Ep 159 – Finishing Tasks: Big Rocks and Unfinished Bridges

NCS 159 | Big Rocks

NCS 159 | Big Rocks

Scott talks about finishing your major tasks first before moving on to smaller tasks to make it seem like you’re accomplishing tasks.

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Finishing Tasks: Big Rocks and Unfinished Bridges

We’re excited to have you this Monday morning here in the office. I like to call it the Monday Morning Noteover. We are rock and rolling here in the office this morning. We have several things that we’re working on today. If you listened to our previous episode, we had some performing notes we were working through. We had an amazing note auction on last Thursday and started to have bids coming this morning, right Jen?

Yes, today’s the deadline.

Bid deadline is today. One guy told me, “I’m going to make a bid on the whole tape.” I’m like, “We’ll see.” That’s what we’re working on today. We’ve got more phone calls over the weekend from our assets too. Jen, is that correct?


That’s a good sign for us. It means a little bit of work for Jen and the staff but it’s a good sign when people are reaching out to us. It is totally a good sign. Today’s focus comes down to two things that intertwine into each other. Especially after I teach a workshop, I’m sure many of you out there feel the same way. You go to a workshop, you get all excited and go home, you got all these great ideas, amazing things that you’re going to be doing, you go home and you’re going to make everything you learned this weekend, and then life smacks you in the face. You get bitch slapped Monday morning walking in the office or Sunday night when you roll in and talked to your spouse and she’s like, “Whatever,” or he’s like, “Whatever, you’re not going to do that.”

NCS 159 | Big Rocks

Big Rocks: I’m a big believer that to-do lists give you a false sense of accomplishment most of the time.

I don’t like to-do lists. I absolutely hate to-do lists. I’m a big believer that to-do lists give you a false sense of accomplishment most of the time. I know some people like the fact that they’re going to list everything they have done today on a piece of paper or dry-erase board or whatever it is, on their phone, and they would start checking things off as they get stuff done. A lot of times, what happens with that is we get lulled into a false sense of achievement throughout the day, because then we look at our list and, “Look all that I got done today.” If you’ve got nine out of ten things done today, great. What did you actually get done? Organizing your desk really shouldn’t be on your list. Charging your phone doesn’t really count on your list. Out of those nine, ten things, what were the most important things that you should have gotten done today that would either driven revenue into you, helps you close deals, help you find more deals, or help you raise more in funding?

I’m a big believer of the Big Rocks Theory. What are the three biggest things you’ve got to get done today? I’m a big believer that everything else falls into the other categories. They just get done. Either they to get done after work or they get done in between. As long as you focus on the big rocks, you’ll see success keep going forward. But many people focus on the small rocks. They focus on the little things that eats up their day and then when they get around to tackling something big, it’s already too late, it’s past, or they don’t have enough time to get it accomplished and get it completed successfully, or to the best of their abilities. It’s like procrastination, “I’ll get to that later but I first got to fold all my clothes. First, I got to go and I got to make sure I get this done. This is important. I got to organize all my file folders.” Jen is like, “I want to come into your office and organize your office.” I’m like, “No. Don’t worry about it. It’s fine. It will get cleaned. It will get organized.” We don’t need it being done, we need those phone calls taken care of first.

A lot of people focus on their email being a big rock. That’s not necessarily the right thing. An email can be time-sucking vampire from you. I don’t usually check my email until after lunch. Once I roll into the office, I check it. I purposely don’t have half of emails go to my phone, because after hours, I don’t want to be bogged down looking at email. Once I leave the office, I try to shut it down. I look at social media. I look at other things on my phone when I’m at home and I post occasionally, but most of the time I try to avoid the electronic leech. If you focus on the big rocks, you’ll get more accomplished and you can be more successful going down the road.

Obviously, a lot of people, if you go to a workshop or go to a seminar or convention and you walked out of there, you got this list of items. You may not know exactly the best way to sort them out. Especially if you’re a new entrepreneur, especially a new note investor, a new real estate investor, you often feel like you’ve got to get a lot of things done. I want to really reiterate the fact of getting something done is better than getting nothing done. I call that the Theory of Unfinished Bridges. Imagine a mountain drawn and most people are standing on one cliff and your goals are on the opposite cliff. Imagine Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, at the end where they had that rope swing and he’s standing over the gators.

Most entrepreneurs are like that. They’re on one side of the cliff. Financial freedom, money, whatever is on the other side of the cliff and they don’t have a bridge to get there. They start building bridges. They’re like, “I need to get my CRMs all done. I need to create my Facebook profiles. I need to jump on LinkedIn. I need to email assets.” They’ll make this whole list of things to get it done, but what happens most of the time, we start doing all these things, we don’t finish any of them. We’re halfway done or three quarter done on some of this. We do all these things and we get halfway done with them. We don’t complete any of them. We start building the bridge and then we get sidetracked. We start a template in MailChimp. We don’t finish all the way and now we don’t have something we can send out.

One of the biggest things you can do is focus on completing a bridge. Instead of pissing your time away doing 75 different things that don’t get accomplished, get something done. Get one thing built. Get one thing accomplished. I know it’s not going to be perfect a lot of times but it’s completed. Delivered is better than perfect because you’re going to get better every time. Let’s say, you’re just sending your first email out to your database, you get it done and get it out. Are there going to be errors on it? Yes. Is your font going to be a little bit off? Is your photo going to be weird? Do you get different fonts and spacing might be a little bit off? Yes. Maybe you leave a little spot at the very top that says, “Insert information,” that shows up on their email.

That’s okay because we all suck, #embracethesuck. The thing is every time you do it now, you’re going to get a little bit better. That rope bridge turns into a little bit more solid bridge. It turns into a plank bridge. Then it turns into a roadway. Then it turns ultimately over time, you have basically the Golden Gate Bridge. What lies below here is we believe we all suck. We’re going to fall and die, we’re going to be killed, the gators are going to eat us, and we’re going to have bamboo shoved through our torso when we fall on top of it, that’s not the case. All of us worry about, we look over here at one cliff and look at where we want to be. When we look down and we can’t see what’s down there but we imagine the worst, “I can’t do that.” Some snake or some gators are going to step up, “You can’t do that. That email’s horrible. Why are you doing that?”

We think of snapping gators down here in the crevice between where we want to be and that stops us from building the bridges. What you often find out is that when you complete the bridge you’re like, “Crap, that was easy. That was not nearly as difficult to as I thought it was going to be.” That’s what I’m trying to get at today. There’s literally 77, 90 different things that have to be done, bridges that have to be built. What most people don’t realize is that they’re often wasting their time on little bridges that really don’t even get anywhere. “I got to make sure that my business cards are ordered white.” Business cards are important for your networking but if you’re not out doing anything, that’s a five, ten minute thing. You can jump online to VistaPrint and order business cards relatively quickly, 500 business cards for $9.95. Yes, it’s nice. You need to have business cards but if you don’t have your CRM tool set up or you don’t have your asset manager list pool, you’re just burning your wheels.

What I’m also trying to get at, this is why it’s important, is take the time, look at the things that you’ve got to put in place and identify the top three things that you have to get done the most important. It comes down to raising capital, finding deals and marketing. In marketing, the best bang for your buck still to this day is your email. You still get a 4400% ROI for every dollar you spend. Many people don’t understand marketing. They’re not in the marketing concept because they’re engineer or they’ve been a teacher or a police officer or just a person working at a job. In today’s world of 21st century, the important aspect of this is that you got to use something smarter. If email marketing is good for every other major company out there, that’s marketing and dropping email with a special or an update, you can do the same thing.

You may not want to do this on a daily basis but you should at least be doing it once a week to your tribe, to the people that are following you. Every person you come in contact with should be going into your database of some sort. Everybody is a buyer, a seller, or a funding source/investor. What I would be doing is looking, “What’s the best bridges to help me get to the masses? What’s going to allow me to communicate?” Not a rope bridge, where it’s one person to one person, but a freaking LA freeway, eight lanes of traffic of concrete and asphalt. Why? That’s what you want to eventually build. That’s how your email service providers like MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, although they suck. They don’t like real estate investors. Using something that you can track who’s opening it, you can send out one email that goes out to 60,000 people or 10,000 people or 5,000 people is much more efficient than sending one email through Gmail and Hotmail.

We have comments. One says one of his big rocks, he needs to reach out to managers. Another says, “Amen to the slap in the face with life to get started.” Another one says he sent out his first email. It sucked but he did it.

NCS 159 | Big Rocks

Big Rocks: Very easy to fall behind the eight ball quickly with things if you’re not focused on stuff.

We have some things in life that are bitch slapping us in the face these last couple of weeks. Two big things: Damn that Harvey, and you’ve also got a lot of people sending kids back to school. You’ve got kids drama and all that good fun stuff. Those are easy things to get people sidetracked. There are a lot of people having kid drama out there. This is why it’s also important to block out your schedule a little bit. That’s why I tell you, “Focus on the big rocks.” If you’ve got stuff that pops up, if you’re not getting the big things done, those things will grow and fall behind the eight ball relatively quickly. Very easy to fall behind the eight ball quickly with things if you’re not focused on stuff.

Sometimes you can’t help it. Our good buddy in Houston, they’ve got water in their houses. They can’t do anything right now. That would be funny if they’re sitting in six inches of water trying to email out. This is what I’m trying to get at, everybody. You’re looking at different things. There are some basic things that you’ve got to do to get rock and rolling. Obviously, if you’re brand new, you’ve got to get an LLC started if you don’t have one yet. That takes about an hour of phone call with Laughlin Associates, LaughlinUsa.com. They do an amazing job of doing that. That’s a great thing.

Some people were asking me yesterday, “What should my LLC name be? What should be the name of my website be?” They give me all these ideas. I’m like, “I don’t care what your LLC name is. Just pick something. Use NameChk.com, type in your URL or what you want your website to be named and see if it’s available or also type all the social media websites that are available to go along with it too. That’s the first identifier. Last thing you want to have is a cool LLC name and not be able to use a social media profile. Just do something and get it done. A lot of those small rocks can be done after hours. Focus on your bigger rocks. Trust me, you’ll get more accomplished and more things done and ultimately raise more capital, close more deals, and find more deals.

We have a question, “Do you ask for a tape on your initial contact email to the hedge fund or just let them know what you want to do and wait for their reply and then ask?”

When we’re reaching out to asset managers, especially when we’re doing an email blast out to marketing managers and asset managers and stuff like that, your intro email heading, tell them what you’re looking for. It’s a different discussion with an asset manager that is with basically your one database. Your one database will be, “Hi, how is it going everybody? This is where I’m up to.” With asset managers they say, “Hi. Good morning. Here’s what we’re looking for. Do you have anything that you’re looking to get rid of?” Honestly, I would ask, “What do you have on your books that you might be looking to get rid of?” It’s what we do basically every month. The idea is not to be so specific. I’m not going to say, “Do you have anything in this 78750 zip code?” I don’t go down the specifics. I only talk about, “What do you have on larger markets,? What do you have on single-family? Do you have a small commercial?” Those things because I want to get the list that they have and then I’ll do the filtering down to see what makes sense.

It’s something you’re going to have to ask and keep asking and asking for. You may not get it initially. Some people are getting tapes sent to them initially. It just depends on how you hit them and where you hit them. Not every asset manager is sitting at their computer waiting for somebody to email them to ask for a spreadsheet. Not every asset manager has a list of their investors that they send out to on a monthly, quarterly, weekly basis. The idea is to get that bridge started, get that email out to asset managers and get better at it. Send it once every two weeks or once every week. Once a month at least is the minimum you should be sending out to asset managers.

Remember, 80% of sales will happen after the fifth contact. You’ll almost necessarily have to build these bridges and do them five or six times before anybody will work with you, anybody will really have fun with you or anybody will take you seriously, whether it’s from banks or asset managers. Tell me if I’m wrong, a lot of us will send an email out to our database, you will be overwhelmed with positive comments. They give us great and good support. “I want to invest with you do.” That’s great. Ideally, only really about 1% of people ever do business after the first email, 80% comes after the fifth one. It’s 1% for the first email, 2% for the second email, 4% for the third, 5% for the fourth and then another 5% with the fifth one and then it shoots up from there.

What most people don’t realize it. They send one email out, they make one trip over that bridge, “There’s only a nickel here. Screw the nickel. I need a million dollar. I don’t want to do this email stuff if I’ve got to wait six weeks or six emails. Darn it all.” There’s a guy here in Austin that we’ve talked to a little bit. He was like, “My email marketing is not really working.” I’m like, “What? You’re doing some great videos, breaking down assets. How often do you send an email out to your database?” He goes, “Just once a month.” I’m like, “That’s the reason, you’re not giving them enough time, you’re not hitting them enough to notice you.”

I’ll give you guys an example. Let’s talk about the world’s worst burger chain. What would that be? McDonald’s. It’s not really a burger. It’s more processed stuff but they bombard you. How do they bombard you? With commercials and pictures and having McDonald’s on about every corner, so it becomes convenient. When was the last time anybody here ate at McDonald’s? It’s okay to admit it if you have or haven’t. I think I had a breakfast sandwich from there three weeks ago because I was running behind.

Last month maybe.

My kids had it two weeks ago.

I try to avoid all.

We like to go to other places, whether it’s P.Terry’s across the street, which is a local burger joint or In-N-Out or Mighty Fine that we have here in Austin, Whataburger. There’s much better burgers. The reason I say that though is because you still go eat there. You go there because it’s convenient and it happens and it’s like, “I know what to expect. I know that the quality is going to be subpar but it’s going to be fast. I can get in, get out.” They hit you a million times with advertising. The idea of Ronald McDonald with a frosty shake or those crappy cardboard tasting French fries elegantly falling out of the fryer into the cardboard box. Their marketing works because it hits you over and over again.

Super Bowl ads is a great way to put it. Some companies will only do one major ad, one major launch, like Apple or something like that. That’s great, but they’ve got already got a bigger name out there. Other companies do ads every commercial, especially if you’re watching a football game or college game this weekend. You’re going to see food commercials every minute: Domino’s, Papa John’s, is a great one. They hit you with advertising. They’re making their bridge every freaking time now. What they’re doing though, they’re standing on the other side over here, building bridges so they can walk back and order their pizza or get their goal and go back with it.

NCS 159 | Big RocksYou have to start thinking of yourself as a Starbucks, as a McDonald’s, as a Papa John’s. You have the same tools that are available to those companies with your emails and your social media websites. A couple of years ago, somebody told me that the entire social media staff of Starbucks was eight people. That still wouldn’t surprise me because they can do a lot with eight people. You’re one person. You technically have 1/8 or 12.5% of the marketing prowess that Starbucks has. They may have some pretty good cats over there making things happen for them and they’ve got a million stores. You guys that are out there have the same tools, the same things that they use on a regular basis at your disposal. It’s just that most of you aren’t going to build the bridge to get there or you’re going to be too busy doing stuff that does not drive revenue, does not drive profits, does not drive deals to you, because you waste time on things. You start it and you don’t finish it.

Other people have gone through the workshop four, five, six times and still have not sent an email out to the database yet. When I see them, they’re like, “I want to get to your workshop.” I’m like, “Why? You’re not going to do anything. You haven’t made an offer. You haven’t shown up on regular things. You haven’t sent an email out to your database.” I get some people want to scratch that proverbial itch by just hanging around with other successful people. They think success is just going to rub off via osmosis. That’s not the case. You actually have to go out and do the work to get things done. The only way you’re going to get gold or get across these caverns of fear and snapping gators on the rocks is to build something. You build it one email, one post at a time, but most importantly you have to have those things in place.

We have another question, “What’s your best success on reaching out for tapes, email out or direct phone calls?”

Our best success for reaching out for asset managers actually is a trifold, a tripod of things. The three best ways to find asset managers when it comes to building bridges is obviously email blast is the first thing. Second thing would be a jump on LinkedIn and see if those individuals or the bank that you’re calling have the same people on there or some of the people you can reach via LinkedIn directly with an InMail or a contact request. Thirdly, then I would follow up a phone call for those that opened your emails and you connected to. Because business happens 80% of the time after the fifth contact, you’re already 60% away of being the fifth contact.

One of the multiple things that will happen are those: One they’ll either, “Yes, I’m the right person.” Two, “No, I’m the wrong person but call this person,” or three, “Please stop calling me.” Either way, you have to check it off as a success because you’ve got a response back. Maybe, “We don’t have anything right now, check back next month. We don’t have anything now, check back next quarter.” That’s that best and most effective way. Do an email blast out to them, see if they’re on LinkedIn, connect with them that way, and then pick up the phone and call them as well. Oftentimes their LinkedIn profiles will have their phone numbers or contact information or if you’re pooling a list off of LandGuy or the Texas Mortgage Bankers Association or Scotsman Guide or FDIC.gov, there will be a phone number there and now that you have a direct name, you can ask the directory or the operator for a direct contact.

A lot of people start making videos on their phones or online but they’re scared to post it. Let’s talk about some of the scary factors of why people don’t want to post. A lot of people are scared to post because they’re afraid people will find them. I had somebody asked me, “Have you ever had a borrower show up at your house?” I’m like, “No.” “Have you ever had a borrower show up in your office?” “No, because I don’t usually buy anything in Texas.” “I’ve had one. We had a borrower who tracked us down and call us.” That’s great, they called you. That’s the right thing to do. You want them to call you. “They’re supposed to call the servicer.” I’m like, “Yeah, but at least they called you.” That’s one way to get right party contact inadvertently. With your marketing, your videos, post it.

I know if you’re in a high profile job or you have a job that’s not supportive, that can cause some grief. It can cause some strife at the workplace. When your boss is, “What are you doing?  Are you moonlighting?” You’ve got to look to make sure that you have the availability to do stuff on the side. The one underlying factor I always say is if your job is supportive and is paying for your retirement or paying for all these added bonus stuff, maybe you don’t need to do a video. If they’re not helping you get where ultimately you want to be, then you’ve got to do some stuff.

Let’s face it we’re all investors. Some of us just may not be donating to our investment funds at these times because we’re in the workforce. But everybody’s looking to expand and make themselves better, retire faster, or save more money. Nobody should be upset with you. If that’s what your goal is, “I’m an active real estate investor. We’re doing this to bring in more money. We’re using this to put our kids through school. We’re using this to retire faster and travel more.” I say post it. Post the damn video. You’re not going to be upset because I think ultimately you’re going to get some good responses from it.

Honestly, that’s the great thing about this whole note market or the note niche because everybody is usually pretty supportive. If you went on BiggerPockets and posting some stuff on BiggerPockets, not everybody is as friendly there. There are a lot of people that are haters on there that don’t do anything. They’re just negative Nancies. They get jealous because they’re not close deals and honestly, they’re just peanut butter and jealous.

If I can tell you anything, try to keep your to-do list just free throughout the day after an event. Let’s try not to be more than ten or fifteen. One of the things that we always wrap up on our Virtual Note Buying Workshop with is basically to-do list or your bigger rocks list. I come up, “Here’s basically the ten things that you need to be looking at doing.” Then you’re going to add five things individually. One of the things that we do while teaching, we always ask people what was the biggest a-ha or the biggest golden nugget of the day? I tell people to keep track of those, because ultimately at the end of the workshop, you’ve probably got a library of manuals that are sitting on a bookshelf, sometimes still in the plastic wrapping paper or they’re sitting there just collecting dust. Once you went through the workshop, you put it up on a bookshelf and you don’t touch it since. That’s sad. I don’t like that.

What I want to do is I always want to keep a cheat sheet so that I can pull it out and say, “Here’s a five, six, seven, eight, ten things that I really learned from this weekend. Can I implement this? Can I get these things rock and rolling? How soon can I get three things done once leaving the class?” I’ll give you an example. I love going to a couple of conventions every year. One is called Traffic & Conversion. I was at San Diego. I put on my digital marketer, 3,500 to 4,000 internet entrepreneurs, business owners are there going through all the digital marketing, updates on Facebook and all sorts of things. There’s a hundred plus vendors there.

NCS 159 | Big Rocks

Big Rocks: I’m like, “I just want to start over and build from scratch.”

I’m a huge fan of going to those things because I will always walk away with one, two, three, or four nuggets. I have a lot of other ideas but I try to limit it, “What’s the one thing I can get it done in 24 to 72 hours? What’s the one thing I can implement to make things happen?” That’s a $1,000 ticket, just a couple thousand for us to go there; stay in a hotel, airfare, away from the office. San Diego is nice but it’s a fun three days. They’ve really dive in deep in your business. I often feel when I walk out there, I just want to blow everything up. I’m like, “I just want to start over and build from scratch.”

Talking with some of the most effective people, me versus you guys, or let’s say Wayne or Jay Tenenbaum or Kimberly Banks Fawcett versus somebody who’s brand new. Then you got to realize, we all started off in the same place. We all started off brand new. I can remember coming home at night, it was my first real estate investment club, taking all the business cards from the people I met and put it to Excel spreadsheet. Then send an email out to everybody, “It was nice to meet you. It was nice to meet you. Here’s what I do.” Those were individual emails, not one mass email, but I kept building that list every item I go meet. That was the last thing I always did before I went to bed. I’ve got to put it in my contacts in my database. Now, I got a big, big database of people that reach out to me.

A lot of those people have unsubscribed or moved on or done other things. It’s completely fine. What is funny though is I’ll run into people that I haven’t talked to in years. I’ll give you an example. Just the other day, I was walking down the hallway here in the office. We work at an executive offices building, so there’s 50, 60 other entrepreneurs in here. I was walking down the hallway and lo and behold, coming out of the office just two doors down is the realtor that I used to work with, actually my ex-wife used to be an assistant for. Have I bought houses from her? No. We networked? Yes, but I didn’t to talk to her in probably five, six, seven years. I was like, “Reba?” She’s like, “Scott Carson?” I hugged, “How’s it going?” She’s like, “I still get your emails all the time. I still read everything you do. I need to get with you because I got some money to invest.”

One of the biggest things that you realize is that people that don’t want to work with you, people that aren’t going to be supportive are probably going to unsubscribe. It is what it is. You just let it go. You kill those people off. Focus on building your bridge. Kill your to-do list, focus on the big rocks list. What’s the most important one, two, or three things you could do today to push your business further along than where it is today. It’s important to do that because you’ll be happier. I know some people will be like, “If you never focus on little things, little things will build up.” At some point they will build up. You come in on a Saturday, knockout all the little things or you do all the little things after hours, you stay an hour later or two hours later to get stuff done.

Anyway, a little bit tonight is Note Night in America. Today’s topic, I think a lot of people are going to like, is the eleven biggest lies in the note industry. It’s talking about the eleven falsehoods; people that say one thing and ended up doing another in the note industry. Some of things could be servicing, it could be a specific seller, it could be funding talks. Eleven biggest lies in the note industry is what we will be taking about. I highly recommend you check it out.

We have another question, “I’m marketing to asset managers and I’ve received a couple of tapes. I have a huge offers for the wrong amount. I’ve reviewed your videos and wrote down how to Stair-Step Pricing Method and I’ve reviewed how to calculate 30% to 40% of the UPB. I received the tape and they want to bid from a loan level. How do I do this? Seems like I never feel comfy enough to get past this point.”

Loan level pricing is very similar. That’s just a bid for each asset and that’s normal. What I’d highly recommend you do is drop me an email with the spreadsheets or the tapes and I’ll schedule some time we can visit and talk about them. The Stair-Step Method is pretty normal for non-performing notes, if they’re not going to give you any pricing. Contract for deeds are pretty normal somewhere around mid-30s unpaid balance. The biggest thing you need look at, the fear of submitting the bid and it really being accepted or you overpricing. The idea is that you’ve got time to do due diligence on these assets after the bid is accepted as well. The idea is you want to get tentative offer in to see if you’re in a ballpark to start playing ball.

If you guys have a tape that you get in from calling asset managers and you want us somebody to look over it with you, feel free to email it to me. We’ll be glad to tell you, “This is a real tape,” or “No.” We may even say, “We want to buy some of those assets to help you up.” Keep that in mind. You don’t have to do this alone. We’ll go from there.

Go out and make something happen. Don’t be afraid to build you bridges. Kill the to-do list and just focus on your big rocks. You’ll be a lot happier. Much happier is always easier and much more productive. Look forward to you guys seeing you all at the top. We’ll see you guys out there. Have a great day, everybody.


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