Wholesaling to Million-Dollar Business: A Journey with Brett Iwanowicz
Real Estate Investing Podcast with Brandon Barnes Featuring Brett Iwanowicz
Recently the REsimpli Podcast’s host, Brandon Barnes, was joined by Brett Iwanowicz – a successful real estate wholesaler and owner of Brett Buys Roc Houses LLC. In this podcast, Brett shared information about his inspiring and hardworking journey, five rules for building a million-dollar business, Flip 4 Freedom, his acknowledgment for REsimpli, and much more.
Want to make a leap in real estate investing? Or aim to know the secret sauce of selling your client’s homes fast? We can help!
The people who work as real estate investors know better that, indeed, it’s a financially rewarding and fulfilling field, but no one can deny the hardships that come along. Fortunately, the right directions can benefit all struggling investors or brokers out there. So a successful person like Brett can help you in this regard.
Brett is primarily wholesaling. He resides in upstate New York, and his market is Rochester. He lives in Antigua, Guatemala, as well. He has been a really hardworking person throughout his journey, and he is the proud owner of Brett Buys Roc Houses LLC – a real estate investing Rochester-based firm that helps those people who want to get rid of their burdensome houses for cash.
He is also running The Flip 4 Freedom Podcast to help newbies and anyone who wants to learn something from him. So he is a very successful wholesaler with plenty of accomplishments.
Brett has been using REsimpli for the last two and a half years. He really admires this incredible software as it makes his business grow seamlessly. Want to know how? Read ahead!
- The inspiring real estate journey of Brett.
- Why is hard work crucial in the real estate market?
- How to change your business from starting with a real plan?
- What are the five rules for building a million-dollar business?
- Does the sales manager need to give up taking sales calls?
- How to grow a business with no executive assistant?
- The reason how REsimpli is helping his business grow?
- How to build a CRM with REsimpli?
- How to market yourself through cold calling?
- How to set up the operations of the business?
- Flip 4 Freedom: What does he wish he knew about sales?
- How to get in touch with him?
Brandon Barnes 0:06
Hey, what’s up everybody? This is Brandon Barnes, host of the REsimpli podcast, where we’re here to make real estate simple. So I have a good friend of mine, awesome investor out of New York, but also living in another country while doing investing. Brett, I wanna wit. How you doing, buddy?
Brett Iwanowicz 0:28
What’s up, Brandon? Thanks for having me on. I’m doing great. I’m excited.
Brandon Barnes 0:31
Yeah. When we talked about launching the recently podcast, I was like I told everybody in our meetings first, yes, it’s got to be Brett, period.
Brett Iwanowicz 0:41
Brandon Barnes 0:42
Every time I sit with you in a mastermind like you’re in REsimpli, you’re using it. It’s such a big part of your business, and I think what a great person to tell your story.
Brett Iwanowicz 0:50
Thanks, man. You’re going to make me bush.
Brandon Barnes 0:53
There you go. Well, you need hand from Guatemala. So tell us a little about yourself. Where do you live? Where are you at now? What kind of investing are you doing?
Yeah. So I’m primarily wholesaling. Last year I did it close to a dozen flips, but this year we’re just dialing it back into strictly focusing on wholesaling probably 95% of our deals. Maybe some Novations, maybe one or two flips here and there. I reside in upstate New York, so my market is in Rochester. Pretty small market, pretty stable, which is great. And time flies. But I live in Antigua, Guatemala, as well. So I’m here six to seven months out of the year and do everything remotely. I’m here right now from Guatemala. And so I’ve been here like a year and a half.
Brandon Barnes 1:38
I remember you kind of talking about it. You and I are in a similar or in the same mastermind. And I remember you saying you were gearing up for the move.
Brett Iwanowicz 1:46
Brandon Barnes 1:47
And it was practicing doing stress, testing your business. And it’s crazy. It’s been a year and a half now since you’ve made have the ability to do that.
Brett Iwanowicz 1:56
Dude, it’s wild, man. And I had only been operating, I say a legitimate business. We had a legitimate business model probably a year and a half. So it was still in infancy stages. I just got comfortable going to belly ability in the living room with sellers, and then I completely change it to going remote from another country pretty quickly. So a huge learning curve.
Brandon Barnes 2:15
Yeah, absolutely! So tell us a little bit, how did you get into real estate? How did you find investing wholesaling? You just came out of the womb wholesaling? Right?
Out of the womb wholesaling. Gosh. Where do I start? I guess I was created with some type of entrepreneurial spirit. I never felt like I would ever work for somebody. I was an average student, got my graduated from a local private college with a human resource degree. During that time, I got to do some networking, got involved in some local RIAs, got to meet a few people. But I was really at that time, man, I just couldn’t connect with people. Like I was super shy, very difficult to have conversations with other people, very disconnected, kind of just from relationships with people.
It’s kind of weird because I’m completely different right now, but I made some connections and I kind of got involved in someone’s business who started a student housing company. And that kind of got me involved in rentals property management. We did some construction on major construction and that was kind of like my stepping stone to learn a little bit more about real estate.
But it really was a long journey after that relationship ended, where I dabbled here and there, bought some properties, did some more flips to where it wasn’t until I had hired a coach that kind of really helped me focus my energy. Like I knew I could be successful, but I really needed someone to just dial that energy in doing the right things.
Brandon Barnes 3:38
So you started working with or helping out with somebody else. You were doing flips kind of like one off stuff on the side or finding stuff.
Brett Iwanowicz 3:45
Yeah, you were talking earlier. So I basically helped manage or start a student housing company, run it by the room. So I did that for seven years. Guys, if you’re looking to get in a business relationship, make sure you have your own attorney and get contracts so you don’t get bent over and screwed when people don’t want you working for them anymore. Because that’s essentially what happens. I spent seven years, I learned a little bit, but I was expecting to be mentored through to help me learn how to do this on my own. And that definitely wasn’t the case.
So after that, I started my own property management company. I did some house hacking. I flipped a couple of properties a year, bought a few rentals here and there and did that for like six to seven years. And literally at that point after that six or seven years, I was just spinning my wheels, trying to live off rentals, trying to run a management company, trying to flip properties. I would do anything to make some money. So I Jed GC contracts for people and it seemed to be like I was working my ass off and literally getting nowhere and it was really frustrating time in my life, to be honest.
Brandon Barnes 4:50
So it was just like, hey, you were thinking very short sighted. Since I got to pay this bill, let me make some money, let me do anything you can. Because didn’t you say once you’re like painting?
Brett Iwanowicz 5:00
Yeah. So that’s kind of how I made some money at a painting company. I was painting full time. I had one worker for me, we made pretty good money, but a lot of that went to paying my employee because I’d have to work ten other jobs. So I’d go start the shift and leave at eleven and go work five other jobs for the day and then just rinse, wash, and repeat that every day, which I hated.
Brandon Barnes 5:25
Yeah, it’s funny you say that. So I was just at the dentist before this, and the lady asked me what I did, and I told her, she’s like, do you renovate for regular people? And I was like, there have been times that I have, and I’ve learned that the money is not worth it.
Brett Iwanowicz 5:42
Brandon Barnes 5:43
I stick to what I do. What I do? Well, if you want to trade here, I’ll hand you somebody that I would recommend handing you, but outside of that, you manage it yourself.
Brett Iwanowicz 5:53
Yeah, I don’t want any part of that. I mean, you can give me $10,000 to manage a project that would take a month. I won’t even take it.
Brandon Barnes 5:59
Yeah, it’s amazing. Once you start kind of honing in your energy in the right places, you don’t have to chase these small checks here and there, bigger checks.
Brett Iwanowicz 6:10
Yeah. Essentially, it’s just survival mode. Right? I think the one thing I learned from Steve and I don’t know if you remember this one other thing that he shared with us in one of our Sun Masterminds to learn how to make money. Learn how to keep money, then learn how to invest money. So part of the mistake that I made, I was trying to learn how to buy rentals and live off of rentals, and I wasn’t even making consistent money. And so it just was not I mean, I probably could have sustained through it.
I probably would have hated myself even more, but I wasn’t making consistent money. And you’re basically just winging it, which I think a lot of people tend to do the same thing. There’s no real vision or plan behind what they’re doing. It’s just following, like we were talking about for kind of following what’s cool or what other people are doing, which, in the end, takes a lot of people down the wrong path, and usually they just walk away from real estate.
Brandon Barnes 7:00
Yeah, it’s two things on that. So I do remember when Steve told you that you first you got to learn how to make it, then you learn how to keep it, and then you learn how to invest it. And I was like, this is such a simple thing. It blew my mind. And then Maggie and I sat down afterwards. It was like, we have to figure out first how to consistently make the money now that we’re making it. Now, how do we keep it? We went from making money to investing money and then went through what we went through because we didn’t keep any of it.
Brett Iwanowicz 7:30
Yeah. And last year, I had a six figure tax bill, and I’m like, okay, how do I not pay another six figure tax bill? That was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to do, because when you like, I feel like keeping money is almost a little bit more difficult than learning how to make it. That might sound crazy, but you’re making multiple six figures. How do you not pay that back?
Where does it go? If you have a family, are you setting retirement funds up, school funds? I mean, that money goes so quickly, then how do you invest it if you’re putting in all these other places, too? So it takes a lot of education, and that’s why it’s so great to kind of have these discussions or even be on podcasts or have the Masterminds to really get a grasp on how to build wealth.
Brandon Barnes 8:22
Yeah, because it’s not what you see on TV, Instagram and what everybody else is doing. One of the reasons that we found the Mastermind that we’re in is a good friend of mine. When I was looking for a coach, I said, “I’m looking to hire somebody to coach me, whether it be a Mastermind or a private coach, whatever it is”. And this piece of advice has always stuck with me. He said, “Hire somebody that has the life that you want to live”.
Brett Iwanowicz 8:49
Brandon Barnes 8:50
So there’s the Gary Vaynerchuk’s out there. I love Gary. I love his message. I follow him. But I don’t want to be Gary. I don’t want to wake up and say, hey, I’m just going to outwork you 90 hours a week, seven days a week, all year, and shoot me. Yeah. No, to me, I’d rather make less money and go coach soccer, which I’m going to go do after this podcast with them. And it’s really understanding, what’s important to you because there’s plenty of people, hey, wear the badge of hard work, make a ton of money, live that life. That’s what they want.
I respect it. I appreciate it. We need them in the world, and then we need the people like you in the world who are like, hey, this is my vision. I don’t care if people think about it, badass. So tell people what that was for you and kind of how you went down the path of what you’re doing now with your lifestyle.
Brett Iwanowicz 9:39
The first Mastermind and coaching I got involved with was through Lifeonaire. I got the opportunity to be in Steve Cook, which was the founder of Lifeonaire, and I worked with Steve, I think, like, three or four years, and I don’t even think we discussed anything real estate related. I don’t even know what to call it. It was a lot of mindset, work, changing how I think, how I act, really dialing what I want for my life. And that’s why I also resonate with Steve Kavanaugh, because he has the hashtag LLC living life on vacation.
So Brandon brought up a good point, is, like, if you’re looking for a coach, forget about how much money people are making. Try to find out what their lives look like, and if they’re not going to give you a clear picture, then I probably run from that person because they’re probably miserable and hate their lives. But life and error got me started to understanding like building a vision. We did a three day getaway, which is a vision building course. And that’s when I got invited to be in Steve Cook’s Flip hips. Because I just gave it my all. Basically laid my shit down on the table and was like, help me, somebody.
So I participated all out in that event. And then I basically dialed in like, okay, I’d love to make six figures. It wasn’t even multiple, it was just six figures. Have flexibility, have time. And also I’m somewhat conservative now, but if I lost everything, how long could I survive for? What kind of business and lifestyle could offer me the fact that if I just stop doing what I’m doing, I’ll still be okay?
And so that was a lot of that played into debt management and looking at debt and paying off debt, restructuring my life and my vision. And that’s essentially how I got or how I moved toward wholesaling because wholesaling offers you the flexibility. I hate managing construction projects. And so what could give me flexibility to work remotely and make good money in real estate? And I decided it was wholesaling.
Brandon Barnes 11:36
So first off, playing all out in anything is key to massive success.
Brett Iwanowicz 11:43
Brandon Barnes 11:44
Going into a room, whether it be a big time mastermind, a small group, whatever it is, lay your shit on the table. As you said, the more vulnerable you are, the more real you are. More people see it and the more people want to help you. That’s the first, most important thing you did. I’ve done the life and air thing, it’s amazing. Was moving to Guatemala like in that original vision? Or was it just, hey, I just want flexibility, and this is what I’m going to build? Where did moving to another country part time.
Brett Iwanowicz 12:15
Dude, it was never even in. It was kind of like a curveball. So the way I had been operating was I didn’t know where I was going or what I’d be doing, but it was just like, okay, I want something flexible, or if I want to start traveling more, like I have the ability to do that. And so it started with it was kind of cool, like going back to the finance aspect of it. What’s the fastest way you can make more money? I’m asking you.
Brandon Barnes 12:40
Fastest way I can make more money?
Brett Iwanowicz 12:42
Yeah. What’s that? Wholesaling?
Brandon Barnes 12:44
You mean in real estate or just in general?
Brett Iwanowicz 12:46
Just in general.
Brandon Barnes 12:47
Brett Iwanowicz 12:48
Well, yeah, that’s a great answer, but it’s just pay off your debt, increasing cash flow.
Brandon Barnes 12:54
Brett Iwanowicz 12:55
Instead of trying to look for the fastest way to make money, it’s like, what is the fastest way I can increase my cash flow? So I just started hammering my debt down with any money that I was making. I started reducing my debt, getting all my debt under control. So once that debt was under control, then I could 100% focus on my next step, which was building a wholesaling business. But Guatemala came into play because I started coming on mission trips here with Steve Cook and the school that we help with and still help with.
My girlfriend’s on the board right now. It’s called Las Vegas and de carata. And so we would come out here and participate in mission trips and help work with the school. And so I really enjoyed it. I really loved Antigua. In fact, I had mentioned to my now friend Hannah, I could see myself spending a lot more time here, and I think it was less than three years later I moved here. So she’s the matchmaker.
So it was for a girl, everybody. So Hannah introduced me to an amazing woman. Her name is Leah, very smart. She’s got a master’s in finance. And we hit it off. And I convinced a friend to take a vacation here. And then I told him when we got here I’d be meeting this girl, and he wasn’t too happy because it was supposed to be a bros vacation. But it all turned out and I made the move here pretty quickly after that, which was a whole another kind of crazy adventure in itself.
Brandon Barnes 14:19
You third wheeled the guy to another country.
Brett Iwanowicz 14:22
I did. I did, man, I did.
Brandon Barnes 14:24
But if it doesn’t turn out well with the girl, then you’re like, hey, I don’t want to be here by myself. So I get it.
Brett Iwanowicz 14:31
There you go, man.
Brandon Barnes 14:33
Brett Iwanowicz 14:34
Yeah. So we talked for like six or seven months before I came out here. And so beat her was like it was like we had already known each other and we hit it off really well and just that we can keep talking about Ascend, but if it wasn’t for Josh Bacon in Ascend this is why it’s so great, guys, to invest in yourself. Information is free, but you already have all the information you need to be successful. You probably just need some more accountability.
So find people to hold you accountable, because in a good mastermind, someone’s going to tell you you’re full of shit. You’re not full of shit. And if you’re not full of shit, they’re going to help you put a plan together and take action. And if you are, they’ll be like, hey, you’re in the wrong group. Get out of here. I hate to say it so bluntly, but that’s the mastermind and accountability I think people need to be looking for. But I had called a friend and say, “Hey, I think I was a year into my business”. And I said, “hey, Josh, I’m considering moving to another country. I think I’m on the right track. Can you come into my business and look at my numbers”?
I didn’t know how to manage KPIs, didn’t even know much about KPIs. And wholesaling I was making money I was doing deals consistently, but I needed, like, a real model or real numbers to model my business after. And we spent four months working together, creating a plan. So we meet every Friday, create a plan, and I moved in less than six months. I literally changed my whole business in less than six months and left the country.
Brandon Barnes 15:56
That’s incredible. I didn’t realize it was that fast. I knew he was helping because it’d be funny. The mastermind, he’d be like, I already know your numbers, Brett. What are your numbers?
Brett Iwanowicz 16:06
Dude, it was about four and a half months where I moved where I started working with him, and then just literally moved out of Rochester.
Brandon Barnes 16:13
So learning your numbers, were you using REsimpli yet, or were you just using, like, a standard CRM?
Brett Iwanowicz 16:20
Josh and I started with his KPI spreadsheet to just give me to build a foundation. And so basically, I just needed this is another thing, too. If you’re starting a wholesaling business, there needs to be or any business, you need some type of metrics, like a foundation for what success looks like. It has to align with some type of data. So where do you get that from? You get it from other businesses, right? Or other businesses who you want to create the same type of business model. Josh and I business are almost identical in terms of what we want our numbers to look like.
So he set the tone and set the metrics of how many calls I need to make, how many appointments we need to go on to get the conversions. It really helped me understand the data and understand the conversion ratios to know what I need to be doing every day to reach the finance goals there. So it was pretty cool. And REsimpli is great. Growing in business is definitely difficult. So I think I’m about 90% of the way there of managing all our KPIs directly in REsimpli instead of using outside spreadsheets.
Brandon Barnes 17:26
Yeah. When we did our sales call last month, I mean, that I’m leading next week, I think.
Brett Iwanowicz 17:32
Brandon Barnes 17:33
The numbers that you were able to just kind of bring out quickly and accurately is a testament to tracking it and then also having a system that helps you track that. I mean, you know, numbers that a lot of people never understand their business, and that’s really important for you, especially being virtual. Like, you have to be able to look at something, trust it, and say, “What I’m doing in Guatemala, in New York is working. Let me just trust these numbers and continue to do it.18
Brett Iwanowicz 18:05
Dude, that man, you just gave me the Goosebumps because the same goes for having a sales process. That’s why I paid for the John Martinez training. I hated sales. I hated talking to people. I hated numbers. I hated marketing. I hated everything that I’m doing now. I had absolutely zero confidence doing people.
So if I can do it. I’m not even joking. I wasn’t good at math. I hated numbers, hated data. All that stuff was overwhelming. I lacked zero confidence. I didn’t even communicate very well with my friends and my family. Rejection was everyone fears rejection. But that’s all you’re doing every day, talking to people is being rejected. And so I invested in the REI Sales Academy. Man, that training changed my fragging life, man. The best investments I ever made.
Brandon Barnes 18:49
I remember talking to you in Miami and you said that you’re like, I practiced really hard, repetition, just constantly. It’s impressive what you’ve built. And so now, as a soon to be, as you would consider, fully built business owner, do you make decisions based on your metrics now versus emotion? Have you gotten better at that?
Brett Iwanowicz 19:12
Yeah. In fact, some people might think I lack emotion because it is this business should be all data driven because you know how you go into a home and you like, man, I really like this home. I’m just going to buy it. I’m going to try it out, and how does it end up working out? You’re like, no shit. I should never have bought that. I should have paid less.
So being able to make decisions, where is a foundation for the decision making process? Recall the decision making funnel has definitely gotten me to where I am today. Just following that sales process, like, hey, I know this sucks. I know I hate it, but I know it’s worked for all these other people.
Let me just follow it and the same thing for the KPIs. I hate doing this, but I know the numbers, and I know if I do this and I’ll see results, and you just have to be consistent. It’s not easy. It’s just consistency over long periods of time. It’s not like business isn’t sexy, man. You’ll hit some grand slams every now and then and get some really good deals, but you’re just if you can hit singles and doubles for five to ten years, man, you will be in really good shape.
Brandon Barnes 20:14
Build a boring business. Cody Sanchez I think that’s her. She like her favorite thing to do is buy boring businesses in it. They can, they’re predictable, they’re repeatable, which is what you’re going to learn the more years of data you have because if you replace yourself in sales or whatever it is, you’re going to have standards. Hey, this is what 21 looked like. This is what 22 looked like. This is what 23 looked like. So now let me build 24 based on these numbers.
Brett Iwanowicz 20:47
Yeah, you were part of that call. So now I have two full years of data, and now I’m kind of nerd out. I’m like, this is like, super cool because I can plan. So the way that my numbers look now, I do all of our acquisitions, and so I’m failing horribly at that role because our business is growing so if you guys are curious what my team looks like, I have two full time VAs, a part time VA, but I do everything. I do our data polls, I do our marketing. Literally, I’m our lead acquisition manager. And so I probably spend less than 10 hours a week talking to sellers. I’m not even joking.
And we did, I think it was like close to 400 or just over 404 or 500,000 last year, which was 38 deals, which for me is great. I never expected to ever make that kind of money, but I have a million dollar business, without a doubt. So I had a chance to review one of my competitors numbers from last year and not only is my business probably, I don’t know, 10x is like, we’re super lean, my business is incredibly lean.
And we reviewed their numbers and if I have the chance to bring on someone to my team, we could do over a million with my business right now. So we’re averaging about 3.3 deals a month and my numbers with a full time acquisition manager, I know we can do over a million, which is incredible, but I wouldn’t be able to project that unless I were to look at my last two years numbers and then compare those KPIs with other businesses. So that’s been instrumental in understanding where I’ve came from, what I can do, and potentially setting up of future goals. So it’s been awesome.
Brandon Barnes 22:24
Is that kind of what you’re working on this year? Is bringing on a team, bringing on something else to help you kind of get out of the role of the sales calls? Is that what you’re trying to or all of it? Like, what’s driving towards now that you have all this?
Brett Iwanowicz 22:38
I was thinking about it today. I don’t know if I would be happy if I dropped taking calls with Sellers, although I’ve been passing off we’re kind of an experimental, experimental stage. I’ve been passing off leads to someone and we can get into that home so much faster. There’s so much less qualification for me to just to have someone go belly to belly in the living room. So that process is so much smoother. It’s cleaner. We can get more appointments, get more offers, get more contracts. It’s very difficult negotiating.
I’ll have people hang up on the phone with an offer, then I’ll call my competitor and be like, hey man, let’s JV this deal. And they’ll go in and get it at the price that I made the offer on and they’re hanging up on me. And so those are a lot. I have to pay more. And if I’m partnering with someone, I probably partnered on over a quarter million dollars with someone that I had to split last year.
So imagine if that was all in house. There’s a lot more money coming in. But I think I might maintain a partial role in the acquisition. I just had to hire an executive assistant to take over all my admin. And then my goal was to stay in the acquisition manager role, which, if I can get my EA dialed in, I’ll probably only have to work 3 to 4 hours a day. And we should be able to do close half a million dollars just working three to 4 hours, which is really cool.
Brandon Barnes 24:02
That three to 4 hours is talking to sellers.
Brett Iwanowicz 24:04
Talking to sellers, yeah.
Brandon Barnes 24:05
So in your business, you would consider you talking to sellers one of the highest ROI things that you can do.
Brett Iwanowicz 24:11
Currently, yeah, and I’m failing miserably at doing it right now because that’s the problem with growing a business. So I hire and train everybody in house. And so all the updates REsimpli, launch control, trying different marketing channels, I have to split test marketing, learn new marketing channels, reeducate myself with updates, train my team, manage my team, create scorecards for my team, audit my team.
And so that has taken a lot of my time away from talking to sellers, which is a good problem to have because I already have a plan to get that time back. But it would be even better if I could bring on a full time acquisitions manager just to see, can I really do over a million? Because I know we can.
Brandon Barnes 24:54
Brett Iwanowicz 24:54
Brandon Barnes 24:55
That’s super cool.
Brandon Barnes 24:56
And what you just said there, for new people, building a business, especially the solopreneur type people, when you’re doing tasks that are not out of your like, doing and good at, if you do the quadrants, the amount of energy it sucks from you is unbelievable. What happens is you’ll train and build all this stuff and then when it comes to the hour of phone calls you need to make, or whatever your metric is, you either don’t have good phone calls or you don’t do it.
Brett Iwanowicz 25:23
Bro, I probably man, I had a couple so was it last month, it was either end of January or early February where I had three sellers. We went and saw their properties, I didn’t even call them back and make offers because I’m like, no, I’m burnt. Yeah, you’re right. I wish I was introduced to the executive assistant role sooner. I did not think there were people out there who could just basically take they’re doing 100 different things and they love it. I was like, why would anyone ever want this job?
And so, yeah, it was really cool to be introduced to, even what that is. I had never heard of an executive assistant until maybe six or eight months ago. And what their job role is, is basically to take your Clutter and organize it for you. And I’m like, it’s a huge investment if it’s a full time role, 60 grand a year, but that’s a couple of deals. That’s maybe three deals. And if I’m not getting those three deals to pay for that person, then there’s something wrong with me that’s been huge. And there’s probably four months or five months more of onboarding her that’s going to still steal my time, but when she’s in there, it’s going to be really exciting. So I’m pumped about it.
Brandon Barnes 26:30
And that’s key there. Even though she’s in there and she’s working, you still have four or five, six months of training, continuing to grow. It because you think EA, you think some guy at the top of a skyscraper, some lady answering his desk, you’re like, oh, I can’t have one of those. And then you realize there are people out there who just love dealing with your chaos and organizing it and solving your problems. And a lot of it has to do with they understand what you’re trying to grow. Like, hey, if I can remove this from this person, then they can grow and it can benefit everybody.
Brett Iwanowicz 27:07
Yeah, I think it’s cool because they love to see, I don’t want to say it’s instant growth, but it would almost look like instant growth that they get to be a part of just by giving these tasks. Like my business should probably scale pretty quickly. Just getting that time back with the amount of appointments, contracts and offers. Then actually my EA, someone died in their family and she didn’t work on Monday and she didn’t do any of her reports. And typically I’d be the type of person that would just go in and do it myself. And so I said, “You know what, I hired someone to do this, they’ll do it later this week and I focused on talking to sellers and this Monday was one of the best Mondays I’ve had in a long time”.
Brandon Barnes 27:48
Brett Iwanowicz 27:50
Brandon Barnes 27:51
So to turn into REsimpli a little bit, let’s talk about REsimpli. Let’s talk about what you’re using it for and some things that are having success. What all are you using inside of the platform and how long have you used it?
Brett Iwanowicz 28:03
So I think like two and a half years. I’ve been using very simply, man, I think I use everything in there literally. I just started using and understanding list stacking this past year. I just got rid of Mail Chimp and click send. So click send I would use to talk to buyers Mail Chimp, I would do our marketing for our buyers deals. I just brought that back in house. We’ll be using the dialer for on the list stacking feature, but the biggest so if I were to choose one thing that has helped scale my business, it’s the ability to communicate effectively with Sellers, create tasks and create follow ups and understanding in this business that a no is only a no.
If it’s like a FU, I’ll come to your house and kill you. Please stop calling me that’s a no for us. And so you can set up those follow up campaigns. We saw some people where we simply posted deals. 500 days. I mean, we’ve closed deals 500 days, 700 days. And so that has really allowed us to kind of remain consistent as far as marketing goes, because marketing is somewhat seasonal. And so those follow up deals trickle in and really help keep the business moving forward.
So, yeah, we’re managing our KPIs. We run our team meeting reports out of there. We have our daily huddle. We run out of there. Like, filters are great, the tags are great. Being able to manage those leads with your teams and have your teams communicate effectively in there has been instrumental to our growth, too. And I can keep going on and on. You want me to pinpoint like, one thing specifically?
Brandon Barnes 29:32
I think you nailed it. I think the ability to follow up create flow with them. I’ve always looked at a CRM. I’ve heard plenty of people say, just use an Excel sheet if you’re starting, which is perfectly fine. There’s plenty of people who build business off having Excel sheets and dates and following up. But how I’ve always tried to think about a CRM is like, as another employee, can it send some text messages for me?
Can it follow up remind me just like an executive assistant, they may not make the phone call, but they may send you a message. Hey, Brett, you have to call this person back at 03:00 today. And if your program that’s running your business can do all those things for you in turn, it should also add some deals to your company.
Brett Iwanowicz 30:17
Yeah, that’s a really good point. I hope some other people listening who kind of considers that REsimpli, it almost acts like another employee for you because you can only talk to so many people, you can only do so many things. And so if you have the system following up for you doing RVM text drops, sometimes it just takes a hey, how are you doing? Text follow up text on our Drip campaign to get people active again. And it can really be something as that simple.
Then being able to track those and see it and create different follow ups for different lead statuses has been really great, creating more aggressive follow ups, warm follow ups. So, yeah, man, I’m with you. I think what REsimpli really helped me do is understand how to be an effective marketer. And I think one of the reasons why is because I probably have 40 phone numbers, which might sound crazy, but I can track Liz Pendant’s direct mail, probate direct mail individually to see how they perform and split test those.
So our SEO, PPC, so that’s been really cool. You wouldn’t be able to do and if you could do that in a spreadsheet, you’re like light years above, I think probably you and I, where you can build out some type of model. But yeah, you basically can go to your dashboard and just compare all your marketing, which will save you thousands and thousands of dollars to make sure that if something’s not performing, you have to change it, right? And you have to make that adjustment, and that’s what that system allows you to do.
Brandon Barnes 31:49
Sharad when him and I talked about it, that was something he has always pressed about it. Not only can I tell you if direct mail is working, or SMS is working, or whatever is working, I can tell you which list, which contacts, specifically, and depending on your market. Rochester is a small market where I live. Not as small, but still small in a sense of like, how much data is available. There are people in bigger markets that don’t maybe pull all the data, and if they have a list that’s doing really well, they should get all of it. They can get they should get their hands on every data set for that list that they can possibly come across.
Brett Iwanowicz 32:29
Yes. Man, I love that. I don’t do direct mail, so we do PPC, SEO. I want to be like the number one business online for homebuyers, and we’re pretty close, we’re ranking top three, and it should be probably top two consistently with the people we’re working with. But yeah, just gosh, I kind of lost my train of thought. Here where I was going with this. Bring me back here, Brandon.
Brandon Barnes 32:58
Down in the list specific…
Brett Iwanowicz 33:00
Yeah, so being list specific, when we get calls back, we can scroll down and see what list that came from, which is huge, because then we can track our so we do a lot of filters weekly and monthly to see where our data is coming from. And yeah, you can say, hey, this list is performing this great in August, so you can start tracking those things by month and start pulling more and more of that data to market when you start seeing the spikes. So, yeah, if you’re good, if you spend time in your business understanding those things and understanding those lists, it can really be a big difference in being a good business to being a great business.
Brandon Barnes 33:35
Just like list stacking. You mentioned it. I remember when I first got into real estate, list stacking didn’t exist. I remember people talking about this mystical thing of list stacking and the amount of data was wasted on mail because you couldn’t split duplicates out. You couldn’t see whether you were mailing people multiple times because I’m sure at one point, or you may still have it a million Excel CSV files scattered throughout your desk.
Brett Iwanowicz 34:05
I had someone else who would manage that stuff all for me. I’m like, I don’t know. And then, thankfully, when we kind of parted our ways, I got introduced to list stacking recently. I mean, it wasn’t in REsimpli at the time, but things started to become easier with data management, and now I think anyone can understand and manipulate data to be effective with it, which, like, five years ago, I don’t think really was a thing. So that’s been huge, too, to our growth.
Brandon Barnes 34:36
Yeah, I remember part of the company, but literally that’s all they built was a list stacking service. It was the first one of its kind where you could take all of your sheets, put it into this software, and then all of a sudden be like, oh, I have 20,000 records, 30,000 records. People are duplicates. I have one guy that owns 30 properties. Let me not mail him 30 pieces of mail or send him 30 text messages.
Brett Iwanowicz 35:05
I can share with you how valuable that is. So my main competitor, I got to look at some data, and their marketing spend is more than quadruple of what I spend, but we generated similar amount of leads. Well, that’s how I know how my business could form, because they did overmail. They won’t with the same amount of leads, and our conversions are very similar. But that’s what this software can do, is if you’re and I don’t know what’s happening outside of where that money is going, but you have to manage your data effectively, otherwise you waste it, I think, for us.
And just going back to Josh Bacon, most people fail at this or don’t do really well at this because they keep wanting to buy new data. I’ve been hammering, like, you have to buy new data every now and then, but I’ve been hammering the same data over and over again. Follow up, follow up, follow up, follow up. And when it slows down, I’ll buy new data. But you need a system where you can track all of those things, so you’re just not wasting money. And that’s a good testament to having good systems. So you’re not spending all this money and not seeing results you want. But that’s how you can go broke, too, in a business, is you just keep spending, spending, spending, and you don’t manage what you have already really well, and you just go broke.
Brandon Barnes 36:24
Imagine having a big sales team, and all they want is new leads, new leads, new leads, new leads, and you want to make them happy. And you’re seeing contracts, you’re seeing revenue, you’re seeing coming in, and you realize there’s all these leads that they’re just not working hard anymore, that are just dying on the vine, and there’s money in that stuff. I know. Bacon when he looked at my business, he’s like, dude, you have, like, six weeks worth of stuff here that you just need to just download a new list.
Don’t skip trace anything. He’s like, this is it. I don’t want to hear about anything new until you just hammer this stuff away. And he could see it, because he could see all the data that I had. He could see everything that came from it. And it was like, you’re right. I don’t need anything new. I don’t need this new marketing piece that somebody’s selling me a subscription on. I just need to work.
Brett Iwanowicz 37:16
Brandon Barnes 37:17
You got it’s here to work?
Brett Iwanowicz 37:18
Yeah. You got to call through those leads until they tell you to F off, man. That’s the best way to manage that data and do it until you get that response. We just had another Mastermind out here in Guatemala, the Master mission. And we had someone similarly who was struggling to see results. Dude, as soon as he went home and started calling people, he got a deal a week later.
Brandon Barnes 37:37
I bet you I knew that is. Who is it Keith?
Brett Iwanowicz 37:40
No, it wasn’t Keith, but it was someone that Keith knows. Yeah.
Brandon Barnes 37:46
Yeah, got it. All right, so I appreciate that. So we’re going to wrap come towards the end here, unless there’s anything else you want to share about resembling your story.
Brett Iwanowicz 37:55
I could talk to you guys all night, but I’m sure you don’t want to listen to me talk all night.
Brandon Barnes 38:00
Unfortunately, I have kids soccer, which I don’t know that as much soccer. It’s more kind of herding cats, but it’s a blast. I have four kind of rapid fire questions pertaining to the pillars that we built recently on, which is data marketing, sales, and operations. And basically, if you were, let’s say, starting or trying to make your business more consistently, what would be the one thing you would do with these four items? And so the first one would be data. Is there a list? Is there something you pull? What’s one thing you would give advice about data to somebody.
Brett Iwanowicz 38:40
Man, yeah, so when I got started, I really spent some time educating myself and talking to other business owners about creating lists that have multiple stressors for sellers, so they’ll have multiple reasons to want to sell. And so I think that’s a great place to start. If you’re looking at data you want to go to. The people who might be in pre foreclosure, might have tax liens or whatever it is that you’re stacking multiple stressors on top of a seller. But there’s one list that I really like that might seem weird and I had a different name for it, but it’s like an owner occupied investor, which might sound crazy. So this is a person who owns two or less properties.
So this is someone who becomes an investor by chance. Family, inherited a home, they move out of state or owned a home here. They move out of state, have friends move in the property or start renting the home out. So I do really well with that list. If you can filter it out by someone who owns two or less properties or three or less properties with like 50% equity, that’s been kind of a fun list, and one of those came from Ryan Dawson.
I think every markets are a little bit different. I don’t do well with landlords, retired landlords. I’ve hammered those lists and haven’t gotten anywhere. I know my demographics like 50 and older single families. So I’ve kind of dialed in my age and demographic, and it’s kind of just starting pulling data on that. So it does take some testing. But to get started, you want to try to call people if you limited budget, who are going to be you wouldn’t just pull like a high equity list. Right? Because you might have to call a ton of people to find someone motivated. You’ve got to start calling the motivated sellers first.
Brandon Barnes 40:16
The more stress factors they have, the more motivated they should be. And if you have limited time or funds or resources, obviously a good place to start. And I like that list, like accidental landlord list. And probably a filter that you could put. I don’t know if you use this or not, but you could make it to where they own it in their own name and not an LLC.
Brett Iwanowicz 40:36
Yeah, it is. Yeah. So actually one filter is individual and it’s still owner occupied. So the two or less I still check individual and owner occupied, but they don’t live here, which there’s no way to really filter that out, definitely.
Brandon Barnes 40:51
Got you! Alright, and then so for marketing, what would be one thing on marketing advice you do?
Brett Iwanowicz 40:56
I feel like everyone hates cold calling. I feel it’s like a rite of passage. If you can’t figure out how to talk to somebody, then you should probably not do this. So if you want to excel rapidly at being successful in real estate, cold calling is the way to go. But the next texting is relatively inexpensive. So using a text platform, you can reach a lot more people in a shorter period of time. It does cost a little bit more money as far as those platforms go. So, yeah, I started off cold calling, and when my time was maxed out, we moved over to texting to reach a lot more people a lot quicker.
Brandon Barnes 41:35
Awesome! So from an operational standpoint, you being fairly solopreneur. What’s something you would give people advice on setting up the operations of the business?
Brett Iwanowicz 41:44
I don’t know your strengths and weak weaknesses, I guess, because if you can dial that in someone, I think it was Jeff, and our last mastermind told us to write everything we do every day. And I can’t remember exactly how he said it. You’re either putting check marks or writing what you like or you don’t like, or basically you’re trying to figure out everything that makes you happy with what you do daily. And so start tracking those things because at some point you have to unload those on somebody else or you’re not going to be successful.
So for me, I wanted to learn acquisitions and be really good at that and dial that in. And so the first person I hired was someone to take over was a cold caller. And then we stopped cold calling, we started texting. So I brought in an in house girl to do my texting. She’s been with me three years now. And so she handles that full time. So just, like, you have to start if you want to scale or you want to focus on something, you just have to figure out what that looks like for you as a person and as a business.
And some people don’t want to build out teams. But you can only do so much, right? If you have a wife, if you have kids. So you’re going to have to hire you have to learn how to be a good leader and a self this leader and lead by example. And so that’s a whole another challenge. That’s a long winded answer, but that’s a whole another if you can’t learn how to be a gracious leader. If you’re going to be a dictator, you probably won’t be too successful. If you are, it’ll be short winded. But you just have to learn how to lead people. Well, I think.
Brandon Barnes 43:13
Awesome! And then last thing is sales from the sales ninja himself. What’s one advice or tip you’d give about sales to either a newer person or somebody kind of in the process of doing.
Brett Iwanowicz 43:24
So. What I would have done differently. I probably would have found, like, a large operation and try to get a sales job and learn sales. Either partnering with someone like working dead leads from other wholesaling business. I think if that question was first, as far as sales goes, I would probably try to go work for other wholesaling businesses or flipping businesses and learn that model from somebody else. I think that’s a great way to be successful and then go off on your own. But you have to learn it from somebody.
So you have to learn a process. I paid for it. It was $10,000. If you don’t have the money, you can learn that for free by giving someone else your time. Maybe you don’t have a lot of time. Maybe you want to learn sales, so you cold call for somebody for free, and then you JV those deals. So you can always learn that in a number of different ways. Find someone you like for a business that you want to get to know more or be around. That’s a great way to find mentors too.
Brandon Barnes 44:18
Awesome. Yeah. Know your resources, know what you have. Do you have time? Do you have money? And I think you’re spot on. Like, if you have time and no money, go get a sales job.
Brett Iwanowicz 44:30
I will tell you. When I hired my first coach, I put nine grand on a credit card and paid 900 a month for like, two years. And I couldn’t really afford it. But I’m only bringing that up because I think we talked about briefly what’s the one investment you can make in yourself? That’s something you have to consider, too. I think Ryan Panda was even talking about this the other day. I invested in myself before my business. And I think that was instrumental of where I am today.
Brandon Barnes 44:58
That’s awesome, Brett. I had an amazing time catching up with you. I’ll see you in a few months, face to face, hopefully.
Brett Iwanowicz 45:06
Brandon Barnes 45:07
I think there’s something on my calendar to come to Guatemala. I might have to look that we just got.
Brett Iwanowicz 45:14
Yeah, well, we’ve got plenty of space. Steve will be here in a couple of weeks, so he’s bringing the family down. So you are more than welcome to come down and enjoy this amazing weather here in Guatemala.
Brandon Barnes 45:26
Cool. Well, tell people how they can find you, connect with you, share Instagram, email, whatever you want to share.
Brett Iwanowicz 45:33
Yeah, I mean, my handle on Instagram is at Flip Number Four Freedom. So you can find me on there. I don’t spend too much time on Instagram that much, but I can get back to you in a couple of days. That’s what happens. Another thing is, like, you just get focused, man. Highest and best use of time is definitely not on being on social media.
Brandon Barnes 45:54
Brett Iwanowicz 45:55
So if you want to spend time on social media build a business first and then spend time on social media. But yeah, Flip 4 Freedom. My business is Brett Buys Rock Houses. I don’t know if you can see it here, so you can find me through my website and give us a call or email me, https://www.brettbuysrochouses.com/.
Brandon Barnes 46:12
I appreciate it, buddy! Thank you!