I believe the best way to learn the business of real Estate investing is to hear how others have done it. When these interviews were recorded, I asked the interviewer to ask questions that would help the viewer see how these folks got started.
I wanted to hear the struggles, the successes and a clear path and explanation of what they had to do to make these deals happen. I did NOT want them to be a bunch of people telling you how wonderful Joe Crump was. I wanted content, examples and real life experiences.
I hope we succeeded.
Case Study – Shelly Fonner – Terre Haute, Indiana
What can I say about Shelly. She’s an amazing woman who has built a powerful business in a small town in Indiana. She’s also a mom and a foster mom. She tells you how she got started and where she has taken her business over the past 7 years since she’s been in the mentor program. We all love it when she comes back to one of my regular buying events. Listen to this audio – you’ll learn a lot about what it means to have a successful and ethical business. As they say, “Do well, doing good.” Shelly has done 5 or 6 of these interviews over the past few years.
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In Two to Three Weeks We Made $3K
Shelly: Shelly Fonner, Terre Haute, Indiana. I heard about Joe’s program, it’s probably been six or seven years ago now, and I had heard of him, it may have been from the internet. I have also heard a commercial from him at one time, talking about overworked real estate investor. So one of the two things are what brought me closer to finding out who Joe was. He was in my home state, being from Indiana, so that was really the catch that I was really most interested in because I had already looked at other guru, so to speak, that were out my area. And so I was very fascinated by the fact that he was in Indiana, the same as myself.
Shelly: The first deal that we did was actually an assignment deal. And in, when I first got some of Joe’s information, I think that it was a book that he was selling for $39.95 or something, but I had a booklet that explained an assignment. And the assignment was I would have the ability to purchase a property for said price and I could assign that to somebody who was actually going to go to closing. And that deal happened and it happened right away. Literally, I got the book and probably within just a few days, we got that deal. So we had a contract to buy a piece of property and it was like, a low price, $12,000 or something, so we marketed the property for $15,000 and ended up making a $3,000 assignment fee right off the bat.
Shelly: And it probably took us two or three weeks in order to make that happen. So, in two to three weeks we made $3,000, which is more than we’ve ever made in two to three weeks before, so that was pretty exciting.
Shelly: We work full time jobs so we did that in about two hours a day. We decided to dedicate about ten hours a week so we did about two hours a day. After our jobs, that what we would average. Sometimes we could spend more time on the weekends, but it was about ten to twelve hours a week that we spent with real estate.
Shelly: I don’t know that there’s really a bets deal. I guess for us, we really just try to be problem solvers. So, now our business has expanded to the point where over the last six or seven years, this is what we’ve done, so our days are full time, full time real estate investors, so this is what we do all day every day. We still are working forty or fifty hours a week. We have a lot more of a flexible schedule now than what we did, but really all of the deals that we come to the table, that come to the table that we are able to put together a solution for the seller, are really kind of our favorite deals. So it’s hard to pick on that is maybe our favorite.
Shelly: Now, we certainly have clients that we have worked with on a regular basis that we have been together, maybe they have done some owner financing so that they have been clients of ours now for six, seven years. So, we obviously have a longer relationship with them at this point, but I mean, I would say that, I love being able to help the people that really don’t know of any other solution. So that’s really, it’s the warm and fuzzies. If you feel good with it, then everybody wins. You know, I think that that’s one of the things that people think about in real estate is that somebody has to be greedy, or somebody has to not necessarily be, did not necessarily benefit of the deal. You know, those are not the deals that we do.
Shelly: It needs to be a win for the people we’re dealing with, it needs to e a win for clients of ours that we put in these properties and it needs to be a win for us. So as long as we’re doing win, win, win, then it’s a good deal and we’re happy about it.
Shelly: It varies. So, it’s all going to depend a little bit on what we do as far as with the deal. What is our exit strategy? What are we going to do with the deal? Are we going to wholesale it? Are we going to keep it? We’re mainly buy and hold. So that means as soon as we get a property in our inventory, we generally keep it. So, then we have to look at what are we going to do with that property? Is somebody going to move in on our path to home ownership and put a little bit down? Are they going to get a mortgage of their own? Exactly what are they going to do with the property and how long are they going to be there before that even actually happens?
Shelly: So, what we do is, we specialize in the path to home ownership so people can come in and we have a variety of programs available as well as four different levels. So depending on where someone comes in at in our program, is going to depend a little bit on what kind of profit we may make on our end. And again, it has to feel good for them, feel good for us, and the numbers have to make sense.
Shelly: So, eventually, as your portfolio grows, and you’re able to make it work, that’s when it all comes together in the end. So, as far as what we make average, it’s going to depend on what we do with the property. I think that when you’re getting a property, your cash flow needs to be somewhere around $300 a month or so, minimum, so that you can make sure you take care of the expenses on your end. Now that hasn’t always been the case. Sometimes it’s not quite that great. Sometimes you exchange cash flow with equity. Sometimes it’s not quite that wonderful in the end. But you live and you learn and you keep going forward. And I think that you have to make sure that you are always looking at what your bottom dollar is, and at the same time being sensitive to the other side of the table as well.
Shelly: We are closing deals consistently. I think that when you start, I mean, it’s like anything, you have to take action. You have to do the marketing. You always have to be marketing. If you’re not marketing, then the wheel stops. So, as long as you’re marketing, you’re answering your telephone, you’re making your phone calls, and you’re actually taking the action on your business, then you’re phone will ring and the deals will be on a consistent level. And we’ve kind of prided ourselves in that since the beginning. We are always marketing. And if you could just make sure that that’s what you’re doing.
Shelly: Anyone that I talk to in this business that is lacking for deals, or they’re just not sure what to do, or their phone’s not ringing so much, we generally can bring the problem back to marketing and what does that look like for them? Where are they being consistent at on a regular basis? So, we always do three to six things of marketing every single day. So, we are being very consistent in that and as a result, we have deals that are coming in on a regular basis.
Shelly: Our goals are to have freedom and that of course looks totally different for everybody. You ask everybody what their definition of freedom is and you’re going to get a vast array of answers. So, for me, it is being able to do what I want, when I want, with whom I want, and for however long I want. Now, of course, that hasn’t always happened. It doesn’t happen still today. But that’s what my goal is, is for me to be able to wake up each day and kind of put together the day that I want it to look like. So, I’m still working at it. It’s not absolutely perfect, of course, at this point. Like I said, we’re working forty to fifty hours a week still, and you’re day doesn’t have to look like that.
Shelly: I mean, we’ve got five kids, I mean, our day’s fairly chaotic and it’s probably very common to the working family today. But that’s where I see things going. You know, you’ve got to put things into place and you have to have that vision as to where you want things to end up. And we’re fairly grounded in the fact that’s what our end goal is. Now, I can’t say exactly when we’ll get there, but that’s what I want to see happen. Not only for us, but for the people that decide to do real estate. The most amazing thing about it is, real estate doesn’t have to be your end goal. It also doesn’t have to be the only thing that you decide you want to do. You can have other interests and other hobbies. The best thing about real estate is anyone can do it an d you can pretty much do it anywhere and no one is going to sit here and tell you that you can’t. You don’t have to go through this long education process or schooling and have all of this insurmountable debt in order to get started.
Shelly: And so there’s really no discrimination in the real estate part. So that’s fascinating. And the other thing is, is you can use it as a tool or a vehicle to get you to where you really want to go. And that might be to open a restaurant, or to travel the world. Whatever it might be, this can be used to propel you to that. So, I think it’s a fascinating idea and game plan for whoever wants to get started.
Shelly: The impact has been phenomenal, in my opinion. Like I said, with five kids working full time in the beginning, of course it was very crazy. But everybody has crazy days. Now it is, now our days look different. But they’re fairly just the same. We still have three boys in the house. The two girls have moved out and been successful in the own thing that they’re doing. So, we are still traveling around doing what it is that we’re doing. We’ve got boys that are in their activities, so we always have the school thing and all that. Now that we have a brick and mortar office for people to come to, so we’ve got that, we open the doors every day for people to be able to come in. So, it’s been amazing in the fact that the flexibility, which is what I was looking for. Before starting real estate, I did the typical management. I actually worked in photography and we were inside retail stores. And so we had long retail hours.
Shelly: You know, you had Christmas schedules, and Easter schedules, and every time somebody wants pictures taken our hours would increase. We would also have travel time. If I was at different studios, depending on what I was doing, so, the day has allowed us to be number one, local, number two, if a kid has a problem at school then we’re able to be there and be hands on. So, really that has what has opened up for us and has been amazing. And then we can just continue on with our vision as far as what it is that we want to do for us. And I think the kids are able to see that. You know, a lot of people are not able to attend certain things or go certain places or do some of the fun things that they want to do because they’re kind of bound or handcuffed by a “JOB” – we already know that that’s “Just Over Broke.”
Shelly: So you don’t have as much flexibility with that. Where we actually can pick up and do some of that flexibility, have some fun with the kids, you know, if we want to take an extra day here or there we’re able to do that. And I think that that shows them that you know what? If I’m not stuck in a JOB and I actually do something for myself, I, too, can have this kind of flexibility and lifestyle. So, I think that’s what it’s teaching them and above all, that’s what our goal is.
Shelly: We are full time. Really when we started we have, we started with, actually we started with Joe. Like I said, I think it was six or seven years ago. Time certainly flies. But I’ve known him for a few years. And we were both working full time. And it took about five months of what we were doing here and then I was able to leave that job and then just do this full time. So, this is what we do now, every single day. And it’s been exciting. And it was something that we had hoped would happen but you know, until you’re actually in it, you don’t know if it’s going to happen. You’re just kind of hopeful that it happens.
Shelly: And it did for us. And it’s been the same ever since and we’ve been able to have the freedom of being full time entrepreneurs and having an office and helping people. You know, that’s really, in my opinion, what it’s about. It’s what it was about in the beginning and still what it’s about. And that is to empower people to be the best for themselves. So, whether or not they, a client may just want to be able to buy a home. You know, it’s amazing when still, seven or eight out of ten people cannot qualify for a mortgage today. You know, that was kind of the same when we started this journey six or seven years ago. It was the same.
Shelly: And a lot of times people just don’t know what to do so they don’t do it. We believe, though, that if they have a game plan and they know what to do, they would do it. I mean, that’s kind of just the plan that we have for others when they come on board is, that most people won’t give them a chance. Or maybe they have ruined their chances already with other people. We literally sit down with people and go over a game plan for them so that they can achieve their goal. Their goal might be to move into a home of their own. Their goal might be to get a mortgage of their own so they can save $200 to $500 a month by bettering their credit, if we can show them that, that’s amazing.
Shelly: And on the flip side of that is you know, divorce rate is over 60% and most of the time it’s about money. And most of the time they don’t even know what to do to fix it. You know, when clients come to us they generally are at the end of their rope. They generally have been told many times, “No.” So when they come to us they don’t even really know what to do now. And when we tell them that, you know what? Just come on. We can help you. They are so happy about that because we not only are giving them an opportunity but we’re kind of taking a hand held approach and showing them how if they follow these steps and if they put this plan in place, their life doesn’t have to look the same in twelve or twenty-four months. They’re going to look better. They’re going to save money.
Shelly: And in turn I kind of look at that as maybe the divorce rate will go down. In all reality if we’re fighting about money because we need extra money in order to live and not be so stressed and frustrated, if I can show them how to better their credit, and maybe even give them some pointers on how to do a better budget, so things can look differently for them not only today but next week, next month. And they get on that path, then maybe they’re not going to be divorced. Maybe they’re not going to fight about money. And that would mean a lot to us, to be able to help them accomplish that.
Shelly: It’s kind of the same if our person is a seller. You know, we deal with sellers that come in the door that need to sell a property. And they need to sell it quickly. And I tell people we’re not realtors. We don’t list property. We don’t do anything in the MLS. We sit down and problem solve on how we can buy their property today and what that looks like for them. And provide them options. Then they can decide what they want to do from there. But at least they have options. So we really work with such a vast array of people. My whole point is leave people better off than when you found them. And if you can do that, it feels good. The whole process, the whole time you’re doing it, and it feels good at the end of the day. And if you can keep doing that, and keep moving forward, then we can all just make the world a little bit brighter by doing our part.
Shelly: Automation is probably not our strong suit at this point, which I’m always talking to Joe and to figure out what we can do. I am not a tech guru person, so I don’t spend a lot of time online. We do our fair share of marketing, of course, on line. I mean, there’s Facebook and there’s craigslist and there’s Zillow and there’s ways you can go online in order to advertise properties or your services. And we do that on a fairly regular basis, actually a daily basis.
Shelly: As far as automarketing and getting leads coming in to us, we do not do that a hundred percent. I know that we have and when we do, the leads come in. So that is something in which we have, now that we have a team, and we have other people that are in our office, each person can kind of take a piece of the pie and be responsible for what it is that we’re doing for marketing and to increase that. We are also increasing or expanding our area, I should say. So that is why I’m back here with Joe today and that is to implement some of the things that I’ve learned before. It’s just now time to kind of go back to the basics and implement that again so that we can expand outside of our area. So that’s one thing that we’re doing right now. And I’m looking forward too, to be able to take that back to our team and implement and then I’ll have a better answer for you. But, I know that that system works. We did it in the beginning, and that’s how we were able to grow our business to where it is today. And now we’re just going to get back into that do it again and growing in other areas and markets so that we can help benefit people elsewhere, not just in our local community.
Shelly: Everybody that knows me knows that that’s exactly what we are. I’m always like, real estate entrepreneur, real estate investor, that’s what we do. And they know that I’m fairly passionate about that because I think it’s an amazing vehicle to get them where their end goal might be. I’m not going to assume that everybody just wants to start and end being a real estate investor. But, you know, you can start with no money, no credit, and that’s exactly how we started. We, that’s pretty much still what it is that we do today. And so I don’t want people to get hung up with life isn’t perfect so I probably can’t start yet. Or, I don’t want them to get hung up on I have to have every answer before I can start today.
Shelly: Because that also is just not true. So, stop telling yourself those lies, and start taking some action and really taking the action is the bottom line. And we’re all different. I mean, I’ve procrastinated with the best of them. I have to remind myself every day, this is what it is that I need to do. And taking the actions separates those that are successful from those that are not. Joe has an amazing program that will take them from the start as to where they want to build their business, what they want to do. Automarketing is phenomenal that he is able to offer.
Shelly: I’ve probably said a lot during this interview so far. But I think that what I’m wanting to add and I know that this is a follow up, so a lot of people that are seeing this might have seen the first two videos that we have done. And now we’re doing this one. And that is that, you know, make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success. So many of us let life happen. They let, they get off track easy. They don’t necessarily build themselves up. And that’s one thing that you have to work at every day. You know, fail forward fast is really kind of a motto that you need to have for yourself. There’s going to be, you’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some. That really is just life. And life happens to every single person that is alive today. It really does.
Shelly: What we have to remind ourselves is how we handle those situations really is what’s going to help propel us where it is. This business, in my opinion, is about relationships. And it’s about building those relationships, helping your community, and helping people, empower them so to speak, empower others to help them be who they’re meant to be. That’s really what we’re focusing on. I know people get started in real estate for a huge variety. Most of the time you hear people want to have a little bit more financial freedom. That’s kind of what everybody comes in with. But, you know, it’s bigger than that. It really doesn’t always work out to be the bottom line. “As long as I make enough money I’ll be happy” because how many people do you know, or your hear about on TV that we see, that have a tremendous amount of money? But they’re depressed, they’re unhappy, you really have to figure out what your calling is. How you want to fulfill your own dreams.
Shelly: And then kind of design those. Life is short, most people at the end of their life are certainly not regretful on anything they did or any mistakes that happened because that kind of helped shape who they are. What ends up happening is, they’re very regretful on all of the things they didn’t do, or that they didn’t start. And probably as we all get older, we kind of have this revelation and I know I do, so I can assume that most people do and that’s like, wow – time really goes by fast.
Shelly: And we always think, you know, we’ll just start tomorrow. Tomorrow is all going to be a great day. But you know, when you really think about it, tomorrow doesn’t come. So, how can I start today? And get rid of the excuses. Because we can box ourselves in and sort of paralyze ourselves to where we don’t go anywhere. And guess what happens? Next year we have the same story. And then the year after that, and then before we know it it’s five years and we’ve used all these excuses to not start, but you know what? There are not more excuses left. So, today is the day that you have to start. Find a mentor, feed yourself positive thoughts. Watch videos. Get yourself a morning ritual. Remember, if it were easy to change your life, everybody would be doing it, right? If it were easy to be an entrepreneur, if it were easy to design our dreams and make it all happen, everybody would be doing it. It’s not easy. You’re going to have setbacks. You’re going to have trials, tribulations. You’re going to want to give up. You probably will give up. I’ve given up a million times.
Shelly: But ten minutes later, here I am, I’m back at it again. And that’s what I want people to understand is that it’s not all pie in the sky. It’s not all, “I’m going to start this and I’m never going to make anybody angry,” and you know, you are. It’s going to happen. You’re going to have people that just don’t like you because they don’t like the color of our hair. They don’t like that you are successful. They don’t like that you’ve been able to change other people’s lives. They don’t like that, you know that it’s that way when we see public figures. When we see people that are out there, they’ve got, it almost seems 50/50. You’ve got fifty percent who love you and you can’t do wrong, and then you’ve got fifty percent of the people that don’t like anything you’re doing.
Shelly: You just have to love yourself. You just have to believe in yourself. There really are no limits. And I think that when you can let go of the fear and you know, am I going to make a fool of myself? Is this going to work out? Is it not? Well, who cares? In the end, what really matters is are you able to lay your head down at night and go to sleep because you treated everyone the best you could treat them that day? You did everything that you knew you could do today. And then tomorrow’s a new day and then we get to go to sleep and we get to wake up, hopefully, and we get to do it again. And so I just want people to realize that they can do what it is they need to do. They can be better. They can do better. And they can start today.
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