I met Ryan Love recently at the Land UnConference Inner Circle in Minneapolis.

At 23 years old, Ryan got into the land business right out of college after learning about it through a friend, and he hasn’t wasted any time. He started in April 2023, has done a few dozen deals, and has four people on his team.

Today, we’ll figure out how he got so far and fast, and we’ll probably pick up many other interesting things along the way.

Links and Resources

Key Takeaways

In this episode, you will:

  • Discover Ryan Love's inspiring journey in land business, from overcoming personal and professional challenges to achieving significant financial milestones.
  • Explore the unpredictable nature of real estate, learning from setbacks and unexpected outcomes, and the importance of building a strong, effective team for success.
  • Uncover innovative strategies in lead management and communication, including the use of technology like Zapier and effective phone call approaches.
  • Gain insights into effective team leadership and strategic decision-making in choosing locations and deals, as well as insights into work-life balance and overcoming fears.
  • Reflect on the deeper aspects of success, including the role of money in motivation and non-profits, the value of giving back, and the philosophical perspectives on being a good steward of money.

Episode Transcription

Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Seth: Hey everybody, how's it going? This is Seth Williams and Ajay Sharma. You're listening to the REtipster podcast, episode 175.

So today we're talking with Ryan Love. And I met Ryan not long ago at the Land Unconference Inner Circle in Minneapolis. And I wanted to get him on the show because there's a few things about him that struck me as really good conversation material.

So a little bit about Ryan. He's a pretty young guy, he's 23 years old. And he started into the land business right out of college after learning about it through a friend.

And this guy hasn't wasted any time. He started in April, 2023. We're recording this in November, 2023. He's done 23 deals. He has four people on his team.

And today we're going to figure out how he was able to get so far so fast.And we're probably going to pick up a lot of other interesting things along the way.

So Ryan, welcome to the show. How are you doing?

Ryan: Awesome. I'm doing great. That was, I think, the first introduction I've ever gotten and likely the best one as well. So thank you, Seth. It's an honor to be here. I might be the least qualified person to ever be on the show. I don't know. I appreciate you having me.

Seth: We will decide on that shortly here.

Ajay: Well, Seth keeps letting me back on the show. So I think you're good, Ryan.

Ryan: Oh yeah, if I'm good here, then I'm good, huh?

Seth: Well, Ryan, why don't you just, I mean, beyond what I just said there, I was correct in all those facts, right? I didn't mess anything up.

Ryan: Yeah, that was all correct.

Seth: So take us back. When you discovered the land business, how did this all come to fruition? What made you decide that this was legitimate and worth jumping into with both feet?

Ryan: Yeah, so I first discovered the land business in college. One of my roommates was working in the land business. And so we'd talk, of course, and he would tell me, like, Ryan, I just made $20,000 on a deal. I'm like, no. Like, you're lying. Like, there's no way, just thought it was completely impossible to be doing what he's doing. So, I guess it took me a while to think that it was possible.

But anyways, I started. In school a bit, like shadowing what he was doing a bit. So he was doing some deals on the side. He was working with Sumner Healey before he had started the whole LIA program and everything. So they were working together. He was teaching them how to cold call the ins and outs of the business. And then he would get back and I'd be like, teach me how to make a mailer and everything.

So I started there in college doing a little bit part-time. It was pretty hard. I was going to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo studying mechanical engineering. So the class and the work there was probably one of the harder colleges and programs I could find. So it was definitely challenging trying to do this and trying to really start out as I was going through college. So that was a bit difficult there and I was just working through it.

I'd also get to summer and at one point, I had sent out like, I don't know, when I first started, I sent out a couple thousand mailers right before going into an internship. And then I was working at an oil refinery doing some complex work that required a lot of thought. And then I would get home and try to figure out how to comp a property and almost lose my mind. And I was just like, I can't do it. I can't do it.

And so I stopped for a bit and then gave it a couple more quarters at school and planned it out a bit to where I knew if I took a lot of units in these next two quarters, my last quarter, I'd have a lighter quarter. And that way, I could have some time to devote some more time to land and then get into that side of things.

So the last quarter, I had an easier load and was able to do it on the side a bit more. Still not with much success, mostly just burned money on mailers, which is fun. So yeah.

Seth: Man, you're not the kind of guy I would party with, I don't think.

Ryan: Yeah, definitely not that fun. But I learned along the way. And so I graduated in April and I had until August. So I had four months until my job, which I had lined up working for one of Chevron's refineries in El Segundo in LA.

So I had four months to really figure out like, hey, is this going to work? Is this not going to work?

So the first couple months were definitely stressful. I was down on money and I was pretty down at one point and I remember my roommate Ron walking in. He's like, oh man, are you going to send more mail? And I'm like, I don't know. And he's like, what? I'm like, oh, I'm almost like, I'm kind of running low on money here, Rylan.

He's like, what? You're making money. You're making money. Keep sending mail. I showed him my bank account. He's like, where did it all go? And that was just a bit concerning at that point. I had bought a property and that's where a lot of the money had gone. It's taken a while to close and everything.

So it's a very extended time period. And I didn't really recognize that or know how long... It's kind of like 3 to 4 months out in advance. All the money you're spending now is when you're going to get it back. So right at the start, I burnt through a lot of money, bought a property I probably shouldn't have bought and was just getting really low in the bank account when I should have just had it funded. But we didn't have the same connections that we do now.

Seth: Well, that's a really good issue to talk about in terms of the lack of money. I mean, when I think of where I was at 23, I hardly had a few cents to rub together. Making a real business out of this that required any amount of capital, even though it's a reasonably small amount for land. But even so, I just didn't have money.

So how did you do it? Did you have a bunch of cash just sitting around? And when you do run out of cash, what then? Do you get funding from other people? Or how do you keep paying for your mail? Help us understand that.

Ryan: Yeah, so I mean, I was very fortunate and privileged to have my parents helping me out until college ended. So I didn't really have, like, they pretty much allowed me to save all my money from whenever I was working outside.

So yeah, I've been able to save up that money, which I know a lot of people just aren't able to do. So I'm super grateful to have parents that allowed me to do that. If they would have known that I would have started a land career with that money, they probably would have made me pay for my own school.

Seth: I don't know if you're comfortable sharing, but like how much money was that? Like how much did you find useful to get started?

Ryan: Yeah, so I started with around $30,000. And so yeah, I've been saving it since high school. Yeah, whatever job I worked, I would save most of it.

So yeah, at the time, Rylan checked in on my bank account, I was down to around seven or eight. So I was definitely burning through it for a time. But buying property and everything and email.

Seth: When you mentioned a property you probably shouldn't have bought on this first one, So, why do you say that? Was there something like, did you overlook something or did something go wrong or was it actually good but you were just surprised at how long it took or what happened there?

Ryan: Yeah. So, one of the first properties I bought was in New York. And I don't know if either of you have worked in New York or heard about New York.

Seth: I've heard about it.

Ryan: But whatever time it takes to close a normal deal, you just have to double that time frame. So, I bought one for like $9,000 in New York, I think it was around… I mean, it was a good deal. ended up selling for $24,000, I think. But it was just all the money was out for so long.

Ajay: Yeah, you shouldn't have bought that, man. I hate when $9,000 turns into $24,000. I'm teasing you, of course. Yeah.

Ryan: I mean, you know it's going to close, but in your mind, it's like there's just like I'm running out of money in my bank account. And of course, too, it's like this job's coming up that I have to take. I have to make a decision soon, like whether I'm going to take this job or not.

So, that was just like... My roommate had offered to fund it and he thought it was worth $30,000. So, I was like, oh, I want to keep all the money. I was just greedy. So, that was a mistake there.

Seth: Yeah. There is something psychologically very difficult about that.

I'm sure probably most land investors out there can relate to this on some level. You don't know when it's going to end. When will this thing sell? What is taking so long?

This is really kind of a weird analogy, but when we had our first daughter, we tried to do a home birth and problem we ran into was my wife went into labor and it was called “Failure to Progress.” It's where labor sort of starts and then stops. And it starts and it stops. And this happened for four straight days. So none of us slept for four days. It was awful, just truly awful.

And eventually, the midwife was like, you know what, there's nothing else I can do here. Let's go to the hospital and see what's up. And we went there and eventually found that the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck three times. And that's why, you know, our daughter wasn't coming out. because she literally couldn't. But thank the Lord for modern medical advancements. Our daughter was born just fine.

But going through that process, I remember it was like one of the hardest things I've ever had to live through, just not knowing, is it gonna be another hour, another hour, another, like when is this gonna end? And in hindsight, you look back, it's like, oh yeah, that was fine, it was okay. But when you don't know the future, when you don't have the benefit of hindsight, man, that's tough.

Do you have a better way of coping with that now, Ryan, or is that just something that happens on every day? Like you just have this nagging, how am I going to survive this thing?

Ryan: No. I mean, now it's a lot better. I have enough money. I've done well enough to where I'm not really stressed about money. I mean, obviously, everyone wants more. But right at the start, I was like, okay, I'm really far down. And at this point, I'm at a point where I'm not too concerned.

And I'm also doing a lot more double closes. So, the money's not out very long. If it's out, it's out for a day or two. So I'm keeping most of the money instead of having it all in inventory. I could imagine with someone who's buying all their deals cash, if having it all in inventory right now, I'd probably be thinking the same thing. But it's nice to have some money in the bank.

Ajay: Absolutely.

Ryan: Even though it's not doing much, but it's nice. It's a good comfort.

Ajay: Right. Especially as the market does what it's doing. I think when you're starting out in business, especially.

I know when I was in college, you watch enough of Uncle Grant, right? Good old Grant Cardone. And what does he say? Cash is trash, which is just not the mentality to have in a land business when marketing is very capital-intensive. If you're using direct mail, you got to drop thousands and thousands of dollars very regularly. And then if you're self-funding your deals, you're buying your own inventory, you don't actually know what your inventory turnover cycle is. You don't actually know when you're going to sell that property.

So you could... I remember early in the land business, I'd be like, oh, this is awesome. I have 130 grand in the bank one month. And the month after, I'd have like $35,000. And it's just like this massive swing. And so I actually don't fund almost any of my own deals anymore, unless they're just smoking deals. I'll work with either debt or equity partners, or I'll double close, like you guys are mentioning.

I also need to ask, is your old roommate Rylan Loader? Is that that Rylan?

Ryan: Uh-huh.

Ajay: Yeah, I just met him out in Vegas. Super nice guy. He's crushing it. So that's cool, man. That's probably a fun little party house you guys had.

Also, Seth, I have to commend... I feel like you've got so many different birthing stories. Didn't you have the world's biggest head or you were a giant baby or something when you were born? I feel like you told us when we interviewed Dave last year. Am I making this up?

Seth: Uh, no, myhead is not that big, but my body was huge. I was 12.

Ajay: There was something cause you were like, you were like a special birth, right?

Seth: Yeah. I was born at the Northwestern hospital in Chicago, the one downtown.

And I remember my… I don't remember, but I was told my birth was a, like a literal experiment. Like my parents got a discount on my birth because my mom had diabetes. And it was like this experimental procedure they were using. So everything was fine, sort of, depending on what you think of me.

But yeah, the thing is, because it was an experiment, I commonly go around saying that, yeah, I was born at the Northwestern Experimental Hospital. I kinda was.

Ajay: That's incredible.

Seth: That's my story.

Ajay: All right, sorry, I didn't mean to get us off-track there. Bring us back, Seth.

Seth: Yeah.

So, next question on the list, Ryan. So you've done 23 deals to date, worked at this since April of this year, it's now November, so you've not even been at it that long, which I'm amazed by, but help us understand.

Have your deals evolved or changed? What did the first ones look like? What do they look like now, in terms of the size, how you find them, how you fund them, how you close on them? I'm hearing double closings a little bit. So just, are you intentionally steering the ship in a different direction in terms of your strategy of how you close on these things? Or what have you learned so far and how have you intentionally changed things?

Ryan: Yeah, so I've definitely very intentionally changed things. I think as a lot of people, I think everyone talks about this, but starting out with very small deals, buying for 5,000 to 10,000, selling for 15 to 20.

First deal was in Costilla County, Colorado. don't share this market with anyone. It's kind of a hidden gem. So don't go posting about it or anything.

Seth: Your secret is safe with me. Don't worry.

Ryan: Okay. Thank you. Everyone listening, don't mail there. That's all me.

So yeah, I started off with 5 acres there, bought for $6.5k, sold for $13k. I think I came home with a little over $3,000. And at that point, I was still down on money for mail. So that one didn't feel too great. but it's still the first one.

And then a couple other similar ones. One big one for me was just breaking even. I think it was, again, another county. Don't share with anyone, but Teller County, Colorado.

Seth: Oh, it all makes sense now. This changes everything.

Ryan: And yeah, so I bought that one. I think that was the one I finally broke even on. That was a big step for me. I was down up until that point and then had come back to even. Or like close to even, maybe not even even, just like close to it. And that was a big one.

So yeah, but anyways, now the deals that I focus on are pretty much anything I'm targeting. There's still a couple old leads that trickle in, but I'm really targeting $30,000 in spread from buy to sell. So I'd be fine with buying for $100,000, selling for $130,000. I'd be fine selling for $200,000, selling for... At that point, you want to go a little bit higher just because the commission is probably like $240,000. That's what I'm looking for when I'm double closing.

And I don't really want to go anything under $60,000 like market value as far as what I'm targeting.So, most of them I'm double closing now. At the start, I was funding it, having my friends fund it, which was not ideal. It definitely takes a lot of explaining and then they're just checking in with you every week like, Ryan, how's the property looking? I'm like, I don't know. I hope it sells.

So don't do that. Yeah. Now, if I need… there's a lot of people... I use one person to fund. He doesn't like spreading his name out there too much. He wants to work with a couple guys. But I also don't need funding for too many deals. So if I do, I'll go to him.

But if not, I'll double close. And yeah, targeting market values are around $60,000 or higher. So yeah, that's how it's changed. Again, going from small to large.

Seth: Under what conditions will you not double close? Just like buy the thing outright. What does it take for you to say, I could double close this, but I won't. I'm going to just buy it outright. Or maybe I'm just trying to figure out what the box is in terms of when it goes that way versus another way.

Ryan: Yeah. So what I'll do is I'll just start with a really low cash offer. If the property is $60,000, I'll probably start with like $25,000 cash or we should go up a bit in numbers. So there's more of a disparity there. But maybe if it's $100,000, maybe I'll start with like $45,000 cash.

And then they're like, what? No, my property is worth... We need more. So I think that's a good strategy to anchor them pretty low in pricing.

And sometimes they'll just say yes. When they say yes, you're just really happy because it's like a super good deal. And then at that point, it's like, okay, I'm good putting my money down or I feel confident having a funder putting their money down.

And then after that, if they say no, then I'll say, hey, we structure deals in another way and then explain what a double close is and why we can offer more money if we give them that structure of a deal.

Seth: Are you always able to find title companies who will do the double close with you?

Ryan: Yeah. So in the states I work in more, I have it pretty set. And then, yeah, I can normally find someone who will be able to double close.

I mean, some days, it's not really important for me that it closes two times in the same day, which would be like a double close. I just want to know that someone has put down earnest money for the property.

I don't care if it closes in two weeks, right? It doesn't technically have to be a double close. I just want to know that someone, hey, they're putting earnest money down. They're serious. I know we have other calls. Even if they back out, we'll take the earnest money and re-market the property.

What I can't have is just buying a property that I think is worth $40,000 and then it turns out it's worth nothing because you didn't do your due diligence or something happened. A whole number of things can happen, things you can't even think of.

Seth: Has it ever fallen apart on you? I know you mentioned that one deal where you considered it a win to break even on it. Have you ever lost money or have you ever done the double close where it's like, okay, close the A to B transaction and then the B to C transaction falls apart?

Ryan: No double close has really fallen apart on me yet. That's been pretty good. But again, I've done 23 deals, right? And probably like 15 of them double closed.

So I mean, at some point, I'm sure it will not work. But I think you can be safe about it.

Ajay: Ryan, we do quite a few double closings. Tell me about a deal where you thought you were going to make a lot more money than you actually did.

Because you know, sometimes you underwrite these and you're like, I'm going to make $30,000 on this double close. And then you get the HUD. And for us, like we've got one closing, I think this week or next week, we thought we were going to make $40,000 on this double close. We got it under contract for $105,000 and we thought it was worth $145,000.

And so there was a 40k spread and he was going to take home a little bit less than that. We had two buyers fall through an extension with our seller. So the only offer we were left with was one at $107,000. So we have a $2,000 spread, had to make it an assignment instead of a double close, and we had to work something out with the buyer agent so we didn't get eaten out of that. But it was like, I think, on the HUD, it literally ends up being like a $2,100 fee to us somehow.

And so I'm sure if you've done 15 deals, you had to have gone through some. Tell us about a time like a deal did not go as planned and what did that assignment fee end up looking like?

Ryan: I haven't had a double close that has gone that way.

Ajay: He said, I'm not as bad as you are, Ajay. Our double closings are a lot better.

All right, good stuff. No, I mean, that's fine. It's, you know, I'd hate to say like a matter of time, but like if you do enough transactions, you'll hit one that skunks and you'll have to come back or comment on this and let us know what happens there.

Hey, I hope you never do though, Ryan, You seem like a really sharp guy. So I just hope you continue getting these deals where you think you're going to make $20,000 and you do because I wish they were all like that.

Ryan: Yeah. I mean, there's some like where we haven't gotten... We'll put earnest money down for all of them. And there's some if you don't get a contract signed or if it's earnest money.

So I mean, that's the thing about double closing, right? I'm not too concerned about it either way. I have had one deal if you want to hear the worst deal. I mean, I'm going to lose a couple thousand.

Seth: Let's hear it.

Ryan: Yeah, it's one at Colorado Mountain Estates, Teller County, don't blow it up guys. I had bought one there, half-acre lot. And I think it's just the setbacks. It's a little steep towards the back and it's a weirdly shaped lot. It's kind of a wedge lot. And so I think the setbacks push it where you can actually build further back than I would have imagined.

I'd done so many deals there. It was like, I was like, I know it'll sell but there's like thin margin, like I'll just buy it. And yeah, I'll probably lose a couple thousand but it's a good learning experience.

Seth: Yeah, I've actually had similar uh-oh moments with those kind of wedge lots, and it's usually the setback issue. It just kind of screws up how much space there is, if any space, to build anything.

Ajay: I think one of my best deals ever, I always joke, is one that I actually broke even on.

So this is kind of a funny story. The second lot I ever bought was off of another investor, and I thought he was just a sucker. So funny looking back on this stuff. Again, it was my second deal ever, give me some grace. But I won't name him.

He's present in a lot of the communities. And I've met him and chatted with him. And I always give him a hard time when I see him. It's super fun.

But it was this half-acre lot in a secondary Orlando, Florida market. I had sent him a blind offer for like $4,200. He wanted $4,500. Bought it, threw it up on the market for $30,000. Actually got an offer from Miranda Homes, and then found out there was an issue with the zoning and we needed a variance. The variance wasn't accepted and so basically the lot was useless, right?

And I think this guy knew that. It's fine because… And I was chatting with him, he was telling me, hey man, I know you're newer to this, you should really check out the Facebook groups. And I'm like, dude, I am, I think at the time I was 22, 23, and I was like, who is on Facebook? Because I deactivated my Facebook account late high school, early college, sometime and then, because young people don't really use Facebook.

Well, sure enough, it is a networking hub for land investors, where I then got plugged into community and met all my coaches and friends and got plugged into things and went to events and all the things.

So, really funny, because I bought this lot for 4,500, I ended up selling it to some guy who wanted to dirt bike on it for 4,500. But if I hadn't bought that deal, I probably wouldn't be here today.

I don't know, that sounds way too dramatic. But I wouldn't know half the people that I know now and I think I'd be living a very different life. So I have that gentleman to thank for scamming me into buying that lot.

Seth: I was thinking of sort of a similar-ish thing, just hearing Ryan's story about how he was roommates with Rylan and just these little interactions we have with people.

I mean, I don't know if you knew him before you were roommates or it was just like dumb luck or what, but it's just crazy how these little things happen where it's like, man, if that thing hadn't happened, like my life would have gone in a completely different trajectory and probably would not be as awesome as it is today.

Ryan: Yeah, definitely super grateful for Rylan and again, like you said, completely different path If I didn't go to that same school and live in that same dorm room freshman year, just like, I'd probably be in a normal job whatever I was gonna do, you know, engineering. So, really grateful for him, huge shout-out.

Seth: So, try to think of any other unique things that you're doing about your business that most other land flippers aren't doing. And I don't know if I can keep saying that because I feel like a lot of land flippers are doing things way different from each other now. There's so many different directions you can go and different ways you can market now.

But, you know, I'm hearing double closings is kind of a big deal for you and then using funders when you need to. I don't know, does anything else stand out as like, I do this and I don't know many other land flippers who do it this way?

Ryan: Yeah, so I don't know how unique this necessarily is, but definitely one thing that I try to focus on is just not really worrying about the disposition, so I just pass in every deal that I get to a Realtor.

I think eventually maybe it makes sense, but for now I'm working on just building the best team possible to get contracts signed and that's all should be all my focus every day getting contracts signed and then after that transaction coordinator, Realtor. And then just don't worry about it.

I have properties that are on market. I don't really know what's happening with them. But I don't... Maybe I should check in a bit more. I get some updates every now and then. But I just want to focus on getting contracts signed and all that. So I would say that's unique.

Maybe one other thing that I guess may be unique or strength, I guess, would be systems. I'm always trying to build new Zaps and automate that. I have one for automating contracts and pushing my leads through a funnel where you just do it with a click of a button, uploads the contract. And then from there, once we get the contract signed, it sends updates, updates tasks, updates the stage. So the leads are in different spots.

So I'd say that's maybe the other unique thing about it. Trying to think, do either of those sound unique at all?

Seth: Well, it actually made me wonder, and you sort of just told me a couple. But are there any other really helpful Zaps in your business?

Sometimes I think about this, it's one of those things where there's probably millions of different brilliant ways to use Zapier, but I only have so much of an imagination. I can only think of so many ideas on that. But anything else come to mind beyond those that are like, oh, this was a huge deal to have this zap in my business?

Ryan: I think contracts is probably the biggest one, but I have a bunch of other smaller ones. For example, I think there's probably a way to do this with a better platform, but I have all my Google meetings after I record them. I probably just need to use Zoom, to be honest. But it automatically organizes them based on the title of the meeting.

So that was one thing where I don't want to be going through and clicking each one of those. Anytime a lead gets put into our CRM, it's normally through a zap. Yeah, that's another. like every launch control gets funneled through zap, mail leads get funneled through PATLive, and then to a zap.

So yeah, those are really the only things that I can think of. Again, I'm not doing much on disposition. So there might be some other ideas that you could have there.

But I think getting familiar with Zapier is a huge thing if you're starting out. You want to be familiar with that platform because you just run across some small, unique things in your business that maybe other people haven't solved. And I'm sure there's other ways to get around it. But that's kind of an all-in-one platform that you can get super familiar, super automated with.

Seth: So for the Zap thing for like PATLive, for example. So do you give the PATLive caller a Google form where they fill out the person's information and then when they submit it, where does it go through Zapier? Like what different apps are working together?

Ryan: Yeah, so it goes, when PATLive fills out the form, I've done this from the very beginning, they fill out a Google form. And then from whenever there's a new response in the Google form, that's the trigger in Zapier.

So once they fill out the form, new lead gives me state, county, APN, and then maybe a lot of acreage. And then from there, it'll zap to FollowUp Boss immediately and like fill out all that contact information. I have tags for state and county that I use for the contracts as well. So it automatically fills those out if they give it to us.

So, yeah, just straight Google Forms to follow us.

Seth: Are you using like PandaDoc or something? Or what contract digital signature software are you using for that?

Ryan: I'm using SignNow. I'm not sure if that's the best one, it's just what I use. I think it's the, maybe the cheapest one.

Seth: Cool, no, that's awesome. Yeah, I think they're all the same concept for sure.

Ajay: So just real quick, in terms of a zap that's been really helpful for us. We have... We've linked DocuSign, which is what we use instead of SignNow.

No particular reason besides we just thought DocuSign communicated a level of professionalism just because I feel like all the big boys use it. I don't know whether it's true or not. It's a story I tell myself. Do with that what you will.

But we linked DocuSign to both Slack and OpenPhone for contracts that we don't get signed live, like on the phone with sellers. Every time the seller opens that contract, our team immediately gets a Slack notification and an OpenPhone text message that says “XYZ just opened this document.”

So now we know they're looking at it and we're gonna call them and get on the phone with them and try to get the contract signed. So for all folks who are struggling to get their contract signed, that's a good one that's been really helpful for us.

Seth: So the goal is to call them while they're looking at the contract?

Ajay: Yes.

Seth: And you can say like, “I see you're looking at the contract, sir…”

Ajay: Okay, so we're never that. Yeah, we're never that weird.

Ryan: Maybe no contracts, but a couple restraining orders, perhaps.

Ajay: Seth, you're so funny at these voices, man. You always crack me up with that.

So, you know, again, we try to be nonchalant about it, right? But it's just like, a, “Hey, Ryan, I'm just wanted to touch base.” Like they don't know we've looked at it. They're going to think it's a coincidence, right?

I'm not going to call it out. We're going to get on the phone with them. They're going to see it's us. They're going to answer the phone. But we just, I'll tell you when we looked at our business, I talk about this frequently, but we really core focus on like five or six metrics.

And those are, and I'm always going to repeat them when I get an opportunity to, because they are the most important thing I think for most acquisitions is your raw leads or your gross leads (whatever you want to call them, but leads that come into your pipe), your net leads, how many of those did you actually speak to on the phone or communicate with or whatever?

Of those, how many are you making offers on? Of those, how many are you getting accepted? Are you closing well between the phone call to getting an offer accepted? Then of those acceptances, how many actually signed the contract?

And I remember, this is probably back in April or May, but I remember I was looking at our numbers and we had gotten six contracts verbally accepted and three signed. And I was like, so you're telling me if I figure out this one problem in my business, I can double it. Like this is a process gap, is what this is. We're not setting expectations, we're not selling well, how do we close the gap?

And for us, it was those notifications, right? And then we get on the phone with them. And then something we do a lot is we now get our contracts signed live on the phone.So as soon as somebody says yes, our acquisitions manager will populate a contract because they're templates, right? You just pop in the info you need.

You can set all that stuff up in DocuSign to make it real easy, I think. I'm not doing it day-to-day anymore, but I always tell myself it's easy and I tell the team it's easy. But they're getting it done, so it's easy enough. And then we just walk them through it, right?

“Hey, I noticed you haven't signed yet. Did you have any questions I can answer about the contract?” No, I don't have any questions. “Great, if you don't have any questions and we're aligned in terms of terms, can you just go ahead and click this button and click that button and then boom, we're signed.”

Yeah, we're not that creepy, Seth. Hey, I see your look. Again, man, you're good at the voices. But it was a good little process, Phil, for us. It's helped us get a lot more signed.

Ryan: Yeah, I listened to your interview with Mera. I heard about that. I'm going to start implementing that. I thought that was pretty brilliant. Just stay on the phone, put them on hold. So yeah, that's a great thought.

Ajay: I can't say I came up with it. I didn't spearhead the whole these metrics and this process. I stole all this from house wholesalers and then made it my own. But you do enough of any process enough times it becomes your own in some way.

Thank you for that compliment. I will take the brilliance that you've given me. Zap, I'm sorry, go ahead.

Seth: Well, I was just thinking, because I know you do a pretty good job of tracking this stuff, Ajay. Do you have some kind of a, could one come up with a series of zaps that starts by tracking the top level? Like, these are all the names we pulled from DataTree or PropStream or wherever. And then these are all the ones we mailed out. These are all the ones that responded. These were all the ones we sent contracts to. These were all the ones that said yes. These were all the ones that closed.

Like could you set up a series of spreadsheets that just kind of tracks from one to the other with Zapier or something? That's the issue I have with tracking this stuff is like, I can't do this manually. I don't want to go back and do all that one by one by one. Is that what you got to do?

Or do you have some kind of system of zaps or something that's just like, snap your fingers, there you go. Here's the numbers you need to look at.

Ajay: Yeah. Like I wish I had a really good answer for you, Seth. I have my team track it manually, which means like they're subject to some error. But over a long enough time horizon, it all kind of averages out.

There are some of those that you could certainly automate. My contract signed and contract sent, you could definitely have automations for that. I think gross leads, you could easily have an automation. Every lead that comes into whatever your CRM is could be populated.

I think net leads, maybe you could track people that pick up the phone on OpenPhone or whatever dialing system you use?

The tricky one that I think would be offers made and offers accepted, like you kind of need a manual touch there. Otherwise, how do you track that?

But I do think you could get the other four metrics in there if you wanted to engineer it. Ryan, you're an engineer background, man. Where's your brain go on this? That's what you're wired for, right? Is this kind of stuff?

Ryan: Yeah. As far as contracts, offers accepted. So whenever someone sends or accepts an offer, you're going to send a contract. So that's how you could track that one. I have a zap that it could pretty easily... Whenever a tag gets added, you could just add to a tally.

As far as the rest of it, I think Google Sheets is really powerful in tracking all of that. I just have all my employees fill out... They each have a set of KPIs. They're filling it out each day. And then it's populating red, yellow, green. So I think a lot of it, I do manually. You could automate some of it to an extent, and there's always room for more automation.

And then, also getting that into like, I don't have this yet, but I want to have like a weekly scorecard of everything. But it's only daily right now. But I want to have the big ones, like probably you have Ajay, you know, set up there. Still working on it.

Ajay: Well, if you already have the daily metrics, you could probably just create a couple of functions in the spreadsheet. And it would like that's how we do it is we have them input it daily. But we have the weekly metrics automatically spit out because we just have all the equations linked up and stuff.

Ryan: Yeah, that's what we have as well. We have a weekly section, but I want to format it a bit differently. Like the score, I think you've read traction from what I've heard. Yeah, like I want to have that exact scorecard in there. That's what I'm working on.

And those are a bit different than like each KPI. So yeah, it's a matter of how fast my Google Sheets guy will work because I'm not figuring that out.

Seth: So I'm looking at you, Ryan, and I see you're 23, I've seen you come pretty far in a pretty short amount of time, and I'm trying to diagnose, why is this true?

Like, what are you so good at? Or, why are you able to do this when a lot of people can't even get started? And if they do get started, they don't last past their first campaign. Did you just kind of get lucky here and there? Could you attribute it to that? Or, do you just have the stick-to-it-iveness where you're gonna make it work no matter what?

What would you say is your unfair advantage, for lack of a better word? Like, why were you able to make this happen when a lot of people have not been able to?

Ryan: Yeah, so I think there's like pieces of all that to what I've been able to do. I think the biggest like luck factor was living with Rylan and having him help me out. So it's just like, we lived together for the past 2 or 3 years, probably getting close to 3 years now. So that's been super helpful and very lucky. Living with another person who does this, we're going back and forth.

And he's pushing me to send more mail even when I'm almost running out of money, which most people don't have.

Seth: That's actually huge.

Ryan: Yeah. Storming into each other's rooms when you're on your phone. It's like, “What are you doing on your phone? There's money to be made. Get back to work!” And then he'll come in in my room, I have a whiteboard right over there and I remember one day he wrote down like, “Ryan's Launch Control $25,000.” And he wrote, Rylan's Launch Control $50,000.”

And at that point, I was like, oh man, I got to get him back for this one because he just upgraded his plan. So we're always competing.

And I think that would be the most lucky thing and super grateful to have him.

The other thing that I think has contributed to it a bit as to why a lot of people don't succeed is a lot of people get into this when they are a bit older and there's more risk involved. So, right? I don't have a house I need to pay for. I pay my brother for rent and we get a pretty solid deal. And then I don't have any pets. I don't have a girlfriend at the moment. I don't really have, like, no one's counting on me. So I really have no risk.

And I've spoken to some other people, right? If you have like a family, like you're looking at paying for your kid's college and everything that just starts to add. More and more layers of risk and I just don't have any of that.

And I guess that would be the second component, not having risk. First component being having Rylan.

And then third component, I'd say I've always been like working really hard for something like my entire life up until land. It was always like college school, like getting super good grades. I got like a handful, maybe five Bs in college throughout the whole thing. So I was like always like super dedicated. Other people weren't as focused.

And I wasn't always like the smart, I was definitely like towards like the, especially at Cal Poly, I was towards like the lower end of like people who were smart in the class. So I always had to work harder and like put in more hours. So I think that also contributes to it a bit.

So I'd say those three things.

Seth: Are you measuring smarts by the grades you got or some like assessment test or how hard you had to work?

RYan: Some of those people in those, a lot of them were just really naturally like, didn't have to study, just really high IQ people. And I never considered myself one of those, especially in comparison to them. So I felt like I always had to work a bit harder.

But working harder led me to where I can transfer that, what I was putting my energy there. It's a very easy transition from there to now. It was just all focused on academics to now it's pretty much all focused on business.

Seth: I can sort of relate to that, Ryan, in that I also had to work really hard and I also felt like the least smart person and my grades were also terrible. That's the one thing we were different about.

Ajay: I think those that did really, really well in school and honestly had that high IQ are typically really bad entrepreneurs a lot of time.

There's a rare breed, like you'll get an Elon Musk that's actually brilliant, but I think a majority of entrepreneurs that I personally know that are sub $30 million a year, because that's more my circle, aren't that IQ of 170-plus or whatever.

I think those folks just tend to overthink everything and not take action. And this is probably like the worst compliment I've ever given out is to my, one of my really good friends, who Seth, you know, really well, Peter Nukasani.

Peter, if you're listening, I love you, brother. I tell him and I say this to his face and around other people, this isn't like a behind the back thing, but I tell him he's a classic under-thinker. And because of that, he's going to go a lot further than most people.

So it sounds like a backhanded compliment and I don't mean it in a mean way, but because he doesn't overthink things, he just gets things done. Like he doesn't over-engineer process. He doesn't over-engineer inputs, you know? And so he's just phenomenal at executing. Like he sets his mind to something and does it.

And so anyways, Ryan, it seems like you're at least one of those folks that doesn't overthink it and you'll take action and you'll get the results and get it done. So it ends up becoming an advantage when you jump into entrepreneurship.

Seth, would you agree with that?

Seth: Oh yeah, totally. I would totally agree with that assessment with Peter. And I remember, I might have even told him that when we were hanging out last.

Ajay: Oh really?

Seth: Yeah, I have the curse of overthinking things. Like it really screws me up bad sometimes and I envy how he can just, it almost feels careless but like it works for him. I mean, he gets way farther than most people do because in one way or another, he's not letting this overthinking thing trip him up. But yeah, I would agree on that.

So Ryan, is there anything about this business that you think has been particularly hard or do you struggle in any specific way or has there ever been a time when you're like, I don't know if I'm going to make it in this. Tell us about some of the hard stuff.

Ryan: Back four or five months ago, it was definitely a bit stressful. And there was a point where I was still maybe close to breaking even on money, just for your reference. I had some good potential deals, but you know how it is. It's always so far out that it's like, okay, you can't really count that as money in the bank.

And then, so I had a conversation one night with my mom and both my parents are engineers and not really entrepreneurs at all. They're very safe, don't like taking risks and of course, they want the best for me. So she's like, this job's coming up in 2 months that I have to make that decision.

So she's like, oh, are you going to take the job? I'm like, I still don't know. I kept telling her like, I don't know. We'll see how it goes. And then I remember that night, there was just like a pretty big argument on the phone and...

Yeah, after that, I was like, oh, man, I'll just try to do it part-time at work. And I was feeling pretty down. And Rylan was in the other room. And I came in. We were sharing the same room at the start when we moved to Florida, right when I graduated. So I walked back in and our room was so small. And our desks were right next to each other. It was pretty funny.

But I walked back into the room and he could tell. I think he might have heard the conversation and then like saw me walk in all down and I just remember like being like pretty sad about it. And then Rylan like gave me this huge pep talk. And yeah, I think he stole a couple like quotes from Hormozi, who I didn't know at the time, but he was just like saying like, oh, like, don't take advice from anyone who you don't want to be in their position.

And that was like, that really hit me. And I was like, of course, I love my mom and everything. And she likes the job that she does. And I could see that it was probably a job that I wouldn't like. I mean, if I were going to do engineering…

The hard part for me was this was a really... Working for them was like a super great experience, super great company. But I don't know if that's what I wanted to do. But if I were going to do it, I want to work for them.

So that's why it was tough because I've worked so hard and kept my grades good, all this, and spent multiple summers interning. And then it's like, okay, like I have to take this job in a couple months. Are you going to take it or are you not? So that's why there was like an extra amount of pressure on me.

The reason why I think I decided not to is just like a lack of control. You know, when you work there, you'd come home, you'd hear your parents talking about which like boss they had. Like sometimes it'd be great. It's like, oh, my boss is so great. All this, like I really enjoy working for him and everything's just running smooth. And then you hear about them getting another boss who's borderline abusive. And it's like, you can't control that.

And then also working in engineering, it's just been a super, white male-dominated thing for a super long time. So being a white male going into that field, it's like you start to think that they do a great job of hiring diverse people and pushing them into positions.

But then you start to think, selfishly. I think that's a really good thing to do. But selfishly, it's like, I don't know if I'm going to get left out of the equation somewhere if that's what I choose.

So all those things were sort of going through my head. And after Rylan had gave me the pep talk and everything, I decided right after that, I don't care. I'm just going to do it. If I run out of money, I run out of money. It doesn't matter that much to me.

So that was the moment when I knew, okay, I'm going to do it. I'm going to push through. I don't care if I have to be down money for a while, but I know… I see how successful he is. And so I'm like, if he can do it, I know I can get... I can be half that successful and I'd be fine with that.

So having him to look up to is super great as well.

Seth: Hearing you talk about him, it almost kind of makes me wish I had another land investor friend right here in town. I could get together with them or invite them over here in the same tiny room and we could work back-to-back and just be plugging away in the same environment. Not in each other's business necessarily, but just there for each other. It would be super helpful.

I got plenty of people I could go out of my way. Like, let's schedule a Zoom call for two weeks from now and talk about it. But I said, no, like I just I want somebody right here, right now who just like, gets me.

From what you're saying there, it almost sounds like that could almost be the difference between you winning or losing at this is having somebody else to support when you when you're about to fall apart. I don't know if that was your situation or not, but I mean, I could totally see that being the case for a lot of people.

Ryan: No, guaranteed, because I have a lot of that same energy of like being very secure with everything I do, like always having some savings, always like being insecure. And he's a bit of the opposite way so when like I wouldn't have made it there's no way I would have made it without him so.

So yeah. And if you need someone Seth to live with, you can leave the family. Come to Florida.

Seth: I've been longing to hear about that.

Ajay: Quite the offer, Ryan, I will say. So my COO, my partner, Ben, my business partner in the land biz, actually moved out to Texas with me. And so he and I are living in the same house until I get married in June.

And Seth, everything you're saying is absolutely right. We were doing this across the country for a bit where I was in Chicago and he was in Tacoma, Washington. And then when I moved to Texas, he was like, dude, I'll move to Texas.

And so I was like, I have a third bedroom. Why don't you come crash until you get somewhere? And then he moved in and it was just awesome.

And this is going to sound... People are different, but I love working. And I work most hours of the day. And so we're just always working now. It's super fun. The amount of times I've walked out of my bedroom at 8 p.m.

And I'm like, Ben, you doing anything? And he's like, no, what's up? And I just start whiteboarding. We have a three foot by five foot whiteboard in the living room.We just go at it for like two and a half hours. It's just been really, really fun.

So getting to do that, like…

Seth: That sounds so awesome, man.

Ajay: Yeah, it's not as much competition like you're talking about when mastering Rockefeller Habits. If you guys have listened to that one, I think it was Charles Schwab in the factory used competition to incentivize teams to move forward. That's what your story about Rylan putting the 50k texts up on the whiteboard makes me think of.

So we don't necessarily get that, but maybe we should. Maybe we should engineer some competition in the house. I need to find some people to compete against. It's tough, though, because I feel like I make friends with everybody.

Seth, do you have any recommendations of people I could make enemies in the next couple of months?

Seth: Ooh, I don't know of anybody that you would be enemies with. I mean, I've never seen you like butt heads with anybody. It seems like you can get along with everyone I know. So, yeah, I don't, unfortunately. But I'll think about that.

I'll ask around if you want me to. I'll put some on the Facebook group and see if anybody…

Ajay: Makes me want to butt heads with somebody.

Seth: Oh, yeah.

So, Ryan, I know it's fairly early still in your land investing career, but where do you foresee this going? Like, I feel like now more than ever, it's really hard to predict what things are gonna look like in one or three or five years, but if you could map it out, how do you foresee your land investing business evolving?

Ryan: Yeah. So I have some bigger goals that I set for myself. And that would be like one year, three year and 10 year. Next year, I'd like to do $3 million in revenue, which would be about triple of what I'm doing.

But it's been the past like three or four months that I've really taken off. So we'll see how it goes. And I would like to do like a million out of that profit. All this is like super high goals that like could potentially happen but definitely something to reach for.

And then 10 years, just the number, I guess, would just be 5 million, like basically 5 million profit, 15 revenue. I don't know of anyone really doing that. But I mean, 10 years is a long time. So you got to shoot for something high. And see if you get there.

Seth: Cool, man.

Ryan: And I think to get to those bigger numbers, it's probably going to be a team of like 30 to 40 people.

I really am interested in running good teams. And I think that would be a really fun challenge for me. It's just like, how do you motivate that many people all to move in one direction to a common goal and still make it a good place to work?

I guess those are the goals. Got them on the wall. We'll see if I rip them down in a couple months.

Seth: Yeah, that's awesome, man. So if somebody is listening to this and they have maybe been sitting on the sidelines for a while. They've seen the land flipping business and like, I don't know if that's for me. I don't know if I should do that. Or maybe I am going to do that, but I don't know what to expect.

Do you have any words of advice for people in those positions?

Ryan: I think one of the things that you have to do, like this, what I realized is that you can't really do this at a high level part-time. I guess there are some people who can, but I think especially starting off, if you're not full-time, it's going to be very, very challenging to see any success.

And you know, that distance where you see your money come back is just gonna get extended and extended. And I think you're just gonna get discouraged and discouraged.

So as hard as it is, I think that if I were to do it again, it's like, okay, either like commit to it fully or don't commit to it all. I think doing it part-time is super challenging.

And then, I mean, if you're gonna get into it, you know, and you're… It depends what stage of life you're in. But if you're young, find someone else, again, who wants to do it. And then push each other and always have someone to bounce ideas off of and all of that because that's worked super well for me and Rylan.

So also, one other thing, Costilla County, Colorado. Pour all the money in there. It'll come back soon enough.

Ajay: It'll come back at $99 down, $99 a month for 3 years.

Ryan: You also don't work in those super, super like, I don't know, I don't even know what to call them, Colorado, Arizona, maybe you'll find success there, but do bigger deals and places where there's less people sending mail.

Ryan: Your first deal in New York, what made you pick New York at all? Like why did you go there of all places?

Ryan: I don't know. I think I was just scrolling around on a map and landed on New York.

I still do that to this day. I'll just pick... If I run out of places that I like in a certain state, I'll just randomly pick a new state. I'm not doing any analytics on population growth or anything. My theory is there's good deals in every county. You just have to find them. If it's a worse county, lower demand, then you'll be able to likely get a better deal because lots of people are mailing there.

I think a lot of people starting out... And I guess this tails off our last conversation, a lot of people starting off will analyze counties for hours and hours. And at some point it's like, I don't really care. At this scale too, with how much I'm sending out, I can't be that picky. I don't spend that much time on pricing. I have someone else pricing, you know?

So just don't get too caught up in pricing and picking counties as well.

Seth: So I don't know if we really did talk about that. What are you sending out? Is this direct mail, texting, something else? What are your marketing methods and what's working for you?

Ryan: Yeah, so I started off with mail. That's how most people start off. And then I moved into texting a bit.

And texting was good for a while. I got some really good deals. But it seems like it's slowly fading away. I've seen like less than half the leads coming through than I was before with text.

So I'm switching more to mail and just trying to do the same volume that I was texting now like switching over to mail. So I'm trying to send like 20,000 a month in mail.

Seth: And are you sending like blind offers or neutral letters or what exactly does your mail look like?

Ryan: Yeah. So I send all ranges. Again, I don't have statistics on it. I think that would be a good thing to track in the future. But all range offers, that'll be the same with text and with mail.

And I think that's just a good way of saying, Hey, if it's market values, $100,000 will offer anywhere from $30,000 to $70,000, something along maybe $35,000 to $65,000. So basically saying, like, Hey, we're going to be paying below market value.

So that's why I like the range is that they sort of get that idea for the most part. And you have to qualify them a little bit less.

And then blind’s hard because people do get it in their head like, “Hey, you offered me $20,000. like, where's my $20,000?" And so that's a bit difficult as well. So I just figured range is like, that's how I would do it in my head and it makes a lot of sense to me.

So yeah, just having a range there. We'll do that for texting too. Like if people are interested in our offers and hey, we can pay between this and that. Are you interested? If they say yes, then we'll push them to FollowUp Boss, get them on a call.

So that's the method. I'm not sure if it works. And I'm not sure if you should take my advice. I've been doing it for six, seven months. I'm in no position to be giving advice.

Seth: Well, everybody is a teacher on some level. And you certainly know things that a lot of other people don't.

Ryan, appreciate you sharing all your story with us here today. As we kind of wrap this up, I wanted to close with the three closing questions that we sometimes ask of people.

So question number one, what is your biggest fear?

Ryan: I guess something that I would be fearful of, and I've heard a lot of people warn me against it, is just putting too much time into a business like this.

And I know that sounds like a little weird, but I have been working with everything that I have. And I know some people, I feel like, I really have truly put like everything that I have into this and just working some really crazy hours.

So I mean, this is a time like people looking back, you're not I'm not going to care when I'm 80 that I made an extra $40,000 because I like squeezed one more deal out. So I think just being very, very conscious of that and being ungrateful for where I am and always trying to shoot for something bigger. I think that that would be something that I'm fearful of and try to take steps away from that.

So overall my plan is like I started doing it full-time in April. I think after April this like I'll put everything that was my plan when I went in like let me put everything in I can for a year see where I get. And then I think in April, we're gonna start, me and my roommate, Rylan, I'm gonna start traveling around a bit and just like rewarding ourselves for how much we did put in because if you don't stop and you just head down for too many years I'm fearful of that.

Seth: Cool, man. So what are you most proud of?

Ryan: I think I'm most proud of my discipline. I think that would be what I'm most proud of. And I guess I value myself on that a lot. And just in the business and like working out. I'm very focused on working out, staying in good shape too.

So I think I'm most proud of always having a desire to improve. That's been over a range of things. When I was younger, I didn't get into the GATE class in my elementary school and I was so... I remember my parents told me I was just shaken up about it.

Ever since then, I was like, I want to be really good at school. And then I wasn't that good I was good socially as a kid. My brother was super good socially. And then I was like, I want to get good socially. So let me study and let me try to get out of my comfort zone and go talk to more people.

And yeah, I think just that desire to improve and discipline there is what I'm most proud of.

Seth: Yeah, that's awesome, man. I think it's actually really cool to see anybody who's not born with some inherent gift, but they figure out how to do it anyway, or even get some of the way there.

I mean, that takes a lot of work when it's not just handed to you at birth and you have to struggle through it and figure out how do I make this thing work on a social level? I can totally relate to that too.

Ryan: Yeah, yeah, it's tough because it has to be every day, just continuous, continuous.

Seth: Yeah, absolutely, man.

So last question, let's pretend you just got $100 million wired to your bank account and you're not allowed to stay in the land business, but you're free to do anything else you want to do.

What would you do for the rest of your life?

Ryan: I don't really like the idea of like getting that much money. I really like earning things and I think that would like completely like recircuit everything. It would make everything that I've done so far, it would feel more meaningless. And I think it wouldn't motivate me to do anything more.

Ideally, I'd give it away. But who knows? I'd probably keep a couple millions of stashed in case I go broke or something.

But yeah, I wouldn't want to stop working and just go sit on the beach all day because that doesn't sound fun, right? Someone needs it a lot more than I do.

Seth: Any idea who you would give it to?

Ajay: *points to himself*

Ryan: Yeah, yeah. Maybe my brother, see what he gets into. He'll probably get a… No, Ajay, we're going to start it out.

Ajay: I've got some ideas for you, Ryan. Don't you worry, man. I'm sorry.

Ryan: No, Ajay, you like the challenge too. You wouldn't want it. You'd want to keep working.

Seth: You're totally right. I know what you mean when you say it would kind of recircuit everything because, I mean, it totally would. And I think what's going on there, in me anyway, is like I've put a lot of my value in what I'm able to produce or like generate as a person or value I can bring to others.

And like if that's all, like if that capacity is neutered or taken away or whatever word you want to use, like what now? Like what is my purpose? Where does my value come from if it's just like done already?

So it's kind of a trip to figure that out.

Ryan: Yeah, I talked to Rylan a lot about this a lot, how we're like the guy in the Greek mythology, I forget his name, that pushes the rock up the hill every day.

Ajay: Oh yeah. Prometheus?

Ryan: That sounds right.

Ajay: Or is Prometheus the one that got eaten by birds?

Ryan: I can't remember. One of the two, but anyways, I feel like there's some value into pushing that rock up the hill every day, and maybe you don't have to do it every day. But without doing that, you're just going to be lost. And it's not a very exciting or fun life to live.

I think living a life where you could make a million dollars on your own is way more like you're way more proud of it. You're way more interesting. Like there's more respect given to you than like just winning a lottery or any of that.

So just that challenge, I think, is like what attracts me to business and everything. So I wouldn't want to live without the challenge.

Seth: Well, it's interesting because it makes me wonder that statement there is made with the assumption that you're making X number of dollars. What if that number of dollars was cut in half? Would you still like the challenge?

What if it was cut down to 25%, 10%? What if it was nothing? What if you made no money? Would you work just for the heck of it? Makes me wonder how much of this is money in the reward versus the actual value of the work itself.

Ryan: Yeah, I was going to say, it's tricky. As you keep going lower and lower, everything's going well right now. But I mean, even if like at this, I'm sure if I had a family, I'd want some sort of safety net.

But at this point, I think, maybe it'd make a more interesting story, right? You start losing money, what are you going to do? You have to pick yourself up. I think that's a more interesting story than someone who just started with $100 million and went to the club every night and got lost and all that.

Seth: Well, I'll tell you, I mean, yeah, running REtipster for as long as I have, totally different business than land, but even seeing it play out in the land, too. You do this long enough, you will have to reinvent yourself.

The stuff that you could just take for granted at one point, like it doesn't work anymore, or it doesn't work nearly as much as it used to. So I think that's a story everybody has to survive through at some point. Especially in this rapidly changing world we're now in.

Ajay: Absolutely. Well, I know, like Seth, the first time you had me on, I was just coming out of a season where I was 100% into like Florida infill lots, you know, and I saw when interest rates shot up and builders got real scared and how they tightened up that there was an element of risk in the business.

And there's a theme with me that anybody who's listened to enough of my interviews knows that I don't like when other people have control over my business, which is why I continue to modify it. And to your point, reinvent myself in the business.

And so I've seen what happened. And God forbid, it happens again the way that it did. But I see some folks I talked to who are 100% all-in on just these small assignment fees to builders, $2,000 to $5,000 to $10,000 assignment fees, these tiny infill lots, and that's their entire business model. And I'm like, dude, I hope you're not carrying a lot of overhead or debt right now, because you could get wrecked in a heartbeat. One thing changes at the Fed level. And I hope it doesn't happen to them, but I'm going to make sure it doesn't happen to me by engineering on a different side.

On the flip side, though, what's really interesting is when you're thinking about the challenges, Ryan, you're talking about, you like the challenge, you like problem-solving, and kind of the build of it all, right? At some level, money is just the success metric of business. It's just a consequence of good business.

And so Seth, when you start asking the question, like, okay, what if it were cut down to nothing? It's like, well, then what's the success metric? How do we measure who's winning and who's losing? Because I think most entrepreneurs you talk to, they like winning, but they hate losing, right? Almost every entrepreneur I know hates losing 30 times more than they love winning.

Winning feels nice. You know, I've gotten six figure wired into my bank account. And I'm like, that was cool. But you know what motivated me more was the thought of losing like a four grand assignment sometimes, which is like illogical, right? But it's how your brain is wired. Like a pain aversion is something I use a lot to actually motivate myself, because we as humans fear losing something more than we want to go get something or whatever.

But anyways, last thing I'll say is just like $100 million dollars is so much money to deploy as well. Like if you dropped it into my bank account from a sheer business sense and you were like, can you go put this to work?

I don't know that I could. That's so much, like I'd stick it in a Treasury account, and it would spit out $5 million a year. That's kind of wild when you think about it. Like, Ryan, your three-year goal is $5 million net. If you had $100 million, you could just stick it in Treasury bonds and you'd be there, man.

I'm sorry. I'm all over the place. But just a couple of thoughts rattling around my brain as I hear you two smart guys talking about stuff.

Ryan: So dump it all on mailers. Dump it all.

Ajay: I'll send out 40,000 mailers every day for the rest of time.

Seth: When you say that money is the success metric, so I would agree, but I'm wondering why? And like, should it be?

I know when you're talking about like a non-profit, for example, it's almost like they're ashamed to make money. Like a lot of them go out of their way to publicly tell everybody, look how much money we're not making. You know, look how much money we're not saving here, we're just giving it away to the community, or whatever their mission is, and understandably, I mean, that's why they exist or should be.

But it does make me wonder, like, on one hand, I totally get it and totally agree, like, the money is why we're doing this. Should it be? Like, what if the money were cut in half or cut by 75% or whatever, but you were achieving some great good in the world? Is that okay? Would you just keep operating, making hardly any money or operating at a loss to serve that mission?

Or when I look about land, I don't see a huge mission, per se, for the most part. but it's not like people are gonna die if they don't have their land or something like that. But, any thoughts?

Ajay: Yeah, absolutely. Got tons of thoughts. I do this thing where I play ping pong in my brain. Like I play both sides and figure out somewhere in the middle of where I wanna settle in on an argument.

So first the question, should it be the success metric?

And I think to properly answer that, you'd then have to ask yourself the question, what's the alternative? Because if impact were the consequence, well, how do you quantify impact?

Is it like by the amount of people you touch? Because now it's a numbers game. Like what if I go around high-fiving as many people as possible, right? So like there needs to be some sort, right? It sounds silly out loud, but there has to be some quantifiable, measurable result that's tangible at some level. I don't know what that substitute would be.

What I do know is money can buy freedom, money can buy options, and money can pay people, right? Obviously, I think the three of us sitting here are all aware that impact and money can go hand in hand, right? And so I know I like to give to some charities and churches and pay my staff and be generous with bonuses at times and do all those things.

But I don't know. It's just like, unfortunately, the answer to my question is another question of like, okay, if it's not money, what would it be? And if it is, how do we make that measurable, right? So it's really interesting. Really interesting thought.

Ryan, what are your thoughts?

Ryan: Yeah, I agree with what you said at the start too. It's like, if not money, then what is it?

I think there is a sliding scale to where it's like, okay, at some point I'm trying to save up money and want to have a family at some point, right? So that'd be a goal.

But at some point, where does that end and where does greed begin? I think there's a line in there and you go too far down one way when you could be using that money to just do better things.

But as you're making more money, that's the most influential thing there is to do good in the world. So I think with more money, you could have a more positive impact.

Ajay: I agree. And it's something I go back and forth on a lot.

So greed, I think, don't quote me on this, but I think can be defined as the love of money. So you love the money itself versus what it can do. I think I've shared my faith here on REtipster before. I think we're allowed to do that. Seth, feel free to tell me no if not.

But I'm a Christian and I think something I think about a lot and actually that I've been challenged by a friend of mine, somebody who I now consider a mentor, JD Hill. He's getting really cool stuff going in land. But the idea of being a good steward of money.

Because if me, Ajay, and Ryan, and Seth are all given gifts and blessings and talents from God, and we use those, and now all of a sudden you have half a million dollars in the bank at 23, right? That's pretty cool. How do you steward that well?

Is it by paying people well and creating a good working environment? Is it by taking care of your parents in early retirement? Is it by buying a Lambo?

You know what I mean? Like, what does it actually mean to be a good…

Seth: It's that one, for sure. Yeah.

Ajay: Not a trick question, guys. But you know, it's how do I do good with this money?

And then I struggle sometimes when it comes to like tithing. You know, especially as an entrepreneur, your income is not always consistent. And so I don't have good financial systems where I do give regularly and I'll go and like not give for a while and then go give a $20,000 lump sum randomly.

And I'm pretty sporadic with that, which makes me like a hit for a lot of these non-profits I do donate to because they're like, Hey, we saw this large sum came in, and now I'm on like their annual fundraising lists, which is a whole other conversation.

But the point being, I struggle sometimes in trusting God because I am like, well, I know how to multiply this, right? It's like, no, you were given gifts and you were given blessings and you're being a good steward. But that is separate from trusting that God can do more with your money than you can.

So I don't know how we ended up on this, but being a good steward is what I want to fall back on. It's not really ours.

Seth: Yeah, well, it was a good question. You said, if not money, what else? And we were trying to figure out what else is there and what else does matter and that kind of thing. And yeah, I mean, I would agree.

That is the best or the better, or the way to handle that conversation in terms of what's the next step. But then you gotta decide, okay, why does that matter? Like, who is that serving? What's the point of that? Does that matter eternally or even a few years from now? Or does it just make me feel good?

And we probably won't find the answer today, but good stuff to ponder. And I hope the listeners out there or pondering it as well.

Ryan, thanks again for coming on the show and talking to us. It was a pleasure to talk to you. Great to meet you at the Unconference thing a few weeks back. If people want to learn more about you or connect with you, you don't have to share anything, but if you want to, is there a way they should do that?

Ryan: Thanks, Seth, for having me on. I appreciate it. I had a lot of fun with you and Ajay. So I appreciate you having me on.

And yeah, if anyone wants to connect with me, ryan@longhornlandholdings.net, that's my email. We have a funny little YouTube channel, me and Rylan, the Home Office Heroes. Go like and subscribe over there. And some good content there. It's basically us on the couple of days a month where we do take off and have some fun. So go check us out there.

And yeah, if you have any double close you want to partner with or need my advice, want some charity work, I'm always there.

Seth: Cool, man. Thanks again. Appreciate it. And let's stay in touch.

For the listeners out there, if you want to see the show notes for this episode, it's REtipster.com/175. If you want to go ahead and text the word FREE to the number 33777, you can stay up to date on all things happening in the world of REtipster.

Thanks again, and we'll talk to you next time.

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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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