We are excited to announce Owner Occupied, a new podcast hosted by Peter Lohmann, the co-founder of RL Property Management. On Owner Occupied, hosts Peter Lohmann and Russell Lowery discuss small business, property management, entrepreneurship, and general real estate topics. Episode 1 is below. You can also find Owner Occupied on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, and wherever else you listen. More information and links to subscribe can be found here: https://anchor.fm/owneroccupied

Please find a complete transcript of the video below, for your convenience.

Russell: 00:00

So, Peter, welcome. We are gonna figure this out together. Tell us who you are and then I will introduce myself. 

Peter: 00:27

So, my name is Peter Lohmann, I own a company called RL Property Management here in Columbus Ohio and by day I run a management company here. We manage around 450 rental units. It’s a mixture of single families and apartments. And I have got a family here, I have got a wife and a young daughter. I live in a neighborhood called Olde Towne East in Columbus and my office is two minutes away from where I live. 

Russell: 0:56

How did you come up with RL Property Management? Why that name? 

Peter: 01:01 

So, it’s just the last initials of myself and the other owner. So I have a partner who is 50-50 on everything with me. We own properties together and we own the business together. His last name is Rich, my last name is Lohmann, so hence the RL. 

Russell: 01:14 

My name is Russell Lowery, so the RL connections there. You mention that you own properties and manage them. Do you mind sharing a little bit about how you… usually you have to do something, make a little money before you can get to ownership. How did that come about for you? 

Peter: 01:42 

My background is in engineering actually, so my degree is in electrical engineering. I graduated in 2007. I worked as a control systems engineer for two different local consulting engineering firms here in Columbus. And during that time I was making good W-2 income as an engineer and that’s where we got that initial cash flow that we used to buy the first few rounds of properties. This was 2008 to 2012. We were buying one property a year so myself and my business partner. He is also an engineer. So it was essentially that, and back then properties were more affordable. You know it was right after the crash so we got some incredible deals that I don’t know if I will ever see in my lifetime. In a way it was almost too good because now everything I see, my benchmark was the value of that property in 2009. And it makes it hard to pull the trigger with today’s valuations. 

Russell: 02:49 

Understood. Well I have a couple of companies, one Highview Strategies and another Competitive Edge but I am a public affairs, a PR person. Most of my clients have a political issue, which, defined broadly, they have some political problem, and I figure out a solution for that problem.

Peter: 03:16

We have got a few of those here in Columbus, we will have to talk about those one day. 

Russell: 03:21

Everybody does. And so we figure out solutions to those problems and bill accordingly. I got interested in the properties space, I made money. I have been successful in building that business and I would have been looking to get into an equity position. I had a developer and I have what I charge for PR services or whatever and I met that developer and I thought well, here is your solution, here is your public affairs problem, and you know what, instead of charging you a full rate why not do a discounted rate and trade you just a little piece of equity. Like I didn’t even know what to ask for. You talk to a developer about a piece of equity and he was like I was asking for his first born child. He said no way, not even a percentage, teeny just a little something {cross -talk}. But it worked out because I figured that if he was not willing to give up any equity… maybe I wasn’t charging enough {crosstalk}. 

Peter: 04:58 

So did it work out? Did he give you a piece? 

Russell: 04:59 

No, no, he didn’t give me a piece, but I got on that side of understanding the development process, what they needed and came up with some creative solutions to get stuff built in California. Maybe it is a challenge everywhere but California has a reputation… for being especially hard in California. And so I started doing some work in Berkeley which… California is difficult, Berkeley is insane. And we had some success there and they did very well in that. Anyway, they helped develop one line of product that I work on but I’ve met all these other people so I have been learning about small businesses and property stuff outside of my political wheelhouse. I think our connection came over small business Twitter. But I’m in the middle of acquiring my first business outside… In addition to buying property… all business loans and that kind of stuff. So it’s been a transition. And when you tell people hey I learned how to do this from some of these cool guys on Twitter it sounds like they react the same way I react when I hear people selling bitcoin, not to cause any controversy, but it sounds speculative, it sounds odd. 

Peter: 06:32

It’s amazing, I mean I had coffee with a guy this morning that I met through Twitter who lives, he is a local here in Columbus, and I think we will probably end up working together in the future one way or another. But yeah, I mean the opportunities are coming through Twitter. I mean you and I met directly through there, certainly if you are interested in learning about real estate and small business, I mean that’s… it’s a goldmine. There is stuff…you can see stuff on there being freely shared that is just not available anywhere else. You know I have been in the business for a while and I have been owning property, managing property interest, owning a small business and there is just… it’s incredible the value being given. It’s almost a time we live in where to build value and to build an audience. You are essentially giving away all your best secrets in public, you build in public. And that demonstrates your expertise and your authority in the domain. And then when folks need specific advice, or when they need to completely hand something off,  you are the first person they call and whether that’s investing as a limited partner in a deal like you want to do or we are trying to do, whether that’s hiring someone as a consultant.  You know, I had a call earlier this week,  with a marketing guy that I met through Twitter, we are probably going to work with them, so it’s pretty incredible. 

Russell: 08:00  

That’s great. When you first started as a property owner, you got your W-2 income; did you hire a property management company or did you do it yourself right from the start? 

Peter: 08:12 

We did it ourselves from the start. My business partner and I.. you know it’s really easy with just a small handful of properties. We were single, and young and we had nothing better to do. So there was no shortage of time ‘cause we were just working our day jobs. So yeah, we self-managed and limped along and figured it out. And in the process of doing that, especially after we got a few more units, we put together some systems and processes to do that and make it a little more streamlined. And then we started networking and talking with other property owners and they were all complaining about their property managers and they couldn’t find one they liked. And at the same time, we were kind of getting sick of working for other people, we wanted to do our own thing and that’s how the property management company came about. We saw an opportunity like hey there has to be a way to do this, to create a property management company that’s designed for real estate investors, it operates with transparency, it operates in a way that puts the owners interests ahead of our own as the managers. ‘Cause we wanted that for our own properties and we couldn’t find it. So that really kicked off, we got real estate licenses, and then in 2013, I quit my job, and started this business. And when we started it, it was nothing. There were no units, there were no other clients other than the ones we owned. I was operating out of my apartment. And then just slowly and a little bit more quickly built up some momentum and started getting clients, started getting some units, started building some scale. So yeah, it was just a self-managing start and eventually managing for others. 

Russell: 09:56 

So I know you shared the growth trajectory of your business on Twitter, which I found remarkable. How did you go about meeting other property owners? I mean you had to get out of your apartment… they are not swinging by to attack you up there. How did that happen? 

Peter: 10:24 

So the early days I tried to attend every real estate meetup group that I could, you know, and there are bunch of these in every city if you just Google real estate meet up or multi family meetup, single family rental meetup, so I would go to those and chat up investors. I started to befriend realtors who were working with industrial clients. We very quickly got a website up and started optimizing that to try and rank for, like if you search Columbus property manager, we want it to appear in those search results near the top. We bought some Google Ad words, so we began getting some traction through Google searches. So you know, then word of mouth, I had a small network even then of folks I knew. I think I was in BiggerPockets, which is a big community for real estate investors, especially for people who are just starting out. So I jumped in there and started chatting. It took a while, I took a screenshot, you know that is the thing like, you know, you’ll see a dollar bill, the first money a restaurant ever made will be framed and put up on the wall. Well, unfortunately our first money we ever made was like Chase Quick Pay or something. So there was no physical, but I printed to PDF the email we got and I still have it, you know, this is the first money we ever made in the business. So yeah, it was hard getting started, it was so scary, right, I quit my engineering job and I had just gotten engaged. So my wife was like what now, you are quitting your engineering job? That is not what I signed up for. But it worked out. She is happy now, I guess. 


Do you expect to just grow your property management business? Is that your ambition? Or do you have any other thoughts? Or is that what you are going to do? 

Peter: 12:20 

Yeah, so I definitely want to grow the property management business. I’m all in on the property management company. I spend, you know, pretty much every waking moment thinking about it and how we can grow and how we can make our clients more successful with what they are doing with their properties. You know there are other opportunities that you see, the longer you have been in business and the more you bump up against the limits of what possible in a given domain, both the software that’s available and the constraints whether geographic or what the customers are coming at you with, you see the opportunities, right, so we have seen a few different opportunities, two or three good ones over the years where we are like okay, there is something there. We can take what we know about property management and real estate with our engineering backgrounds, and maybe make something happen there. 

So there are a few things kind of on the back burner that we are sort of moving along slowly and thinking about but the  property management business really is 100 percent the focus. You know we had this funny idea when we started that we would have all this extra time since we were not working at a day job we would be able to kind of manage properties for a couple of hours a day then we would be able to run around and go looking for properties to buy. And have all this extra time to walk properties and scour the MLS and find off-market deals and everything… but we were immediately overwhelmed with work with the property management company and we have rarely bought any property since we started so that didn’t work out as planned. But we did syndicate a few deals back in 2012/2013 time range, so we got our feet wet with that. 

Russell: 14:13  

Sorry what do you mean syndicate a few deals? 

Peter: 14:16 

So, and you will see people on Twitter talking about the slide, like if you are a general partner in a real estate deal. You are syndicating, you are bringing in outside investors, it goes by all these different names, like syndicating, or sometimes people call it joint venture or GP, general partner. 

Russell: 14:36 

Okay so yeah, but when you say syndicating a few deals was that to buy property or to pick up property management business? 

Peter: 14:45 

It was to buy property. So a couple of single, 3 or 4 single family and maybe a two-family. We brought outside investors in for those deals. And we still own all those properties right now. 

Russell: 14:57 

One of the books I read, I forget now who recommended it but, Buy then Build …  It started my business with bare walls. And that phone not ringing and that inbox zero is terrible. Hello, hello is anybody out there? And I wouldn’t change, I gained a lot of experience, and I’m appreciative, but I made so many mistakes and it was so expensive knowing what I know now. I would much rather start with something and then build on what I already have. Do you think in terms of buying property management business from other people or just adding a property by one of the one off owners that want to hand it off? 

Peter: 15:53 

Great question. So we do buy other management companies, in fact twice in the past five years, including once last year. We bought a book of business from another management company locally here, and so you know we can spend quite a while unpacking all this but to summarize, when you buy a company you can either buy the book of business, if it’s a services business, which means that you are essentially taking over the servicing of the contracts from that provider, so if you think about like a dentists if a dentist was going to sell a business, they are going to sell their books, they are going to sell their customer list, to a colleague, they are like I’m gonna retire and the young guy is coming up, so I’m going to sell you my customer list, and the outgoing, the seller, will try to make it a smooth transition. We are partnering with this new guy, we are gonna migrate all your patient records and everything… it’s the same thing with property management. So you buy a book of business and you essentially just bolt that in your existing operation. And in property management that involves the contracts. So how property management works is you have a one year agreement or contract with the property owner where you are going to manage their property and that’s a one year agreement. So you can buy those agreements, you can construct the agreements so that they are assignable, which is ideal. So that is the first way to buy a business. 

The other way is essentially a stock sale or an asset purchase where  you are literally buying the entity or the LLC and the S-Corp and everything that goes with it. It could be trucks, it could be property, it could be large equipment, of course the customers, there could be employees coming along with it, could be operating capital, and it also includes all the liabilities that go along with that business as well. If they have angry customers that wanna sue, you want to be on the hook for that. So there are pros and cons depending on what your goals are and the set up. We did a book of business purchases for our two transactions and those worked well. And we are still looking. We stay friendly with a lot of the local property managers and I kinda tease them a little bit “oh are you getting ready to retire old man? You known we’ll buy your business.” You know keeping it light hearted but also a little serious. 

Russell: 18:26 

Yeah, so if you wanted, I’m open to this. You used that term bolt-on, and when I got the acquisition bug, when I got convinced that that was the way to go, I talked to a million people looking for different PR businesses, different add-ons I could do in my direct sphere of work. There just wasn’t anything for sale. There it was, it just wasn’t for sale and so I started looking at what I was spending… money on . What were some of my biggest expense items? And I spent a lot of money on printing. And I looked at it and asked myself how much it would cost to buy a printer. And I looked and realized that was a significant expenditure. How much would it have cost me to buy a printing business? And that led me down that trail to where I’m gonna have a printing business and there is a story around that. But I thought about that in terms of I know a couple of property managers  here in California and I started thinking what are some of the expenses that you have got and you can… feel free to tell me why the idea doesn’t work. And  I know, I think you mentioned that you don’t even recommend vendors because of different, right.

Peter: 19:52

It’s right yeah. 

Russell: 19:53 

And the idea I was saying if I bought a landscaping company, and I mow grass, I’m not designing yards, I’m just mowing grass and tending to it. That business would have a certain value and if I then approached a person like you and said if your properties are allowing you to  pick who mows the grass, or if that were part of it, if I added in the one, the person I am talking to, felt fairly confident that they could get me 30 grass mowing accounts if that’s what they wanted to do. If I could do that confidently they wouldn’t care, they don’t care who mows the grass. So I’m looking at that and saying property managers buy so many different services and meet so many different vendors that can sell, and so you need people who can reliably service your customers. Have you thought about owning any of those vendors that you use underneath so that you know your clients are getting high quality service ‘cause you are, here you’ve not maybe you are not necessarily in house to the property management but I don’t know what the right phrase is a bolt, but that’s how I think about a bolt-on or aware needed business relate.

Peter: 21:23 

We absolutely have thought about that. So a couple of things come up when you mention that. The first problem that we have is scale, so if I was to buy a landscaping company for example, although we do have the responsibility of mowing the grass at a lot properties we manage, in the grand scheme of the landscaping company, we are still kind of small, so if I was to buy a landscaping company I would be basically be owning a landscaping company and I would have a tiny little percentage of the revenue from that company be guaranteed, basically because I would be giving it from my advantage to the company. The more you can scale, the more that starts to make sense, you know if I am managing 2000 units, and they all need their grass cut, now it  starts to make more sense to buy a landscaping company, or I think what most property managers end up doing is they just bring the services in house, because I think there is, as you know, if you run a landscaping company, you are dealing with the general public. Right, you are dealing with Suzie Smith, who calls you up and says hey, how much does it cost to cut grass? And now you have invoicing, you have got scheduling, all the rigmarole that goes on with that, whereas when you are servicing properties that you manage, it’s just easy peasy. You are guaranteed to get paid because you get paid from the rent, you are essentially your own client, and it’s very simple. So property managers will bring trades people in house, and we, for example, at our managing company, employ six handy man guys as W-2 employees who work directly for us and are doing work on the properties we manage all day, every day. It’s really simple, it’s somewhat profitable, we don’t try to make big profits because we provide value for our clients and give them a great handyman service at a good price. And I know as property managers get bigger, they bring in plumbing and HVAC is the next logical step. We are not quite there in terms of scale, and support an in-house plumbing HVC person but we are getting close…

Russell: 23:48 

Yeah, that’s what I was thinking, from a scale standpoint, and sure if you bought a big plumbing company, or a big HVAC, or a big landscaping company, it would be a tiny percentage of the at 450 customers. But if you bought a small one, maybe if it wasn’t even that profitable, maybe it was under 100,000 STE, just really small, maybe for your six handyman, if you had a handyman business and, and your 450, you’ve already got six employees who can do that kind of work, and they’re primarily busy with your clients, but now you’re getting the efficiency of kind of filling in their hours with external stuff. They’re always going to be primarily focused on your stuff, but they’re able to do business with the public in other places, but you’re sort of their priority customer where you’re getting a better return for that investment and those employees, because they’re busier, that sort of thing. And you can build those different, it could be a way to learn to scale a smaller business slowly and then add the expertise over time.

Peter: 25:30

Yeah, so that’s exactly right. And we actually are kind of doing that. So we offer the public wood window restoration, right? It’s  kind of, it’s kind of a side passion of mine. I learned how to restore wood windows years ago, and I’ve been restoring the wood windows on my historic home here in Columbus. And as I kinda got involved in that community a little bit, I realized that there was a huge demand for this service. It’s very specialized. And it’s, it’s actually kind of mandated by the local governments here, the cities and historic districts, in certain cases, require that you keep the original windows and restore them versus replacing them. So I was like, hey, there could be some money in this and exactly along the lines of you were thinking, this can keep our guys busy during the slow season, which right now is in the wintertime.

So I threw together a quick little website, and threw together some marketing material. We did some direct mail, put together some marketing collateral, and right away we got some business. So, we are operating that as a very small side business. We have just a few customers that we’re slowly restoring all the windows on their house. And because of the nature of that work, you know, we can charge a premium because that service is in such high demand. And what’s beautiful about it is it’s not urgent, right?  It’s not like, hey, my sink’s leaking. I need you here. It’s like this year, next year, whenever we get to it, you know, I can schedule six months out with people and they don’t bat an eye. And we just have a little wood window shop now in the basement of our office.

And so we bring them back to the shop and the guys work on them when they have two hours between jobs or whenever they can. So I think you’re exactly on the money there. I think the details matter of like, what’s the nature of the work matters a lot, because if you get into plumbing work, for example, like in my example, I mean, if people need a plumber they need a  plumber, you can’t schedule two weeks out usually. And if your guys are already busy doing work at the properties you manage, that’s going to be hard to do. But if you could get into a type of business like landscaping might be a great one, because that’s never going to be critical, you can always push it forward or back a day or two and not, you know, no big deal. So yeah, I like that thought a lot.

Russell: 27:40

I’ll let you know how it goes. You can, I gotta digest this print work, the print work first, but I, I definitely am the community we’ve got and learning and that searcher model and people looking, you know, to maximize that $5 million SBA loan, I found it great. I’m working very hard on a small acquisition. I’ve already sold. I will double the revenue in year one because I’ve already sold what they are doing in revenue last year. So that my strategic advantage was I know how to sell printing, because I know a lot of print consumers and I know what I’ve heard. So I kind of, de-risk the whole thing. Yeah. That makes things that I’ve learned. I found a great banker. I found a good lawyer. I am overpaying because my strength has never been accounting, but I found somebody who can explain the whole thing to me. And I’m doing a 13 week cash flow analysis. And they’re training me on how to do this and what all the margins and industry standards in this business ought to be. And I can sort of cherry out the experience. Nobody would pay what I’m paying for the advice that I’m paying for, for this tiny transaction. But I really wanted to be able to prepare for a larger one down the road and build skills. And so…

Peter: 29:19

So you’re, so you’re in contract to buy this business. Yeah. Okay. Yeah.

Russell: 29:20

And somebody, I’m going to go back through, but somebody can, like, I didn’t need the cash to buy the business, but someone was explaining the leverage and the small business loan, and they’re waiving the fees and they’re giving me six months worth of payments. Right. And so I’m going through the nightmare of going through the SBA loan, but mainly because I wanted to find the banker.

Peter: 29:45

We’re doing the exact same things. I feel your pain where  we are looking at another local business which I’ll hopefully be able to talk more about as we get closer. But so we are literally in the middle of SBA underwriting, which it sounds like you are too. And it’s painful. I saw someone on Twitter was like, it was like SBA loans are the government’s gift to entrepreneurs who can stomach a marathon of paperwork and a personal guarantee. And I think that was like, almost word for word what it was. Maybe it was Brandon, maybe it was Brandon who pinned a tweet that got so much traction. But I think that’s correct. I mean, you know, the SBA is asking us for a business plan for a franchised company, right. Like it’s the franchise like anyway, yeah.

Russell: 30:40

Yeah I have to write up a business plan, but I’ve just described it to you. I called three colleagues in the business and, and said, do you, if I buy this printer, can I have what you print with me? And they said, yes, that’s my plan. I’m going to figure out the rest, but I know that I’m good. I know that I’m covered here. But I’m also buying, I wound up, uh, I wound up buying now I’m buying a building to house the business and, and that, that, uh, that pumped up the value of the transaction and brought in the personal guarantee. And so, but I’ll own a piece of I’ll own a piece of real estate that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Peter: 31:27

Well, that’s great. I mean, there’s a lot of tax advantages of owning real estate, so that’s a great thing. And yeah, I’d love to hear a little bit more about your background, how you got to where you are and what you, what you love doing and helping people solve, it sounds like you solve tricky political problems. How did you get into that? And what specifically within that domain is like, where you like to operate?

Russell: 31:51

All right. I’m a bit of a deal junkie, but I grew up in the Bronx, so I grew up in the ghetto. I had no vision of going to college or anything like that. You know I thought college cost $35,000 a year. And I hope to make $35,000 a year. I thought one day, if I had things worked out, I could be the assistant manager at the grocery store. That was my ambition. And I joined the military for two years. Everybody in my family did it, it’s what you did. And there I fixed some tasks and somebody said, what are you doing in the military? You need to go to college. All of my family had been born in New York city in the Bronx. That’s where we were born and raised. And I got shipped to Treasure Island in San Francisco. I went to community college, went to university of California Davis and got involved in politics in Sacramento. 

Peter: 32:57

Find that person who pulled you aside and give them a medal or something. Yeah.

Russell: 32:59

Oh, I didn’t know what he was doing. I don’t remember his name. I didn’t realize, I didn’t realize what he was doing for me, I didn’t realize it was a life changing trajectory.

Peter: 33:10

Those moments pass you by, you don’t really know

Russell: 33:15

Now what he did for me at the time. I don’t even remember his name. But I went to UC Davis, I got involved in politics and I’m breaking sweaty rule, but I can’t talk about my business without talking about politics. I was always a conservative, I’m a Republican, and I made my way in California politics as a conservative staffer. And then I rose through the ranks, legislative aid, chief of staff, and, and then eventually leading the entire Senate, Republican caucus and negotiating budgets and bonds and deals, hundreds of billions of dollars worth of… and I loved it. I loved doing the deal and being that junkie. I had no idea how lucrative those same skills would be externally. But then I got a job as a lobbyist for the largest utility in California. And I did that for several years. And then I got tapped to be the lead staffer at a tax agency and negotiating tax controversies and that sort of thing. And then then I decided to open my own shop and it’s been, it’s been great. And so those political controversies. It’s, it’s so hard to do anything in California. So if you want to build something it’s near certainty that you’re going to get challenged legally on your right to build that or expand that or grow that. 

Peter: 35:00

That’s starting to happen even here in Columbus. I mean they are trying to build a five story apartment building three blocks from here and the neighborhoods are all up in arms, and they’re fighting it tooth and nail. And for me, it’s like, okay, you say, you want affordable housing. We’re trying like, you need housing for it to be affordable, kind of supply and demand type thing. Anyway, we could probably, we could probably talk for hours on that, but… 

Russell: 35:31

Those kinds of problems I help. I try, if I get in early developers often will go it alone. They want to keep their costs down before there’s any stick in the ground. And then it gets to the end. Then you try and hire a lobbyist to push something through a city council at the last minute. And I’ve kind of flipped that on its head. And just said to the degree I can get in touch with the developer early enough. And just saying, if you use your LPs, if you use your vendors, your architects, gardeners, your construction teams, your entire network, and you think about that and construct a political plan to get your project approved before you start, you save yourself a lot of expense and headache because all of those people have political relationships, all right, right.

And that’s one vein of clients. And then there’s people who have business before the state legislature. And I call myself a bit of a translator, but it’s a leftist, progressive legislature. And so you have to explain your issue in words and language that they’re going to understand and care about. And it probably doesn’t involve your balance sheet for how much your margin is, or how much you’re going to make. Like we have, that’s not unimportant because if you can’t build it, then the good that they care about can’t happen. Right. And so if you can explain language and consequences to a progressive legislator, or decision-maker in a way that makes sense for them, you can still move your project forward. I just had a little Twitter exchange with Moses Kagan this morning, but the city of Berkeley, the bastion of liberalism just voted to eliminate parking requirements for development in the city of Berkeley, the consequence for that is the yield on a piece of property is much greater than it otherwise would have been, which means people can afford to build more stuff. But if you had known that was coming, you could have profited and invested in that and change the economics of property. And that’s, that’s my task now is as sort of for my job, developers generally think they understand the political process. And so they, it’s not expertise they want to pay for because they think they know it. And so I wind up, I have to first convince a client, but they don’t, they know less than they think they do. And that’s always a fun task, but I don’t need many of them. It’s not like I don’t think of them. And I don’t bang my head against the wall if they don’t. But when I get one and we’re pretty good at doing that. And at some point now where I don’t have to impact their balance sheet before the deal, I’m more than happy to get on the other side of it. And, yeah.

Peter: 39:10

And how long have you been out, on your own then?

Russell: 39:12 

It’s only, it’s been three years. It’s been, it’s been three years out on my own and it’s been great. And so the learning and growing that sort of business I learned that I really, I had, I wound up creating and buying a job for myself. It’s not sellable to anybody else. I didn’t have a platform that anybody would buy,  I’ve learned, and now I, okay, this is how I would have to structure this. I have hired. I staffed up, I’ve got people to help now and, and I’m building systems to try and capture more of that value as we go forward. And so, but I learned from you, before we go, one of the things that attracts me to the kind of talking to you and learning with you in public on this is, and it doesn’t sound at all. Like it’s not a marketing idea. You’ve talked about adding value beginning every day on how you’re going to add value to each of your interactions. Can you talk a little bit about that and how you were, how you came across as, or why you’ve embraced it.

Peter: 40:24

Yeah, I’d love to, so this is a new, relatively new approach for me. I think maybe a lot of people can relate to this, but right out of college I got, you know, got my first job. And even through starting my own company, I’ve been very inwardly focused. I would say that I was very concerned with how much money  I can make, how I can grow my net worth. What am I getting out of this? You know, even from the big things all the way down to you getting an email from someone and you’re gauging their status relative to you, and is it worth your time to engage with them and go have coffee with them and everything. And you know, I think that works to a certain extent. You almost need some of that, especially when you’re starting, because if you don’t, you’re just going to get pushed around and you’re going to end up working for somebody and they’re going to be profiting off you. And I think almost by definition, not an entrepreneur, as somebody who says I’m smarter than you or the other people who have tried to do this before otherwise, why would you even go out on your own and try and do your own thing? You would just accept things the way they were. So I think as I grew up a little bit, I got a little bit older. I got a family, I had a little bit of success in business, real estate, and, you know, I’m a lifelong learner. So I’m always reading and listening to podcasts. And I’m trying to learn from people and trying to not make the same mistakes they’ve made. You know, why not, why not learn from someone else’s mistake. You don’t have to make it yourself then, Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger I was talking about that. So I think some combination of hearing it enough from other people and sort of come into my own realizations in my life. It’s like really the way to be is to help other people. And obviously I’m not saying anything revolutionary here. I mean, the greatest thinkers in all of history have said this from day one. But you’re going to be happier and you’re going to be more successful if you’re hourly focused, if you’re thinking about others and how you can help them and how you can make them successful and where you can add value. And so I, for whatever reason in 2020, or, or here in early 2021, that just became real for me. And you can hear it a hundred times and it just bounces off. And then for whatever reason, someone says it a certain way, or you finally get to the stage in life where you’re receptive. And it becomes real for you. So now in the mornings, and when I’m thinking about my day and looking at my inbox and my calendar, I’m like, okay, I want to make other people successful. I want to help. Like, I want to provide 10 times the value, than I’m receiving, right? So if it’s a client and they’re paying me whatever per month, I want them to receive 10 times out of me in value, right. And the old saying is price is what you pay value is what you get. And same thing, everything from people I’m interacting with on Twitter, you know, I try to make sure that for every ask I make on Twitter, I’m providing value 10 times. You know, I don’t sit there and calculate it, but it’s different. There’s study, you know, there’s all these research on like what makes marriages last? We’re kind of getting in the weeds here, but if you look at it, it’s like you have to have like seven positive interactions for every one negative one. And that could even be as something as simple as saying, hey, you look nice today or, hey, you did a great job with dinner or, hey, thanks for picking up the kids. That was really nice. You didn’t have to do that. Those little things are cumulative and they strengthen that relationship. And I think that extends, you know, to more than just romantic relationships. I think it’s for everyone really. So, you know, just thinking first about others and how you can provide value and how you can make them successful. It’s, first of all, it’s just, it’s more, it’s a more rewarding way to go through life, right? So you get to the end of the day and you feel good because you’re like, okay, awesome. I’m seeing these other people be successful and helping them. They appreciate what I had to share. You feel good about that rather than, you know, you’re like, you’re sort of counting  how much money did I make for myself today, and it’s not enough and, you know, Ebeneezer Scrooge type mentality. So, you know, it’s, again, this is nothing like that. It has been said a hundred times before, but for whatever reason, it became true for me. And I’ve really been trying to live it, and it’s been really fun. And I’m, you know that’s the irony of the whole thing is that attitude will make you more successful than seeking success for yourself first. So that, you know, early days on it, but I think I’ve turned some sort of a corner for myself. And it’s been fun and interesting to sort of think about how to make that a reality and in even the smallest day-to-day interactions.

Russell: 45:00

Well, if we can use this podcast to do that, I think it will be good for me and good for you. And hopefully it’s good for other people that stumble across it as we do these in the weeks ahead.