Ramon Casaus started his journey to financial freedom from zero. Starting from double zeros and a 3-member team, he has built his place in the industry and has scaled to a 60-agent real estate team! He also started his own property management company that also started from the bottom. Now, it has escalated to 900 doors in just eight months!

Aside from all these successes, he is also a great leader that dedicates it all to his team. He is a firm believer in creating an atmosphere that would make the team be better for themselves – and you can see how he learned and made sacrifices to be an efficient leader throughout this episode.

In today’s episode, learn the importance of being an effective leader – setting a cultural standard, identifying what you value in a team, the methods he takes to promote the company’s culture, and how he is living by example!

He will also provide insights on another way to achieve financial independence and how he runs his businesses, so you can’t miss this episode! Enjoy!

Listen to the podcast here


 

27-Year-Old Real Estate Agent Goes From A Team Of 3 To 60 In Just 2 Years With Ramon Casaus

My name is Craig Curelop, AKA the FI Guy, and I’m here with my buddy, Nick Monge. Nick, how is it going?

I’m doing good. How are you doing?

I am doing absolutely fantastic. I’m hanging out in Chicago with my girlfriend’s family here. We got Thanksgiving, so I’m excited to buckle down and eat up.

I’m definitely looking forward to Thanksgiving’s feast. It’s going to be amazing. It’s what I’m always looking forward to every year.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I am one of those corny people that do reach out to a bunch of people and give thanks to everybody because that feels good. It’s weird any other time of year for some reason. On Thanksgiving, I always make sure to send out a handful of text messages.

I probably get better at that. You’ve got to start, at some point, reaching out to everybody.

My challenge to you is to do that on Thanksgiving. All the readers out there, go out there and tell three people that you’re thankful for them. I’m super thankful for our guest, Ramon_ABQ, Albuquerque, on Instagram. He is knowledge bomb after knowledge bomb. This has to be one of my favorite episodes.

He came onto the episode and you can tell that he’s practiced so much at being a good leader and how dedicated he is to his team. I enjoyed the episode.

He’s definitely one that leads by example. He’s a student of the leadership game and always a student and remains humble while doing so. We don’t have to go on and rave too much about him. His story certainly speaks for itself. Without further ado, we can bring on Ramon.

Welcome to the show, Ramon. How are you doing?

I’m good. How are you?

I’m doing good. Thanks for coming on. I feel like we bonded quite a bit over in Arizona, and the world seems to be falling apart with COVID since then. It’s great to see you. We usually start this whole show off with how did you get involved with financial independence? How did you get involved in real estate? We can take it from there.

Thanks for having me. That was an awesome get-together in Arizona. When you’re only with each other for 1 or 2 days, you’ve got to get it all in. You’ve got to pour it all into somebody and connect in the future. I’ll start with my real estate license because up until I got my real estate license, financial independence was not a thing for me. I was in college and I was working, like many college students do, odds and ends jobs.

I worked at Penske Truck Leasing. I worked at a company called Western Explosive Demolition Systems where we blow up minds. I did a bunch of odd jobs. When I got my real estate license, everything changed for me. I sold my first home while I was in college still in my last semester and that commission check was a little bit south of $10,000. You’ve got to remember, I had worked my tail off for a semester or even two semesters to hopefully make $10,000. When you do it in one shot, I say, “Here’s something. What if I could do this 100 times in a year?” That’s where the creativity of real estate started impacting my life in my decisions.

When you say financial freedom, everyone’s definition could be different. Maybe your definition of financial freedom is different than mine. For me, financial freedom is where I am making a conscious effort with my decisions in my career where I’m trying to loosen the correlation between my money and my time. When you’re working an hourly job, they’re directly correlated with each other. What I’m trying to do in my own personal life is move that correlation as far away as possible where what I earn has nothing to do with the amount of time I put into that particular job, project, what have you.

No one's going to give you permission. You just have to do what you need to do.  Click To Tweet

I’ve never heard that definition before. I hear a lot about you hitting a certain number, $10,000 a month, $20,000 a month. Those are some of the common ones. I do like that because as you get that passive income through real estate or whatever, that’s exactly what you’re doing. Your properties could crush it one month or your agents can crush it one month whether you work 40 hours or 2 hours.

That’s something interesting for me because I want to make sure that anyone who’s reading knows I’m not BS-ing. There’s a lot of BS when it comes to financial freedom. As a real estate broker, in my first year, I sold $9 million of real estate and made a decent earning. The next year, I made $500,000 in commissions. I was 24 or 25 years old. Here’s the deal, the amount of work it took, the amount of pure grit to get that $500,000, I’m like, “I could do this another year but one more year after that, I’m going to die of this. It’s not worth it.”

I opened an independent brokerage the next year and I took my $500,000 down to $50,000 because I had myself on a payroll. I was running a business that I paid myself $50,000. The reason is that it gave me back my time. When you’re selling real estate or you own a job like I did, you don’t have time for anything. I owned a job. I wasn’t an entrepreneur. I owned my real estate career. Opportunity, the greatest one out in the world, hit you square in the face. You’re still worried about the next buyer, the next listing, the next closing that you don’t ever see it.

I see that all the time. Let’s get from the beginning. $9 million is still good for your first year. How did you grow so fast, so quickly from ground zero?

It was 2016. I was full-blown into real estate and I went flat broke my first two months. February 2016, I remember being double zeros in the bank count. I probably had some cash and change in my truck but I didn’t have anything else. I was flat broke. I don’t believe in the whole you have to hit the bottom to be able to reach the top. I don’t believe in all that but I was like, “This is never going to happen again.”

At that moment and the days coming after that, I decided I’m going to go all-in in real estate. I’m going to let my ego and my pride go. People don’t want to act desperate in sales. I’m as desperate as it gets. I threw everything up the wall and figured out what I can make stick. When people ask me, “How did that translate to sales?” I removed everything out of my life that wasn’t conducive to sales.

In college, I used to drink and have a good time. Cut that out. Any conversations that weren’t about real estate or about business, cut those out. Family vacations, cut those out. Go hang out, go do festivals, go to Mexico for spring break, cut all that out. If it wasn’t about real estate or sales, I wasn’t doing it. FSBOs, expired listings, that’s where I made my money.

I bought a system called REDX Vortex. I would watch videos relentlessly on YouTube and mimic exactly what the guys on YouTube would do over and over. There was this company called Real Geeks with Jeff Manson. They have a CRM system. I used to watch all of Jeff Manson’s videos. When he would go interview top agents across the country, I would take notes and I would watch them over and over. That’s how I started building conceptually how I wanted my business to look. That’s the short story of how we made that first $9 million of sales in 2016.

Team Of 3: Fill the gaps to turn your negative experience into a positive one for everyone.

 

That’s straight-up great balls-to-the-wall type work. You have to do it. You’ve got this massive train moving and you put a lot of upfront work and cut out all the fat to get that train rolling. Now that it’s rolling, it can’t be stopped. If you were to stop tomorrow, you would be good. You would be fine is what it sounds like. That’s cool. That’s how you’ve got $9 million. Is that also how you’ve got all the way up to the $500,000 in your second year?

Yeah. I believe in this and this goes to the financial freedom side of things that you don’t ever need permission to do anything. If you’re looking for someone to tell you, “It’s time to start a team.” “It’s time to go get your real estate license.” “You should start making changes in your life to become more financially fit.” No one’s going to give you permission. You just got to do it.

In my first six months until ‘16, I started a real estate team. I had no idea what I was doing, but all I knew is that I promised that if someone sticks with me, they’re going to see how hard I work and they’re going to believe in what we’re doing. I brought on two agents in 2016, Alex and Chris. They’re still with me today. Alex is my business partner now.

We got to know each other the last six months of 2016 but we hit 2017 balls to the wall. We did everything together. They have a photo of us working on our first website at Alex’s garage does in 2016 around Christmas time. That team right there, we hired our first transaction manager full-time in 2017 as well. Two agents, myself, and then a full-time transaction manager running 20 to 30 escrows at all times.

In 2015, 2016, you get started in real estate. You’re doing great. Year one is $9 million. Year two is $500,000 in commissions or whatever that translates to. You have $25 million or so maybe in extra volume. Where do you go from there? I know you’ve got a massive team now. You’ve got two agents then, and then what happens next?

This is nothing against REMAX but I was working for a REMAX franchise. I looked at the end of the year and I paid $60,000 or $70,000 to REMAX. In my head, I’m like, “I could have bought three rental properties with that owner financing or I could have probably owned my own brokerage.” I’m a naive 25-year-old. I’m not that much older now. Back when I opened that company, I didn’t know what I was getting into but I’m like, “I’ll figure it out.”

The laws change in New Mexico. Now you have to be licensed 4 out of the last 5 years in order to obtain a qualifying broker’s license. A qualifying broker is allowed to open their own brokerage. Back when I started, it was only two years. I snuck in at the last moment before the law changed. On my two-year anniversary of having my real estate license, I had a full-fledged brokerage, office, team, employee, the whole thing. We grew that company from 3 to 10 to 20 to 30 to 40 to 50 to 60. At around the 60 mark, we completed a merger with eXp Realty.

First off, how do you go from 2 to 3 to 30? How do you recruit like that? Where does that come from? Is the magic of building a brokerage strength in numbers? If something sticks, are you recruiting high-quality agents? How does that work?

At the time, I wouldn’t even consider myself a high-quality agent. I knew I did a lot of transactions, but people who have been in the game know things you don’t know. Experience doesn’t always equal skill. I wanted to turn my negative experience as a new broker going flat broke with a qualifying broker who told me that starting a team was a stupid idea. Six months to a year later, he’s competing with me for agents because we’re both recruiting at the same brokerage. She started a team, too. I didn’t want people to go through that so I was like, “How can I make this the absolute best experience possible, fill in all the gaps, and turn my negative experience into a positive for everyone that joins this company?”

Setting a cultural standard in your business of how you operate, who you are as people, and what you value is the most valuable thing you can do for any organization. Yes, it does feel weird when it’s just you or it does feel weird when it’s just three of you and you guys are talking all these core values. It’s not weird when there are 60 people staring at you and they all believe in what you’re talking about. They live by the cultural standard that your company represents. It all starts with you.

It’s growing the culture side of our business and me having to do a deep dive into the inside-out approach. Leadership is a journey of self-discovery. It’s a journey of acceptance of who you are and understanding that your short-term ego, a lot of times, gets in the way of your long-term vision. I had to do a lot of learning. As you can imagine, you’re running a sales team and you’re only two years in real estate. Everyone’s looking at you for the answers. You’re trying to recruit new agents and you’re trying to sell. There’s a lot going on. This was a time in my life where I went through a massive learning curve.

It takes time for people to care and for you to leverage yourself. Click To Tweet

I should also throw this in there for you. We opened our own brokerage, which was another reason why we did that. I had started a property management company, too. In the midst of all this, my business partner and I scaled our property management company from 0 to 900 doors in about eight months. I asked myself why all the time.

That doesn’t seem like it aligns with what you’re trying to do or did it?

My business partner and anyone who I have companies or have ventures with probably get annoyed. If I like an idea, I will explore it down to the core, and then I’ll make a decision, yes or no. The due diligence gets heavy. I’ll explore tons of opportunities because I know that by exploring it, I’m going to learn something I didn’t know and I can apply it the next time.

With property management, my business partner, Alex, who was one of the agents at the time was a property manager. Alex was one of the property managers where the owner didn’t want to talk to the regional director. They want to talk to the on-site property manager because he was no BS. He didn’t lie and fluff things up. He just told the owner what he needed to hear.

When he told him, “I’m going to be going full-time into real estate and I’m leaving this company,” the owner turns around and says, “If you ever start your own property management company, I want you to know I’ll be your first client.” Alex calls me and he’s like, “I told Rick I’m leaving. He told me that if I end up starting my own company, he’ll be our first client.” I said, “Call him back right now and say we started a property management company.”

This is one of the nicest apartment complexes in an area of Albuquerque called Nob Hill. It was 75 units luxury apartment complex. We both knew the property inside and out. Everything was great. The owner, Rick, was a fantastic guy. Sure enough, we called him back and we’re like, “We’re starting a property management company.” It’s funny though because Rick was the last owner to come on. He was the last property that we ever brought on. When opportunity hits you in the face, I’m like, “What are we going to do? Sit back and say no or are we going to go learn something?”

It sounds like you definitely have that fire, ready, aim type of mentality where you’re going to do something and you know you’ll figure it out. That’s a hurdle for a lot of people, especially for all these readers out here. You’re listening to 100 podcasts, reading all these books, and doing all that. Once you see an opportunity, go do it.

There are two points I want to make that you said that is important. I’ll start with number one. The reason why I was able to do all these things is that I got my active income up. I love Rich Dad Poor Dad. I love that book. I love that thought process. That’s how you build wealth. I don’t like the focus on this dream of mailbox money, passive income. How do you expect to buy all that stuff, all these investments, $250,000 down on an apartment complex when you’re making $50,000 a year? You’ve got to get your active income up.

Remember, when I’m making a decision to start a property management company, I got $300,000 in the bank. I started a property management company and got some technology. It wasn’t a big deal to do that. If I was skinning every month and I’m saving $1,000, $2,000, I wouldn’t be able to do that. If you want financial freedom and you’ve got to get that active income, you’ve got to sky-high.

Team Of 3: You have to get your active income up.

 

Someone who says that who I’m not a huge fan of is Grant Cardone. I like the guy but some of this is his arrogance. He talks about this all the time. He says, “You’ve got to get your money up first things first.” I believe that 100% because I’ve lived it. The second portion is when you start thinking about starting a business. I was talking about this. We’re expanding into India and some other countries with eXp. It’s a greedy game.

In our first proposal we sent to Rick, the owner of that 75-unit apartment complex, he emailed us back and said, “I don’t know what this is, but you should definitely not ever present this to anybody else because this is trash.” We’re like, “We’ve spent three nights, all night working on that and he just said, ‘This is garbage. Don’t ever show this to anybody else.’”

When we’re doing our first management contracts, our first agreements, we’re up all night. We’re trying to get info from other people. It’s this greedy cluster but you have this vision in your head of how you think it’s going to be, this preconceived notion of, “What is it going to be like when I make it or when I have a property management company?” It never ever looks like the way you think it’s going to look and it doesn’t feel how you think it’s going to feel. Get that out of your head and start doing it. If you have a plan, you have to start doing it. Remember, you don’t need permission from anybody.

Do it and iterate. As you get feedback, you’d make your adjustments and you keep iterating. It seems like that’s what you’ve done with all the businesses that you have between your property management, your realtors, and all that kind of stuff.

It’s trial and error. I’m adjusting things every single day to this day, and we’re taking on new ventures. We’re starting things all the time. You have to. I was working with a syndication group, so you guys know what those are. You syndicate cash and you buy an asset. There are fees for it. I was working with a group out of LA and they were purchasing value-add opportunity apartment complexes. They’re buying anything from 30 to 150 doors.

I want you to think about real estate education here. I got to be a part of looking at a building and going, “That’s the one. We’re going to buy this for $2 million, we’re going to put $300,000 to rehab, and we’re going to sell it for $4 million.” I got to be the management company who did and monitor the rehab, moved out the tenants, raised the rents, hire new security, put gates, and did the facelifts. I got to be a part of that and do that for about 4 or 5 complexes and I got paid to do two.

I didn’t get paid as much as the developers got paid, unfortunately, but I got to learn that whole process. Think about how valuable that is to see those boots on the ground going through the work, seeing how it happens in real life. That’s something that real estate’s not going to teach you.

Some stuff you just got to do and you’ve got to learn from it. That’s the biggest thing. I’m sure you’ve had some struggles too, which I do want to get into because everyone paints this fuzzy picture. Why don’t we get into that? You talked about your struggle with property management and you delivered something that was total trash. How about with the agent stuff? No one grows to 60 agents without making the mistake.

My mistakes are endless when it comes to growing our real estate company. Number one, there’s a book out there called Multipliers by Liz Wiseman. Have you guys heard of it?

I have not.

I haven’t either.

It’s the best leadership book I could ever recommend to somebody. It is a book that has a concept about multiplying or diminishing intelligence. Believe it or not, most leaders are diminishing the intelligence of their group, team, agents, employees, or staff not intentionally. I found many diminishing traits in myself. The first person I point the blame at is always me and it was my fault because I was a frustrated sales guy.

One organizational leadership is the most valuable thing.  Click To Tweet

Don’t get me wrong, I’m running 15 to 20 escrows personally but I was like, “Why can’t anybody get on my level? You guys don’t care. You guys can’t sell as well as me. You’re not motivated.” That’s not the right way. I can’t motivate somebody. Motivation is a temporary state of mind anyway. I realized that through company culture and truly removing all the lingos and numbers, pending transactions, escrows, how many do we have, closings, GCI, the brokers don’t care about that stuff. They care about their careers.

When you set that cultural standard, you create an atmosphere where they don’t want to be better for me. They want to be better for themselves. It’s going through those hard lessons. I am a bad leader. I am not good at this. I got help. Not mental health, but help to be a better leader. I probably needed that, too. Every Friday night, I would meet with this consulting group. They were friends of mine. It wasn’t like a higher Echelon Front or Jocko to come to be my leadership coach. I hired friends. That one was a behavioral scientist and the other one was a Six Sigma Black Belt out of the laboratory here in Albuquerque.

What they taught me was everything from hand gestures, how I move my eyes, my demeanor, the way I talk, vulnerability, these things that weren’t a part of who I was. The biggest struggle I had was learning those. I practice every Friday night for six months while everyone else is out doing who knows what thinking about Saturday. I’m in my office and I’m holding a paper practicing as if I’m presenting to my team. For me, that was one of the biggest pivotal moments where once I got that down to understanding the art of becoming a leader and always being on a quest to learn more about leadership, the biggest struggle I had has turned into the biggest blessing that I have now.

The first way to improve anything is to know that you have something wrong. Have you ever read Jack Canfield’s Success Principles?

I have not.

The first principle in that book is to take responsibility for everything in your life. Whether it’s your fault or not your fault, you take responsibility for that. I’ve never met a successful person that doesn’t do that. It sounds like you did that. You’re able to recognize your faults and you’re able to fix them.

I love Jocko. I love The Dichotomy Of Leadership and Extreme Ownership. There is no such thing as bad teams, only ineffective leaders. If you’re trying to recruit people and they’re not jiving with you, they’re not jiving with you. Usually, you’re offering what you have. Most people are attached to a brokerage. It’s you who they’re not attracted to. If you’re going to set a standard, you have to be 120% of that standard.

When it comes to recruitment, here’s the deal, what do people want? You can go back down to the six basic human needs if you want to know what they want. Creating an environment that they want to be a part of is a big deal. I say this because you’d found this out about me if you’re talking to me. This whole vanilla, real estate, BMW, coffee, “I’m your local neighborhood realtor,” is boring. You’re trying to be everything for everybody.

Do you want people to go, “I freaking love this guy and I would never work with anybody else.” “This is my type of person here.” Do you want them to go, “Yeah, he does that real estate thing. You’re a realtor.” Which client do you want? Which broker do you want? “It’s just the brokerage,” or, “I would freaking die for this place.” Who do you want on your team? I want the soldier.

The passionate one.

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

There are so many people walking around without passion for anything. I don’t care what it is. If you get passionate about something, great because there are so many people who don’t, in my opinion, have passion for anything.

That’s what sells your brokerage, that’s what you sell to your agents, and that’s how you grow your team. It’s through your passion and your love for the game and fostering that community that they want to be part of.

In a nutshell, 100%. Plenty of people are like, “One of the core values of our company is 24/7.” What does that mean? “It means that we don’t turn off. Someone’s trusting you with their largest financial purchase. You don’t just forget about them in a situation because it’s 7:00, and that’s your bedtime.” If you don’t like that, there are 100, 200, 300, 500 different companies you can work with in any city. Go pick one of those. That’s okay with me. I’m cool with that.

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

If our brand is out there and someone is working with somebody who’s a part of our company, they got to know, “There’s a quality. There’s a standard. These guys take care of me. This company takes care of me when I need them to take care of me.” What happens is you start to get a natural weed out process. People will come in and think they wanted this and they don’t. “This place isn’t for me.” It’s like, “I completely understand. Let’s do a deal together in the future. However, I can be of service. My door is always open to you.” It’s not like, “FU.” It’s a different field when you have that cultural standard.

What do you do to promote community? What are the top three most effective things would you say?

Do you mean in terms of implementing culture?

Yeah. Where does one start?

You’ve got to start with yourself. I call it the Law of Diminishing Returns. Have you ever heard the saying, “No one cares as much as I do.” They don’t care as much as you do. You’re the owner. Who cares more than you? It’s your business. It’s your risk. It’s your money. You don’t have to be rocket science to figure that out.

What happens is that if you say, “I’m about these things. This is what we’re about,” and you rise to that standard and you rise to the occasion, your employees are never going to rise to the same occasion. There’s a Law of Diminishing Return. They’re going to be at 70%. If you’re at 100%, the rest of your company is going to be at 70%. You have to be 120% of the standard that you put out, the bar that you set because when you’re at 120%, they’re at 90%.

First of all, it starts with the leader. The leader has to be held the most accountable for what they say because people watch you not only talk but put those words into real life, into real action. The respect level, the belief in themselves, the belief in the company, the belief in you goes up exponentially. That’s number one.

Number two, core values don’t just go on your wall or go on your website and you never talk about them. They should be the core principles of how you run your business. You hire, fire, award, and discuss core values like a sacred tablet that you guys have in your company. It’s a bond that you share as a company. You guys are about the same things, ideals, values. You have to talk about them. You don’t just put them on a wall. It’s not corporate. Some people think, “If you want to be a big company, you’ve got to have core values.” That’s not the point. You have to practice the core values.

Number three is you have to go deeper with your team. When I say that, I mean a lot of times when we’re running companies or running organizations or a realtor, you’re trying to find the most efficient way to do everything. You’re trying to figure out, “How can I scale this? How can I do it more efficiently? How can I reach more people?” Would you guys agree?

Absolutely.

What happens is that the value is in the inefficiencies. The value is in the personal touch. It takes longer but that’s where the value is at. You have to treat your people like family. You shouldn’t have a problem handwriting a card for Thanksgiving or Christmas to every single one of your employees. I don’t care if you have 5 or you have 50 or 100. That shouldn’t be an issue because the value is in the inefficiencies.

Especially with real estate now in this COVID world temporarily, in my opinion, there’s not a lot of human contexts. We have to always be looking how we can bring that value and bring that connection, even though we’re on Zoom, even though we’re sending emails, even though we’re far away from each other. Remember the value is in the inefficiency.

The underlining factor of any good relationship is always trust. Anyone who trusts you or you trust them, chances are, you spent a lot of time with them. Here’s a great example. In our office, we have a method called GAS, Greet, Ask, Serve. This is how we approach our brokers or employees in our office. You go into an office where people are running and gunning, and they look up, “What’s up?” They’re running around like, “I make money. We make money together. We’re in business so when I see you, I stop.”

It will never look the way you think it's going to look. Just start doing it.  Click To Tweet

G is for greet. You stop what you’re doing. Stop physically moving and ask them, “How are you? How’s your wife? How’s business?” Take a moment, put your phone down, and talk to this person, create a connection, and then serve, like, “What can I do for you? What do you need help with? What can I do for you right now?”

It sounds stupid. People I ask are like, “No,” because people know when they walk into your building, they get into your website, they go on your YouTube channel, they jump on your Instagram, they go, “Something’s different about these guys.” That’s the feel you want people to know and to know about you when they come into contact with you or one of your associates or employees.

A quick recap here. The three main things start with the leader. You’ve got to elevate your stuff to 120% because there’s that Law of Diminishing Returns that brings people down to 90%. Core values, you want to make sure your team’s got core values and everyone follows them, and then also treating people like family. The value is in the inefficiencies. I love that. Never heard that before, but it’s true because people know that when you’re being inefficient, you’re giving them the extra time that they need to make you feel trusted. With the people closest to you, that’s what you have to do.

How many generic emails do you open and take to heart?

Zero.

Do you know how many happy Thanksgiving emails I got today from who knows where that had my name spelled wrong? That pisses me off. Don’t even send that to me. I want to add one more thing to what I said. I’ve been beating this culture drum with my own company for a few years now. Believe me, the first year wasn’t like, “I found the secret key to success.” I still feel that way. We’re still figuring it out. I promise you that if you want people to care and you want to start leveraging yourself, your brand, your organization, it takes time. It’s not going to happen overnight, so stick with it. Six months to a year is not even close to enough time. You start establishing your identity.

You learn quickly.

You’re pulling so much knowledge on leadership. I separated from the Air Force and that’s all we talk about. Different systems and ways to keep everybody motivated to complete a mission. Everything that you’re implementing in your business is absolutely amazing. The GAS, Greet, Ask, Serve, is awesome. If everybody in your business is doing that, that’s going to spill down from the top all the way down to the bottom, and people are going to notice that. That’s absolutely amazing.

Here’s something interesting, too. If you’re not doing this, today is your lucky day because you’re going to start and it’s going to be the biggest blessing. If you have an organization, I don’t care if it’s 2 people or it’s 200, what I didn’t come up with, our director of operations came up with it, but where did that even come up with is, “This is a problem. We need a solution for it.” We don’t just say, “We’re all about this and that, and all culture.”

We survey our company anonymously four times a year. Every quarter, there’s a culture climate survey that goes out. What’s a better tool for our own company to tell me what they like or don’t like about the company? Where are they finding inefficiencies? Where there are problems? I don’t want a perfect survey. I don’t want it all to be green and happy because when there’s an issue and there’s something that was done wrong and needs to be corrected, I gain a lot of trust every time a survey goes out.

I read every single word personally, me and my team, and we go back through and we have a corrective action plan on any of the negative things in the company. I go back to the organization and go, “I read every word. Here’s what we identified and here’s what we’re going to do about it. We’re going to start putting this in action today.”

When you see an organization that goes, “They listen and they actually do what they say they’re going to do,” the amount of trust that builds in your people and the confidence in the leadership, the confidence in the company, you can’t put a price tag on it. That’s where those things come from. We do surveys. We don’t survey the crap out of our company, but four times a year at least in regards to the company and the culture.

Team Of 3: Your employees don’t care as much as you do because you’re the owner.

 

There’s so much good stuff in this episode. We understand now how you went from 0 to 3 to 60. It’s all leadership stuff. Do you have any rental properties? Are you just straight up all on your agent game?

No, you’ve got to build wealth in real estate. This is a wealth game. It’s a long-term game. I do love my business. The reason why I even did it this way, the reason why I didn’t just stay selling and making $500,000 a year is because one, organizational leadership, personally, is the most valuable thing you could possess skill-wise. It’s more valuable than knowing how to do a purchase agreement or a listing.

I wanted to make sure that I could create a business that runs, creates revenue, reoccurring revenue that’s predictable so I can go do and be creative with other things. Some of the other things are real estate investments. I’m glad you asked about that because so many real estate agents don’t have any real estate. They know the markets and they know everything, but they don’t engage in it and then you’re making a big mistake.

I’m so glad you guys talk about this on your podcast because it’s such a big deal. I did a lot more in the development land, new construction. I’ve done maybe five flips over my career. If I’m going to do a flip, there’s a lot of meat on the bone for sure. I’ve done about maybe 10 to 15 wholesale deals assignments. I had my best one ever close for $55,000 profit on an assignment.

Congratulations.

Christmas came early. I don’t have any long-term rental properties. I own a home that I have but I also believe in not using leverage if it doesn’t cashflow. I bought my house free and clear and I rented it for a long time because liability is an asset. If you don’t cashflow, it’s a liability. I have multiple plots of land. We have an apartment complex going up. In our market, it’s so tight. We’re looking at assignments and redemption rights because the flippers’ margins are so tight. You make just about the same, if not sometimes more with less headache, less liability, less time assigning the deal. I’m sure it’s like that in your market, too. What we’re focused on is adjusting with our market and making sure that we’re hitting that niche.

You have tons of experience doing real estate deals yourself. Are you still doing real estate transactions or do you and your team take care of all that grunt work and you’re just working on growing the business, growing the community, and doing stuff like that? What are you doing on a day-to-day now?

My roles have adjusted over the years and now, I’m in expansion. My job is to bring in new talent to our organization across state lines and internationally. That’s my sole purpose. I still do run a lot of the day-to-day operations with my business partner. He’s moving into the team leader role. He’s the team leader who replaced me of all 60 agents and counting. I work with him closely making sure that he knows what to do. He’s getting a feel for everything. My job is all bringing in new talent and doing a lot of marketing for the company. My day-to-day now is attraction, looking for new business opportunities, and working on the reach or organization.

More high level. When you say agent attraction, are you talking about to your group, your team?

Yeah. Locally, we get a lot of word of mouth. We get a lot of people reaching out to us now, which it wasn’t ever like that. We see a lot of influx. I’m going out in different states and in different countries, and I’m talking to business owners and agents about the eXp model and also what our organization can help them with. That’s what I’m doing.

How are you filtering these agents? How are you picking and choosing who you’re going after?

Values. Simple as that. If you’re talking about it from a pragmatic standpoint, looking at someone’s Facebook profile is going to tell me that much. I’m looking at positions I’ve been in. I love to land a company that has 2,000 agents, but I haven’t had 2,000 agents before. I’m not saying I couldn’t do it. I don’t limit myself in any capacity, but I’m looking for guys who are running teams of 5, 10, 15, 20 up to 50 because I know every pain point in that process. If you’re an independent brokerage owner, I know every pain point. Those are the type of conversations I like to have because I’m like, “I’m like you. I’ve been through exactly what you’re doing and I found a better way. You should check it out.”

You’ve provided a tremendous amount of value and knowledge bomb after knowledge bomb. I could talk to you for hours, but we should head on to the final part of the show. These are the four questions we ask everybody and you don’t know these. We didn’t tell you at first. Nick, why don’t you lead off with the first one?

Be a people person and get to know others you wouldn't normally hang around with.  Click To Tweet

Based on our conversation so far, it seems like you’re definitely a reader. Is there a book that you’re reading right now?

There are a couple of books. You guys are going to laugh at this. I’m only reading one that relates to this conversation. I’m rereading it though, but it’s Tim Grover, Relentless. Anytime I need a push, that’s the book I go to. I like to call it the fourth quarter. Where we’re sitting in, I like to call this the separation season. This is where you separate yourself from the pack.

I’m also reading The 5 Love Languages, which is a huge part of, in my opinion, leadership is understanding different people’s emotions and increasing your emotional intelligence. I’m also reading How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps by Ben Shapiro. I’m not a political guy. I do care, but my life doesn’t revolve around that stuff. It’s a new one for me and I’m trying to understand from a cultural perspective what’s going on in our country. That book is a good start.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

All pertaining back to a little bit of leadership stuff because some of that doesn’t come naturally to me. This saying is important to me. It goes something like this. “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” That’s a Theodore Roosevelt quote. I believe in that. My business changed when I started realizing that I have to care about people. I know that sounds weird. I always cared, but my demeanor is not like a caring carebear, “Come hug and let’s go hang out later.” That’s not who I am naturally. The biggest impact has been the best advice someone ever gave me in terms of leadership.

Third question, what is your why?

I’m not going to say it verbatim. I’m still trying to figure that out, to be honest with you. I know what I want in the future but if I could sum it up in a couple of sentences, it would be that people would view me when you’re asking questions like this, “What was a pivotal moment in your life? Where did everything change for you? Where did your financial freedom come from? Where did your increase in the quality of life come from? Where did this generational wealth come from?”

Their answer would be “I met Ramon. I was part of this company and I got to know them. I was a part of their brand. That’s what I’ll change for me.” If I can be that pivotal piece for somebody else where they think, “In my entire life, this was the best organization, the best person, the best direction I was ever placed in,” and it had to do with me or my organization, that’s my why.

Everybody wants their time back. Being the one that wants to touch people and turn their life around or help them in any way is amazing.

Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable (Tim Grover Winning Series)

Here’s another quote that I enjoy. These are things that I do think about on a day-to-day basis. “If you only have what you’ve given to others, what would you have?” Your income, your quality of life, everything you ever wanted is a direct correlation with the amount of value you provide to other people. Simple as that.

Still dropping bombs. You’re not stopping. What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever worn?

It’s not that embarrassing but at the moment, I was destroyed. I was in a fraternity in college, which people can laugh all day long at fraternities, but those things are run like a business. In life, you’ve got to work with people who you don’t want to work with and you have to deal with diversity and things of such. That’s exactly what that taught me, how to be a people person and get to know others that I wouldn’t normally hang around.

I was going to a business fraternity event and I’ve never worn a jacket before. I could see a blazer or a sport coat, but I’ve never worn one before. I was in college and I had no money. I bought it from some ragtag store. They have the little white stitches at the bottom of the coattail still. I didn’t know that wasn’t a part of the deal. I didn’t take those off. When I wore it, somebody pointed it out and they all started laughing. I was horrified because I was a freshman in college. I’m around all these older guys trying to be serious. I’m like, “I know what I’m doing.” They’re laughing their asses off at me and I’m like, “This was embarrassing.”

Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable (Tim Grover) Winning Series)

Where can people find out more about you?

I am the most active on Instagram and Facebook. My Instagram is @Ramon_ABQ. Facebook is a cluster of notifications and messages, so I miss things all the time. Instagram is where I’m usually at.

Thanks so much for coming to the show. You’ve been great. We will see you soon, I hope.

Thanks for having me, guys. I do appreciate it.

Good talking to you.

Thanks.

That was Ramon, guys. He is something else.

Nick, what did you think?

Ramon is awesome. He’s a cool dude. I can’t believe how knowledgeable he is, how dedicated he is to his team, and being a good leader. You can tell he believes in excellence. That’s what I see when I look at him. It’s awesome. Great episode. He had tons of information. I’m definitely going to check out those books that he recommended.

I put all of them on my reading list. Amazingly enough, I haven’t read any of the books he mentioned except Rich Dad Poor Dad. Having three books that I haven’t read, I’m like, “I’ve got to get on my game.” This episode wasn’t so much about financial independence, but you have to understand that building a business and stepping out of that business is another way to build financial independence. He’s done just that. Maybe he’s not totally there yet.

He started out as an agent doing his own stuff. He built a team. Now he’s no longer on the ground showing houses and writing contracts. He’s working on building the team. At some point, he’s going to step out of his place and he’s going to fill his position. That business is going to churn itself and he’s going to start investing in some real estate properties. I know he’s already done a few real estate deals with wholesales and flips. He’s got some land. His strategy towards financial independence is not just to save $25,000 to a $50,000 salary. That takes too long. He wants to make a lot, save a lot, and invest the difference.

One of the things that he mentioned that I jive with was he started his property management business at the same time as starting his own brokerage. He’s talking about being the best you can be at everything because different qualities and traits bleed into other aspects of your business. When you’re learning something new, it can apply to different parts of the field. That was a super important point for readers to pay attention to because it’s important to do your best at everything. It’s also important to learn, continue to educate yourself, and take action.

I love what you said there too. It’s a great episode. That’s when I advise going back and re-reading, too. Overall, Ramon is a stand-up guy. Follow him on Instagram. He’s got a podcast, which he didn’t even mention, Rocstar Alliance Podcast. Seriously, he’s a great dude.

It was good talking to you. Every other time, I love getting on these calls with other cool investors and talking about real estate, business, and financial independence. It’s always a good time.

It’s been great. We’ll see you next time.

 

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About Ramon Casaus

Ramon is a serial entrepreneur, founder of ROC Real Estate Partners, Host of The Battle Tested Business Podcast, Author of Amazon Best Seller “No Permission Needed” and visionary behind the “Battle Tested Lifestyles” brand.

Ramon’s mission is for as many people as possible to look back on their life and clearly identify their relationship with Ramon and or one of his organizations as an impactful, positive and pivotal moment in their life. Ramon is passionate about organizational leadership, building culture, anything real estate, firearms, traveling, red wine, building generational wealth and America!