A Comprehensive Look at Real Estate Investing With J. Martin
Steve Rozenberg and Alex Osenenko introduce J. Martin on this episode of the Myndful Investor Podcast show. He shares his story about the turning points that took him to decide to invest in real estate.
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Full transcript here:
Steve Rozenberg: Welcome to another exciting episode of The Mindful Investor podcast. Today we’ve got a good friend of mine and you’re going to love this story. That’s all I’m going to say. I’m going to save it so you can hear the story. First, Alex. Man as always, I feel like I just talked to you yesterday, Maybe I did. But thanks for joining me, my man.
Alex Osenenko: Well this is the podcast episode and those of you who are listening, it’s a real seat at the table with real meaningful conversation about a topic we’re all passionate about, which is real estate investing. But it’s also the human beings that actually went in it and we all get… I feel so privileged to be at the table. And guys, both of you, are obviously experts and you both have your own expertise and fields and this is going to be an amazing show. I am just here to learn and ask questions like a five-year-old. So mindful of that. If the question sounds too simple is because I’m pretty simple, but also it helps our audience kind of connect the dots, I hope.
Steve Rozenberg: Absolutely.
Alex Osenenko: I think that’s the dynamic people are looking in this show.
Steve Rozenberg: Absolutely. And so for those of you watching the show, this does come out every week on iTunes. So if you go to iTunes, The Mindful Investor podcast show. We also have a Facebook group, The mastermynd m.y.n.d, Mastermynd Real Estate Investment Club. There we have investors like me, Jay, all these other people that just talk about what’s going on in the industry and real life situations. So without further ado, I have my good friend J.Martin on the show today. Jay, thanks for joining me today, man.
J. Martin: Thank you for having me. Appreciate it Steve.
Steve Rozenberg: So this will come out later but where in the world are you today? It’s the first question I have.
J. Martin: Believe it or not, I am in the US. I’m actually… It’s funny I think I’m in Sunnyvale actually once we meet up last night and stayed at another investor’s house. So I think I’m in Sunnyvale. They left for work or it can be Santa Clarita, I’m in the Bay.
Alex Osenenko: Oh you’re in the Bay. I’m in Castro Valley, which is East Bay. I can’t afford a real Bay.
Steve Rozenberg: Now, as you’ll hear Jay’s story, you’ll understand why I’m asking that question because this guy prides himself on not having a home and real estate has given him that opportunity to have this ability in life, which is amazing. And Alex, you’re going to get some good takeaways and there’s going to be one major takeaway. I’ll just give you a quick synopsis of how Jay and I met. We met at a networking event. It was a Mastermynd in Maui that Terrell Yarbrough and Brandon Turner from BiggerPockets put on. And we were both there and we got to know each other and got to kind of learn about what he and how he does it and had a real… it was about a week long. I was just a think tank and it was great mixing with Jay and the other people. And I got a lot of respect for him, understanding what he’s gone through in life and more importantly, what he’s done since he had a pivotal turning point and kind of where he’s going in the mental side of it. Because again, anybody could buy real estate and be successful, but to do what this guy has done mentally and make that change is huge. So Jay, thanks so much for being here today, brother.
J. Martin: Thanks. Appreciated Steve.
Alex Osenenko: So lead us in Jay, tell us a little bit of a story. What are you about? Like the high-level and my pen is hovering over the paper so I can’t wait to get in the meet. But we’ve got to meet you first, tell me about Jay.
J. Martin: Yeah, absolutely. For everyone, I think there’s something that leads them into wanting to invest, whether that be real estate or something, right? There’s some motivation behind it, whether it be family, friends, volunteering, travel. There’s something that people want in their life that they’re trying to achieve through this financial needs. So for me, a really pivotal turning point of my life when I was 19 years old, I went to jail for selling cocaine. So I got arrested, I served 80 days on a 120 day sentence in jail.
J. Martin: So almost three months. And to be honest, I got in a fight in jail. It was a really tough situation for me. Ended up in solitary confinement and I’m laying in this tiny cell looking up at the brick walls going like, ” What the fuck? Oh, excuse me, what am I doing?” And looking with my life and I realized, first of all, I need to get my things together. And number two, I was like, ” I know there’s some legal way to make money. There’s a lot of people making good money in the United States outside of illegal things in the drug world.” And so as I was laying there in solitary confinement, I was like, ” You know what, I am going to get out and I’m going to find some way to legally make money and kind of bring my life together.” So for me that was kind of my motivation. I don’t encourage everyone to go to jail to get motivation to invest in real estate.
Alex Osenenko: Well, you do get some time to think between the fights, right?
J. Martin: Tons of time to think and read. But at least for me, that was a huge turning point in my life. And again, the motivation that got me willing to make some sacrifices to further my life in real estate. So I think whatever… I just encourage people to think of that motivation in their life, whatever it may be when they’re going through this process. That’s what it’s all about.
Alex Osenenko: This is what I’m incredibly curious about, Jay. What is the first step? Okay, you get out, the door opens.
Steve Rozenberg: You get out of jail is the first thing I would say.
Alex Osenenko: You get out, [crosstalk] 10 days, 5 days, 2 hours. How do you turn this?
J. Martin: What are you doing next? I’m going to Disneyland.
Alex Osenenko: Yeah.
J. Martin: No. I didn’t go to Disneyland. So basically, I’m getting out, I had a little bit of a tough time finding a place. I was fortunate to have some people in my family were really supportive and I was able to kind of bounce around, stay in different places. One of the huge challenges actually getting out of jail and I think hopefully this helps with anyone who’s had a problem or had to overcome something, is that it seems insurmountable at the time. When I got out of jail, so my thought process basically at the time is shit.
J. Martin: I’m not going to be able to find a place to live, I’m not going to be able to find a job let alone even thinking about investing in real estate at the time. I didn’t know anything about it. It was furthest from my mind. But I didn’t think I was going to be able to get a place and a job. With help from family and friends and this and that, I was able to find places to stay. I started working basically really menial jobs and went back to Community College at the time. Eventually, went back and went to San Francisco State. So I eventually transferred and eventually graduated from San Francisco State.
Alex Osenenko: From San Francisco State? Yeah, me too brother.
J. Martin: Oh, you’re a Gator too.
Alex Osenenko: I’m a Gator. Hey man, that’s great. Wow. I never expected to hear that.
J. Martin: Yeah, I mean that was the kind of process, right? It was really tough getting out and then getting back into school, getting motivated to go do something. And when I graduated, basically ended up in bank regulation for the State of California. So we were going bank to bank during the financial crisis and reviewing their real estate loans. So we saw people get wiped out, lose everything, millions and millions of dollars. And then we got to see the people who were picking up the pieces. And that was my first introduction to real estate. So it was a few years later but that’s kind of how I got my first-
Alex Osenenko: So you put yourself through school?
J. Martin: Yes. So I went back to school and went to San Francisco State. And it turns out actually the person… Maybe a networking story but I went to a class, one of the classes I had there, the teacher actually worked for the State of California. So it was a banking class and he did [inaudible 00:07:58]. And so I’d run into him and I did well in his class and he ended up recruiting me. So again, it’s really tough getting a job with a felony and this and that. Because I had some connection, I can at least go get the interview and then talk about this felony was for this, has nothing to do with this type of job.
Steve Rozenberg: Jay, let me ask you this. I don’t want to get too far down the story and back to when you’re sitting in jail and you’re thinking. You probably went through a lot of mental gymnastics of first probably anger and then maybe thinking it through and then okay, is it my fault? And then going… I’m assuming because many people have these types of situations. What was the moment that you kind of said… At some point, you took responsibility for what’s going on and you were like, “I got to fix this. I got to change this.” Can you just walk through how you mentally did that? Because I think that’s important for people to realize. I’m guessing you were at a point in your life you’re like, ” What am I doing here? How do I get out of this? And I’ve got to do it on my own.” Can you just expand on that a little bit?
J. Martin: Yeah, absolutely. And I agree. I think anytime we face a big challenge, right? We go through the seven stages, or for me, maybe it’s the 20 stages of emotions when I’m in jail. First literally, I was out partying one night. I wake up in the morning with someone banging my door and there’s six police officers or so holding guns over me in the morning, right? Go in and everything’s racing through my mind, what I’ve seen on TV or this or that. I don’t know what jail is like. So a lot of fear I think in the beginning to be honest. For a long part of that, I was really angry and wanted the revenge on the person. Someone ratted me out basically, right?
Steve Rozenberg: Right.
J. Martin: And so I wanted revenge a lot of the time. And it probably took me about maybe a month and a half in jail where I was like, ” You know what, I think there’s some saying like, if you’re going out for revenge dig two graves. One for that person, one for yourself.”
Steve Rozenberg: Wow, that’s sad.
J. Martin: It’s not worth chasing those kinds of things. And I was reading a book every single day in jail, working out three hours a day because I had nothing else to do. But honestly, I think the reading kind of helped me along. Reading these different stories, it’s like,” Yeah, revenge never helps.” And eventually I settled on the point where I was like, ” You know what, never mind about this revenge thing. I’m never going to think about this guy again and I’m going to progress on with my life.” Focusing that energy and attention on negative things or other people or whatever it may be, I just realized was not going to be something that was going to progress me with the path that I wanted to go down.
Steve Rozenberg: Wow.
J. Martin: So yeah, I definitely went through all those emotions and it took a while for me to come to kind of come to peace with the whole thing, take responsibility. It doesn’t matter who ratted me out. I was the one who was selling cocaine, right?
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah.
J. Martin: And I mean this is true and everything. It’s like you got to take that personal responsibility and I think that helped me move on to the point where I said, ” Hey, I’m going to do something positive with this instead of dwelling on it, latching onto it or trying to get revenge or something like that.”
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah. And I’ll tell you what, just that alone, you’d be Uber successful in a major as far as I’m concerned, like one of the top performing winners just thinking that not counting what you’ve done since then. But I just got to tell you, I’m so impressed that you were able to do that because it’s easier said than done. And a lot of people have a hard time not reverting back to that after especially they get out, the pendulum starts swinging and next thing you know, you’re kind of like, ” Maybe I’ll do a little bit or this or that.” And you’ve been able to just go full steam up the other way, which I got to say is hats off, man. Good for you.
J. Martin: Thank you. I appreciate it. I mean, to be honest, I don’t think I’d be where I am today, travelling the world full-time, spending time with friends and family and volunteering and doing this and that if I hadn’t gone through. If I didn’t get that strong kick in the butt to get me motivated. So again, don’t encourage everyone to do that themselves. But again, focus on that motivation what gets you like… what drives you and what makes you want to go do it.
Steve Rozenberg: Sure.
J. Martin: That’s part-
Alex Osenenko: So find your why and connect with it and let go of negative emotions. Instead, rechannel that energy into building up your own future. So that’s pretty profound easier said than done for a lot of us. But sometimes we’ve got to be shocked into it, right? And you got shocked and probably one of the worst possible ways. I don’t think we’ve had anybody on the show shocked this badly, Steve.
Steve Rozenberg: No, I don’t think so.
Alex Osenenko: In to action but there’s always some kind of a catalyst and yours was-
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah. I’m going to say everybody has a different drive and I’ve always learned people do what they must, not what they should. So he should have stopped, but he didn’t. Then when it went to that extreme, he had to stop. He must stop, right? And then it was a turning point, it was at pivotal point and you’re sitting there in a self kind of thinking this through going, ” Okay, I got to make a decision here.” I mean they-
Alex Osenenko: For you Steve. I also have to say for you, it’s 9-11 as a pilot.
Steve Rozenberg: Right.
Alex Osenenko: That’s a very similar concept even though it’s completely different scale, but it’s the same thing. It’s not shock which caused you… I’m going to do this every time those of you watching video, I’m flashing Steve’s book, which causes you to create a dumpster fire in Houston with your first 20 properties or something.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, exactly.
Alex Osenenko: Before [inaudible] now. But Jay, I want… Steve to took us away into the mind games and I loved that and that’s very important. I still want to know how you made your first move, man.
J. Martin: Yes. So first move. So basically working for the State of California bank regulation, we’re looking at, wow you can make a bunch of cash flow in the Bay area where it’s traditionally hard to do. I said, ” Hey, there’s opportunity here.” Started talking to all my co-workers and all of them were like, ” Jay, you’re crazy. Real estate is dangerous. Didn’t just see the hundreds of millions that just got lost in the fires from last year. What the hell are you thinking?” And so I almost didn’t do it. Fortunately, I met another real estate investor, co-worker who turned me on to biggerpockets.com, which hopefully everyone’s familiar with. Great real estate networking website. Got on there and here’s where things really changed for me in real estate. From going from knowledge, a little bit of knowledge and thinking about it, to really changing the game. I went to my very first real estate meetup. So someone’s scheduled it on BiggerPockets.
J. Martin: It was someone I knew from before, went to my first meetup and I learned that, ” Hey, I couldn’t just buy a condo with FHA. I could buy a fourplex with FHA. I could buy an investment property.” And from there that planted the seed. When I went to my first meetup, they never did one again. So I started my own because I thought it was so important to learn this stuff and that’s really what changed the game and ended up getting into my first kind of house hack fourplex. It was going at first meetup and networking with people just blew my mind and still does today every time I go out to meetups. So that’s really what kind of changed the game.
Alex Osenenko: Jay, any specific takeaways? Maybe one. Something you remember from your first event like, ” Okay, I know I got it.” So yeah, you could do a fourplex and not just dream bigger, but any other specific maybe tactical stuff that you took away.
J. Martin: Yeah, I think kind of going from big to small. I mean, the first thing I realized is ” Hey, there actually are a bunch of other people just like me doing the same thing.” So that was a great lesson on the technical side learning the fourplex. I think I learned a lot also about making offers and kind of the psychology of sellers and what works, what’s going to actually get deals closed and things like that. So that was another kind of tactical sort of thing I picked up beyond the high level. But I mean, every time I go out and network, you get one idea or meet one person. It kind of helped me along the way or mentor a little bit is so game-changing. You don’t even have to pick up 10 things every time you go. You get one thing or one contact to me. I mean I got two or three there and it totally changed the game for me.
Steve Rozenberg: And Alex, I don’t know if you know our mutual friend Terrell. He had told me that basically, and tell me if this is correct, Jay, is you are kind of the first one to ever do a BiggerPockets style conference and kind of the first one that ever started, is that correct?
J. Martin: Yes. So BiggerPockets did a conference in 2012. I missed it because I didn’t really know about them at the time. I actually met Josh Dorgan who came out to the Bay and he came to one of my meetups. I was kind of chatting with them. They were focusing on the online stuff. So they weren’t doing conferences at the time and I was so inspired, I wanted to basically go to the conference, but it wasn’t going on. So I literally just got on the phone, I looked up everyone starting with podcast number one on BP and went down the list and called everyone and said, ” Hey, I’m doing a conference, do you want to come?”
J. Martin: And a few people, excuse me, it was like, ” Who are you? What?” But I got one speaker. I said, ” Hey, I got Brian Burke coming out, my OG” And it just kind of fell in line. So again, I started the meet up because someone just did one and there was nothing else there. There was kind of a vacuum, at least for meetups that weren’t pitching. And then I wanted to get more people together and I couldn’t find what I wanted, so I created that. I mean, we’re coming up on the fifth summit just coming up here. But I think go find your crew, go find your people, your tribe. And if it’s not already there, go build it.
Alex Osenenko: That’s great. So walk us through your first deal, Jay. Let’s get so. So from a master networker, I think that you are today, back then you were just stumbling child just like me today. Just like me. And so how’d you put together your first deal?
J. Martin: So first deal, I’d made the offers a lot in Oakland and to be honest, there was a lot of cash buyers and I had an FHA loan. It was hard to do. I eventually ended up buying in Richmond. So the things I was looking for were, number one is close to public transit. I think in major metro areas where there’s a lot of traffic, being close to public transit is a huge benefit. Same thing I’ve talked to people on the East coast that do it out here. So I was basically looking near the BART station, do FHA, I’ve got $12,000 down basically on a $380,000 fourplex. It was a vacant home path property, which is a Fannie Mae Foreclosures.
J. Martin: And they gave the opportunity for the first 10 days on market, only owner occupants can put it in an offer. And that was one of the advantages that helped me get in the door so to speak. And that was above the 1% rule. Those who are familiar is basically the monthly rents are more, at least a 1% or more than the purchase price, which tends to be able to produce some cash flow it depends. It’s just a rule of thumb. So that was my first deal. That’s why I bought it. What I was looking for close to public transit. So only 40 minutes to get into San Francisco, close to Oakland.
Alex Osenenko: And you lived there?
J. Martin: Yeah. I moved in. So I moved from San Francisco out to Richmond, which is for those who don’t know is considered a little more dangerous city. I never really had any serious problems out there. And I walked back and forth to Barton, my suite, kind of through the hood every day.
Steve Rozenberg: Oh yeah. It’s street cred now, man. You’re[crosstalk 00:19:26]
Alex Osenenko: You’re going to walk like you own the neighborhood.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, man.
J. Martin: Well, yeah, that’s how I got into it. And it produces cash flow from the beginning. I moved into one unit. They were all vacant. Honestly, I didn’t know any… I hadn’t networked enough to meet contractors and this and that. Of course I could look online, but I ended up going down to Home Depot, pick up a bunch of supplies, recruiting some workers from there and literally went back and started working on it myself with the crew from Home Depot, called some friends to help paint and this and that. And that was my first house hack, doing it bare bones myself. To today, I will not touch a paint brush again in my life. But you got to get started, right? In the hustle at the beginning.
Steve Rozenberg: You’ve got to have a zero-
Alex Osenenko: So that property, financially… So walk me Steve, I’m sorry if I’m holding you from a question.
Steve Rozenberg: No complain.
Alex Osenenko: But I want to understand, the five-year-old in me wants to understand the mathematics a little bit, the basic math. All right, so what is your mortgage and what do you get rent? How did that work out?
J. Martin: I believe… I think it was $379 I believe, $379/$389 I purchased the property for. I think the mortgage on that it was probably $1700 or $1800 maybe. I think all in it was probably 25-ish or maybe 2,500-3000. Sorry, I don’t have all the specific numbers. It’s been a little bit. The rents, it was completely empty. So I had to do a lot of research on rents and that [inaudible 00:20:56], what the rents were in the area. It looked like it was about 1200. So I basically figured, ” Hey, I’m gonna live in for free in one of the units and the other three units are going to cover my principle, interest, taxes, insurance, maintenance, et cetera.” Turned out, the rents were going up, I was able to run it for a little bit more. So the rents were actually about $1300-$1400. And now the rents are about 1800, 5-6 years later.
Alex Osenenko: You still own the house?
J. Martin: I still own it. I’ve never sold anything actually. So I bought four properties. This was the first one and the other three with other investors, did 50-50 deals. Haven’t sold anything and man, basically the values have about doubled and the rents are up probably 50-60%, sometimes more from when I first bought them. So I think someone said, ” Don’t wait to buy real estate, buy real estate and wait.”And I think that’s been true for me.
Steve Rozenberg: Alex, this is a perfect example, man of why you need to buy a piece of real estate. Waiting and waiting Alex, I’m telling you, man.
Alex Osenenko: 10 years, man. I’ve been in this 10 years. I know everything there is to know. I think I ask questions and I learn a lot. But hey, it’s been 10 years.
J. Martin: Are you getting your PhD right now? I know some people who are just students. They love… No, I’m just joking.
Alex Osenenko: Yeah, I know. They over analyze it. Look, I got… My investments are a lot of it in equity of the organizations I work in, right? I try to raise them up and build them. So that’s kind of I’m a startup guy but this is not an excuse. This is BS.[crosstalk 00:22:34]
Steve Rozenberg: You’re talking to the wrong people, man when it comes to telling us that story.
J. Martin: Actually, I know I am the interviewee but I got a question for you Alex because I like to challenge everyone on this.It’s like what is your goal in life and if goal is to build those businesses, that’s where you should be spending your time and your money. For me, I wanted to travel more, volunteer more, more time with family. I wanted to kind of free it up. So I’m getting more and more into passive investments. So I’m investing passively in startups. But if you’re always invest, at least to me, if I’m always investing in my own business, where does the passive income come from? If you never invest it passively, it can never come back passively. So I guess my question to you is that your passion? And do you want to invest passively or do you want to invest in things that you’re going to be active with?
Alex Osenenko: Yeah, it’s very good point. So I guess, look, the investments I’m making a fairly risky, right? So if you think about it, but I do control them. And that’s maybe it’s a control issue.
J. Martin: Control?
Alex Osenenko: Right.
J. Martin: Let it go.
Alex Osenenko: Because I’m working. I’m busting my… Doing the best I can. I’m a chief growth officer of the company. I know we’re doing well, man. I know where we’re playing and I’ll do anything like mountains, there’ll be flat when I’m done. And Steve is there with me now we’re flattening more mountains. And so that seems to me as the pretty good way to gauge that in three, four, five years, we’ll get to the outcome we need to. But we’re still depending on the economy and other things going on-
Steve Rozenberg: You’re still intrigued by this real estate world of-
Alex Osenenko: And so that’s the bow. I don’t have a balance. For example, not saying anything bute my other enterprise, it grew very fast, very well. But I shifted gears into this new opportunity and now I’m sort of, I guess a passive investor in my own startup and previous one. But, it’s still risky it’s not real estate. And if I stop, and this is one very interesting one, I’m just unpacking it for myself. If I stop tomorrow, it’s like I can’t work anymore for some reason or I just give up or whatever, I’m poor, I’m screwed.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah.
J. Martin: That’s actually I think an important thing for investing. But also I look at my own business as I say, if I died tomorrow, would the business still make money? Will all this stuff still go on. But it’s a good question. But like, yeah, if you don’t want to or you can’t work anymore, where’s this passive income coming in from? So at least the way I started and maybe again, everyone has a different path, but I started by building my W-2 income using that to get loans to purchase properties. That started bringing in it’s passive income. Use that to invest in my business and grew my furnished rental business, which is what I’m doing now. A bunch of Airbnb units at 20 something and then use that money now to invest in multifamily syndications, startups, this and that to really build that passive portfolio.
Steve Rozenberg: Wow.
J. Martin: Maybe for those that are out there who had a job. Just speaking a lot of folks on a job and who are trying to get out of their job and this and that and like, it can be a really beneficial cornerstone of building that. But at least that’s one of the methods that I took so that if I can’t or I don’t want to work, there’s still a range of investments that are going to bring in money. So at least that was my goal and kind of what I was trying to achieve so that I could have my own time.
Steve Rozenberg: Now-
J. Martin: In the middle-
Steve Rozenberg: What I’d like to unpack now, which I think is it’s very… I love what he’s doing because I’m a firm believer in leverage and scale. Because what he’s talking about in my opinion, Jay, what you’re referencing is you’ve learned how to leverage other people and you’ve learned how to scale to live the life that you want to live. So, I remember Terrell and Grace and I, where we are now, at, I remember they told us. They said, ” We had our life and we’ve worked it around our business.” And they said, ” We flip flopped it.” And we said, ” We want to have our life and our business has to operate around our life.”
J. Martin: Yeah.
Steve Rozenberg: And which is a different way to think about it, right? Normally whenever we have free time that we’re not working, then we go ahead and do stuff.
J. Martin: Yeah.
Steve Rozenberg: You just like Grace and Terrell, just like a lot of the people that we’ve met interviewing these shows, have the other way of doing it. They say, ” I have my life and the business revolves around my life.”
J. Martin: Yeah.
Steve Rozenberg: Let’s talk about that now because when I met you, you were just coming from, I think it was Malaysia and you were heading to Bali after you spent another two weeks in Maui. You’re like, ” Yeah, I’m coming over to Bali for a couple of weeks.” So let’s talk about that.
J. Martin: You see it’s funny too because I learned there was no flights from Bali to Hawaii. It took me a lot to get to that [inaudible]
Steve Rozenberg: First world problems-
J. Martin: Who the hell is flying from one tropical place to another tropical place, right? Why would you leave in the first place. So I mean for me, number one is the same pay it first or pay yourself first, right? So people talk about that in your business, right? You want to pay your own salary first or whatever. So you don’t end up living on the scraps from your business. I think the same is true for time. Pay yourself for your time first. Some people make a financial budget, make a time budget. How do you want to spend your time? So if you were a billionaire, how would you spend your time? And then you want to get as close to that as you can earlier. You don’t have to wait until you’re a billionaire, you don’t have to wait till retirement to start doing the things that you want.
Steve Rozenberg: You got to think like one right now?
J. Martin: Exactly. And if you pay yourself first with your time, budget out the time you want to spend with your family, that you want to travel, go do all those things and then say, ” Hey, how can I operate my business successfully within the time that’s left?” And that I think gets you focused, productive and again that pay yourself first principle. So I think that’s a great way to think about it. So just focus on your personal time first, use what’s leftover for the business and then like you say, leveraging other people’s time. So I have myt furnish rental business at 20 something units in the San Francisco Bay area.
J. Martin: I have three people that work in the Philippines. I wish I would’ve met you earlier, Steve, because I could use a lot of your advice for hiring people. So I did it the hard way without knowing, but I have three people. Basically one’s a manager and the other two, they run my entire business. So I just approve payments, review reports and every month or three I jump on a meeting with my manager. And so that’s why I’ve managed to kind of leverage my time up and be able to free up but I had to give up control.
Alex Osenenko: See, that is interesting and there’s different paths for different people, but real estate is still a very important vehicle to get us to our paths. But in my case and Steve’s case, look, who’s asking question? Those of you who are listening and have followed Steve for a while may already know those of you or not, Well let me just kind of get them naked out there in front of all of us, right?
J. Martin: Perfect, yeah.
Alex Osenenko: He’s got two full-time jobs, this guy. Okay. He’s talking about passive income and stuff like that. Steve’s got two full-time jobs, he’s flying for United and he’s vice president at a very fast growing startup.
J. Martin: Yeah.
Alex Osenenko: Well, what do you say to that Steve?
Steve Rozenberg: Well, here’s the thing, here’s my thoughts, and this is just my opinion. The flying that I do, that’s a passion. I mean, that’s something that when I was a little kid, I remember looking up in the sky going, “Man, how do they do that? I’d love to do that one day.” So people tell me all the time, they’re like, ” Hey, why don’t you quit flying? Could you quit?” They’re like, ” Oh, you’re probably going to quit after I sold my business.” They’re like, ” You’re probably going to quit flying.” I’m like, ” Why would I quit flying? This is a dream of what I want to do” Now, when it stops becoming the dream then and it becomes a problem, different story. But right now I’m like, I get paid to travel around the world and I get to fly up a $200 million airplane and get to do it.
Steve Rozenberg: You’re like a kid in a candy store. So that and then when it comes to educating and speaking and interacting with people like Jay and, Brandon Turner and all these people, that’s another dream because you’re interacting with like-minded people. So even though it’s working, I don’t think of it as working, right? I’m not in a nine to five where it’s like I got to clock in, I got to do this. I do it because I love doing it and that’s I think the only difference. I have a hard time. My personal thing is I have a hard time stopping and because I like it so much, I’m not kind of… It’s not controlling me, but I have a hard time shutting it off. I guess I would say, that’s the challenge I have.
Alex Osenenko: But that’s exactly how it feels Steve. I love what I do. I freaking… I come home, I can’t wait. Well last night I can’t say I can’t wait. But we put kids to bed and sometimes I have to work even before that. I’ll break for dinner and my wife’s like, “Yeah, make some money, man. Do what you need to do. I don’t need you around the house moping around, getting in the underfoot. You go in the little office.” Which is here where I’m at today and get work done so we can have the vacations, we can have the time we want and weekends on my own of course. But I work 14 hours a day and I love it.
J. Martin: Wow.
Alex Osenenko: I’m not joking.
J. Martin: Yeah. And I think, I mean, this is such a key thing though too. Is whatever the passion is… I was actually giving a speech the other night and originally someone labeled it. It was like, quit your job to travel the world with real estate and I actually changed it to quit your job and do whatever you want, right?
Steve Rozenberg: Right.
Alex Osenenko: Because everyone’s got a passion and just like you said Steve, your passion is flying and you do that right now. But you’ve set yourself up so that you don’t have to fly when you don’t want to. So if there comes a time when you decide, ” Hey, I’d rather be doing something else.” You’ve set up a way that you have financial independence and time freedom so you don’t have to do that forever. And I think that’s the big change, right? You can do whatever you want and then looking forward 10 hours a day flying a plane. One of my wealthy buddy does is he’s taking a year to remodel his unit because he goes out there and hangs drywall himself and I’m like, ” You’re crazy.” But he’s like, ” I love doing this. I’m okay.” But I think it’s important to just know what you like, know what you love, what you’re passionate about and at least spend some time on those things. And then if they don’t make a lot of money, either find a way to make money or make enough in the rest to support that passion.
Steve Rozenberg: Right. Yeah. And you know Alex, I’ll say the one thing I noticed that because I have real estate and then I’ve got other assets and stuff like that and doing the mind VP thing and stuff. When I get in the cockpit with other pilots, right? And pilots financially do very well. They make a lot of money and it’s not about the money, but when I’m sitting there talking with them and they are just complaining about the company and, ” Oh, did you hear about the union doing this?” And I don’t pay attention to any of that. I’m not on any union emails. I don’t get any information.
J. Martin: Yeah. You’re like, ” I’m flying to Sydney and I’m buying real estate.”
Steve Rozenberg: Exactly. I just want to go to Australia and have a good time and that’s what I want to do. So it’s such a different dynamic because they are clinging to that job and they’re bitter. And I’m thinking to myself, I always think of the Guns N’ Roses theory, right? Guns N’ Roses was making gazillions of dollars and they broke up. It’s not about the money, right? Because at some point the money, that motivation fades, right? It’s the why, it’s the desire, it’s what you want to do. I get in the car and I’m like, ” Dude, let’s go have a good time. Let’s go to Sydney and then let’s go golf and do whatever and talk to real estate. I do some speaking events down there, let’s enjoy this.” And they’re like, ” Oh man, did you hear that we’re not getting paid this ad pay or this or that.” And I’m like, ” Who cares man?” It’s such a difference because I don’t need the job, they do. That’s the difference.
Alex Osenenko: Thanks, Steve. You just busted my butt over your $2 of your bonus difference.
Steve Rozenberg: [inaudible] text you yesterday.
Alex Osenenko: I can show. It was like, ” Hey Alex [crosstalk 00:34:26]. I thought I was going to get $2 more.” I guess that’s Renne, she does that-
Steve Rozenberg: That’s my wife. She’s like, ” Wait-
Alex Osenenko: You’re not bringing all the bacon they promised.
Steve Rozenberg: That’s right.
J. Martin: But this, I mean to me, this really goes back to mindset, right? Not mind, m.y.n.d, mindset no. But it’s really about how you think about things, right? So for some people they’re just going to do the W-2 job. That’s what they’ve known for their entire life, that’s what they grew up, right? You go to school, you go to college, you get the job, you retire at whatever’s, 61 years old and die at 62. They’ve been going along-
Alex Osenenko: [crosstalk] life fishing man, nigga. At least few months.
J. Martin: Yeah. But I mean, I think it’s the whole mindset thing, right? It’s realizing that there’s more potential and I think focusing the energy on what’s important, right? So I was talking about in jail focusing on revenge or how I’m gonna find the path forward, right? And focusing on the things that are not working well or whatever. If that time and energy we’re focused on some income producing activity, it’d produce 10 times or a hundred times more than what was lost, focusing the energy on what was lost and some other little thing I think.
J. Martin: So I used that mindset and it’s really whatever you want, how much you will ever want to make, whatever you want to do in life. Again, someone coming from jail who thought I wasn’t going to be able to get a job or a place to live, to be able to travel the world. Whatever obstacle you have in front of you. I haven’t even had the most challenging. There’s other people who had much larger challenges than myself, right? So I think wherever people are at, I just want them to know, right? They can overcome that, they can go do that. And it’s just it’s all about the mindset. Don’t get stuck in that attitude as other pilots who just complain about their job.
Steve Rozenberg: That’s right man.
Alex Osenenko: That’s really good, Jay. That’s really good. So, let’s tell people… I think your event is coming up, but we’re likely not going to publish this show before the event shows up. So maybe tell people if they want to come see you, meet you, check out one of your events, where will they go to do that?
J. Martin: Yeah, absolutely. So I mean, number one just go out and network, right? So go hop on BiggerPockets in the community section or meetup.com and go find a networking event near you. Go to a conference, go check stuff out. Our event, again, a lot of folks from BiggerPockets and from the San Francisco Bay area and around the country. But our website is SFBsummit.com. We do it every year. So again, if you make it out another year, come check it out. But whatever you do, I really encourage people, network. Again, one idea, one contact, one person can really change your investing life. And I’ve met a lot of great friends I’ve traveled the world with too. So just go out there and go meet someone.
Alex Osenenko: Awesome, Jay, and I’ll look forward to… I’ll make sure I make it to the event that you’re putting on in a few weeks here. So looking forward to meeting you in person.
J. Martin: And we’re excited to have Steve out speaking to. So-
Steve Rozenberg: That’s right baby.
Alex Osenenko: [crosstalk] Somehow people love him. I don’t know what it is.
Steve Rozenberg: You’re just jealous and a little intimidated. Better be nice, I don’t know.
Alex Osenenko: I saw a guy who looks just like Steven Janell actually. The first time I met him I thought he was going to beat me up. But he’s just the sweetest lovable bear. So, yeah. I think there’s something to it. So those of you who are listening, we really appreciate your time. Hope you took a lot away. I think at the end of the day, Jay’s whole concept of winning revolves around networking and he’s doing, he’s living what he’s teaching and his incredible inspirational story. And if you want to meet him, go to Facebook, dial up Mastermynd with a Y, Real Estate Investment Club. Hopefully Jay will join and be active in that little group. BiggerPockets is a great outlet, SFB events, check him out. And thank you very much for listening and Steven and I really appreciate it. If you can go and give us a review. If you love the show, this will really help us out on iTunes or Spotify or however you get this podcast.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah. And again, Jay, thanks so much man. And I think I’ll say that I’m just going to wrap this up that you don’t meet… People think you meet people like Jay and Alex and all these other people by luck they say, ” Oh, they’re lucky. Jay just got lucky. Yeah. He got juggled lucky.” It’s not luck, it’s intentional focus. And I think that that is the most important thing that I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter the cards that you’re dealt. It’s the intentional focus you have in the people that you want to meet. I’ve gotten to meet Jay, I’ve gotten to meet all these other people through networking.
Steve Rozenberg: I mean that’s all it is. I mean, all the Brandon Turners and Ryan and, Terrell. I mean all the people that we met in Maui, we all came together and now that is exploded in the different areas and markets and stuff and it’s just networking. I mean that’s all it is. Being genuine and having focus to be better and mix with those kinds of people. So Jay, man, I got tons of respect for your brother. I really loved the story and man, I’m hoping one day we’re going to be in the same destination at the same time. That’s what I’m hoping, man.
J. Martin: Let’s do it. I’m all over the place. I’ll make a trip out to Sydney and see you there either way.
Steve Rozenberg: There we go. So on behalf of Jay, Alex, myself, thanks for watching. Make sure that you like subscribe to our show. I’m out there speaking all the time. Jay’s out there doing his meetup. So just get out there and network, right? You can hang out with us. We want to meet you too and that’s what this is about. So thanks everyone for watching. We’ll see you next week. Bye-bye.
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