When I first met David Denniston in the summer of 2018, he was already doing some cool things as a land investor.
As one might expect, his business has evolved far beyond where it was in those days.
In this episode, we’ll talk about where Dave has been, how he's managed to build a sizeable team, how he's done so well investing in tax liens and tax deeds, and where he’s headed in the coming months and years (and a lot of other valuable nuggets in between).
Links and Resources
- Freedom Formula for Physicians Podcast
- Cyrena Denniston sings the National Anthem
- Pat Flynn and Smart Passive Income
- Dan Kennedy
- Conflict of Nations WW3
- A Crash Course in Tax Lien & Tax Deed Investing (And My Love/Hate Relationship With Both)
- My Experience at a Tax Deed Auction (Is There Any Opportunity Here?)
- 132: How Land Investors Can Start Using 21st-Century Marketing Techniques w/ Callan Faulkner
- Who Not How by Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy
- The Vault Conference
- Land Unconference
- Land Stories Podcast
Seth: Hey everybody, how's it going? Welcome to the REtipster podcast.
Today, Ajay is back in the co-host chair and we're sitting down with our friend Dave Denniston. So, it's been a while since Dave has been on the podcast. Our first conversation was way back in the summer of 2018, not long after the REtipster podcast started. Dave was already doing some pretty cool things back then, but now as one might expect, his business has evolved pretty far beyond where it was back in those days.
So, in this interview, we're going to sit down with Dave and talk about where he's been, how he's gotten this far, and where he's headed in the coming months and years with his land business. Dave, welcome to the show. How are you doing?
Dave: I'm back. I made it.
Seth: You're back.
Dave: If you come back for a second time, it's like you must have done okay the first time, right? That you can come back again.
Seth: Truth be told, only a handful of people do come back. It's not because I don't like them, but some people are just very profound and have amazing things to say.
Dave: That's right.
Seth: You should feel honored.
Dave: Thank you. I do. I really, really do. But you know what? I’m even more honored because I have Ajay here with me. And Ajay, we got to hear the beatboxing. Have you done that yet on Seth's podcast?
Ajay: I have not beatboxed on the podcast.
Dave: You got to bring it out. Let the people know.
Seth: We could edit it out if it ends up being a disaster. But it's up to you.
Ajay: Seth, may I?
Seth: Yeah, go for it.
Ajay: All right, I'm going to cover my mouth, out of respect for everybody watching this.
Seth: Did you go to school for that? How did you learn that?
Ajay: I was a beatboxing major in college.
Seth: It sounds like it.
Ajay: Yeah. Fun little side story here, actually. I was a contestant in a male talent show. We were fundraising for the Riley Hospital for children in Indianapolis. And so, I didn't have a talent, and so I tried to learn one. I stumbled onto beatboxing. It wasn't one I could learn fast enough for the competition, but it was something I just kept doing as a fun little hobby. So, YouTube can teach you all kinds of stuff anywhere from beatboxing all the way through land investing, which is a great segue.
Dave: People ask me all the time, my wife is an amazing singer. She's sung at national anthems for sporting events and all kinds of stuff.
Seth: Oh, really? Cool.
Dave: I don't sing worth the drop. I don't beatbox worth of drop. So, we're not going to go there. All right? I'm telling you right now.
Seth: Is your wife on YouTube singing any of this stuff?
Dave: She is, she is.
Dave: Yes. Cyrena. She had a band called Seed. Kind of like a heavy metal kind of thing. She actually got some music videos and stuff done. So, she's the star. I'm just Cyrena’s husband.
Seth: Yeah. Well, I'm going to try to find that on YouTube, but if I can find any videos, I'll link them in the show notes. By the way, this is episode 144, retipster.com/144, for the show notes of everything we're talking about today.
Yeah, I guess we'll get right into it. So, for those who are not familiar with Dave Denniston, by the way, our first interview is episode 20, retipster.com/20, if you want to check that out. But for those who don't want to listen to that and just want to hear the recap, who are you? What's your origin story? How long have you been doing land? How has your business evolved over the years?
Dave: Yeah. Well, let's see if I can get it right. It was a long time ago. Let's see if I tell the same story I told before. Long story short, for those of you that are watching on YouTube, I got a suit on. That's because I'm a financial planner by trade. I've been in the business for 20 years now. Founded my own company just a year ago, in November of 2021. We finally went live with that.
And I have a podcast actually where Seth was on, the Freedom Formula for Physicians. He's been on there twice. So, we have those episodes. I think the first one was the same timeframe set about four years ago.
Dave: The other one was maybe two years ago. So, we'll have to have you a third time now to keep going. But anyhow, I got into land and I'll give you the very short story. I started in financial planning 20 years ago, in 2002. I started to work for Edward Jones. I did door knocking, literally went door to door to door, try and get clients. Horrible way to try and get clients, by the way.
Seth: Sounds hard.
Dave: I really don't recommend it. I did it in the wind, I did it in the rain, I did it in snow, I did it in beautiful sunny weather.
Seth: Does that work at all? Did you get any people doing that?
Dave: I did. I did. But I was burned the heck out.
Seth: Oh, yeah.
Dave: I'm already an introvert, to begin with. And you asked me to go knock on people's doors, it was way out of my comfort zone.
Seth: That sounds like the worst thing ever for an introvert, for sure.
Dave: It was. Yeah, I don't recommend it. So, I started questioning what I want to do with my life after that. And so, I was actually a volunteer firefighter and then I also worked as a salary person for a financial advisor for a time-growing client, growing assets. I have a CFA designation. CFA is after my name. I love numbers, I'm a numbers geek.
And then I made this acquisition that led me to Minnesota. So, I moved from Seattle to Minnesota, and it was something that really stretched me. Literally a $3 million acquisition at the time. And $1 million was down. So, I borrowed from family. All the chips were in on the table on this acquisition. Unfortunately, it was August 1st, 2008 when it closed, literally a month before the financial crisis started. Things just went wrong in all kinds of ways. The numbers were wrong of the acquisition, the financial crisis happened.
And so, here I had all these family loans that I was trying to figure out how am I going to pay back the family now? And we survived. We made it bit by bit, step by step. The financial planning business grew, but it wasn't growing at the rate that I wanted it to because that's such a competitive industry.
Then in 2012, my wife and I had our second daughter. Our second daughter was born less than a pound. She's a complete opposite of you, Seth. She was 12.4 ounces when she came into this world. And so, I really started focusing on doctors. And I started writing some books. I have a podcast, the Freedom Formula for Physicians, which you were on. And I was looking for just different financial experiments and trying different stuff.
I tried Amazon FBA. I tried listening to podcasts. I'm a big fan of Pat Flynn, just like you. Listened to a bunch of podcasts on marketing and I was trying different stuff. I got involved in GKIC and Dan Kennedy and reading all his stuff.
And so, I spent this whole personal development time until one day in 2017, Mark Podolsky came on my podcast. Now I have a lot of bones to pick with Mark, which we don't probably need to get into here, but it's very much a blessing that I got into that, that he came on my podcast. I got into the coaching program and whatnot. I really took off.
And that's where you and I met in 2018. At that time, I think I had done quite a few deals. That's, I guess, the origin story of how I got into the land business, which I just loved.
At the end of the day, how in financial planning, like, “Hey, give me your life savings and I will help you.” As much as good intentions you might have, there are so many financial advisors. Land was just such a refreshing change where it's like, “I want land. Oh, you have people willing to sell land.” You could make it happen over and over and over and over again. And I saw it being a much more scalable business than my financial planning business.
Seth: Yeah. Now we talk every, I don't know, year or two I feel like, where we kind of caught up on something, whether it's a podcast or we just get on a Zoom call. Last time we talked, I think it was sometime in the past year, you were telling me about what your operation looks like now. And I just was like, “Whoa, this is huge. This is kind of a big deal this guy's doing.” And there was also, I don’t know if you're still doing this, but at one point, you were doing a lot of tax lien buying at different places around the country. Are you still doing that?
Dave: After that first year of success, let me use an analogy of, I love mobile games and stuff. So, one of the businesses that I got was a mobile gaming kit business. And I recently got into this game called Conflict of Nations World War III. So, if you love risk, it's like this really sweet game where you build up an army, you're like making alliances, and you're conquering stuff. And so, in that game, what you do, you have Navy, Air Force, and Army. And there's a counter to every kind of unit. So, you have a destroyer ship that can destroy other ships. Well, then there's like an Air Force unit that can take out the ship.
And I built my land business to have counters in the same way. So, I had great success with direct mail, and direct mail works great. But I said, “How else can I protect myself?” And acquiring properties has different ways of getting stuff. And so, one of the ways I acquired land was buying wholesale. And I figured out and really looking through the process, how are these guys getting these properties that able to sell it to me at about my mailing price, maybe even below it? And found out that they were doing tax lien foreclosures.
So, I said, “You know what? I'm going to cut out the middle man and I'm just going to go for it and figure it out.” And I actually just recorded a few weeks ago a whole presentation on tax liens. It's going to be on my financial planning site, daviddenniston.com, which I'm happy to talk through that at all, or Seth could provide the slides if anyone's interested.
And I would say you have some really, really good articles on REtipster on the tax lien states versus tax deed states. And so, I highly, highly recommend some of the articles that you have and should be linked in the show notes. That's helped me just identify this state versus that state.
Seth: Yeah, I'll totally include that.
Dave: Then I got into tax deeds as well. And so, I've attended auctions in Klamath County, Oregon, for example. I did an online auction in Mojave County, Arizona. And I picked up like 350 properties at one auction. Three-fifty.
Now these are not “buy for 10, sell for 30.” This is high volume. Often a lot of owner financing type business, which a lot of us do.
I'm not Ajay buying for $50,000 and selling for $200,000, but I'll take my little wins, my singles all day. In this case, it was buying for $300, selling for $3,000; buying for $500, selling for $4,000, stuff like that. I still have about a hundred properties from that auction that we're working our way through. And that was in 2020.
So, here we are. March of 2021, a year and a half later.
Just like that game, I've figured out all of these ways to fill the inventory and then selling same thing. Signing up for all these different websites, exploring Facebook paid ads, YouTube, and I just keep on trying to have the octopus spread its tentacles all over the place to feed the beast.
Seth: Are you still actively buying tax lien or tax deeds?
Dave: All the time.
Seth: Okay. So, which one would you say you do more of? The liens or the deeds?
Dave: Two incredibly different things. Liens are generally a lot smaller amounts of money. And so, you're spending anywhere from $100 usually up to $1,000 on a lien. And then you might endorse the liens, and it takes time. Sometimes you can buy over the counter and in that case, you can start the foreclosure process sooner. Sometimes you have to wait three or four years. And, of course, along the way, you're getting redemptions, people are paying their property taxes back, and you get your money back plus possibly interest, depending upon how you set it up and what you did.
Seth: Gotcha. So, which one would you say you like better? If you had to pick one or the other?
Dave: Depends on what I buy something for. If I can go to a tax deed auction and not have any competition or very little competition, that would be my preferred way. But that isn't the way it's been for the last two or three years. There's been a lot of competition, but I still picked stuff up and still sold and made nice margins.
Right this minute, right now, I prefer tax liens. But in this economy where we're in right now it could very well be possible another year or two from now, tax deed auctions could be a fantastic place to be. The money dries up. I can swoop in, leverage up, buy a whole bunch of properties when no one else is coming to the table.
So, hopefully, that's my hope. I don't know, we'll see what happens.
Seth: When you first explained your whole methodology for picking markets and picking specific properties, vacant land properties that you want to buy tax liens on, and I think you even showed me your spreadsheet of how you're keeping track of all this stuff. I just thought it was fascinating because it was a very systematized approach. You were going into it with intent. You knew what you're doing; you're not just throwing random chips on a board. It's like, nope, we're doing this because of this, and this makes sense, and it's okay if we hold it and if it's okay if it sells it because we're making money either way and all this stuff.
And it felt very doable the way that you were explaining it to me, and I got more interested in that just talking to you than I had ever been before. Because I was like, “Oh, I can kind of see the idea behind this.” Now I understand the cons to it too, but maybe it's okay if you can get all these deals.
So, there are a lot of questions baked into that, but what criteria do you use when you decide on a state or a county or even a specific property where it's like, “Yep, I want to own that lien. Even though I may not end up with this property in the end, I'm willing to roll the dice on this one and see where it goes.”
Because the way this process works is when you buy a lien, you don't really know what's going to happen. The property owner may pay off their taxes and pay their extra fees, and then you would walk away with a little bit of money, but it's not the same as a tax deed where you're literally buying the property. You have to be okay with this uncertainty of where this thing is going with every tax lien that you buy.
So, how do you make those decisions on which properties you decide to go after?
Dave: Let me just say first, if you are brand new, you are listening to this podcast, you've never bought or sold land before, I want you to listen to this interview again a year from now. If you get started out mailing, texting, those should be the primary ways you get started in acquiring property. These are the tentacles. This is, you've had success, you've been in an area, you know it well. This is when tax liens come into effect.
So, first of all, I don't go into an area buying tax liens unless I have mailed there. That's criteria number one. Because I need to know the market. I've bought and sold there. I know what the retail price currently is today.
I'll use an example of Teller County, Colorado. A lot of land investors go there. It's close to Colorado Springs, a beautiful area. You have a particular HOA, Cripple Creek Mountain Estates, that a lot of people would know. That's a wide subdivision. Easy to mail, easy to kind of figure out what to do and acquire stuff.
Now, property there has gotten more and more and more expensive because it's beautiful, it has lots of trees, and it's a gorgeous area. And so, I said, “You know what? Let me go ahead and try and buy some tax liens there.” I focused on that subdivision that I knew really well. Then I buy tax liens there.
Now I will caution people that from state to state, tax liens wildly change. And so, for example, in Colorado, you bid on the premium. You can lose money big time in Colorado, Teller County as an example. I'm frankly probably going to keep an eye on it, but I'm not going to buy tax liens there now because you might have a tax of $160 and then you're bidding like $600 on it.
Seth: When you say bid on the premium, can you explain that a little more? What does that mean?
Dave: Sure. In Colorado specifically, this is just specific to Colorado, every state is different again. You have to do your due diligence and kind of figure it out. In Colorado, you bid on the premium, meaning that the tax lien is $160. The lien can go for $160, but depending upon the competition, it might go for $165, it might go for $170. The premium is the amount over the basic lien.
In many cases, a lot of those leads have gone for like $600. And what people are betting, it's a numbers game. Where you get enough of them, then you have the probability of getting it. But now you're guaranteed to lose money on at least quite a few. And so, you're hoping to get a property that maybe you've invested between different liens, $4,000 or $5,000, and then you sell that one property for $20,000.
So, you still make this big fat margin on it, but it becomes, “Hey, I've lost $300 on this lien, $200 on that lien, $400 on that lien.” No, in the best scenario, you get it at the premium that it goes for. That way, you make interest on it if it redeems. So, if it's going $460 and you get it for $160, ah, the gods are smiling upon you. And that's a win-win situation because you're going to make money on the interest, and you have the possibility of getting the property.
Now to answer your question, Seth, there are a lot of different ways people can play tax liens. Two different ways that I would point out. Number one way being you're trying to get interest on the lien. That's your goal. You don't want the property. You just want to get the interest on the lien.
Goal number two would be you actually want to acquire the property, which is what most of us probably would want. I know, in Florida for example, Florida's a hybrid state. And in Florida, basically, if you're investing in tax liens, you're investing it for the interest because you're not going to get the property. The property actually goes up for auction, just like a tax deed state does. At least, that's my understanding of it. I've never bought liens there, but from what I've read about it and learned about it, that's the case in Florida.
So, if you want to get interest, Florida's a fantastic place to get interest, from my understanding. Again, I haven't personally bought there. That's what I hear.
So, I would buy liens on specific properties based on the objective I have of wanting to get the property. That's my objective. I'm not going for interest. I'm going for the property. And so, since I'm going for the property, you can do a skip trace on a list to see who has died, who might have declared bankruptcy. I generally haven't run skip traces up to this point. And I've focused on people that have held properties for a while.
For me, those are properties that were acquired at least 10 years ago. And so, more than likely, they're older, they may not care about the property. Maybe someone has passed away or something like that. Certainly, you could buy liens on the newer stuff, but you're more likely to go into that.
I also try as best as I can not to buy liens that are corporately owned by other land investors. So, if there was Ajay’s company and I knew Ajay’s company owned a bunch of properties in Teller County, then I'm not going to go buy those liens. Also, people that are in the county are very likely to keep the property. I want to avoid in-county people, which you can imagine the opposite if you're looking for interest, find the land investors, find the in-county people because then you're likely to get interest in whatever, if that's your objective.
Seth: Are you basically getting this spreadsheet of all these properties and then when you get the original list of properties that are going up for tax lien, I assume it's just like the property info itself, maybe the parcel number, but then you're adding this is the owner and this is how old they are, and this is the attributes of the property. It sounds like you have to gather a lot of information about each one in order to even know if you want to go after it. Is that accurate?
Dave: Over the years, the blessing of doing the octopus that I have is I've had VAs that have done data scraping. And so, I have a couple different VAs that I work with. They scrape a whole bunch of data for me off the county website.
And then, like I said, I personally haven't skip-traced yet to this point, but that's something else I'm going to further consider to further hone what we're doing. Which Callan in her episode, she talks about a skip tracing type thing, which I've been testing out and I'm still kind of working it out and figuring out how to do it and how to utilize it and what that looks like. But that kind of data is on that kind of tool.
Ajay: There's a couple of really cool lessons that I think Dave's been dropping that I don't want us to miss here. I want to start out just by talking about your big purchase in Mojave, 350 parcels, because I think a lot of listeners would hear that and say, “Oh, well I couldn't do that,” or “Well, he still owns a hundred properties.” People like to point things out like that.
I think a huge reason something that one of these secret counties, Mojave County, Arizona, works so well for land investors is because it's pretty illiquid as a market compared to, say, Miami-Dade County, Florida. So, if you have a nice commercial property on the corner of two busy highways in Miami-Dade, it might sell a little bit faster than the top of a mountain, 40-acre in Mojave would, right?
And so, that creates an advantage for somebody who is willing to invest and then go market the property, which is what you're doing when you're posting on lands.com or whatever else that you use to market.
So, I just want to point out that number one, you're taking advantage of the illiquid market, which is why counties like that work as well as they do and you can continuously purchase at a discount. Number two would be that Dave identified a middleman and said, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. How are they making so much money? I'm going to go figure that out.”
And I think the underlying lesson is that you were willing to do the work that a majority of people aren't. Because I think the mass majority of people would say, “That seems scary. I don't know how that works. I want to stay away from that. I don't want to dive into something new. I would rather just continuously make money by buying off the wholesalers, which works.”
You still have good profit margins as long as you're willing to be patient. You're going to recoup your investment. You're going to do very, very well in the long run. There's nothing wrong with that business model, but Dave said, “No, actually, I'm willing to do the work that most people are not.” And how's that worked out for you, Dave?
Dave: We've been very blessed. Different land investors have different models and my goal has been I want to keep doing the small stuff and let's build off of that. Then let's get into the medium stuff, then let's get into the big stuff. And I want to do all of it. I've never subdivided anything. I've been in this business five years and there are people making millions of dollars that may have way more revenue than I do. But I'm doing lots of transactions. So, a volume game versus a cash game.
And so, there are so many ways to do this business, which is beautiful, and I want to do it all. And so, I'm just trying to experience the different things you can experience in the land game and just slowly working my way up toward it.
Seth: How labor-intensive is this tax deed and tax lien buying process compared to just sending mail to private owners and buying it that way? Is it more work? Is it less work? What is better about tax liens and tax deeds? What's better about that than going after the way that everybody else does? Or what's worse about that?
Just trying to compare the two and see what they have on each other.
Dave: Here's the thing, Seth. And you have some videos on this in terms of your experiences on going to a tax deed auction, which were completely the opposite of what I had. Well, part of your thing is you were going after higher dollar properties. I was not in these cases. These are not $50,000 properties. Like I said, these are what most people would consider starter stuff. These are $5,000 properties, $10,000 properties, maybe $20,000 type properties.
And so, I think what I love about liens is when you've picked out a property, you've bought the lien, you know what you're going to get if you can foreclose on it. I know what I know what I know about it. And like I said, it's just a numbers game. And so, you send out a mailer, you haven't looked at these properties ahead of time, at least most of us haven't. Maybe there's someone that's amazing that's looked at every single property, which takes a heck of a lot of labor to do like wetlands or not wetlands or whatever. Essentially, to answer your question about the labor side, me personally, because I have a big team now…
Seth: How big is your team now, by the way?
Dave: I'm going to talk off the top of my head without counting everybody. I'm going to say about 15 people, which I think max I want to have is 20. I'm now setting up maximums on the team. So, I have people on the team that carry a lot of the load. If you're doing this all yourself, yeah, it's a huge investment of time. But if you're getting someone to data scrape, if you find an international VA in the Philippines that you're paying $4 or $5 an hour or two, and you have domestic virtual assistance that are reviewing over their work, this is the stuff I have set up so that all I'm doing, I come at the end of the day and I start doing some of the sorting stuff that my domestic people could do, but they don't understand the ins and outs as much as I do. And I'm training them on it so that way I can step out of it and have them do it.
And so, there's going to be a point, probably a year or two from now that I'm actually not going to be involved with it at all and it's just a machine running on its own. But I'm setting it up for that. And it took step by step by step. I started out with an international virtual assistant, added in domestic, added in another domestic, and just get that whole thing going.
The labor for me isn't much at this point, but obviously, I'm paying and investing in it with my people. So, beyond the actual investment of the liens, I'm paying all these people stuff. And so, to me, I love the auctions, it's a lot of fun competing. I love competition. And so, I love that competition aspect. Just like that game I was talking about, you're trying to figure out what is the other person doing. Have they gotten submarines now? Have they built up nuclear bombs that they're going to destroy me with?
It's the same thing. I'm figuring out what the competition is doing, and then I'm tailoring my strategy to try and overbid them based on what I know that they're doing. Or say, screw it, I know what they're doing. I don't want those properties at that price kind of a thing. You have to draw a line somewhere where the margin isn't worth the squeeze. Like I said, Teller County, for me, I'm going to keep an eye on it, but I'm probably not going to do any tax liens there this year because it's gotten so competitive. The juice isn't worth the squeeze in that particular county. At least it wasn't last year.
We'll see, we have about a month. It's October as we're recording this. So, a month from now, we'll find out what happens in Colorado.
Seth: Now, the stuff about your team, what was the timeline about on how that team has grown and progressed? What was the original trigger for, “Okay, I need somebody to help with this, and okay, I need person number two for this, and person number three for this.” Did that all start when you got into the tax lien thing, or did it happen before?
I’m just trying to understand if a person is in their land business, maybe they've been doing it for a year or something, and they're kind of getting burned out, they're doing a lot of stuff themselves, what ought to tell them, “Hey, you need to hire a person to do this.” If they were to look at your situation. I’m just trying to understand how you figured this out and all that.
Dave: Well, I will give credit where credit is due. As much as I said I have bones to pick with the Land Geek program, they do a very good job of training you how to think your business like a machine. And Scott Todd, in particular, really emphasized time and time again what he calls swim lanes. And the idea of those being mapping out where are all these different processes.
And then secondly, what do you hate doing? And then you start offloading that stuff. And then, of course, you have to think about affordability and stuff like that.
For me, it started out, the marketing stuff was the huge time suck that I hated. So, we're rolling back the clock in the 2018 now, and I hired my first few virtual assistants to help with writing Craigslist ads, which Craigslist I haven't used for years now. But it was so much flip and work. I was like, “I hate this stupid task, but I know it needs to get done.” And I was making money.
And in my case, I had my financial planning business. And so, anything I've ever gotten from the land business, I've just been cream on top. And when you have another job, let that pay your bills and then reinvest, reinvest, reinvest, reinvest into your land business to allow that puppy to grow and keep on hiring people. And that's the strategy that I took. Where probably the first three years in the business, I didn't take a draw at all except to cover taxes. And it's really only been in this year, 2022, so five years into it that I really started taking a draw beyond covering the tax obligation and that's what's allowed me to scale.
If you just think about, ‘Gosh, what do I hate doing?” And Seth, you and I were corresponding back and forth about email the other day. I started getting tired of getting all these emails from people. So, one of my assistants, she started out doing intake. I then gave her other duties over time. She started helping me manage other people. She started helping me train in other people as they came in. Then she started helping me pay property tax bills and now she's signing deeds for me. She's interviewing people for me when new people are coming on. She's placing the ads, responding to new people.
I just kept on handing stuff off to her that, “Oh gosh, I'm sick of doing this. Summer, can you help me?” And know she comes in and takes over those things and then other people take over other things. And everything I do, the question becomes, “How can I train someone else to do it so that I can end up being the actual owner of the company rather than the operator of the company?”
Ajay: That is phenomenal. I think you dropped a lot of wisdom there. If you could put yourself back in your own shoes, though, early on, when it was just Dave and you're looking for maybe that first hire, where would you recommend an investor goes and looks? What should they be looking for? You mention what tasks do you hate. Would you start with a Filipino VA if you had to go back versus somebody U.S-based on like, a hiremymom.com? What would you be looking for? What would you want to be absorbed? What would be your budget for an employee like that? Could you just maybe share with everyone what your thoughts were then and what you think now?
Dave: Yeah. Well, it depends on what you hate. Ajay, let's pick on you. You're building your team. You're actually just getting started. So, you're a good case study in this where you've done a lot of this stuff yourself. And you have a totally different business than me.
Ajay: Also correct.
Dave: What do you hate? What do you hate right now?
Ajay: Yeah. Oh, my gosh. Initial due diligence and comping properties and then finding realtors were things that were sucking up my time and things that I hated. I've actually hired out all of that now.
Dave: Initial due diligence, I think, is a great international VA task for example. You don't need a domestic person to do that. If you train them well, whether they're Filipino, I have VAs that are in Pakistan, VAs that are in the Philippines, all over the place, that are international.
Then if now you're having someone domestic, to me, their role is in stuff where it requires business hours, calling the counties, following up with the sellers. Someone that can write well and can communicate with someone that is domestic. To me, that's a domestic role. Now you can have international people do it. I know that there are a couple of services out there that some people do that they're like Filipino VAs that work during U.S. hours. But I don't know, I wanted to make a difference internationally as well as domestically with hiring people because I want to be able to actually have weekly reviews with my staff so that way, I can touch base, “How's it going? What's going on in your life? How can I help you? Where can we improve?” Constantly coaching and honing it in.
Ajay: That's phenomenal.
Seth: Yeah, for sure. So, with 15 people or however many the number is now, how much time do you have to spend sitting down with each individual person to make sure they're like on the same page, they get it, or sitting down with all of your people at one time? Or do you have one submanager beneath you who it's their job to meet with all those individual people? How do you manage so many different bodies and make sure they're all on task and doing the right thing and all that?
Dave: Yeah, it's a bit of plate-spinning, right?
Seth: Yeah, it feels like it.
Dave: You kind of got onto it, Seth, where at first, it's me managing everybody. Then I'm hiring managers to manage other people. So, as I had international VAs, well then, I hired domestic people. Now it's the domestic people's job to manage the international VAs. Then it's my job to manage some of the domestic people. And even the domestic people now, I have my COO that she's doing the hiring. She is now getting into management and managing some of the other domestic people.
Now, I am checking in on them just saying, “Hey, how's it going?” But it's not an official weekly call like I have with, for example, my financial planning assistant, Robbie here. He and I meet every single week on Fridays at 02:00 o'clock. That's our time that we're connecting, chatting. I pick up a cookie and some soda and we're hanging out.
With domestic people we're doing Zoom calls. And like Summer, she and I chat every single week. At least we try to. Sometimes we miss a week. But then she's managing other people, and I'm giving her some of my management tips.
For example, every month I try to write a thank you note and include a gift card to an assistant so that they know they're appreciated. Thank you so much for what they're doing. Because so much of what we do is just robotic, and we're not in person. And so, I just try and add a few touches like that. I know some people will go and they'll buy DoorDash for their assistant or whatever.
I think as you manage people and you manage more people, it's important to always have those touches and value them, having a system for raises and bonuses and profit sharing and all those kinds of things.
Ajay: Yeah. That's great. Dave, I want to ask, as you have evolved as a business, what learning have you had to do both as an individual and a business owner? Because I'm guessing you didn't learn how to maybe grow a team through door-knocking. And so, what work have you done on yourself? I'm really curious from a personal level, though, mentally. As you kind of change your identity as that time progresses, you're no longer just an investor with a note portfolio doing $3,000 a month in passive income. The machine has grown.
So, what does that look like, kind of, in Dave's head? Give us an insight as to how that's evolved and who you are now.
Dave: Yeah. Well, I think there are different seasons of life. And I want to encourage anyone who's listening to this right now, there is a season for learning, but then there's a season for doing. If you are listening to this podcast and you're absorbing the content, that's great, but now you have to do. Now you have to implement. Now you have to take action.
And so, I talked about my journey a little bit, how in 2008 I made this huge acquisition of financial planning clients and moved all the way halfway around the country to Minnesota. And I spent as I went through that horrible time period just in an emotional wreck. And luckily, my wife and I stayed together and we've been together 20 years now. But man, there were moments when we’re like, “Are we going to make it through this thing?”
I really focused on personal development and growing the business. So, I was in a huge season of learning from probably 2008 to 2017. Then, once I found the land business, and I really got onto it, honestly, I haven't made the time for personal development, but I spent this season of years learning and studying and marketing and how do you go about this? There's so much to know, there's so much to learn.
Right now, I've been focusing on YouTube and learning about YouTube and reviewing over our time graphs and engagement and all this kind of stuff that's important with YouTube.
Now I'm doing kind of more practical stuff as opposed to how you build a team or how you market. I'm doing courses and stuff that actually will impact my business now rather than reading another 200- or 300-page book on management.
Ajay: I just want to point out you talking about doing versus learning in the different seasons. I think there's so much value there. I'm a big fan. I've got this 200-page manual right here from a conference I went to called The Vault. It's value attainment. If anybody's into the business education YouTube channel, I'm a big fan. But I went to their conference and after you have this 200-page book, what do you do with that after?
Whenever I go to stuff like that on my plane rides home, on the little plane desk, I will unfold that and go through it all and consolidate all my notes from the event and then consolidate all my notes into action items to make sure I actually go do something about what I'm learning. I'm sure a lot of people out here take notes and write stuff down like, “Oh, Dave said that. That's super good and valuable.” Right now, go do something about it.
So, I love the call to action, Dave. Just thanks.
Seth: Yeah, that's so true. The last conference I was at was a very similar thing. I just had this huge page of notes, and I had to really intentionally come up with actual reminders with a date that's actually going to ping me and bug me if I don't do it. It's so easy to just get clobbered by all this information and inspiration, and you just forget about it. It doesn't go anywhere.
Dave: Right. Well, I always say pick two or three things. You go to an event and you get flooded with all this information and it can be overwhelming. Just pick two or three. What's your one or two or three things you can do. So, for example, we had a mastermind. Ajay was there back in May. Callan was talking about texting, and I'm like, “What? Texting? You're just spamming people and stuff?”
And then I started to unpack it and I was like, “You know what? I want to learn more about that.” And so, we're getting into her coaching and I started just step by step implementing on, “Hey, let's try and text people now.” Not that I'm there yet, but we're about to be in on the next month or two of trying to explore it. Ajay and I were messaging back and forth about it, actually.
Ajay: Yeah, talking about all the fun things, skip tracing, and everything in between.
Seth: Yeah. Callan and I are planning to put together a video or two about that too. I'm excited. There's a lot of interest in that.
Yeah, it feels like there's so much to learn about that, but it's probably similar to direct mail where it feels like a lot, but once you sort of get down the path, it's like, okay, I get it. I can digest that. I get it, move on to the next thing. Anyway, we'll see how more easy or difficult that is. You probably know more than me, Ajay. Would you say texting is easier or harder than direct mail altogether?
Ajay: Easier or harder? It's hard to define. It takes more hands-on deck is what I'll say. So, there's more labor involved from an intake process because on average, there's a lot of nuances here, so feel free to cut me off at any point. But when I am texting with an area code in state, I do a lot in Florida. So, when I'm texting in Florida and I'm using an Orlando area code, I get about a 20% response rate.
Imagine on a direct mail campaign, if you had one out of five people responding in some fashion, you would probably need more bandwidth to be able to handle all of that from intake. So, from that perspective, it's more difficult. And then it depends how targeted you are in who you're marketing to.
And the same way as mail. Again, your responses look different. So, you've got to be mindful of that from the lens of if I send out a text campaign in an area where I know everything is between $35,000 and $50,000, it's going to be really easy to put together an offer versus if I'm just texting the whole county. Well, now you need to make sure you have the bandwidth to not only respond to all these folks, but come and do initial due diligence and talk to realtors if that's part of your strategy.
And so, to answer your question, Seth, it depends, like most businesses.
Dave: I just want to add, we've touched on a lot of different things here. We've talked about tax deeds, tax liens, now we're talking about texting. And I just want to emphasize to anyone who's listening or watching this, keep it simple when you start out. I didn't do the octopus strategy in my first year. I just kept on adding on one thing after another over the years that I've been in this business. Get really great at something.
And then once that's humming and doing well, we'll do another thing and add on to that. Get really good at that for a year or two, then add another layer on top of that. So, don't get distracted by shiny objects if you're just starting out in this business. If you have been in this business now, add on another layer of something else.
Don't get into all this stuff. Pick one thing at a time and just continue to improve and hone your business and your skills.
Ajay: And I want to point out that Dave said to add one thing, not stop what you're doing and go do this thing instead. Because every time you try something new, there's a learning curve, as there should be, and you're not going to get deals as fast as you were through the thing you already know. So, I just want to make sure that that is spoken about.
Seth: Are you familiar with the EOS traction model, Dave?
Ajay: Tell us about it, Seth.
Seth: I'm not an expert at all, but a friend of mine is. He uses it constantly for everything. You basically set up things called rocks, which are big ambitious goals per quarter. Like we want to accomplish this as a company. We're going to find a way to do it. And it gives you different quantifiable measurable ways to track each person's performance. Was this result achieved? And if not, why not? What happened? How can I come in and support you? And this kind of stuff.
Anyway, given the size of your team, it makes me wonder, do you have any kind of systems for not just managing people, but making sure the company is steered in the direction where you actually want to go and there are measurable, achievable, milestones? Where it's like, “Yes, we've gotten there, we've accomplished that. So, we know this is done.”
Versus just the way that I would do it. We're all just kind of running around just doing stuff all day. Do you have any kind of a clear directed path that you're trying to send people on?
Dave: Well, I think, the answer is no. But I generally know, it's not systematized. Probably something could be better at. But what I think I do well is just consistency. I'm not the best manager. I'm not the best CEO. But I will consistently add something else, add in another process, add in another thing. We have team goals that we shoot for. So, we do have team goals, number of properties sold, revenue, stuff like that, that is measurable and trackable.
For each person, as I talk with them twice a year where I try and get feedback from them, like, “How are you enjoying your job? What do you like doing? What do you not like doing? How do you see yourself growing with the company? What resources can I provide to you to help you with it? How can I get better as a leader? How can we get better as a company? What goal should we be shooting for as a company?”
And so, I'm constantly asking those questions twice a year to my most important people. And even the international VAs. I ask them the similar questions, just kind of a survey. I'm not actually meeting with them and going over it. And so, I have the assistance type that out before we meet. And so, then we're reviewing over it. I add some color. I'm encouraging them trying to just be a positive conversation, but hopefully have one or two things that they can walk away with.
For example, since we're mailing the same areas over and over and over, we're wanting to, like once a year, we're trying to get better at VLOOKUP. Some of the VA's Excel skills aren't great. And so, we set a goal, “Hey, learn more about VLOOKUP and understand that. If you want a course on Excel, I will buy that for you if you will take it.” That kind of a thing.
That's more the measurable goals as opposed to “I expect each VA to do 50 intakes a year” or whatever. It's more on their personal growth and their dreams and goals. And people changed. I had one summer, the person who's my COO, she saw all of the sales and she saw all the commissions that went out. And she's like, I want to do sales. And so, she did it for like a year, but then she started hating it and that wasn't a good role for her. And so, we evolved her into a different role rather than sales. But she swore up and down. “Oh, she would love to do the sales thing.” And she was decent enough at it that she was getting results. It wasn't like she was bad at it. Personally, after she experienced it, like “This isn't really for me.”
Seth: Yeah. I've heard a good three questions you can ask an employee just to kind of get the conversation going and maybe even uncover issues you might not know about is asking what's working, what's broken, and what's confused. And just see what they say. It's not like you're trying to steer it in a direction. You just kind of figure out like, “What do you think is going well and not?” And you might have your own ideas about that with that person, but you can kind of get on the same page a little bit about if something is confused. Maybe they don't understand their role or what the point of this is or what you're doing. Maybe they think you're going to be more involved than you really are or something like that. You can get kind of to some cool places through those questions.
Dave: Well, I think in building the team, there have been times I've felt really thinly spread. And that's the point where “What do I hate, and how can I leverage other people to get my time back?” That's kind of where we're at right now today. And I've had to make some decisions in terms of what do I want the business to do? I decided as being as heavy in notes as we are, I just recently decided in the last few months I'm going to cap the number of notes we're going to take. So, I'm going to put a cap at 500 and then after that we're really going to get really strict on down payments. And if we take on a note, it's got to be a high-quality buyer, not just Joe Blow off the streets, which we've loved working with people of all shapes and colors and giving them a chance.
But I think as the business has evolved in just the tracking of, oh, my gosh. “This person is late, this person is about to default, this person wants to return the property.” And all this stuff. Even for the staff, I would have to have a staff of 30 or 40 people, the more notes that we take on.
Seth: How are you managing that? Are you using software, or what are you doing?
Dave: I hesitate to answer this question because I don't want to bash anybody.
Seth: So, not software, I guess, is the answer.
Dave: Currently, right now today, I'm using ZimpleMoney and MoonClerk. And there are some exciting things happening in this space where some people are developing new tools. And so, I'm excited to see those come out because I think those are going to be even better than what's on the market right now.
Ajay: Dave, do you ever consider selling off part of your note portfolio? Because I know there's a secondary market for buyers and stuff. Have you already done that? Are you actively doing that, especially if you have a cap? Because hypothetically, if you would maybe get a lot of note buyers, maybe it makes sense to cut off part of the portfolio. I guess at the same time I'm mindful that you don't want to get rid of maybe your best-performing notes and just keep the bad ones either.
So, I don't know, speak to that. It's not my world. I don't do owner financing. So, I'd be curious to hear what you have to say about it.
Dave: For me, the juice wasn't worth the squeeze. At least I haven't delved deeply into it. But the few times that I have, most of the time, people will buy those notes for you for like 75 or 80 cents on the dollar. And does that still allow me to make a good margin? Sure, it does, but that's a huge haircut.
If someone offered me 90 or 95 cents on the dollar, I would probably consider it. In so many cases, people default, we end up reselling the property anyhow. All those things happen. And I like the cash flow. Every morning I wake up, and I got 10 to 20 payments that have come in. That's flipping awesome. Ding ding, ding, ding, ding. There's that cash every single day.
Seth: Do you ever do any kind of underwriting for these borrowers or is it just kind of like, “Yep, you're approved, let's get started?” Because that's what most people do. I just didn't know if you did anything different.
Dave: Nope, not yet. But like I said, as we hit that 500-note cap, which we're at about 400. I have three different land-flipping companies. My primary one, Generation Family Properties, we have about 400. So, I'm only a hundred away now from that happening.
Seth: Yeah, I've been learning a lot about this lately, actually, about the right way to do seller financing with land and it has a lot to do with focusing on more desirable properties, like not properties that are disposable, that people don't care if they lose it or whatever. It's like, “No, this has to be important to this person.” And you basically have to make the borrower work for it a little bit. Don't just approve them because, make them jump through some hoops, make sure they're creditworthy, and do it with bigger properties. So, it's like a much bigger payment coming in.
Because once you get into that ballpark in terms of selling off notes, you don't need to take as big of a haircut because it's a reliable source of income. It's just kind of playing a different game than what a lot of us were taught in various courses that we were. It's like, “Yeah, just whoever, it doesn't matter. Just do whatever you want, it's fine. You can just repossess this thing and sell it again.”
And I found out pretty quickly I didn't like doing that. If I sell with seller financing, I want to just know it's going to happen. Not to mention like some states make it a huge pain to get your property back. It's not really that simple. And even when it is easier, it's still just extra gyrations that I don't want to mess with.
But anyway, we talked with Eddie Speed. He got into this a lot and just in that one conversation with him, he just gets how to do this right. If you really want to do it in a way that's not as much of a pain and even uses residential mortgage loan underwriters for every single deal. Somebody else is literally like a bank would, they're underwriting the thing. And if a borrower can't pass the test, they don't get the deal. And you can do that with more desirable properties. It's harder to do that when you're dealing with sort of stuff that's not as high level that people aren't willing to bend over backward for.
I say all this from the standpoint of “I'm learning this too.” I think it's kind of cool. It's just different than a lot of the stuff I'd always been fed in my earlier days as a land investor.
So, being a financial advisor, how do you split time between that and land? It sounds like you've got a huge team that can do most of the work, I guess, but how many hours a week goes to land versus your financial advising? How do you manage that?
Dave: I like working. And some of that is research and some of that is listening and all that stuff. Let's say I work 50 hours a week and I generally work 08:30 to 05:30 on weekdays. Currently, right after we're done recording this, I have a call with a financial planning client at noon. So, we're going to have to wrap this up before too long so I can get on that call.
And then later today, I'm meeting with one of my virtual assistants in the land business and I blocked out time to do some trading because the markets are down 25%. Right before we're on this call, I was reallocating to get clients more aggressive. So even during this time today as an example. And then I'm going to be reviewing over client accounts from 04:00 to 05:00 o'clock today.
If you use today as an example, probably two, two and a half hours are spent on land, five hours on financial planning, something like that. Now it wasn't always that way, I would say even nine months ago there was a lot more land in it, because I hadn't handed over some things yet, like deeds. It was a lot of little five-minute tasks. Oh got to get these deeds notarized, have to get cashier's checks, have to send off this letter, have to write out this check, have to pay this bill. A lot of that stuff.
It wasn't the due diligence, it wasn't the answering seller calls, it wasn't sales calls because all my team has done that. It was all these five-minute little tasks, making sure things were entered correctly in the database, just making sure mailings were going out properly the way that they're supposed to.
And so now I've offloaded a lot of that stuff. I would say it was probably more 50/50 but now it's a lot heavier on the financial planning than it was. But definitely, there's some land stuff. I get messages from my staff all day, “Hey, what about this? What about that?” Some of the higher-level stuff that they can't necessarily figure out themselves.
Like I have an email in my inbox about a deed of trust for somebody versus what's the difference between that and a warranty deed? They don't know the difference. It's some of that kind of stuff.
Seth: I've got a couple blog posts that explain that stuff.
Ajay: Quick plug that Dave is a phenomenal financial planner. I was lucky to have scheduled a meeting with him a few weeks back now where I just picked his brain, along the lines of tax strategy. So, he's not a tax preparer for anyone who's getting those confused, but we were just talking about tax-advantaged accounts pass-through entities versus otherwise. I can't remember the verbiage right now, but I was very lucky to be graced by him for an hour and picking his brain in that world. And so, it's fun to see both Dave hats and to get to see it.
Dave: People ask me, “Are you going to leave financial planning?” And the answer is no. I built up relationships with people for 20 years in this business. I am way too highly invested in people that I've seen them from their working years to retirement to some people passing away. And I work with the kids, in some cases grandkids. I'm too invested in these people to ever walk away from it. I am limiting the number of clients that I have, but I'm not trying to scale that business like we are with the land business.
Seth: Yeah, it's interesting just your experience with both the stock market and that whole world and also with real estate because some people, they're pro one and anti the other, that kind of thing. It sounds like you're very well-versed in both and both of them have inherent risks.
I'm sure you've probably had experiences in both worlds where it's like you got into a deal thinking one outcome was going to happen and it went the other way and it was like, “Uh oh.” Or maybe it went the other way in a good direction, I don't know. But in fact, even when you were talking earlier about paying the premium at these tax lien sales, it almost reminded me of buying put-and-call options.
Dave: Exactly. That's exactly what it is. Because it is an option. It is totally an option that you exercise.
Seth: Yeah. When you think of just the risk inherent in both of those worlds, does one feel less risky than the other to you?
Dave: Totally different worlds, totally different worlds, different risks in each. Let's talk about land first.
Land, you can send out a mailer, it can flop. You can buy a bunch of tax liens and you can lose a bunch of money. Like we were just talking about. You can pay a bunch of staff and that money is gone. So, you can lose money in the land business.
Let's be real about this. The economy is changing. You might be sitting on inventory for a while, might have property taxes and stuff that you're going to have to pay. Whereas normally, you've been used to properties turning over quickly.
There are risks with the land business. And I think we've gotten so used to being spoiled by getting all this stuff out. I'm honestly, Seth, looking forward to this recession because it's going to weed out some of these newbies.
Seth: Yeah, a lot of people are.
Dave: It'll have people saying, “Screw this land thing,” but it’s something I'm looking forward to and we're not going to stop. We might slow down mailings or slow down on some of the new stuff that we're trying, but luckily, I've been blessed with building up enough of a portfolio that, gosh, if half of the people default, I still have 200 notes that would be live. If I have 75% of people default, I still have 100 notes that are paying me monthly.
So, it would be Russia sending the nukes to blow up the United States, which is possible. Hopefully not. That would totally change the business and financial planning.
Ajay: And bigger concerns.
Dave: Right. And the thing about the land business that I emphasize to people over and over and over again, and not only the land business but residential real estate, Airbnbs, self-storage, private partnerships that people invest into. All of those things are illiquid. And so, you cannot get your hands on cash unless you do a fire sale of some sort, assuming that you have equity built into the thing.
People get debt and leverage on a lot of stuff. I know in the past crisis, in 2008, there were a lot of land investors who left because they were over-levered in the stuff that they had. And so, they weren't running cash businesses or they weren't getting rid of the debt after they got it. Some of these guys doing huge subdivides where they're taking on $800,000 of debt. You could get screwed and your business gets screwed.
And I want to be the guy to pick those things up on fire sale when those people are desperate, if they ever get desperate. Maybe they don't end up getting desperate, I don't know.
But the problem with land, at the end of the day, and all real estate, it is an illiquid asset. You cannot get your hands on that money easily. In the financial planning world of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, something might go down 40%, 50%, 60%. Great time to buy, by the way. But if you had to sell, you can sell it. You can get your hands on that money.
We have a 401(k). And my Roth 401(k) I'm buying tax liens and I'm going to end up funding other people's deals. In my traditional 401(k), I can borrow from it. So, I can take up to 50% of that account or $50,000, whichever is less. So, if I find this amazing land deal that I really want to go, I'll go tap into my 401(k) that I have stocks, bonds, mutual funds, sell 50% of it or whatever, and use that money to go and help my land business. You can do that stuff in those environments that you can't do in a pure real estate environment in a bad economy.
And so, that's why I feel both have their place. Both are important and people who go all in on one or the other, I think it's wrong in my opinion. You should do both because both have advantages and disadvantages.
Seth: Yeah, it's well said. It makes sense. Do you want to talk about The Land UnConference? You want to get into that at this point?
Dave: Sure. Let me talk about why I started this thing called The Land UnConference. For me, as I exited the Land Geek community back in 2019, three years ago now, I really wanted to have a community around me. And so, I started in 2019 holding a mastermind and we met in person and then covid happened. We met virtually.
So, we got together a group of 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 land investors. And it was so cool because people were from different trainings. One person was from REtipster, another person from Land Academy, myself from Land Geek. I had brought in Sean Callahan who had gone through some of your stuff. I had mentored him as well.
And so, we brought this cool community together. People flew in from all over the country to come and we just gained so much out of it and got these great interpersonal relationships and we know one another having met in person, we know each other's businesses, and then all of us are evolving.
And so, I did it every single year, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022. And I did it for free because I just loved it. It was just so much fun. Ajay was there this last May, and I really said, “You know what? I don't want to sell a course. I don't want to be the sleazy guy selling a $50,000 coaching program. I just want to create a community. I want to have people come from the Jack Bosch program, the Land Geek Program, The Land Academy program. There's stuff we can all learn from each other, so let's get together and talk about it.”
And so, I said, you know what? Rather than doing one Mastermind at the same time, what if we did five? What if we had five groups of people that we can network with one another, but then you're really focused on your group so that way you can really get to know someone well?
I don't know about you guys, but I've been to lots of conferences over the years and what I didn't like about the conferences was people just talking at me from the stage, which—don't get me wrong, there's plenty of value in those things—but I love the mastermind setting so much more. You put someone on a hot seat, you talk about their problem, and then someone else comes up and guess what? Some of their problems are my problems. And you tell something to somebody and you're like, “Wait a minute, I need to do that.” So, you call yourself out. It's just such a helpful environment.
And so, I've started this thing, which is totally brand new. I've never done this before. I've done it every single year, obviously on a small scale. I said, “What if we scale this up?” Here in Minnesota, in May of 2023, we're going to have 50 slots for people that can come and mastermind.
And I am having an application process because I want to make sure that we're getting the right people for the room. That way, if someone's brand new, I definitely encourage you to go to a conference, but this conference, the UnConference, isn't the place for you. This is for established land investors like Ajay, like Seth, like Jaren, like myself. You've been at this for a year or two and you're looking to get support and strategies, see other people in person, give them a hug, shake their hand, build relationships. That's who this conference is for.
And I want to say that sometimes there can be a measuring contest. That's not what this is about. This is not about measuring yourself versus somebody else. This is about you running your own race and getting support and getting encouraged in your race and in what you're doing.
Seth: Gotcha. That sounds awesome. That sounds like a big breath of fresh air and I know what you mean. I had my first conference experience this year. It wasn't even a land conference. It was just a real estate one where I invited some people out. Ajay was there and Callan and a handful of other people. And it’s amazing. It's amazing to see people in person and just build these relationships that you just can't do with your computer screens.
And I like what you said about how it's not a measuring contest because I feel like that inevitably is what everything boils down to a lot of times. It's just kind of flexing your own muscle and tooting your own horn and trying to look special. And I love relationships where we just don't even have to go there. We can just focus on how we can help each other instead of “Look how awesome I am.” So, that sounds really cool.
Ajay: Absolutely. Yeah. If I may, the first thing I'll say is there are only 49 spots available because I will be in attendance.
Ajay: Oh, wow. That was quick. Okay. What I wanted to share was the first thing, I was grateful enough to go to the Mastermind this past May. A lot of those relationships that I didn't have going into the week, I still have. I have a biweekly cadence with Andy Rouse who was there, and we chat Wednesday mornings. I have become really good friends with Drew Haney, who was there. There really is something special about getting to be vulnerable at these things. And I think the biggest difference is knowing there was an application process because you don't walk in trying to prove you have to be there like you do to a lot of other conferences, where you just pay a fee and you get a batch.
Well, guess what? Whoever's administrating this, Dave Denniston, has already vetted the person. And as long as your numbers were honest and truthful, okay, you're welcome here. Now let's all learn from each other. And so, it lets you kind of let down your walls and say, “I do deserve a spot here.” I think it helps get rid of some of that impostor syndrome you may feel at other events. And then also lets you walk into a feeling of, “Okay, we can really just learn from each other and continue to be a student and build relationships,” like Dave is saying. So, it's a really cool environment.
Dave: Let me just say, if I could, Seth, if people are interested, we do have a website set up landunconference.com. And regardless of whether we've had the spots filled or not, guess what? We're doing this so far ahead of time I'm sure I'll have a waitlist. So, if someone drops out because something came up with a family or whatever, I promise you we'll put you on a waitlist for that. So, landunconference.com.
Seth: Sweet. And if people want to find out more about you, your multitude of businesses you have, or anything like that, are there other websites they should go to or places that you want them to check out or anything like that?
Dave: I'm sure you'll have this in the show notes. There are many, many places where you can find me. daviddenniston.com is my financial planning website. We mentioned Land UnConference. You can find my land company if you want to check us out, genfamproperties.com. You can check out our other one, familyfreedomlands.com. You can check out my podcast, doctorfreedompodcast.com. I have another podcast that I did around the land business called Land Stories Meant for Sellers. So, you can find that on the Generation Family Properties website, or you can find it on Apple.
And if you type in the Freedom Formula for Physicians on Apple iTunes, you can hear me talk a little bit there about financial planning concepts and I talk about my land journey and Seth's been on there a couple of times. I feel like I'm just droning on about all this stuff, but that’s where you can find me.
Seth: No, that’s great stuff. There's something for everybody if you want to follow along with what Dave's doing.
Dave, thank you for coming back on. It was great to talk to you again. Great to see where things have gone. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us.
If you guys want to check out the show notes for this episode, retipster.com/144. Thanks again, and we will talk to you guys next time.
Dave: Thanks, Seth.
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