savings accounts and- [crosstalk 00:07:02]

Steven Jack Butala:
Oh, geez. That’s terrible. [crosstalk 00:07:02].

Jill DeWit:
And creating little companies to move things around. It was their podcast, seriously, I’m like… And they were beating their chests because of how much money they made and how little they paid in taxes and maybe even none.

Steven Jack Butala:
That’s the equivalent of filming your crime spree.

Jill DeWit:
I know. And I was like… So, what made me think of that is, there’s the extreme of, hey, let’s do what’s right. I guess, my point in this question is, we want you to know what’s possible. If you’re not writing some of this stuff off, hold on a moment, you can get some value back here. So, that’s what you need to know. Now, we’re saying, don’t try right to be that guy and go out there and take it to the other extreme.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Jill DeWit:
Thank you. So, today’s topic. Okay. So, working from home on your land business. So, this used to be a dream and for now, a lot of people it’s reality and it’s not just because… well, it’s two parts, one, because, since we launched Land Academy, we used to call it the quitters club, remember that?

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Jill DeWit:
So, since we launched Land Academy, we have more and more people join the quitters club. We have some that voluntarily join the quitters club and some that were asked to leave their day jobs and join the quitters club. I mean, as they got laid off, that happens. And a lot of people said, oh, thank God, I’m so glad. And then there’s a lot of people out there that are still… they’re working from home right now, this is a whole different shift. We used to have a lot of people that came to us and they’re like, I just hate the commute. I hate the city I’m in, I hate having to do this. I take a drive an hour and a half and then spend 8 hours and drive home, I never see my family. I want to do something else, like land, so I can work from home.

Jill DeWit:
So now, we still have some of that but now it’s more like, okay, I’m working from home, I took up my commute. I see my family, I don’t really get to talk to them because I’m on the Zoom meetings all day long. So, now I really want to make a transition to working on what I want to work on and setting my own hours and deciding how I want it to go.

Steven Jack Butala:
Working from home is a norm now.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
I swear, that’s why consumer consumption’s way up. People are buying… If we’re going to wait half a year to get an RV recently, Jill and I, if we could find one at all.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Jack Butala:
And it seems like, more and more, that’s just the way it is. And I’m convinced it’s a direct result of everybody being, effectively, that’s the key for me here, really effectively, working from home. So, what does effectively mean? This is really what I want to talk about. Because Jill and I had a little… we had a pretty significant difference of opinion about this early on when she actually ultimately quit her W2 job and we’ve started working together. Working from home is much, much harder, for the vast majority of people, than it is just going to the office. You can drink all night, drag yourself to the office, make a cup of coffee and go hide. You can’t do that at home.

Jill DeWit:
Well, you can.

Steven Jack Butala:
No. This is where the difference is.

Jill DeWit:
Oh.

Steven Jack Butala:
You should never do that at home.

Jill DeWit:
That’s true.

Steven Jack Butala:
You should be harder on yourself than any boss you’ve ever had. You should have a full schedule. You should know exactly, by the time Sunday rolls around, you should know exactly what’s going on that week. You backed your goals into it, you know exactly what you’re doing on Monday morning, what time you’re supposed to be sitting at your desk, what you’re supposed to record, how many offers you’re supposed to get out. You have to have a serious, in my opinion, schedule and you have to stick to it and show up for it. So, I’m a much harder boss that I’ve ever had. I’m less of a, I can’t say these negative words on the- [crosstalk 00:10:41].

Jill DeWit:
Oh, sure you can. Why hold back now? You didn’t hold back before.

Steven Jack Butala:
I think I’m more- [crosstalk 00:10:52].

Jill DeWit:
On the first 1,600 episodes you didn’t hold back.

Steven Jack Butala:
I think I’m a lot more fair than the real bad ones that I’ve had in the past. But I think I also- [crosstalk 00:10:59]

Jill DeWit:
Oh, boss wise?

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Jill DeWit:
Oh.

Steven Jack Butala:
But I expect a lot.

Jill DeWit:
Oh my gosh, yes. [crosstalk 00:11:02]

Steven Jack Butala:
I expect stuff… Really?

Jill DeWit:
Yes.

Steven Jack Butala:
I expect stuff to be on time. So, that’s what I mean, effective at work. We have two really good friends, lifelong social friends, and they’re very high up in really large companies and they’ve been effectively working at home, why? Because they totally… The people that are under them, they have meetings daily, they stick to a schedule and they work it all out. So, this is not for everybody.

Jill DeWit:
True. It is still hard. And we are so lucky, when we transitioned, a year and a half ago, to everybody going home, 95% of our employees could hack it. There was a small, less than 10%, obviously, that couldn’t make it and they’re not with us anymore. They couldn’t focus, they couldn’t do it. They didn’t have the self-discipline.

Steven Jack Butala:
That’s what it is, self-discipline, I was going to use the same word. It would be impossible for me to work at home without a calendar. And in the beginning it was printed out Excel sheets on my desk, believe it or not, so that I would make sure I would show up with a lot of eraser and fill back in, eraser and a lot of broken pencils. So, I remember, actually working at home for the first time, a lot of years ago, I don’t know why, it was probably something like you described. I didn’t want to do it, I either got laid off or I think that’s what it was. And it’s just this sunken terrible feeling, it’s like, I don’t know what to do. And then- [crosstalk 00:12:27].

Jill DeWit:
But you’re in a timeout.

Steven Jack Butala:
And it’s like, after about a week of that, it’s like, what do you mean you don’t know what to do? You know exactly what to do. It’s not that I didn’t know what to do, I was so inefficient at actually going into an office, it was silly.

Jill DeWit:
I agree with that.

Steven Jack Butala:
I mean, what did you say? You’re famous for say it, I can get everything done. Jill used to get everything done for her entire work month in five days.

Jill DeWit:
It’s not my fault if I can do it in 8 hours and it takes you 40.

Steven Jack Butala:
So, if you’re shaking your head going, oh, geez, I’m just like Jill, working at home’s for you. If you’re shaking your head saying, oh, I would never get up. I wouldn’t get up until 11 o’clock every day, if I worked at home, this isn’t for you.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah. There’s a balance. That’s very true. And you have to find your own balance and find your own groove because, two things can happen. One, is like you said, you’re not going to get up at 11 and 11 becomes 1, 1 becomes 3. You’re like, nah, well, today’s shot, I’ll try it tomorrow. And then, the other extreme is, you hit the ground running and then you cram more on and more on more and you’re worn out. You are doing, in 90 days, what you used to do in 30, which is not bad but you don’t want to alienate your family and friends because you never come out of your office. So, there’s a good balance. Because I have been guilty of the second one.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yes you have.

Jill DeWit:
I have been guilty of sitting at my desk, really working and that’s probably why you’re like, what are you doing in there? Well, sometimes I’m really not working, it’s just my space now. But in the past, I’ve been in there and I get so into what I’m doing and I’m making progress and I’m working on, whatever project it is. I forget to eat lunch and then I’m grumpy, four o’clock rolls around and no one’s seen me and I’m like… Then it’s not fun because you got to take care of yourself.

Steven Jack Butala:
The way that we used to go to college, it’s the same thing. And I’m noticing now that this is not how kids go to college anymore. So, in my first year in college, I lived in a dorm with two other idiot guys and I remember taking as many classes, the fullest class load I could take, because I didn’t trust myself.

Jill DeWit:
Oh, to have any downtime?

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Jill DeWit:
Got it.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah. I needed to either study or be at school and eventually I had to work.

Jill DeWit:
That was good. That was your freshman year you did that?

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah. Not the entire year. The first, we were on trimesters back then, at Michigan State, it’s semesters now. But the first two trimesters, I had to really prove it to myself and then I did. And then I, like every college kid, went over the deep end on the other side.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah.

Steven Jack Butala:
Then I had to make up for it. College is not to learn. We know what we’re all going to learn in college.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Jack Butala:
Maybe a few more Spanish words is what… We take Spanish the language.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Jack Butala:
Or you’re not going to learn anything in math, I’ll tell you that, after doing okay in high school. You learn that other stuff, like how to manage your time.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Jack Butala:
How to- [crosstalk 00:15:23].

Jill DeWit:
Show up.

Steven Jack Butala:
How to show up.

Jill DeWit:
That’s where I failed. So, when I first got to college, it was like, the first time, truth time, I ditched a full week. My senior year in high school and prior to that, I ditched one or two days here and there and that was it. I was so into school, I really liked it- [crosstalk 00:15:43]

Steven Jack Butala:
In high school?

Jill DeWit:
In high school. I really showed up. I was teachers pet. [crosstalk 00:15:47]

Steven Jack Butala:
So, what happened in college? I don’t understand.

Jill DeWit:
Well, then you’re supposed to show up, so I did show up. So, I get to college and the teachers are like, you know what? It kind of doesn’t really matter. The lectures are going to be here, here’s where you can find them and you can share notes. You have your syllabus. I really care that you’re here for the midterm and final and this, this. And that wasn’t every class but there were a couple classes like that. I’m like, oh… A psychology class or maybe a theater class or something. You mean I have to watch a couple movies and I just show up, fit for a test- [crosstalk 00:16:20].

Steven Jack Butala:
And then write a paper.

Jill DeWit:
I know. Boy, did I take that to the… And then, of course, I did do the three o’clock became five o’clock, today’s shot. Oh, well, I’ll do it tomorrow. So, I goofed that up. So, anyway, we don’t need more about me.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah, we do. That’s the best part of the episode.

Jill DeWit:
Oh shoot. Do you want to know how it ended?

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah. I do.

Jill DeWit:
Okay.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah. Exactly, I do.

Jill DeWit:
Here’s how it ended. So, my sweet parents said, well, Jill, we happen to be moving at the end of your freshman year anyway. We are moving from Garden Grove, dad got that good job- [crosstalk 00:16:57]

Steven Jack Butala:
You ever noticed how- [crosstalk 00:16:57]

Jill DeWit:
Got the pilot job. [crosstalk 00:16:58].

Steven Jack Butala:
People from California just say the city.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah. That’s true.

Steven Jack Butala:
And they just assume that the entire… Because the center of the universe is where they live- [crosstalk 00:17:06]

Jill DeWit:
Southern California. [inaudible 00:17:06]

Steven Jack Butala:
Where they live in California. So, oh, I’m from Garden Grove. Oh, really? I’m from Dublin, Ireland. People don’t even say Dublin, they say Dublin, Ireland or Tokyo, Japan or New York, New York.

Jill DeWit:
I could have given you the freeway, I could have said, right off the 22 but I don’t want to do that. Anyway, so- [crosstalk 00:17:23]

Steven Jack Butala:
So, it’s such a California thing.

Jill DeWit:
I know, we do that, you’re right. So, anyway, we moved to Laguna Hills, California, which was about 30 minutes south, which put me a good maybe 45 minutes or so from my college, at the time, which was Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton.

Steven Jack Butala:
Okay. Now I know what you’re talking about. Thank you.

Jill DeWit:
So then, my parents said, we’re moving and they said, you know what Jill? You can just goof off down at Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, California. So, that’s what happened and there you go. And then I’m not going to go into the rest from there, it was all over the place after that. And no, I never finished, that’s the end of the story.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yes it is. And here you.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah. Here I am.

Steven Jack Butala:
Well, you know what? Real quick.

Jill DeWit:
Okay.

Steven Jack Butala:
Did you effectively work from home now?

Jill DeWit:
Do I work from home now?

Steven Jack Butala:
Do you effectively do it?

Jill DeWit:
Oh gosh, yes.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah, me too. I think so too.

Jill DeWit:
Oh, I nail it at home.

Steven Jack Butala:
To the nines actually.

Jill DeWit:
Totally.

Steven Jack Butala:
This is a truth, here’s truth time. This episode went way over in time. We can effectively do, both of us, our entire responsibilities for all the companies that we operate, with the exception of land, so Land Academy and all this other stuff like this show, two days a week, if we bust it. If we bust it from sun up sun down, two days a week. The problem with land, it’s not a problem because I’m talking to you because you have a land business or you want one, is you have to really be available.

Jill DeWit:
Right.

Steven Jack Butala:
And so, it’s more of a, it’s not a jam it up, get it all done, then go have fun, which was what college was.

Jill DeWit:
Could you imagine?

Steven Jack Butala:
But it’s really a spread out, I got to answer the phone during dinner, kind of, thing.

Jill DeWit:
Oh no, no, no. This is what I… I’ve been painting the picture. Hi, can you imagine putting this on our offer, and if you have anything to say, we accept phone calls from sellers between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Steven Jack Butala:
They’d wreck your career overnight. [crosstalk 00:19:28]

Jill DeWit:
Could you imagine? And then, oh, and buyers, we accept calls between 2 and 4:00 PM on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Steven Jack Butala:
So, I’ll leave you with this.

Jill DeWit:
That wouldn’t work.

Steven Jack Butala:
The chances are, if you don’t work from home right now and you try to do this or you do a bunch of deals and you decide to make the shift, like many, many people have recently or the reports that we’re getting, shifts to go to work from home, there’s going to be a big adjustment and you will probably not, for quite some time, be as effective as you were if you worked somewhere else.

Jill DeWit:
That’s okay.

Steven Jack Butala:
There’s too much distraction but it’s worth it at the end. Just make sure that Sunday’s laundry day, not one load every day and all that.

Jill DeWit:
Good point. Thank you. Happy you could join us today. Five days a week, you can find us here on the Land Academy show.

Steven Jack Butala:
Tomorrow the episode on the Land Academy show is called, well, it’s beginner’s guide to doing land deals by Jill. You are not alone in your real estate ambition.

Jill DeWit:
Just throw that in there.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yeah.

Jill DeWit:
It’s not my topic, it’s our topic. It’s our show, not my show. Thank you for tuning in. We hope you find our content valuable and we appreciate your support. If you haven’t already, please check out our YouTube channel and hit the subscribe button.

Both Speakers:
We are Steve and Jill.

Steven Jack Butala:
Information-

Jill DeWit:
And inspiration-

Steven Jack Butala:
To buy undervalued property.

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