Both Ashley and Tony were able to buy their first rentals and grow their portfolios thanks to networking. At first, they didn’t know what to do or say, and didn’t have many deals to speak of. But, over time, their net worth grew with their networking skills, allowing them to connect with more investors, find more deals, and build lifelong friendships. They’re testaments that even if you don’t have any deals yet, networking could be what brings you your first!
If you want Ashley and Tony to answer a real estate question, you can post in the Real Estate Rookie Facebook Group! Or, call us at the Rookie Request Line (1-888-5-ROOKIE).
This is Real Estate Rookie, episode 188. My name is Ashley Kehr and I’m here with my co-host Tony Robinson.
I know, but honestly, I feel like we never even got to see each other that much, even though we were, yeah, confined into a hotel resort for three days and barely got to see each other, but we just attended the first ever Real Estate Rookie boot camp weekend in Denver, Colorado. And we got to meet over 300 rookie investors that maybe had one or two deals.
Some people actually had quite a few deals under their belt already, but a ton of newbies, rookie investors that haven’t done a deal yet. We were really excited that they took that step, took that action to come and learn and get that motivation to get that first deal done.
Yeah. Many of you know BiggerPockets recently started launching these boot camps, which are essentially online courses. And I ran the short-term rental boot camp. Ashley ran the rookie bootcamp. And what Ashley did was she took the concept of her bootcamp and turned it into an in-person event. Like she said, it was really catered towards folks that were at the beginning of their journey and man, what an amazing event it was.
And as we were going through that, Ashley and I said, “Well, it might be cool to really talk about the power of networking and coming to some of these events and what benefit you get as a new investor.” Ashley, I know you talk about this a lot and you shared this story a little bit over the weekend, but I guess you talk about the impact that networking has had on you because you came. You’re an investor in New York, near Buffalo, you felt there weren’t a lot of investors around you. Just give that story that you shared from the bootcamp weekend.
Yeah, I was lonely. When I started investing, it was only because I worked for an investor. And so, I partnered with his son, who was basically like, “I don’t have time to do anything. You do it.” And I took care of everything and he just didn’t really care to engage much in conversation about real estate, 24/7, like I did.
And then, a couple years later I found my next partner. It was me and him talking about real estate. And I finally found BiggerPockets. And from there, just diving into the forums. And then, BiggerPockets had their first conference. Well, actually it was technically their second conference. I think they had one a long, long time ago and then didn’t have another one until 2019. And it was that conference where I met a ton of people.
And since then, they’ve become my best friends. My best friends are littered across the country. And it feels like we see each other every single month because we’re attending an event or just getting together for something special for someone in our group. But I don’t think that I would be where I am today without this network of people. I would lose motivation. I would lose inspiration. I wouldn’t have the tools and resources if I didn’t have the network of my friends to help me and guide me, give me advice.
And also, I’ve been able to get opportunities because of my friends and hopefully, I’ve provided them opportunities in return. When I was in 2019, I attended that first BiggerPockets conference. And then in 2021, I attended a Maui mastermind event. And since then, just meeting these group of people has really made an impact on my life and even more excited about real estate.
And I think the networking piece, Ashley, is so important, especially at the beginning phases of your journey, because a lot of times you stumble into real estate and you stumble into it by yourself. And it’s not necessarily because your best friend is interested or because your siblings or your parents or whoever. It’s because you read some article, you had some idea and you start going down this rabbit hole.
And before you know it, you’ve consumed all these books and you’ve listened to these podcasts. And you’re all juiced up about becoming a real estate investor, but you have no one to talk to about it with. Your friends are driven crazy already. If you’re married, your spouse is overhearing you talk about real estate investing and you kind of need someone to connect with.
I think early in your journey, going to, whether events like the Rookie Bootcamp weekend, bigger events like BPCON, or even smaller events like in your local area, going to local meetups or REIA Meetings or whatever it is, just find a way to get with other people that are doing what it is you want to do, because you get so much value from having those kinds of conversations.
And I’ve shared this on the podcast before, but a really pivotal change in my life occurred at a meetup. I’ve talked about him before, but his name is Alex Sabio. And Alex and I met at a local meetup here in SoCal. And he was the person that eventually convinced me to buy my first short-term rental. And I think, man, had I not met Alex at that meetup, how different would my life be today? You never know where one relationship, one connection can take you.
Yeah. I completely agree with that. And I took my business partner, Darrell, with me to this rookie weekend. And it was his first ever conference of any kind, any type. And he is so pumped up, so jazzed up. Just in the airport on the way home, he’s looking up all this stuff he learned or people he talked to. And so, he’s like, “Man, I really did get so motivated by that.” And he’s like, “When’s the next one? Where do we go to the next one?”
I think that’s really awesome is if you get that opportunity to go to a networking event. Even if it is just a local meetup, then that’s even better because you’re meeting people that are directly in your market and get that market knowledge from them too, and share ideas.
Going to a networking event, just some tips I have. Along with meeting people is, if there’s somebody you want to talk to, so maybe it’s one of the speakers, something like that, have your questions prepared ahead of time. What do you want to get out of that conversation with that person? Because it’s very easy to go up and just be like, “Hey, how are you? I love your podcast or I listened to you on YouTube,” well, something like that. And then, “Okay, yep. Nice to meet you.” And then walk away. Or think of something, but prepare yourself, so that when you do go into that conversation and just be like, “No, I have a quick question for you, a couple quick questions.”
And then have them prepared so that you’re not just stumbling or frantic, because that’s something I always struggled with. Even Brandon Turner, the first couple times I met him. I’m like, “I don’t even know what to ask him. I feel like I can’t waste my conversation with him. What do I say to get value out of that conversation and take advantage of that opportunity?”
Steve Rosenberg had met with this person that does a lot of motivational speaking and a big coach and very successful person. And he was told, “You get five minutes with them.” He sat down with them and the guy’s like, “Five minutes, go ask me your questions, no small talk.” And Steve’s just like, “Blah, blah, blah.” And the guy at the end was like, “I say that to you because your time is just as valuable as mine. And I know you only got five minutes with me, so that’s why I wanted to cut right into the chase.”
I think having questions prepared and knowing what you want to get out of the networking too, and the conversations or even what are you looking for? Who do you want to talk to too? Planning that ahead of time too.
That’s just such a good point, Ashley, because someone literally came up to me at the bootcamp weekend and said that, “Hey, Tony, big fan. Really enjoy everything you do on the podcast.” And then I was like, “Oh, thank you so much. And then he was just kind of smiling.” And I was like, “Can I answer anything for you?” He’s like, I don’t really know what to say. I just wanted to come talk to you.” And then 10 minutes later, he ended up coming back to me and said, “Hey, I actually do have a question for you.” I love the idea of come in prepared to maximize that time.
I think the other thing that I’d encourage folks to do when you’re going to some of these networking events, two big things. First is try and get out of your comfort zone. It’s really easy to go to these events. And especially if you’re going with someone that you know, to just stick with your click of people.
And it happens in most conferences, if it’s a multiple day conference, wherever you sit on day one, you’re probably going to end up sitting there on day two again. And you’re going to be sitting around the same people. Really try and mix up where you’re sitting or who you’re talking to because the goal of these events are to meet other people. If you’re going with a friend, try and separate every now and again, try and sit in different parts of the room throughout different parts of the day. That way, you’re exposing yourself to more people. That’s the first thing, is try and get outside of your comfort zone.
The second thing is, I know not everyone is really good at doing that. Just the idea of going to these networking events is scary enough, but having to actually talk to someone might be too terrifying. For me, whenever I go to some of these events and I don’t really know anyone in the room, if I’m walking in to a meetup and there’s already a group of people talking, I’ll just walk up and say, “Hey, do you mind if I join you guys?”
Not once has someone told me, “No.” I’ve never been told, “No, you can’t join us.” Everyone’s usually like, “Yeah, of course. Come on in.” And then I’ll just ask, “Hey, so where are you at in your investing journey?” And it’s an easy way to break the ice. And you guys can start talking, getting to know each other, but it’s that easy. “Hey, mind if I join you. Where are you at in your investing journey?” Those two questions are a great way to break the ice.
That’s a great point as to, okay, getting to somewhere. And, okay, where do I stand? Where do I go? Who do I talk to? But one thing that I used to do when I was going to local meetups or I was attending a conference, I would find somebody online that was going to that same event. And I would just message them, start a little conversation. Just like, “Oh, I saw you were going to this.” And then I had a face. I had somebody when I got there to look for and that I already kind of knew. And that was my strategy, I guess, so that I didn’t end up just awkwardly standing there.
I remember the worst was when a meetup was held at a bar in the city. And so I walk in. I’m like, I don’t know which group of people this is. I asked the hostess, I think. And she’s like, “Oh, I think that’s the real estate like meetup thing is upstairs.” I go upstairs and there’s all these people and dressed in corporate clothes, a suit and tie and girls in dresses and heels.
And I’m like, “There’s no way this is real estate investors.” And so, I look around and I realized the restaurant actually had two locations and I was at the wrong location. And so, I ended up going to their other location. But yeah, that was so uncomfortable for me that moment, not knowing who to go. If you can find somebody online who is attending.
BiggerPockets, you can add… Meetups are advertised on there all the time and you can actually see who’s going. People click the attend button. All I have to do is message a couple of those people and be, “Hey, I saw you were attending this meetup. I’m going to be there too.” And maybe give them a little bit about yourself. And just say, “I wanted to introduce myself before meeting and I look forward to seeing you at the event.”
Yeah. Our friend Tyler Madden talked about that too, about making relationships online before getting there in person. And what an easy way, a low risk way to break the ice beforehand, say. I love, love, love that advice. But at the end of the day, for all the rookies that are listening, what’s most important is that you start building that network, whether online, whether in-person. Or however you want to do it, but just start surrounding yourself with people who have the same dreams, ambitions, and aspirations as you.
Yeah. Okay. Any other takeaway? Oh, one thing that I do want to add to this is when going to a live event is especially, if it’s like a couple day conference, or even if it’s just one meetup, take a break during the conference. Or even if it’s just every night. And write down the people you met, how they had an impact on you, what you learned, what you want to implement, what you want to take action on. Because the conference is such a whirlwind that, by the time you get home, it’s like, “Oh wait, what did I learn? What was I going to do? How do I implement these things?”
I think going back and recapping, because it’s going to be someone had to explain this to me. And so me remembering people’s names as a fire hose, just shooting at my face all day with people’s names. That’s the real estate contents that’s coming at you. And even if you’re just going to a local meetup, when you get into your car, write down, “Okay, these are the people I met. This is what they do. Here are my connections I made. And this is what I learned. This is what I want to research more,” or something like that to, taking those notes.
Yeah. One thing, yeah, what I would do. And I haven’t been to a really big conference in a while where I didn’t know a lot of folks there. But one of the things that I would do when I go to some of these big meetups is when I would meet someone and I get their phone number, I take a selfie with him. That way… Because even if you save the name, sometimes you forget the faces of who’s who, but if you have a selfie with you and that person, next time you see him like, “Oh shoot. Yeah, I remember that face.” And so, it’s a little bit easier to make that connection on who’s who.
Yeah. There was also a guy that attended the event this weekend, who was an extremely successful real estate investor from the Denver area. And he just wanted to come and be around all the rookies and get inspiration and motivation from all the excitement.
And so, he said that one thing he noticed was that nobody has business cards. And he said, “I completely understand that because they don’t really have a business yet. They don’t have their first deal. They don’t have an investment property, they don’t have a business.”
And he said, but he’s like, “I would recommend that go and get them printed anyways. It doesn’t have to be a business card. It can just be your contact information.” And he said, “That would be so nice for them to give out when you attend these events.” And I thought that was a great tip is being able to give the cards out. And I know a lot of people today use the QR codes too. So that you just show someone your QR code and then it automatically imports into their phone, which is pretty convenient too.
Yeah. Yeah. I love. I’m not much of a business card guy. Even people hand them to me, a lot of times, I end up just losing them. I like the idea of the QR code.
The QR code.
So I can scan and it’s in there right away. Yeah.
Yeah. Okay. Well, thank you, guys, so much for listening. And for those of you that attended the rookie weekend, I hope you had a great time. I know, I sure did. And I got to talk to so many people and it really was inspirational and motivational to me.
One little exercise that we did do at the end was have everyone write a letter to themselves in three months, giving themselves encouragement support and also, talking about what they have accomplished in the next three months. Those letters are going to be sent back out to the people that attended the rookie conference.
I brought an extra suitcase, just to bring them all home with me, and then I’m going to mail them back to them at the end of August. If you want to participate in this exercise, just go ahead and write yourself a letter. We did it dated for August 1st. And write yourself a letter, giving yourself some encouragement and say, “Wow, in the past three months, you bought your first rental property. You paid off some debt.” Or whatever it is that you want to accomplish in the next three months, write yourself a letter like you did accomplish it. And then, you can just stick it in a drawer, set yourself a little calendar reminder to pull it back out and open it up in three months.
Okay. Well, thank you guys for listening. I’m Ashley at Wealth from Rentals and he’s Tony at Tony J. Robinson. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to our YouTube channel, Real Estate Rookie. And please leave us a five star review on your favorite podcast platform. We’ll see you guys next time.