Back in the summer of 2018, I started working with Jaren Barnes.
He was the first person I had ever hired as a full-time employee for REtipster.
He was a special find for someone like me because he had a lot of specialized experience, not only in the world of content creation but also as a land investor and house wholesaler. He had all kinds of great insights to share, not based on theory, but based on his first-hand experience.
Over the past three years, he has made some incredible contributions to the content library at REtipster and he brought a new voice and personality to the podcast and YouTube channel.
As of October 1, Jaren is leaving REtipster to pursue his own projects. Jaren is still a great friend of the REtipster Community and we'll still hear from Jaren from time to time on the podcast, but we won't be seeing much from him on the blog or YouTube channel anymore.
Let's talk about what's next for Jaren and why he's moving in a different direction.
Links and Resources
- Jaren.co (Jaren's website)
- REtipster Terms Library
- House Hacker University
- The Beginner’s Deal Finding Guide
- Land Investing Masterclass
- How Land-Specialized Real Estate Agents Can Change the Game for Land Investors
- REtipster Land Coaching Program
- Traveling Mailbox Review: Here's Why I Switched
- My Experience With Fund and Grow: 0% Interest Loans for Real Estate Investing and Beyond
- Profit First Changed My Life. It Will Change Yours Too.
Episode 113 Transcription
Seth: Hey, everybody how’s it going? This is Seth Williams and Jaren Barnes, and you're listening to the REtipster podcast. Today is a little bit different. Jaren and I have never done this, but we'd never actually recorded a podcast conversation where we're both in the same place at the same time where I was on Zoom or something. But I've got him sitting right next to me. I can reach right out and touch him. I might do it throughout this conversation.
We met up here together at Calvin University, my alma mater. This is kind of where we usually gather whenever we have to shoot videos or do anything in person. Yeah, we're just going to hang out.
This isn't a terribly structured episode, but one thing I wanted to cover right off the bat is a big change or transition in terms of just Jaren and his involvement with REtipster. Jaren started working with me back in July of 2018 or June of 2018. It's been a little over three years now. And ever since then, it's been awesome. He has brought a ton of value to REtipster, and there've been a lot of big things that have happened in his tenure here. And just kind of with some changes in Jaren's life and Jaren can chime in on this too.
Do you want to chime in Jaren? I don’t want to speak for you.
Jaren: Yeah, man. I think the biggest thing is my land business has been growing quite a bit. And then I have two boys now. One that is two and a half, and the other one who is 10 months. When life changes like that, your ability to pull all-nighters or grind or adjust and change changes. I just started running into the fact that I was running too thin.
And so, I don't know if you even officially said it yet, but Jaren Barnes is officially moving on from the REtipster. I don't even like saying it that way, man, because it's not that I'm not pro REtipster or not going to still be around, but I'm no longer a W2 employee of REtipster, to put it that way.
Seth: Jaren is kind of like his own free agent now doing his own thing. It doesn't mean that we're not going to hear it from him. Probably will be less regular maybe. Not every podcast episode. We're probably not going to see a whole lot of blog posts and videos from Jaren anymore. The general day-to-day involvement won't be there.
I think tentatively at least as long as we can, as long as it makes sense, Jaren will probably be joining me on the office hours for the members of the Land Investing Masterclass. I'm also obviously going to be there, but whenever Jaren can be there, he'll show up too.
There is no bad blood or anything. Everything is really great. In fact, I can't think of a better way for Jaren and REtipster to part ways, sort of. It's just a change. People change, priorities change and responsibilities change, and that's kind of what's happening. Jaren is going his separate way, so to speak, we'll stay friends and we'll probably still hear from him, maybe not on the regular, but hopefully at least from time to time.
Jaren: So, that's the end of the episode, right? I’m just kidding.
Seth: Yeah, see you guys.
Jaren: The way that it kind of works is if people in the REtipster community are interested in land coaching, Seth is going to send them my direction and I'm still going to be heavily using REtipster material because that's how I got started in the land business and why I worked at REtipster. I helped Seth and we fleshed out the coaching materials. So, it's all heavily based on REtipster material. It's still like a friend of REtipster, but once people come in my direction, it does step into a different company and it is going to be my own thing. But I guess you could call it, my coaching consultant business thing is going to be a friend of REtipster.
Seth: Yeah. One way to explain it, coaching is always something that I've gotten requests for over the years. It's just this, not like a tidal wave, but a constant trickle of people just asking, “Hey Seth, can you coach me?” And I did that for a little while for a few years, but it's not really my thing. It's not that I don't enjoy talking to people. It's just in my mind, it's not scalable.
And it's something that, I don't know if it is the personality issue, but if I had 10 options of different things to spend my day on and coaching was one of those options and other things were making a video, making a blog post, plan on something for the company, coaching would be pretty low on that list for me. It's just kind of not how I'm wired, but Jaren is wired that way and he does enjoy it.
Obviously, one path that I've always been able to go was like, “Well, I can just refer people to other coaches.” And perhaps someday we'll get more into that but the bottom line is coaches can teach all kinds of weird things. And it's hard for me to know what a person is teaching people, especially when I send somebody to some of the coaches that I don't really know well.
And the fact of the matter is that I do know Jaren really well and I know how his business operates and what he teaches people and just his whole thought process. It’s not that there are no other people in the world I could trust, but I'm there with Jaren. And I understand what people are going to get if they go his way. So, for the time being anyway, that's why Jaren is the main guy that people would be going to.
In the future, if I'm able to get to know other coaches better and understand what they teach people, maybe I will add to that list of people we can refer to. But at this point in time, Jaren is the guy. So, if somebody wants to get coaching through REtipster, I basically will send them to Jaren. So, you're not going to be working with REtipster once I send you to him. Jaren has his own thing. And your agreement is with him, not me, not REtipster.
Jaren: If I go crazy and I start teaching that the sky is purple or something, you can't get mad at REtipster and make a bunch of bad reviews.
Seth: There you go. That's the bottom last. I also thought it'd be kind of fun to just look back over the past few years. Because sometimes when you're in the day-to-day of running a company like REtipster, it's almost easy to forget what got done, the things that were accomplished, and the good that was done for the world.
Maybe you know of other things, Jaren, but I just made a list of some of the big things that we did while you were around. We did almost a hundred podcast episodes together, not quite, but almost. That's a lot. That's a lot of conversations. A lot of people we talked to.
We launched the forum. That was a big thing that was years in the making. And we launched the Terms Library. That was an idea that Jaren had. And I actually had it too but Jaren was the first who articulated it and said it. And it confirmed what I was thinking and we decided we should start doing a Terms Library and it's been a nightmare.
I think we filled a big need, but it's been going in a different direction in terms of just teaching people what these weird words mean in the real estate business. When people say things like MAO or ROI or cash on cash return or cap rate. There are just thousands of these random words and lingo and jargon that people use in real estate that for a beginner, they're just like, “What? Are you speaking some other language?”
Seth: And so, we decided to make a whole lot of articles explaining in depth what all those things mean and making videos about some of them just to make it crystal clear basically how to understand this language of real estate investing. And Jaren voiced that idea and we'd decided to pursue that. And that was like a year and a half ago now, I think.
Jaren and I made two courses together. Jaren actually didn't do hardly anything for House Hacking University, but we both worked together a lot on The Beginner's Deal Finding Guide. It's a ton of work, but a lot of fun just to go through that process together, make videos and create content. And it's kind of cool to look back on that kind of stuff when it's done and just be like, “Wow, that's something we can be proud of.”
Let's see... what else? We started the actual coaching program, the official legit thing that we bring people through. And Jaren actually created this whole coaching-specific curriculum that basically follows The Land Investing Masterclass but it has a lot of other ancillary insights and documentation and just stuff from Jaren’s world. That's not necessarily in the course.
Jaren: Like checklists and stuff that I've taken from the Masterclass and then distilled it down into, “Okay, a due diligence checklist. Step one, step two, step three, step four.” That kind of stuff.
Seth: Yeah. That was a big deal. It still is a big deal. Then we rebranded the land course. In 2015, when I first launched it, I always called it the REtipster Club, which I called it because my goal was to have this membership website that would have multiple courses inside it. But for those first few years there, it was just the land course. So, it was just kind of confusing and weird. Jaren always thought we should call it The Land Investing Masterclass and we were able to do it. I thought that was kind of cool.
Let's see, what else did we do? Office Hours improved a lot. For a long time, it was just me sitting there and once Jaren joined, I don't know that the experience was necessarily worse for the attendees, but it was just harder for me to just be one voice in the room. Just kind of talking to myself.
Jaren: Yeah, you feel like you're talking on a wall.
Seth: Yeah. And I say that because during Office Hours, people can get on their webcam and talk, but usually, it's easier to just type out the questions in the chatbox. And then we just go through it and answer those questions. Sometimes there would just be moments of silence when there are no questions. And in those moments of silence, it's weird to be one person just staring at the screen or just talking to yourself. And having Jaren there, it just made it a lot easier.
We got some really good podcast guests because of Jaren. He was really good at finding people that were worth talking to. Perry Marshall, a bunch of people in the apartment syndication space that I probably never would have reached out to.
Jaren: I think the interview with Pat Flynn. It was a milestone for my life for sure, because it was a dream. I started learning about content marketing I think in 2009, 2010. I was trying to figure out ways to make money as a newly made 20-year-old. I found some obscure affiliate marketer that had all these different people. One of them was Pat Flynn. I went all in and I've always dreamed about being on the Smart Passive Income podcast and all that. And that hasn't happened yet.
Seth: Pat Flynn is one of those guys, like…
Jaren: He's like the godfather of content marketing.
Seth: Yeah. Well, if just any random person saw him on the street, they would have no idea who he is. But to people who are into blogging or podcasting or any of that stuff, he's just somebody that everybody knows because he has been so helpful. And he's been such an example to follow. He was a big part of why I started REtipster because I hadn't realized I could do anything like this until I saw what he was doing. I was like, “Oh, maybe there is a place for me here. Maybe I could do this kind of thing.” To actually talk to him in that format was just really cool.
Seth: And Jaren is a much better connector of people than I am. He is just much more social and outgoing and just willing to put himself out there. And that's just a real gift he has that I don't. Especially when you are doing this kind of work where you're just holed up in an office and you're by yourself and it's very easy to shut off from the world really and just not connect with people.
Jaren: Live in a rabbit hole or something.
Seth: Yeah. Lots of people I met because of him that I never would have met otherwise. I don't know why Tyler Hazel comes to mind. But when we were at that self-storage conference in Indiana, Tyler was a guy who developed his own climate-controlled storage facility and we got to make a cool video about it. And he's been a good guy to talk to. Just stuff like that.
I think anytime whether you hire somebody or partner with somebody or work with somebody in some capacity, it's really helpful to find somebody who has skills and abilities that you don't have. Because if everybody is just a genius at the same thing, then you don't really expand that much outside of your comfort zone. You don't really cover new ground because everybody is just plugging away at the same stuff. So that's definitely what Jaren was, and is. So, it was really helpful to have him around for that.
Jaren: I think the land specialized real estate agent as a strategy.
Seth: Oh, yeah. Totally.
Jaren: I think that was an industry game-changer thing, which is funny because it's really my wife who did it. But I remember when I first started working for REtipster and when I first started in the land business, before I started working for REtipster, the common knowledge was you never work with an agent. Agents don't know what they're talking about. They're a waste of time. They're going to ruin deals. Never do it, never do it. And my wife was like “Jaren, I think we should try to find a land specialist agent.” And I was like, “You don't know what you're talking about,” whatever. But we rolled the dice. And I exclusively work with land specialist agents now, and now it seems like it's kind of…
Seth: A lot of people say that now. Like it's their secret weapon or their idea. And now it's like, maybe, but it was I never heard a single person say that. I remember constantly saying that agents just don't understand this business. And I think that's true.
Jaren: It’s true for most people.
Seth: It's true if you're talking to a house agent, which most agents are. So, I still I guess stand by that if that's what you're talking about. But this idea of, well, there is actually this other hidden sub-genre or sub whatever you want to call it of agents that do know land and the key is to find them. And I think to do that requires what Jaren is good at. Getting out there and pounding the pavement and picking up the phone and calling people. A lot of people don't want to do that.
Jaren: I think another thing too, that was a unique piece of content was Traveling Mailbox. Virtual mailboxes weren't really a thing. Everybody's default was like Pak Mail.
Seth: I don't think I even knew it was a thing until a few years after. And even then, I think it was the Earth Class Mail that I had actually tried for a time. And it was so expensive, it was super expensive. And I thought that was like the only one, but it's one of those things where my life would have been way easier. To this day, I still have my physical mailbox that I have to drive to you, and I hate it every time. It's totally a first-world problem. Like it's not a big deal, but still, I'd rather just sit on my couch and push a button and see it that way instead.
Jaren: Yeah. It really does come in that way. Like you say, scan and read it in your email. If I was in some remote part of the world, like in Kazakhstan or something where my wife is from, I'd still be able to see my business mail. That’s hard to beat.
Seth: Yeah. One thing I believe the way Traveling Mailbox works is they basically subcontract with companies like Pak Mail, where I get my stuff from. They just find storefront locations that are willing to implement their plan. And so, I think I've seen some nasty YouTube comments on that video Jaren did saying, “Traveling Mailbox is garbage. They are a horrible company,” or whatever. I think what was going on there is, it does depend to a degree on the quality of the storefront location that they happened to be working through. It's just like a general contractor hiring a subcontractor. You are depending on multiple parties here to get the job done.
Jaren: I also think that you run the risk if you pick an address of no longer continuing working with them. I had that happen in Florida. It really made me have to switch. So, I decided to just go to the headquarters in North Carolina. So now it's super awkward because my land business has a Florida phone number, but a North Carolina address. It still works, I haven't had anybody, not a single person says anything.
Seth: That is good though. Because at least that is a headquarters office, you know that will be done well. At least if any place is going to do it right, they are. I wonder if it works the same way for iPostal and I know there are a bunch of other random ones out there that basically do the same thing. I wonder if it's a similar deal where they have headquarters, but then a bunch of other satellite offices all over the place.
Jaren: Yeah, I wonder. Probably. They probably have to start by doing it themselves and then branch out.
Seth: Yeah. I have a Traveling Mailbox. One of the differentiators between that and Earth Class Mail is that Traveling Mailbox is not ridiculously expensive to use. I think it's more than if you were just doing a storefront, but it's not that much more. It's pretty reasonable what it is.
Jaren: I agree.
Seth: I know there were a bunch of epic blog posts you put together.
Jaren: That voice-over video.
Seth: Yeah, that was cool.
Jaren: 7 reasons why land is better than everything else.
Seth: Yeah, that is true. That was an awesome one. And there was the land flipping lifecycle video. That was actually your idea to make the video but I was the one that shot the video. Those were the original talking points you would put together.
There's the Fund and Grow review. The Fund and Grow was a little bit of… I won't say controversial, but basically, the way it works, if you're not familiar with it, it's a company that helps you find and obtain business lines of credit or business credit cards that don't touch your personal credit report. But the idea is you can get it at 0% interest for 12 to 15 to 18 months at a time. And that's really cool if as long as you're planning to totally pass those credit cards or refinancing them before you have to start paying interest. Because if you don't, and then you do have to start paying interest, it's going to be very expensive.
Jaren: Not as expensive as… Well, it might be comparable with hard money or depending on your credit score too. It's expensive but it's all relative. To a traditional consumer or somebody who's just getting started in the land business, it's expensive. But to a house flipper or a wholesaler, it might not be. Or if you're spending 50% of your profit on a private money guy in land.
Seth: Yeah. The reason I say it is controversial is that if a person uses it, they really need to be smart about it.
Jaren: Yeah, and be very disciplined.
Seth: Yeah. I felt weird going out there and saying, “Hey, max out all these business credit cards, it's going to be great.” Because if you're not really paying attention to what you're doing, you can really screw yourself over financially.
Jaren: I think there's a certain segment of society, probably myself included in that, that probably would do better off not touching credit cards in any fashion. But then there is the other side of people that are really disciplined and they can run their entire financial infrastructure on credit cards. Because if you can do it, you have the ability to be very disciplined and pay it off. The rewards that you get from credit cards are awesome.
Jaren: And if you're going to use them just for things that you would spend money on anyway, one, you have more protection because you're not actually using your money. And then in addition to that, you get free stuff. So, it's a game that if you play, you can actually win. But certain people don't have that organizational discipline bone, probably myself included. I've always just done way better financially when I didn't have any debt.
Seth: It's a good alternative, again, if you're disciplined and detail-oriented enough. It's a good alternative to hard money loans or working with a financial partner if you run out of cash, which most of us do at some point in the land business. It's going to be to keep things going.
And most properties, if you bought it right, and it's a good property and you are marketing it well, most of them sell within a year. That's a fairly normal time cycle. So, it is doable to sell it and make your money and pay off your credit card that way. But again, it's like a loaded gun. You need to know what you're doing or you could really hurt yourself.
But anyway, Fund and Grow is a company that helps people do this. Just given the whole realm of credit cards and that kind of thing, it's easy for a person to think like, “Man, is this just like some kind of scam? Or is this like a fly-by-night company?” And Jaren actually used them and did a really good review on it. And just really did a good job of summarizing what they do and what they don't do and who it's for and that kind of thing. So, that was another pretty awesome blog post.
Jaren: Yeah. Another one too, and I don't know if it's like taking off or having a super big impact, but at least for me personally, a piece of content that sends out is how Profit First changed my life. I'm kind of an evangelist for Profit First.
Seth: Profit First is a book by a guy named Mike Michalowicz. It's this financial framework for entrepreneurs and businesses.
Jaren: Yeah. And again, if you're more disciplined, you probably don't need Profit First. If you're more of the guy that can make sure you pay off your credit cards on time and make sure that things are iron-tight or if you have a traditional accounting background, Profit First might be a little bit annoying to you. But I think for a lot of people, it's a way to manage business finances for the layperson in a way that the layperson thinks kind of more naturally or logically and all that. So, that was a big piece for me. I feel like that solved a lot of problems for my business personally and cash flow issues. I wish that when I left high school, they handed me that book.
Seth: There are so many critical things they don't teach in school. A lot of financial basics that it’s just crazy, man, that they don't get into it. It's so critical for life and most people are just walking around with no awareness of how to get ahead.
Seth: But anyway, just to wrap this up. I'm just really excited for Jaren. I'm really excited to see him and his land business growing and growing to the point where he needs to devote more time to that. It's cool to see where it's headed and I just wish him the best. I appreciate everything that you've done, Jaren. Just the way that you improve lives for REtipster and the community and help people see the light in a lot of ways. And hopefully, you can continue to do that as a coach and just wherever you go in life. It's something you've got a gift for.
Jaren: Thank you. And I just want to say for our listeners out there, Seth is the real deal guys. I've walked with him for three and a half years, four years, something like that. Some of the questions people ask me through discovery calls and coaching or whatever, “Is Seth really as sincere as he projects himself?” It's true, that’s who he is. I would actually say that he has more integrity behind closed doors than you would think. And you think he would have a lot of integrity just by watching his videos and how he presents himself to be in the world. But I've seen him time and time again pick the higher road the way he had no reason to.
And Seth you've really modeled how to do business well and to walk in integrity. In a lot of ways, you've been a mentor and helped me figure out a lot of things. I’m really grateful.
Seth: Thanks, man. I appreciate that.
Jaren: And hopefully, you will still speak into my life and make sure I don't go crazy and teach people about purple skies.
Seth: Yeah. I will keep an eye on that. If anybody out there hears Jaren talks about purple skies, definitely send me an email.
Hey guys, it’s Seth here. Just one final word before I wrap up this episode. I didn't really mention this, but this is episode 113. If you want to see the show notes from everything we talked about, some of the blog posts and content pieces that Jaren mentioned, you can check that out at retipster.com/113.
And also, I thought it might be kind of fun for those of you out there who were impacted in any way by Jaren and just his work with REtipster over the years, if you ever had any big takeaways or “aha” moments or even a personal interaction with him that meant something to you or helped you figure something out or change the course of your business in some way, head over to the REtipster forum and post about it. And let's start a little Jaren appreciation thread. It might be kind of cool just to see any key findings that people got from Jaren during his time, working directly with REtipster like you did.
Again, Jaren, if you're listening to this little out show that we didn't record when we were both sitting there together at the table at Calvin, I appreciate you, man. Thanks for everything you did. I wish you all the best and let's stay in touch.
Thanks to everybody out there listening. Again, if you guys are listening to this on your phone, take out your phone and go ahead and text the word “FREE” to the number 33777. You can stay up to date on all the happenings and goings-on in the world of REtipster. Thanks again for listening. Talk to you again soon.
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