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Part Time Focus And Full Time Success with Paul Cooper
I’m extremely excited to have our friend, Paul Cooper from Totes of Notes join us. I absolutely love that name, Paul. I’m glad to have you. How is everything going for you?
I’m staying busy like you. I’m trying to get some deals done. I’ve got a tape under the option agreement, I’m talking to investors and dealing with my daughter. She’s a grown up and doing swim lessons.
We’ll come back to the option thing because I want to know more about that because I’m sure our audience will be. We’ve talked about that briefly. For those that don’t know who Paul Cooper is, tell us a little about where you’re from, your background and what got you into the note business.
My wife and I were both born and raised in Kansas City. We met in college in the Kansas City area. After college, we stayed with my parents for a little bit until I got picked up by the FAA. I’m a full-time air traffic controller. I’ve been doing that for several years. I went to Memphis for my first station. I was able to move out to Colorado. I’m in Pueblo, Colorado. It’s a smaller town, but it’s two hours basically straight south at Denver, Southern Colorado. We love it here. I got started in notes just being around the right old guys at the right time. I got started with tax liens when I was still in college. It’s the right place at the right time, shut up and listen.
In Memphis, were you buying tax liens there in Tennessee or in other areas?
I never bought in Tennessee. Once I got picked up by the FAA, I had never messed with real estate because I was busy with the training. If you don’t know this, people say air traffic control is a super stressful business. It’s not too bad once you’ve checked out and you get experienced. The whole multi-year training program, it’s rough and you don’t have much time to do anything else.
I can imagine that. Are you still working full-time as an air traffic controller?
I’ve got a sweet gig. I work four ten-hour shifts. I work Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I’m off Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. If you need to get in contact with me, those are the best days. That’s when I contact asset managers, investors and get things done. Most of my emails and videos, I record over the weekend when I’m not at work. I get those out for my Sunday newsletter.
You moved to Pueblo. You’re working. You’re like, “I’m off the shifts.” You were focused on tax liens beforehand, but what got you into nonperforming notes for the most part?
Honestly, I don’t remember exactly how I got on it. I went back to REIClub.com. That’s where I originally met some people and I met some people that were doing notes. I hooked up with those guys. Eventually, I did more research, invested a little bit with them, piggybacked off a few of their things but they let me come in a real sweetheart deal with a couple of thousand. I was like, “I like this.” I ultimately found your website and I was like, “Let’s see what it takes to make this more of a full-time professional endeavor.” It’s been a couple of years and here I am.
How many deals have you closed so far?
With the business since I went “professional,” we’re 38, 37, just under 40. If I close on this tape of eleven, I’ll be pushing on 50, so I’ll be good.
You’ve approached this, you have a full-time thing, but you’ve taken the time and planned out your free time to make things happen. You’re not spending all three days completely nonstop because you’ve got a little girl, you’ve got family and other things you’ve got to do too.
It depends. I’ve taken my daughter to her swim class in the morning and then before then, I wake up early at work, go swimming class, come back, put her down, I work and when she gets up, I take her swimming again in the afternoon and we have fun. I’ve been working in the afternoon. These past days, I’ve been pulling almost full days, but I’m busy getting stuff done, getting the due diligence for this whole tape. Normally, it’s not that intensive. Normally, maybe two hours a day on average. It’s fifteen to twenty throughout the week. It depends, but that’s probably the average. I’ll have a busy work like, “I’m pulling 35 hours on top of my 40-hour job.” On average, I’m not full-time by any means.
You’ve taken the time though and you say two years, eighteen months?
I started the business in November of 2017 and I started studying your stuff a few months before that. The business is not quite two years then.
You’re taking down close to 40 deals, that’s nothing to laugh at. That’s a great part-time thing. Has your focus been with the notes you’re buying? Are they performing or you’re foreclosing? What’s been your biggest goal?
Obviously, nonperforming because the chance to hit a home run there is much higher than with performing. That being said, I would buy all the performing I could if my investors wanted that. The performers that I have been buying have been ones that have basically been at a huge discount. I still get mine and they still get a good return on theirs, so that’s good. If I had a bunch of people that are like, “I wanted 8% for performing.” I would go out and buy as many performers as I could with that money. I would take my small bit and I’d be more than happy to do that. Most of the people that I’ve been dealing with have been studying stuff so they realize I can make more with nonperforming. That’s generally what they’ve been doing and that’s what I’ve been focusing on. I’ve got some people that want a little bit of both. It depends.
Are you buying in predominantly a variety of different states or you’ve got your core focus of states that you like?
I’ll buy just about any state besides the Chicago area, New York, New Jersey, the ones that are insane. Otherwise, I’m open. I’d love to buy Georgia, but I’m not licensed there. I’m not going to go through that hassle. It’s the same with Kentucky. I’m not licensed in Illinois yet. I probably should be because there’s more stuff that I could be buying there. I’ve been seeing enough things in states where I haven’t had to mess with that.
Getting a debt collector licensed in Illinois is easy. You just have your attorney fill out forms and pay your $750 to the state for their pound of flesh.
If all the states want to move to that, that’s fine. Make an online quick test, let me put my credit card info in and let’s be done with it.
It’s not quite getting a mortgage broker’s license where you get to do fingerprinting and that kind of thing.
It’s not you’re going through and getting a legit study certification or anything. If that was the case, okay but it’s not.
Also, Illinois ruled that if you buy in a note that’s already in the foreclosure process, I don’t believe you’ve got to have that license to finish a foreclosure process. I could be wrong, but I remember seeing something like that.
I haven’t messed with it. I eventually will. I’ve seen enough stuff to where I haven’t had to. If someone came across and wanted me to buy a whole tape and there was a bunch of good Illinois stuff, obviously I’d go through the pain to get it done quickly.
Where has been your big focus on buying your assets? Are you buying from banks, hedge funds?
I’d like to buy from more banks, but a lot of it has been CFDs from hedge funds. The vast majority of it has been that. I’d love to buy some more first position, full mortgages from banks. It was weird earlier, my sources dried up when I finally had a bunch of investors. Now it’s loosening up where I’m seeing better pricing and stuff not quite as insane. They’re starting to get more stuff on their books and getting more non-performers. They’re willing to be reasonable and start partying with stuff at a decent price.
We see that pricing but some people have been smoking a lot of cracks out there and some of the pricing.
It’s insane, 85% for a non-performer. On the same deal, they’ll give me another tape that’s $0.75 for performers. I was like, “Why wouldn’t I buy all the performers for the 10% discount? I wasn’t trying to be rude. This doesn’t make sense. Can you try to explain it to me?” Maybe there’s a valid reason and I don’t see it. The problem is we’ve had a lot of newbies, REO refugees going over and they’re willing to pay that price because they think it’s good. They’re going to get lit up here shortly if they haven’t already and be shaken out of the market.
That’s the biggest things I tell people. It’s following up with somebody or a seller, 30, 60, 90 days if you make some bids, if they were declined or you didn’t get responses back. I guarantee if you did your due diligence, you’re going to find that probably those people that are overpaying will find it before they finish up and end up canceling their bids and walking away. Your bid is still valid. It’s a matter of following back up with the sellers or following up with those that bought the whole tape and saying, “You bought the whole tape. Who bought the whole tape?” I’m reaching out to you after the transaction takes place. We’ve had that success happen, “We wanted to buy these five. Could you forward our bids to the person who bought the whole tape?” You mentioned that you have an option on eleven notes. We don’t want to give away the source. Is it an investor like you and me, a smaller fund?
It’s a fund and they buy their own stuff. If you go to their website, it says that they mainly focus on performing and nonperforming. It’s one of those companies to where you can put in your information and they’ll give you a quote on your assets and buy it. The gentleman had been on my email list for a while and he approached me about buying this tape. He didn’t want me to cherry pick. He wanted to get rid of the whole tape because some of them had been struggling for a while. I’m getting a good price on it. We’re right at 29% of UPB.
Is there equity above the UPB?
On some of them, yes, a little bit, but two of them are vacant lots. I’m going to pocket those if everything goes well. I’ll just try to sell those to the neighbors for a quick flip. A lot of it is lower valued stuff. The average value is probably going to be between $30,000 to $40,000 for most of it but reasonable. At 29% of UPB, there’s a lot of room and flexibility to get stuff done.
Is it in pretty decent shape besides those two lots?
I talked to Dickie and he’s getting all the realtors lined up to do that stuff for me. Google Street View looks good, but who knows with that. The nice thing is when you go through the neighborhoods from Google Street View, it’s not like, “That’s the one nice house and all the other ones are boarded up.” They all look to be roughly in the same condition. Sometimes you’ll go on Google Street View and you’ll see a drug deal on the corner. It’s like, “I’m glad I looked.” The crime rates look fine. Some of them are rural as well. One of it is in Briceville, Tennessee, Amsterdam and Ohio. It’s some smaller towns, but they’re still good properties. I’m happy to take those especially at the price we’re getting.
Was the seller open to an option or did you have to explain it to them?
He knew what it was. He let me use my own paper. I asked him, “Do you have paperwork you want me to use?” He was like, “No, you just use yours.” I was like, “Okay.” I went on and made some. It’s $10 a property, $110 to put it under the option agreement and another $110 to extend it since I needed a little bit more time. I confirmed with him because I found some taxes. It’s not a ton, but a few of them had some taxes. He was like, “As long as you can prove that has that taxes, I’ll discount it.” I was like, “That’s easy.” I’ve printed it off from the website, plus ProTitle. They do a phenomenal job on this. I’m going to give them those to prove the taxes that are delinquent. He’ll discount it even further. That being said, if he didn’t discount it, even with the taxes, it still is a good deal. I was excited that he said that. He already said that he would. It’s not bad though. It’s good. He’s been reasonable.
If you deal with a reasonable seller, put an option on, it’s a great thing. It’s not hurting you. You’re out $220 if you ended up not doing the deal or $110 on the first side. It’s a win for them because now they can try to move the whole thing. They have somebody come in and buy the whole thing versus them trying to piecemeal. A lot of funds aren’t in the spot of marketing effectively. That’s one of the things I love about what you’ve done, Paul. You’ve embraced that aspect in your note business. Can you share some of the things that you’re doing to help market for deals or raising capital and go from there?
At your mastermind, I got that social media award. My next email was, “I won a social media award.” I’m not even on traditional social media that much. I do a terrible job of staying on top of Facebook, Twitter and everything else. LinkedIn and my email newsletter, those are my homes. I own those pretty well and that’s where I spend my time. Just watching your stuff when I originally got interested in LinkedIn, I took the time to learn it. It made sense to me. I like the fact that it’s a professional space. When I log in there, I’m learning. You get some scammers trying to hit you up for money, but for the most part, it’s professional. Whereas I get on Facebook and it’s like, “Jim’s eating a sandwich,” and I couldn’t care less. I liked that aspect.
I know if I get on there, the time spent on there should be productive because I’m either putting stuff out there for people that are going to be interested and it’s going to be professional in nature or I’m dealing with other professionals. I love LinkedIn. That’s where I’ve cultivated a lot of this stuff for my newsletter. I do a lot of videos on YouTube. I’ve been posting on LinkedIn. It’s been taken a while. I’ve got to go back and trim them since a lot of my videos are longer than ten minutes. Those are my main things. I need to do a better job with other social media. When I move forward, I’ll probably hire an assistant to help me out with that.
A lot of the groups on LinkedIn are great. Join those. Facebook is good for investment groups and other professional groups on Facebook. That’s a good resource that I like to use. There are some forms, Meetup is okay. I’ve had some issues with Meetup because I’ll try to use those and I get spammed with other people’s stuff. I don’t mind them marketing to me, I just don’t want it to be spam. It’s like one guy will send the maximum amount in the day that he can’t. You’ll get some of the Meetup group leaders where they’re spam. They’re junk all the time.
How many connections do you have on LinkedIn?
I’m right under 24,000 or something. I’ve basically come to a stop. I’m trying to add more people, but once you get over 20,000, it gets hard because it’s harder to add people. It wants me to have the email address for everyone because you’ve either sent out too many invites or enough people have said that they didn’t know you. I was like, “Who’s reporting me for not knowing them?” The only time I ever do that is if it is someone foreign, but usually I block people if that’s an issue.
You’ve been reaching out to asset managers or secondary marketing?
When I first started, I mainly focused on all the different asset manager titles, finding those people, real estate investors and investors. Trying to connect with as many of them as possible and join some of the groups. I need to spend more time on the LinkedIn groups, but I’ve been busy enough with doing that. When you used to be able to export it from LinkedIn, that helped. That’s been a pain. Probably about 40% of those connections, I haven’t been able to export because I got them and didn’t export before when they changed the rules. There are some other things you can do. You can hire an assistant to go through and get that information from people you don’t have. It’s a time sink.
There are some programs you can use out there to do it, but you’ve got to be careful because some of those programs can violate the agreement of LinkedIn. They could if they catch you discontinue your accounts. If you are going to use those, you’ve got to be careful and don’t try to download 1,000 of them in a day. Make it look like it’s normal. If I was to lose access to LinkedIn, that would be pretty devastating for me because I’ve got all those connections, I’ve got all my videos and everything up there. I get many people that check it regularly before they even talk to me. They go to it and they see all my videos, they see all my stuff. They know that I’m in the business and I’m not a weekend warrior even though I’m part-time.
That’s the other thing I was going to say. Are you seeing asset managers you’re connected with going to your profile and checking it out?
Yes, asset managers, investors, people I randomly connect with. In fact, the nice thing is I actually get enough people requesting to connect with me to where I am still growing at an okay rate.
That’s one of the things you’ve got to do if you’re inviting a lot of people, if you’re uploading your database, they’re trying to connect. Realize that not everybody’s going to look at LinkedIn in a timely fashion and sometimes you have to go in and cancel out your invites. I tried to do that.
I do that regularly. It’s not too hard.
It’s easy. It’s a couple of buttons and know where to look and go from there. You’re using a lot of videos. For those that don’t know or haven’t heard your videos, what’s been your premise with your videos? Are you doing 50 of them? Do you do one a day, a couple a week? What’s been the average for you, Paul?
I tried to do one quality education video each week for my newsletter. Sometimes they’ll be shorter, sometimes I’ll do like a note nugget, which would be a note minute where it should be a quick tip. Sometimes I’ll do a quick market meltdown where I’ll pull up some economic articles and discuss them. I’ve had some fairly large educational series I’ve been doing and getting a lot of engagement through that. A lot of those videos have been anywhere from 15 to almost 30 minutes long. They take a while to shoot and they take a long time to edit. I try to make those as best as I can and that seems to be doing well. I took that class with Jillian Sidoti.
I did a series about 5 Clauses All of Your Business Ventures Desperately Need. That was a six-part series and that was well-received. I started one, it was Prophets and Loss. In that one, I talk about a certain prophetic investor. The first one was Warren Buffett. I talked about some of the stuff they’ve done, what I like and don’t like. I talked about the stock market and some myths. People say that over the long haul you’re making 10% to 12% and I prove how that’s not true. I even say like the stock market can be good. It’s probably a good thing to have in a diversified portfolio. Just be careful, start thinking. I don’t want people to get caught up in the general financial professional BS. That’s not true because most of those people aren’t very educated and they don’t know what to do besides throwing you in a mutual fund.
All you’ve got to do is read the book, Flash Boys.
That’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been trying to make some higher quality stuff. I’d like to make some shorter videos, but they naturally end up being longer when I’m covering more complex topics.
You’re adding value. You’re sharing things that you’re dealing with. You’re sharing things that you’re learning. You do not have to sit there and be MTV every day. You’re sharing what’s going on in your life. You’re adding to yourself and what you’re learning from other people, nuggets and stuff like that. That’s a powerful thing and very valuable.
I hope so because I’m not the guy that’s going to do a three-second in-your-face video and sell you on everything. I hate the people where you sign up for something and they’re constantly pitching their own stuff. If you never want to invest, that’s fine. I’ve still got some value in some stuff here for you. You’re going to learn and you’re going to like me. If you do, then maybe you’ll eventually invest. I’m fine doing it either way. I’m more than happy for people to invest in. If they don’t like it, that’s fine. You can go do something else.
You mentioned investors and the other stuff. When you started off, were you using your own money? Have you been partnering up with other investors? What’s been that breakdown?
It’s mainly been partnering with other investors. I do have a line of credit. It’s not big, so I can only get two deals with that. I have two in Jackson, Mississippi that once I get everything situated with the borrowers and with the servicer, I will probably look to have someone finance me out of those two. That being said, they completely finance my payments for the line of credit. I’d like to have that be liquid so I could be quickly picking up deals if I need to.
That’s a good thing you’re using that for you. If you’ve got to close quickly, bringing other people’s money in, rinse and repeating and go on from there. It’s smart.
Hopefully, each time that’s paid off, I can call the bank and be like, “Why don’t you add another $5,000 or $10,000 on and grow it up?”
What’s your long-term goal, Paul?
My short-term and long-term goal was to hopefully be able to leave my job this year or next year. I don’t know if I’m going to reach that goal realistically. It was weird the first part of the year, everything slowed down for us. The pricing went insane. I haven’t been able to buy anything. If it’s been an indicator, if I can keep getting decent deals like this and close on some smaller tapes, it’s a real possibility. I don’t know if I would leave my job, but I want to have that ability. I looked at the prices of health insurance, especially for mine because I have insane health insurance. It’s through the federal government. It’s through the American Postal Workers Union.
You can’t even get it anymore. It was good that they cut everyone off. If you’re in it, you can keep it, otherwise, no one else can add in it. It’s a hybrid between high-quality PPO and having a health savings account. When my daughter was born, she had hip dysplasia, her hips would just pop out. The first month, she had to basically be in a harness. We went to this specialist doctor up in Springs, who works for the Olympic Committee. Each time it was a $3,000 bill. I maybe paid $200 worth of paper fees from when my wife became pregnant until after my daughter stopped seeing him. That’s a good reason to stay with the FAA, even if I could leave because that’s a good benefit.
You’ve built the flexibility to decide whether you want to do that.
If I’m able to leave, I’m going to be one bad meeting away from walking out. I’ve got good supervisors and I like my bosses. They’ve been good, but the government’s weird. One more government shut down, if I’m able to leave, that’s fine. I’ll leave. I’m not getting paid anyway.
When you were in here a while back, you were talking about that. It was during the shutdown. A lot of people didn’t have savings. After everything went back, they got their paychecks after a while. Let’s talk a little bit about that because everybody’s like, “I work for the government. I’ve got a steady paycheck no matter what.” That’s not always the case though, is it?
No, there were a lot of crybabies. We missed one paycheck. Let’s not cry too hard. We had one paycheck that was two weeks late. Especially if you’re an air traffic controller, most of you are making six figures or close to it. You guys should have enough saved up to where you can miss a paycheck. I felt bad for the people that were the part-time government employees. They got hosed but us, it’s like, “Don’t cry for me. I’m okay.” If it kept going, that would have been rough.
85% of Americans are one missed paycheck away from being a default.
I’ve talked about that once. If they had a $400 emergency, they’d have to use credit cards. Not just use credit cards but use them and not be able to pay it off that month. That’s insane.
As your journey, what was the hurdle early on for you when you started off as a note investor? What’s something that you were afraid of when you first began?
At least if you’re smart, you’re afraid of sounding like you don’t know what you’re talking about and you can’t talk the talk or walk the walk. I found asset managers and tapes easily early on. I was struggling with investors. Basically, I had the exact opposite problem that most people have. I’ve always been super cautious on how I talk to investors and how I solicit them because there’s so much that you could do wrong very easily. Unfortunately, a lot of people are doing general soliciting and they’re not doing it correctly. They could get into some trouble. I don’t always have the best of luck. It would be my luck that I would do that. I’d be five years successful and the SCC would come back, “What was this here?”
I took the time to learn how to do it correctly early on. It’s probably slowed me down initially but moving forward, it’s going to be much better in the long run because I’ve got a handful of investors that are looking to invest a substantial amount of money. Jillian helped me out. We’re probably for those people as opposed they trying to do some type of fund. I’m probably going to do individual LLCs with those individuals and that will be pretty easy. She gave me a killer operating agreement through the class. It covers everything. It’s well-organized. It’s easy to read and edit, that the price of admission for a class would have been worth. I probably would have paid more in legal fees for that than I did for the class.
The Private Money Rockstar that she does with the weekly webinars or the coaching, the forms and stuff like that. That’s why we love Jillian. Jillian’s one of our favorite people out there.
She’s the person I tell everyone to go to because she’s always got time for someone and she’ll figure out a way. You probably don’t have the experience or the budget to do a fund within your first couple of years unless you’ve got a lot of your own money. There are a lot of ways you can get around it and still be completely legal, ethical and market correctly. If you give her a call, she’ll help you out with whatever you need for your situation like, “I’ve only got $5,000 to get this started.” She’s like, “How many people are involved? We’ll do this instead.” She’s good about that.
She’s phenomenal. We can’t brag on Jillian more than we already do, but we’ve tried to definitely. You started marketing individually. You started email blast out to your databases. That’s one thing you started early on.
I’ve been paying $150 a month to Mailchimp.
You’re not just donating the money, you’re actually using it.
I didn’t send out an email during Father’s Day. I generally won’t do it if it’s a big holiday because it’s like, “What am I going to put in the email, ‘Happy Father’s Day?’” Who cares? People are getting that from everyone. I push it back but otherwise, you’re getting one basically every Sunday. If I have some type of update or something in the works, I’ll also send out my investor email, which goes out to people that have signed up that are more interested in becoming investors. They get to see the behind the scenes stuff. They have to fill out an investor profile questionnaire and things like that to the people that are a little bit more serious. I’ll do some stuff for them. I’ve got a bunch of those videos that I need to probably release to everyone since they’re dated, it wouldn’t be soliciting. They could see some of the behind the scenes stuff.
You’re sending one out every Sunday night or trying to besides the holidays?
The regular newsletter virtually every Sunday night like clockwork. Sunday morning when I’m at work, I’m on breaks. We don’t have much traffic Sunday mornings usually unless there’s a fly in. When I’m on break, I do most of the stuff. A lot of times I have to do the video beforehand. I’ll edit it while I’m at work on break. I’ll have it sent out that evening.
During your three days that you’re basically at the house, are you structuring, time blocking your day so you’re more productive around life and swim practice?
I do but it’s pretty loose. With the three-year-old coming banging on my door, it’s got to be a little loose. Luckily, my door gets a little stuck so she can’t always break in, so then I can ignore.
She bounces off the door.
She’ll bang on it and she’ll say hello forever, but it’s fun and I’ll usually let her in for a minute. What I try to do is I try to get up early anywhere from 5:30 to 6:30. My wife will hold on to my daughter for a little bit and they’ll finally come downstairs for brunch. That’s usually when I’ll take a break. I try to get about anywhere from two to almost up to five hours in the morning. If I can get that consistently, that’s enough usually. It’s a matter of checking emails later when she’s taken a nap and maybe making some phone calls. If you can wake up early and that works with your schedule and your job or your family situation, it’s like the military. If you can do more by 5:00 AM than everyone else does all day, it will make a huge difference. I suggest that or you can stay up late. I’m naturally a night owl, but I do better if I wake up earlier because if I can do monotonous stuff first thing in the morning when I’m fresh, I have the patience for it and I have the attention whereas later at night, I wouldn’t.
That’s a good point there because you can knock stuff out. It’s where common saying the side hustle 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM or 5:00 AM to 9:00 AM. If you’ve got a regular job that you’re traveling to or working to. It’s all depending on how much of a priority it is. I want to ask this question, what did your wife think early on? Is she supportive? Was she like, “What is this note business?”
I’m sure she has some fault somewhere, but she’s always been extremely supportive of everything I want to do, whether it’s hobbies or our family situation, work or investing. Especially when she sees me putting in the effort and putting in the time and still trying to put in as much time and effort as I can with our daughter. As long as I continue, she’ll be supportive. If one of those goes out the window, she’s probably going to be less supportive.
Is she seeing the results that you’re getting already?
We talked about it. This is probably going to be a two-year deal, at least before we start seeing reliable, decent money. The first year, I didn’t count on making any money. I made enough to pay for the mastermind, which was awesome. In my first year just listening basically your free stuff and your free coaching, I can pay for the mastermind then maybe there’s something here and there. There is. That was a pretty good test. It’s been heating up, so it should be a lot more hopefully.
How has the mastermind and the relationship there helped your business?
Even before then, we talked or texted quite a bit a few times. We met at the sneak peek. We did the training in Las Vegas. I had already watched a ton of your videos. I did the Note Blueprint. The Note Blueprint in your class is much more organized whereas opposed to watching your videos, it was a little bit more scattered. If you wanted to, you could watch his videos and pretty much get an entire free note education. You’re not going to get all the secret squirrel stuff and it’s not going to be as smooth as going into a class. If you wanted to put it in time, you could, or you could go to a class and get it all in a more logical sequence and get it done faster. It’s your choice. I like that fact with all of your free stuff. Here’s something that I can immediately go do, and I did that with all your LinkedIn stuff. I was like, “This works. It’s a genius. Let’s go see what else he has. Let’s do the Note Blueprint.” I worked my way up from there. In hindsight, if I had known I would have gone straight to Mastermind, but this worked out logically with my situation and it’s been working well, so I’m not mad about it or anything.
What’s the relationship? What about being with the other Mastermind members?
It’s going pretty good. Some of them were in Jillian’s class, so we had a lot in common there. I probably talked to a Mastermind person either through email, text or phone call at least once a week, bouncing ideas off or they’ll check in and see if I have anything that I don’t want or vice versa. We haven’t had it happened yet, but we’re trying to organize like, “What could we realistically take down as a group if someone came to us with a big tape?” Ultimately, that’s probably what we need to do. Even with a small tape, I’m getting much better pricing for the whole thing because the cherry picking is rough for people. If we can come together, get something under an option agreement, even if it’s massive and have anywhere from two to ten of us come together and take it down, that’s probably a sweet setup. I’ve learned a lot from them. I’ve watched Dan and Chris Seveney’s stuff frequently. It was great talking to them at different Masterminds. They’ve got some good stuff.
Everybody’s pulling in the same direction and working towards win-win scenarios across the board. We’ve been good to keep the a-holes out of the Mastermind. You and I have had conversations with some of those guys calling and trying to figure about investing or things like that and they were like, “You’re not a fit.”
I’ve had people like, “You could potentially make 50%.” I was like, “Potentially, you could make 50% in a good case. I want a 40% preferred return.” It’s like, “No, that’s not happening. I’m not the right guy.” We talked about it. That guy that said he had several million and wanted to invest. He was used to making 60% plus in seconds. I was like, “Why aren’t you doing that?” He was like, “They can’t find them.” I was like, “What can you find?” I’m offering him a sweetheart of a deal where we could probably get him about 20% with that much money and on a regular basis. He was like, “No, that’s not enough.” He reached out to me six months later asking, “Do you have any seconds available?” I was like, “No, I don’t.”
I believe that guy is still looking for deals.
I’m sure he is. You’ve got spoiled by a short period of time. They were making insane returns. I tell people, “If you can’t be happy with normal returns you’d see in the stock market, anywhere from 8% to 12% range. If you can’t be happy and satisfied with that, don’t invest with me. I can beat that. If you invest enough money with proper strategy, we can beat that. If you can’t be happy with normal, do something else.”
Saying no to investors is a powerful thing, but not everybody is comfortable doing.
I would be disappointed with 6% but I wouldn’t be upset or crying or mad or furious or end a relationship over it. People are like, “I’m not interested unless it’s at least 18% to 20%.” I wouldn’t guarantee anything except that I’m going to try my best. I’m not going to say that I can reliably do that. I probably could if you invest enough to where we could take them big takes. If that’s the baseline for you to be even satisfied, then no. You’ve got to do something else because you’re not going to find that with anyone else.
One of the things you’re good at and I highly recommend it to everybody, it’s filtering. Not every investor is a yes. Some of them are flat no out there that you don’t want to deal with them. That’s the important thing to keep in mind is saying no is sometimes saying yes to happiness in the long run.
I get it, especially those first few emails, “I’ve got an investor on the phone. I better not mess this up.” They’re normal people. I’ve got one investor, a nice guy but he wants to be involved in every little thing and it’s annoying. It takes up a lot of my time. Nothing crazy is going on. I’m having to spend a lot of time. I wouldn’t necessarily say no to him, but we’re going to have to re-examine the relationship moving forward. I’ve got many other people I’ve got to help. I can’t be on the phone in everything all day with you answering every single question. If you want me to teach you every little part of the note business, that’s fine but we need to set up some other types of relationship then.
Your time is not best spent teaching somebody, it’s working on things.
I’m happy to teach stuff, but I’m not teaching you eight hours out of the day every day. I’ve got other things to do. I’ve got people that want to learn how to do it and I walk them through what I’m doing and that’s fine. They’re more than happy to learn. Most of them are like, “I see why I’m giving you this split because I don’t want to do all that work.” That’s the truth on a lot of it.
Your big goal you talked about is probably hiring an assistant here?
Hopefully, because I need to get some organization stuff done, clear my plate. Otherwise, I’m going to get stuck moving forward. You always talk about if somewhere between the 20 to 40 mark, most people on non-performers get stuck and things start falling through the cracks. I don’t know what that exact number is for me, but I don’t necessarily want to find out. I’ll just hire someone to help me and we’ll be done with it. That’s my thing is I want to spend some time building some better systems and getting things more automated. I’ve been doing some stuff with Podio. What’s the other email service provider that you use?
I use Infusionsoft.
I’ve been looking at them a little bit. I’m probably going to have to upgrade to that. I use MOBIT for some texting campaigns stuff. I haven’t been nearly as involved with that as I’d like to or I should. I get some of this basic stuff off of my plate. I’ll be able to do a lot more of that stuff.
Here’s a little thing for you. I put my MOBIT thing in my Zoom thing where it says, “Text NOTES to 72000 for more info.” Are you using Zoom to record your videos?
No, I use OBS, Open Broadcaster Software and I can do stuff with that. Usually, what I do for texting stuff, I put those in my email and I can edit it at the beginning or end of my videos.
I would also put it in your description. That’s one thing I’ve been leaving out. I put my website in there, but I need to go back in and add that whole thing, “For more info, text NOTES to 72000,” or in your case, “Text TOTES to 72000.”
Just for everyone, you can text the word IRA to 72000. I published the first roughish draft of an IRA Investing eBook. It’s completely free. You guys can go download that and I will let people know as I update it and add more stuff.
Are you using eleven pages of guts from somebody?
I don’t know if it was eleven pages. My book is thirteen some odd pages, but I can’t remember how much was in the guts. I’ve definitely gone through and I’ve added my own word into it and some stuff.
That’s one of the extra things being on Mastermind. I’ll give you some guts. You can be Frankenstein all you want.
I was reading through it and I was like, “I need to edit this stuff. I’m going to make it me.” I did. It’s basic. It’s a little bit of my history, how I invest and some of the basics with investing. I recommend people contact with Quest because they’ll give you a free education. You only have to be a customer. I’ll probably add some more topics there. It’s mainly real estate and note investing. I may cover some other topics. I’ll probably go into commercial a little bit. I may even do some other partnerships and business stuff.
Are you going to be attending the Quest Expo again?
I want to but I may not be able to. We’re short staffed at work because we had two people get medically disqualified. It’s sad, a friend and coworker of mine. He had a seizure at work and had to be life flighted up to Springs. He had this tear in his artery that caused him to get some blood clots in his head. It looks like he’s going to be fine. He’s out of intensive care. It looks like he’ll be good, but we don’t know how long his recovery will be. Honestly, if he walked out of the hospital and was skipping and was perfect, I’m sure the FAA would make them go through at least three months of testing. They’re going to want to put him through stress tests and stuff. The other person’s gone for at least a month. They basically gone through and canceled everyone’s leave. I don’t know if I’ll be able to attend it.
Did you still have a lot of your Totes of Notes tote bags?
I’ve got two boxes full of them. I ordered 1,000 initially. I’ve still got at least probably 600 or so.
One of the great things that Paul did for those that don’t know at the last Mastermind, which was right around the Quest Expo as well, he bought a bunch of tote bags. Did you get a great discount with less than $1 a pop or something like that?
It was a little over $0.50 a deal. They were not expensive at all. It’s much cheaper than you buy at the grocery store. It’s better quality, bigger.
It’s got his logo on a shirt the Totes of Notes. The thing on the side, so it’s walking billboards. He gave a bunch away to the Mastermind members and people at the Quest Expo. It’s a good walking advertisement for you. Do you get any feedback off of that?
People liked the bags and everything like that, but I didn’t have that much activity off that text campaign. I was surprised. I’ve had probably as much activity throughout the year than I did at the Quest Expo. It does lend some credibility though having that in the text campaign. What happens is a lot of times people go there, don’t complete it and go to my website and sign up that way, which is fun. I use it also to text some of the investors I have when I have something and I’d like to do a lot more of that.
If you reach out, they’re good, they’ve got some great campaigns to set up for deals, as you said your IRA investors and following up with people. They’re using it. One of the things you might want to look at doing if you haven’t done this already is you have new videos. Use it to promote your videos and views on your videos too.
That’s something that I’m looking into. There’s a lot of stuff you can do with it. I haven’t been using it like I need to because I haven’t had the time. It’s one of those things. Get these notes done and then set aside an entire day to do some stuff and play around with it.
You’re doing a great job, Paul. You’re taking things. You’re implementing. You’re one of the most coachable students we’ve ever had. You are taking a little bit implementing, getting work in. Let’s add something else. Let’s implement something else. It’s paying off for it.
I’m following your “Build one bridge at a time” spiel because I tried doing it. I tried doing all the social media, all the LinkedIn and it was falling apart. I was trying to do daily posts and it wasn’t happening. I was like, “What’s my home? What am I good at and focus on that, master that and add something else?” I’ve been doing that. It’s a slower process but it’s consistent. It’s a higher quality.
You’re building the bridges. You’re knocking it out versus trying to do too many things at once, being overwhelmed and not being effective.
It’s a waste of time and money.
You can lay some money easy by not using something, but you’re taking the tools and using them, which is powerful. It’s the whole thing of why we bring up different marketing ideas and things like that because we know that works. It’s a matter of implementing one thing at a time.
That’s what I’m trying to do.
What’s your big goal for the second half of the year?
It’s still probably to try and make myself be able to leave my job if I can. I probably should try to come up with a number. I did and basically what I found is on average if I’m buying nonperforming notes and they generate such and such profit, I needed to acquire two and a half a month or roughly three. If I can do that for the whole year, that would be 36. I’m not going to count the first ten because that was previous year stuff that just closed. If I can get another fifteen, I’d probably be in a pretty good spot in addition to if I get these ten or eleven done. If I could do 35 to 40 for the year, I’d be happy.
I’m going to encourage you to hire somebody out even on a part-time basis.
That’s what I’d be looking to do first. It’s probably ten to twenty hours a week. I even talked with some other Mastermind students like, “If I hire someone and get them trained up, would you guys be willing to get some times?” If we could get someone full-time, it would probably be more worthwhile for that employee and pimp them out to the other Mastermind students and get some stuff done that way.
It’s arbitrage out there, not pimp.
Just because it’s a longer word doesn’t mean it’s cleaner.
I’ve been saying it for a year. I’m like, “You should hire one assistant, ten hours for four people or twenty hours for two people. It will help you out tremendously.” If we’re putting an order in for IRA investors, split that list up or if you’re diving in and looking at bigger tapes, split it up. You can do more together. That’s the whole reason for the Mastermind. It’s good seeing people doing that. You’re sharing resources. It’s a great idea but not everybody is as focused as you are.
I talked to a few people about it and they seem interested. A lot of new people probably don’t even need ten hours a week. I was like, “If I could get them trained up and we can get 40 hours between however many of us and each one is getting four to five hours a week, that would be pretty huge, especially for people starting off.” That would be almost all of your marketing done or it could be all your due diligence. It would be easier, especially if I could train that person in person because it’s harder to train them over the internet. You can do it. It seems to take a little bit longer.
That’s what I always say. Your most powerful hire will be the first assistant you hire because they’ll allow you to almost clone yourself. A good assistance is worth a good six figures on the bottom line to getting things done. Whether it’s they’re doing due diligence, they’re doing marketing for you or they’re doing the things you don’t want to be doing. I don’t say you should go for it, but doing the stuff that is below your pay grade. We’ve all got a number that we need to focus on and that’s your pay grade that you either delegate it to an assistant above the pay grade if you’re assisting and do it great or you do it yourself to maximize your time.
That’s what I do is I train them first on the general social media marketing and get them to do it. In fact, they probably train me on it especially if I hired a college kid. From there, I’d probably train them on how to do some due diligence in case I get a bunch of tapes and they could help me go through them real quick. Initial filtering for due diligence doesn’t take that long and it’s not that hard of a skill. I could probably train someone to do that quickly. I can also have them go through that tape tech class to do higher quality due diligence later on. Those two things combined I could probably get enough other Mastermind students interested in that if the quality was good.
Just copy and paste that to spreadsheets, it would be well-worth it. Paul, what’s the best way for people to reach out to you?
If you want to get in contact with me personally, you can go to my website, www.TotesOfNotes.com and you’ll have all my information. Give me a call or text. My phone number is 913-972-7251. I work four days a week so I can’t always answer the phone. Texting is probably the easiest just like with you, Scott. I can get back to you within an hour generally on text if you text me. Email is fine too, Paul@TotesOfNotes.com. The other thing is you can text the word TOTES or the word IRA to 72000 and get a free eBook in the process. You can schedule a meeting with me and it will have all my contact info there. It’s pretty easy to get ahold of me.
Paul, thanks for being such a wealth of knowledge and sharing with our extended Note Nation across the country. I appreciate it greatly. You’re doing great stuff. I’m proud of what you’re accomplishing. If we can help you with anything to help you hit your goals, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
You’ll have some new nugget for me here soon and I’ll start implementing that. Most of my stuff is from your playbook. I just make it mine.
Check out Paul at TotesOfNotes.com to schedule some time and visit with him. Paul is a great guy, who is willing to share some resources. Don’t waste his time, but make it valuable for both of you.
I’ve got 30 minutes for anyone.
That’s what I love to say and know as well. Thanks for joining us on Note Nation on the Note Closers Show. Thank you for subscribing. Thank you for following and keep the emails and contacts coming. I love to hear your success stories. I love to hear issues we can help out with you. If you loved the show, go on over to iTunes and leave us a five-star review. I appreciate it. Otherwise, have a great day and we’ll see you all at the top.
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About Paul Cooper
Paul has been investing in Real Estate for a little over 10 years. He got his start in Tax Liens and eventually came over to the Dark Side of Real Estate a little over 3 years ago. He spends his time working as an Air Traffic Controller, playing with his daughter, and running his Note Business on the side.