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Today, we’re talking about the ones we find most helpful and the ones we literally couldn’t run our businesses without.

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Episode 116 Transcription

Seth: Hey, how’s it going? This is Seth Williams and Jaren Barnes, and you’re listening to the REtipster podcast. This is episode 116. If you want to check out the show notes from today’s episode, you can go to retipster.com/116.

Today Jaren and I decided to just put our heads together and talk about the top 10 or whatever number we come up with mobile apps that we would die without. Things that are just insanely useful. We use them on a weekly, if not daily, if not hourly basis, because they’re just that useful and convenient.

As we go through this list, a lot of these probably won’t be a surprise to many people because they’re sort of common apps that everybody else uses. But my hope is that maybe you will learn a few new ones because I think some of them here are going to be a little bit less common. And if nothing else, you can get a little peek into the things that we use to run our businesses and lives.

We’re going to try to keep this more along the business line, just because that’s what most of you are here for. We’re just going to go through our list and let you know how things are working for us. Do you want me to get started Jaren or do you want to get started?

Jaren: That’s a good question. As you’re talking, I have a list prepared, but I’m double and triple-checking to make sure that there’s nothing I’m missing here.

Seth: There are a few apps on my list that I have to admit, I’m actually not an expert at them. I haven’t used them for a long time, but I have heard of them recently and I’m in the process of learning more about them. I’m going to mention some of those as well. Not because I have used it a lot, but I think it is probably worth people checking out.

Jaren: If we get some time, maybe we can do a couple of honorable mentions, but I’ll kick us off here. I want to throw out my two favorite bank apps. It’s a little bit of a cheat because it’s technically like an entire bank, not just an application that you’d use to do some automation feature or function in your business.

Mercury Bank is an online bank that I absolutely love. Being a Profit First enthusiast, I really like them for a number of different reasons. They have a hundred percent free wires, both incoming and outgoing, including international. And so, I use that banking app all the time. They allow up to 15 accounts without extra approval, which is I think plenty for most people. I’m a big fan of Mercury.

And if I were to give a non-Profit First promotion of a bank, you open up several different accounts, but it’s an incredible bank is Brex. They’re really cool. You can open up a bank account with them immediately and it’s super convenient. I don’t know what they are for international wires, but I think they’re free as well across the board. And so, they’re kind of a second runner up.

And I have one investor I work with. We have a shared Brex account. I like both of those. That’s my first pick, Mercury Bank and Brex.

Seth: I actually use two different banks as well. One of them is a local credit union and the other one is Chase Bank, a massive multinational bank. And it is interesting. They’re both sort of good for different things. The local credit union generally provides better rates, but their app is not good. It works, but it’s just clunky. It’s just weird. It’s not anything that I love.

However, the JP Morgan Chase app is pretty awesome. It’s super easy to use. It works. I can get everything you need really quickly. I think that the difference you’ll find between huge banks versus tiny local banks is just better systems and that kind of thing. But to be fair, I’ve not tried out Mercury Bank or Brex Bank, so maybe those are better and I just don’t know any better.

Jaren: Yeah. And they’re completely virtual banks. They’re pretty amazing with what they can do. There are certain functions you have to do on a desktop, but their mobile app is awesome.

Another one on the personal side, I’ve been shifting away from First Internet Bank to Capital One 360. They allow users to have as many sub-saving accounts as they want. For Profit First principles, it’s also really awesome and they have an incredible mobile app as well.

Seth: Awesome, man. I know one that both of us use and probably a lot of you use out there is Slack. And maybe this sort of depends a little bit on the company you work for or what kind of business you’re running, that kind of thing. But Slack is, we were actually just talking before this call. It is a little quirky in some ways. There are things I would love to change about it, but it’s pretty much the best of its kind that I know of. I don’t really know anybody who uses anything else for that kind of communication.

Jaren: Yeah. And once you’re onboarded, the hardest part is figuring out the way they organize things. I don’t like the word “workspace,” but you create a workspace and then you have channels underneath different workspaces. But from even a branding standpoint, to have the REtipster coaching workspace, that sounds terrible. I’d much rather have it called the REtipster Slack channel, and then have sub-channels or rooms or something different.

And then it can get really convoluted joining multiple different workspaces. But once you get onboarded and you’re in there, I cannot tell you how much of a game-changer it is. Even from an almost journaling or ideation standpoint, I have a private channel in my land Slack workspace where I just brain dump ideas. It’s really hard to beat. I’ve tried journal apps and other things in the past, but I even prefer Slack for that type of activity as well. Just like an idea log or journal or what have you. I really, really, really like it.

Seth: Is this just a channel with yourself? Like you just type in messages to yourself or how does that work at this journaling thing?

Jaren: Yeah. There are two different ways you could do it. If you click over your own name in terms of direct messages, literally at the very top of it says, “This space is just for you.” And it’s a scratchpad, that’s made for that. But then I also have an additional channel that’s private, called “Ideas.” And I’ll just braindump things because it’s hard, man. We are entrepreneurs, right? We’re on our feet and we have bajillion ideas all the time running through our brain. And so, it’s easy to lose those really good ideas. I like to have a place where I can dump all of them. And I’ve tried Evernote. I’ve tried using the Apple note.

Seth: Yeah. That’s what I use for that kind of thing. It’s like a scratchpad.

Jaren: Yes. It’s super unorganized. I’ve tried many times, I’ve given it a good effort on both of those apps, both Evernote and the Apple note app, but it’s never stuck because it’s just been way too unorganized or way too tedious for me to organize it the way that I would want to organize it. Whereas with Slack, I just create a channel and it’s already there. It can be real estate notes, or whatever I want to do.

Seth: I’m actually curious how Slack is more organized than notes? Isn’t it kind of the same thing where you just like brain dump and it goes up the list and you never see it again? Or is there a way you can categorize or tag stuff? So, you could say, I don’t know, land ideas with a hashtag, and all it’ll populate. How would that be a better organizational alternative than just notes?

Jaren: I got to throw out the major disclaimer that I’m just talking for myself here. In theory, Evernote or the note app is going to have more organizational features like tagging, like having folders and subfolders. But I don’t know, maybe because I’m just used to working in Slack all the time.

It feels awkward or foreign, or it’s more effort for me to go into notes or go into Evernote and then figure out, “Okay, what tag is this?” Just the whole workflow is just way more complicated than me having a predetermined channel that can be very specific to whatever I want it to be. Social media, posts ideas, VA tasks, feedback for VAs, whatever. I’m reading some of the ones that I have. Because it’s like, “Okay, here are my buckets. I flush out my buckets. These now exist.” And then it goes from head, idea to Slack. And it’s just easy. There’s just a better flow for me personally.

And I wish that there were some tagging features and stuff. I think that would be pretty cool. I also like that you can integrate with so many different apps. I can now do a backslash and then type in the word “Zoom.” And it automatically sends people a Zoom link and stuff because I’ve integrated it into my Zoom account

Loom also. I’m a huge fan of using Loom. It’s more of a computer application where you can do video emails and screen-sharing video tutorials and stuff and is integrated into Slack. I can go on and on about how much I like Slack, but that’s kind of my thoughts on it.

Seth: Cool, man. I think one that both of us, maybe we’re using different apps, but it’s a similar thing is basically the calendar app. It’s actually sort of convoluted what I do. I’ve got the native Apple calendar app, but it’s pulling the information from a Google calendar. And that is also synced up with Calendly. I think Calendly has an app, but I don’t really use the mobile app per se.

Just having that kind of thing, especially with the advent of this Calendly functionality, which is nothing new, it’s been around for years now. But man, I’ve got to tie it. If you’re somebody who schedules meetings a lot, or if people are just frequently saying, “Hey, when can we talk?” In the old-fashioned way, it would be to just email back and forth and back and forth. “Are you free to this day? – No. – What about this day? – Nope, no, no.” Blah, blah, blah.

But just having a link to just shoot at somebody and they can figure it out. And whatever they figure it out, it just shows them in my calendar and we’re good to go. That has eliminated so much just back and forth nonsense in my life. And I love that. That’s pretty useful for me.

Jaren: I feel like I would epically fail at life if I didn’t have Google Calendar. The way my brain works and because I have so much on my plate, if I don’t have that thing schedule, even personal stuff, like meeting with friends and date night with the wife, if it’s not on that Google Calendar, man, it’s not happening. I’m really thankful for that app. That thing has saved my heinie, for sure.

Seth: Yeah, totally.

Jaren: And I like the fact that you can create multiple calendars. The way that I have it broken up, I have a personal one. And then when I was working as a W2 here at REtipster, I had an REtipster calendar and then I would sync it across both email accounts. When I was logging into the REtipster email, and I’d pull up that calendar, I’d be able to see my personal calendar and have them sync so there was no gap or overlap. It was cool. It’s really helpful to be able to distinguish different aspects of your life and assign them in your own unique calendar and you can color-code them. You can get really geeky with Google Calendar. So, I like it.

Seth: Yeah, totally. Let’s talk about phone apps. I know historically I’ve always sort of been an advocate for RingCentral and it’s not because I think it’s the best thing ever, because I know it has its little quirks and issues. But the problem is, it seems like all of those services do, whether it’s FreedomVoice or Grasshopper or whatever. They are all kind of aren’t good in various ways, either they are too expensive or the customer service is terrible or the app is garbage. It seemed like all of them have some problem with them.

But I can say with RingCentral, the experiences have been good for me until I’ve had to call customer service for some reason and talk to a person. And that’s when it all falls apart. At least every interaction I’ve ever had, it’s just not been good.

But when it comes to just the mobile app itself, it works very well. The one I’ve got is the RingCentral MVP. It looks like they have a few different versions in the apple universe anyway. I’ve got multiple phone numbers through there. It’s really easy to call from those numbers instead of mine. I can send and receive faxes from there. I can do texting. It’s just easy to use that app and put on the hat that I want to wear depending on which business I’m trying to communicate with. And it just makes it really easy and I’ve had a really good experience with it. But Jaren, you’ve moved away from that, right? What are you using now?

Jaren: Yeah. I have moved to OpenPhone. OpenPhone is pretty popular among land investors I think because of Pebble. I think Jesse and Kevin are both not in the United States. Jesse is the founder of REI conversion and Kevin is the developer of REI Pebble. And they merged together as one company and so on and so forth. But Kevin lives in Korea and Jesse lives in Canada. I think for them it was really important to have a virtual phone provider that could easily work internationally. It wasn’t dependent on being in the United States. And because Kevin uses it, it integrates well with Pebble. A lot of people are using it, I think that’s where the popularity may have started or originated from.

But I like it a lot. So far, it’s probably the best phone provider I’ve ever used. And I’ve used CallRail back in my Simple Wholesaling days. I’ve used FreedomVoice, RingCentral. I’ve done some stuff with PATLive, back in the day at Simple Wholesaling as well.

Seth: What’s so good about it? The price?

Jaren: It’s just a very seamless onboarding process and also to set up a workflow. It’s very intuitive. For example, whenever I was with RingCentral, to figure out how to get all the calls to go directly to voicemail or have the option of having my phone ring like three or four times before going to voicemail, it was really complicated for me to figure out, even with amazing tutorials that Seth has put into the REtipster Masterclass.

I ended up just being like, “You know what? I’m just going to reach out to support.” And that’s what I always would tell people when they were onboard with RingCentral through coaching. I’d be like, “Just call support and tell them this is what I want.” And just like take an hour, be on hold, go through the process and have them set it up for you. Because it was just too hard to figure out.

Whereas with OpenPhone, it’s really easy. If you don’t want to really worry about having your phone ring a bunch of times or a couple of times before it goes to voicemail, you literally hit one button that’s called, “Do not disturb” and everything is just routed to voicemail automatically. So, that’s super cool.

The app is really awesome because I can click on a phone number and then it will show all of the prior correspondence. It’ll say “voicemail,” and then you call them back. And then if they called you back or if they texted you, it’s all right there within a flow. So, you can see very, very easily what history is. And if you’ve missed a call from them, or if they’ve called several times, that’s an indicator that they may be super motivated to do a deal or something.

So far, I really, really like it. It’s been super easy. You can even set up automatic text follow-ups. If somebody calls you and it goes to voicemail, if you wanted to, as a part of your workflow, you can automatically have it be like, “Hey, sorry, I missed you. What’s your property code? Let me look you up in my system.”

Seth: That’s pretty cool.

Jaren: Yeah. There are some really cool features there. The only drawback is, I don’t believe they have a virtual fax line, but my workaround is Traveling Mailbox. It’s a shared fax line, but I use fax so rarely that honestly, even if Traveling Mailbox didn’t have that, in the one-off situation that I need to deal with fax, I would just have them fax it to my local UPS store and deal with it in that capacity. Fax is not such an urgent feature in my business that I would shy away from using OpenPhone because they didn’t have that feature. And they also integrate into a bunch of other software stuff. They’re super adaptable. They integrated with Zapier and that kind of stuff too.

Seth: That’s cool. If it really is perfect, that’s a big deal. Because literally everything I’ve ever looked into, it’s weird, because sometimes I’ll hear a person rave about a certain one. I remember Grasshopper was one that people used to rave about and Freedom Voice. Heck, I think everybody’s probably raved about something, but then you just pay attention, and eventually all the ugliness comes out. And somebody who’s like, “No, they’re actually terrible because of this and this.”

It’s kind of weird because sometimes you may use a certain phone service because it checks certain boxes for you, but there are other types of businesses that use it for other reasons and it doesn’t check their boxes. Or maybe they just have a weird one-off bad experience.

It’s been one of those hard things to get behind a company and say “use them.” Because obviously when I tell anybody to use anything, I want them to have a perfect experience. And they’re never going to have that because there are always problems with these companies. So, if OpenPhone is really as awesome as you say, that’s a big deal because I haven’t found that yet.

Jaren: Yeah. I will tell you when it comes to support, they don’t have any phone support at all. You’re at the mercy of email support and I had a disaster happen over the weekend. I had a coaching student. I said, Hey, let me get into your OpenPhone so I can set up your system for you or at least start the initial process to have all the calls route directly to voicemail. Well, he added me as an admin to his team and what that ended up doing was merging our accounts. And then he was getting my calls, but he was now listed as the owner. So, I couldn’t remove myself from the account. And then I was like, okay, well, just delete my number on your side. And then I assume for whatever reason, bad move, but I assume that it would just default back to me having my own login. It completely annihilated my number.

Seth: Are you serious?

Jaren: Yeah, for like 24 hours… And I’m having leads coming in too. So, it was terrible. I don’t know. I may miss some opportunities and stuff for those 24 hours. I had my 904 number from my website and what I have on my direct mail letters was completely dead, like it would not go anywhere. And that was really terrible.

Seth: Yeah, that’s a slight problem.

Jaren: Yeah. Avoid that problem. But what was unfortunate is it was over the weekend. I kept getting auto-response messages that were like, “Hey, we’ll get back to you if it’s urgent within two to three hours.” It was not two to three hours. They got back to me the next morning. That was terrible.

Seth: Man. Well, that stinks. I guess we found the problem and here you go. For everybody out there, just be aware no phone company is perfect. But I guess just in terms of mobile apps anyway, the RingCentral one I can get behind that. You do use RingCentral, the app is pretty solid, assuming you’re paying a subscriber to that. The OpenPhone. I think I looked at the OpenPhone one. That one was rated pretty well too.

Jaren: And you can even talk. They have a team button so I can correspond with people. I have my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law who work with me. So, I can get them on that system and text them and say, “Hey, follow up with this person.” It’s really awesome.

Seth: Great. Let’s talk about cloud-based storage for example. I think you said you use Google Drive. I use that as well. I also use Dropbox. I’m using both for different reasons.

Jaren: Let’s dive into that. I’m curious why people still use Dropbox because I always default to Google Drive. What do you use Dropbox for specifically?

Seth: I think with some of the changes Google Drive has made as of late, they have a new desktop folder thing where you can just drop stuff in the folder and it stinks. I don’t think they used to have that, but that’s how Dropbox has always worked from day one. And just that whole concept of, “I need to drag this into this holder” and boom, it’s sinking.

Again, Google Drive does that too now, but I don’t think it was always that way. But given that they both do that, I kind of agree with you. If I was starting from nothing, Google Drive is probably what I would default to. But on the same coin, Dropbox, I just like it. I’ve been using it for so long and I’m just really familiar with it.

But essentially, I think they both do a similar thing. I think the advantage of Google Drive is that they’ve got Google Docs and Google Sheets and they’ve also got those Google Sheets and Google Docs mobile apps that you can use on your phone that work really well. And they sync right there with Google Drive.

Also, if you use Google for anything, it’s tied into so much of the internet. So many things hook up with that, including your calendar, signing up into different accounts with your Google account. All things being equal, if I had a gun to my head and I had to pick one, I’d probably pick Google Drive, but that’s not to say Dropbox is bad. I still like it a lot and use it every day.

Jaren: Yeah. I pretty much have my entire life in Google Drive. Even when it comes to Microsoft Office stuff, I don’t subscribe to any of that. It’s all powered by Google Drive for me. And similar to what you’re saying, I think people get acclimated to certain software tools. Funny enough when I’m in Dropbox, I feel like it’s clunky. I feel like it’s hard to navigate.

Seth: In some ways, I think it sort of is. Yeah.

Jaren: But for me, Google Drive is pretty amazing. The only thing I don’t like about Google Drive is if I go to a file and I select share and I set it to share and I grab the link and it says, enable share. And I sent it to somebody who’s not within my company. So, it doesn’t have the same ibuyland.org admin email and is part of that whole internal team, 9 times out of 10, they’re going to click on it, and then it’s going to request access anyway. And then I have to send it to them again. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but that’s my only real critique of Google Drive.

Seth: I’ve had that exact same problem countless times. I think though, I recently figured it out, and this is probably obvious to veterans of Google Drive, but there’s like a second thing. It’s not just about putting in their email address and sending it. There’s also a second section, it’s like a drop-down where you have to enable anybody on the internet to see this or anybody outside the organization if they have the link. But I agree though, it’s something that isn’t intuitive enough. The fact that you had problems with it and I had problems with it is not for me to say they probably need to fix that somehow.

Jaren: Yeah, man. No, for sure. That’s good to know though. Another app for me, this one was actually not on my original list, but I’m going to choose this one. The PandaDoc app. I know a lot of land investors use SignNow or DocuSign. I love PandaDoc. I’m a big fan. They have paid versions and a free version. But in the free version for 99% of what land investors need from a signing software, they do it for free. It’s awesome.

What’s really cool about them is on their paid versions, you can integrate into Stripe and you can put a credit card field right there on an invoice or on a document. And they can put in their credit card and process credit card payments and stuff. So, I’m a big fan. They also integrate into Zapier and they can do a lot of really fun stuff. The mobile app is super intuitive and really easy to send documents and correct documents and all that stuff. So, I ended up a big fan.

Seth: I believe DocuSign can do all that same stuff, but I hear what you’re saying. I’ve used PandaDoc a few times, and other people that use it have sent me stuff. And I think I even have an account actually that I’ve poked around in a little bit. But something about that interface, I can’t put my finger on it, but something about it just feels easier to use, feels friendlier and less complicated, and easier to set up. And I don’t know if that’s actually true or if that’s just my impression.

Jaren: I think they’re cheaper than DocuSign too.

Seth: Yeah, it could be. That whole free plan thing. I think Mailchimp was the first company to do that in the email marketing world. And now a bunch of them do it. That’s a brilliant way to get people to adopt your platform though. Because there’s something about the second you have to pay for anything, it’s like this big mental obstacle for a lot of people. And that’s cool to have a usable service that you can potentially pay nothing for in some cases.

Jaren: Yeah. And they’re awesome. What’s your next one on your list?

Seth: Another one for me, pretty basic, Trello. I use Trello a lot for so many different things. Keeping track of different projects and ideation and all this stuff. I think most people out there are probably familiar with Trello, but if you’re not, it’s like this Kanban board where you can have different lists and cards that you can create, and then you can put notes and links and images and stuff within those cards and move them around and assign them to different people and just keep track of where things are at.

The thing I like about the Trello mobile app is that it’s every bit as easy to use as it is if you’re at a desktop computer. It’s almost even easier to use. I’d almost prefer to do it on my phone instead of getting in front of a computer. It’s just really user-friendly. I think that’s actually a sign of a really good mobile app when it’s just so easy. And you would almost prefer to do it on your phone because it’s so easy. I don’t need to get to my office to do anything, it’s just right there and everything syncs up and all that. As basic as Trello is, it’s not like the super complicated software and it is free too, at least the version that I use. They just did a really good job with their app.

Jaren: That’s super interesting because I think I would beg to differ.

Seth: Oh, really? You don’t like it?

Jaren: Yeah. I love Trello. I use Trello every day, but I really don’t like their mobile app. I actually had it for a long time and I don’t even have it on here anymore because what I didn’t like, and maybe it’s the way that I use it. I know that you can create something on a board that you can move and move around to other boards. I know this is an audio base. It’d be a lot more helpful I think if we had some visual illustrations on this one, but within an assigned objective or assigned thing underneath one of those boards, I will put checklists constantly. That’s what I use.

Let me walk through an example. Let’s say I have a board that says Monday tasks. I’ll also have other buckets of aspects of my life, like personal, REtipster land, whatever. And then I’ll have just an ongoing list of projects and objectives and things that I need to do. I use it as a super robust to-do list. I’ll then grab whatever from those corresponding buckets. And I’ll drag them over to the Monday task board.

When I click on certain things, like if it’s a big project, I’m just finishing up a review on Pebble for REtipster. I’d have the Pebble review project. I click on that and then I’d have checklists. Like do this, do that, do that. And then in the mobile app, when I mark something as completed, I have to see the lined checklist. It doesn’t remove it. I don’t have the option to remove it from the view so I can have this super long, super difficult thing to navigate through on the mobile, whereas on desktop, I can just say don’t show things that are checked.

Seth: I don’t use that functionality in Trello. So maybe if I did, my thoughts would be different, but it’s actually a good point though. Kind of going back to our earlier discussion about the phone apps, because some people can love or hate something based on their specific needs. And if it doesn’t meet their needs, they’re going to hate it. But if it does, they’re going to love it. Have you ever tried the Airtable mobile app?

Jaren: I keep hearing about Airtable. I think I need to do a trial run or something because everybody keeps talking about it. But I feel like it’s probably the same thing as Trello, right? It sounds like it’s almost the same thing.

Seth: It does a lot more than Trello does. You basically create this workspace and then a base within that workspace and then a table within that workspace. It sort of starts out like a really complex spreadsheet, but you can format it to work like Trello does where it’s a Kanban board where you move cards around. You could also do something like a calendar or something else.

But basically, it gives you a lot more different ways to set it up and use it. And I don’t know about the checklist thing you’re talking about, maybe or maybe it can’t do that, but if that’s a big deal to you, it might be worth investigating that. I do know their mobile app it’s similar to Trello in that. It’s just super easy to use on a phone, in my opinion anyway. And it also starts for free. It wouldn’t cost you anything. It just takes some time to figure out your way around Airtable.

Jaren: What do you feel most people in the real estate/land space use it for? I know a lot of people use it in conjunction with a Podio system or a Pebble system, but I don’t know why. Why would you need the additional functionality of it?

Seth: Yeah. I don’t know enough about Podio to say this with any educated opinion, but I think it might be used instead of Podio. It’s kind of like this framework upon which you can build things. And you can get all kinds of automation with Zapier and stuff integrated with it. One way to keep things organized, keep track of different people who have to do different things.

I don’t know that it’s the best thing to use for a CRM system or keeping things organized, but it is one solid contender. If you have the patience to figure out the lay of the land and how to use it.

Jaren: And it’s really affordable too.

Seth: Yeah, yeah. I can see a lot of compelling reasons why one would go down that path because it starts free. You can get a paid plan if you want. And that’s the thing. It’s not just Airtable. There’s other stuff you have to get to really make it work the way you want. And you would probably have to pay for those things. But Airtable is like the foundation that holds everything else.

Jaren: Yeah, man. Very interesting. I have to do a deep dive on it. I also heard good things about HiveMind. That’s another one that people keep throwing around.

Seth: Yeah. I’ve heard of that too. And I think they’ve got some kind of affiliate program or something and that might be why so many people try to push it because they are getting affiliate stuff. I don’t know exactly, but I’ve also heard some people just swear by that. There must be something to it, but I don’t know enough to really know at this point because I haven’t dived into it yet.

Jaren: Yeah, that’s interesting.

Seth: I think it kind of goes back to the thing you mentioned earlier that for example, I use Microsoft Excel. My default is Microsoft Excel because that’s what I learned years and years ago. And that’s what I’ve stuck with. Prior to something like Pebble being out, a lot of people might’ve learned Airtable or Podio or whatever. And that’s just kind of what they’re comfortable with. Then there’s something to be said for that. I mean, it might not be worth switching if you are just ready to go on a certain platform, whereas it would take you weeks to learn another one. Sometimes it just makes sense to go with the lower obstacle to moving forward.

Jaren: Yeah, it makes sense. The next one that I think it’s the last one on my lap on my list is WhatsApp. That one’s kind of borderline personal, but I feel like outside of the U.S. everybody uses WhatsApp. The fact that my wife and my in-laws are from Kazakhstan and we have more of an international kind of family culture or whatever, I use that thing all the time. I use that thing even with other land investors, people that I connected with. I don’t know how to pronounce his last name, but Jason Wallback or something like that. He’s in Peru. We connected on WhatsApp. A lot of things happen on WhatsApp for me. So that’s a pretty essential app that I use all the time. It’d be hard to live without.

Seth: Yeah. I’ve heard that. Everybody I know who is not in the U.S. uses exactly that.

Jaren: I remember when my wife and I first got married and WhatsApp then didn’t exist. I spent a fortune on calling cards, man.

Seth: Oh, yeah. I remember those times.

Jaren: We take for granted these things. I had been prepaying an international card and put in the number.

Seth: Isn’t that crazy how stuff used to work?

Jaren: Yeah, man. But WhatsApp just completely trumps all that.

Seth: You can do video calls through WhatsApp?

Jaren: You can do video and you can chat and you can do just a regular call. It’s essentially OpenPhone or Freedom Voice. It’s essentially that, but for free.

Seth: Are you on a phone number or something?

Jaren: Well, you don’t get your own phone number. It is tied to your personal phone number. It sits on a virtual phone system. It sits on the internet and that’s how it’s powered, similar to OpenPhone or other software like that.

Seth: Yeah. All these new innovations on the internet, they’re great, but they’re kind of terrible too. I hate how many different ways people can send me messages like Facebook and LinkedIn. For some people, that’s probably not a big deal. Maybe they even like it, but it drives me crazy. The more accounts you have out there, people think and expect you to respond just by sending you a message. It’s like, can we just funnel this all into one inbox? And then somebody else can sift through all that and tell me what is actually important.

Jaren: And if I set that up, that would be Zapier.

Seth: Probably something else I got to learn.

Jaren: Yeah. I do not for the record, in case people hear this and they reach out to me. If you reached out to me on Messenger, that’s probably the least likely to get ahold of me. That place gets my leftovers. Don’t reach out to me on Facebook Messenger, send me an email, or reach out to me some other way.

Seth: Yeah. I feel bad because there are some people, where the only way I know of to get ahold of them is Facebook Messenger. And so, I’ll send them a message. And I’m like, oh man, I’m being that guy that I can’t stand because I can’t stand it when people send me Facebook Messages and expect me to respond. No disrespect to anybody out there who’s ever tried to do that, but it’s just a personal pet peeve of mine. But sometimes that’s just the only way you can do it.

Jaren: And I know it because being an introvert and stuff, I’m sure all that is just little ticks into your energy tank when some people reach out to you.

Seth: I don’t know if it’s like an introvert issue or maybe it’s just overload and overwhelm because there are so many people just barraging me with messages and requests and “Give me this, give me that” all the time. And if I didn’t have that, I probably wouldn’t mind at all. But when you get so much of that, it’s hard to process yet another channel where people are trying to get something from you.

Jaren: Yeah. I agree, man. It’s tough. Email for me is also really tough. I like to be an inbox zero. I actually feel like email gives me a lot of anxiety for whatever reason. I don’t know exactly what it is. And a lot of it is just spam stuff, it doesn’t matter. But gosh, if I see 50 emails then I’m like, “Oh my goodness, the world’s imploding?” 

Seth: Yeah, I know what you mean. The emails that get me, there is something to what you’re saying. I think even spam stuff, it still requires you to take a second and evaluate and decide, is this important or not? And it adds up, but those emails that really require a thoughtful response or they’re asking for something big. I’m not sure if I want to do it or not. I’ve got to think about it. And then if the answer is no, I got to craft the message so I don’t sound like a jerk. Yeah, there can be a lot there.

Jaren: That’s why I like Loom a lot because if I can just say it, even now I’m starting to catch myself doing two or three or four iterations of a Loom video because I’m tired of how many times I made a mistake or said something stupid and there’s no editing there. It’s tough, man. I guess some people are fine just sending out whatever and just getting done with it. But I feel like if I’m going to send somebody an email, I need to make sure that I don’t sound like an idiot to the best of my abilities. And I’m not the greatest at grammar. It takes me probably, I don’t know, maybe twice as long sometimes than somebody else to respond and send a good well-formatted email. So, it’s just tough.

Seth: Yeah, I hear you. And I use BombBomb. It’s basically the same thing. Probably just more expensive, but yeah, sometimes a video it’s just a better way to do it. Because you can hear tone and that kind of thing and hear really where a person’s coming from. But even that it’s like, what if you get the wrong tone? What if you say it even worse than an email would have been?
And sometimes all of us get emails from people who don’t think twice, they just vomit whatever they’re thinking out of an email and send it. And it’s just poorly written and it doesn’t convey the right things and leaves out information. I like my communication to be genuinely helpful, not just noise.

Jaren: I remember you told me actually some insider information here, spilling the beans on the podcast. I remember you told me what you think may be one of the sources of your blog skills developed out of being very thorough in your work emails from your banking days. People would send you an email and you would really take the time to write how do I address this in a way where they literally have all the information they would ever need? And there are no questions and it’s super clear. And I think that’s super helpful and a really good standard to pursue when it comes to business communication.

Seth: Yeah. And even along those lines, if you get an email that’s just a wall of text 2,000-word email. It’s like “No, I’m not reading that.” So, there is a way to give all the information they could ever want, but do it in a way that is still somewhat succinct. And using bullet points and bold text to draw people’s attention to certain things, just oddly it has this way of making it easier to read through. And it’s not so laborious to get through that. It’s really an art honestly. Most people don’t care enough to do it, but for those who do it can be pretty impactful.

Jaren: And spacing.

Seth: And spacing too.

Jaren: I remember, not to throw anybody under the bus, but I have had some previous people I’ve worked with who would send things in all caps too. That to me means you’re yelling. So, it’s like, “What the heck is going on?” And they’re not, they’re just lazy and don’t want to have to worry about the right upper and lower case or whatever. I don’t know what their thought process is necessarily.

Seth: Yeah. I like to send my emails using all wingding fonts.

Jaren: Back in the day, it was really interesting because I remember seeing, and you will still see it, some old school people that are not super internet savvy, they’ll send like cursive font or blue font, trying to be different. And it’s like, “What? Just stop.”

Seth: Yeah. I think that honestly, anytime I see a person using any font other than just the normal font, you don’t need to do anything fancy, as soon as you start going down that road and things get weird, it’s either harder to read or I’m making weird assumptions about you based on the font you’re using. Just keep it normal. You don’t have to get all fancy like that.

Jaren: Again, I know we’re kind of rabbit trailing a little bit, but to that point, I respond better to promotional emails that are more normal than if they’re well branded, even with colors and a full design page. My brain sees that and it says “spam” or “promotion.” Don’t waste time with that.

If I were to develop my own email sequence, I would try to steer more in the direction of just regular emails and a lot of Loom videos. I wish that Google, because Google owns YouTube, why can’t we embed videos right there with emails? Why do we have to click open into a new tab? I really don’t like that. I wish that there was a way we can just watch videos right there.

Seth: That’s a good point. They should totally have a way to do that. Not that it’s like that hard to open a new window, but still it’s like, yeah, with YouTube, that happens all the time on blog posts and stuff.

What you’re saying there about the personal approach though, Jaren, that’s a big takeaway, because I’m the same way. I think most people probably direct mail. As soon as you see some credit card offers, that is instantly going to the trash. That’s like guaranteed way to make sure I do not open that mail is to just make yourself look like a big dumb corporation.

But as soon as there was any indication that it’s personal, I actually saw something, I took a picture of it. I thought it was so cool. It was one of those big dumb companies that sent me a piece of mail not long ago, but it had this sticker right over it that said “Offer expires on 12/21/2021.” I just never see that. It’s like, “What? What is this?” And I still didn’t open. I still threw it away because I spent a few seconds looking at it and realized it was just a ploy, but it totally made me do a double-take and look closer at it.

If there’s a way you can look different, I think sometimes that stuff can work. But when all else fails, just being a normal person it’s so surprisingly rare in the marketing world. If you can look like it’s just coming from a human perspective, that can go a long way.

Jaren: Yeah. I thousand percent agree there, man. I would rather err on the side of being more personal than professional in all of my marketing stuff.

Seth: Yeah. Another one, actually, several mobile apps that I’ll mention, but they’re all sort of along the same vein. This is something that I was trying to do a little bit of research on. I saw somebody had posted this in our forum and it was a very basic question, but a very good question that I don’t know that there’s a perfect solution to this yet.

But the question was all about, “Hey, I’ve got this piece of land for sale and somebody is interested, but they want me to come out and visit them at the property and show them the boundaries and answer the questions and then they’ll buy it from me.”

And I remember the first property I ever sold. That was the exact situation. And I did it. I drove two hours to the property and met with them onsite and it was a horrible waste of time. But at the time I didn’t know that there really was an easier way to do this.

But these days there are several apps out there that can help solve this problem without you having to go to the property. And they’re not all exactly the same. They’re sort of designed for different purposes and used in different ways, but they can essentially accomplish the same goal of helping a person if they have a mobile phone, like a smartphone, they can download the app themselves and sign up for a free trial. And it basically shows them where you are versus where the property lines are. And it helps the person know when they’re standing on the property versus when they’re not.

One of them is MapRight. I think Mike Ferrera actually posted a really good reply in our Facebook group. And I asked this question, “How are people doing this?” He explained really well how this works. Basically, you can create a map yourself, assuming you have a MapRight subscription, and then send a link to the person. And when they click the link, it prompts them to download the MapRight app, and then they can open it. And it shows them exactly where it is. It just helps lead them to the property so they can get there. And then also when they’re there, understand when they’re on the property.

Other apps that can do a similar thing are LandGlide, onX Hunt, and HuntStand. Some of them are used for hunters, that kind of thing. But I think the downside of, I think all of these, I don’t know about MapRight. But LandGlide and HuntStand, they require a paid subscription, and that kind of presents a problem when we’re trying to make it as easy as possible for a potential buyer to get the app, download it, and understand how to use it. If they’re prompted to pay for something or even sign up for a free trial, and they eventually are going to start charging them something, that’s a problem.

That’s the downside of some of those, but just those apps in general, I know several people that swear by each one of those just in terms of this has been helpful at solving that problem at helping a person know where the property is and when they’re standing on the property. So, those could be worth checking out too.

Jaren: Seth, another one that’s actually free and it’s not necessarily mobile, but I’m sure that if you send it via mobile, it would be fine. I don’t know if you can create it though, it is Google My Maps. It’s similar to Google Maps, but what you can do is create step-by-step directions or show “Hey, if you’re from downtown in the nearest city or nearest town, this is a step-by-step directions to the property.” And before I started using agents and I was doing all my own listings and stuff, I used that on every single property because that was a really easy way to give people directions to the property. So, it’s called Google My Maps.

Seth: Awesome.

Jaren: And I believe it’s free.

Seth: I have to check that one out. Another one that has been really helpful to me. And I think this probably only applies to people who use QuickBooks. Actually, even if you aren’t a QuickBooks user, it might still be helpful, but it’s called QuickBooks Self-Employed and it’s really useful and convenient for a few reasons.

It can be used to track business miles that use GPS. And you basically just clock in, you say, “Okay, I’m officially leaving now on business travel.” And it will just track how many miles you’re driving. If you’re trying to track miles for any reason, it’s really helpful with that.

It’s also a really good way to keep track of business receipts and that kind of thing. You also can sync up your bank accounts with it, so it can kind of track what’s going on in real-time with whatever bank account you’re using.

It’s just a really well-made app. It’s really easy to use. And if you are using QuickBooks, as many people are, it’s kind of like the industry standard, not necessarily in the land business, but just business in general. That’s what most accountants will use and that kind of thing. It’s a really useful app and it’s free.

And then another one that was on my list. We’ve talked about this in the past, and it’s not that I use this frequently in the line of business that I’m in, but every time I have used it, I’ve been really impressed with DealCheck. We actually interviewed Anton Ivanov on the podcast, episode 89. It was a great interview. I’ll link to it in the show notes.

The downside with DealCheck is that I don’t believe it has a way to evaluate storage facilities or land, which are the two that I’m most entrenched in right now. But for everything else you can imagine, apartment buildings, retail space, houses, duplexes, all that stuff. The more common types of properties, they thought of everything. It’s super easy to use. It stores everything in the Cloud. You can create reports from it. It pulls in pictures and stuff from Google Street view. They’ve just really nailed it.

I don’t know of a better rental property analysis software out there just to figure out, “Is this going to be a good deal or not?” You can also back into it and say if I want this property to have a cash-on-cash return of 10% or whatever, fill in the blank, let’s say, okay, well, if that’s what you want, then this needs to be your offer price. There you go.

It just makes it really easy to figure out what I need to offer. You don’t even really need to get into negotiations with people. Once you know what the deal needs to be, it just tells you the number. And if they’re not going to do it, you can walk away and find something else. So, I think that’s a really well-done app. It’s one that people ought to be using if they’re not already.

Jaren: Another one that I think is worth mentioning, this is going to be very helpful if you’re trying to do any kind of content, video stuff, Parrot. Parrot is something that I use all the time because of the video work that I do.

If you’re trying to do a promotional video on your website or something, one of the biggest hurdles that people deal with when it comes to being on camera is what do I say exactly and how do I not stumble over my words and all that stuff. So, I will script out the majority of my videos verbatim. It depends on your personality and stuff. I think you’ve mentioned Seth, that if you do that, you kind of come across as more mundane.

Seth: Yeah. I actually don’t do well with it at all. It’s very obvious I’m reading from a teleprompter when I use it, but I will say Jaren’s delivery doesn’t have that problem. He’s really good with it.

Jaren: And my alternative, if I don’t have that, because I’m all over the place with my flow of thinking, I’ll miss points and I’ll have so many “ums,” it would be a mess to edit if I don’t have a very concise word-for-word what I want to say. It’s a lot of prep work, but this thing will allow me to have a telephone prompter on my phone. They actually have a little podcast, their Parrot remote, where you can sync up to Bluetooth and start to stop it. It’s kind of sometimes a little jenky, but I don’t think there’s any alternative. And I use it all the time. So, it’s worth mentioning.

Seth: Yeah. I’ll include a link to the teleprompter itself that you’re supposed to use in the app itself. But yeah, it’s not perfect, but if you are somebody who needs the teleprompter for any reason, and I think most people probably don’t, but if you’re trying to do any kind of a video or something like that, they can be super helpful. But a lot of other teleprompters out there are just these huge, bulky things. And they’re just ridiculously expensive, but the Parrot one, what is it? A hundred bucks? And it’s small and portable and you can just use your phone, you don’t have to buy a bunch of fancy equipment. It’s a pretty good invention from the guy that put that thing together.

Jaren: And even if you don’t sync it up to a camera, but you have the camera pointing at you and then you have your phone off to the side, it could still work seamlessly. Because right now I have it where you have a mirror option and it actually sits on my camera. You don’t even need that feature. It’s been really helpful.

Seth: The one last app I’ll mention, I think it could actually use a little bit of improvement. There are some little quirky things about it that I don’t love, but the fact that it exists at all is a really nice convenience is the DataTree app. If you have a DataTree account, normally when we want to look up specific property information or whatever, we would have to get on a computer and do that.

But DataTree does have a mobile app and you can use your account and log into that and just see it from your phone wherever you are. There’s been a lot of times when I’ve had to do that for just oddball reasons. It’s not really meant to pull lists from the app, but just the property research part of it. That can be done from your phone if you want. So, it’s just something to be aware of.

Jaren: Yeah. We also didn’t mention Zoom. I think everybody uses Zoom right now. I use the mobile app.

Seth: It’s almost kind of like the internet browser app or the Gmail app. Like it’s just such a staple, but maybe not. If you don’t use Zoom all the time, maybe you don’t use it that much, but I agree. That’s a useful one.

Jaren: That one comes in handy sometimes when I’m on the go and I have to jump on a discovery call or something. It’s been good.

Seth: Yes. Well, we covered a lot. I was only planning on doing like 10, but I think we’ve got twice as many as I was even hoping to do. If you’ve got good app ideas, feel free to pop into our forum and share those ideas there in the little technology section. And maybe we can get more ideas on what we’re missing. But if nothing else, hopefully, you guys got a little bit of insight on what we’re using and what we find most useful. And that’s the cool thing. I guarantee you there’s stuff that we don’t even know about that would be super insanely helpful for various reasons. So, I would invite people to share their thoughts on this. If you know something good that the world should know about, feel free to share.

Jaren: As we’re finishing up this, I know we’re trying to land the plane, but I will say if you struggle with grammar, the Grammarly app is also super helpful.

Seth: Is that on a mobile app?

Jaren: Yeah. There’s a free version where it integrates into your text message spot and it’ll cover your grammar stuff. At least the big gaping holes. For me, I at the moment struggle pretty extensively with grammar and it’s important to me to make sure I come across in a way that’s simple and easy to understand and all that. That has saved my heinie more times than one.

Seth: Cool. I didn’t even think of that. Thanks for sharing.

Jaren: That was the last one I’ll mention.

Seth: Well, those are our favorite apps. I hope you guys got something out of that. I appreciate you listening today. Again, if you want to check out the show notes, I’m going to include links to all of this stuff that we talked about, retipster.com/116.

If you’re listening on your phone, be sure to take out your phone and text the word “FREE” to the number 33777. You can stay up to date on all things REtipster.

If you haven’t been into our forum or Facebook group recently, feel free to pop in there and say hi. Let us know what you’re working on and feel free to answer people’s questions if you can.

And also, if you feel so inclined, I wouldn’t mind it personally if you left us a review on the Apple podcast app. Let us know what you think, leave an honest review, just your feedback on how things are going. If you have suggestions or if there are things you love in particular, let us know.

And that wraps it up for today. Thanks everybody for listening, and we’ll talk to you next time.

About the author

Seth Williams is the Founder of REtipster.com - an online community that offers real-world guidance for real estate investors.

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