Land Academy Member Laurie Phillips Interviews Jack and Jill (LA 1785)

Land Academy Member Laurie Phillips Interviews Jack and Jill (LA 1785)

Transcript:

Steven Jack Butala:
Steven and Jill here.

Jill K DeWit:
Hello.

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

Jill K DeWit:
I’m Jill DeWit broadcasting from the Valley of the Sun.

Steven Jack Butala:
Today once again, Laurie Phillips joins us in a reverse role. She’s actually going to interview Jill and I, and hopefully ask some questions or discuss some topics that Jill and I have forgotten to cover because we’re so neck deep into this whole business.

Jill K DeWit:
This is Laurie’s show today. This is what this is. Laurie gets to lead this show and ask whatever she wants. I’m so excited.

Steven Jack Butala:
Me too. Hi Laurie.

Laurie:
Great. Well, thank you for inviting me to be back on. I know we spend a lot of time together on our Thursday calls and in career path and the advanced member calls, but I’ve really never had the opportunity to sit down and just kind of grill you on some of these things and get your opinion. I’m sure you’ll have one. So to get started, I have been a business consultant for most of my life and very, very early on I was taught that when you interview people, you start out with a really easy question to kind of warm them up. So here’s my question for you to get started. Have you ever lived on railroad tracks?

Steven Jack Butala:
Yes.

Jill K DeWit:
No.

Steven Jack Butala:
Do you want some details on that?

Laurie:
Well, I do want details and then I’ll tell you why I’m asking.

Steven Jack Butala:
It’s a great question.

Jill K DeWit:
I’m a little nervous right now. I just got to say, I realized, whoa, it’s different being on the other side.

Laurie:
Yeah, Jill’s going to learn something. Go ahead, Steve.

Steven Jack Butala:
The freight rail went straight through the middle of Michigan State’s Campus where I graduated and I had a dorm for… It was less than a year because I couldn’t take it because of this exact topic. So I lived… it was right out of a movie, right on the tracks. In fact, one of our extracurricular activities, as you can imagine, was to have a bunch of beers and then go out and stand as close to the train flying by as you possibly can. And if you’ve never done that, you need to do that in your life.

Jill K DeWit:
Nice.

Laurie:
Okay.

Jill K DeWit:
Oh, my gosh. I’ve never lived next to railroad tracks, but I had my own version. In Tustin, I lived right next to the five, literally, our backyard, a wall, freeway. So I did a version of that and because it’s Southern California, it never stopped. So you just got used to that hum of the cars.

Steven Jack Butala:
To this day, I can’t stand to be anywhere near an interstate.

Jill K DeWit:
I know. Exactly.

Steven Jack Butala:
Probably because of the train scathing.

Jill K DeWit:
That’s all we could afford. That was with my roommate and I, when we first moved out, that’s what we could afford.

Steven Jack Butala:
Can we ask you the same thing? The same question?

Jill K DeWit:
No. It’s Laurie’s show.

Steven Jack Butala:
Oh, we can’t? Okay.

Laurie:
Actually, I’ll answer it and I’ll tell you why. When I was in college, starving student, my friend and I rented a place that was right on the tracks, literally 50 feet from the tracks and the train came through late at night, probably two or three in the morning. And the first week it was like someone hit you with a defib because you just went, ah, when train came by. And after a week you didn’t even notice it, didn’t even hear it. But when visitors would come and stay with us, they had that experience and it was always kind of funny. But the reason I’m asking is we will frequently look at property that’s on a train track on our Thursday calls. And I wondered what your thoughts were about whether that really has much effect whether the property’s going to sell at a good price.

Jill K DeWit:
It weighs in a little bit, depending on what their use is. If it’s going to be a house and it’s like just an acre and a half, that’s going to make a difference. But 40 acres and the train tracks behind, I don’t really care. Great. There’s fine.

Steven Jack Butala:
I’m with Jill, but it has to be price adjusted because of that.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah.

Laurie:
That’s what I found with the property I bought where the tracks border the property, same thing. Two acres, tracks on the property, you get a lot of people who say, nah, before you get someone who says, yeah, I want to buy that because it’s affordable, but it ends up taking more time. That’s what I’ve found. Okay. So the meat of the show or beyond meat, depending on your preference. I have a couple questions for you.

Steven Jack Butala:
Jill laughed at this one, Laurie.

Jill K DeWit:
It came off the shelf.

Steven Jack Butala:
That’s brand new.

Laurie:
Beyond me. Okay. So I have a lot of exposure as you do to newcomers to this business and hear a lot of questions and have them seek advice about, should I do this? Should I do that? So I know you’ve been around a lot longer than I have in doing this and wanted to see what would you say the top three mistakes are that beginners make, that they have to correct before they’re really going to take off in this business.

Jill K DeWit:
Let me go first?

Steven Jack Butala:
Sure.

Jill K DeWit:
Number one, they got to get out of their own head. I see people coming along and they think they know it better. This doesn’t make sense. I’m not going to do this. I’m not going to do that. They have to forget what they know and trust us and follow the steps, that’s number one.
Number two, they may have to accept they need to learn some things like technical stuff. I watched people coming in here and thinking I can do this and not have the skills. And this is a lot. You’ve picked up on this too. You maybe need to get brush up on your Excel and things like that because it’s so data heavy that and it may take a little bit longer.
And another thing is two people come in, I’ll be honest they need to be able to afford to do this. I want people to be successful. And I’m always telling people, if this is not the right time, you don’t have the funds to do this, don’t worry about it. Wait a year, do whatever you got to do, sit tight, you can’t be under the gun. And I think people come in here with unrealistic expectations and they need some money to get going. Those are my three.

Steven Jack Butala:
So I might answer 1, 2, 3, or I might answer just one and then it’s an offshoot or I might have 17 of these.

Jill K DeWit:
Oh, here we go.

Laurie:
Go for it.

Steven Jack Butala:
Number one, first and foremost is you just have to understand that this is you being successful. And Land Academy is just a tool. If you turn a screwdriver that’s been worn down and used for 30 years and expect to turn a screw, that’s not going to happen. But Land Academy is a brand new screwdriver, but it’s not going to do anything if it’s sitting in the toolbox.
So it comes down to you. And I think that there’re several things that you can, as a potential new Land Academy member that you have to ask yourself, do I have enough money? Am I going to take personal, personal responsibility for making this successful and use this screwdriver the way that it was intended? And can I mentally deal with, because of past experiences, the ups and downs of this. And it’s not just Land Academy, it’s anything. So there’s a lot of ups and downs to this and a lot of moving parts. And I think a lot people who have not owned businesses in the past or had some type of success and failure on their own, I don’t think this is the best environment for them.

Jill K DeWit:
I’m trying to think of people in discord too. Like some of the stuff that I think is happening between discord and land investors. And I think sometimes people don’t take a moment to do their own research because your answers are probably right there even before. I tell people this too, before you call the county, why don’t you spend five minutes and see if you could solve it yourself or at least when you call them, you’re going to sound like you tried.
If you go into discord or something, you have a question about filling the blank and you search for it for a little bit and then you’re not finding it, then please answer. Otherwise, it’s a little annoying, I’m sure, for all of us too, to keep answering. I do. And that’s kind of why Land Academy came to be, instead of answering the same question over and over again, we thought we’ll make a program. Here’s a thought and everybody can watch it and learn. And then ask me questions.

Steven Jack Butala:
That’s a great question. I could go on about this for an hour. Probably 2% of the people that join Land Academy are loud enough where we hear about it, where they’re having serious problems. Let’s just say 10% of the rest of everybody does extremely well and we never hear about it. You know where we know about this in career path. People come out of the woodwork. We have a guy in there, his name’s Ike, right now he makes 7 million dollars a year.

Jill K DeWit:
He’s like, “Yeah, I just doubling it.”

Steven Jack Butala:
And he’s like, “I Don’t know, what’s the problem?”

Jill K DeWit:
We’re like, “Where have you been?” He’s like, “I haven’t been here the whole time. Just quietly doing my thing. I listen to you guys. I do what you said. I’m like, “Wow.”

Steven Jack Butala:
And we had somebody who will remain nameless in the last one forever saying, I just send out 6,000 offers and this doesn’t work. And they don’t say it with that tone of voice. They say it with no confidence. And they’re not into it. And it’s not somebody that I would want to talk to on the phone, not even once. I wouldn’t make it through a first date. So you just have to really look at yourself and say, am I a dynamic person like Jill, that’s what you have to ask yourself. Really dynamic people, and like you Laurie seem to do great at this.

Laurie:
There were a couple of things that I want to add to that. One, I see a lot of beginners trying to minimize the amount of mail they send. They want to reduce their data download by adding all kinds of parameters. They add dumb stuff, simply dumb stuff like assessed value, come on.
Search assessed value on the land investors forum, it’s free or on discord, if you’re a member. And you will find a ton of responses by people who’ve bought and sold lot of land about assessed value. And without exception, every single one of them says ignore assessed value. But I see a lot of beginners saying, well, if I leave assessed value in there, I may end up with $2 million property in my list. So what? Really, so what. The amount of time that it takes to sort through that stuff is crazy. And we know that I’m not going to repeat what you can already find in either of those locations, but we know that assess value really doesn’t have anything to do with what the market value of a property is. So that was one of the other things I see.
Also, people who try to make these, I’ll call them indirect offers where they send postcards, where they send ranged offers or neutral letters or any of these kind of things. I mean, just go ahead outside in your fire pit and throw your money in there and light it.

Jill K DeWit:
I agree. And while you’re doing it, spend an extra week on the phone, talking to these people that are all just want to talk.

Steven Jack Butala:
I see how this interview’s going to go. You’re going to say all the stuff-

Jill K DeWit:
That awesome.

Steven Jack Butala:
… I’ve always wanted to say.

Jill K DeWit:
This is great.

Laurie:
Okay. Well, they’re not actually going to spend time on the phone talking to people, Jill because they’re going to let them all go to voicemail.

Jill K DeWit:
That’s right. Good point. That’s Google voice, by the way, Google voice mail.

Laurie:
Google voice and it’s going to ring 12 times on Google voice then it’s going to roll over to their personal cell and they’re going to go, oh, oh, I don’t want to answer that, they might be mad.

Jill K DeWit:
Exactly.

Laurie:
And I got to say, these are all things I thought of or did when I was brand new. I learned pretty quickly though from reading the forums and reading all the stuff that Kevin Farrell has posted, just invaluable. Luke Smith, all of these guys, who’d done this before and said, don’t do that and here’s why. If you’ve done this, don’t feel stupid. Well, join the ranks.

Jill K DeWit:
Exactly.

Laurie:
But those are habits or things you just got to walk away from and the directions in 3.0, in cash flow for land and 1.0, they’re very simple, they’re very direct. And that’s what you need to do to be successful.

Steven Jack Butala:
I think it would be a very good idea if you listener are thinking about joining Land Academy midway through your research, let’s say, I think I would take a couple of days off and philosophically ask yourself, is this for you? In fact, ask us on land investors or schedule a call. I don’t know how you can best reach us through whatever, but it really comes down to that one sentence because I’ve tried to play the guitar my entire life and I really want to do it. I do. I sit down for an hour and practice every day now. This is what this takes. It takes sitting down for hours and hours and hours and obsessing on it and believing that it works right from the beginning and then doing whatever it takes to make it work.
So is this for you? It’s also not going to work, I’m going to flat out since this is how this interview is going, which I love. I’m flat out going to tell you if you don’t have any money, this is not going to work for you. You need to have money to send out mail and you need to make sure that whatever life expenses that you’re incurring, your rents or whatever it ends up being, you’ve got another source of income to cover all that because you’re not going to join Land Academy with no money or very little money, spend all your money on a mailer and wonder where your rent’s going to come from. It’s not the right time to do this, if ever.

Jill K DeWit:
Exactly. Thank you.

Laurie:
Good. Okay. So let’s talk about the flip side of that. There are people that like Ike that you mentioned, and lots of other people that have been really active on discord and have done gone through career path and have just killed it, just made a ton of money in a short period of time. A lot of them in a very short period of time without bringing a whole lot of real estate background if any at all, to what they’re doing. So what would you say they do? What are the habits that new people can leap straight into that’ll put them on the road to fast success.

Jill K DeWit:
Do not even bat an eye about mail and send out more than you think you can handle. We just had the advanced call, was it yesterday? Yeah. Yesterday. And that was the underlying theme. And now they’re almost even kind of one upping each other. You only did 10,000. Well, I did 15,000 last week kind of thing. They know the value of the more mail you send. The more offers you have back, the more you can pick and choose the best ones and you will not make mistakes and just keep on doing, you have to push yourself. But that I think is the underlying theme is they don’t even think about it. There is no budget for their mail. They just know I need more deal flow. All right. Do it again.

Steven Jack Butala:
I mean, I can answer that question in one word, fearless. When Jill’s phone rings, she is fearless about who’s on the other end. She doesn’t fret about it.

Jill K DeWit:
Thank you.

Steven Jack Butala:
She enjoys it and she knows whatever’s on the other end of that phone, she’s going to handle it including hanging up if that’s what she needs to do, which I’ve actually never seen you do. So you have to have blatant disregard for your own comfort and just plow forward and do whatever it takes to make it successful. There’s a guy on the same call, advanced call, it’s cracking us all up. He joined, I don’t know when he joined, he downloaded 60 or 80,000 records sent the mail out and he’s never done another download in his life. He keeps every three months sending the same 60,000 out and the same 60,000 out and pulling three and four deals out of it, or four or five deals out of it.
And over and over and over again, the exact same mailer doesn’t update it. And he’s shaking his head going, I don’t know why everybody else doesn’t do this. So it’s almost like this is the same theme last week in career path. You have to just not care. I think if you have the resources at your disposal, like money on time and you don’t really care, but you are going to go through the motions and do it. The older I get, the less I care about stuff and seem to be more successful.

Laurie:
All right. What else? You’re talking to these folks. Well, some of them, like you said, you just never see again. And then you find out… There’s a couple of people that contact me every once in a while when they have these massive deals and need help finding funding for them. And I’ll dig into what they’ve done and meet with them and say, Hey, tell me about what you’ve been doing. Well, I’m a Land Academy member. I’ve been in stealth mode for three years and I’ve done 250 subdivides. And I make about 4 million a year. And I’m 29 years old.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yes.

Laurie:
So tell me, what else do you hear or see or know about these people that are really successful?

Jill K DeWit:
I got two more good ones too because I see these people in career path. Number one, they’re like us, they’re always learning, even though they’re making that much money and they’re doing everything great. They’re coming to a career path to learn a little bit more, to get to maybe tweak it, maybe improve it a little bit better. Maybe get more efficient. Maybe learn how to hire that kind of a person or just maybe how to restructure their business so it’s even better. So they’re nonstop learn like we do. We are nonstop learning all the time. I’m tweaking all the time.
And then the second thing that I watch these people do is they sit down and they’re good about setting goals. And I learned this a while back. And when you sit down and write something on the piece of paper and have a sticky note about whether it’s an annual goal about money or when you’re going to quit your job or how many deals you’re going to do this month, and what the money’s going to be. Usually, these guys have these big goals like, I’m going to break this much money this year kind of thing. And it’s staring at them. Every decision that they make, they’re reminded of that goal. They’re not going to buy for two, sell for $6,000. They’re going to buy for 20 and sell for 60 because that goal is always in the back of their head and these guys, they hit them. They just do as do we.

Steven Jack Butala:
It comes to me in the form of a thank you note in my email, and I probably get one or two or three a month-ish. Sometimes way more, sometimes none. And it says, Hey, I was a Land Academy member from 2016 to 2018 or I’m still a Land Academy member, but I’m not real vocal anymore. Just wanted to thank you. My wife quit her job in 2019, we’ve had a baby, I make this amount of money now. It’s all because of you. And I’m really paraphrasing. It’s very heartfelt and let me know if I can do anything for you guys kind of thing. So it’s not so much a conversation as it is just thanks. And I get some that say you suck.

Laurie:
You mean from Land Academy members?

Steven Jack Butala:
No, just because we have a show. I think if you have a show, you’re going to suck to somebody.

Jill K DeWit:
No, that’s funny.

Laurie:
That’s great. I think like you were saying, continuing to learn is so important because if you look at the progression of courses that you offer, how they’ve changed over the years, as well as your own experiences. Desert squares used to be a great way to launch and to make a couple of thousand more on once you sell those and so on and so on and so on. They still are, but we all know now from experience that you’re going to put as much effort, maybe more into buying for a thousand and selling for 2000 as you will buying for 10,000 selling for 20.
And we also know that money isn’t a problem anymore when it comes to buying property, there are plenty of people who want to fund your deals for you. Not as many people who are willing to pay for your mail. So that’s something where you were saying about, you need that money to start, I think, your education as well as your data and your mail is really where that’s going to go or where it should go.

Steven Jack Butala:
That’s funny bringing this topic up because right before this call, I’m putting together a spreadsheet and I’m going to present it on the Thursday call tomorrow about managing cash flow throughout the year and how much mail you have to send out. And what I’m finding by really digging through these numbers and I’ll do the whole presentation on the call, is that a fixed cost is how much is stamp costs. And so there is an optimum number.
If you’re only going to do four or five deals a month or even one or two deals a month, whatever your threshold is because there’s a fixed amount of mail in general that you have to do to yield one property, one acquisition. And there’s the price of the mail is fixed, buying a $1,000 property and selling it for 5,000 might not be the threshold even if you do five or six of those deals, you got to do a ton of deals because of those fixed costs. And we all know they’re harder to do than bigger deals. So I’ll present it tomorrow, but it’s simple math like that and calculations and taking responsibility for how much mail you send out calculating what’s going to make it work for you.
You asked earlier, successful people in Land Academy and probably in anything in life take that responsibility on themselves to do individual calculations like that and say, you know what? I don’t want to buy for 5,000 and sell for 10. And you know what? I don’t even want to do it like the way Jack and Jill do it, buy for 30 sell for 90. I’m just going to cut to the chase, do two or three deals a year, send out 60,000 letters. But I want to buy for a 200 and sell for three or 400.

Jill K DeWit:
Or 900.

Laurie:
That’s not too bad. And I think successful people do not do it alone. And when I say don’t do it alone, really in two ways, one, they outsource as much as they possibly can because you cannot be great at everything you have to do to be successful in this business. I’ve never met the person who can do everything and do it at any kind of scale.
And the other thing is just networking with other people. Like-minded people, whether it’s in mastermind, whether it’s on a forum, an accountability group. I’ve been part of all these things at different times and still am now. And it makes such a huge difference to hear what people are thinking. We’re all asking the same questions about the economy and the effect on real estate and the strength of the real estate market versus other investments you could have right now.
One of the guys in one of my groups sold his house, bought an RV and has been traveling around the country. He’s about 3000 plus miles from where he originally started. He sends out about 40,000 letters a month and just works from there. And is having a ball. We hear other stories. There are other people who don’t even live in the US that are doing this. There’s several in time zones that are pretty far away. So it’s probably difficult for them to be taking calls themselves. But it definitely gives you that flexibility. So that’s another question I want to go to is to be really successful in this business. Can you do this and a full-time job elsewhere? What do you think?

Jill K DeWit:
We just talked to Nathan C about it. We just interviewed him on a podcast. He’s a pharmacist with little kids.

Steven Jack Butala:
Depends on what you think really successful is.

Jill K DeWit:
Two and four years old, he’s in career path and they’re doing great. So you know what, let’s back up.

Steven Jack Butala:
This is a big topic for Jill. I’m glad you asked. I’m really glad this is coming up.

Jill K DeWit:
If I had to do nothing but run my land company, our land company, I could do it in four to six hours a week on a busy week. I’m not kidding. It’s not that bad. We just talked about, I have the right people in place and really it’s somebody else answering my phone, big deal. It’s me and one other person. Me and one other person are killing it technically. And that’s all you need. That person’s my intake person. That person makes sure the calls get input. They make sure all the data’s there so I can sit and review the deals once a day, if that. And they make sure the things I buy them. They go through escrow. They make sure everything closes on time. They make sure that the guy I picked out, I want to sell it. We got the listing agreement going on time. I’m farming all this out. It doesn’t take that long. So heck yeah, you could have a full-time job and do this.
The hardest part is just the weeks that you need getting started to put your head down.

Steven Jack Butala:
It takes years.

Jill K DeWit:
Well, I mean, just even when you get the education and really put your head down in focus and map that out and think about all the steps and put them into play. I wrote a blog years ago, how you could do this in six week. How you could do a deal, start to finish only having Sunday afternoon. The first Sunday afternoon, you’re spending picking the account, got it done, fast forward a week.
Next Sunday, you download the data. You figure out your pricing, scrub it. You get it ready for the mail to go out. That’s the next Sunday afternoon. The next Sunday afternoon. You hopefully, by then mail went out. Now you got calls coming in, great. Then you’re going to pick all the deals you want. The next Sunday. You’re buying all the deals. The following Sunday, you’re posting them for sales as you’re doing it on your own. And then the following Sunday, hopefully, you’re selling them. And do we all have deals, Laurie you too. I didn’t mean it to sell that fast, shoot 24 hours in, I got a full price cash offer. Okay. That could happen. So you could, that was 45 days roughly start to finish with a full-time job.

Steven Jack Butala:
Everybody’s motivated by different stuff. I am purely motivated by not having a job and that’s never changed. And it’s not that I want to be a house husband, which actually, there was a long period in my life where I’m like, God, if I could just be a house husband, then that’d be great. We didn’t know each other at that time because we probably would’ve made that work.

Jill K DeWit:
True.

Steven Jack Butala:
My motivation is not to go to work. My motivation is not to get three Ferrari or live in a mansion or any of that stuff. That ended up happening anyway, probably because of jail. If I can just wake up in the morning and say, I don’t have to go to a job. Even if I work 80 hours on my own job on my own stuff. So my motivation’s not to have a job. So I question what the motivation is with somebody who has a full-time job and is doing really, really well at this. I guess that leads me to a commitment question and a confidence question. I’m super confident. I’m making a bunch of money. I’m committed and sold on, completely sold on and tested buying and selling land, why am I a pharmacist still? That concerns me.

Laurie:
I think there’s as many different reasons for that as there are people that have full-time jobs out there. But one of the things I have seen is people that just aren’t confident enough that when they bail from their job, they’re going to make whatever income they need to live on and then more to be comfortable. That’s like you said at the very beginning mindset.

Jill K DeWit:
I always tell people that you put money in the bank, that you’ve got this year’s salary covered and maybe half of next year’s salary covered. Whatever your threshold is, then don’t do it until you have that ready to go. And I remember we had a member a while back, that’s how he used to think like his family planning was we have nine months of our expenses paid for. Now, we have 18 months of our expenses paid for, and that’s how he looked at things with his bank balance. I’m like, that’s kind of cool. We just look at the big numbers. I don’t think about it. You may think about like that. But then my other thing is whatever that number is for you, make sure it’s a good, healthy cushion because the day you quit your job, you should be saying, I should have done this a year ago kind of thing. Then you really know you’re our golden.

Steven Jack Butala:
What Jill’s doing subconsciously, maybe it’s conscious by now is seeing the end. She sees how it all ends. She sees when the job ends, she sees when the acquisitions end, the sale ends and I do the same thing. I’m always planning for the end or the exit of everything because I want to get out of it. We talked about this a couple of days ago or yesterday. There’s a fine line between being lazy and really efficient. Those two things in my mind go really hand in hand. Every time I do a task with anything, I don’t just do the task. I’m trying to figure out… Here’s a great example. The guy that runs oh two, oh is starting to incur expenses that are kind of weird all in the name of efficiency. And we don’t have a system in place to allow him to charge those own expenses and just pay for stuff without contacting us or the managers that we have.
And so rather than say, oh, here’s my credit card number and figure it all out. And now it’s going to take me two days. I got to walk into a bank like it’s 1974 and do a bunch of stuff to make sure that he’s got his own separate account, that it fits within my bookkeeping scheme and all of that. And I’ll never have to deal with this again. And so then I can get closer to the end of doing nothing.

Laurie:
I think you called it chasing zero.

Steven Jack Butala:
Yes.

Laurie:
Which is an awesome idea. You said something that reminded me of one of the gifts this program has given me maybe the biggest one is that I will never again have to say, here’s my resume.

Jill K DeWit:
Yes.

Laurie:
Which is good.

Jill K DeWit:
Isn’t that great?

Laurie:
It’s good for everybody.

Jill K DeWit:
Exactly. Family life.

Steven Jack Butala:
Especially if they’re recipient of your resume.

Laurie:
Especially the resume.

Jill K DeWit:
[crosstalk 00:38:18] resume.

Laurie:
The people who think they want it. Okay. Let’s go back for a minute to continuing education. What do you guys do?

Jill K DeWit:
I read everything I can get my hands on and that’s not necessarily related to what we do. It’s just being more efficient, being a better boss, even. Why are you looking to me like?

Steven Jack Butala:
It’s impressive as hell.

Jill K DeWit:
Thank you.

Steven Jack Butala:
I don’t read up on how to be a better boss.

Jill K DeWit:
No you don’t. That’s for sure. I’m just kidding.

Steven Jack Butala:
I put the people in place. I got to address this for a minute.

Jill K DeWit:
Hold on. Time out. We’re going to have a little partner meeting.

Steven Jack Butala:
I don’t read up on how to be a better boss. I make sure do I hire people who don’t need a boss who need no leadership whatsoever.

Jill K DeWit:
It doesn’t always go as planned.

Steven Jack Butala:
But then they solve it.

Jill K DeWit:
Okay.

Steven Jack Butala:
Anyway, go ahead. Sorry.

Jill K DeWit:
That’s what I do. I love learning more about… It’s reading up on other professionals and how they got there, whether it’s Warren Buffet or fill in the blank. Rockstar in that industry. I’m going to pull something out of that that’s going to pull me up. And it’s my way of trying to be with those as my peers, if that makes sense.

Steven Jack Butala:
I don’t do any of that. What I do is not scheduled, it’s rarely just comes out of my pores. Is looking for new tools to make stuff better, a better data source. That’s how data tree came up. We used to use Real Cross, we don’t anymore. We use Data Tree now and I’m very happy with data tree, but I’m very confident they’re either going to re-release it with new features at some point, which they do all the time or there’ll be another company that can provide data for us all that’s better and we’ll latch onto that.
Neighborhood Scoops a great example. I couldn’t find a source of data for us to review products, so we developed our own. And so I’m constantly looking for new ways to improve on the efficiency of these mailers, mailer yield, people who are going to answer your phone more effectively or in a lot of cases, creating the tools for us that we can eventually replicate for Land Academy members to do stuff better. I’m fascinated with blockchain and land trusts now, which are kind of new to me and not new to a lot of people I’m finding out. So I think there’s going to be a much better and easier way for us, Land Academy members and eventually everybody to transfer ownership for real estate. And I would like to be right on the cutting edge or front end of that, which is now.

Laurie:
Teton County, Wyoming has put all their real estate records on blockchain. And if you haven’t for anyone listening, if anyone is listening, Go to Teton County’s website and look at their assessor site and their court records, their recorders records. They’re all online and you can see it’s really cool. You can see the transactions and they’ve gone way back. There’s another county in Wyoming who announced maybe a year or year and a half ago that they were doing the same thing. I don’t know which one it is, but I’m sure it’s pretty easy to find because there just aren’t many places that have done that. I want to say it’s somewhat primitive from the concept of what I think you’re talking about Steve, with respect to having the whole transaction be on blockchain, as opposed to just the courthouse record being on blockchain, but the impact it’s going to have on the need for attorneys, for title companies or well, surveyors. Yeah, to some degree. Any of those people that currently participate in the whole closing headache will be minimized if not gone completely. So I think it’ll be a great thing when that happens.
And then there was also the Wyoming land that was divided up. And I think I sent you the article about that. And you talked a little bit about it. I’m not sure where, but recently about someone who bought 640 acres divided it into small pieces and set it up so that you can with crypto by your own little piece of this 640 acres, without having to have everything retitled in your name without having to go through a closing process, you just do it through crypto. I’m sure butchering the details of it, but it’s a pretty neat concept.

Steven Jack Butala:
Wyoming, to take this a couple of steps further. I don’t have any idea why, but Wyoming has self-appointed to be the absolute cutting edge leader in having property change hands through NFTs, non-financial tokens. I think the acronym stands for. They pass the law in the late last year where they recognize these groups. I think it’s called DAO, again, I’m not exactly sure what the acronym stands for, as a legal entity that can hold real estate. And so you can join a DAO, and you can pay for it using NFT, which is backed by crypto. All this is recorded on the blockchain to buy and sell real estate, which allows the entity itself to own the real estate. So there’s no more transferring the entity, which is a real hassle in real estate, transferring ownership, but to own certain parts of it.
And then that entity can go buy another one, another piece of property. And this is all under the guise of theoretically similar interests, like let’s say, over landing or organic farming. Does it ever play out that way? No, but what it really is taking step after step toward people who have 50 bucks owning and using 40 acres in Wyoming, which is very, very hard to do, you know more than most Laurie because you got to be an accredited investor. Selling shares of anything that circumvents theoretically, all of that or at least it does right now. I love all this stuff.

Laurie:
It’s coming. Okay. So changing the topic a little bit, I want to know what your biggest whoops or the funniest thing that’s happened to you in the course of a transaction or a mail or that you can either laugh about now, or you laughed about that.

Jill K DeWit:
You want to go first?

Laurie:
I haven’t honestly lost a lot of money. I got caught with my pants down around 2009 because we were chugging along just killing it, smashing it. Buying and selling real estate and then the markets just dropped, which I didn’t even think was possible. I just read recently because I’m really trying to stay ahead of what might happen economically that would affect us in our Land Academy group. And the first sentence in the article was, there’s only ever been two times in the history of the country where real estate values have as a whole have gone down, 1929 stock market crash. We solved a lot of that now with regulations and how the market gets traded and 2009 because of the way lenders lent money to buy real estate. But we solved that through regulations too.
So is it going to happen again? For sure. Is it going to happen in our lifetimes? Very, very, very unlikely. So that said, we got pounded Jill and I got pounded because we had a single point of failure, which was eBay buying and selling land. We created that real estate category. We didn’t create it ourselves, but we were material and making it really popular and that stopped. It stopped overnight. In fact, it stopped in ’09, maybe ’10. And the real estate crash, crash for bubbles started to have issues in 2007.
So I’m watching it in 2007 and I’m like, wow, we’re still selling a lot of real estate. 2008, wow. We’re selling real estate. 2009, well I’m invincible, I’m immune from the rest of the real estate market. My model is perfect. And then one day I woke up and people stopped bidding. We were involved in this together by then and she’s the one who’s really restructured everything. And we got rid of the real estate that we had effectively. And so that was a huge mistake on my part, all because of ego.

Jill K DeWit:
I’m trying to think of some funny, oops, or something like that. And my greatest silliest dumbest stories, I’ll tell you, it was always the cheapest properties. So I don’t have many big oops right now because we’re buying for 30 to 50,000 and selling for 60, 70, 80, 110, whatever. That’s one of my favorite little things or more or bigger. The bigger the transaction, it’s always easier. If anything comes up that you have to do that, you accounted for, great, I got to pay this fee. So flipping what, I don’t care about it. But back in the day, those were our biggest things.
We had properties back in the day, picked up for $11. So we’re selling them on eBay and the amount of work that would go into those. And I can’t tell you the number of drunk people that would click the button at Saturday night at 2:00 AM and they check out and I’m like, oh, no, here we come.

Steven Jack Butala:
They don’t even remember.

Jill K DeWit:
They don’t remember. And then I would get stories like, my four year old must have done that. They took my computer. Your four year old is on eBay buying property. I’m like, what the heck? And then back in the day too, it was such a big deal to have a high rating. I’m so glad these days are over, but you needed to have all these transactions, your eBay history was gold. And so I’ll strove to have nothing but five star or whatever it was back then. And if ever anybody read a bad review, here I come. I’d have to come in and go, how are we going to solve this? And I had to get so creative with these things.
I’ll never forget one guy. I said, look, here’s what we’re going to do. This was clearly a mistake, whatever reason you want to say, your wife changed her mind, whatever, I don’t flipping care. You’re going to deed it back to me. I’m going to send you a refund and I’m going to include in there a couple of beers for tonight. And he had a good laugh about it. I’m going to include 20 bucks, so your first couple beers are on me tonight. He’s like, you know what? That sounds good. That’s all it took to solve it. But nevermind all the time and effort I went into to undo the transaction. I’m so glad those days are over, but that was the thing back then. I’m like, here we go. I got to undo this. I got to deed it back. And all the… it was funny.

Steven Jack Butala:
We have a couple of properties right now, like anyone who does this, that we’ve owned for more than a year, not the best acquisition decision. And when you still own it, if we wanted to, we could write the price down dramatically and only make 20 or 30 or 40% instead of two or 300%. And so that happens to everybody.

Jill K DeWit:
I did a mistake a couple of years ago too, where I trusted someone. I don’t do that again. Now, I really look, I’m like, hey, this person knows their stuff. I trust this deal. I didn’t even look at it. Here’s the money and everything. And then after about nine months of it not selling, he was so embarrassed. It’s kind of like he threw me the keys and said, sorry, I guess I made a mistake. I’m like, you think. And then I finally sold it just like in the last, I don’t know, nine months I sold it, maybe six months and pretty much sold it for what I paid for it. It was hilarious.

Steven Jack Butala:
We’re… Go ahead.

Laurie:
Those deals where you realized after the fact that you made a mistake, what was your mistake? Did you miss the comps? Did you not do good due diligence? Did you just get a stinker of a manager? What mistakes did you make.

Jill K DeWit:
I did not do my own due diligence because I could handle a stinker of a manager. I didn’t do what I normally do. And now I don’t do that anymore. I learned.

Steven Jack Butala:
All these mistakes we’re talking about are all deal funding and they’re not our deals that we brought personally.

Jill K DeWit:
Except for the eBay stuff, that was those weirdo people.

Steven Jack Butala:
And we don’t make those deal funding mistakes any longer. Unfortunately, the negative result of that, there’s a positive result in a negative result. The negative result is we don’t do as many deals, we’re just very-

Jill K DeWit:
I’m really picky.

Steven Jack Butala:
… Choosy. And so we don’t make as much money. There’s deals that we know that go on in our group, people are making millions and we’re passing on these deals because that’s just slightly over my risk threshold.

Jill K DeWit:
That’s the ones that I made a mistake. And I even got one right now that we’re not going to bring up because it’s still not sold yet. And I trusted the manager, is not panning out like it should. So learned my lesson, so two times.

Steven Jack Butala:
2 out of 16,000.

Jill K DeWit:
I’m okay with that.

Laurie:
That’s all right. All right. So my last question for you is what is your next goal? I know that Jill, you can’t say getting an NSX, sorry. And Steve, you can’t say getting another Corvette, but what’s your next goal? Whether it’s business, personal. I mean, is retirement any of those things? What do you think?

Jill K DeWit:
I know what my next goal is.

Steven Jack Butala:
I know want mine is too, go first.

Jill K DeWit:
We haven’t really taken a good vacation in a couple of years. My next goal is to, especially this year 2022, I want to back off a little bit. We’re not doing career path in the third quarter by design. I need a break. I love it. It’s profitable. I love the people. I love helping, but I’m not going to be as helpful as I can if I don’t get a little break. You know mommy needs a little time off too. My next goal and getting more efficient, even more efficient in my side of the business and not being as involved.

Steven Jack Butala:
I’m full blown in exit planning mode. So Jill and I, here’s how it breaks down. Jill and I probably spend maybe 30 hours, right now, 30 for sure because we’ve lost staff because of the environment we’re in, but running Land Academy takes probably 20 hours a week each for us, maybe, maybe 25. And running the land companies takes me like a half hour a month. So I have a full blown exit in mind for Land Academy at some point and the printing company and all the other stuff. And it’s not anytime soon, but I’m in full blown. We’re going to exit out of it.

Jill K DeWit:
But we’ll never be done. We’re never going to not do this.

Steven Jack Butala:
We’ll never not buy and sell land. We’ll never stop doing that. It’s crazy. It’s too easy.

Jill K DeWit:
This might evolve. We’ll see.

Laurie:
Steve you talked about, I think you mentioned last week doing some business related course or instruction advice. I don’t know what the format is, but I’ve had people contact me and say, do you think I can build a business doing this that I can sell? And the answer is, yeah, if it’s not tied to you. If it can operate without you completely, then yeah, you can sell it unless you want a job and unless you want to go work for someone else.
So with some of the people that I’ve seen be successful very quickly, they’ve got a model, they’ve got a process. And I think process is a big part of it. It can be boring. It can be really boring, putting together your training videos and hiring person after person, after person, until you get the person who doesn’t need to be supervised and that kind of thing. But no question, you can create value to the point where someone’s going to want to buy it. And then you can start all over.

Steven Jack Butala:
We started Land Academy with the thought that when we’re on the camera like we are right now, this is all the work we’re going to do. And it works great for a while. All we had to do Thursday was packed with recording podcasts, doing the Thursday call and whatever else. So we entrusted a lot, this is the same old business story. As a business consultant, we’ve probably heard this a million times.
And so we threw the keys at somebody and she ran it for about two years and we’re uncovering now the stuff that she was covering up. Now, it’s not just Thursday in front of the camera, which is what we intended. Now, It’s all right, we got to restaff it. We’ve got to put the policies and procedures in place that were never being followed. We have to get rid of the people that were poisoned by this person’s leadership. A lot of this was a direct result of work at home. For a year, I’ve been saying, oh, my God, work at home was the greatest thing. Well, it’s because we didn’t truly know what was going on.

Jill K DeWit:
We didn’t know what was going on.

Steven Jack Butala:
And I took a total responsibility for that. We’re putting systems in place now where that’s not possible. All the while our revenues going up, our expenses are staying the same and I’m looking at it and it’s like, oh, this is great. No, it’s not tragic by any sense, but we need to be more involved in that. That’s all.

Jill K DeWit:
Yeah. It’s okay.

Laurie:
Well, I could ask another two dozen questions, but we’ll save them for another day. So thank you very much. I appreciate you joining me on today’s podcast.

Jill K DeWit:
This is awesome. I like this.

Steven Jack Butala:
This is a lot easier for a start.

Jill K DeWit:
I love it.

Steven Jack Butala:
We can do this.

Jill K DeWit:
Make this like a monthly thing or something. That would be cool.

Steven Jack Butala:
That’d be great.

Jill K DeWit:
I like that. And then Laurie, I thought it’d be cute, Laurie, you could theme them like, this month we’re going to ask this kind of stuff and I think this would be awesome.

Steven Jack Butala:
Before we end this, I do think there’s offshoot company just about how to run your business, just that make it not necessarily about buying and selling land. But I think there’s a huge audience, we could potentially help a lot of people. You shouldn’t really be stressing about payroll this much. This is how you do it or putting up a website shouldn’t take 90 days, it should take about a week max. So I think there is some business something there. What do you think, Laurie?

Laurie:
Absolutely. I answered a question this morning about, should I make my LLC a single member LLC or a multi-member LLC, which is kind of business 201, but it’s a good question. And the short version is if you’re brand new, you really don’t need to worry about it. If you have a lot of money in property and you have the property in the name of an LLC, then it’s something worth thinking about, but there are trade offs with all of these decisions. And it’s really helpful to know that the decision that’s right for you when you’re a beginner is soon going to… You’re going to cross a threshold where that’s not the right decision anymore and you’ve got to make some changes. And here are the changes you have to make and you have to expect to spend some money on doing that.
And you know, one of the things I found was the one thing that I never regretted spending money on was hiring help. And as a matter of fact, smacking myself in the head saying, why didn’t I do this before when I hired the first person I ever hired. I was afraid I’m not going to have enough money to pay their salary. I’m going to have to fire them after two months because I won’t have the income, all that kind of stuff. Not true. I mean, you can gain so much more productivity and efficiency when you have help dealing with the things that otherwise take forever. Sorry for that tangent.

Jill K DeWit:
I love that.

Laurie:
No, it’s totally true.

Jill K DeWit:
Speaking of which I have to go do a job posting after this.

Laurie:
I’m not going to respond. Sorry.

Jill K DeWit:
It’s not for partner wanted.

Steven Jack Butala:
I’m not going to respond.

Laurie:
I don’t have a resume.

Steven Jack Butala:
That’s Laurie’s thing.

Laurie:
Laurie, will you please submit your resume to… No, I’m just kidding.

Steven Jack Butala:
That’s hilarious.

Jill K DeWit:
That’s awesome. All right. Well, happy you could join us today. Five days a week, you can find us here on the Land Academy show. And thank you, Laurie. This has been awesome.

Laurie:
Thanks for having me.
We really appreciate you and your contribution to Land Academy and our community and everything that you do for us.

Steven Jack Butala:
This will air Wednesday, the most soon Wednesday, next Wednesday.

Jill K DeWit:
A week from today.

Steven Jack Butala:
Oh, yeah. A week from today.

Jill K DeWit:
Because we are airing it. Okay, good.

Laurie:
Cool.

Steven Jack Butala:
Thanks, Laurie. See you soon.

Jill K DeWit:
Got it.

Laurie:
All right. See you.

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