Follow me:

Cole Ruud-Johnson & Elliot Smith – Part 2 | Building Your Business and Successful Partnerships

Play episode
Hosted by
Mike Ayala

On this episode of Investing for Freedom, Mike continues his discussion with Cole and Elliot. This time, the guys talk about their current work, describe their own businesses, and discuss a joint venture that they’re working on at the moment.

“You can’t go start a McDonald’s if you don’t even know how to turn on a grill.  You have to go out there and just do it. I’m a ready, fire, aim kind of guy. Just go figure it out, stop thinking about it. ”


0:00 – Intro
1:18 – We don’t consciously think about the pain and energy it takes to change who you are as a person
5:07 – Cole talks about how you become the 5 people who you spend the most time with and he tells his story of how he got to where he needed to be
7:01 – Elliot talks about some feedback his friend gave him about talking to people
11:31 – Mike explains the questions he regularly asks on the podcast and asks what do you want and why do you want it?
12:36 – Elliot says that when he dies he wants people to say he was a great father, a great friend and a great husband
17:49 – Cole explains his real estate operation
20:05 – Elliot explains his real estate business
25:05 – Cole and Elliot talk about their joint business, a call center, and explain their roles
32:41 – Cole and Elliot talk about how each of them have added value to the company, and hiring other team members
37:07 – Elliot shares the advice he finds himself sharing the most
38:07 – Cole gives his advice he finds himself sharing the most
41:26 – Always say yes to good opportunities


The Real Dealz Podcast:
Call Magic Leads:
Hello Pad:


Mike Ayala: Thank you for joining me on the Investing for Freedom podcast. If you’re listening to this episode and you haven’t listened to the previous one, you’re going to want to go backwards. This is part two of a two-part episode with Elliot Smith and Cole Rudd-Johnson. And it was just such a great conversation. And, you know, having the two guys in the studio it went a little longer than what we had intended, but it was just such a great conversation. There was just really nothing to cut out. So, like I said, if you’re listening to this, go back and listen to the previous episode. If you’ve already listened to that, then carry on. I think you’re really going to enjoy this.

Mike Ayala: I don’t want to get woo-woo, but let’s get a little woo-woo.

Elliot Smith: Let’s hold hands while we do it. Oh wait, COVID.

Mike Ayala: Just back to the past, present and future. I love what you said about, you know, most people don’t want to deal with the excruciating pain, the work that they’re going to have to put in. And we think about that when it comes to, you know, physical fitness or eating properly or not drinking and stuff like that, like we get what that’s going to take, but I don’t think we consciously sit back and think about the amount of pain and energy that it’s going to take to change who we are. I say this all the time, you know, there’s that quote. And people quoted all the time, but you know, Jim Rohn said, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. But the question that I’m always asking is, because everybody’s always like, I need to find four new people, five new people. Well, who do I have to become? This is the question that I’m always asking, who do I have to become in order for those five new people to let me in their circle. And that’s that excruciating pain that you’re talking about. That’s the best way that I can put it into words, because everybody’s looking for five new people, but I’ll tell you what, if you’re the sluggish ass, lazy, if you’re not going to change who you are, those five people are not going to let you in their circle. And I think what people automatically, well, if they don’t accept me for who I am and blah, you know, do you want to grow or not? And that’s the excruciating part of that. But past, present and future, here’s the problem with it. We have to look forward and really think about who we want to become, which is a challenge in itself because we have to look in the mirror and look at all of our current bullshit, which you guys are really good at. Just talking with you and seeing the stuff that you’ve overcome. You’re good at looking at your, but that’s where it gets painful for people. They don’t want to look forward and really think about what they have to change in their life in order to get there. And then we bring it into the present, that’s stuff that we have to work on now, because whatever it is that we see, we have to change in order to become somebody different. Now we have to live in the present and actually work on that. And that’s where the hard work happens, but to take it a step further. And this is where I said about getting woo woo. My wife has taught me so much by some of the people that, we did this thing called a soundbath like two weeks ago. We always have family day on Sundays. And so, this lady comes in and she does the sound bath, which works on your chakras and the sound bowls and stuff. They play different. She hears different sound waves if you’re a certain chakra is, are locked up, right? And I’m just sitting here thinking this is weird. But when I look into her a little bit, she’s an executive leadership coach that uses sound bowls and to figure out where, you know, like, I’m not an expert at this, but if your throat chakra is plugged, you’re not speaking your truth. And so, you’ve got to really work on that. And so, this is where the past comes into it. If you don’t know, if we don’t really, we spend a lot of time in the past in a negative way, but there’s so much trauma and issues and things that have created who we are today. Like, you know, I’ve shared this story so many times my dad was an alcoholic. He was abusive. What I didn’t realize for a lot of years. And this is why I joined GoBundance. I couldn’t have healthy male relationships, which is really weird because the thing that I was longing for and needed in my life, I didn’t have, because I was protecting myself. And so then GoBundance found me and I’ve got so many amazing male relationships now, but I had to go into that deep pain in the past to figure out what was holding me back to do the present work in order to get to where I wanted to go.

Cole Johnson: Scar tissue. It’s like that buildup over time. If you have a traumatic injury, the scar tissue builds up. Anytime you kind of use that area of your body, you feel it. And I think I mean, it’s a constant carving as like a sculpture you’re constantly carving of your future self. And it’s not, I think every entrepreneur, most people who are kind of type A go getter, they’re dealing with that constantly. And I think that’s why the dark side of it, the depression, the anxiety, like most entrepreneurs deal with that at some time in their life too. And I want to hit on something you actually just talked about, which was the five people in your life. Like when I was 19 just getting the business, that’s what I went through. I didn’t go to, if I want to be a successful. I wanted, it was like four or five what I considered at the time, like godfathers of Seattle real estate, like we’ve seen them on Instagram, those guys. And like, how do I get around those guys? Because they’re going to, you know, take my, it’s going to be exponential if I can get around this guys in their circle. And it wasn’t by Facebook messaging and asking them for coffee. I started doing stuff for free for them, building some of their systems or putting myself in a position and changing myself if they want me in their circle. And it happened like now I stay at their homes when I’m traveling or I’m using their cars when I’m in town. And so that’s a huge thing for anyone listening to this, to starting out in whatever industry you’re in, or you’re trying to break into. Find the people that are in it, the five people you’re talking about and make yourself a service of value. And don’t look at any monetary gain from that for years, just be of service and get around those people. And it’s going to take you to it.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. And you wouldn’t say this, but what you actually just hearing a little bit about what I know about you, you didn’t buy them a $3 cup of coffee. You provided $20,000 of value for them.

Cole Johnson: Yeah. Cause he called me when I was doing, sometimes he will be like, what are you doing like, trust me, cause I’m a relationship guy. Like as much as I’m introverted and like my alone time too, but I love people and relationships.

Mike Ayala: Providing value.

Elliot Smith: And one thing going back to the point, it triggered a thought about the five people is, and if you’re five people aren’t calling you out on your bullshit, you’re in the wrong group. So, I had a good buddy from, that was down and he introduced me to this guy down here last week and we went and had dinner and we get in the car and my buddy says, can I give you some feedback? And I’m like, no. But just on how that conversation went? I’m like, no, I think it went fine. You know, I’m sitting there and finally I’m like, all right, what’s the feedback. He’s like, you don’t have to like brag about yourself or like you were there, like just know that you were there with my buddy. And that meant that you’re good enough. You don’t have to tell them that you’re good enough to be there. And I started thinking about that and we had more of a conversation about it. Just the way that things were set up a little bit. It was hard for me to get in the conversation, but it still was the point of why do I do that? You know what I mean? And it was like, what friend’s going to get in the car immediately and tell you, you came off really namedrop, you’re trying to brag or whatever. Like people aren’t going to take that, you know, most people don’t take that. They’re going to be like, fuck You. You know, you’re the problem, not me. And I sat there, and we talked about it and I thought about it a lot that night. And I’ve been thinking about it ever since. And I’m like, that’s true friendship. You know, that’s what a marriage should be. That’s what a partnership should be. And that’s true friendship. And those are the guys you need to be around. Because if you’re not, they’re not challenging you to grow and be better in a respectful way. Then you need find new friends.

Cole Johnson: There are some celebrity that I heard talk about on a podcast, like how more successful you get, everyone becomes like a yes man around you. So, you have no one checking you, you know, giving you feedback. So, I think that’s huge as you level of whatever you’re doing, that you get people around you who will say something to you and doing something wrong. So, it’s a huge point.

Elliot Smith: My business partner, Corey. And he’s like 55, I’m the same age as his kid kids. And he calls me out on shit all the time. Like, he’s like a second dad to me, he calls me out and, like he’ll yell at me and be like, Elliot, what were you doing? He caught me out. And it’s just like, yeah, first you take it back. But then it’s like, thank you.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. You know, I love what you, this has just opened up so many great conversations, but you know, people don’t want to put in the work. They’re scared of that pain in the, but if you think about that and you just said it, like, whether it’s relationships, whether it’s marriage, whether it’s anything good in life, is going to be painful. It’s going to be excruciating. People just don’t want to put in that time. And I think back when I was younger, I had, when I was listening to you too, like I was like, physically, I used to have growth pains. Did you guys ever have growth pains?

Cole Johnson: Yeah. In the knees and stuff?

Mike Ayala: Oh man. That was like so painful in my bones. I couldn’t sleep at night and it’s cause you’re physically growing. And why do we think it’s going to be any different emotionally, mentally, in our skillsets. But I guess the reason why I’m saying all that, and I think Cole, the way you said it was just brilliant. How much more painful is it going to be to stay where you’re at? You know, so many people, there’s entire sings built around it. The grass is always greener on the other side. Well, the grass isn’t greener, they’re just taking more care of it. They’re working harder. Like that’s, these stupid sayings are just, it all comes back to what you said. Cole and it’s so brilliant, but so many people are unhappy. And this goes back to us talking about being numb earlier. And you know, most people don’t want to live in the present because they’re stuck in the past. And I don’t want to stay where I’m at. That’s why I love having conversations with guys like you and hearing your story, which we haven’t even got to the fourth question yet. But I don’t want to stay where I’m at. And I don’t think anybody does. People are hurting. They’re full of pain and yeah, they’re scared of the amount of work it’s going to take to get there. But can you imagine being five years down the road and being in the same boat you’re at today? Well, if you’re listening and you’re not willing to do what Cole’s talking about and put in the work, you’re going to be in a lot of pain five years from now, financial, mental, physical, emotional.

Cole Johnson: I think deep down at some level, everyone wants to know what their potential is as a human being. At any time, we’re like drifting from that, we start to feel it. Like, I think everyone kind of, at least everyone I’ve met has an internal beacon of like, I want to figure out what I can do, like maximize who I am as a person. And when we drift from that is when the anxiety, I mean, it comes with the territory no matter what, but I think that’s when it gets really bad. And we don’t feel like the story we’re telling ourselves is leading to the greatest version of who we can be. So, for me, when I’m drifting from that, and I’m like, I don’t know, I’m not focused on my purpose, maximizing who I am as a person is when I start to feel numb or need to numb out more.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. And we’re obviously sitting at a table and having a conversation with some hard charging, successful business investing type guys. But the thing that I constantly talking about investing for freedom, and it’s super simple, what do you really want? Why do you want it? Those are the first two things. And I know that sounds so simple, but the reality is a number three is what are you going to do to get it? Measure results and adjust. But we’re talking, there’s a lot of people listening that are not like business owners and maybe they don’t want to own a business and that’s okay. What do you want? What do you really want? And why do you want it? And what are you going to do to get it? You know, maybe it’s just another, maybe you want to take your kids to Disneyland twice a year, instead of once. Maybe you want to take your kids to Disneyland every three years. I don’t care what it is. What kind of work are you going to put in? What’s that going to take? So again, I just want to make sure, cause you know, we’re all hard chargers and we’re having this conversation about business, but the reality is, I don’t care what personality type you are there. You want to reach that full potential that Cole’s talking about. And if that’s a trip to Disneyland for you, awesome.

Elliot Smith: Yeah, exactly. And it’s not like, yeah, no, this is a real estate show kind of, but like you said, it’s, you know, I want to spend more time with my kid or I want to make better connection with my wife or I want to be a better grandson. I want to be whatever it is. You know, I always tell people when I die, I want to be able to stand up and say, I was a great husband. I was a great father. And I was a great friend. None of those things have anything to do with money. And everybody thinks money solves all the problems. And I don’t care if there’s 5 people there or 5,000 people there it’s who matters. And so what I’m doing right now that matters, I’m looking at my life is how do I protect my family and my son in the best way I know, how, how do I enjoy life? Like we’re down in Arizona, we were coming for a week and we’re like, we’re not going back to Washington. It’s locked down. So, we extended it for another two weeks, you know, because we could. And that makes me feel good. I remember telling my wife, one of my main goals in life was, I want to be able to roll over and look at my wife. And I want to say, let’s go to Hawaii tomorrow. And I want to have that freedom. You know, it was just, that was thee goal. Two years ago, or when Monte was six weeks old, we were having a huge snowstorm as to Tri-Cities. I looked at my wife and I said, I’m not staying here for this. Let’s go to Arizona. Booked, the flight went to Arizona. Two days later, we’re gone. Worst snowstorm Tri-Cities ever had. It was still on the ground. We extended the trip and it’s like, that’s freedom. And that doesn’t cost that much money. You don’t have to stay at the four seasons, right? It’s just like, how can you do those things, I can work from here. I can have great partners, great people around your life. So, it’s not about money. It’s investing for freedom. And what does that, are you investing in your family? Are you investing in your life? That’s the really thing. It’s not just about money.

Mike Ayala: And the how is not, I think we get stuck, again there’s process all this stuff that we’re trained, you know, through school and college and everything’s processed, driven. And so, I think people stop dreaming about what Elliott’s talking about, because they don’t know the how. So, my question is, what do you really want? Why do you want it? Then we’ll start talking about what are you going to do to get it measure results and adjust. And so many people are like, this is my goal. I can’t adjust because COVID is going to happen, because business partners are going to die because whatever, adjust. But I don’t start with what are you going to do to get it? And that’s the thing. I think so many people, they want to dream. They want to start having a progressive life, but they don’t know how.

Cole Johnson: Yeah. I think looking at like the how, looking back on everything where I’m at and life has happened. You can’t plan it out. You cannot sit down and plan it out.

Elliot Smith: I’ll do free stuff. I am going to meet Mike Ayala. Cause I’m going to do free stuff for him. And then you know..

Cole Johnson: I go to a cabin like COVID hit, I wouldn’t met Elliot if COVID never happened. COVID hit, I’m at a cabin. My family’s cabin, my buddy rents another cabin. Elliot comes for a day. We meet like, you can’t plan it. That’s the fun part about life. You don’t want to know the how. I don’t like, you don’t want to know how you die. You don’t want to, like, you just don’t want to know how. And like in Seattle, he wears a, he makes clothing, and his shirt says, it’s Phukhau, it’s P H U K H A U at this hole. He says, it’s some Vietnamese proper, which it’s not an actual thing. But it’s a joke that we have, but he wears, I have two of those shirts. Cause it’s such a, that’s the fun part I think about building stuff is like, he says, like throw the hat over the wall, like commit, like decide, be intentional about what you want and then just enjoy the process of the unfolding of it. So, I think that’s a huge thing. I think the how is a defense mechanism to get people, you know, you feel so comfortable where you are with your current life, that that’s kind of the thing you can use as a buffer to why you’re not doing what you really want to do.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. You know, it’s so interesting. And I agree with you a hundred percent. We’ve become so programmed in our brains that we, we are no longer simple. And so, we think that simple things are weird. I’m listening to you. And I’m just hearing Napoleon Hill, and he said, you know, when one desires the thing, that thing presents itself, well, that’s too simple, right? Like that’s just too simple. No, that’s like, that’s how it happens. Like once you start really thinking, you can’t make that up is what I was really. You just got to roll with it, man. And, but it’s super important. By the way, life will bring you bad stuff too, if you’re focused on that. And this is where, it’s so simple that people think, Oh, it can’t be that simple. It is that simple. What do you really want? Why do you want it? You start navigating through life. You’re looking for certain things. They’re going to find you.

Elliot Smith: Yeah. It’s crazy too. You hear that kind of stuff from 60, 70, 80-year old’s that have, at the end of that process, you don’t hear from 22-year old’s. And that’s the thing that I’ve latched on to Cole and like, I’ll do anything. It’s you listen to them talk. And it just speaks volumes to not only him, but his parents and his upbringing, his family. It’s just like, that’s fucking wisdom from a 22-year-old kid. Didn’t graduate from college, you know, nothing special, his parents, normal people. That’s wisdom that 70, 80, 90-year old’s haven’t figured out.

Mike Ayala: That’s cool. So, I’m not going to ask you guys the fourth question, right now we’re going to end with it. So, let’s pull this together. So, these guys are both successful on their own. Cole’s actually ahead of both of us because of his age, he’s winning, he’s winning on the scoreboard. Not that we’re keeping score, but so tell me again, well, the thing that, I mean, you guys are dynamic, and you’ve got a great business. So, tell me about the business.

Elliot Smith: Well, we both have separate businesses and then we have one together. So, do you want us to go over our separate businesses?

Mike Ayala: Just tell me whatever you want.

Cole Johnson: So, I’ve a real estate operation and we’ve been all over the country, but right now we’re focused on the main four counties in Washington. And I have a team and an office, so it’s pretty standard now, we have marketing going out, leads coming in, guys in the phone and the Salesforce locking up properties. We don’t go to properties before we get them signed. It’s kind of one nuance I think we have a lot of businesses don’t, as we’re not, we’re able to get through a lot more. So, we have a lot more volume because we’re not walking, you know, going and walking every single deal, which there’s no right or wrong way to do it. It’s what we do. And we’re starting to flip more. We’re still primarily wholesale, starting to do a couple of flips and partners from guys and some stuff. So, that’s my main, my main business.

Mike Ayala: And you’re 22?

Cole Johnson: I am 22.

Mike Ayala: And you’re going to make how much this year? Can we talk about that?

Cole Johnson: Yeah. I mean, I would probably take home personally around $500,000 and then my company will be, my wholesale company, like 1.2 probably.

Elliot Smith: Yeah. Tell them about that Jimmy deal.

Cole Johnson: So, yeah, I did $175,000 wholesale deal this year and it is just a single-family home, the guy was a builder, and we went to that one in person. Cause the guy was like, yeah, give me 450. And then it is like 900. So, it was like, we’re going to go to that one. And he’s a builder. He was like, yeah, I love when young guys make money. So, it’s one of those things that I’ve always wanted that big deal. Again, I didn’t ask how it was going to happen. I always wanted that massive deal, and it came.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. I love what you just said too. And I was having this conversation with Gabriel Hamill. I don’t know if you guys know him, but I think there’s this limiting. We have this limiting belief in life too, that people don’t want us to do well. And that guy obviously wants to see you do well.

Cole Johnson: I think when you’re working on yourself, like you’re actually putting in work, people want to see you do well. When you’re asking for handouts and favors, but they don’t see you working. I found as long as I’m working and being productive and putting myself out there and actually contributing to society, everyone I’ve met wants me to do well. Friends, obviously a couple friends, family, people that I meet for the most part, they can feel that energy and they’re like, I want that kid to do well.

Mike Ayala: That’s so good, man. That’s awesome.

Elliot Smith: Yeah. So, I run a real estate business, investment business. Kind of, it was primarily a fix and flip business for the last up until this year, the last five years. We are you doing about 20, 25 flips a year. We kind of did a lifestyle business. My wife and I traveled a lot, played a lot of golf, 15 to 20 hours a week clipping good six figures. I’m buying a few rentals here and there, this year kind of threw it all in the air a little bit. I was actually switching our company over to a development going after more development opportunities. And then COVID happened and we kind of shut the marketing down a little bit. We still bought some flips, but then I saw that when the fed started printing cash, I saw the writing on the wall and we’re like, we need to ramp up our rentals. So, this year we’ve bought two duplexes, a single family, a 24 unit. And we’re under contract in an eight unit right now. And so, I also have some land under contract and just looking at opportunity right now. And then we started the call center, but yeah, really just primarily a fix and flip kind of business. But now it’s kind of, I think it’s going to kind of shift a little bit. The one thing my wife and I did really well this year is we were always kind of like, once we almost got divorced, we then found out we needed to stay in our lanes quite a bit. Cause we’re opposite as opposite can be. But this year we have drawn the lines even more crazy. So, I do nothing with rentals anymore. I went, got a drug dealer out of the property. Like, I’ll do some of that stuff, but I do nothing with rentals. I don’t know where we’re at. I don’t know. I know numbers wise; my wife handles everything. She handles all the turnover. She handles all the lease ups. She handles all the accounting, she handles everything. She’s doing all our refiles. I just handle the buy side, the sales side of the business, and I handle the relationship and then the call center and meeting people and, you know, building relationship.

Mike Ayala: That’s really cool. You know, just, even back to the, if two partners have the same strength, one of them is not needed. Even in marriages. Like Kara and I found this too. Not only should we stay in our lane because it keeps the peace at home, but why double up efforts? So, I love, you know, just from a leadership perspective, I’ve worked really hard over the years to not undermine my leadership. And that happens a lot at our closer relationships. And that can happen a lot with business partners too, when we just team up and we don’t have clear expectations, which goes back to the communication and all of that. So, that’s really cool that you guys found that in your marriage because that can easily, we can easily assume that each other haven’t got it covered. And I’ve seen that create a lot of problems too. So, that’s great.

Elliot Smith: The nice thing is she knows like there’s a few decisions we come together on like; what assets are we going to keep. But I mean, the best way to describe it is, I bought a house over in Richland a couple like a month ago for 117 grand and I put 10 grand earnest money down on the property. And then I go close on it and I take the cashier’s check, I go close on it with our own money. And Chrissy comes down the next day and she’s like, Hey, Elliot why is there $107,000 missing from our account? I’m like, Oh, I bought that house. I was like, oh yeah, I forgot about that. But you know, and it’s just like, I’m staying in my lane of the business. And she’s staying in her lane and especially with being a parent. And that’s really, if we spent, we have no time to waste overlapping. And so, it’s hard. Definitely I mean, there was so much Stripe because you have to believe that they are competent and that they actually are going to do the things because the problem is what I found with me, especially is nobody can do it better than I can in a lot of things. And so, I constantly try to micromanage her instead of just giving her the trust that knowing that she has the same end goal and interest as I do, she might have a different way. It’s like when we’re driving with your wife, right. You know, your wife’s always like, Oh, stop, you know, all this stuff. It’s like, you got to have the faith that I have the same goal of getting there safe as you do. And so, whatever that is, and you have to go out on a limb, it’s just like with the partnership, you know, I don’t ask, well, how he gets shit done. It’s just, I trust that he’s going to get it done. Because he said he was going to do it.

Cole Johnson: If it doesn’t, then it’s a conversation.

Elliot Smith: Or like with Chrissy, like we’re doing eight refis right now. Cause rates are so cheap and we’re buying the eight unit and they want a fricking kidney worth of information. And it’s like, I don’t ask her how, or why. I just know it’s getting done because I see emails coming in and things are getting done and everything’s moving forward. And when I need to sign something, I sign it. But I literally, all the emails for the eight unit literally going to the box, I don’t read any of them. I only, when they call me and say, Elliot, you need to do this part. They call me. And then I go take care of my part, which is the relationship side with people we are buying it from.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. That’s cool. So, tell me about your guys’. You guys got a pretty cool business concept.

Cole Johnson: Yeah. So, our call center. So, it’s going to be more than a call center, but it started originally because I needed, I had a team of 10 people in office at the time with my old partner and big sales guys, big sales team need a lot of leads. So, I needed to figure out a way to bring in, you know, 30, 40, 50 leads a day into our company. So, I started an internal call center out of the Philippines. And it got up to 15 agents on my campaign. They’re all in office. But the thing is the big difference that a lot of people struggle because they have people calling on their couch with the roosters in the background and it doesn’t work. So, they’re all in office. And we were crushing. We did like 800-ish Ka year revenue back on just cold calling alone. And then I started having some buddy use it and Elliot was going to start using it. And he was like, Hey, man, I think it can help. Not only with the, you know, business side, with the training side. And I was like, yeah, sure, why not? I mean, come on. As long as I get to keep whatever, you know, you come on board. And it was awesome. We started doing it. And then our third partner, Tucker who’s been around and he has crazy amount of experience in business and real estate. And it was a no brainer. We kind of formed a partnership all us three. And yeah, we can get more into the details of it, but what we were offering, that kind of stuff.

Elliot Smith: How it started, you know, I wanted to use a call center. Because I needed leads, because direct mail was dying. It was really tough. And so, I had an operations manager at the time, and we met Cole and he’s using the call center and he’s killing it. So, I’m like, well, why don’t we try cold calling? So, we get in there and I’m like, Hey, can I see the script? Can I see this? And I’m like, Hey, I think I can help you with your script a little bit. I’m really, that’s my skillset is cold calling and, on the phone, and sales. And then I’m like, Hey, can I listen to the calls? And then I can help you with feedback on the caller’s, not expecting anything in return. It’s like, I think I can help you make this a little bit better. So, it’s better for all of us.  And then he’s like, why don’t you go sell this? And I’m like, okay. I think, okay. So, let me go have some meetings. And I’m like, he you know, I’m a big believer is that like, I don’t want what you’ve done before. I want what I’m going to bring to the table. I want to eat what I’m going to kill. And so, I’m like, let me go set up some things and we don’t sign anything. You don’t have to commit. So, no hard feelings. Like, you know, if this doesn’t work out. And so, I go line up some meetings with my buddy Justin he has his new platform. So, he wanted it. I got him sold on integrating our call center into his marketing campaigns, so people can buy it right on their website. I had set up a time to go hang out with Brandon Turner. I talked to Tucker; Tucker started using it. We call it for him for free. Tucker, you know, and Tucker was on board, started putting it on his podcast before we partnered with them. And so, I had all these things and Cole’s like, fuck yeah, this is going good. No brainer. And then I had my operations manager that was kind of helping us with it. And he ended up, when he graduated college, he wanted to go more commission-based role and he wanted to go, he wanted to be a cop at the end of the day. And that was fine, but it just didn’t work out. So, he ended up quitting. We ended up parting ways and that freed up some cap there and some room, cause we’re going to give him some opportunity to grow into the call center and that freed up some rooms. So, I was texting Tucker about it. You know, this sucks, like I’m screwed. Like I need this kid. He’s important. He’s like, why don’t we hop on a call? I think I can help you guys with the call center. So, we were going to hang out with Bran Tuner the next week. And he’s, you know, Brandon Tuner like, you know, everybody knows that name. And so, Cole and I hopped on this. We’re like, before the call, we’re like, all right, we’re not saying yes to Tucker. We were with Brandon like 3:00 AM one morning. And this was the week after, I was like, yeah, we’re going to hang out with Brandon next week. And so, we’re not saying yes to Tucker. Let’s just see what opportunity, Tucker we get on a zoom meeting for like an hour and he’s telling us like, I can have my team help here. I can really help you guys with the business side of it. I can help you guys grow it. I can help you with the marketing. I can be that leader that you guys probably need because I’m good. I’ve been part of his DFA group and Cole, we get off the phone and we, you know, before the call, we had sworn, we’re not making a decision until we hang out with Brandon. We call each other. What do you think? Yeah, we need to do it. I’m in. So, call Tucker back. We’re in. And he didn’t ask for any like a percentage of equities. It’s like, you tell me what you think I’m worth. And so, we fear the fair way is three ways. So, we split it up three ways. So, we started pushing it and it just freaking took off like a rocket. We started using Tucker’s group at first and some other guys, and I got, I just happened to get back on bigger pockets. And it was in July. I was doing it right when we were like starting to ramp up. And they wanted, we were talking to, I was talking to Kevin, the producer about what we could do for the show. And he’s like, you know, I’d really like to have your wife on the show. And my wife has turned bigger pockets down every time they’ve asked, she’s turned Mindy down, she’s turned Brandon down. She’s turned them all down. She says, yes. And I get off the phone. I’m like, why did you say yes? That means that one that shows me, this is very uncomfortable for my wife, but she’s willing to get out of her comfort zone and do it. So, we get on the podcast. It airs right when we finally started getting some things going and we just get good leaf flow from it. And then we grow, we do fricking like 50 grand the first month in sales. We’re growing guys are killing it.

Cole Johnson: So because we care, like off the bat, every single client that comes on board, like, it’s like a, it’s like a family relationship where if they don’t, if they’re not doing well where we’re funding them, like it’s not. Like I’ve experienced a lot of different call centers and service. Everyone has a service to sell in real estate. And we genuinely care about the person on the other end and make sure they succeed.

Elliot Smith: Exactly. And so, like I hop on the zoom calls. I dive into your business. You tell me about your business. What do you need? You’re not ready for us right now. You really need a leads manager to do this, or you’re going to need this. You should go start with this. We’ve given guys free Podio setups to help them out. We’ve given them free lists to get them started. We’ve pointed in the right direction. I’ll give them my cell phone number. They can, you know, ping me back and forth. Only if they’re taking action is when I’ll spend time with them, you know, a lot of free time. And so, and then that’s also translated into the guys that we’re using. So, I’m, I’ll call guys at like eight o’clock at night and be like, man, I heard you just killed it from such and such. And they’re like, dude, and we’ll talk for 30 minutes. Like we’re best friends. Cause I actually do care. And you know, it’s the same way I looked at sellers when I’m buying off market deals is, I actually give a shit about the seller. And so, then Cole’s killing it on the system side.

Mike Ayala: So, Cole, what is your…

Cole Johnson: Role in that? So, I’m constantly building all the systems. I mean, as we grow, things are constantly changing and shifting, so I’m making sure that our infrastructure is keeping up with our clientele pretty much.

Mike Ayala: And so, you handle sales and onboarding?

Elliot Smith: Yeah, so it works really well. So, I handle sales and then an onboarding and the client interface for right now. It’s going to get too hard for me to do that with all these people.

Mike Ayala: Especially taking 30-minute calls and bullshitting.

Elliot Smith: Cause I’m a talker. Yeah. I love it. So, then Cole…

Mike Ayala: Give him the big fish.

Elliot Smith: Cole and then I also will work on like getting better, you know, I’ll try to negotiate our data, some pricing things and try to work on some of that stuff. Cole built other systems.

Cole Johnson: We all do a little bit of everything.

Elliot Smith: And they help with that as well they run them, they run that, Cole builds like the systems. He’s like, if there’s something wrong, he’s there. He’s helping big picture. Cause it like Cole had done a lot of the infrastructure to get the call center going.

Cole Johnson: It’s been two years, I spent two years set up to get it  before they even came on.

Elliot Smith: So, now it was kind of my job, my time to put the time into sell it. And then Cole’s working on, what do we need to be quarter one, quarter two with our other stuff we’re building out and how do we build that infrastructure?

Mike Ayala: So, why did you guys need Tucker?

Cole Johnson: We needed someone, I still, like, I built this stuff for business, but I do better when I have some kind of direction and someone to kind of lean on and learn from. So, I think we needed a CEO to keep us organized and we really wanted to turn this thing into a sellable business. We needed someone with experience doing that. So, at least in my mind, that’s how I thought about Tucker.

Mike Ayala: Yeah. And I wasn’t, I love the ins and outs of the business, but the thing that I really want to key in on and what I think is so amazing and people, we’ll give them information and how to find your guys’ business and get into the details and all that. But I think a lot of people would say back in here, you basically had this thing going and then Elliott shows up and adds value. And so, you give him a percentage and then Tucker shows up and everybody’s like, we’re just going to be thirds. And what I think a lot of people hear is that we just took a piece of pie that you had 12 slices of and you just gave out, you just gave away, you know, two thirds of that.

Cole Johnson: Yeah. But it’s a, those slices are, it’s a better pie.

Mike Ayala: It’s like five pies now. It could be 50 pies.

Cole Johnson: That’s what I’m saying. So, I mean, I think that’s why, you know, I don’t have a, I don’t have an ego around like, I got to do everything myself, entrepreneur, like it’s my business. I think it’s; you know, I like working with people and building an actual good product and my capabilities that I had for that business. I had to look at myself and say, I can’t build this into an actual business that serves people well. So, I need other people, otherwise I’m going to put out a crap product and it’s not going to look good. So, I needed other people to make that I would not have that business without them.

Mike Ayala: Well, and it just comes back to the abundance mindset, which is kind of where I started. And again, I love the details of your business, but I think what’s really powerful here is the abundance mindset and teaming up because so many people are like, you know, I remember asking this question early in my career, would I rather have a hundred percent of a million dollar business doing 5% per year? Or would I rather have 30 or 40 or 50% of a hundred-million-dollar business doing 10% per year? Like the answer is clear and it’s not right or wrong. You could go higher, you could go hire an Elliott, right. You could go hire a Tucker, but it’s not the same.  And again, it’s not right or wrong. I’m not telling people that you have to have a partner, but what’s really important in all of this. And to just kind of pull this together when one or two or three partners have the same strength, one of them is not needed. And if you really want to scale quickly and escalate quickly, you can go hire somebody and pay them 150 grand a year to do what Elliot’s doing. Or you can bring an Elliot in and give them a piece of the pie and get there a year or two years sooner.

Cole Johnson: Hundred percent. I did the same thing in my first business too. Like after my first partner left, our top sales guy, I’m like, you can have half the company. And then our growth since then has been insane. So, like, it’s the abundance mindset of, it’s not, like the cold calls center is not the last business I’m going to get into as well. So, why would I want to spend all my time just on that. And I mean, so it’s been huge having that partnership and leadership from those two guys two from me and the abundance mindset, it wasn’t like a conscious thing. It was just, it’s almost from trial and error seeing what way works, what way doesn’t. That is the only way that works.

Elliot Smith: Yeah, because there’s certain things like, yeah, you could go hire me out, but you’re not going to find a guy that’s has the entrepreneur brain and understands the real estate. Cause I have to have conversations with real estate guys that are investing, and I have to be able to have a competent conversation. How long is it going to take Cole to train somebody like that?

Cole Johnson: Or someone that actually cares about me. You know what I mean? Call me and I care more than just about the business makes it fun.

Elliot Smith: Or like, Cole, you can hire somebody to do your systems, but I don’t even know how to tell them what systems to build or how to build it. So, there’s certain things you can hire out. And then Tucker, you just can’t train that experience. You can’t hire experience that experience and give a shit. And understanding what direction to go. Like we always put it back on Tucker. We have all these ideas all the time. And at the end of the day, Tucker, it’s your decision, but he’s Elliot, what’s your opinion, Cole, what’s your opinion. And if we’re different, he makes the decision. But he hears us, and it hears us equally. And I don’t feel bad when he makes that decision because it’s on him.

Mike Ayala: That’s good stuff. Last question. What is the single piece of advice you find sharing your, excuse me, what is the piece of advice you find yourself sharing the most?

Elliot Smith: I tell people, you just got to go do it. You got to put yourself out there. You know, when I’m telling these guys are coming in and they want to start a real estate business and they don’t, they just think they can throw money at things and it makes it better. So, you know, you need to go out and go drive for dollars. Find shitty houses and cold call. I don’t care. You need to do it for a month or two. And then you need to listen to the calls that you made, and you record them and listen to them. Because you can’t train what you don’t know. So, you have to go do this. You can’t build a business. You can’t go start a McDonald’s if you don’t even know how to turn on a grill.  And so, you have to go out there and just do it and I’m a ready fire aim kind of guy. Just go figure it out, stop thinking about it. And while you’re driving for dollars, listen to a book, you know, try to listen to investing for freedom podcasts, you know, listen to something right. And learn, you know, and then go do it.

Mike Ayala: That’s cool. That’s good stuff.

Cole Johnson: For me. What I always tell people, I coach people how too, is stay in the game, like stay in the game long enough for something to shake. Like when I got my license originally, when I was 18, I was doing open houses, and nothing was happening. My mom was like, if you show up every single day for a couple of years, something is going to happen. You’re going to meet someone; something is going to happen. So, I think staying in the game long enough, you know, shaking the tree enough for something to fall is the one piece of advice. And I think way too many people will start something, like we were talking about earlier and they did not stay in the game long enough for something. Cause you can’t, you can’t get into something, expect to how to show up in two, three, four, five days, a month, two months. I mean, you shouldn’t expect that, like you have to have a foundation built and you’ll be so much happier when you build that foundation, you know, have all those trial and errors and then you know what you want starts to come in after that. So, staying in the game definitely is the, and being consistent and persistent every single day.

Mike Ayala: I love it. I just had this thought, like, it’s weird to me that people will spend 40 or 50 years in a career, you know, gaining three or $4,000 a year, but they won’t stick with a new business for 6 months or 12 months. It’s weird. It’s weird.

Elliot Smith: Cause it’s uncomfortable.

Cole Johnson: It is uncomfortable.

Mike Ayala: So, you guys have a podcast?

Elliot Smith: Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Ayala: What is it?

Cole Johnson: It’s The Real Dealz Podcast. So, we took it over as the host three months, two months ago?

Elliot Smith: Yeah. So, Tucker ran it for, you know, built it up to quite a few listeners. He has two podcasts. He has one for local show and The Real Dealz is nationwide, it has been on bigger pockets. He’s got a lot of good guys, he’s been running for seven years and I think it was just, he said it was just time to pass the Baton. And he said it, not that it had gotten stale in the sense, but I think he was just had a lot of other things. He has got two young kids and has a lot of things going on and he saw us being eager and he said, man, I think you guys could be a really good duo kind of like the brand and Josh duo to a certain extent, but he’s like, I think you guys could take it and it’s so yeah, he  gave it to us and we’re loving it. And so, The Real Dealz is, we just, I think it’s like 342 is when we took it over, but yeah. The episode 342, somewhere in there. Yeah, we did a test. Like just, he was gone one week. He came down to do an in-person interview with Steve Trang down here. So, I’m like, Hey Tucker, why don’t Cole and I hop on the mic for a week and he’s like, all right. So, Cole and I just did a spit ball back and forth of like what his business looked like, what’s mine looks like. Calls us the next day. Great job. You guys want to do the show permanent. And I’m like, I’ve always wanted to do it. Cause I like talk and I’m like fuck yeah. I go by get my microphone; my dad has done a lot of videos. And so, he had some microphones. I go buy lights. I go buy soundboards. Cole is jumping on it.

Mike Ayala: It’s another example of abundance thinking.

Cole Johnson: And it makes you learn about, I’ve learned a lot doing the podcast, talking, in the open environment, people listening makes you definitely have to learn some stuff about yourself.

Elliot Smith: And that just shows too, like going back to the partnerships like Tucker has spent seven years, countless hours, he’s got his own guy that edits this, he’s freely says, I believe in you guys. And I want to work with you guys, not just in this, but on other things. So, I’m going to trust this thing that I’ve put all these time into to you guys. And the great thing about us, Cole and I, neither one of us said, well, are we going to get paid? Are we going to get money? Or how is this going to benefit?

Mike Ayala: What is in it for me?

Elliot Smith: No, it’s just like we just said, yes, just say yes to opportunity, you know and then go figure it out. But it’s just like, that’s what…

Cole Johnson: Walk through the doors.

Elliot Smith: You just walk through the door and see what happens.

Mike Ayala: I was listening to my wife on a podcast the other day and she was saying that like, you know, so many people miss so many opportunities and it’s like, you have to move through the door. Like you just said, I mean, you got to walk through that door and yeah, are things going to be scary? Are things are going to go? Yeah, sometimes, sometimes things aren’t going to go right. But how many opportunities do people miss every day that people like you two just picked up because you said, yes, what would have happened if you waited a week to hang out with Brand, maybe you would have lost the opportunity with Tucker who knows like, but when you know that you know that, you know, and that’s why getting so in tune with what you really want is so important. So, you guys also, can they find their podcast on all the…

Elliot Smith: Yeah. Spotify, iTunes. Yeah, Tucker kind of got screwed. iTunes dropped him like in early, kicked him off earlier this year for some reason. And then they were like, Oh, sorry, we put him back on. And then, but he had had like 500, five-star reviews, you know, is top of the charts. And then this is all gone. So, now we’re building it back up.

Mike Ayala: And so, what about your business? Can people find you?

Cole Johnson: My real estate business is Hello Pad. You can find us on Facebook online. Hello Pad,

Elliot Smith: Yeah. You can find me on Instagram. I don’t, we don’t put a ton of stuff out there on our real estate business. We’re not wholesaling. We’re not, we just do our own thing.

Mike Ayala: And if I’m looking for call center, I mean, who’s your avatar?

Elliot Smith: Our avatar is somebody that is full-time in this business that has either a leads manager or they have the ability to go hire a leads manager or somebody that can handle the leads moving forward. That can take a good amount of leads and understand that it’s a process like Cole said earlier. It doesn’t just happen overnight. These are cold call leads. They take time to work through your system and build your catapult of leads up. To real estate agents, we are calling for real estate agents, an agent in Portland in October, first guy, he signed up with us. He’s going to big brokerage there. As a 10-person team signed up with us, they closed, locked, signed, inked, six listings in the first month with our service. So, guys that have that they need to have a good funnel for retail leads, wholesale leads, and then that as well. And so, it’s anywhere from that guy to 20-person team. Cole has got 10 callers going right now on just his own campaign.

Mike Ayala: And how do we find you?

Elliot Smith: It’s just a

Mike Ayala: Call magic leads. I like that.

Cole Johnson: If you want to talk to Elliot more face to face.

Mike Ayala: Yeah, if you want to get Elliot, you just, you get like a three-hour call with Elliot for onboarding.

Cole Johnson: However long, you keep him talking.

Elliot Smith: Yeah. I am scheduling it out though. So, like 45 minutes at cap. Sometimes if I don’t have anything behind it, sometimes it lasts like an hour and a half.

Mike Ayala: Our listeners are going to be because you cut them off at an hour and a half.

Elliot Smith: It says in the calendar it’s 45 minutes.

Mike Ayala: Nice. I like it. Well guys, this has been fun. You guys’ stories are inspiring, and it’s just been a great conversation. I appreciate you guys.

Elliot Smith: Thanks. Appreciate it.

More from this show

Episode 85