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From Flipping Houses to Fueling Success: The Mike Hambright Story

From Flipping Houses to Fueling Success: The Mike Hambright Story

From Flipping Houses to Fueling Success: The Mike Hambright Story

In this episode of the REsimpli podcast, Sharad Mehta converses with seasoned real estate investor Mike Hambright, whose journey in the industry began amidst the tumultuous market of 2008. Hambright shares his evolution from flipping houses in Dallas to eventually venturing into multifamily syndication, coaching, and leading one of the top masterminds for real estate professionals. This conversation sheds light on Hambright’s adaptive approach in real estate, emphasizing the importance of seizing opportunities and learning from every step. Even when it involves transitioning through various aspects of real estate investing due to market changes or personal growth.

Mike Hambright shares his current focus on providing comprehensive support for real estate investors through his mastermind group, Investor Fuel. This group, beyond being a network, serves as a platform for learning and growth, enabling members to share insights, strategies, and experiences freely. Hambright’s emphasis on fostering an environment of giving and abundance within the group highlights the collective benefit of shared wisdom in navigating the complex landscape of real estate investing. The conversation also touches the topic of challenges many investors face in scaling their operations. He signifies the importance of effective team management and operational efficiency for sustained growth and success.

Hambright provides valuable insights into effective marketing strategies for real estate investors, stressing the significance of long-term commitment to marketing channels and the integration of an omni-channel approach to maximize lead generation and conversion. He shares his expertise on the evolving landscape of marketing within real estate, particularly noting the shift towards data-driven strategies that cater to specific market dynamics and consumer behaviors. This episode not only offers a glimpse into Hambright’s multifaceted career in real estate but also serves as a reservoir of advice for investors looking to elevate their real estate ventures.

Topics Covered in this Episode:

  • 0:26: Learn how Mike Hambright successfully entered real estate during the 2008 downturn.
  • 1:40: Discover the evolution from house flipping to multifamily syndication and the value of diversifying in real estate.
  • 5:19: Insights into the power of masterminds like Investor Fuel for collaboration and growth in real estate.
  • 24:11: Key marketing strategies for real estate, emphasizing long-term commitment and a multi-channel approach.
  • 41:21: The importance of integrating personal passions, like travel, with professional life for a fulfilling career.
  • 42:25: Get inspired by Elon Musk and learn impactful time management from “Buy Back Your Time” by Dan Martell.

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Sharad Mehta  0:06 

Hey guys, my name is Sharad. I’m the host of the REsimpli podcast and I’m super excited to have Mike Hambright on REsimpli podcast for today. Mike, how’re you doing?

Mike Hambright  0:17 

I’m good. Thanks for having me here. Hey, man,

Sharad Mehta  0:19 

Thank you so much for coming on the podcast by for those of us who live under a rock, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?

Mike Hambright  0:26 

Yeah, Mike Hambright. I’ve been a real estate investor since 2008. And flipped hundreds of houses in the Dallas market where I live. Over the years, things evolved from, you know, just flipping houses to having a rental business to doing coaching to ultimately running one of the top masterminds in the country for professional real estate investors and providing marketing and lead gen services for a lot of top real estate investors. I’ve gotten into do a lot of large multifamily syndication stuff now personally. And so anyway, it’s just evolved over time from flipping my first house to have in my hand and a whole bunch of things.

Sharad Mehta  1:08 

Yeah, basically, Mike, you’re not doing anything just sitting at home and chilling.

Mike Hambright  1:13 

I don’t know what the problem is. I don’t know how to do that. So whenever a little gap of time opens up, which is rare, I find a way to cram something else in there, which is not necessarily what you should do. But that is more often what I do what I actually do.

Sharad Mehta  1:26 

And what do you mean. So you say do you study in 2008? Is that correct? That’s right. Yep. So depending on when the you know, the downturn happened, did you start at the peak of the market, or right at the bottom of the market?

Mike Hambright  1:40 

Well, so I’ll say this, it wasn’t, it hadn’t bottomed yet, but it was during all that mess. And the reality is, is my wife and I have worked together for all this time as well. So she, we were intimately involved in the day to day and she’s a little bit more behind the scenes, but kind of the glue making everything happen. And we both were, you know, I’ll say, you know, we were pretty smart folks getting into it. But we in hindsight, we were pretty naive as to what was going on in the real estate world. So everybody thought we were crazy. And we were running in. And so honestly, it wasn’t planned this way at all. We both kind of got into this from losing jobs and found our way into real estate investing. But it was an amazing time to kind of get started. And we didn’t plan it that way. It just worked out that way. The reality is everybody thought we were crazy. Even a lot of you know, veteran real estate investors, like thought it was terrible, because the sky is falling. And the reality is, we didn’t have any bad habits, we didn’t have a bunch of like, bad inventory that we overpaid for and we were fortunate to get access to some capital upfront to help us at least kind of get started. And so you know, a lot of the issues that people had, we didn’t have because we were new. And so we didn’t have those, those issues. And again, we were just really hungry and, and a little naive. And that was kind of the perfect storm to have a great start. So the reality is, is we worked really, really hard to and aren’t really our first year, our first calendar year that is we flipped like 65 houses in Dallas, which is not typical either, but we just kind of came out of the gate swinging. Wow,

Sharad Mehta  3:12 

65 houses in your first calendar year. That’s amazing.

Mike Hambright  3:15 

Yeah, and probably about three quarters. rehabs, too, so we’re kind of doing it the hard way, you know, as you know. And so, yeah, that’s that we just didn’t really know about her at the time, you know, but it all worked out. Yeah,

Sharad Mehta  3:26 

Sometimes ignorance is bliss, you know, you don’t have to look at five deals and like, hey, if I can do five, like, let’s just do as many as you can end up doing 65 in the calendar year. So what happened after that? I mean, that was that was like a very interesting time. I started out in 2010. But also definitely after things bottomed out, I was like, kinda starting on the upswing a little bit. But you were still on the downswing a little bit. You did 65 houses. And what happened after that you’ve paid you know, amazingly well, since then.

Mike Hambright  3:58 

Yeah, I mean, we’ve we kind of went on to flip probably 50 to 6070 houses a year for quite a few years. And then over time, things just evolved, right? We’re like, well, I don’t think we kept any rentals in our first year or so. And then we started to keep some rentals. So we now we’ve got a start a rental company. And then after doing so many deals and trying to wholesale, and we were wholesaling. Every once in a while somebody’s like, Hey, can you can you coach me or teach me to do what you’re doing? And so then I next thing, you know, I’m starting a coaching business. And so it just evolved from there, like everything that I’ve done was like, it’s easy to look back and just see, like, it seemed like this was all planned out. Of course, there’s a bunch of things that I’ve done that I don’t do anymore, because they were failures, and I just stopped doing it. Right. But the reality is, is it was like, just an answer to a problem I had at the time or that to an opportunity that came up because of where I was, and so I do a bunch of stuff now. I know you do too, but it wasn’t it wasn’t planned that way. It’s just I just Z Didn’t zag then found my way. And like, oh, here I am. Yeah, we might as well do this now too. And then in the process, again, stop doing some things that we just either didn’t enjoy or was more work than we thought or wasn’t as big of an opportunity as we thought or whatever. But yeah, we kind of operated at that level for quite some time and then started to pull back and focus on other things.

Sharad Mehta  5:19 

And then from there, so you had some investors like reached out to you in the local area, just seeing you absolutely crushing it. And they approached you and say, Hey, can you coach me? And then is that where the idea of investor fuel came from? Like, if you don’t mind, just share a bit about what investors do less. And

Mike Hambright  5:37 

So investor fuel is, is a mastermind. But we’ve really honestly, this is kind of the first time I probably said it kind of publicly is we spent a lot of effort over the past many months, kind of developing it more into like a scaling system. And we’ve been operating for about six and a half years, we have hundreds of members across the country, people doing, you know, from 10 deals and up but we have lots of them, we have probably have 20 members that are doing 100 to 600 deals a year. So a lot of heavy hitters as well. And it’s a it’s a traditional mastermind, I would say but we’re just because of the market shift in the past year, we know that a lot of people struggled because they weren’t necessarily the best operators didn’t have the right processes in place. And so we’ve kind of evolved to providing a lot more, I guess, kind of tangible scaling solutions for our members. And so, but But you’re right, I started off by doing a lot of coaching, I’ve coached 1000s of people. Ultimately, I realised after a few years of doing coaching that I enjoyed, and I still do coaching, by the way, but that I enjoyed people that I would kind of consider more of my peer like people that were professional real estate investors that were doing that full time and not necessarily the people that were looking to get started or do their first deal. I just kind of found that it was easier to help someone I enjoyed it more because I’m dealing with people that are kind of just like you, they’re willing to go all in and they find some of that works in like, I’m all in on that right instead of trying to convince people that yes, this works, right. And so I found that being around people that I would consider my peer, I tend to enjoy more because I learned a lot too in those situations. I’m a lifelong student of everything I do. So then it got to the point at the start, I started the flip nerd podcast in late 2013. So we actually we had our 10 year anniversary, this last Christmas. And so I was one of the first like six real estate podcasts in the whole world. Congratulations. And we ran that for a long time. And we’re a little inconsistent with the podcast now. And I do podcasts under the investor fuel brain and some other brands as well. But for the first several years, I mean, we’ve done over 1500 video podcasts. So we were doing three video interview style podcasts a week, which was early, there weren’t a lot of people doing them yet. And now there’s a tonne of podcast, which is awesome. But my whole podcast was interviewing experts just like the show. And so very quickly because we were doing three a week. And social media and it just makes me sound like an old man. But back then social media just wasn’t what it is today. There wasn’t, there was social media, but it wasn’t anywhere close to what it is today. And so now everybody feels like they know everybody, even if they’ve never met them, right. But back then it was pretty common that I’m like interviewing Matt Andrews or somebody like that. And I’m like, Who else do you know, that should be on the podcast, and there were so few of them. Like, you know, it was really easy to find connections to be on your podcast. And so I just was interviewing three new experts a week, and kind of building my network out of amazing people. And for me, it was a combination of realising with a mastermind, that I got to hang out with a lot more people that were operating at a higher level. And being around people that kind of inspired me and things like that. And so that’s kind of really how it started. It’s clearly evolved since then. But it was a way to kind of do networking on steroids. Really.

Sharad Mehta  9:08 

Right. Yeah. I mean, for those of you guys who haven’t checked out investor fuel, highly recommend I was blessed to be part of it. For a year that I moved out to the country back I get I don’t like travelling that I’m not part of any mastermind. But it’s absolutely the community that you’ve built at Investor fuel. We have several investor fuel members that are using REsimpli. And they have nothing but great things to say about investor fuel. So you’ve done an absolutely fantastic job at that. So you bring on investors in, you know, you’re building a community and investor fuel. How is it that helping? You know, I know for me when I joined my fear was, hey, I’m gonna join this community. I don’t want to share my secret. You know, I’m sure everybody has that. There’s some people that have overlapping market like how do you deal with that? You know, when that mindset? Yeah,

Mike Hambright  10:01 

I mean, a part of our culture, from the very beginning is, is to just be come in as a giver and give and you’ll get back. And so every once in a while people have some concerns with that. But for the most part, people, you know, often might come into a market and there’s a couple of heavy hitters from the same market, and they find ways to do deals together or collaborate or share. And I think we just have a very abundant mindset for the most part. So we don’t have a tremendous amount of crossover of like, you know, a tonne of people in any one market even though like we I’m in, I’m in the Dallas Fort Worth market. I mean, we might have a couple of members from DFW, but there was a time in the past where we had several heavy hitters here. And they all wanted each other to be in there. Like, can you I had a cap at that point, I was only allowing two people per geographic market. And they were like, Hey, can you allow this third person in because we like them? And we do deals with them. And I was like, are you you’re, if you’re cool with that, I’m cool with that. And then the three of them conspired, and came in saying, we want this fourth guy, and I was like, Okay, that’s cool. So I feel like, you know, we just try to use way more of an abundant mindset of learning and growing together, and you start to realise that there’s not a lot of secret sauce in the industry, it really comes down to being great at execution, right? Absolutely. So even if somebody told me, like, if you went and told somebody, all the secret sauce from REsimpli, you know, it’s going to be nearly impossible for them to create that, right. And so we just kind of operate from a place of abundance and just say, hey, it comes down to execution ultimately. And so you’re going to share some knowledge that maybe you’re a little sensitive with, but you’re going to pick up so much in return. That it more than offsets you the fact that you’re sharing that. And what we found is a lot of people, especially on their very first, their first very first mastermind meeting with us, because we meet quarterly, we actually have events every single week now training events every week. But a lot of people that come in have their what we call the hotseat presentation of their presentation to give. And they feel like they got so much value that they’re asking, Can I revise my presentation because I want to make it better. And I didn’t realise how much I would get. And I want to share even more, you know, so that’s a pretty common situation.

Sharad Mehta  12:12 

Yeah, that’s definitely like, 100%, right, that’s what I realise, I’m going to be honest, I came a little bit of scarcity mindset. And once I saw how much everyone was sharing, then you you know, you start realising the more you actually give, the more you’re gonna get, and you’re not giving with the intention of the, you know, hope of that you’re gonna get something back, but it just that just how it works, the more you’re giving, you know, you’re going to attract more givers to you in your life. So it was absolutely fantastic. Being an investor fuel. And then you mentioned like, a couple of times that the biggest challenge that you notice investors have is with the execution, right. And then you are kind of, you know, pivoting a little bit if I can say that an investor fuel and helping investors scale up their, their business, you know, the right way. Well, what are some of the things that you’re doing? What are some of the challenges that you’ve noticed with the investors and you know, if you can share that? Yeah,

Mike Hambright  13:10 

I feel like a pretty common theme for people that are even doing, you know, 3040 50 plus deals a year, is that they’ve hustled their way there, but they hit a ceiling. And it really comes down to the team at that point, like, you really have to build out a team. To, to me, most people got into this wanting financial freedom. And then they get that, and then they realise, well, what I really want is time freedom. And they don’t have that. And that is the struggle is like you could be making a lot of money doing 3040 50 deals, or more a year, but you’re probably working your tail off. Or if you go on vacation, you’re you’re on the phone all the time or whatever, right. So what we’ve installed recently, over the past three or four months, we’ve rolled out, I have a book, actually, it’s sitting across the room, so on climate, but the what we call the investor fuel OS, the operating system. And so if you can imagine essentially some similarities to Eos, but way more robust for our industry and honestly just way superior to that system. And it’s very specific for real estate investors. So we have the operating system, and then we have quarterly and annual planning. We have accountability meetings every single month. And so we have a whole system around holding people accountable. Because a lot of folks that operate at this level, you know, they find ways to dodge accountability is the real issue. So, so we have the operating system. And as we speak right now, like literally, I’ve never said this publicly, anywhere. We’re rolling out a very robust kind of where we create a blueprint for people up front. They basically go through a series of seven surveys, lots of detailed questions where we’re asking them about every department of their business, what their challenges are, what their struggles are, where they get their education from a lot of things right. And then a series of a couple of calls and we’re just pumping out In fact, we just had our first seven beta testers joined today that are members inside of our group where we’re building out a, probably a 40, to 50 page blueprint for them to operate their business for the next year with recommendations on exactly how to fix all the holes in their book, because what we found is a lot of real estate investors, and probably a lot of entrepreneurs overall, they have a marketing and sales pipeline or their whole business, but there’s just lots of proverbial holes in the boat, right. And so this is a chance for us to tell them where the holes are, provide training and support around each of those areas, and provide a level of accountability on like anything else that’s out there, including their entire team, like bring your team into the mix, we’re going to help fix all these holes, fix all these systems and processes for you. And there are scaling systems out there. I mean, you know, there’s nobody doing what we’re doing. Now, what we’re rolling out, but there are other scaling systems that are, you know, easily charged 25 to $50,000 a year. And as of right now, we’re just giving this away to all of our members as just a bonus. And so just trying to find ways to add a tremendous amount of value and create customers that, you know, just can never imagine leaving. And honestly, we have a tremendous amount of people that have been with us for four or five, six years and have probably no plans of leaving, which is awesome. So, yeah,

Sharad Mehta  16:19 

That absolutely goes to show what an amazing community of build, and it’s incredible of you to give this value for free, you know, for anybody that’s part of investor fuel community. And you’re right. I mean, I think what I’ve noticed, in my experience, I correct me if you know, if you disagree, but it’s easy to like get to 1015 2030 deals a year, without really having a system. And then even getting to that level, there’s so much money leaving on the table by not operating the best you can, you know, and people get so focused on the top line number, you know, they look at, oh, I want to do 30 deals, I want to hit seven figures in revenue. And I always ask them, would you rather have million dollars in revenue and only have net income of 50,000? Or would you rather have a very lean efficient business and only make seven 800,000. But have like 200 300 $400,000 worth of net profit? They don’t. It’s amazing how many investors don’t look at their bottom line, they just so focused on top line number,

Mike Hambright  17:19 

Right? Yeah, and I think there’s a lot of like little things too, that people do that or like, you were so close to being excellent at this, but you stopped a little bit short. And it’s not like you got if you’re 80% of the way there, you might only get 20% of the benefit, like that last kind of push will push you over the edge of being excellent at follow up or excellent at recruiting and training salespeople. So for example, a lot of people in the industry are, it’s easy to throw money, like guys like us, or you know, folks that that you and I work with a lot, it’s really easy for them to convince them to throw money at something. So they might be really good at hiring people. But they’re not so good at training them and onboarding them. And and so what tends to happen is I’ll talk to somebody like yeah, I just hired a new acquisitions. Guy really excited, he sounds great, blah, blah. And then like three weeks later, like now I just fired him. It wasn’t working out. And it’s like, Well, was it him? Or was it you. And so a lot of us are just like, making decisions, like, we’re just kind of fly by the seat of our pants, it’s like, let’s put in place, an onboarding programme, a 3060 90 day, kind of programme to make sure that you’re giving that person all that they need to be successful, because if they fail, you fail, right. And so you want them to be successful. And so I think there’s a whole bunch of folks that are in my group, and groups like mine, that are almost there, and they just can’t push through. And, and honestly, I’m, I’m guilty of this too. Like, I’m not a great manager of people, like I’m probably a great idea guy, I’d be like, you know, I’m kind of like the grandparent version, like I can consult and tell you all these things. But in terms of managing my own team, I’m like, I’m not great, because I just want people to do what they’re supposed to do. And I shouldn’t have to inspire people to do work for me, you know, and I have a lot people to work with for a long time. But I’m just saying, I think a lot of real estate investors were kind of cut out of the hustler cloth, like they work really hard to get where they are. And it’s hard to say, I need to hand this off. It’s like, I’ll just do it, I’ll just do it. I’ll just do it and we can’t do it all. And so I think a lot of us are not necessarily great managers, we have to kind of build that skill to be better, which only helps us get our life back in that freedom back that we want Ultimately, though,

Sharad Mehta  19:32 

Absolutely. You saw right. But as you as you’re helping these investors, you know these hustlers these type A personalities you think they need to have an operating system first in place, or they need to have a person that can actually manage that operating system.

Mike Hambright  19:51 

Now that’s a great that’s a great thing that that’s one of the first things that I typically advise my guys working on some training for this today. Based on where you are in your business you usually need to bring in if you don’t have Have it in assistant and executive assistant and then ultimately an operations lead. I know real estate investors are real quick to hire a CEO. And there’s only three people in the company do you really need to see oh, like maybe it’s a manager of operations that you call our director operations. But, but there’s no doubt not everybody. But there’s a lot of people that are in my circle that are more of the visionary type. And so tend to be more of the hustler, great, greatest sales, great at working with people and stuff, but not necessarily the most detail oriented, right. And so that usually is one of the first things that people should do is that we kind of advise is like, we’re going to tell you a whole bunch of things that you should do. But if you’re not capable of executing those things, you need to bring the person in that can do those things for you. And so even back to what I was talking about a moment ago, with hiring, it’s like, Look, if it’s just a revolving door, and your acquisitions department or other parts of your business, like, maybe you just need to get really good at hiring one person that can then do all those other things. And I’m the same way when I brought in a couple of my companies recently, we brought in operations leads, whether it’s kind of a director of operations or CEO. And it’s just revolutionised everything. Because we were willing to pay more than we ever thought we would and bring in some amazing talent. And it’s just amazing the impact that has on your business of like, holy cow, that person is like, way more productive than I ever imagined. Because this is what they do. Like, this is their strength, you know? Yeah,

Sharad Mehta  21:27 

100%, I think sometimes it’s our ego, that tells us that, hey, this is something I’m doing in my business, no one else can come in and do it better than I’ve been doing. Then it’s, it’s amazing. I have like some people that I’ve hired at my business, you bring them in, and they just take you to the next level. And they’re so good at doing what they’re doing. You’ll be amazed like, you could have never ever been as good as what they’re doing, you know, in the in the role that you give them and just having the right people, you know, in the right seat just makes a world of difference. Yeah, and

Mike Hambright  22:01 

I think the key is like for us as real estate investors, like everything we do is cheap. Like we’re trying to find a whole heap contractors, cheap materials, I’ll drive across town and spend $500 of my time to save, you know, 20 cents a square foot on tile, or whatever, right? And it’s like, when it comes to people, this is just, you know, me evolving over time is like, there’s a couple of things you shouldn’t cheap out on. And really good people is one of those things, when you find really good people, you need to take good care of them. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I’ve noticed there’s a huge difference. Like even with merch I have a lot across my companies, we have like 80 virtual assistants or something. There’s a massive difference between $4 and $6 an hour. I know, that seems like 50% increase, it’s like, yeah, but they can perform at like 4x the other person. And it’s that way at the executive level to the person that you’re going to get for, you know, 80 to 100,000 might be like, three times better than the person that you would get for 50,000. And so

Sharad Mehta  22:56 

Yeah, and they feel more bought in, you know, that’s another thing like we have the years that we’re paying, you know, we pay them six bucks or more per hour, and they are so bought in because they feel like they’re being valued and they want to stay they stay committed. Yeah. Now, and then, especially when you look at VAs in real estate, it’s just so you go to Upwork, or any of these platforms and you see the resume, they’ve been with this investor for two, three months, then another investor, then another investor, and then you start thinking about just our industry, it just so easy. You know, that’s one thing. I think real estate investing is probably the only industry that I can think of where you don’t need any qualification. You don’t even need a business card, you can just say, Hey, I’m a real estate investor. If I have my parents or my in laws visiting from India, and they say, Hey, I’m a real estate investor, there’s no way I can like argue with them. You know, they cannot say I’m a real estate agent. I’m an insurance broker this and that, because I can tell could you have, you know, licence and education for that, but real estate investor, it just so easy. And like so many people just watching YouTube video, get all excited startup hire a VA and then a month or two later, they don’t get anything. They’re like, Oh, yeah, this business sucks. You know, I don’t want to do this anymore. Right?

Mike Hambright  24:07 

Yeah. Well, there’s a lot of that for sure. Yeah. So Mike,

Sharad Mehta  24:11 

You are you also have another company that does a lot of marketing for the investors. Right? What have you noticed the last year year and a half has been very interesting. What have you noticed in last year and a half what’s been working, what’s not working, if you can tell us about the other company that you have to desk.

Mike Hambright  24:32 

So investor machine investor machine is, is our is our marketing company where we have kind of white glove done for you lead generation for professional investors, and we’re really a data company. So we have about, there’s about 75 or 80 people on our team, and literally 60 of those are data, data analysts, data miners, data scientists, developers that are building that build our software and maintain it to help us analyse stuff so we’re doing some really What are some things that nobody’s doing? We don’t have a whole lot of time to talk about that today. But in terms of your question of like, what am I seeing that’s different? I feel like more than ever, like, one of the challenges over the past year and a half with the downturn in the market is, is people that were would have a tendency to try, just like we talked about people, they have a tendency to try a channel. And like, I did, I did it for a month or two, and they quit. And it’s like, no, no, like, you got to play the long game, right? The way that Legion works, and this isn’t just through us, it’s through any channels that you use, you have to, you really need to sit with a channel for a minimum of six months. So consider that we’re advertising to people that have been distressed, I mean, you bought tonnes of houses to I mean, we’re dealing with people that have been distressed for years, and sometimes decades, like many decades, right. And so it just took like enough issues, building up another health issue, another financial issue, or whatever, to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. And so you can’t advertise to people that have been distressed for years or decades, for a month or two and expect it to work. Because they’re, they will be ready. They’re just not ready yet, right. And so we tend to give up really fast. And some of it is us as entrepreneurs trying to be frugal, I tried this and it didn’t work, I tried this and it didn’t work, we want to check the box. I think some of it is this kind of immediate gratification culture that we live in is like, I want to be able to have stuff that I want to buy. And I want it to show up tomorrow morning from Amazon, which I’m guilty of, you know, every day at my house is like Amazon Christmas, right? So I’m guilty of that, right. But that’s just not how marketing works in any industry. And certainly real estate investing is we’re going after people that just need to be you need to keep tapping on the shoulder for as long as it takes once you know, they’re distressed, or once you know, there’s there’s possibility there is to keep going. And then the other thing is, and I’m pushing hard on really trying to get people to understand roe as return on adspend, which is kind of ROI on your advertising spend instead of cost per cost per click or cost per lead or cost per lead ultimately doesn’t matter at all. And it’s like it’s like, it’s like on Facebook, it’s like, did I get likes or views on a video or whatever it’s like, that’s just a vanity vanity numbers. It’s a vanity metric. And it has nothing to do with how much money you put in the bank. And so to give you an example of we know, because we looked across hundreds of real estate investors that we serve and investor machine, that the typical mark the typical profit margin on an inbound lead, which is direct mail, SEO pay per click is two to 300% higher than outbound texting and cold calling. So there’s a lot of people pulling back on texting and cold calling for obvious reasons. But all along, we’ve known that the return on somebody contacting you and raising their hand, they the conversion cycle is way faster. And they have a tendency to just be way better lead than somebody that said, Sure, I’ll be I’d be interested in an offer, you know. So not only is the as the row as the ROI on that advertising, way higher for inbound leads versus outbound. That cost per lead. Like for example, texting and cold calling have some of the cheapest cost per leads that there are, but it takes you way more leads to convert that person into a deal. And they tended to not be the most motivated person in the first place where the margins tend to be lower overall. And so for example, just like you said, to give the example, would you be willing to have a cost per lead of five times higher if it converts in a fraction of the time and the profit is triple? It’s like, yeah, right. And so let’s look at how many dollars do I get back for every dollar I put out? And who cares about cost per lead, or even cost per closing? Right now, it’s just really is like, when I put $1 out how much do I get back and be willing to kind of play the long game of focusing on advertising channel for six months or more. And so just really, you know, I’m trying to help push as much as I can. And I have obviously some vested interest in this. But if other people don’t win, I can’t win either. We can’t our companies can’t win either. It’s like helping people kind of grow up and just think bigger than the way they’ve been operating. Because if you can’t scale your business up, it’s not just like, I want to scale it up. So I get a Ferrari or a Lambo. It’s like, scale it up. So you have more profit, to replace yourself and your business and buy back your time. I mean, that’s what we all really want is more time and maybe you want a Lambo, that’s fine, too. But really, the point of scaling is to be able to use those resources to buy back your time.

Sharad Mehta  29:34 

Absolutely. Yeah, it’s funny that you know, when we we get a lot of investors ask us and REsimpli Hey, what’s the marketing channel that I should start out with? He said, we look at all the data, how investors closing every single marketing channel that you can imagine, investors are able to close every single one. But if you’re going to start out with one, start out with the one that you can stick with the longest at a minimum six months if you’re going to do it Like no one man, cold calling next SMS, then nothing is going to you may get lucky here and there by getting a deal. But in the long term, it’s never gonna work. So minimum, you we say the same thing. Six months minimum, and then you consistently want to market to them. Yeah, it just people get so crazy about the best, you know, font for the postcard? I’m sure there are some you know, things that go into it. But even if you’re just going to do one mail drop, how does it even matter?

Mike Hambright  30:30 

Well, then the problem is, is a typical investor. And this is probably true of all entrepreneurs will, in their mind, say I tried it and it doesn’t work. Yeah. And you say, just like every channel does work, right? Like you said, you have to stick with it long enough. Now some work better than others. And one of the things that we’ve realised over the past year as well, because for investor machine is coming up on our five year anniversary this summer. And for up until even just, you know, a few months back six months back, we were pretty much all data and direct mail and direct mail management. And now we now we offer SEO pay per click Facebook ads and several other channels is the real the reality that when people because I get asked all the time, what’s the best channel and I was biassed for a long time because I we pretty much were a direct mail provider. But the reality is, is all the channels work together. So like imagine, imagine Coca Cola like said we’re only going to advertise on movie theatre. Ads, right? Like we’re not going to do TV, we’re not going to do this, we’re not gonna do that. It’s like, just think of every company that you know, is crushing it and whatever they do, you need to have an omni presence approach. Now, your budget might not allow that. But as you grow your budget, the reality is I know that Facebook or that? Well, certainly Facebook ads, or pay per click ads and SEO, they all benefit from direct mail and TV, right? Because what would you do if you got a postcard in the mail that said that you wanted some big decision, you’d go Google it and look at it, you’d go research it online. And that’s how anybody that makes big decisions, not anybody but a lot of people work. And so they tend to go online and look for those things. And if you’re not at least buying your keywords, your branded keywords for your company, they’re more than likely you paid to generate a lead, they went online to find you and they found your competitor. Right. And and that’s why some people are able to be successful, just by focusing on a few channels, because really, it’s other people that were driving traffic to them, that were just kind of advertising for the industry, right. And so all these channels work together. And so they all feed each other I mean, people could go find you online. And one of the things that we do is now we can hit them with mail, so we tag their IP address, and we can start to mail them, right. And they’re like, Oh, it must be fate. It’s like, well, a little bit of science in there too. And so we can run campaigns for people across all these channels to fit their budget and kind of have the right game plan to hit their goals. But that really is where kind of the bigger players in the industry are going to way more of an omni channel presence and not trying to focus on any one channel. And

Sharad Mehta  33:13 

Then with, you know, all the regulations that we’ve had around SMS, and it’s slowly starting to impact, cold calling. Also, if someone came to you and said, My, I’m willing to stick with any marketing channel for six to nine months at a minimum and want to be consistent, but I want to see some results. Which marketing channels Should I start with? Which one would you recommend? So

Mike Hambright  33:36 

We still generally recommend direct mail because it’s the easiest to target people. So we again, we go into counties, and we pull data for this specific to that county. And then we stack it all up. And we have a whole scoring system. And we have a whole software system that allows us to predictably model who’s going to sell next. So direct mail really, in my opinion should be the foundation of most real estate investors, businesses, and it’s easy to scale to like some other channels are much harder to scale. You can’t just go double your it depends on what you’re spending. But it’s harder to just go double your pay per click budget in the market, because you start to just outbid yourself and things like that. So but what we really look at is, and I think, you know, I don’t think of us as an agency, but a lot of people don’t put us in that box. The typical agency is basically just saying, what’s your budget? And we’ll spend it for you. And we’re like, hold on, let’s spend some time understand what is your goal? What are you trying to accomplish here? What is your average close rate, right? Like we’re looking at the whole sales pipeline. Do you have because what happens is, if you think of what has to happen from the time a lead is generated, to the time an investor puts money in the bank, it’s like well, you have to be great at answering the phones you have to answer it, you know, ideally 100% of the time live, you have to not over screen and be great on the phone and scheduling appointments. You have to attend those appointments and you have to do Some things to make sure that the person that you’re meeting with minimise their chances of being a no show, you have to be great at making offers that might include creative offers, like sub twos innovations, to squeeze as much fruit as you can out of the leads you generate in the first place, you have to be great at dispositions and transaction coordination, all those things. And what happens with a typical real estate investor is they’re not great at all those things. And then they say, hey, the the leads suck, it’s like no, the leads words, you just had a bunch of holes in your pipeline that allowed it to not work. And so sometimes, if you can fix all those issues, which is where we’re going now, is helping our customers fix all these issues and be better prepared for that. Miraculously, the advertising works better their row as goes through the roof, because they’re doing other things that have leakage, and kind of the pipeline, right. And so, but back to your point, I think direct mail really should be the foundation. And the problem is not all lists are equal, not even close. And not all creative is equal, not even close. A lot of people are looking at vanity metrics, like what’s my response rate. And we actually track this nationwide now for hundreds, hundreds of customers. So we know that some of our mail pieces that we use, like check letters is a big one. So they have the highest response rate. But they’re like number six on our list in terms of a positive outcome. Because a lot of people just like a few years ago, people would call from the Google Streetview. Because there’s a Google picture of the house on there, it gets a high response rate. But that doesn’t necessarily turn out to have the highest row as of other other pieces that we mail. And we can actually see that across all of our customers nationwide and tell our customers like, Hey, I know you don’t like this one. But this one is the highest performer across the country. And we have some you know, insights from that because we’re a data company. But from there, I think people should kind of build up on adding paper layering and pay per click, if you can afford to, because it’s more of a long term play is spending some money on SEO, and things that will generate kind of help you kind of widen your moat over time and help you build up a solid, repeatable business every single month.

Sharad Mehta  37:07 

Yeah, I agree. I mean, that’s, that’s what we tell investors. Also, if, if you don’t have any bias towards cold calling SMS, or like you know, any other marketing channel, it’s COVID, direct mail, and just make sure you stick with it, at least for six months. And then you said that not all lists are the same. If you want to set the debate on what’s the best list investors should start with. So

Mike Hambright  37:31 

It’s all of them. Like we know that, like, for example, the list that everybody wants is telling me the list of people that are going to sell their house at 50% of ARV tomorrow, right, like when nobody has that. And so we go pull about 40 different data points in a market and we score those. So a probate has a score. That’s of a certain level mowing lien, recent divorce arrest records, we look at lots of different data that we kind of do list stacking on steroids. So some of the software’s out there, nothing knock anything, some of the software’s will just figure out how many lists a lead is on. And we actually wait them based on the importance of the list. And so, you know, if somebody has if There’s recently been a probate file that that address, and then somebody is two years behind on taxes, and something else just happened there, we know that the combination of all those things together is really what tells the story. And so now here’s an interesting thing back to us knowing across hundreds of customers have exactly what male faces are working, we actually now have data that we every single month, we can look and see all the houses that sold to an investor in every market where we operate, which is hundreds of markets across the country. And we can see exactly what sold and what the data points tied to that were. So now we can wait a probate differently in Jacksonville, Florida than Dallas, Texas, because we know the propensity of a probate in Dallas might be higher than in Jacksonville, where, you know, they say Florida is heaven’s doorstep. So lots of probate activity happening in Florida, but it doesn’t necessarily drive sales activity as much as it might in Dallas. So so now we can take individual data points, score them differently across every county in the country based off of what’s actually happened in the recent six months. And

Sharad Mehta  39:26 

Mike, that’s incredible to have. That’s what I love. You know, when I talk to someone like you, he is making decisions based on data. Many investors are just making decisions based on guide. They just spend all this money out there like hey, I’m making money, so it’s working, just keep doing more of it. But like, do you even need to spend money on this marketing that you’re doing? Or if you cut back you might actually end up making more money on it. And it just it’s, it’s unbelievable. I’m sure you come across many investors like this. Doing really high volume 4050 deals seven figure revenue, but they’re not making it The money. Just it’s incredible. Yeah. Yeah. But thank you for sharing this. Alright, moving on to the next segment. What do you do for fun other than starting this?

Mike Hambright  40:13 

You know, I love to travel, we travel a lot, we do a lot of amazing things. Actually, it’s part of, it’s always been a part of what I guess in my adult life, it’s always been something that we, my wife, and I love to do is travel all over the world. And then over the past few years, we’ve kind of integrated that into our mastermind as well. So now we do a few, we call them fuel retreats for investor fuel. So we took a group of our members to Iceland for New Year’s here, just a couple months back, we have a trip this year to Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest. We go to Cabo, usually once a year, and so we’ve kind of integrated in the mastermind, and because the reality is, is the mastermind is a business for me. But it’s also where a lot of my customers are some of my best friends in the world. Like it’s just like, the people that I want to hang out with, right. And so, so we kind of do business, and we do life together, too. So we do a lot of travel, we love to kind of explore and see new things. And so my wife has way more hobbies than me mine is mostly breaking businesses or starting new businesses. But travel is a big one for us.

Sharad Mehta  41:21 

Oh, what’s the most fun place you’ve been to? You know,

Mike Hambright  41:25 

I was just seeing some kind of Facebook. I mean, there’s a lot of amazing things that we’ve been fortunate to do over the years. But like Facebook memories is kind of cool, because you can see like, oh, this five years ago. So five years ago, literally as we speak right now was our first time that we went to Yellowstone in the winter, snowmobiling and dog sledding and Yellowstone, which is really cool. And I’ve been back a few more times since then. But that’s one of those things that kind of creates a lot of memories of just, you know, being like 10 feet away from a couple of wild Buffalo and some really cool stuff. And so sometimes it’s not necessarily the place you go, but the things you do and the memories you create while you’re there. Absolutely. So since I just saw that popping up in my memories, I’ll say Yellowstone in the winter duck snowmobiling in the park, and you can dog sled nearby has been pretty cool.

Sharad Mehta  42:15 

Oh, yeah, that sounds like a lot of fun. And like, what’s the book that has had the biggest impact in your life? It could be a business book, personal book are one of each. Yeah.

Mike Hambright  42:25 

Oh, one that I just finished up reading recently is Dan Martel’s buyback your time. And so I’ve talked, I was talking about that earlier on the podcast, I really feel like a lot of business owners get stuck in hustle mode, and they can’t really kind of, you know, get their way out of it. Because they’re, they’ve done everything up and up to that point, and you have to find a way to be able to buy back your time, which is to scale your business, typically. And so that’s so literally, it’s called buy back your time by Dan Martell.

Sharad Mehta  42:51 

Yeah, it’s a great book. Final question. If you could spend a day with anyone dead or alive? Who would you want to spend the day with? And why? Ah,

Mike Hambright  43:03 

I’ll say from an inspirational standpoint, probably Elon Musk. He’s like super fucking crazy. But, you know, super inspiring to just take take out kind of take on some of the biggest challenges that we’ve ever seen and done some amazing thing. So I don’t know when the conversation would be like, because I know he’s a little quirky and weird. Maybe I am, too. But it’d be cool to spend the day with Elon. Absolutely.

Sharad Mehta  43:25 

Hi, Mike, what’s the best way for someone to connect with you and just learn a little bit more about kind of what you’re doing? Yeah.

Mike Hambright  43:33 

So I’m probably more active than I should be on Facebook. So you can track me down there. And then are the businesses we talked about investor fuel, you can go to veteran or investor to learn more. And you can book calls to either one of those if you want to talk to our team and see if there’s some ways that we might be able to help you out.

Sharad Mehta  43:51 

Well, absolutely. Put those links in the show notes. I thank you so much, Mike. This has been incredible. Thank you so much for sharing all the wealth of knowledge.

Mike Hambright  43:59 

Great to see you and thanks for the opportunity.

Sharad Mehta  44:01 

Thank you