Rental Investor Starter Kit

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Show Description

Today I’m talking with a super successful dynamic duo, investors Mel and Dave Dupuis. They are a married couple who have been doing great things lately, both as real estate investors and educators.

We got together to discuss all things real estate, from deciding to go for it full time and buying their first properties to scaling up and stepping into their roles as a leaders. Mel and Dave will share their path towards generational wealth and we will dive deep into all the nitty-gritty of running a successful real estate business.

What We Cover

00:34 - Mel and Dave’s backgrounds, how they went from husband and wife to business partners, and how they split their duties.
14:19 - Why it’s important to go beyond initial motivation and find a shared goal to push you through rainy days.
21:28 - How to keep the mental fortitude to see your plan through, and why it’s important to only take advice from more people more successful than you.
27:27 - The difference between a leader and a manager, and setting up your business so you can run off to the Caribbean (without things falling apart).
35:29 - How to lead by example and inspire your employees while ensuring that you have an outside perspective of what’s going on in your company.
40:56 - Learning to trust the plan, rebuild and fix what needs fixing, and scale-up in a sustainable way, without losing sight of your goals
49:49 - Mel and Dave’s plans for 2020 and 2021 and where to find them on social media to get in touch for real estate investment advice.

Watch the Podcast

Read the Transcript

Steve Rozenberg  00:00
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of the Myndful Investor podcast show. I'm your host, Steve Rozenberg, I am head of education for Mynd Property Management. And I'm a lifelong investor. I am into this journey, if I'm above ground, I'm doing this. And along the journey of me being an investor, I think we all have successes, we all definitely have failures, whether or not we talk about them is probably a different story. But we all have them. And the thing that I like the most about being an investor and being on this lifelong journey is the people that you meet, and the relationships that you have, and the likeness of other people that you surround yourself with. And it's almost, it's almost addicting to meet other successful people, because you want to learn from them, you want to educate yourself from them. And what I've learned, which is different than probably most other industries I've been in, is there's not really much of a hoarder mentality or a mindset of I'm not giving that person information because they could use it and I can't. So, it's always been, 'How can we help other people? community in the real estate investing world now, obviously, there are people that don't prescribe to this, but I would say the majority of people that do. So my guests today are some very successful investors from the great white north of Canada. Mel and Dave Dupuis, Right guys?

Mel Dupuis  02:07
Nailed it. Thanks for having us.

Steve Rozenberg  02:12
Hey, thanks for thanks for being on today. I was just gonna say I probably will not do justice to what you guys have done. I would say in a short time and your real estate investing career because you haven't been doing it for, you know, 20, 30 years, it's been a pretty compressed timeframe. Um, but guys, welcome to the show. Tell everybody a little bit about yourself in the transition from your past life to what you're doing now?

Mel Dupuis  02:35
Yes, great. Well, we're now full time real estate investors. But no, we certainly weren't always full time investors, we slowly started building our portfolio. And we got stuck, because although we're working nine to five, we weren't able to come up with enough money to raise funds to continue to grow our portfolio. So then we discovered the power of creative financing. And that's when we bought 12 properties in less than 12 months. So that was 56 units that year. So that exploded our growth. And since then, we've continued to, to grow a portfolio and buy within... in two weeks from now we're closing another 69 units. So it's going to bring us to over 170 units, and they're also beyond as well.

Steve Rozenberg  03:19
Now, question as the husband-wife combination, who was the first one to think hey, maybe we should try this real estate? Was it it was a group decision? Or was it like one person Dave started or Mel, you started, and then that you had to convince the other partner to do it?

Mel Dupuis  03:38
Yes. Well, it's Dave was a big baby. But he loved real estate. We both did. So before we met, I had two properties. They've had one. Yeah. And yeah, to share how you knew you want to do it. But

Dave Dupuis  03:54
yeah, I wanted to do it, Steve. It was just the mindset. I was in that consumer mindset. I was scarcity. I was looking at the what ifs putting all that ahead of what I actually wanted, right? Like making that a bigger wall than it actually was. So I was in my own head too much, basically. And Mel got me out of it.

Steve Rozenberg  04:14
Let me ask you this Dave, because this is I think this is important, because I think a lot of people have that challenge. They they work themselves to death and they never take action and they never actually do it. If you can go back and tell yourself a story of what your future looks like. What kind of advice would you give the Dave that was what iffing?

Dave Dupuis  04:35
I like that. What I would tell that Dave, a lot of things but what I would tell them is what I would tell them is every step of the way is not a big deal. It's a big deal in the moment, but after you get through it after you, you know you've overcome that barrier. You look back and you're like, that wasn't so hard after all, you know, I'm I'm capable of anything. So having that mindset would have changed a lot of things because even a lease agreement, I was petrified. And Mel said, well, I, here's one that I got off the internet, let's use it. And if ever becomes an issue, we'll deal with it. And it did become an issue. And we dealt with it like it's not earth shattering, right?

Steve Rozenberg  05:14
Yeah, you know, it's funny, as I always, I often think back, I've been doing this since 2002, is when I actually first started purchasing. So 20, 18 years, right, and I go back, and I look at the properties that are still here in Houston, Texas, that I could have purchased, that I didn't. And the majority of those properties that I wish I purchased that at the time I talked myself out of the properties are still there. They're still owned by an investor. But I think to myself, why did I not take that action. Now, I also have properties that I did purchase, that I should not have kicked myself for purchasing. And I often think of myself that when I see the properties that I didn't purchase, someone else did good for them. When I see the properties that I purchased, those are the ones I focus more on personally, that I did not run correctly, that someone else purchased from me that they turned around, and they were successful as investors running those properties. And it really got me personally thinking, okay, it's still four walls and a roof. They own it, I own it, why are they successful? And why am I not? Or at least with that particular property? And I realized that, number one, it was my mindset, what the way I looked at it and the way I approached it and the business model that I wrapped around that property. And and I often wonder if people go back if they and I don't think a lot of us do, but if you kind of reflect back and you think of deals that you bypassed and I don't know if you have any? Yeah. But if you went back and looked at the numbers, you probably be thinking like, man, I should have pulled the trigger on that deal. Because it's very rare that somebody says, boy, I'm glad I passed on that one, right? 30 years later, right? Do you guys have that? If you ever thought of that?

Dave Dupuis  07:07
There's some that I drive by all the time, there are two purpose built. I think there were both 18 and 18 plexes. And the mindset again, your mind can be your best friend or it can be your worst enemy. Right?


Dave Dupuis  07:20
And we walk through. And yes, there was some work, but there was going to be a massive lift right in which that's what we do underperforming and then we refinance people out and keep the asset, no money down. But we were just so scared of 18 doors like oh my gosh, that's too big. What are we going to do with the roof goes? So if the numbers made sense, it's the same, you said four walls and the roof. But because it had 18, as opposed to six doors, all of a sudden, our brains just kind of block.

Mel Dupuis  07:48
We're not there yet. We're not doing enough and organized enough to do this yet, so And why not? we underestimated what to do. Yeah.

Dave Dupuis  07:57
So I drove by him all the time. I almost bought them again. The guy he called us he said, Can you manage them? I'm sick and tired. And I thought, here's my wedge in the door. I'm going to get them and no such luck still.

Steve Rozenberg  08:08
Yeah, it's easy. So Mel, I'm curious. What is your story? And how did you guys how did you guys come together and like a unified business? Because you had you had properties before you said and Dave had his so tell me your story?

Mel Dupuis  08:20
Yeah, well, I was a single mom living in a two bedroom apartment. And I knew that I wanted to change my life and provide, you know, future, good future for my for my girls. And I knew that, you know, real estate would give that to me. Right? Right, that extra income. And I didn't have any extra. I didn't have a big plan back then. Because back then I had when I met Dave, I told them, I'm gonna buy 10 properties by time, I'm 40, before I turn 40. And most people used to always tell me: Well, that's crazy. That's, you know how you can do that you're working full time. And Dave was like: Alright, that's awesome. Like, let's do it. Right. So just a different mindset. And I think that's how we came together. So I wanted to, I didn't know how it's gonna do it. But having Dave being strong minded and like, Alright, well, let's figure it out. Let's do it. And then by the time I turned 40, I had 24 properties. We had 24 properties. I guess he did some work in there.

Steve Rozenberg  09:20
How is  the husband wife, the Dynamic Duo that you guys are? Um, how how do you guys split up the roles and duties? And how do you how do you try again, it's tough, but how do you effectively not step on each other's toes with what you're doing?

Dave Dupuis  09:36
Yeah, and great question, Steve. And people will ask that all the time. How are you guys not just like cats and dogs all day long. It's because we understand each other's lanes, and there's things that I actually like doing that Mel doesn't and vice versa. So I like finding deals. I like talking to accountants and lawyers and agents and really looking at how much of a lift we'd get, like that type of stuff. And then Mel likes the marketing, the social media, kind of more of the personable aspect of you know, that type of thing.

Mel Dupuis  10:09
The vendors and all that. Yeah.

Dave Dupuis  10:11
I've never looked at the numbers that those types of things. So it really naturally progressed. We used to do everything together in that sense. And then eventually, you just, you know, what, if a task came up, I'll do this, I'll do that. And then it kind of just naturally, we both kind of found our little niche.

Mel Dupuis  10:28
Yeah, I think which trusting each other's decision making skills as well. And at first, of course, we both had to look at all the deals, and it was a decision we're making together. And now we're able to, you know, sometimes you'll be like, oh, by the way, we're dropping. Alright.

Steve Rozenberg  10:42
Yeah, you know, it's, there's a great book out there. I don't know if you've ever read. It's called Rocket Fuel. And it's, the author's name is Gina Whitman, who wrote Traction. And he talks about the great thing.

Dave Dupuis  10:53
Yeah. And, and

Steve Rozenberg  10:55
Rocket Fuel talks about the two leaders of a company always require two people, it requires a visionary. And it requires the integrator. So just like in the business I had before we sold the property management company, I was the visionary. I was the one who was out in front, my business partner actually was the integrator, and he was the guy that was really making sure the business ran, right. But on the face of it, it was there's one, and it goes on to talk about the roles, and the job and that and how you delineate the two. But also, it talks about how every successful business that's ever existed, whether it was Disney, Ford, Boeing, there's always a visionary. And there's always an integrator, and knowing those roles, and respecting the other roles, and staying, as you said, staying in your lanes, is that that really is the key, because it's not when times are good, we all know, it's when times are bad to make sure that you stay in your lane. And, you know, I remember when I when we had our business, and I would talk to my business partner, and I would start stepping in to help out it was like, I do what you do, I'll do what I do. And if I mess up, then it's on me. But you got to trust me, and you got to trust the system. And that's hard, right? Outside looking in, you can see what you think is the problem, because I've seen it for three minutes. So of course I know what's going on, when he's been working on it for months. But it's, it's very hard to be respectful of that lane. So I'm how do you guys separate that from husband wife?

Mel Dupuis  12:24
And it's a great question. And I don't know if we really separate it. And I mean, it's kind of I think it's kind of who we are. And it's part of, you know, what we do and it's, it's different, because it truly is our love and passion. We love real estate, we love growing our portfolio, we love what we do. And it's kind of part of it. I mean, it's even our kids are surrounded by it. And now it doesn't mean that you know, we don't do anything outside of that. Of course, we do our own thing, activities and all that, but it's always kind of a part of it. And I think the reason it works is because we have the same goals. We have the same three why's Caitlin Golden Avi? Right. So I think that's the reason why it really works for us that at the end day, yes, it's what we do work full time together. We're married, we're always together. But it works because we're doing at the end for for both our lives which are aligned.

Dave Dupuis  13:18
And I think it would have been different Steve, if we like let's say if we never had not lives outside, but other jobs outside of this, like if we had just kind of came into it and decided to start a business as our relationship started. But we both started with full time careers, unionized pensions, the thing that everyone strives for. And we both said, Let's leave that so that we can actually work on on our business. So I think that's because we look back sometimes and we'll think, Oh, it's already 430 in the afternoon, like I can't believe I wish I had more time and we both looked at each other like never before we'd be counting down the minutes.  Yeah, that really helps that we've had that past life, and had that taste of working for someone else. And now working for us it it's just fun. I don't know, it's different.

Steve Rozenberg  14:01
Yeah, I think that you know, what, I always tell people, you know, motivation carries you through the first couple weeks of something new. Right? That's it. That's it. That's the first booster rocket to get to oouterspace. It's the your why your North Star that keeps you going through good times, bad times, rainy days, things that you that's what keeps you going is and you guys said it perfectly. It's the why that's what makes you deal with all the stuff that you deal with. Because when your why is stronger than everything else, it's gonna it's that magnetic pole, I think that will pull you through and the fact that you guys are both, you know, canoeing the same direction in the same canoe really helps as opposed to you know, I think that one of the biggest challenges I've seen with you know, people that are married is that, let's say that the husband is going off on these seminars and reading books and he's doing all these things. And he comes back and he doesn't really share the information maybe gives the spouse the you know, brief digest, you know, digest of it. And it's thought of as a hobby. And the husband is thinking, this isn't a hobby like this is our life, this is what we're doing. And I think that that's where the divergence comes in all of a sudden, it's like, what are you doing? Like, why are you spending all this time on I don't see you on the weekends. So the spouse doesn't really know what the other ones doing. Because lack of communication, lack of goals, lack of having everything, you know, continual between each other. And I think that's a that's a huge statement, but I think it boils down to communication, and I think you guys do communicate with each other, which is amazing, which is great. Um, I'm curious. With with you two, you started with houses, tell me some some struggles that you guys, you know, walk me through your life as, as owners of houses and your progression from there.

Mel Dupuis  15:52
Well, my first one was a big mistake. I'm no longer on it. It'll and it all comes down to I didn't know what I didn't know. And I purchased a house and I thought I'm gonna make a granny suite downstairs, you know, make it a duplex. So that's exactly what I ended up doing. The downstairs was completely, completely redone and looked beautiful. We rented it. And then one day city came comes knocking at the door, and hands me over a paper saying that you have an illegal place, and it needs to be shut down. I was like, Oh my gosh, after all that money put in. So yeah, so that was my first mistake of numerous. But that was my first one. So then we ended up with a choice. Number wise, it didn't make sense to convert it back. So we, we sold it to somebody who could use it. Because in our city hall works, you could have somebody as part of your family living downstairs. That's legal. So anyhow, sweet. We ended up selling that one.

Dave Dupuis  16:57
It was literally a mother daughter that we're going to split the house together. So it was it worked out.

Steve Rozenberg  17:02
Yeah. So as you guys walk through what, what was the plan of action, cuz I think a lot of people, you know, a lot of people buy a one piece of real estate, maybe two, and they start to lose that why they start to lose that momentum. It sounds that you guys are obviously picking up momentum, right? Because your your whyy is strong enough. And it's pulling you through, I would venture to guess. Talk me through how did you how did you guys keep multiplying what you were doing?

Dave Dupuis  17:30
And yeah, great question. And I think honestly, it was results. And that's what I always think when when people mentioned to us, hey, I'm into it, but my spouse is not into it. I always think I'm sure once you can show them what it works. Like, let's say you start cash flowing a property $500 or $1,000 a month, and you start getting this passive income. And you start doing that more and more. And all of a sudden, you tell your spouse, hey, you can work four days a week as opposed to five or Hey, we're going to go on an extra trip to Disney World this year. Like, I find those results when you get that and seeing it. The thing that I love the most is seeing the kids when Hey, we're going to Disney again this year. And it's not us. It's our buildings paying for it like that, to me, that's priceless. And it's like, Well, why don't we do this X amount of times a year. And so I think seeing results is the true... it's momentum right? It just once you start getting some it's why would you stop a good thing.

Mel Dupuis  18:19
Yeah, and also setting the goal. So I was working full time at our local college here. Dave was a firefighter. And once we started seeing that income coming in, we're like, Wait a second, if we buy and another 10 properties, that's gonna more than replace our income or pensions or benefits and all that and I'm like, well, let's we could completely change our lives here. So that's when we decided to go big and buy all those properties.

Steve Rozenberg  18:44
So what would you say is to date? What was one of the biggest lessons? What would you when you were like what pops into your head that just kind of gives your stomach a churn? That something that you did that you could give advice to people not to do or at least look at it as a lesson if they should happen to them.

Dave Dupuis  19:07
Okay, and this is an everyone gets it and it's naysayers oh my gosh, naysayers can manipulate your mind so much. And your mindset has to be strong enough to be able to just kind of fend them off, like I remember being at the fire hall and you're there with a bunch of guys or you know girls and you're there for 24 hours and it is what it is and I remember having naysayers and thinking why am I buying all these buildings What if the market crashes what is the interest you know and then just kind of like she'll know I have a game plan I've done like cash flow analysis and then even family members like who don't have enough Aren't you happy you know all you're stressing yourself out and then even people oh two I've got a I have an uncle who went bankrupt doing this like it's just get the noise away from you have a plan and stick to it and and just do you know what's right for you. The naysayers was... Mel and I had a lot of nights of upsets stomachs and like, maybe they are right and, and looking back now it's like, thank goodness, we didn't listen to him. We just kind of kept going through the weeds and doing our thing like that's absolutely

Mel Dupuis  20:13
Maybe we're not making the right decision, maybe things are getting go bad and what, exactly. And then and then one day, I can't remember who told me that, but they said, Who are you taking your advice from? And I'm like, well, coworkers, you know, whoever was quite well, you should start taking advice from highly successful people, people are way more successful than you are. And it just kind of, it just made complete sense. Because when we talk to, you know, mentors, if we talk to you, Steve, you're just gonna be like, That's awesome, where you at, keep growing, keep pushing through. And they have a completely different mindset, because they have created that path already. Right, which, which I found very, very helpful is realizing that Who are you choosing to listen to?  And just add on, Steven, when we came on the Convo? You know, we were saying we're working on our systems that will help our staff, you know, which we and I had talked to Melanie last year, you were flying out of somewhere you were gracious enough to meet us and talk to us or motel room. But why would I not listen to Steve who is so successful with his property management business? And when I have naysayers around my city in that I'm like, you don't even know why I choose to listen to someone who's highly successful, and block them out. Because who am I gonna listen to Steve or someone who hasn't got you know, two doors or whatever? It's telling me how to do my business?

Steve Rozenberg  21:28
Yeah, I remember when I first started getting into real estate and talking to people, and you know, you want to, I think we want to ask our peers for affirmation that we're doing the right thing we want, we want to hear, yeah, you're doing the right thing. And, you know, obviously, that's not always the case, you get the opposite. And when you start hearing all the advice of things that people you know, kind of putting their arm around your shoulder saying, Yeah, let me let me give you the let me give you some advice that you know, and they're giving you this, this fatherly advice of what you shouldn't do. And I remember one time, this guy was just giving me all the reasons that I shouldn't own real estate, you know, the 2am toilet call that I've never ever gotten, but they nobody knows about that. You know, and I said, why I said, so like you You own properties, and this happens to you? And he's like, Oh, no, I don't own real estate. And I'm thinking, Wait, you don't own real estate? Like you don't own anything? He's like, Oh, no, I've never owned it. I'm thinking, what that's like, that's like me asking flying advice from someone who's never even been in the cockpit of an airplane, I'm thinking why you don't all of a sudden, it just kind of clicked to me. And then as I started progressing, and as you said, you start getting around people, like-minded people. You know, the one trend I always hear is you do is, you know, who are you around, they say, if you make the most money, and you're the smartest person of all of your friends, you need to find new friends, because you are you have basically capped yourself out. And I think a lot of people, we want that positive affirmations from the people that our peers are, but the what got you to this point in your life, as you said, is not going to get you to where you want to go. So if I'm relying on people around me to propel me past, they don't know what I'm doing. And I think it's human nature that as much as we want to see people succeed. I think a lot of people deep down, do not want to see you succeed. They they want to affirm their personal beliefs, that by them not taking action, they made the right decision so that if you fail, they can go see Dave, I told you, I told you, you shouldn't do it, I made the right decision.

Dave Dupuis  23:29
And as I can think of people that I know, are hoping that I fail, so they can say exactly the same thing. And it's sad, right, Steve, like you're bang on?

Steve Rozenberg  23:38
It's so sad. And I think that you get around other as we said, right in the intro, when you get around other like-minded, success-driven people, they want you to succeed, they say, hey, how much have you made on this deal? I want to know, you know, for me growing up, you know, I, my parents, they're, you know, middle class, employee workers, you didn't talk about money, it just was not something that you talked about. But when you talk to wealthy people, they want to get into the nitty gritty of numbers and finances. And I think what happens is, people inherently, when you talk about money, or your success, or lack thereof, they feel that that's a that's a report card or a grade on their ego, or their knowledge, or their self worth. So if they don't want to talk about money, because that may show how ignorant they are on money and finances or on success. So they don't want to talk about that. And a lot of times what I've learned is, and this goes back to, to the systems is, we think that we should do everything ourselves. Because if we outsource or leverage, it's to the common person, they think it's showing a weakness. And it's a mindset of saying, I don't know how to do it, so I'm weak. So I'm just going to do it myself, and I'll keep it up here. But what they really don't realize is, they become the most limiting factor of their growth and their financial success because we know, as you said, Dave, you have a great skill set of the behind the scenes, not as much the front. I mean, obviously you do a lot of videos and you guys do a lot of education, but we all have our unique abilities of what we're good at, and things that we're not good at. And I think that the quicker you can humble yourself to say, you know what, that's just not something I'm good at doesn't mean I'm not going to succeed, it just means I'm going to hire the people to succeed at those things. What? How have you guys evolved in that process? ,

Mel Dupuis  25:30
Yeah, I mean, that was around the we tried doing everything ourselves, at first, maybe not the renovation so much, although we did do what we could, but we were not very naturally handy people. But the property management at all, we tried doing everything, even when still working full time, three kids at home, and we had so many, you know, 80 units or so we're still trying to do everything on our own. But we were bottlenecked, like we're here, we could not grow anymore. We were the self limiting, like you said, right? Exactly. So we waited too long, I do not advise I waited too long to reach out to to get extra help. Probably because I'm a perfectionist and wanting everything I wanted to control that control piece where I wanted to know that if if I pick the 10, and I get to pick them, I know that you know, there they should be good. And it kind of played across everything. And then finally got to the point where we couldn't grow anymore. And that's finally when we decided Wait a second. If we want to grow, we have a choice here we can keep doing the same thing. And in a sense, it was almost a job because we can't grow anymore. Or we can get a team, get the right people in the right place to help you know property manager, somebody who takes care of the phone, a financial control, all those different people in place. So that way, the va va virtual assistant that misses Steve here hooked up hooked. It's super cool. That was that was the first step that was number one, like what

Dave Dupuis  26:51
we need a VHD really come on that's like the coarser like what

Mel Dupuis  26:56
I remember taking university course. And they talked about VAs and how they're great. And I thought to myself, again, that self doubt or, you know, I remember thinking, well, there's no way I ever need a VA, I'm not big enough for that. And I remember telling myself that. And then anyhow, interestingly enough, we meet and we talk about VA but but yeah, having everybody in place, just freed our time. So a) we can keep doing what makes us money. But most importantly, we can keep doing what we're good at and what we love doing.

Steve Rozenberg  27:27
Well, I think what happens a lot of times is the evolution of your growth of people's growth is you go from an operator, to CEO, and so leaders, and so the leaders lead, they don't necessarily do and it becomes first maybe it's one 10th of the time, then two tenths, then it slowly starts shifting. And when I explained to people, I said your job right now your role is to grow your business, it's to grow it. And so if you if I hired you to be the CEO of my company, and say we have numbers that we have to hit on the growth, it's not an option. This is what the board of director wants, this is what you are hired to do, this is what you're doing. If you don't do it, I'm gonna have to get rid of you. If you looked at it that way, you would be much more effective on a daily basis. If I said, every day, I want you to turn in what you've done with your KPIs and your metrics, so that I know you're doing your job of growing the company. So if after a week, I got your KPIs, and you said, Dave said, yeah, I was on site, I was dealing with this person, I was dealing with that. And I'm going to say, but that's not your job. Your job is to grow my business, not be in it. You hire people to do that. Because your job is this and you're not doing your job. And when you put it in that perspective, and I tell them I said, if I hired you and you weren't doing your job, what do you think I would do eventually? answers I probably get rid of you I'll fire you. That's the thing that most people miss. Understand, when you own your business, you don't think that you can fire yourself because you own the business. Which means a lot of times you are the bottleneck, you are the reason it's not actually growing because you're too busy driving the car through the rearview mirror, looking at everyone behind you, when your job is to look through the windshield and be the leader so that everybody follows you. And I think that a lot of people misunderstand the definition of a leader to the definition of a manager. So a leader or a manager has people do things because you say I hired you. I'm going to manage what you do and you have these tasks I need you to do. And that's your job. And if you don't do your job, I will fire you. A leader is the person that walks forward and everybody follows them because they're inspiring people with their vision, the goals and they want to do it. So a manager makes them do it. A leader has people wanting to do it? And so a lot of times we think that being a manager is being a leader. And I don't agree, I think that people confuse that. And it's like, and then they they confuse what their job is, well, am I a manager or a leader? Well, which one grows the company, you grow it by inspiring people, like you guys are such visionaries. And you guys are always moving forward, I would say, and I'm not sure how you guys are running the business. But your job is to be the cheerleader of getting people inspired to want to go to work. And look, people don't work for a paycheck, they work for a cause. And they work because they feel they're making a difference. 68% of the people will either leave working for you, or they will leave as renters. Because they just think you don't care, it has nothing to do with the amount of money. It's because you're not inspiring them to want to stay either renting from you, working for you, whatever the case may be. Do you guys in your evolution, if you guys ever thought about that?

Dave Dupuis  31:02
You know, this is so interesting. I love how you set that up. And it gives me ideas for team meetings tomorrow.

Mel Dupuis  31:09
Literally, earlier this morning, maybe two hours ago, I was meeting with, with our administrator, and she said, You know, I was on my way to work. And I heard the Bon Jovi song, I didn't tell you this. It's my life. I said, you know, I'm listening to it. And I just thought to you guys, like you should do a video on it. But it's my life. It's now or never. And that's how you guys are. That's what I think of you. And I thought, Oh, that's so sweet and powerful. But absolutely, I love how you're saying that. And yes, having the difference of Oh, you know, finding that purpose behind it. And for people to really understand it. And I'm thinking right now, as well as even that self reflection weekly because we do KPIs with the team, and everything, you know, where we have, what did we accomplish? You know, what's our future goals, but even we need to start doing it a little bit on ourselves. Because there's certain tasks that Melanie and Dave should not be doing. I mean, self-reflection, yes. There's still a task that we should not be doing. So I'm glad you said that, because I'm thinking, okay, I need to self reflect a little bit more what it is that I'm still doing. That keeps me inside as opposed to working on the growth.

Steve Rozenberg  32:14
Yeah, it's, I think it's one of those things that, you know, it's hard, right? When you own a business, and you're running a business, and it's your baby, and you created it, you want to keep your hand in there. But you sometimes you have to ask yourself, Am I actually messing things up by putting my cape on and jumping in the middle of things as the hero, because one thing you do is, is you teach the employees that basically, if I wait long enough Mel and Dave will jump in, like, I'll just wait. And so basically, you're teaching them, they're not teaching you, you're teaching them that, eventually, you'll be you'll jump back in as the employee. But when you do that, what is the opportunity cost that you're losing as leaders, because you're not growing? And it's, you know, it's not bad employees, it's normally bad leadership. Because good employees aren't hired, they're bred, right? They're made, they're made because of you guys giving them the vision and inspiring them to want to be better. And, and I'm sure you guys do a great job of that. But, you know, like, I would ask people as you grow, you realize, this has little less and less to do when you're building wealth, like you guys are doing, and has less and less to do with four walls and a roof. Right now you guys are dealing with all these other things that really, it has nothing to do with that 18 plex, right? You Now you could probably if that 18 Plex came on the market and the numbers were right, you'd probably get it, bring it into the fold and just keep on working. So what you realize is it's not the four walls and the roof. It's a people business, and its systems and its policies and procedures and its structure. And your job as you guys keep getting up to the top of that Pinnacle, is to be that leader, to keep the machine moving. And it's very hard to do that unless you are intentionally making that shift, that's what I have seen. And I guess my question to you guys is, have you noticed yourselves doing that metamorphosed from worrying about the four walls and a roof? And what's this and what's that to now thinking more on the ownership side?

Dave Dupuis  34:17
Yes, and it's the more I started to notice that is because before like Mel I used to manage everything is now I don't need Before he should know that's unit number. Now I'm saying to the team alright guys. You know, what tenant is this for? For what place or when people see me out and about. They'll say oh, what places you have for rent? I have no idea. Like I end up there. They kind of look at me and I'm like, I'm sorry. I'm so far removed from it. Yeah, call the team, go on the website. I have no idea. They just I know my delinquency list because I get my reports but that type of thing. So yes, I have noticed that more and more Being hands off with that. But I do still catch myself. See now that you're saying that I'm thinking if I was to hire Dave as a CEO and the Board of Directors, I'm thinking of it yesterday, the day before I went to an apartment, to try and help the team out and why the board would say die day why you do that? Get get back in the office and find out some more buildings and find out some more lenders. So I, I like to say like, you just changed my mindset. And tomorrow. Anyway, I've got an idea for tomorrow, but I would be mad at myself, I'd be like, what are you doing?

Steve Rozenberg  35:29
I think what happens a lot of times is, you know, especially with with you, you and Mel right, you guys are this dynamic duo, and you're cheering each other on, right? And you're you're giving the high fives and you're trying to get people together. But, you know, I heard a saying one time the fish stinks from the head down, meaning if you're not holding each other accountable, to get your stuff done, how do you hold your team accountable, they're gonna go, Well, you guys don't do it. Or maybe you guys show up late, or you guys have bad days or this or that. So it's one of those things, what you do resonates out if you're having a bad day, you might not think it, but everybody in the office knows you're having a bad day, because it resonates from the top down. And you have to put on that suit of armor every day that you get up. And you are Dave, the CEO and Mel, the owner of the business, you guys are the ones and you got to put that suit on. And you've got to do the dance, like you have to be that person you have to be on. Because when you're not, it's showing a chink in the armor. And it starts giving doubt. And you know what, what happens a lot of times is when when employees stop, start losing faith, what happens a lot of times is, normally they've quit about three months before you either notice it and they quit on their own, or you have to fire them because of so many mistakes. But they don't just wake up one day and say, yeah, I think I'm going to quit today, I think I'm out of here. It's something that's been brewing and they've been setting it up or whatever. And you either know about it and chose to ignore it. Or you're so bad at tracking what they do. And you're not even paying attention to it. And so it's it's an interesting thing that now all of a sudden, you're like, Man, this was just houses. Now I'm dealing with KPIs and p&l statements and forecasting, and this and that. But that's, that's the natural evolution of the business. Because, you know, the definition of a business is a commercial, profitable enterprise that runs without you. So if Dave or Mel need to jump in and go and do these things, then you still have a job. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But you can't call it a business, until you can say, you know what, we can step away for six months, we can go down to the Caribbean, we can enjoy our time, and it's going to keep on keeping on maybe not as fast but it's not going to implode. Yeah. And that's how you know that you've built a business structure that that's operating. And it's not easy. It's tough, you know, and again, I just know that when, when we were building our business, and we brought in a business partner, that was one of the first things he said Is he said, So? Who do you guys turn your to do listen to every day? And we're like we don't? He said, Why? He said, The Board of Directors wants to see what you're doing. And we're like, oh, okay, now we were still the board. But you change hats right? Now, do you guys do you guys ever do like Board of Director meetings where it's like quarterly where you guys sit down, go over the minutes, the p&l, all that stuff? away from the house away from everyone else? Do you guys ever do that?

Dave Dupuis  38:32
Not like, no, not the way you're saying it. Steve. I love that. You're blowing my mind right now the way to look at it put on a different hat. Every time we chatted, you blew my mind.

Steve Rozenberg  38:41
Yeah, I would you know, one of the things that we used to do, and maybe you want to do this is, you know, my business partner myself, our spouses weren't in the business. So every quarter, we would do a board of directors meeting where we would review last quarters numbers. What are the goals? What are the goals for the year? What were the goals for the 90 days? Did we hit the goal? If we didn't, why not? Then we went over financials? Are we on track for the yearly goals for the forecast. So we actually had to explain it to each other, we wouldn't do it at our houses, we would go somewhere, because we wanted it to be a business model. And we want it to be the business mindset. And if sometimes this is actually when you have other people that are not invested in your business or whatever, but they're on the board. And that's why a lot of times you have Board of Directors, you have people that can give you input because they're from the outside looking in from a business perspective. And there's like I've had people ask me to be on their board, they say, I just want you in there to ask questions. We want you to hold us accountable. So that, you know they go well. Shit. We got a meeting with Steve and this other person. We got a board of directors meeting. We got to have our stuff together because it's going to be like okay, present. Tell me what you did. Right? It's not I don't want to hear this. I don't want to hear that. I want to hear what did Dave the CEO do? And are you doing your job because if not, then we have to have another discussion. And so it's just something If you guys have ever thought of doing that, it may be something you guys look at doing and it, it starts, it starts getting you to think on that level of Okay, this is a business, I have a board I've got to answer to, you know, I've got to prepare the minutes. I've got to have the p&l statements. It's like, it's not just yeah, high five, we did good. Now, it's like Mel is going, Hey, you got to get your shit together, because we got a meeting next week, and we got to present. And it just changes, you know?

Dave Dupuis  40:26
Yeah. And I'm just thinking, Steve, as you're talking about that, like our new controller. Anyway, we're gonna start doing this. You've inspired me to do this, but I'm thinking even bigger picture how am I supposed to have KPIs and, and a role like, let's say if I do want to go to the Caribbean's and I wanted to have more often than once a year, what if I want to have someone sitting in Dave spot or someone sitting in Mel spot? Right, we should obviously start doing that while we're here. So that that way, when we replace ourselves, we'll know exactly what to look for. Because we'll be sitting there asking those questions. I love that, Steve, I absolutely love that.

Steve Rozenberg  40:56
Yeah, I mean, you guys for what you do for each of you, Mel should have a job role, a job duty, a position contract, like she's an employee of the business, right? I mean, even if she's a shareholder, whatever, you should have yours too. It should be, here's my job description, here's my roles, here's my KPIs. And you guys should be holding each other accountable once a week, or whatever it is, you turn your KPIs into each other. And it's a non negotiable. Okay, so that's one of those things that you, that's when you really start getting into that groove of being that mastery of running the business through synergy. And through team because all of a sudden, and what I would suggest, and this is just me, is you share these KPIs with the whole company, so that it's transparent. So it's like, Look, we're just like you guys, we have to be accountable too, we don't live in a glass house, like we you see everything that we're doing so you know, where the company is going, you know, what the goals are, I don't know, if you get people revenue, shares or percentages, whatever. But all of a sudden, they feel like they're part of it. Because now they're like, okay, they're doing it too. Like they're out there grinding, they're doing something different. But they're doing their part to grow the company. And that's where it's like, okay, you know, and again, depends on where you're going. I know you guys have huge goals, and you guys are knocking them out. But I think what will happen over time, is the business will outgrow you. And me and my business partner, we're building our business, that that was a challenge for us, like we had to keep growing. Because, you know, our business coach told us, our mentor, he said, Listen, guys, he said, to grow a $5 million business. He said, pretty much anybody can do that with enough hard work and focus and stuff. But he said, You are not by chance, going to go from 5 million to a 10 million to a $15 billion company by accident. He said that is going to be through intention and focus. And he said, the next thing I'll tell you is he said, when you go from 5 million to 10 million, he said, everything that you have done up to that point will break, your systems will break, your employees will break, everything will break in front of you that your job as leaders is actually to rebuild this as quickly as you can for the team, find the breaks, fix them, find the breaks, fix them, rebuild them buy new systems, because when you have that much flow of business, like your say your vacant units, right? It's like okay, well, we were getting 100 calls a month now we're getting 2000 calls a month, what phone system? Do we have to take all those calls? And who's answering those calls? So it's like you have you have problems that you didn't think of that what happened now it's like, we used to have 20 maintenance tickets a month now we have 300. Okay, who handles that? And so you have a different you have a different level of different set of problems. But just going back to what you're saying, if if you don't know what you're doing right now, and you can't track it, you definitely can't leverage it, outsource it or systematize it to someone else if you can't explain it. Yeah, yeah, no, that's, that's kind of turned into a coaching session, I guess, but didn't

Dave Dupuis  43:57
You have an audience for it. So it's perfect. I love it. We can all learn That's awesome. No, you blew my mind. I know. You're changing my thought process on some stuff.

Mel Dupuis  44:05
No, that's, that's fantastic. And we've certainly, you're bang on, I can think of so many things, you know, even throughout the growth that like pulling systems like before, we could just go on our cell phone, it was good enough. And Austin's like, Hey, wait a second, like we need to everybody needs the natural phone and, you know, pensions and all it sounds

simple, but you still have to implement it, think about it and

having it to having it and the

Steve Rozenberg  44:29
And then the I mean, you go into software, then you go into storage of all the data, then you got to say, okay, is this encrypted? Am I protecting? I've got people's social security number, you know, I've got their information, how am I protecting that information? Am I setting myself up for liability? If somebody breaks into my system, and they get there and you know, it's like, all of a sudden you've got all these challenges. You're like, man, we never really thought about that before. It's you know, we used to think about that because we had to, you know, we were managing 1000 properties. You got a lot of vital information from people, social Security Numbers, bank account information, we had to make sure we protected all of that how I'd be encrypted, you know? And then What software do we have for viruses and just things you don't even think about? You're like, this is not has nothing to do with owning a rental property. You know?

Dave Dupuis  45:15
It's funny you say that because right now we're getting new servers and encrypted internet guy is talking to me. And I'm like, I don't understand what you're saying. Just make it safe. But it's funny that you're saying this, because we're going through this. And that's what we thought is what if someone Brandon here in Canada, it's a social insurance number, same different socials? Like, what if someone steals the sins? What if they steal their credit there? Sometimes we have their driver's license, their credit card number, and I'm like Dave's getting lawsuits. You know. So it's funny that you say that, because we're going through that right now with servers and data and blah, blah, blah, which I just want to buy buildings.

Mel Dupuis  45:50
What's interesting as well, and it, you know, learning from past mistakes and whatnot, if at this time, we were able to somewhat project the upcoming changes, we're closing on a lot of deals this month. You know, our portfolio is growing, it's going to over a couple weeks, 70 extra doors. That's a lot of doors. So we had meetings, we kind of backtrack. Okay, what do we need other time? Yeah, I was being reactive. This time. We're being proactive. All right, let's have a meeting. Let's make some lists. What do we need? What do we need for team members? What do we need for software changes? What needs server maintenance tickets?

Steve Rozenberg  46:20
Big one, right?

Mel Dupuis  46:22
All those things. So that way, again, I'm not saying there won't be any surprises, of course, once we do, but at least, between on them, we have three weeks to make sure you know, things are happening. And even before that, when we knew that they were likely to close, it's having those conversations, building our team, making sure that we have everybody in place. So that way, it's not like oh, my gosh, now what and being completely reactive as opposed to proactive.

Steve Rozenberg  46:44
And one of the things like I remember when you know, we were challenged, as you grow, you may say, okay, up to, for every 50 new doors that we get, we have to hire this person. So you have to figure out what that formula is because you say, okay, or let's just say, yeah, let's say every time you buy 50 properties, you have to hire an employee. So that means that at maybe 35 properties, you got to start looking, you got to find someone to buy 40 properties, you got to train them by 45, so that they're on board at 50. And then what does that do to your p&l? So we would have to forecast out, like, we knew that every hundred and 75 doors that we brought on, we had to start adding certain staff members, we knew maintenance was always first, then we had to have a system. So we had to project that out. So when we would forecast out our growth, because it's got to be intentional. When we forecast our yearly growth, we had to know where our triggers were, that we had to start interviewing. And then when we have to hire them by and what what the number of what that you know, because all of a sudden, once you hire that person, now you're taking a hit on your p&l statement for the business. So now you're gonna say, okay, we're gonna take a hit, but by the forecast is, by this time, we should be back up. But by this time, we got to hire another person. So it's, you know, but as long as and so it would get very frustrating, because all of a sudden, you're making a lot of money in the business, and then you got to hire an employee. And what we learned was from our business coaches, the one question he always asked us is, is this part of the plan? And we're always going according to the plan to our goal. And so the answer was, yes. He says, if it's part of the plan, then careful the story you tell yourself, because you're telling yourself a story. Normally, it's self limiting belief. It's always worst case, because, you know, whenever we think of something that's not good, our brain always goes to worst case scenario. It always does, right, because our brains are caught, taught to protect ourselves. So the way it protects ourselves is it tells us what the worst thing could happen. And that's what we focus in dwell on. And when you focus and dwell on something, that's what happens, because that's what we're focused on, right. And so we had to learn to change the stories that we told ourselves, and the thought process to say, this is part of the plan. Don't get emotional at the sidetracking have a couple of months, we're moving towards something. And I remember we'd have like, our expenses were maybe you know, for our business to, let's say, we're 80,000 a month and my business partner would say, Man, that we got a lot of money going out, and our business coach would say, I hope it's a million soon. I hope you guys have a million a month, because that just means your business is growing that fast, that you're doing something right as long as you're still going according to your plan. And so something that really I don't know if that helps you guys, but that's something that resonated with us to always ask that question. Is this part of the plan or is it not? And that helped us so as we kind of finish up here, tell me what what is the future for you guys? Tell me what what is 2020 and 2021 look like?

Mel Dupuis  49:40
Yes, well, we love real estate we're continuing to grow so we have some other deals as well under contract. We also mentor people across North America. So and we love that, it's our passion. And and so continue to you know, to help other realtors or other real estate investors get started as well with their investing journey.

Steve Rozenberg  50:02
That's, that's awesome. That's awesome. Do you think the education will overtake the assets? Or are they in tandem or what? What's the goal?

Dave Dupuis  50:12
They are in tandem, um, the love is there for both. Like it's so fun to help people starting out or in their roadblocks. Like it's almost rejuvenating, right helping them and then appreciable like you when you help us. I'm sure it feels good, right? Like, I mean, it's so cool to help people and networking and building that. So that feels really good to be honest. And then also buying buildings is still our love as well. Like, we'd love closing buildings and knowing we're giving to our kids. So as long as the the love and the income and the assets keep going. I'm sure they'll both be neck and neck, they might have their ties, but probably the assets will always supersede it.

Steve Rozenberg  50:50
But yeah, the assets are nice, because they they keep paying no matter what and you're building, you're building generational wealth with the assets, as opposed to you know, you may be financially doing good with the other thing, but it's not necessarily generational in it. And it requires Mel and Dave to be present to get the people as opposed to a business model that Mel and Dave can be in the Caribbean enjoying a year vacation, and not have to coach anyone. So there's there's that, you know.

Mel Dupuis  51:15
We love that they're intertwined as well, right? Because continuing to work with folio, we're only able to continue to provide advice and just from you know, when it was COVID, for example, or when there's changes with funding or whatever it is, because we're still hands on with investing, we're able to coach them accordingly. Because we're continuing to go through those boots on the ground, and we're doing it ourselves.

Steve Rozenberg  51:37
Yeah, absolutely. Well, guys, I as always, man, I always so thoroughly enjoy hanging out and chatting with you guys. And you guys, you guys are an inspiration. You guys are all over social media and I really admire what you're doing, you guys should be very proud of what you what you've accomplished, because you definitely are an inspiration out there. And I hope you guys keep doing this. And I hope you keep inspiring people because I'm you know, I've had some success in my life. But I'm also inspired by you, you both, because I think what you're doing is helping people to me is the true way of giving back and I know you you really do help a lot of people and I don't know if you hear it a lot, but you definitely are making a difference out there. And so to me, I commend you guys for doing that. And it's not appreciated once or twice. You guys are out there all the time consistently out there doing stuff. So I think it's, you know, noted and commended. So you know, congratulations on that. Congratulations on all of your success and future endeavors. I'm sure you guys are going to be on the radar even more than you've been so far. If somebody wants to find you guys online social media, how do they find you?

Mel Dupuis  52:45
Yes. So we're all over Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and it's always Investor Mel Dave, social, they'll be able to find us. Yes, Investor Mel Dave.

Steve Rozenberg  52:55
Great. Great. Well, guys, thank you so much for coming on the show. For those of you that are interested in property management here in the US, Mynd Property Management, we are managing properties in 19 investable markets, if you are looking to be an investor, and you want to know either what to do or transfer your properties or just have a conversation, you can go to our website at There you got a whole list of things that you can look at and different markets, different strategies, find the latest COVID information and what laws have changed because these are ever changing laws, as we stated earlier. So please go to our website. Take a look. We'd love to help you out. On behalf of Mel and Dave, myself and Mynd Property Management. Thank you for watching and we will catch you guys next time on the Myndful Investor.

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Meet Mel and Dave

Real Estate investors, bestselling authors, speakers & mentors Mélanie and Dave Dupuis own and manage over 100 apartments, which include commercial spaces, homes, and 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments. They are committed to providing attractive, well-kept apartments with a comfortable and enjoyable living environment. Residents feel safe knowing that the properties are legal with the City of North Bay, fire retrofit, smoke-free and well-maintained.

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